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The male gaze: Turning the screw

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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

Damp June Nights: Liza at the (Hampton Court) Palace

As more than one person noted after Thursday evening's downpour, there was not a dry seat in the house at the end of Liza Minnelli's concert at Hampton Court Palace . Opening the Hampton Court Festival , the steady rain or hour long wait for the train home did not deter fans from jumping to their feet even before she sang. Minnelli being from the old school of singing yourself hoarse does not have much of a high register anymore. While she seems like she sometimes tries to coax some sound out using sheer bloody mindedness, her signature songs don't sound like they used to. Of course her fans probably can't hear like they used to either so that might explained the high ovation quotient from the audience... But it is a shame that she either feels she has to sing them or her fans demand them from her. What is more interesting about her voice now is her incredible lower range. And when she calmed things down and performed songs just with her regular music director Billy

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...

Architecture and Art: Summer Pavilion at the Serpentine

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This year's summer pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery is a hot noisy affair... Imagine a spaceship has landed in Kensington Garden (albeit one made out of wood) and is about to take off with various plant samples... While Peter Zumthor may have had in mind a tranquil garden and oasis from the rest of the park, in reality the noise is just amplified to unbearable levels with the hoards of people inside. And on a warm day it just feels so much warmer... Still the temporary concrete pathways leading to it are lovely. Tranquility is better found inside the gallery with Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto's exhibition  The Mirror of Judgement . It is  a meditation on religion and faith amongst cardboard and mirrors... It runs until 17 September and is worth a look... Free too...

Coming up in December...

Christmas Message

A special Christmas message from the London Gay Mens Chorus (taken from the Barbican on Wednesday night). Other extracts are available on YouTube or can be purchased as a DVD ... Oh and you can see everyone from the choir in it... If you look hard enough...

Scenes from Piccadilly Sunday

All the talk this week has been about polonium-210 so A and I went to Piccadilly to find out what all the fuss was about... The sushi was definitely off the menu so we went elsewhere for a bite... Meanwhile the police have reportedly updated their investigation from an "unexplained death" to a "suspicious death". Polonium-210 poisoning does sound a bit suspicious as I don't think its a normal filling in a California Roll ... It would bring a new meaning to "Asian fusion" cooking if it did... The Economist this week offers helpful advice for dissident Russians living abroad: for longevity don't investigate the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the mysterious Russian apartment bombings in 1999, or the embezzlement of funds for Chechnya reconstruction. These subjects could soon find you loosing your hair too...