Showing posts from February, 2008

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Eternal guilt: Dorian The Musical @SWKplay

Dorian is a new musical that updates Oscar Wilde’s gothic novel from the uptight Victorian era to an undetermined period of gender fluidity and glam rock. On paper, musicalising the Picture of Dorian Gray to a period of glam rock, social media, and cheap shoes seems like a good idea. After all, Oscar Wilde’s gothic story is very adaptable. It has been the source of countless adaptations for the stage, television or movies. I was half expecting a trashy Dorian, similar to the early 1980s telemovie that shifted Dorian’s gender to a woman. This version falls into a so bad it’s good category with Anthony Perkins in a lead role, who as he ages under makeup starts to look like Andy Warhol.  And while it’s great to see a new show, a strong cast can’t compensate for such an earnest production with underpowered songs. There’s no sense of fun, and some curious staging and costume choices  -mismatched dresses, crocodile boots and furry suits - serve as a distraction. It’s currently playing at th

Theatre: Major Barbara

After dealing with a head cold for the last few days, the offer to see the first night preview of Major Barbara at the National Theatre with the West End Whingers seemed like a sensible enough diversion. Well... Any excuse for a trip to the theatre for those bloggers of stage... I was wondering whether the usual drinking and carrying on at interval would be so appropriate with the play featuring the Salvation Army, but nobody else shared this view. I also had a theory that the audience would be full of Salvation Army members. This turned out to be incorrect too. Instead the audience was full of was old people (and bloggers perhaps) and it felt like it was pension day. Old people audiences are great as they laugh at all the right spots and generally don't talk. But they do smell of moth balls and forget to turn their mobiles off. I noticed one old girl in the row in front of me also preferred to read Bernard Shaw's text from a scrappy paperback rather than see it. Some of thes

Overheard on the Victoria Line Monday evening

French woman: My country is so beeeg Woman: Yes, it is.

Not the news this week in London

DUBYA Believing Standard , originally uploaded by bixentro . It may not be news, but for £75 you can have your own bit of East End graffiti ...

Scenes from Deal Sunday

Deal tourist information , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . A trip out of London to the Kent Coast today was a chance to appreciate some of the historic sites of this area...

Overheard at Oxford Circus Bus Stop Saturday

Man: You know... It is much better getting the train... Woman: It is? Man: Yeah like... With driving you get caught in traffic... It takes ages... While the train... Woman: Oh yeah... Man: Yeah...

Hot news this week in London...

Evening standard , originally uploaded by renaissancechambara . Al Fayed vamping it up at the never ending Coroner's enquiry into the death of Diana.

Concert: Ute Lemper

There are some people I would pay to see even if they sat on stage and read a phone book. Just out of sheer curiosity to see what they would do with it. Ute Lemper is one of those people to me. And when you become a fan, you buy their CDs and you put up with their eccentricities like that last never ending track on the album of Punishing Kiss or all that annoying screeching on the Grapefruit Moon track on Blood and Feathers . On the other hand someone recently told me that they no longer see her shows as "her head is so far up her own arse that it all feels like a bit of an ego trip". I saw the Ute with Alice at the Shaw Theatre Thursday night and he definitely agreed with that last sentiment. And given the number of people getting up and leaving during the course of the show maybe this wasn't an isolated view. Well the show started late and the seats at the Shaw toward the rear of the theatre resemble QANTAS economy so maybe they just had to get up and have a stretch

Overheard at the gym Monday

Man #1: So what are you doing tonight? Man #2: Ah just a general workout so I can get in shape for Sydney...

Scenes from the BAFTAs Covent Garden Sunday

100220083933 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . All the glitz, glamour and excitement of the BAFTAs at Covent Garden. A naff awards ceremony that for some unexplained reason gets a lot of attention (probably since the Oscar telecast is on Sky). Still, there were the fashions to behold like this £5 little number from Primark ...

Concert: Chita Rivera

Saturday night (with thanks to the Whingers again for their very sensible tactic of group booking shows) I saw Chita Rivera at the Shaw Theatre . During the course of the week I had to explain who Chita was to a number of people. After telling them to "wash their mouth" once they asked "Who the hell is Chita?", I explained she originated many of the great Broadway roles including Anita in West Side Story and Velma in Chicago. The fact that West Side Story is celebrating it's fiftieth anniversary also firmly puts her in the category of concerts by old Broadway broads like Barbara Cook, Elaine Stritch or Bea Arthur . There is something fascinating about watching these septuagenarian or octogenarian performers still working and travelling. Whether they need to work or not, they obviously thrive upon the audience adoration. The love from the audience last night didn't quite feel like it was reciprocated however. Mind you, these sorts of concerts seem to dra

Scenes from Camden Saturday

Camden Fire , originally uploaded by mummybot . Flickr members capturing a fire that seems to have destroyed the Camden Canal Market - one of the Camden Markets - and part of the Hawley Arms tonight...

Overheard after body pump at the gym

Man #1: I haven't seen you in ages! What've you been up to? Man #2: Well this morning I cycled with my boyfriend to Borough Market...

Idle chatter at Canary Wharf bar Thursday evening

Woman (grabbing Paul's arm): Hello haven't I met you before? Paul: No I don't think so but are you having a good night? Woman: I sure am. I'm Elaine. Paul: Hi Elaine I'm Paul. And what are you up to? Woman: Well I'm like going to Brodies now... Paul: Oh Brodies that's where I'm about to head... Woman: Great I'll look out for you... And yes... Paul was lying...

Theatre: Speed the Plow

It had been over a week since I had been to the theatre so a trip with the West End Whingers to see Speed The Plow at the Old Vic on Tuesday evening seemed like a jolly good idea. Even better due to the fact it starred Kevin Spacey, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly (who is currently gracing our screens as the warty mad woman in Sweeney Todd ). Mind you when I told a friend that I saw Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic I was informed that he is in every friggin' thing at the Old Vic regardless of how miscast he has been. Well everyone's a critic I suppose. Still there was lots to enjoy about David Mamet's play about Hollywood execs debating the merits of artistic and commercial success. And in between it all is an ambiguous secretary upsetting the manliness of it all. I say ambiguous because depending on whether you could ignore or put up with the secretary probably depends on how much you enjoy this play. Spacey and Goldblum are excellent but when it came to discussing th

Scenes from the Columbia Road Flower Market Sunday

030220083890 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Who's the guy with the hairy plant?


Paul: I have got a big chicken tonight... Adam: Yeah he is the one doing the hoovering...

News this week in London

"Britain imports athletes for 2012" - Evening Standard, 25 Jan 2008 , originally uploaded by chrisjohnbeckett . Well they import everything else...