17 posts categorized "Non-plays" Feed

V&A to screen theatre video recordings from the archive and Stan is very excited

Hamlet-5_1673844iIf you've never booked to see a play recording in the theatre video archive at the V&A museum it is certainly an interesting experience shaped, quite naturally, by an environment designed for researchers rather than enjoying theatre.

But soon, for a selected number of plays, there will the chance to see recordings in comfort, on the big screen in the museum's posh education wing.

The V&A's collection of theatre recordings is just  bursting with plays I missed and would love to see that it makes me hyperventilate a little just reading about what they have. 

Nine plays have been chosen for the first season of public screenings starting with Aladdin at the Hackney Empire in 2010 on Jan 22.

Naturally the play I'm most excited to see is Hamlet at the Old Vic with Ben Whishaw from 2004. I've seen it on the small telly in the archive but to watch it on a big screen is an opportunity I can't miss. Also on my list is The Alchemist with Simon Russell Beale recorded at the National Theatre in 2006 and the Eve Best/Benedict Cumberbatch Hedda Gabler from the Duke of York's Theatre in 2005.

Each play will be introduced by either a member of the original cast or a museum curator. As Mr W always claims in interviews not to remember anything about any of his performances after he's finished them my money is on him NOT being an original cast member doing an intro for Hamlet. But a Rev can dream.  

Further plays are yet to be announce but you can view details of the schedule, timings and location on the V&A website


And now for something completely different: Accomplice London

Accomplice_CF_220x300_1a Accomplice London  is a bit like Ghost Stories in that you don't want to reveal much so as not to spoil the experience for others. But that is as far as you can go with a comparison - on any level.

Probably the best way to describe Accomplice, without giving anything away, is a theatrical, interactive treasure hunt.

The drama starts the day before you've booked with a phone call detailing the rendezvous point, which is somewhere on the South Bank. Once there the journey proper begins. There is no announcement about mobile phones, no buying a programme or settling into your seat with a glass of wine instead you are not so much lead but pointed in the direction of a trail along which there are clues to solve and encounters to experience.

You and your fellow 'audience' members - there is a maximum of 10 per group for every performance - are part of the story. A big part of the story in fact. But who else is in on it? You certainly start to look at people differently as you wander around the South Bank.

If you want to see something different, something that involves a bit of walking and exploring the less well known parts of the South Bank and don't mind interacting with real live actors or people you've never met before then you will have a hoot.

Don't book if you are expecting something deep and meaningful or prefer to sit in the dark in front of a stage and not talk to anyone.

As it is so different from almost all other theatre you will see in London at the moment it's a bit difficult to compare it, ratings-wise, to others but I'm going to give it five stars for being fun quirky and clever.

Accomplice London is part of the Menier Chocolate Factory's repertoire, has performances starting at regular intervals and is booking until Oct.

No RS/BW 6DS this time because of the absence of a cast list.

 

 


In which Stan goes to the ballet for the first time

HE182237_429long Ballet, like opera, is one of those performance art forms I've been meaning to take a peak at for many years but never quite got around to. So when the wonderful Susan offered me a couple of tickets to see the Royal Ballet at the O2 last weekend that she couldn't use, the lure of watching fit men jumping around in tights was too much to refuse.

One of my fears is not having a clue what is going on but this was Romeo and Juliet so all I had to do was work out which character was which and then I was fine.

With nothing to compare it with and absolutely no knowledge of dance I can't say whether it was a good ballet or not but I can say that I enjoyed it very much.

First of all there was far more acting from the dancers than I expected. The music is, of course beautiful, as are the costumes. There is something particularly winsome about the male dancers who have the most lavish 16th-century, Venetian-style costumes which all come to a halt just north of their codpieces, or dance belts* as they are technically called, and spray on tights. It's jolly nice to see something in which the men are less covered up than the women for once.

Kate, my companion for the afternoon, and I are both convinced that Romeo's codpiece was bigger in the second half.

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The Flying Karamatov Brothers - better than Pirates 4

Image As we were leaving the Vaudeville Theatre last night, my friend Kate said to me: "Well it was better than Pirates of the Caribbean." A reference to the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, which we'd seen together a few weeks earlier and been distinctly underwhelmed by.

And that probably sums it up quite nicely. The Flying Karamazov Brothers mainly juggle and occasionally play instruments and lark around a bit. They are very impressive jugglers and do some great musical interludes and one quite amusing ballet-themed one but at the end of the day they are a cabaret act and quite what they are doing on the stage of a big West End theatre in a run that is due to last until September I do not know.

Like a good fringe show they are fun but at 90 minutes even with the interval it feels stretched.  I think I'd be quite miffed if I'd paid any more than £10 for a ticket (prices are advertised up to around £40 for the best seats) but as the auditorium was barely half full I imagine it will be easy to get hold of good offers.

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A celebration of Celebrity (Autobiography) or David Tennant does Richard Burton

Images-3 Oh my, oh my what an evening's entertainment this one turned out to be. Celebrity Autobiography started out in New York, the brain child of Eugene Pack and Dayle Reyfel who thought of a genius, yet simple, way of mocking celebrity - by letting them tell their own stories.

How's it done? Well, and I'm aware this isn't initially going to sound that 'wow', they read excerpts from celebrities autobiographies. As we are told at the start, none of it is made up, it is entirely the celebrities own words. And it is hilarious. Never before have the over inflated ego's of celebrity been exposed in such an entertaining fashion.

From the likes of Britney Spear and Sly Stallone who publish the most unriveting and mundane accounts of their lives to Tommy Lee and David Cassidy who felt it necessary to commit to print details of some of their most intimate moments.

Quite simply they come across as really silly egomaniacs. Of course it is all in the delivery and that is the second thing that makes this concept genius. There is a rolling programme of narrators. On Wednesday night we were treated to Doon Mackichan, Sally Phillips, Dom Joly and yes Mr David Tennant (OK, I admit, it was seeing his name  that made me snap up a ticket) among others.

There are too many highlights to mention but I will always remember DT reading David Cassidy and his account of sleeping with the actress who played his sister in the Patridge family and then as Richard Burton, complete with Welsh accent. The latter was in an ensemble piece which performed extracts from not only the autobiography of the Welsh film icon but also those of Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. All the extracts related to the same period in the their lives giving an interesting and highly amusing variety of perspectives.

And I must also mention the extract about putting from Tiger Woods' autobiography which takes on a whole new level of double entendre's now that his infidelities have been exposed.

At the moment they only have five dates booked in at the Leicester Square Theatre (Stephen Merchant is one of the narrators for tomorrow night) but I can't imagine it not growing in success and garnering a longer run somewhere else.

If you need further enthusiasm for Celebrity Autobiography then check out these blogs:

Foxyhlc

West End Whingers

 


Actors at the theatre

I've created a new category for my celeb spots when I'm at the theatre - hey I'll do anything for the clicks these days.

It's been a bit of a bumper theatre week, three plays so far and one more to go. The Donmar on Monday night wasn't it's usual rich picking of celeb spots but the Royal Court proved to be as good as ever on Tuesday night.

Images Lrg_1114200812834 Sir Ian Holm (Bilbo in LOTR) was having a pre-theatre bite in the cafe bar and then afterwards, aside from the cast from Sucker Punch and Sharon Small who's in Spur of the Moment upstairs, Olivia Williams (Ghost Writer) was having a wee drinkie.

Then last night at the Cottesloe, it wasn't so much as a celeb spot as a full encounter. A rather familiar face sat next to me, someone I've seen on stage recently but couldn't place (I'm rubbish with names) and as the first two to arrive on our bench and with the stage set so unique it was inevitable that we'd end up talking to each other on it.

I commented on the challenges of rehearsing when your stage is essentially an s-shaped, bar-height cat walk and he mentioned that they had built the stage in the rehearsal room for that very reason. Further comments led me to believe he was working at the NT so I asked and he indeed was, he's playing Prince Tydeus in Welcome to Thebes which I saw a few weeks back.

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Stan does tap dancing

Tapdogs_wideweb__430x274 Not actually me shuffling around with metal on the bottom of my shoes, no, the closest I get to tap dancing is having a bit of a bop while I'm cleaning my teeth at the bathroom sink...

Anyhoo...tap dancing or rather Tap Dogs at the Novello Theatre. Not my usual thing but an opportunity arose and so I thought what the heck - the dancers are bound to be quite cute if nothing else. So off I pop with friend Kate, fortified with steak and red wine and ready for some toe tapping.

Tap Dogs is six Australian tap dancers and a set that looks a bit like a building site and, well, they tap dance. They tap dance on metal surfaces, on wooden surfaces, on girders, on pipes, on ladders going up slopes, going down slopes. They tap dance while bouncing basket balls and pulling ropes and with two girls drumming and with 'tap' operated sound effects. They tap in water, they tap upside down, they tap with sparks flying. They tap while throwing water over each other...you get the picture.

The show is about an hour and 20 minutes long straight through and I spent much of it thinking to myself 'OK so what's next? A back flip maybe?' A bit mean I know but I confess that I was waiting for something, well, a little bit more spectacular.

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