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Showing posts from December, 2014

Hard core high flying: La Soirée @southbankcentre

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It is only on until 11 January on the South Bank but La Soirée is a lot of fun. Thrilling acrobats, a bearded lady singing in deep bass and a middle-aged man in a big blue bunny suit are just some of the entertaining and slightly naughty acts on offer at the moment.

Nothing beats the intimate setting of the Spiegeltent and being so up close to people flying over your heads or doing strange things to red handkerchiefs...

Feck yer: Merry Christmas

A Christmas Message from the cast of The Commitments, which is now booking until September 2015...

Life upon the wicked stage: Birdman (it's only a movie not a play)

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It isn't theatre, but a film that is sort of about theatre, Birdman opens here on 1 January. It  brings back to the screen Michael Keaton as a former movie star from a successful comic book franchise. Washed up and without a movie career, he is planning a comeback by writing, directing and starring in a Broadway play, based on a Raymond Carver short story.

Keaton's character Riggan Thompson sees the piece as his chance for validation, yet at every step he feels frustrated by his fellow actors and haunted by the voice of his superhero alter-ego, Birdman. His daughter who is a recovering addict and supporting him on the show tells him that he is no longer relevant and he should just get over it like everyone else.

Previews: English National Ballet's Nutcracker

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English National Ballet’s acclaimed production of Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum this Christmas. Running through to Sunday 4 January 2015.

First performed in 2010 to celebrate English National Ballet’s 60th anniversary, Wayne Eagling’s version has since been seen by over 300,000 people.

Photos from the 2014 production have been released, including Ksenia Ovsyanick in full flight (opposite).

This year, two of English National Ballet’s rising stars make their debuts as Clara; Katja Khaniukova who performs alongside Ken Saruhashi’s debut as the Prince and Daniele Silingardi’s debut as the Nutcracker; and Ksenia Ovsyanick who performs alongside Max Westwell’s debut as the Prince and Fabian Reimair’s Nutcracker.

Slick and oiled: Cinderella @NewWimbTheatre

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It is panto season, and nowhere has slicker productions than the New Wimbledon Theatre. This year, with Linda Grey as the fairy godmother in Cinderella the show has appeal for little kids and bigger kids. Bigger older kids. Ones who stayed in when Dallas was on television (well back then there probably wasn't much else to do).

Cinderella now is set against the backdrop of her fathers struggling oil business and thanks her ugly stepsisters spending all his money, they are flat broke. Cue the need for a special Fairy Godmother - with a penchant for a hip flask - to come to the rescue and save the business and get Cinderella to meet her prince charming.

While there is a star-studded cast, what also makes the show a treat are the charismatic performances by Liam Doyle as Prince Charming and Amy Lennox as Cinderella. They sing, dance hold their own with all the insanity (and occasional scene chewing) around them.

Christmas Fare: A Christmas Carol @ORLTheatre

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A Christmas Carol at the Old Red Lion Theatre is an enjoyable and evocative version of the tale that uses resourceful staging, some fine singing and subtle performances to tell Dickens' tale.

The story of ghosts, greed and goodwill is now a regular Christmas theatrical tradition and works best mixed with carols and some festive cheer.

Variations on a theme: Miss Havisham's Expectations / Sikes & Nancy

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Dickens With A Difference at Trafalgar Studios presents two monologues by characters from the stories of Charles Dickens and deconstructs and tells the stories from a character's perspective.

It helps to be familiar not just with the plot of both stories but also the written words that shape them, and knowing that Dickens loved to do readings of his stories as performances. Both pieces evoke these performances.

High notes: Mikado @CharingCrossThr

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Fine singing and some fancy footwork mark this latest revival of The Mikado, which is playing at the Charing Cross Theatre through January.

If you are not ready for sitting through a pantomime, this probably the next best thing with so much silliness. And depending on your musical sensibilities (and familiarity with Gilbert and Sulivan's work) you may find yourself humming along to the tunes anyway, or at least sitting beside someone who is.

Boots and all: Man to Man @ParkTheatre

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Man to Man, which concluded its run at the Park Theatre Sunday allowed for Tricia Kelly to inhabit a character that is filled with desperation for survival.

The hardship comes after a series of calamitous events. The first after losing her husband (and source of income) to cancer, then to survive war time Germany and again in the post-war socialist order of East Germany.

Kelly moves about the stage, drinking, screaming, throwing dirt and all the time evoking the tumultuous period with a wry sense of ingenuity and a little bit of humour. It must be a hell of a part to play and to watch her perform is fascinating and evocative.