Showing posts from August, 2009

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Bear with me: Stitches @TheHopeTheatre

What if your teddy bear could talk? My ten-year-old self would think that to be excellent. My more recent self would think it was a high-concept buddy movie with Mark Wahlberg. But in Stictches, Jonathan Blakeley's monologue, which he has written and performed, traces the life of his beloved Chloe, from when she was first given to him by her grandmother, wrapped with a red ribbon. It becomes a story not just about a cute bear (or maybe that should be rough, shaggy-looking bear given the performer’s appearance) observing life but an exploration of life and all of its stages. It's currently playing at the Hope Theatre .  The bear is not warm and fuzzy; he is a bit of a character and tough-talking, but also a bit anxious about being accepted and then discarded as nothing. But he is there to bear witness as she navigates the complicated facets of growing up and having a life. Ultimately, the bear has to deal with being consigned to a box with her other memories until circumstances

(Open Air) Theatre: Hello Dolly

Watching a musical in Regent's Park is always going to be a little tricky as the venue lends itself better to plays as the acoustics of the venue... Well there are none. Watching HMS Pinafore four years ago on a chilly drizzly August night did not make me keen on ever going back. Four years later however and on a perfect bank holiday Monday evening - warm and a gentle summer breeze - for Hello Dolly . Arriving at Regents Park I could feel some trepidation... It may have been something to do with running into a friend on the tube who enquired where I was off to. He thought that was hilarious and when he alighted at the next stop with his mates he shouted, "ENJOY WATCHING HELLO DOLLY!" before all of them broke out into an off-key version of "Put on your Sunday clothes" which trailed off only when the tube pulled out of the station. I remained on the train for another stop. Surrounded by manly men I could feel the glares... And the shame. Although most had got on

Hot news this week in London...

IMG_1152 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . I still don't like the brown word... Even if invisible...

Overheard outside the Ivy London

Paparazzi #1: I'm trying to help you... Paparazzi #2: You're trying to help me? Paparazzi #1: Yes... Paparazzi #2: ... You're an idiot.

Starbucks coffee chipped mug special

Be sure in London to ask for your coffee to be served in a chipped mug as well... It adds to the flavour... Posted via email from paulinlondon's posterous

Theatre and trousers: Call Me Madam

Not content to see one old musical this week directed by Thom Southerland , there was another of his productions to see, the final performance of Call Me Madam at Upstairs at the Gatehouse . It was a matinee, which normally would not be the smartest things to attend... Too many old ladies shoving you aside with their walking sticks to get to the unreserved seating first... And too hot... And the barbecue summer that had been called off was back on again ... But after fighting through the old ladies and battling the heat, there was a definite preference for the gay men in the audience to sit to the right hand side of the stage. This became apparent shortly into the first act... Not because it was close to the air conditioning, but because one of the cast members was dancing and wiggling about in his trousers. And his trousers had a 12-inch fly. It seemed to have hypnotic effect on a section of the audience and continued throughout the performance. One wiggle derived at least three titte

Hot news this week in London

Britain Defends NHS On Twitter , originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo . The argument was limited to 260 characters alas...

Theatre: State Fair

Sitting down in a darkened space as the sweat runs down your neck, then your back and into lower regions is probably not something you would expect from a night out at the theatre. But it is worth it to see this lively and energetic little production of State Fair playing at the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court. It will have you damp with delight... State Fair is an odd sort of musical about a pig, a nightclub singer, a boy, a girl, a nightclub singer and the Iowa State Fair. There is an awful lot of mince meat too. It includes cut numbers from other Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals and a book with some of the corniest jokes immaginable. But it all hangs together somehow. It helps too when you also have such a filthy minded audience (or maybe just a Londonist reviewer ). People were laughing hysterically after lines such as "I'm going for a pearl necklace in the back row" and "There's a girl who knows her way around a cucumber"... The cast are all great

Scenes from a gay man's meal...

Fish... Chips... And a cosmopolitan ... That's such a Samantha thing... Posted via email from paulinlondon's posterous

Scenes from a council block lift

IMG_1112 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Insight into your neighbours perhaps... Maybe that will help them to swallow...

Theatre Wake: Too Close to the Sun

Listen! It didn't feel like closing night of Too Close To the Sun . It felt more like a wake. Too Close To the Sun opened two weeks ago and immediately posted closing notices. We arrived almost too late for curtain up as John , Feigned Mischief and I were still having dinner across the road from the Comedy Theatre. I was keeping an eye on the theatre to watch when people went in, only to realise (almost too late), that with so few people attending the show, it was hard to tell. As we entered there was a deathly silence, and while I don't recall if there even was an overture, it felt like there should have been an organ playing funereal music. The musical is a four-hander about the last few days of the life of Ernest Hemingway. The synopsis goes something like this: Ernest plods about and tries to molest his secretary. His wife, played by Helen Dallimore , walks around the set in some rather fascinating stirrup pants and heels. Meanwhile some other guy tries to woo Helen Dalli

Scenes from the Serpentine Pavilion

IMG_1093 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Is it a coffee shop? Is it art? Is it both? Certainly this year's pavilion is an inspired piece of design. Also at the Serpentine is the Jeff Koons Popeye Series . While some at the gallery commented that if you shoved any inflatable water toy up your arse this could constitute as a Koons installation, it was brief enough for me to not get too bothered about it one way or the other... Both run through the summer.

Theatre: The Mountaintop

Friday evening I caught The Mountaintop at the Trafalgar Studios. The two-hander is about the night before Martin Luthor King Jr is assassinated and imagines King as a man. A man with stinky feet, no toothbrush and afraid of thunder. There with him is the hotel's maid. After bringing him a cup of coffee, the stage is set for an astonishing set of revelations, many of which are hilarious. Much of the humour derives from the banality of everyday life. There are pros and cons about different brands of cigarettes, whisky, coffee, the weather. Martin Luthor King has just delivered his I've Been to the Mountaintop speech, and as the play unfolds, both his regrets about what more there is to do, and the knowledge the audience has about what lies ahead, gives this play its strength. Katori Hall 's play is fast paced and the production is slick. The chemistry between David Harwood as King and Lorraine Burrough as the maid Camae was incredible too. Who knew summer plays could be so