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Death becomes her: A Brief List Of Everyone Who Died @finborough

For a natural process, death is not a topic that comes up naturally for people. We ask how people are doing but expect the response to be “I’m great”, not “I’m not dead yet”. And so for the main character in A Brief List of Everyone Who Died, Graciela has a death issue. Starting with when she was five and found out only after the matter that her parents had her beloved dog euthanised. So Graciela decides that nobody she loves will die from then on. And so this piece becomes a fruitless attempt at how she spends her life trying to avoid death while it is all around her. It’s currently having its world premiere  at the Finborough Theatre . As the play title suggests, it is a brief list of life moments where death and life intervene for the main character, from the passing of relatives, cancer, suicides, accidents and the loss of parents. Playwright Jacob Marx Rice plots the critical moments of the lives of these characters through their passing or the passing of those around them. Howeve

Theatre: Caroline or Change (again)

Tuesday night was the opportunity to take An to see Caroline Or Change, which just won the Evening Standard Award for best new musical. Well comparing it to the other new productions that were in the running (Evita, Spamalot, Sunday in the Park with George) it is like comparing apples to oranges.

An missed the first 15 minutes after leaving his credit card behind at a shop so I had to fill him in at intermission on the story. He was surprised that so much happened in the first fifteen minutes, and actually thinking about it, composer Jeanine Tesori and writer Tony Kushner are very economical with the story. It moves at a brisk pace with both halves of the show running at an hour.

Again the show was fantastic. It wasn't a full house by any means which isn't surprising. Caroline lasted less than a year in New York. It doesn't have brand recognition being a new show, and maybe a show with a simple premise about Jews living in Louisiana with a black maid doesn't grab the punters. But everyone who sees this show seems to love it (judging by the audience reaction), and I suspect it is a show that might grow in popularity in the years to come. In the meantime, here's hoping that Tesori and Kushner continue to collaborate on new things. They did with Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children this summer in New York with director George C Wolfe.

Tonya Pinkin's book and music is available at the National Theatre as well and on her website. Her live CD of Harold Arlen's songs is a particular treat and contains some great jazz versions of some classic songs. Her shop also sells DVDs of Beat Street too where she played the character Angela. She's also been on a host of television shows playing various characters... But Caroline can do what they all can't do... And that's worth going to the National Theatre for to find out...

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