Showing posts from May, 2021

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The male gaze: Turning the screw

It's been a while since trips to the theatre. I've been busy. But it's nice to see that it's the creative process that is at the heart of Kevin Kelly's Turning the Screw. And what gives rise to it. It's a dramatisation of the creative process leading up to composer Benjamin Britten's premiere of his opera, The Turning of the Screw. With deadlines approaching, Britten seems stuck over melodies and unsure about completing the piece for its summer premiere. But the selection of twelve-year-old choirboy David Hemmings in the leading role of Miles within the opera is the spark that motivates him to complete the piece. And his presence may stir other feelings, too. It's currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre .  Britten's fascination with young boys has been the subject of a detailed book, Britten's Children. The book suggests that Britten saw himself as a young boy of 13. It's almost as if he saw himself as Peter Pan, albeit if Peter Pan was a

Two handers: No Strings Attached @KingsHeadThtr

It seems apt that the first live theatre to watch since the pandemic kicked off in 2020 was about two men not entirely sure about who they are after an awkward encounter. After all, adjusting to new routines of mask-wearing, restrictions, bubble seating. It all feels just as awkward and enthralling as two men hooking up in a London car park for the first time. Charles Entsie’s No Strings Attached was to open the Kings Head Theatre in Spring 2020. But the delay has been worth it. Presented in an empty shop space in Islington Square, it feels more like you’re in a car park where the action takes place. And performing in an empty shop space is a reminder (whether intended or not), of the impact the year has had on retail and hospitality.  There are no names. There’s only a man (Razak Osman) and a boy (Shak Benjamin). Opening after the end of a brief encounter, the man tries to strike upon a conversation with the boy for reasons that aren’t entirely clear initially.  An awkward conversati

Streaming from a long way home: Side by Side

Ann Hampton Callaway and her sister Liz Callaway are reunited at Ann's home in Tucson to stream their concert Side By Side to our homes. Both are award-winning artists with a reputation for insightful interpretations of popular songs, broadway and jazz, along with their compositions. Last seen in London at the Hippodrome in 2015 , the stream captures some of the magic of their live cabaret performances.  Their last collaboration, Sibling Revelry, sent up the idea they were brutal competitors. The focus here is more on getting together and singing some songs. Microphones may not work (or get dropped), lyrics get messed up, but they carry on with the spirit of being together and making music.   Songs include Melissa Manchester's Come In From the Rain, songs by Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz. There's also a medley of songs they used to sing growing up from the back of the car to taunt their parents on long drives. You could imagine their parents weighing up whether to be annoy

Previews: Public Domain @PublicDomainWE

As theatres tentatively reopen (albeit under restrictions), several short runs appear on the West End, showcasing performers and new works. One of these is Public Domain . After a digital debut at Southwark Playhouse last year, the musical about the words of Vloggers, Instagram influences and other social media hangers-on get a live premiere in the West End this week.  Written and performed by Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke, the musical comic musical follows two teenage influencers and ‘footage’  inside the Facebook freak show otherwise known as Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan.  ‘Black Mirror’ but set to music and the real thing. Or is it?? ‘Public Domain’ will perform for five performances only from 27 – 30 May 2021 at the Vaudeville theatre. There are COVID-19 Secure guidelines for social distancing. You can expect hand sanitation, face coverings and track and trace, contactless tickets, temperature testing. Amusing disinformation set to music is likely too. 

Dancing in the streets: The Theatre Channel

The Theatre Cafe continues its online series of showcasing performers with well-known songs from Broadway and the West End and available through   Stream.Theatre . The site has become a source for West End-flavoured entertainment over the past year, and its a musical revue and showcase for some of the West End's best-known performers. Shot at the Theatre Cafe and locations around the West End The Charing Cross Theatre, the production uses the empty spaces that would typically be where tourists, workers and Londoners would be. The episodes are a celebration and reminder of what we've been missing with the closure of theatres.  The performers include Kerry Ellis singing Always Starting Over from If/Then, Layton Williams singing Hold Me In Your Heart from Kinky Boots. And Katie Deacon performing Music And The Mirror from A Chorus Line across the empty streets of London, serving as a reminder about the pandemic's toll on both the city and the industry.  There's an additiona

Buffering and biding: Waiting for Lefty @twolinestheatre

Waiting for Lefty, Clifford Odets depression-era agitprop theatre piece gets transformed for the covid-era in this fascinating production that gives you a chance to both enjoy the work and immerse yourself in a post-show discussion about what you've just seen. It's an excellent concept for theatre streams and recreates interval moments of passing conversations (albeit curated with knowledgeable experts). By the end, you feel you appreciate the piece its context. Streamed through Zoom, there's a thirties-era look and feel to the piece. Yet as the drama unfolds, it is within modern homes. The anachronistic treatment suits the material well. It calls for minimal staging, and so having actors perform within their own homes takes this to a new level.  The piece starts with a group of cab drivers (and the audience) at a union meeting. The drivers are debating whether to strike for a living wage. And they're waiting for Lefty, their elected chairman, to give them an idea about