Friday, November 17, 2017

I expected to like Follies a lot. I did't expect it to make my heart swell.

I love Stephen Sondheim. Every time I've been to London in recent months, I've tried to get tickets to see the National Theatre's production but failed. I even contemplated dragging the children though I thought it might be a wee bit un-frivolous for them (unfair as they probably have darker hearts than me). But I couldn't get tickets for either them or I so when instagram started serving me ads for the live relay, I capitulated. Though it wasn't much of a capitulation. £9 (with my Cineworld card) versus about a thousand pounds to see it in real life wasn't too tricky a decision to make.

I was skin of my teeth late, plopping into my seat two minutes before actual curtain up which meant I missed an interview with Mr S himself which was a pity. But as lateness is a luxury that the theatre doesn't afford, it was another hoorah for the cinema version.

And it began.

It's a slightly clunkily constructed show. Reunion of dancers from a club in New York that opened throughout the between the war (World Wars) era. So they've all aged a bit. But they're all beautifully stalked about the stage by the young versions of themselves who periodically take over the dialogue to give you bits of back story. I guess it's unusual to see this on stage though it's a favourite technique in film. And it felt like a bit of a cheat. But Dominic Cooke did it so beautifully that it was hard to mind.

And it gives the beautifully poignant opportunity for the let's say mature actors to address their younger counterparts. With all the questions that you do cast back to your dumber younger version. But the only person you can tell off for your stupidity is yourself.

The show looked completely gorgeous. The 42nd Street costume designers (or the producers who maybe made them "sex it up" some) might learn from this elegant and tantalising and sumptuous presentation of show girls. There were no gold lame wannabe bikinis in this show.

The set was stunning. They used a revolving stage very nicely. And the acting and singing was top notch (Imelda - amazing - but so were the other leads so it's wrong to single her out) perhaps suffering only from the unforgiving proximity of the camera lense. The fundamental problem with a live relay is it doesn't do soft focus.

But it didn't really matter because the show is the star. The production made it sing. But the loss and the longing and the wish-things-had-turned-out-differently-but-they-didn't-so-we-let-it-crush-us-or-we-suck-it-up properly stole my heart.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Totally spoilt this week. I've just watched some excellent Cuban contemporary / sort of ballet dance.

And Thursday was dry-mouthed death and destruction.

Feasting on culture. 

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 06, 2017

There was some really good stuff in this. Pontus Linder was a bit of a highlight.

Labels: , , , , ,