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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

Classic songs, breathless dancing, innuendo and long pauses: Kiss Me, Kate

The Chichester Festival production of Kiss Me Kate , now playing at the Old Vic Theatre , has a wonderful cast and thrilling and lively musical numbers. If there is one thing to be bothered by this production it is that between the songs things are not so lively. The dialogue is treated as if it were Shakespeare, and some of it is... Delivered so slowly... And deliberately... That much of the fun feels drained at times from the show. Thankfully there are too so many musical numbers that are well-conceived and performed that you will find yourself waking up to enjoy them. Star Hannah Waddingham was indisposed last Friday night when I caught this show and so Carolyn Maitland took the lead. Given the show is very traditionally staged (set backstage at a theatre in 1948 the set is backstage at a theatre circa 1948), it was a refreshing opportunity to inject a bit of uncertainty into the evening's proceedings. Cole Porter's musical, while a classic, only has two female roles

Theatre: Crazy For You (and those legs)

After a successful run at Regents Park Open Air Theatre this summer, Crazy For You is now at the Novello Theatre. I saw it at Regents Park and was not so crazy about it then . Now in a theatre and away from evening chills, planes flying overhead and the occasional moth, it is a chance to ignore those distractions and focus on the vibrant singing and dancing, and spectacular costumes. There is so much energy on stage conveyed through a series of spectacular dances. Legs kick, flip and dance their way through nearly three hours of entertainment.  You will be exhausted just watching it.

Dance: Napoletango

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Napoletango is a bit of Argentinean tango fused with Neapolitan songs, movement, flesh and style. Actually there was a lot of flesh and sitting where I was on the last night at the London Coliseum, I had a terrific view of bare breasts and firm buttocks (and the occasional bouncing penis). But this is a very entertaining show that tells the story of a family from Naples who become a famous tango troupe. It was at it most successful when it was not trying to tell a cheesy story and focused upon the dancing talents of its large cast. The shower sequence and the bed sequences were particularly funny (and exhausting to watch) and combined with a fantastic soundtrack it was a slick and fun night out. It also helps if sitting on the aisle seats you know a few dance moves yourself. And if you have ever been to a tango dance class the first half of the show where the troupe learn the moves will seem familiar... This show has been a hit in Italy (the last time I saw a hit show from Ital

Music: Matthew Morrison

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Matthew Morrison somewhat exploded onto the stage last night at the Hammersmith Apollo. Well there was a lot of bass noise anyway. In fact, it was hard to pass any judgement on the show given the bass drowned out his vocals most of the evening. The ladies shouting for him to get his shirt off seemed more audible. The technical problems were not just with the base but also with late pick ups, cameras in the way, projections running on a laptop that was low on batteries. Still, Matthew Morrison couldn't be accused of being low on batteries however as he sang / danced / bounced on stage for almost two hours. It was a great performance and Morrison is a very likeable performer. Highlights included a medley of songs from West Side Story accompanied by bongos, which thankfully someone recorded and sent to Perez Hilton (above). There were also a number of tracks both from Glee and his new album Summer Rain  that were a treat, including Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The show lasted t

Scenes from Brighton Pride Saturday

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020820087988 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . There was much dancing and carrying on in Preston Park... There was a fair amount of eye candy too...