Against

Aug. 21st, 2017 07:08 pm
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A new play at the Almeida Theatre, starring Ben Whishaw, promised so much.  I went to the last preview, opening night being on the Friday.  Which meant I could read and compare the reviews with my own thoughts over the weekend.

For once I agree with the reviewers, which in this case is sad because most of them are lukewarm.  Whishaw was good, but for me the material wasn't.  The plot had some very deep and important points to make, but laboured them badly.  In writing the advice is to show not tell - and there were a lot of words, discussing the theme.  For me, one of the most telling moments was towards the end of the play, when two of the characters who haven't met previously meet up and share an important moment, and the audience finally gets to see how they feel, rather than being told how they feel.

Most of the play is separate scenes, which have little to connect them, rather like illustrations of separate points.  And Whishaw's character has good intentions, and speaks out against violence, but never seems to have anything to lose.

I have friends who are going to see the play, so I shall be interested to read their reactions.  Otherwise, if you're tossing up whether to see this or something else, I would recommend trying the other.
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Two separate productions - I saw the first Wednesday evening and the other Friday evening.

Jesus Christ Superstar )

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Ophelia: Madness (in Blue) )

An American in Paris

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:13 pm
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This is the first of my posts from my trip to London.

I normally go to one musical when I come up to London for my summer break, and having heard Gershwin's music in a concert we went to in February I thought this looked promising.  And it turned out to be the best performance I went to on my trip.

Performed in the Dominion Theatre, it was a traditional West End musical, although in fact it's a new musical, first performed in 2014 and had its UK premiere only a couple of months ago.  The music, of course, was excellent, played by a thirteen piece orchestra.

The staging was brilliant, so many scenes, conjured up apparently effortlessly.  The costumes were wonderful - I was especially taken with the ballet costumes for the show within a show.

I hadn't realised how much ballet there was.  I had expected lots of tap dancing, and there was one memorable number which was tap, but there was lots of ballet - not the very complicated solos and duets found in traditional ballet, but beautifully executed ensemble pieces (which are my preferences anyway).

There is a story, which is straightforward, but has surprising depth.  It is a real feel-good production, in which I was caught up in the action and the dance.  It does exactly what it sets out to do - entertain, but not in a trite way.

The programmes are quite expensive - £8 - so I didn't buy one on the day.  Instead, two days later I was back in the area and went in and bought one as a souvenir, because it's a performance I want to be able to look back on.  So, if this is a genre you like, I thoroughly recommend it.

Days Out: Part Two

Aug. 12th, 2017 08:01 pm
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Yesterday we went to Chipping Camden, which is a traditional (and rather touristy) small Cotswold town:

Chipping Camden and Court Barn )