Or, you know, regular theatregoers who are not so well off, and would rather buy lots of cheaper tickets than just a few expensive ones.
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Posted Kathryn2 on Yesterday, 03:21 PM
Or, you know, regular theatregoers who are not so well off, and would rather buy lots of cheaper tickets than just a few expensive ones.
Posted Kathryn2 on 09 December 2013 - 10:04 PM
And how do you know that's not the website/the pictures being referred to? It's an obscure premium (i.e. subscription-only) gay website, it was by your own account published 13 years ago without being noticed by anyone....
And what exactly has having some nude photos appear on a website to do with journalistic integrity and honesty? How is he 'playing the discrimination card for his own misleading self-interest' - he has just been fired, how is that in his self-interest?! There's not exactly a huge number of paying jobs for theatre critics going, more are being cut all the time, and while he has received sympathy, that doesn't pay the bills.
You must have a subscription to have seen the pictures, because I've just found the website and I certainly can't. Unless I'm just not recognising a picture of him from 20-odd years ago - but then again, it's kind of odd that you're so sure you can. I can't even identify which issue is from February 2000 - they've only got volume and issue numbers showing, not years and months.
Actually, I'm wondering if it was you - who has only joined this forum this afternoon and only made this one post - who told The Express about the pictures. They didn't stumble across them - someone tipped them off.
Posted Nicholas on 09 December 2013 - 12:37 AM
As for the ‘live music and hard liquor’… They’ve done things to Hoxton Hall to give it exactly the right feel – it’s not Punchdrunk/Secret Cinema but it’s dolled up just the right amount. The bar’s very 1920s and the seats are just wooden uncomfortable things. You can go buy food and drink beforehand (I didn’t see many restaurants in Hoxton, so either eat at Hoxton Hall or at home before you leave) in the bar where recorded music is played or go wait in the theatre where live music is played (nice jazz group). The O’Neill bit constitutes an hour and a half of the evening – my ticket said it goes on for three hours so I guess there’s another hour and a half of live music and hard liquor. You can, however, leave at any point. Being more solo than I expected I felt a tad conspicuous, I find drinking alone awkward, especially in public (I wish I could say that’s stopped me in the past) and it seemed relatively costly – I think £8.50 a cocktail and £3 a shot, and whilst they looked nice I thought £8.50 to spend on other things later would be nicer. I stayed to see the band start and then headed home (I don’t think I’d even be on a train back yet had I stayed until the end) – started 7, for me ended about 8:45. I don’t know what happens if you stay longer, maybe it theatrically comes to life – I’m quite certain I saw Ruth Wilson still in costume in the bar, so perhaps the ensemble keep performing (it might just be they want a drink afterwards, and they deserve one). I, however, and some others left not long after the play and I’m happy I did as just hanging around would have made me feel self-conscious. If anyone hangs around, please tell me what else happens – I think it is just jazz and drinks but you never know.
Overall, then, a thumbs up. Perfectly good plays given as good an approach as they could hope and, I’m sure, fun drinking afterwards if you want to hang around. Whilst watching I found them atmospheric and engaging and emotive, if not spiritually affecting pieces of work. On the way home I’ve enjoyed comparing them and finding links (there certainly are) but I’ve not come to any grand realisations, which is why I’m calling them slighter plays. Still, slight Eugene O’Neill’s hardly worth complaining about, and anything put together with this much coherence and talent is going to be worth watching. Maybe the same ensemble, in the same place, with the same approach to post-theatre drinking and jazz, but performing Mourning Becomes Electra or The Ice(wo)man Cometh would hit the heights of genuine greatness, but this is as great as these plays can be.
Posted Kathryn2 on 08 December 2013 - 10:53 AM
As you say, if he was freelance they didnt need any excuse therefore his version of events doesnt stand either.
Bottom line is we will never know the real story
His version of events is plausible to me because 1) my parents have read The Express for years, I know the paper's attitude well, and this fits with it
2)the pictures referred to exist, and I have seen them
3) Shenton's been lamenting the way newspapers have been cutting their arts coverage and getting rid of critics. He has worked for The Express for 11 years. If they'd decided to let him go for another reason, that would have fit quite nicely into his narrative about the state of arts criticism. He doesn't need to make up anything dramatic.
4) Truth is stranger than fiction - you couldn't make this up!
There are two sides to every story, that is true, but given the way The Express has justified extremely unethical decisions in the past - just look at their rampant scaremongering, and the way they libelled the McCanns, not to mention the Diana conspiracy theories they peddle - there's no particular reason to think their side of the story would reflect well on them.
Posted mrkringas on 08 December 2013 - 08:11 AM
That may be too "cool" for some people to accept but I merely say the early 70s trio of Company, Follies & A Little Night Music... who else comes close?
Then throw in Sweeney Todd and his later works with James Lapine. As much as I love Pacific Overtures even I can recognise its a bit niche.
Also how depressing that someone can't hear and repeat the soaring melodies of this great composer by singing even a few bars of Send in the Clowns, Joanna, Being Alive, Losing my Mind, Broadway Baby, Good Thing Going etc.
Each to their own but the Sondheim/ALW dichotomy is so depressingly predictable.
Posted steveatplays on 07 December 2013 - 11:42 PM
Posted Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie on 08 December 2013 - 01:38 AM
Posted steveatplays on 05 December 2013 - 12:53 PM
Posted ecm on 04 December 2013 - 10:26 PM
I would personally argue that it is really well constructed. It feels like a classic tragedy, in that the seeds of the ending are sown early on, in subtle ways, and then as the piece gathers momentum towards its inevitable conclusion the world created in the first act unravels before our eyes in Act Two. This is reflected too in the score – Act One sets up the themes, Act Two tears them apart. Act One is melodic, wistful, exciting as the scenes demand, with a succession of great songs (and, to be fair, one or two that don’t quite hit the mark.) Act Two is dramatic and jagged and pits the themes against each other to thrilling result. The only really obvious ‘song’ song in Act 2 is Valerie Hobson’s number, I’m Hopeless When It Comes To You. Paplazaroo says that it would mean more if performed by a character we had spent time with and grown to care about. Personally, I think it’s all the more powerful being sung by an outsider who has no real part in the proceedings. It helps bring everything into focus – someone watching from the sidelines who is helpless and totally floored by the insane events which are unfolding before her. It adds to the sense, common to all great tragedies, that once events start to slide out of control there is no way to stop them.
In fact I think that’s the key to the whole show. It is a piece about individuals who think, rightly or wrongly, that the world is a fun and benevolent place who soon discover that all actions have consequences and that the fates can sometimes conspire to turn against us and leave us at the mercy of bitter cold winds with no real idea of why. It’s a bit like the Abba song – ‘the gods may throw a dice, their minds as cold as ice.’ In fact, that’s makes me think, the show this most reminds me of is Chess. It’s a show about somewhat self-centred but still well-meaning individuals who get caught up in power games that they don’t really understand. Like Chess it shows how the machines of power, the press and social convention can crush the individual and how personal relationships, love and friendship survive (or not) against that backdrop. The reason why I’m Hopeless When It Comes To You is almost self-defeating is because that’s the only reaction the character can have. The reason why there is no big denouement at the end, and Ward’s final number isn’t a big belter but more a confused monologue, is because he is a broken, confused man. I applaud the creators for not going for the big all-out number. From what I recall, Too Close To The Flame is much more of a character number that fits the situation perfectly. It keeps attempting to soar but always falls apart. It’s bittersweet and baffled and that makes it all the sadder. This is capped with Keeler almost calling on Ward and then backing out. It’s a beautifully judged moment of incredible poignancy – the moment that almost happens but then slips out of our grasp.
Given that Lloyd Webber is so often criticised for writing vacuous over-the-top ballads I love the way this show has the guts to stay true to the characters and situations and not give us false money notes and bland platitudes in the form of big numbers. It’s not devoid of soaring melody by any means, but it uses melody intelligently, in the way that Evita does.
Overall, I think the real reason this show works is that Lloyd Webber has finally allowed himself to concentrate on the music (he sole orchestrates here for the first time in donkeys years, which gives the score a pleasingly rock and roll/visceral aspect – it’s less glossy and ‘Disney-fied’ than we’d usually get). What’s more, he has joined forces with really good collaborators. You can tell he’s worked with an actual playwright rather than Ben Elton!) and with an experienced lyricist who understands the world of 1960s London. He’s working with a great director, too, and the result is we don’t feel like we’re being plunged into some half-baked theme park/multinational event but instead just watching a piece of theatre. The choreography is also fantastic (You’ve Never Had It so Good is one of the best production numbers I’ve seen in a long time) and the performances superb all round. You would never have believed it was a first preview – it felt spot-on to me.
I do agree that the use of the clichéd Caribbean music whenever a black character is being addressed can be seen as clunky and a bit embarrassing but I on the other hand in a sense it is justified. The point of view of the establishment, the police and so on towards the black community in the 1960s was even worse than it is now, in the sense that whilst not always overtly racist it did always tend to caricature black people as a clichéd ‘other’ and the use of this music in, for example, the police interrogation scene points this up rather neatly. So I like to believe it was done with dramatic intent!
I did find the early scene in the club where Ward meets Keeler to be the low point of the show and it’s a shame it happened so early as it didn’t get things off to the best start. The song the girls in the club are singing (a Hula-Hooping number in the style of cheap early 60s pop) may be accurate for that kind of club at that point in time but it’s still a pretty weak song. The ensuing meeting between Keeler and Ward also feels a little clunky and it’s not helped by the fact that for the first few scenes Keeler is such a petulant teenage character – again accurate dramatically but kind of off-putting for an audience.
That’s my only real negative, though. I’d say that the show may bear some passing resemblance to The Beautiful Game in its song/dialogue structure but it’s so much better handled here and the singing definitely dominates over spoken scenes. Really, it feels like something fresh and new. An intelligent, dramatic musical play made by people who are skilled at what they are doing. That’s my opinion, anyway. You may dislike it, but it certainly won’t be for the same reasons people disliked Love Never Dies!
Posted Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie on 04 December 2013 - 12:36 AM
Posted mrkringas on 19 November 2013 - 11:09 AM
The silhouette is clearly a visual cue to underline the subtext behind "You Can't Don Me" and sets up that finale.
I'm revising my earlier comment. The reveal in the finale is necessary for emotional release. Silence throughout until she utters those famous words has a powerful impact. If you had worked out earlier who she represented then its a satisfying and if its a surprise then you get a a gasp moment (there were gasps last night).
Also I readily acknowledge the progress made since the Civil Rights movement but opposition to Obama is consistently rooted in delegitimisation. Whether its questioning his birth certificate or labeling him a socialist - the reactionary right have found new ways to express their racism without resorting to the "old" explicit ways.
Still found the show to have chilling impact from the start. Mr Bones and Tambo are brilliant in those roles but can't bring myself to laugh at any of it like some did.
The boys all give such committed performances with brave choices that pay off. Really hoping it sweeps the board come Olivier time.
Posted Latecomer on 27 October 2013 - 10:34 PM
Without too much elaboration, those shows that got under my impressionable mid-teen skin and made me seek out more theatre were Branagh's Ivanov (my first Chekhov, and I've studied Chekhov since in depth so that is, in that way, really influential) and Complicite's Endgame (and meeting Mark Rylance and telling him so (and his genuinely happy and conversational responses) was one of the best nights of my life). Whether my theatrical inexperience or not played a part (and I suppose it probably did) I don't care, they were extraordinary theatre. But I've had six months of living with this from the Young Vic, and now a day living with this from Duke of York's, and this is, for me, it.
I have to agree....Ivanov was brilliant, even from the £10 high in the sky seats, and Endgame was splendid and perfectly suited to the small cramped black surroundings of the Duchess Theatre. Both have also stayed with me since and are still showing on my theatre board (I have a huge board covered in flyers and every time I add one (if it is good enough to qualify for the honour) I now cover up a previous play. But Branagh and Rylance in his wheelchair are still visible!)
Othello at the Donmar got me started on the long theatre road! Hence the name "latecomer" as was well into 40s seeing my first play! My theatre friends will testify that I am never actually late to arrive at the theatre!
Posted Latecomer on 16 October 2013 - 09:43 PM
it's very good. go.
I think this is a little unfair...if you look at Parsley's post he liked the Chicken Soup with Barley and The Kitchen, so he is hardly anti-Wesker. He just didn't like this! I value opinions on the board, so let us all say what we think without attacking us...each to their own!
Posted AnnT on 10 October 2013 - 12:16 PM
Posted Andromeda Dench on 06 September 2013 - 01:08 PM
Have you listened to Bonnie and Clyde? I think his lyrics there are sensationally good.
Good God, how embarrassing... But I must confess the truth since i really deserve the ridicule I'm in for: your mentioning Bonnie and Clyde had me so confused that I had to google Don Black's writing credits only to realise that my weirdo brain has had him confused with Richard Stilgoe ever since this musical was announced. Kill me now.
*takes her coat and signs out quietly*