Archive for November, 2006

Mini-review – Starlight Express – New Wimbledon Theatre

November 29, 2006

Went and say Starlight Express tonight at the New Wimbledon Theater. Any play with a black man in a pink/blue/silver mohawk doing spinny circles on stage in his rollerskates and sparkly metallic blue costume is a total winner in my book. “I am electric – feel my attraction./ Feel my magnetism – you will agree/ I am electric – I have the contact./ I am electric – the future is me.” I mean, what is not to like about that? Hip hop boys, girls skating in garter belts, guys doing backflips on rollerblades, and three three-D movies in the middle (okay, that should have been a race on a ramp in the audience, but I love 3-D stuff so I was still happy about it) – I felt like I was 12 years old again. That part of me that still unironically likes 80s music was tickled pink tonight.

The teenagers in the audience who talked all the way through like they were at a rock show … that I could have lived without. But I went with J and W and it did rather make up for a lot, and we made it home at 10:30, so the night was on the whole a big win.

(This review, for a performance that took place on November 29, 2006, was migrated from my other journal.)

Mini-review – Frost/Nixon – Gielgud Theatre

November 24, 2006

NOTE: This was ultimately the best play I saw in 2006.

Last night’s play Frost Nixon was insanely good. I never thought a play about a president would be really interesting, but Nixon had the dramatic power of Oedipus or Lear, with a fantastic actor (Michael Sheen) portraying him. The show itself – well, I was reminded of The Crucible, with modern events seeming only too tellingly inferred in the dialogue taking place on stage. Yes, this was the best play I’ve seen all year. I only regret not managing to catch it at the Donmar!

(This review is for a performance that took place November 23, 2006, and the review was migrated from another blog.)

Mini-review – La Traviata – English National Opera

November 16, 2006

I would have stayed home tonight because it was crappy outside (short rainy days, yuck, November is truly the cruellest month) and Lisa wasn’t well enough to go out with me as we’d planned (*sob*), and I just felt very down on myself and life all day, and I just wanted to say, “I give up, what’s the point of bothering. I should spend the night on the sofa staring at the ceiling.” This became a much more likely option when I found out the penalty fee for returning the tickets would only be $5 a ticket. Why bother making an effort when sweet oblivion awaited me?

But darn it, Lili actually really wanted to go, and after talking to her I felt that indulging in my down mood would really be letting her down, so I dragged my sorry ass out and watched La Traviata tonight. I’m sure it was better than staying home, but I am really hard-hearted toward 19th century opera, and I hate a lot of the plot elements (wimpy heroine, people giving up doing what they really want to because of social constraints) this opera was built on. Monteverdi is much more my speed. But really, spending the night sitting between Lili and J was a win, and neither of them thumped me when we were waiting eternally for the curtain to rise (and the music to start) for the final scene and I said in a stage whisper, “Isn’t she dead yet?”

FYI, we enjoyed The Cryptogram last night at the Donmar, though the child actor made Mamet’s lines grating to the ears.

(This review is for a performance that took place on November 16, 2006. It was migrated from another site.)

Mini-review – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – Theatre Royal Haymarket

November 12, 2006

Poster outside of Haymarket Theater for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: “Dave Willetts sings his heart out!”

Me to Jason as we exit the theater: “I didn’t know his heart was so small!”

(This review is for a performance seen on November 12th, 2006. J’s witty reply is here.)

Review – Faust – Punchdrunk (at “a secret location in London”)

November 12, 2006

Faust, as done by Punchdrunk, was the kind of theatrical experience you spend years going to the theater hoping to encounter. We screwed up and manage to miss the clues that would have got us synched up with the story thread that was going on, and spent most of the first hour going from floor to floor absorbing the incredibly atmospheric scenery that was created in the spaces of the warehouse. A forest with real pine trees and a broken woodshed, a cornfield with a windmill, a freaky hall of stone madonnas with candles underneath them, a big empty barn … it was all just a part of the whole we never got to entirely see. Finally, an actor pulled me into the dance scene and I was swing dancing with the devil … spun back into the audience until he brushed his hand across the cheek and commanded,”Follow me!” So I did and we saw the rest of Faust (and Gretchen)’s downfall … only catching up with the rest of our group as Mephistopheles threw his body across a naked Faust as if to mark him as his property. Boo ya. I need to go back in December and catch the scenes I missed.

(This review is for a performance that took place on November 11th, 2006.)

Mini-review – Coppelia – Royal Ballet

November 4, 2006

Recap: Royal Ballet’s Coppelia is awfully fun, but it’s really just a good ballet, with Swanhilde such a spunky character and her girl gang just fun, fun, fun. The costumes for this production were rather corny – her boyfriend’s pal looked like the Lucky Charms leprechaun, and the girls in the yellow and black checked tops with fluffy white skirts were hopefully feeling rather embarassed. It was very 1950s. However, the folk dancing in the first scene was all very athletic, and Swanhilde was brilliant in the scene in Dr. Coppelius’s lab (when she was playing the doll) as well as her final pas de deux with her (rescued) boyfriend, so I forgive it its dustiness and love it as the charmer it is. And through good fortune the person who’d bought J’s neighboring seat did not turn up and we got to sit together after the first act.

Afterwards we did a little shopping, or tried to, but the crowds were too thick and the lines too long pretty much everywhere we went, and we didn’t even so much as buy the toaster I was planning on getting. We finally escaped and went to Victoria to hit the Mexican food grocery I’d read about online a while back, and it was actually open and we were able to buy tortillas and salsa, yay. I had basically collapsed from exhaustion and Too Many Damned People (and probably No Lunch) by then and called it a day. I’m waking up now, though, and should be heading out soon.

(This review is for a performance that took place on November 3, 2007, and was migrated from another journal. I was too poor then to afford a program – sorry about that.)