Sunday 4 December 2016

A double bill of events inspired by the movies, some live music, a play and Gremlins...

27th November 2016 - 3rd December 2016

Activities :

How best to spend our 3 1/2 year anniversary of meeting/1 year anniversary of our engagement? How about a live interview and Q & A with a previous James Bond and then a premiere screening of a Hitchcock classic accompanied by a live orchestra? Sounds good to us...

An Afternoon with Sir Roger Moore

So first up was An Afternoon with Sir Roger Moore at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, a nice venue where we've attended talks and performances in the past so we were familiar with the layout and what to expect, and being aware of Roger's reputation for story telling coupled with his trademark Bond-ian wit we were primed for what was a great 90 minutes.

The interviewer Gareth Owens has a good rapport with Moore and was obviously knowledgeable about his career having helped him write an autobiography so was a good choice, he kept the conversation focused and flowing, which especially helped during the audience Q & A section.

Moore's stories of how he ended up starring in The Saint and The Persuaders, plus his experiences with his co-stars ranging from Tony Curtis to Donald Sutherland were all delivered with fondness and humour. When pressed on his experience of working with Grace Jones on A View To A Kill, he would only offer 'My mother always told me, if you can't say something nice about somebody then don't say anything...'.

Reminiscing about past co-stars...

Once again, as is the experience at many talks we've been to the audience Q & A throws up at least one person who shouldn't be allowed near a microphone, in this instance a guy who felt the need to tell everyone he'd just driven from Monte Carlo in his Volvo P1800 and then proceeded to ask if Roger Moore would sign his replica of the car, however to Owens credit he immediately shut him down and moved the conversation on.

The legend in full flow...

He ended with a little bit about worthy UNICEF work and closed by delivering a heartfelt monologue relaying some of the last advice given by his friend Audrey Hepburn to her children regarding her passion for the work UNICEF carries out.

To rapturous, and well deserved applause he left the stage. Overall this was a fantastic opportunity to witness a true great, clearly in his element, doing what he's always done best, entertain his audience. Superb.

North By Northwest Live

After a spot of dinner we then headed over to the London Coliseum in Covent Garden, home of the English National Opera, (the ENO), and the largest theatre in the West End for the premiere of a screening of Alfred Hitchcock's action packed, comedic spy caper North By Northwest with the Bernard Herrmann's iconic score being performed live by the ENO orchestra.

Jaime is thinking about taking up thumb modelling...

Having just had a mini refurbishment the Coliseum is a lovely old theatre with impressive architecture and artistic features and is the perfect venue for listening to live orchestral performances as it sounds great and the ENO orchestra are phenomenal.

Herrmann's estate have only recently allowed projects of this ilk to go ahead, (Psycho is being performed at the Royal Festival Hall in June too, we have our tickets...), so as a Hitchcock obsessive this was essential. The movie however is also one of Hitchcock's most accessible, with faultless performances from Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, keeping the action moving breathlessly along.

Saint provided a video introduction especially for this production, recounting a few anecdotes about working on the film which was a nice bonus and then the show began...

A pre-show shot of the stage and orchestra pit...

And what a show, the cues were spot on, the sound was crystal clear and as ever it's a treat seeing a Hitchcock picture projected, (Jaime's third time for this particular one), just fantastic. This film never disappoints.

Even a slight fracas between a couple of audience members, caused by somebody talking couldn't detract from the night.

Having seen a couple of other films presented this way for the first time this year, Independence Day and Aliens at the Royal Albert Hall and 2001 : A Space Odyssey at the Royal Festival Hall we can wholeheartedly recommend experiencing a screening of a film in this way, truly something special. 

Overall a great day, a couple of related but very different experiences, but a joy nonetheless. Roll on the 4 year anniversary!!

The Lemon Twigs

After a night off on Monday it was the much looked forward to gig by The Lemon Twigs at the intimate, original, but ultimately curious MOTH club in Hackney, which is a bit of pain to get to but was well worth it for this show. The venue was part of a working men's type club and the back function room had been converted with some gold glitter ceilings and tinsel curtains on stage, however the original trophies and club awards were still adorning the walls which was a nice touch! We liked the warning about kids on the dance floor and the photo booth provided a nice diversion during the support act Goat Girl. Their music wasn't without it's charms but the vocals and overall demeanour wasn't our cup of tea.

Glitter ceilings and kid control...

Old school photo booth...

The Lemon Twigs however were amazing. Their album 'Do Hollywood' is definitely our album of the year, and their single 'These Words' single of the year. With a sound which recalls 10cc, ELO, The Beatles, Bowie, The Cars to name but a few and perfect harmonies, they pulled off their songs amazingly, notably on the album they play everything.

Getting ready to start the show...

Oh yeah, they can also play the keyboards...

Roles reversed for the second half...

The band is mainly the D'Addario brothers who share drumming and vocal/guitar duties playing half the show on each instrument and are backed by a keyboard player and bass player, however they sound more like a 6 piece band as the songs are so complex and orchestrated, and the opportunity to see them in such a small venue was awesome. They're next over to play Koko in March, and our tickets are already booked.

Nice Fish

Friday night's entertainment was the surreal comedy Nice Fish at the Harold Pinter Theatre just off of Leicester Square and saw the return to the West End of Mark Rylance, fresh from his Oscar win for Bridge Of Spies.

It's based on poetry by Louis Jenkins, and was written by Rylance and Jenkins as a series of scenes based on and built around various passages, set around an ice fishing hole and mainly performed by two fisherman friends, however a couple of other characters, (maybe imagined, maybe real), also show up to add extra dimensions.

The stage design was brilliant depicting an icy landscape and was enhanced with puppetry and models to create depth and atmosphere which were brilliant.

The performances were great all round, and although sometimes the narrative, (of which there wasn't really one to be honest, although that's intended), was unclear it was still entertaining and quite whimsical for it's short 90 minute run time without an interval, which also meant it didn't outstay its welcome and kept the audience's attention.

Honestly Rylance could read a phone book and it would be interesting to we so were entertained, however don't go expecting a riotous mainstream comedy which the posters and review quotes may suggest, it's definitely a show which is best to let wash over you and feel the atmosphere as well as the performances. It's just extended it's run for a few more weeks until the 11th of February, we had £15 tickets in the centre of the Royal Circle which were good value as the theatre itself is quite small so the action was all visible and not too distant.

Gremlins with Zach Galligan Live

Finally our week was rounded off by a visit to the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square for the now annual 70mm presentation of Gremlins with live appearance by it's star Zach Galligan who is on hand to sign stuff, take photos and give a quick Q & A before the film.

70mm. we know, geeky...

Zach and Gizmo, just look how happy we are!!...

Just a reminder that it's a Christmas movie...

Zach was great, very gracious when meeting the fans and his engaging and entertaining when giving the Q & A, his lack of roles since Gremlins 2 is criminal and he spoke a little about Gremlins 3 being in the pipeline, but his involvement is unknown as of yet.

Then on to the film, replete with scratches and pops just like when we used to frequent the cinema as kids its was great, the film still holds up and provides a slightly darker Christmas tale, full of laughs and mild horror, however the kids in the audience lapped it up, (that includes us). The animatronics and puppetry is also still full of charm and actually pretty advanced for the time, CGI would be a travesty!

The Prince Charles Cinema itself is also a great independent picture house which shows plenty of smaller releases and reruns classics of all descriptions, from documentaries to 80s action classics, well worth supporting, the prices are pretty good too for central London and it has a bar.

Our first Christmas film of the year, but what a film to start with!!

Roll on next week with some Bowie and a festive Christmas show!

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