Showing posts from January, 2010

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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

Theatre: Silence The Musical

The Silence of the Lambs is a movie that calls out for a parody... At least to take the edge of some of its more intense moments. Therefore it was with much anticipation that I ventured to Above the Stag theatre in Victoria to see Silence! the musical . For anyone who has seen the Silence of the Lambs more times than they care to remember, this is a great little musical that doesn't disappoint, which even bases its main theme on what the composers call a " pleasant major mode variation " on Howard Shore's Silence of the Lambs theme. This production in the intimate (or cramped) Above the Stag theatre is full of fine detail from the movie, such as Jodie Foster's inexplicable accent, her lesbian relationship with her roommate, and her cheap shoes... The music includes such little gems as I can smell your .... complete with slightly suggestive ballet and a tango Quid Pro Quo. Throughout the show a chorus of lambs can be found running on and off stage... The cast wer

Theatre: High Society

It was practically a full house on Thursday evening at High Society playing Upstairs at the Gatehouse . That meant that Johnnyfox and I had to sit in the front row to enjoy this high energy and high furniture moving production. It must be hard to work in these productions to dance and sing your heart out, and then have to move the sofas about. When you're not worrying that they will drop a lampshade on you or kick you in the face, the cast in this show are great. And since the music is Cole Porter it is fairly enjoyable stuff it makes it hard to not enjoy it at some level... On another level it is just an awful musical with a dull book and vaguely appealing characters. It probably was a bad idea to see a show with Johnnyfox that has lines that mention something about stroking her pussy out the back as well. And it wasn't helped by the decision to transplant the setting to England, perhaps so we didn't have to cringe at English actors attempting American accents . The ladi

Theatre: An Inspector Calls

It's January so it is Get Into London Theatre time... Which is a great way to see a play for a bargain that you might have been ambivalent about seeing previously. One such play I was ambivalent about was the revival of An Inspector Calls , directed by Stephen Daldry. Having now seen it, I still remain ambivalent. Sure I understand how important it must have felt when this production first came on the scene in 1992. Thatcherism was a very recent memory and was a critique of her legacy as much. However eighteen years on, times have certainly changed... And the play feels overproduced and overstaged. And (on the night I saw it...) over-acted... There is nothing subtle about the JB Priestly's text, which is fine from a historical point of view, but this production decides to ram things home in big large letters, and a tiny little house... And if you aren't being deafened by the nightmare sequence score from Vertigo, you find yourself being moistened by the mist from the rain

Scenes from window shopping in Mayfair Sunday 2

Window Shopping in Mayfair , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Come to think of it, you don't see this either... I couldn't work out where you hit the button to flush...

Scenes from Window Shopping in Mayfair Sunday

IMG_0027 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . You don't see that everyday...

Art and Pornography: Pop Life at the Tate

IMG_1461 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . The Tate Modern's Pop Life exhibition finished today. Basically it was a collection of minge from the seventies onwards with a few bits of Warhol thrown in for good measure... While there was some attempt to put it all into the context of "it seemed like a good idea at the time", it was a pity there wasn't some of this interview with Jeff Koons describing how his then-wife Cicciolina expressed herself with her shaved vagina. This interview was filmed without irony at the time they created the Made In Heaven works that made up one room of the exhibition... After a while of looking at the artworks (or pornography) it was almost enough to make you want to run away from it all and see some real art... Well at least not art that you could have created yourself with some nifty clippers, a Gillette disposable and a compact mirror. But if you missed it, an intrepid reporter captured it all on Youtube ... And at a

Theatre Preview: Six Degrees of Separation

Not content with one play this week, Monday night was a chance to catch up with the West End Whingers and troupe to see a preview of Six Degrees of Separation at The Old Vic . John Guare's award-winning play was having its first London revival in 18 years. Variations on the above artwork for this production are on posters across the tube network and they're enough to make you want to go see it... It just looks so terribly sophisticated and smart... The play has a sort of legendary status, but this is less to do with the play itself... In 1993 it was made into a film with Stockard Channing (reprising her Broadway role) and Will Smith, who largely was remembered for playing a gay character and not being that gay as there was no kissing and not much nudity (it was all a bit no homo )... Shortly after the film came out Kevin Bacon made the statement he worked with everyone in Hollywood and thus gave birth to the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon phenomena. Amongst some circles, this b

Theatre: The Power of Yes

Despite gusts of wind and snow, what looked like a full house was there on Saturday night to see David Hare's new play The Power of Yes at the National Theatre . Not even freezing conditions could prevent National Theatre audiences from seeing a lecture on the financial crisis. Well we're that sort of audience I suppose. The Power of Yes has been playing since September, but rather than see it early on in its run and be bewildered about it (such as I was with his Stuff Happens show), I waited a bit, hoping it would be trimmed and better formed by now. It probably was. David Hare is a bit of a star writer nowadays so it seemed to make sense to make him the focus of the show. Its a show about a playwright trying to understand the credit crunch and the recession of the last two years for a play he is being commissioned by the National Theatre to write. I guess being a star playwright, you can do that sort of thing. Some say Enron the play treats a similar subject matter far mor

News: The weather

As the Guardian blogged , there is nothing like a cold snap to bring out the cliches... News stories this past week will feature at least one of the following: Talking about the winter spirit that evokes memories of the blitz . Since when is Jack Frost a Nazi? There really is community spirit after all... Although this only occurs after people realise the government is not going to do something for them first... Fear of running out of grit. Birmingham will run out in 48 hours . Death will ensue after. Take matters into your own hands and clear a pavement. And then you will be sued . Oh and BBC weather reporters must have a dress code for crumpled or ill-fitting suits... Won't somebody think of the dry cleaners?

Weather: Snow Night

The first few flakes of snow began falling around 21:00 in South West London this evening in what promises to be a chilly, snowy and icy week ... How heavy it will get is anyone's guess... At the moment the flakes are providing a light dusting of the road and cars parked outside. With many people expecting the snowfall to arrive earlier and therefore heading home and staying in, it would have been a good night to head out to popular show or restaurant... The only place that still was popular was my gym alas... Well I suppose those New Year resolutions are going to be awfully fresh and raw... There is something about the snow here that just makes people want to grab their iphone and take really crap pictures of snow falling and twitter about it. Myself included. The Guardian is providing an outlet for all this technological creativity through the UK snow map , which could be a useful tool in understanding weather patterns, or just a bit of fun...

Movies: Nine

Back in London, a good cure for jet-lag is a movie... Although watching the movie musical Nine was probably not the best option... Only curiosity to see if it would get any worse kept me awake. The fatal flaw of this movie is to cast Daniel Day Lewis - a creepy actor at the best of times (as the above interview junket for the film shows) - in a role that required the audience to have some element of sympathy for him. It also doesn't help that in between the musical numbers there is some absolutely dire dialogue mostly set in hotel rooms spoken by actors with outraaaaeegeeshly leeedicrious accents. Best (or should that be worst) is Nicole Kidman's which varies from eeetaylian to okker Aussie mid sentence. It was hilarious even if her screen time was brief. There are some nice numbers sung by women in various types of pantyhose but after the best number in the movie - A Call From the Vatican - you feel like you could be Penelope Cruz's gynaecologist. Director Rob Marshall ma

Overheard at the gym...

White Man #1: Sorry I didn't see you there in the dark Black Man #2: Hey, I didn't see you in the light...

Scenes from A Church Yard London

IMG_0020_2 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Posted on a wall that borders a church... Interesting thoughts for the new year...