tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)

October 2017

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05JUL17: Spiderman: Homecoming, Odeon Leicester Square

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16JUL17: 'The Death of Christopher Marlowe'
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19JUL17: blink-182, O2, Greenwich
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20JUL17: Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity, Leighton House Museum
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21JUL17: Der Freischutz (Weber), Blackheath Community Opera, Blackheath Halls
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22JUL17: Adventures in Moominland, Royal Festival Hall
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27JUL17: Dunkirk, Barbican Cinema
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06MAY17: Their Finest, Greenwich Picturehouse
WW2 comedy/drama/romance set in propaganda film industry.
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18MAY17: Tchaikovsky, excerpts from Swan Lake; Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto #2; Shosyakovich, Symphony #6, Cadogan Hall. Moscow Philharmonic cond. Yuri Simonov; Freddy Klempf, piano
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19MAY17: Here She Comes, By Jove, Gallery on the Corner
A feminist take on Bacchae in the form of an epic poemRead more... )

20MAY17: Snatched, Greenwich Picturehouse
"Putting the 'fun' back into 'non-refundable'." Oh, if only ... Read more... )

23MAY17: Full Circle, Theatre N16
Clytemnestra, Queen of the Damned, is in hell: so are Phaedra, Medea and Helen. Read more... )

28MAY17: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge, Odeon, Greenwich

28MAY17: Iron Maiden / Shinedown, O2, Greenwich
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31MAY17: KISS, O2, Greenwich
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12JAN17: The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus - Tony Harrison (Finborough Theatre, London)
Independent review
I liked this a lot: the theatre was very small, the action immediate and the satyrs very loud. Two British archaeologists, working in Oxyrhynchus (Egypt) in the early years of the twentieth century, become entangled with the fragments of the satyr play they've discovered amongst the endless petitions against homelessness. Bernard Grenfell also finds himself unwilling host to an angry Apollo, who wants his cows back.

Small cast, fascinating shifts of metre and rhyme, some truly funny lines and some audience participation: a powerfully moving play about (among other things) cultural elitism, archaeology versus poverty, and clog-dancing.

29JAN17: Black Sabbath: The End (O2, Greenwich)
Telegraph review
Very, very loud. My companion enjoyed this more than I did, but it was bloody good rock all the same, and though I have not kept up with Sabbath I still recognised quite a few of the songs. 'Paranoid' was fab, and the lighting and stagecraft (giant black and purple balloons! Sabbath confetti! close-ups of ageing hands playing guitar!) very effective.
04-DEC-16: Tchaikovsky - excerpts from Eugene Onegin, Swan Lake, Nutcracker: RFH
Veronika Dzhioeva, soprano, has a fantastic loud clear voice that was perfectly audible from the cheap seats behind the orchestra. Tommi Hakala, as Onegin, slid and flowed through the orchestra to face her. Jac van Steen, conducting, clearly really enjoyed the Swan Lake excerpts, which were joyous though a bit heavy on the brass/percussion. I loved the Swan Lake finale especially, and still find the Nutcracker rather tedious.

05-DEC-16: Arrival, Greenwich Picture House
A late contender for my Best Film of Year. Beautiful, understated, intelligent. I need to see this again, as it took me a while to get to grips with the non-sequentiality.

09-DEC-16: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Greenwich Picture House.
That is: yes, great CGI; Redmayne rather sweet; Twenties New York (though oddly monoracial) nicely filmed; er; that's it. Did not engage me.

11-DEC-16: Status Quo, O2
Hurrah for my lovely employers and their box at the O2! We knew nearly all the songs; were surprised by the energy and enthusiasm of the band, who played for nearly 2 hours; were, for a change, among the younger members of the audience. A good night out.

15-DEC-16: Rogue One, Barbican Cinema
Need to see this again as I was suffering from a surfeit of boozy Christmas lunch. Definitely wasn't in the right mood -- and some scenes were far too close to the news footage from Aleppo that I'd been watching that morning.

20-DEC-16: The Three Kings -- The Sixteen, Cadogan Hall
A varied selection of seasonal songs, from Palestrina and Handl (not Handel) to popular carols. I think I'd have been happier if they'd stuck to the older, more classical songs -- I enjoyed the Palestrina most, either because of the Latin (not listening to words helps me focus on music) or because of the harmonies. Also, could have done with knowing the year of composition of each piece, to build up a relative chronology.

The Sixteen were on excellent form: the phrase 'ceasing never' in 'We Three Kings' felt like a doom in and of itself. Warlock's 'Bethlehem Down' had, for me, a distinctly modern feel, with sprung rhythm and grace-notes in the bass line. And Anerio's Magnificat -- written in 1614, apparently, so my note 'earlier than Bach?' is accurate -- was a delight: echoes of the Coventry Carol and of Pergolesi.
First came Nine Worlds: love the new venue (Hammersmith Novotel) and felt much less frazzled than in previous years. My Historical Headcanon (concerning Christopher Marlowe) seemed well-received and I was on a couple of interesting panels about historical fiction, fanfiction, writing, etc.

Then to Edinburgh to skew my monthly averages for various types of Culture. I like the shorter-than-usual performances (they averaged an hour): leaves plenty of time for climbing the hills of which Edinburgh is composed, and pausing for refreshment at each summit.
theatre, gigs, circus, literary stuff, opera, comedy )

(no subject)

Jun. 7th, 2016 07:24 am
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
07-MAY-16: Fred's House -- The Junction, Cambridge

What an excellent gig! Full of verve, nice Seventies vibe, exuberant singer and good songs. Plus, although it was technically a standing-only gig, we got there early enough to get seats.

11-MAY-16: Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera House

M had a spare ticket, hurrah! This was the Katie Mitchell production that sparked outrage due to explicit sex: I don't know if they'd toned it down by the time we saw it, or if we just didn't notice the worst bits. (We were off to the left of the ROH: the production is 'split-screen', with different action on the left and the right of the stage, and we didn't have a good view of the left half.) The production does highlight the sexual politics and the misogyny -- Lucia's 'wedding feast' is a pool game, not a woman in sight. Blood everywhere, too. But the music is sublime and often cheery. Marvellous singing, especially from Aleksandra Kurzak as Lucia and Artur RuciƄski as Enrico.

21-MAY-16: London Choral Sinfonia; Haydn, War and Peace -- Cadogan Hall

Haydn's Masses have become some of my favourite choral music. The London Choral Sinfonia gave us Salve Regina, Te Deum and the Nelson Mass: they started with a shorter piece I had not heard before, Insanae et vanae curae, which was fantastic. Interestingly, the choir includes male altos -- not something I remember seeing before. Will definitely look out for more concerts by this group.

25-MAY-16: Justina Robson interview, BSFA -- Artillery Arms

Interviewed by Kate Keen, who asked plenty of pertinent questions and got interesting responses. JR's recurring theme: 'dead people in your head'. And her apology: 'I naturally complicate things'. An offhand comment provoked me to find and reread Andre Norton's The Jargoon Pard; I also learnt that JR was inspired by Holdstock's Lavondyss -- communal tales, big ideas. Plus some commentary about Glorious Angels, her latest, which I loved.
02-JAN - Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky), Royal Opera House -- a Christmas present from [ profile] ladymoonray. Like any good production, this made me notice aspects of the opera that I hadn't spotted before: the melodramatic music of Onegin's first appearance (a visitor is such an event!); the Offenbach vibe of the Frenchman's song; Tatiana's friends talking about Samuel Richardson. And this production is gorgeous: shades of blue-grey-aqua for everyone except Tatiana, who's in crimson and white. Having a younger version of Onegin, dancing, didn't work for me, but I can see how it illuminated the story.

07-JAN - As You Like It (Shakespeare), National Theatre -- a friend had a spare ticket. I loved the transformation of techie office space into forest: truly arresting. The sheep were fun, too, and Rosalind (Rosalie Craig) was excellent.

14-JAN - Celts: Art and Identity, British Museum. Celtic art is a broad category, extending from decorations on shields and swords to Mackintosh and 'Ossian'. I was taken by The Druids: Bringing in the Mistletoe (George Henry, 1890) until I got closer and realised that the Druids had Native American features. Also, could really have done without the dreamy tinkly New Age music playing throughout.

28-JAN - Sibelius/Martinsson/Sibelius: Philharmonia cond. Rouvali, Royal Festival Hall Rouvali clearly loves Sibelius -- he was a joy to watch, and brought so much energy (and sharp exhalations of breath) to 'Night Ride and Sunrise' and the Second Symphony. Exuberant! Kudos to the Philharmonia -- as usual -- but especially for the perfect union of bass pizzicato at the beginning of the second movement of Second Symphony. ... There was also a Trumpet Concerto, which I did not care for though it was very well executed. More of an argument between orchestra and instrument than a conversation ...

30-JAN - Libertines, O2 -- a.k.a. 'my friend's cousin's band'. Attended with 2 teenagers, who were excellent company. I find I like earlier Libertines best, and have little patience for the celebrity-hungry afterpartiers. Bass was waaaaaay too high on Sleaford Mods (support); Libertines good, energetic and engaged; crowd-watching fun.
A summary review, because (a) September has been extraordinarily busy (b) I've lost a notebook (c) inertia.

Medea, Olivier Theatre, 2-Sep-14
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Mitch Benn, Junction, 5-Sep-14
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Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo, 13-Sep-14
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Unthanks with Sam Lee, Barbican, 18-Sep-14
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Julius Caesar, Globe, 20-Sep-14
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Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts, RFH, 25-Sep-14
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Looking back, I note that the majority of these events were not exactly cheerful. A tragedy, a requiem, a remembrance, another tragedy. Thank heavens for Mitch Benn, and especially Kate Bush.
Last Friday I was lured to the Junction, round the corner, by [ profile] groliffe and C and C's friend C2, to see Show of Hands with Miranda Sykes, supported by Rodney Branigan. Branigan was funny and impressive (played a duet with himself, no mean feat on acoustic guitars: also managed a drum solo without any drums). Show of Hands were rivetting -- I found this folk gig more ... inclusive? ... than many rock gigs, more of a sense of camaraderie with audience.

Last Saturday I traipsed around the National Gallery with [ profile] ladymoonray, then met up with [ profile] swisstone (standing in for a poorly [ profile] ms_cataclysm) and headed to the ENO for Terry Gilliam's production of Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust. I'd been looking forward to this, and the production -- transposed to Nazi Germany -- was visually arresting and beautifully lit, with stunning use of video, interesting staging etc: but it just didn't engage me for some reason.

Yesterday Wednesday I was back in London, at the IMAX with [ profile] ladymoonray, for Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides. Immensely enjoyable and considerably better than the previous two films (though still managed a few slow bits): it felt a lot more like the first one, with which I fell in love. Much of the soundtrack was based on that of the first film. Penelope Cruz was very good as Tough Girlie. It's a long time since I read the Powers novel which this claims to have been 'suggested by': there were moments when I felt as though Powers had plundered (pillaged, rifled, looted) Declare as well as On Stranger Tides.

There's a Geoffrey Rush interview in the Torygraph, in which he was asked "how do you resist the temptation to slip into high camp when acting alongside Depp?"

The truthful answer to this is, as far as I can tell, "I don't."

1. On Wednesday, [ profile] ladymoonray lured me to Islington to see Semi Precious Weapons at the O2 Academy. They were fun, and I bounced a bit and did a lot of people-watching. (Including Surprise!Lady Gaga, who is apparently a friend of the band). Was very pleased to see someone wearing a Ramones t-shirt since Ramones / Hanoi Rocks was very much the flavour du jour ... It was slightly odd to be queuing with loads of old beer-bellied blokes, but they turned out to be seeing From The Jam in the main Academy.

2. On Thursday, [ profile] beckyc and [ profile] bugshaw and self ventured 'round the corner to Cineworld to see The Tourist, because an evening spent watching Johnny Depp is never wasted. Angelina Jolie's face still seems caricatured to me. Depp was glorious -- a subtle performance, though [ profile] beckyc and I occasionally caught glimpses of his inner pirate (Eeee!) Paul Bettany was excellent as profoundly frustrated Inspector Acheson: Timothy Dalton rocked as Chief Inspector Jones. The plot -- which felt rather like one of those light-hearted Sixties crime movies -- went silly at the end (actually, not just at the end). Fun.
Executive Summary: YAY!!!

This was one of the most cheerful, bouncy and enjoyed gigs I've been to for ages -- a real sense of everyone getting into it and having a fabulous time. We were up in the circle, sitting down like old people (I don't have the stamina to stand up for three hours, let alone bounce around as I'd have liked) but had an excellent view. Tom Meighan has great presence, and rarer, elegance: I could watch him all night. Oh, wait ... Light show fab and not reliant on coloured spot + dry ice -- I liked the neon tubes and the geometry.

True, at one point (with behatted guitarist and jangly tambourine) they were channelling their inner folk band: but on the whole they sounded more rock, less trance, than on (particularly) the first album. Very together, too.

setlist )
Luckily the new album -- out June 8th -- is on preorder.

More write-up of Grand Day Out in Brighton later.