Thursday, March 27, 2014

Perhaps when I grow up, I shall have the interest, attention, care and consideration of dkpw.

Meantime, I'll settle for my tried and tested (slovenly) (amateur) attitude.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Philip Pullman's Grimm Tales at Shoreditch Town Hall.

This, I must thank Phil for. He spotted it. I had a spare night. Hunted through the Guardian's latest theatre recommendations. Was left underwhelmed by the volume of revived classics, then spotted that my seer of good theatre Lyn Gardner had tipped the Tales. The date stars aligned. And we were off.

It's a lovely thing. It claims to be an immersive fairytale. And that it is. And a beautifully dressed and choreographed one at that.

We were told five delectable stories by an extremely talented and inventive (and presumably brilliantly directed) cast of eight. Red Riding Hood (and oh, the wolf was wonderful). Rapunzel. And then three new tales (new to this tender reader, in any case), each of which was deliciously macabre. Deliciously grim, I should say.

The script, storytelling, acting, lighting, sound, direction, choreography were all just the ticket. Sound and lights in particular were marvellously atmospheric.

But the wonder - two wonders actually - of the piece came in part from the audience management. For this is a promenade piece that - given that the performance I attended was ridiculously early in the run - was more or less flawlessly executed. A different beast altogether to The Drowned Man but beautifully suited to the nature of the tales.

And in other part from the set. Set does it no justice. Venue dressing gets closer. Art direction closer still. For step through the secret door into the fairytale world and you're properly whisked away into somewhere magical. Wonderous and wonderful. I could have spent the whole night prowling about once the tales were told. And still not taken in all of the detail.

I took a couple of cheeky sneaky photos. But you're not meant to - as the cloaked guides pointed out with some slight disapproval. So I shan't share them here. But go, please go, if you are anywhere in the vicinity of Shoreditch at any point over the next few weeks. As the world you'll find there is every bit as peculiar and beautiful as a wing of Bluebeard's castle. But far more temporary.

I'm hoping they'll negotiate a Fringe gig. Summerhall would suit them down to the ground. Pretty please?

Monday, March 17, 2014


Lot of fuss over a pretty thin story salvaged by some pretty superlative visual effects, if you ask me. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I was listening to the (terrible) radio in the gym (Capital FM) the other day and a remix of a long distant song was played.

The remix featured a bunch of "tunes", courtesy of some well-known DJ. But the lead track was Rhythm Is A Dancer, created and recorded in 1980something by Snap. Sorry. Snap! 

Rhythm is a dancer
It's a source of passion
You can feel it everywhere...

And it goes on.

Whenever I hear this song, I have a brief but enjoyable flashback.

My aunt and uncle in Slough's living room.

My aunt, uncle, father, grandmother, grandfather, arranged in chairs on one side of the room.

My sister, aged approx eight or nine, dancing solo for endless minutes, rave style but without a single fluorescent rod for comfort, clad in some hideous best-we-could-do-in-place-of-Lycra ensemble on the other side of the room. And it was a short room. The song went on and on and on. Monotonous. Indulgent. Sister's face a picture of exquisite why-did-you-make-me-do-this? But enough of a sense of theatre even at that tender age to know that you cannot interrupt the show.

(Actually, shock, just checked and it was 1992. So poor sister was, best case scenario, 13 years old.)

I can't remember the show title. Something self-penned based on a fairy tale I think. My two cousins had also been pressed into action. The annual festive "treat" for the grown ups. 

Then I flash forward. Fourteen years. The curtain call for the Caucasian Chalk Circle. My stupendous idea that the entire (substantial) cast dance for the entire think it was Dire Straits track. The elongated painstaking "dancing" that resulted. The mutiny that resulted from that. And the refreshing reminder of a lesson poorly learnt first time around. Or a refreshing reminder of my enduring optimism.

To this day, I thank you, my little sister, for keepin' on dancing. 

Monday, March 03, 2014

As with White Christmas, it's probably fair to say that the greatest source of fun during this show came from - well, one of two things actually. Having the above photograph taken way back in December. Or else maybe from having the middle one of these lovely ladies clasp my hands throughout with a gleeful fidget whenever the show threatened to descend into dance - or better yet, rain.

I don't remember seeing the film though I've obviously seen The Dance Of The Street Lamps.

I had no idea - and not even any preconceptions - about what the story might be.

Silly, as it turned out. But then few stories aren't. Most especially the true ones.

This centres on two dear friends, performers both, cut their teeth in music hall, transition into - and here we divert from the course of White Christmas - film. And do very well for themselves, thank you very much.

But then handsome desirable one can't find a lady love. Until he finds love with the least likely lady possible. She also turns out to be an amazing singer / dancer / actor. Who ends up supplanting the silly but pretty girl he's been co-starring with until that point, much to her chagrin.

That's it.

But there is a lot of dancing. In this production, there's some not bad singing. Some half decent (oh my life, she's SUCH a beeyatch) acting. There IS rain which was pretty wonderful, despite the fact that we'd been waiting for it from the moment we entered the theatre.

And it all adds up to make an innocuously fun night out.

Gene Kelly, it wasn't. But then nor was George Sampson and we didn't like him any the less for that.