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Showing posts from October, 2014

Opera and full frontal nudity: Rigoletto

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David McVicar's oddly modern production of Rigoletto is back at the Royal Opera House.

This modern and minimalist dark production has evolved over the years. It is better lit now but there is still an orgy and full frontal nudity within the first thirty minutes. This enables anyone not in the stalls an excellent view of a flaccid penis and a nicely shaved bush. But as time goes it seems more and more superfluous to the main focus of this tragedy of a court jester who seeks revenge. Here is hoping that the production continues to evolve...

Conductor John Eliot Gardiner keeps the music well paced. Dimitri Platanias in the title role sounded great and received a rapturous applause for his interpretation of the role. You get a sense more of the doting father rather than the court jester or cursed man here.

Vittorio Grigolo plays the Duke and sounds too lovely to be the cad the role calls for, but it is hard not to like when he is on stage anyway. And it is easier to understand the…

Hot Bath tales: The Rivals @arcolatheatre

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The Rivals at the Arcola Theatre is such a high energy production with a terrific cast, that the silliness of the plot and length of the evening whizzes by.

Sheridan's comedy of manners directed by Selina Cadell, is given an injection of fast pacing and a range of archetypes that seem to take inspiration from Comedia dell'arte to Pantomime and make the show a real treat.

Petty theft and other austerity measures: Spine @SohoTheatre

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Spine, which is playing at the Soho Theatre until 2 November is a fascinating piece that looks into  the importance of knowledge in the age of apathy.
Written by Clara Brennan, it takes you on an unexpected journey. What starts out as a story of (potentially predictable) rebellious and troubled teenager builds to make some wry observations about generational divides, the loss of political leadership in modern Britain and the apathy of people, particularly in London, over things that were once valued.

Opening tonight: Neville's Island

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The West End production of the comedy Neville's Island opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre tonight, Tuesday 21st October.

Following its run at the Chichester Festival last year, the show is booking to Saturday 3rd January 2015.


Old doge: I Due Foscari @TheRoyalOpera

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The Royal Opera's production of I Due Foscari which opened last week is a chance to see Plácido Domingo in an age-appropriate role.

Verdi's opera is intriguing for its use of leitmotifs for each of the principal roles, but lacks much dramatic fire, other than to see the predictable  tragedy of an ageing ruler weakened and lose everything.

Thankfully it is short but it is also give much more interest with some star power and seems a perfect vehicle for Domingo.

When his voice was at his strongest, you could also be forgiven for thinking he was back in tenor territory with its rich and bright sound. And at 73, it is an event to watch see such an experienced master at work.

Songs of love war and death: Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living In Paris @CharingCrossThr

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The songs of Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel are given a slick and lively treatment in Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, currently playing at the Charing Cross Theatre. Brel may be dead for nearly forty years, but under the direction of Andrew Keates and with a terrific cast comprising of Eve Polycarpou, Gina Beck, Daniel Boys and David Burt, Brel's complex songs are given a fresh new perspective and lease of life.

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is a musical revue that dates back to the late sixties. It was an opportunity to present to English-speaking audiences the world of Brel with translations by Mort Shurman and Eric Blau, which are considered to best capture the spirit of Brel.

There is no particular story that holds the songs together; the performers move about the stage and amongst the band without saying anything. But over the course of the evening you become acquainted with Brel's song (each are complicated enough to be c…

New pics from @memphismusical

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New production images have been released for Memphis the musical, which has its opening night on Thursday 23 October.  
Led by Beverley Knight as club singer ‘Felicia Farrell’ and Commitments star Killian Donnelly as radio DJ ‘Huey Calhoun’ it follows the fame and forbidden love of a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break. And looks like it has some snappy dance numbers too... Pictures by Johan Persson.

Singalong politics: Albion @bushtheatre

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You would not expect karaoke and far right British politics to go so well together, but in Albion, currently playing at the Bush Theatre, they seem inexplicably linked.

The cast break out into songs throughout the piece, but instead of singing for joy what emerges instead are thoughts of isolation and fear.

Chris Thompson's new play looks at the rise of the new far right in modern Britain at the home of an East End boozer.

The cleverness in the piece is not the interwoven songs as if you're watching a night of karaoke down at the pub, but how the politics and motivations are presented within their context and without judgement. You may leave the theatre feeling slightly challenged by some crafty arguments and giddy from some terrific singing.

Play ball: Damn Yankees @LandorTheatre

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Damn Yankees at the Landor Theatre is one hell of a fun, sexy show. A great cast of dancers and singers give this show about a man who sells his soul to get on his beloved baseball team (and give them a chance of winning) new legs and balls.

It also helps to up the ante with the sexiness with some healthy doses of cleavage and legs (and that's just the men).

The musical is a retelling of the Faust story set in the 1950s when the New York Yankees dominated the game.

Life among the poppies: Shoot I Didn't Mean That / The Last Days of Mankind @Tristanbates

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Is it okay to smile and take a selfie when you visit a memorial or make a nazi salute gesture in Austria? Maybe even write something glib in the visitors book at the Anne Frank museum? If you did not know the answer to these questions, Shoot I Didn't Mean That starts to explores the implications of doing things like this.

Catriona Kerridge's dark comedy looks in to the strange and surreal downfall of four women as they become fascinated and then obsessed by the politics of The Great War.