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Bear with me: Stitches @TheHopeTheatre

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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

Comment: Remembering and recognition for awards Season in Theatre... including #alsorecognised

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Awards and accolades are a great way of remembering some of the great performances of the past year. Assuming that you can remember them... There is so much stuff that is great to see in London that whittling anything down to a shortlist of three or four seems a tad cruel. Still it is great that there is a small but growing group of awards to recognise. The Oliviers and The Whats On Stage Awards cover the big end of town, but there is also the Also Recognised Awards . It's less glamorous than those two and winners only get to pose with a selfie. Set up by My Theatre Mates Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock , they celebrate lesser-known but worthy talent in fields overlooked by other awards bodies. This year's winners included a number of winners or nominees from the Olivier Awards. But there were also some differences. Bugsy Malone, which lost out to Gypsy for Best Musical Revival at the Oliviers, won for Best Ensemble Performance. Kenneth Branagh’s production of

Remembering last year: @Mytheatremates Also Recognised Awards

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While some of us can't remember what we saw last month (handy to have a blog for that reason), MyTheatreMates announced last week the shortlists in the second annual Also Recognised Awards . These audience-voted industry accolades celebrate talent in fields often overlooked by other award bodies. One of the awards is the UK’s first-ever prize for Best Musical Direction. In addition to Best Musical Direction the awards recognise performances for: Best Ensemble Performance Best Solo Performance Best Shakespearean Production Best Original Music London Newcomer of the Year Theatre Event of the Year

Don't forget to vote: Also Recognised Awards close Friday

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Now that the Oliviers are out of the way, Friday is the last day people have to vote in the Also Recognised Awards, set up by the exciting new London theatre resource, My Theatre Mates run by Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock. The Also Recognised Awards celebrate lesser-known but equally worthy talent in fields overlooked by other awards. They comprise ten categories including an award for musical direction, which is the the first award of its kind, and recognises how the contribution of musical direction can really set the tone of a show.

Up late: West End Eurovision Pictures

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Last week's West End Eurovision at the Dominion Theatre, its seventh and final year in support of The Make A Difference (MAD) Trust saw the cast of Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables jointly winning the trophy.

Theatre and migration: The Crossing

Esther O'Toole's gripping play The Crossing is in London this week at Battersea's Theatre 503 . It tells the story of three Ghanaian men in the last months of their journey through North Africa to Europe and what they see as a better life. It's based on various first hand accounts and given recent stories of the failure of NATO ships to assist refugees off the coast of Libya and border spats between France and Italy , it feels like it has been ripped from the headlines. The play works so well in bringing out the stories and motivations of these three men who risk everything and pay smugglers to get them to the Italian Island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean. The performances by Michael Offei, Michael Kofi and Kwaku Boateng draw you in to a world of desperation, hope and humour. The chemistry between them also gives the story a real warmth. By the end you feel like you understand where they are coming from. The production is also slick with some clever projectio

Theatre Previews: Let It Be

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In October it will be fifty years since The Beatles released their first single ‘Love Me Do’. While scary to think that anyone now who remembers the sixties is ready for retirement (or near death), London’s Prince of Wales Theatre will welcome Let It Be , a new West End production featuring many of The Beatles’ greatest hits from September 2012. The show is a theatrical concert and the first West End show with full rights to the Beatles' catalogue. The Prince of Wales theatre is also the site of the fab four's legendary Royal Variety performance, featured in the above clip. Tickets are on sale now. Mamma Mia, currently playing at the Prince of Wales theatre, moves to the Novello early September.

Grim New Year: Sweeney Todd Preview

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2012 looks set to be delightfully grim if this teaser trailer for the Sweeney Todd musical is any measure... It opens at the Adelphi in March 2012... But it won't be all blood and murder... I'm off to see Cirque du Soleil's Totem tonight... More later...

Hot news this week in London

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IMG_1753 Originally uploaded by Paul-in-London Dr Zeuss meets the brown word...

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?

Hot news this week in London...

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

Hot news this week in London

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

Hot news this week in London

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DOG POO MISERY , originally uploaded by the_moog . It isn't just the swine flu... There is dog poo too...

Hot news this week in London...

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Headline News , originally uploaded by SteveM51 . The third tube baby in history... Ew...

Hot news this week in London

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Gnomes Invade Chelsea Flower Show , originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo . The invasion of the gnomes starts in Chelsea...

Hot news this week in London

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img_0893 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . The slow and overly detailed drip of news about MPs expenses continues... Well at least the headlines are sort of entertaining...

Hot news this week in London...

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Hackney Gazette, Stoke Newington , originally uploaded by Fin Fahey . Or rather... Something for everybody in Stoke Newington...

Hot News This Week In London...

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Killer Flu Reaches Europe , originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo . Oink oink oink...

Hot news this week in London

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SLP: Kitty Tikka , originally uploaded by Ronald Hackston . Another unintelligible headline from the South London Press...

Hot news this week in London...

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Best. Headline. Ever. , originally uploaded by Ronald Hackston . She was a big girl perhaps...

Hot news this week in London

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img_0802 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Well it wasn't hot custard, it was green... And it dominated breakfast television coverage on an obviously slow news day... By the weekend the well-spoken campaigner against Heathrow's third runway was arrested ...