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Christmas Mysteries: A Sherlock Carol @MaryleboneTHLDN

A mash-up of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes would seem an unlikely pairing. Yet it provides a surprisingly fun Christmas-themed adventure. These two Victorian tales (albeit separated by about 40 years) provide the basis for an inspired adventure at Christmastime that just also happens to turn out to be a murder mystery as well. With lavish costumes, a few spooky set pieces and some good old-fashioned stage trickery with lights and a lot of smoke machines, it is hard to resist. It returns to the Marylebone Theatre for Christmas after a run there last year.  The premise is that after Holmes sees off the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, he is left adrift in London. People thought he was dead, and he might as well be. Disinterested in the misdeeds of other Londoners, Holmes has even given up on his friend Dr Watson. It's almost as if he has become a Scrooge. Or half a Scrooge, moping about shouting, "bah" in respon
So dip me in chocolate, and throw me to the lesbians

Last night Skye and I decided to see Jerry Springer: The Opera at The National Theatre. It was a bit of a spur of the moment thing when I got into work yesterday morning when I decided to browse their website and I saw that two second row seats were available for the evening performance. I thought why the hell not?

If there is a show in town with buzz at the moment (that doesn't involve a man in a perspex box) then this is it. It has had raves from all the major papers, and from various celebrities. The tube is full of poster ads for its upcoming transfer to the West End. So one just had to see it eventually.

Buzz and hype aside, it really is still a show in development. With rousing operetic choruses set to libretto such as "what the fuck, what the fuck, what the fucking fuck" and "chick with a dick" and "dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians" it is quite a night. You do walk out of the theatre with a few of these ditties in your head.

It isn't all opera either and some of the better songs borrow from a variety of musical pastiches. All of Jerry's audience types are there... the hobos, the hillbilly's, the tough guys, the fats, the fems, the drug addicts. Having them express themselves through opera and other musical forms is quite an inspired idea. My only quibble was that as satire of this day and age set to music, the songs from South Park the movie were better. Still this is live theatre and for a show ten years in development I suppose the times have moved around it while it was in development hell.

The first act is pretty much his show on an Operatic scale. At the end of the first act, when Klansmen do their tap dancing routine and a black man with a diaper fettish grabs a gun to shoot them, Jerry gets shot. In the second act, Jerry goes to hell, and things start to get a little weird for him. But it doesn't matter. Jerry says he is just offering up a mirror to the world and so all is okay.

After the big all-singing all-dancing finale, the plot really didn't matter that much. They were handing out buttons to take at the exits. Skye didn't want to partake in it, but me thinking "Ah theatre memorabillia!" grabbed as many as I could. They all say "chick with a dick". Skye declined my offer to give her one. Smut has never been so classy as everyone left the Royal National Theatre on a high (and not the "crack whore junky" kind of high)

In the news or not
* If one thing pisses people off in London, it is Council tax. Blairs admission that it has risen 70% since he took office is yet another thing for middle class voters here to hate Tony for.
* Lord no more as Jeffrey Archer is to loose his peerage
* David Blaine seems to have escaped the past 24 hours without somebody trying to hurt or kill him. Never mind... there are still three weeks to go.

Sensible touristing
If there is one thing that helps in this city, it is to have the latest copy of Time Out. When visiting London it is all you need (well maybe that and a London A-Z so you can find the places). Whether you want to go to a nightclub, an opera, a movie or watch tv it is all there. It comes out every Wednesday and for £2.20 is pretty handy (not to mention the discounts that come with it).

Other touristing...
The Times on the weekend talked about the trend to do counter tourism and other crazy things rather than take the same ol dull shots of Big Ben etc... I thought I tried to do that with my photos but now am armed with even more tips...

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