Archive for April 22nd, 2008

Review Preview: Northern Ballet Theatre’s Hamlet – Sadler’s Wells

April 22, 2008

While I will be fleshing this review out tomorrow, I want to quickly say, for those people who are considering going, I VERY much enjoyed this evening. It was a great adaptation of the story of Hamlet to the dance medium, the choreography, sets and lights were good, and, basically, it was a good night out. I was caught up in the emotion of the story, and it did exactly what it was supposed to – make me care about what was happening and actually get involved in the emotions of the – dare I say it – characters (the one item so often missing from story ballets!). At any rate, with 15 pound seats available, I’d say anyone who likes story ballets or Hamlet should really make the effort to get up to Sadler’s Wells to see this thing.

That said, all of this writing is hard on my sleep schedule, so I’m going to wrap this up and hope I can add more to it later!

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Marguerite the Musical – the search for cheap tickets continues!

April 22, 2008

My uncle, a big fan of new theater, is coming to visit in June, and I’m planning to have a week full of fun for him. He’s retired so very cost conscious, which makes him extremely amenable to cheap seats up near the roof. I’ve managed to book us some decent seats for The Revenger’s Tale on Saturday the 14th of June. It’s not really new but since it’s £10 a pop, it hits a lot of other criteria quite nicely. (The summer season just went on sale at the National, so now’s the time to grab those £10 Travellex seats for the prime Friday and Saturday slots.) This puts me back to figuring out how to get us tickets for two other shows – Powder Her Face (an opera at the Linbury) and Marguerite, a brand-new musical based on La Dame Aux Camelias, which I’ve heard of but otherwise no nothing about (not being so big on opera).

Now, official tickets for Marguerite (per their website) are in the pricey range – £63 and £58 for stalls, £43 for upper circle, £27 for “cattle class”/nosebleeds. LastMinute.com (which has screwed up by not listing it in the musicals section) is not really doing better, but does have an amusing £25 deal in which (it appears) you get the equivalent of a free meal at Pizza Express along with your crummy pigeon-loft seats. This is a real disappointment to me because when I see shows at the Haymarket, I like to eat across the street at Galileo, which has genuinely good Italian food and a killer £10 prix fixe pre-theater meal deal (plus the owner is really funny and always very welcoming to me). So I did a search for “Marguerite the Musical” on Google, and what did I find – gallery seats on some site called DiscountTheatre.com for a mere £15. That will get me dining at the restaurant of my choice. Next stop, the Royal Opera House for Powder Her Face tickets, perfect for that hard to fill Sunday afternoon slot. Now, when will they release some more tickets?

“Major Barbara” review – the National Theatre

April 22, 2008

After last Thursday’s outing, I found I was feeling a bit nervous about going back into the Olivier. Would I be obliged to listen to horrible rhymes for an hour and a half? Would I spent the evening looking at people I didn’t care about moving around on the stage? Would I have to listen to my friends’ scorn as we dashed out into the night mid-show?

Thankfully, I am restored to grace among my theater-loving associates with Major Barbara (a good thing too as I had a pack of six out with me). While I’m sure it’s just as easy to ruin Shaw as any other play, starting off with such a strong script really does get you off on the right foot. And I found myself very interested in what was happening to the characters, so much that by the intermission, I was just as much on edge as if I’d been left hanging at the end of a chapter of a serial novel (or the last episode of a TV show) – what had wrecked Barbara? Would she end the play happy? What about her dad?

And while Shaw did indulge rather a bit in his penchant for end-of-play speechifying (blah obvious point for a socialist to make while on his bandstand blah blah), leaving me feeling just a bit worn down fifteen minutes before it was all over, still, it was an invigorating evening, what with all of that great dialog and stabs at politicians and journalists and people who watch plays but aren’t bothered about the poverty in their midst. And didn’t it all end in just such a bittersweet way for London, with our hero spouting his Armorer’s Creed, sell to any man, while surrounded by the bombs that would one day leave this lovely city smoking rubble? I felt a little fist clenching around my heart as the lights went down and the Olivier’s truly impressive sound system reminded us of just what those little silver cannisters were for. Then we walked out into the night, ignoring the poor around us, talking about theater, and thinking hardly at all about the grim implications of the heartlessness of capitalism.