I have just one favourite for today but it’s a really good one. I love a good version of The Circle of Life and this one done by the cast of The Lion King with the London Gay Men’s Chorus in celebration of this weekend’s London Pride is utterly brilliant!
I’ve been thinking about musicals a bit today. Mid afternoon I suddenly remembered that tickets had gone on sale for the tour of The Band – the new musical that features songs by Take That and includes the boyband put together on Let It Shine on the BBC. I logged on and managed to get tickets for me and my mom to see it next year in Birmingham.
While I was there I checked on the availability of tickets for the touring production of The Addams Family this summer. I found out about it when Carrie Hope Fletcher announced she was going to be playing Wednesday in this production. Before that I hadn’t actually heard of the show but a friend who knows plenty about musical theatre speaks highly of the score, and has assured my meagre knowledge of the screen versions of The Addams Family won’t be an issue. I’m still deciding between dates but am glad to see I’ll be able to get sorted with a ticket for it.
A couple of months ago Carrie posted this video, an updated version of her singing Pulled from the show (apparently there’s an older version too on her channel). Based on this I’m really looking forward to seeing her Wednesday on stage.
Last night I went to see Aladdin with my friend Gemma. It was our birthday present to each other, and I have to say I think we chose a very good gift!
When Aladdin first opened on Broadway I was intrigued by how they would have translated it to the stage, I’d seen and enjoyed Beauty and the Beast so hoped that Aladdin would get a West End transfer at some point. Last year it arrived, and while I haven’t heard as much about it as I’d expected to what I have heard has been positive.
We had really good seats, about halfway back in the dress circle and off to one side. They’d been labelled as potentially having a restricted view but we could see absolutely everything – even heads in front of us didn’t cause any problem, I’m pretty short so this is always a risk.
It was good that our view was unrestricted as there’s plenty to see. The show is bright, colourful and just brilliant fun. There are a few changes to the film that make some of the trickier parts to imagine translated much easier to put on the stage. The absolute highlight of the show was Trevor Dion Nicholas as the Genie. It must be so daunting to take on a role that was so brilliantly created by Robin Williams in the original movie, and it was great to see the little ways that the part had been tweaked to allow it to stand separate. Virtually all of my favourite moments came from the Genie.
I don’t want to talk about my favourite bits – I appreciated the fact I hadn’t heard and read anything about the staging so I don’t want to in turn spoil anything for anyone who is going to go and see it. And you really should be thinking about it.
I’ll leave you with this, the Broadway casts of The Lion King and Aladdin performing some of each other’s songs.
A quick post today, I’m off for dinner tonight with friends so am putting this together on my lunch break. The last couple of days have been filled with theatre excitement, yesterday we got tickets for Hamilton in London and today we’ve got tickets to see Aladdin. Two musicals I’m so excited to see, I’ve got to wait until December for Hamilton but Aladdin is only a couple of weeks ago.
In honour of this theatrical excitement I thought I’d share a video I’ve recently been watching and loving – James Corden and Neil Patrick Harris in a Broadway riff-off.
I’ve not been blogging much for the last couple of weeks partly because I’ve been really busy with uni work and Beavers, and partly because I’ve been in a pretty introspective, navel gazing type of mood – and that does not make for interesting blog posts.
There’s a lot of change going on in my life at the moment, and I’ve been doing some hard thinking about what I want to be doing with my life in both the short and long term and what I need to do in order to get to where I want to be. I find I can’t think about the future too much without the brilliant When I Grow Up from the stage version of Matilda jumping into my head. Its mention of eating sweets made it an instant favourite of mine, but a lot of the other lyrics are pretty spot on too. Why not give it a listen and see what you think?
In yesterday’s post I explained how I was planning on spending my day in Stratford. The shopping was decent, though my role in it was purely one of encouragement with a bit of window shopping as we went (I’m so ready to find someone willing to employ me in a full time role so I have money for nice things).
The Mop Fair it turns out is simply a large funfair that takes over a number of the town centre streets. It is incredibly noisy, blocks the view from the street so it’s hard to spot where the shop you’re looking for is, and seemed to be causing lots of disruption for little gain – with the exception of a few children’s rides and the dodgems we didn’t really see anyone taking advantage of the rides on offer.
The whole reason for going to Stratford was to see Richard II at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Last night was the last of three preview nights and it was an almost entirely packed out theatre. We sat in the circle for the first time, having previously watched a few productions from the stalls. It was also the first time we’d sat on the side, we were actually in the seats closest to the stage – for some sequences they used a gantry that ran from the side of us across the stage to the other side of the audience giving us one of the best views in the house.
The cast was, in general, strong with new and experienced company members alike. Sadly the actor playing the somewhat pivotal role of Bolingbroke was not as strong as the rest of the cast, this proved quite a disappointment. David Tennant in the role of Richard II did however completely satisfy, having previously seen him as Hamlet and Benedick we had been looking forward to seeing him in another Shakespearean role. His take was entirely convincing and provided a really nice contrast to Ben Whishaw’s BAFTA winning performance in last year’s The Hollow Crown season.
The whole day was lovely, and punctuated by regular stops for delicious food. A very nice way to spend a Saturday.
One of the things I love about the Internet is that sense of serendipity you get when over a short period of time you read different things in different places by different people and they all link together and build on each other.
Yesterday I read this article from The Stage about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time holding a “relaxed performance” this summer, geared up to meeting the needs of families with children with autistic spectrum conditions, and other sensory difficulties. This sounded like such a brilliant idea to me, and just knowing it existed made me happy. When I tweeted a link to the article a friend told me more about the project, currently in its pilot phase. I did a bit of searching and read more about the various theatres that are taking part in it.
This lunchtime I saw another friend tweet a link to this blogpost from Through Accepting Limits blog. This is a post by a parent of a child on the autistic spectrum about their family trip to see an autism-friendly performance of The Lion King. It’s a wonderful, moving read, and to me it just perfectly finished my experience discovering one way theatres are working to become more accessible.
I know it’s Wednesday and technically a bit late to be talking about the weekend, but my weekend didn’t end until Monday so here I am today.
This weekend I went to London with my mom, my friend Emma and her mum. We met up and spent most of Saturday in theatres, first watching Matilda and then The Audience.
Emma and I saw Matilda last summer and both fell in love with it instantly. It’s a lovely retelling of the Roald Dahl book, Tim Minchin’s songs are brilliant and the children are all excellent. As we were walking out of the theatre we knew that it was going to be a great show to take our mothers to see – we loved it and surely they would too. Interestingly when the four of us chatted about it over dinner afterwards, neither of them enjoyed it to start with but as the show progressed they did see what we’d seen in it and did really enjoy it.
The Audience appealed to all four of us, we all have a strong interest in politics and so a play about the Queen’s weekly audiences with the prime minister sounded right up our streets. Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth was excellent, as were the various actors playing prime ministers – there were a couple who seemed like slightly odd casting until we saw them appear and realised how good they were. The play is really interesting, witty and at times most poignant – it exceeded my high expectations.
After a delicious brunch at Brown’s on Sunday we all parted company and I went to visit lovely friends Liz and Mark. Thanks to the very nice weather we had delicious BBQ cooked by Mark, and Liz had baked a very tasty gluten free carrot cake. There was lots of chat about books and writing, and we watched Chronicle and John Carter both of which I really enjoyed. A perfect ending to the weekend.
On Saturday I went to watch our local Gang Show. I’d been to watch them when I was younger, though when I was at the age I’d have enjoyed taking part they had a break from running them. We’d had the promotional material to encourage our Beavers to go and take part (the Beavers and Rainbows as the youngest cast members take part in the first half only) but for a variety of reasons none of our boys had taken the opportunity.
It was a thoroughly nice way to spend an afternoon. The show contained a mixture of musical numbers, a few dance numbers and some brief comedy sketches. I know that previously the shows have contained more acting and comedy, but the combination of writers and performers available meant this wasn’t to be.
I loved the mixture of the contemporary items such as a Lady Gaga routine, Fun’s We Are Young and of course a couple of Gagnam Style moments with some more traditional items including songs from the shows, a themed section featuring Tulips from Amsterdam and A Windmill In Old Amsterdam and of course the gang show staple Crest of a Wave.
This weekend was pretty busy, with a cinema trip and two theatre visits, all for completely different things and all utterly brilliant in their own way.
For starters came Lincoln. Whilst I enjoy films I have a huge number of gaps in my film knowledge / experiences, so this was my first ever experience of seeing Daniel Day Lewis in a film. I was very, very impressed by him and by the film overall. I hadn’t read much about the film but had seen mentions of “Sorkin-esque moments” – having finished watching The West Wing last week I was thrilled by the similarities between the two, I hadn’t expected the film to focus so strongly on the political machinations of passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The story the film tells is hugely interesting and I was impressed by the way I was still tense and fretting over the vote even when I knew the outcome.
The middle piece of weekend entertainment was the local pantomime put on by the Monday Night Group. They put on a panto every year and raise thousands of pounds for local community groups. The show was very entertaining, it was a little odd seeing people I’d been at school with and not seen for more than 10 years appearing on stage, but they were all very good. The panto was Jack and the Beanstalk, they put in lots of modern twists and references and had more audience participation than I can remember seeing at any other pantomime. There were plenty of youth groups in the audience meaning the laughs were loud and long – everyone left having had a brilliant time.
Last but by no means least was a trip into Birmingham to see the 40th anniversary tour of The Rocky Horror Show. I’d seen the film many years ago but never seen the stage show, whilst I was really looking forward to seeing it a small part of me was also wondering what the experience would be like. We didn’t dress up, the combination of it being a matinee (albeit one that started at 5.30pm) and the middle of winter made the idea of costumes unappealing – having now seen the audience and the wide variety of costumes we will definitely give it a go next time, though we will also choose a performance in the summer! The show was brilliant, every member of the cast was excellent, and the audience was an absolute hoot. I had no idea about the level of audience participation – when the whole place joined in with The Usherette singing Science Fiction / Double Feature it was a bit of a surprise, so when they all joined in with the dialogue it was a real surprise. The high level of interactivity meant that it was one of the funniest theatre experiences I’ve ever had.
I think this is one of the most varied weekends I’ve had in quite a while. Next weekend has some range to its plans already but I don’t think it’s going to match this one!