Thursday, 14 November 2013

List of performances I have been to see


This is for me more than anyone else and to show off just how...um...cultured I am. So here I go

West End Musicals (in order of preference)
Hairspray - in Southampton and Norwich
The Lion King
Billy Elliot in Victoria Palace Theatre, London x2 and Southampton
Guys and dolls
Show Boat
Half a Sixpence - in Chichester x2 and Noel Coward Theatre, London
Miss Saigon x2
Made in Dagenham x2
Funny Girl
Jersey Boys x2
From Here to Eternity x2
Bend it like Beckham
Mary Poppins - in Southampton
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - in Southampton and Edinburgh
Book of Mormon
Gypsy
The Last Five Years
Cats
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels x2
Memphis x2
Once x2
Phantom of the Opera
Top Hat
Wicked x2
Loserville
Wizard of Oz
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory x2
Grease - in Southampton
Aladdin
Chicago - in Southampton 
Urinetown the Musical
Kinky Boots
An American in Paris
Mamma Mia
The Commitments
Les Miserables x2
Kiss Me Kate - in Chichester
Mack and Mabel - in Chichester 
Matilda the Musical
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - in Reading
The Addams Family - in Southampton
Dirty Dancing
In The Heights
I Can't Sing. The X Factor Musical
Viva Forever
Shrek

West End Plays
The Cripple of Inishman
Mojo
Shakespeare in Love
A Mad world by Masters (RSC)
Nell Gwynn
Bug (London Fringe)
An Enemy of the People (CFT)
A Room with a View (CFT)
Sex with Strangers (London Fringe)
Forty Years On (CFT)
The Country Girls (CFT)
Sweet Bird of Youth (CFT)
Gloria (London Fringe)
The Ferryman

Shakespeare
Henry V - starring Jamie Parker at Globe Theatre
The Tempest - 3 times - Globe Theatre
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Globe Theatre
Romeo and Juliet - Branagh Theatre starring Lily James at Garrick Theatre
Much Ado About Nothing - RSC at CFT
Love's Labour's Lost - RSC at CFT

Gigs (most recently viewed first)
Katy Perry with Iconapop as the special guests
Maroon 5 with Robin Thicke as the special guest!
Nina Nesbitt (unplugged Live on the beach)
Beyonce
Lawson
Paloma Faith
Jason Mraz
Joe Brooks
Hackney Weekend - Jessie J, Professor Green, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard, Tinie Tempah, Labrinth, Plan B
Lucy Rose
McFly
John Barrowman

Comedians I have seen live (most recently viewed first)
Miranda Hart
Russell Howard
Sarah Millican
Rhod Gilbert
Daniel Sloss x3
Ed Byrne


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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Once


It is safe to say that I have been to see quite a few musicals. And, despite the fact that each one is very different in terms of stories and sets, the special effects and structure of each one runs in a similar vein to the rest. Therefore, I didn't think that much could surprise me any more. I was wrong. From the very beginning, Once proved to be totally unique and unlike anything that I had come across in the West End before.

For a start you were allowed up on to the stage -  which is every theatre addict's little dream. So of course, we took advantage and went up there to buy our pint at the fake yet real bar that was used as both a set and an actual bar. As we were doing so, the stars of the show came out and started playing together. As if it was a real Irish bar. In Ireland. But it wasn't. We were in London. At the theatre. Mind = blown. With all the actors, present already, the pre show rolled effortlessly into the start of the actual show without a big deal. A mere dimming of the lights and a brisk shooing of the audience from the stage and we were immediately thrown into the Irish world that encompassed Once. But to be honest, we had already been there for quite a while and this unique beginning gave the show such a realistic feel to it, that you felt a complete part of the action, rather than simply watching a spectacle in front of your eyes. It also helped that the leading lady, Zrinka Cvitešić, appeared on stage after walking through the audience, giving the impression that she was one of us.

This realistic feel remained throughout the whole production, as did the set itself, never changing from the bar scene at the beginning. There were very few props and lacked even an orchestra with the small cast (which was only made up of 15 people) accompanying themselves on the piano, accordion, ukulele, guitar, violin and drums. So if you have taken away the majority of things which make a musical great, the cast has to be superb, to make up for it. And luckily this one was. In particular, the two leads (Cvitešić and Declan Bennett who are billed simply as Guy and Girl) but everybody pulled their weight and proved their musical talent as well as their excellent acting abilities. They all led us on an emotional ride that just chucked you all over the place.

If you are looking for a massive, extravaganza of a showstopper, this musical is not for you. What you will get is an uncomplicated, unfrilly display of pure talent that will take your breath away. With fitting dialogue and truly beautiful singing, I was totally enthralled right up until the deeply unsatisfying (but elegant) end.

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