Showing posts from November, 2008

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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

Scenes from a new terror threat to London

Picture 615 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Reports are surfacing that the retail downturn in London may be attributable to the threat of freaky giant snowmen attacking shoppers on Carnaby Street ...

Theatre: The Walworth Farce

I wasn't that keen on The Walworth Farce after I saw it on Thursday evening. Maybe it was that after seeing Changeling at the cinemas already I had seen enough weird stuff for a week. But then after a few days it still lingers in the mind. And over the course of the weekend I saw enough weird stuff to make me wonder whether the characters in this show really were that bonkers. The play begins with a father and his three grown up sons putting on a play for themselves in the living room of their run down council flat in Walworth . It is a little weird seeing the usual National Theatre audience types watching characters in a place set two stops on the tube away. It is two separate worlds. With my view over the stalls I could see that there were a few there to see the play who were on dates. As the play develops and a stranger interrupts their world, it becomes quite clear that it isn't a play you should take your date to. The clever thing about the play is that the story unfold

Theatre scenes 2: Blowing Whistles

What did they do to poor teddy? Note the large window too... It's very Clapham North... Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Theatre: Blowing Whistles

Image I had not planned to see Blowing Whistles which finished this week, but an acquaintance had his date bail on him and I was called in as backup... While waiting for a very long time in the cold while the Leicester Square theatre got the place ready (the previous show didn't finish until the scheduled starting time for Blowing Whistles - 9.15pm), all was revealed. After innocently asking, "So who stood you up tonight?" I heard a great story about a date ambivalent about gay plays and the scene. I wondered whether part of the problem was that they had both seen In a Dark Dark House the night before and date was now seeking therapy... Who knows with the gays these days? Maybe the guy was too assimilated to see a gay play. Anyway he bailed and everyone else my acquaintance asked was busy... Except for me... While we were waiting in the cold it was an opportune time for taking photos of the long line of mostly gay men waiting for the theatr

with pizza in SW2

As if any excuse is needed to go to Franco Manca for lunch... Although Grant wanted to catch up before he headed back to oz (one of the pizzas was his)... Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Food: with a lemon...

Cut lemons do the darnedest things... Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Rehearsals: again Monday

Not so pretty in pink perhaps Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

at Sunday rehearsal in Seven Sisters

we are getting sleepy... Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Theatre: Imagine This

Imagine This... A show with its own serviettes... Tonight was the first night after press night for Imagine This at the New London Theatre and I decided that I would introduce my musical-loathing friend Lorna to it. Well, a musical about a theatre troupe in a Warsaw ghetto circa 1942 is different, so I was thinking she might be up for something a little gritty and a little less gooey gowns and showgirls. Or at least perhaps something akin to Life is Beautiful meets Fiddler on the Roof . Press night Wednesday may have been buzzing but on Thursday there was a distinct sense that the audience was a bit thin on the ground. It's a pity as it is a great new show. The story is about a theatre troupe in the ghetto performing a musical based on the story of Masada . Things get interesting when a member of the resistance has to hide within the troupe and peform a lead role. And there begins the play within a play, with both commenting on the past and the present. A lot of very predictable

Scenes from Waterloo

The Italian rugby team is here... Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

The view from the back row ...

Baritones rehearsing... Of sorts... Only one month to go ... Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Movies: W

It was funny to see at the end of Oliver Stone's movie about the failure known as George W Bush's Presidency the words "the end". Bush is still in office, but the movie serves as a comforting reminder that not only is he a lame duck, but that the end of a weird eight years is nigh... It also is a reminder about the collective administrative and leadership failure over eight years. Iraq is at the forefront here but any number of the administration's policies could have been used. The movie portrays Bush as a likeable guy in a struggle for approval from his father. Unlike previous Stone biographies, you don't really care whether this is accurate as there is too much pleasure to derive from the knowledge that this analysis is bound to piss off the Bush family ... Josh Brolin is great in the title role, but it is a pity that the other actors seem to be more playing dress up than developing characterisation. And what is going on with Jeffrey Wright's eyebrow

Theatre: Blood Brothers

I mentioned earlier this year to Grant and a few others in the chorus , that I had not seen Willy Russell's musical, Blood Brothers . The reaction to this statement was like one of those scenes in a movie... You know like in a western, when a stranger walks into a bar and the music stops, people gasp, and everyone looks up and stares... I was committing musical heresy apparently, even if a show about two guys who turn out to be brothers and then die wasn't high on my list of things to see... Well Grant was determined to rectify this oversight, so on Friday I found myself at the Phoenix Theatre where this show has been playing for a very long time... Blood Brothers tells the rather melodramatic story of two twins separated at birth. They grow up only knowing each other as friends and one goes to Oxbridge and becomes a Councillor, while the other goes mad (some may be confused about whether there is much of a contrast here). Eventually thanks to the love of a girl and shoes on a

Hot news this week in London...

parking row turns ugly , originally uploaded by Yersinia . Don't mess with Sevenoaks drivers...

Opera: Aida and For You

The weekend before last turned out to be a bit of an opera fest. I went with Patrick on Saturday night to see Aida at the ENO as he liked a bit of grand spectacle on a Saturday night. That Saturday was so cold and wet I had not dared venture out all day so going to see this rather brightly coloured production of the show certainly felt like a sensible antidote to such a grey day... This production was first staged last year and while the directorial choices are not to everyone's taste I thought it was interesting enough... It runs until later this month... I am trying to get Patrick to write an opera blog as he has far more witty lines about Opera productions than I do as I suspect he has seen every opera staged in London over the last twenty or so years... He has only just got an MP3 player though so the blogging concept might be a bit too new media for him right now but we can only hope as opera writing needs some laughs... Anyway not content with just Aida on Saturday, on Sunda

On Clapham Common

A mass gathering to see the fireworks go off on Wednesday evening... Well... The free show always packs the punters in... Mad scenes of people on the surrounding streets ensued... Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Scenes from rehearsals Tuesday...

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Hot news this week in London...

BBC In Sex Prank Apology , originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo . Everyone loves a beat up ... Just the thing to take your mind off the economy tanking, poor leadership and the like...

Theatre: Piaf

The dazzling and brilliantly acted Piaf is now playing at the Vaudeville Theatre after its sellout run at the Donmar Warehouse . It looks great, the songs are great and the performances by everyone including Elena Roger are sensational. Roger may not look like Piaf (hey, who would want to?) but she manages to channel Piaf when she sings that it is a thrill watch. The men in the cast are also quite (phwoaaar!) fit as well which was a little surprising. Many of them could easily play Clark Kent if they were ever going to revive that Superman musical . Obvious in Piaf's day it was important for her men to take their vitamins. Maybe that is why they were such bad drivers... That's all the good stuff about this production... Now I was supposed to see Piaf back in July with the Whingers , however on that day I was hurling my guts up. After seeing this gritty production where people have sex on the cobblestones (owch) you just want to go into all these gory details. Pam Gems has re