Showing posts from June, 2007

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Belters and bohemians: Opera Locos @Sadlers_wells

At the start of the Opera Locos performance, the announcement says that they really are singing. You could be forgiven for wondering that, given the amplification turns up the backing track and the voices so loud that you can't always tell what's real. But this is a mostly harmless and slightly eccentric blend of opera classics fused with the occasional pop classic. However, recognising the pop tunes would help if you were over a certain age. The most recent of them dates back twenty years. It's currently playing at the Peacock Theatre .  Five performers play out a variety of archetype opera characters. There's the worn-out tenor (Jesús Álvarez), the macho baritone (Enrique Sánchez-Ramos), the eccentric counter-tenor (Michaël Kone), the dreamy soprano (María Rey-Joly) and the wild mezzo-soprano (Mayca Teba). Since my singing days, I haven't recognised these types of performers. However, once, I recall a conductor saying he wanted no mezzo-sopranos singing with the s

And now for some time out...

A hold on updates to this blog while I am on vacation in Australia... I'll be back in London at the end of the July, but my news continues at

Scenes from Brewer Street Sunday 14:43

24062007920 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . People watching in the afternoon...

Scenes from West End Live Saturday 15:30

23062007894 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . As the London Gay Mens Chorus prepares to go on stage for its half hour set as part of West End Live , there was time for topping up on the fluids... Well those lights and all... By the way despite appearances above, it isn't essential to be bald to be a member of the chorus...

Life in London: Manshear '07

Bears of the city will be delighted to know that the annual Manshear event takes place near Liverpool Street Station tomorrow... Apart from shearing body hair by trained shearers from New Zealand, there will be give-aways and fundraising for charity... Oh and anyone with body hair can sign up. It all happens in London...

Theatre: Into the Woods

source Upon arrival Tuesday evening to the Opera House studio to see the current production of Into The Woods , I couldn't help but notice the over-representation of gay men. Ok musical theatre is known for its over-representation of gay men, but this was ridiculous. Then I began to wonder, has Into the Woods become the new Wizard of Oz ? Sure there is no Dorothy and no rainbow. But there is the baker who has unresolved issues with his father, the princes who keep looking for the next best thing, a wolf with an incredible sexual appetite and a wicked witch. It all seemed rather like another night on Old Compton Street. Oh and not to mention a set that looked like parts of Hampstead Heath . This all could explain why it is sold out and barely a straight person in the audience (although there was a family sitting beside me but I was in the cheap seats). Into the Woods weaves the stories of several fairy tales together and then proceeds to tell what happens

Scenes from SW8 Sunday 11:40

Scenes from SW8 Sunday 11:40 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Hmm cawfee...

Overheard at the Savoy Friday night

Woman: I had my wedding reception here... Man: Your first, second or third wedding? Woman: Oh first. After that who can be bothered with all that?

Theatre: Fiddler on the Roof

Friday evening I found myself in a packed and warm theatre to watch Fiddler on the Roof. I figured now was as good as any time to catch a production of this classic musical. The last thing I saw at the Savoy was Porgy and Bess and looking at the set before it began, I noticed it was all rough wooden planks. I thought I was still on Catfish Row. I had no idea a shtetl looked so similar to a South Carolina slum. As the show began, the set was so big, hideous and imposing, that it kept distracting me from the rest of the show... Watching it spin, things pop up, things got added to it. Only when the pogrom began towards the end of the first act (with real fire), did my spirits lift... Perhaps they would burn the silly thing to the ground? Darn, those cossacks just set a picture and a wooden box alight. Oh and they threw a pillow about. Hmm... Some pogrom... Sets aside, Fiddler is a great musical with its core story of a family and a community. The production managed to keep life in the ol

Overheard between Waterloo and Kennington Thursday evening

Man #1: You know what a cucumber is good for? Man #2: Nah... Man #1: You know what? Man #2: Nah what? Man #1: Water. Purest water there is. Best thing you know...

Scenes from a flatshare Wednesday 23:29

Scenes from a flatshare Wednesday 23:29 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . After reading my blog this week, housemate Fr was disappointed he didn't feature. So to correct this glaring omission, here are his feet with socks. It also is an opportunity to highlight one of the more controversial pieces of furniture in the flat... The glass coffee table. Personally I glass coffee tables are a major no-no as it gives people the wrong impression (despite Mark Oaten saying for the record he never used them )... Oh and if there are any gentlemen out there wanting to see more of my housemate, I'm sure that could be arranged if you leave a comment...

Overheard near Leicester Square Tube Wednesday Evening

Man: Yeah it was great... Woman: But just how many dates have you been on?

Fringe: Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

I think crap musicals are best seen out of the West End. You don't feel as pissed off if you saw a show with a lousy book and score if you pay £12 as opposed to £50. I think this is a sensible position to take after seeing a very lively and energetic production Tuesday night of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the Landor Theatre in Clapham North . The musical (as it is written) is a bit of a dud. The songs aren't very good, there are enough hoary subplots in the first act so they don't have to worry about characterisation, and the whole show ends as a bit of a downer. For the movie version at least Dolly rewrote the final song. Still it is a musical about whores with hearts of gold so it is probably not worth getting too worked up about it. It's a very likeable show and this production was very entertaining and engaging. I guess that was because of the great cast and a production that has made the most of er what it is... The Landor is a very small space. I arrive

Concert: Deborah Voigt

Messing about on the river aside, Saturday night provided the opportunity to see Deborah Voigt in recital at the Barbican. It was the first time she had performed in London since being dumped from a Royal Opera production for being too fat to fit into the costumes. She acknowledged during an encore that she was a little bit nervous about coming back. The audience broke into applause at this point. All seemed forgiven on both sides. Well perhaps London hasn't forgiven her entirely since the Barbican Hall wasn't exactly full. But her absence and the lack of a full house is London's loss. Now a few years later she has slimmed down (thanks to much publicised surgery ) and sounding great. Tonight's concert was a marvelous programme with songs by Mozart, Verdi and Strauss in the first half and then American composers Beach and Bernstein in the second. This gave her the opportunity to cut loose a bit. For an encore she even tackled Berlin's "I Love a Piano" befo

Scenes from Soho Square Saturday 16:46

09062007826 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Nothing like a bit of sun to get the men to take their shirts off... Even if we would be all better off if they left them on... Nobody needs to see a back covered in blemishes particularly while you're drinking... Well I guess it could have been worse... Just around the corner there was the naked bike ride (although that was for a cause rather than an excuse to get one's kit off right??)...

Scenes from the Thames Friday 22:20

Scenes from the Thames Friday 22:20 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . As the floating chorus made its way to being in front of Royal Festival Hall, you could help but notice the people on the banks and on the bridges as there were loads of them... The punters were out. Not sure if they liked the music. At one point some rotten little kid yelled out "Are you finished yet?" Then again it was late... The trip wasn't without a little bit of drama. At one point, a strong burning smell was noticed by all. It turned out somebody had put their handbag up against one of the lights. The smell of burning leatherette pervaded for the rest of the cruise...

Scenes from the Thames Thursday 21:20

Scenes from the Thames Thursday 21:20 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Messing about on the river as part of the rehearsal for tonight's Overture programme . It is on Friday and Saturday evenings from dusk to celebrate the reopening of Royal Festival Hall. Singing on a barge with no shelter from wind is certainly an interesting experience... Trapped for two hours but at least we can sing...

Scenes from an office lunch Monday...

Scenes from an office lunch , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . When caterers make lunch with their feet...

Scenes from Clapham Common Sunday 20:02

Scenes from Clapham Common Sunday 20:02 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . After one fine day on the common...

Scenes from Waterloo Bridge Saturday 12:40

02062007627 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Singing Bulgarian folk music first thing on a Saturday morning is not the best thing for a hangover, but I am sure by next Friday when the Overture starts on the South Bank it will sound all rather sensible... Well as sensible as a few hundred people singing on a boat going up the river can sound... After rehearsals it became a bit of a task to avoid the free runners. The brutalist buildings at the South Bank Centre are proving ever popular for this sort of thing...

Theatre: Rose and other adventures...

In the month it took to get my internet put up I did get up to the following: Caught The Rose Tattoo with Zoe Wanamaker. Great play and well worth the £10 tix. It is great to see more Tennessee Williams plays in London and here is hoping that the fashion for reviving his work continues... It wasn't hard to resist doing ones best impersonation of Sicilian impersonator with colleague AW. It sort of goes, "Naw naw naw naw naw... Naht mah Rrrrose!" Perhaps it was the fine wine, but after the play AW and I photographed the grass on the theatre and groped a cast iron statue on Waterloo Bridge ... It was a great night... Saw Pelléas et Mélisande (translated: Pelléas and Mélisande) at the Royal Opera. I had been warned that the opera was boring so sat in the cheap seats but it turned out to be all rather exciting and dramatic. Sure it all ends in tears but what a way to go... The champagne at interval cost more than the ticket but it was all rather worth it... Particularly whe

Office Banter

Colleague (offering a mint): Paul, do you like soft mints? Paul: I like them soft, I like them hard, but my favourites are curiously strong...