Monday 6 March 2017

Some classic drama, some Shakespeare infused comedic theatre, a touch of street art and some live music...

27th February - March 5th 2017

A theatre-centric week this week with a bit of art and music thrown in for good measure, so on with the show...

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

So Mondays excursion into theatreland was to the Harold Pinter Theatre, just off of the Haymarket. We were here most recently for 'Nice Fish' with Mark Rylance, and before that for 'Sunny Afternoons', although the theatre is back to it's traditional configuration now. Luckily we had also managed to score a couple of proper bargains with £10 fourth row stalls tickets, sold as restricted view/legroom, although this just amounted to not being able to see the very back right hand corner of the stage, (not a problem as nothing happens there anyway, and the restricted legroom is just a column immediately adjacent the aisle seat which causes no issues either). For a play like this which relies so heavily on the performers, seeing them up close really enhances the experience.

There's been a bit of a buzz recently about this play too, as emails have been sent out to ticket holders informing them that food is forbidden to be consumed during the performance, and that late comers will not be admitted until the interval or the extended scene break between acts two and three, (why this is a problem I don't know as quite frankly this should be the rule in all theatres all the time, we've experienced enough bad audience behaviour to back this wholeheartedly!).

The play itself is around three and a quarter hours including the interval proper and mini break, however it never drags and holds the attention superbly.

Having not seen the play before or the movie, a brief read of the synopsis so as not to spoil anything was all we had. It's basically played out over an evening and centres on a middle-aged couple, Martha and George, (Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill) who invite a younger couple, Nick and Honey, (Luke Treadaway and Imogen Poots), over for drinks who are new to the university they work/live at, and examines the breakdown of their marriage throughout the evening which also draws in the younger couple and examines their seemingly idyllic relationship also.

This sounds a little heavy going we grant you, and can be, but there is a rich vein of black humour running throughout it all and the crackling script is delivered with aplomb by the whole cast, particularly Staunton and Hill who absolute shine in what can only be considered a masterclass in theatre.

The whole story line builds in tension and drama towards it's big climax which leaves you both emotionally drained but also sympathetic towards the characters and the journey we've taken with them.

This was a preview performance but it was performed impeccably and just proved what seasoned professionals the cast are.

It's on until the 27th of May, and really shouldn't be missed.

The Harold Pinter Theatre...

The fantastic cast of four...

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Our second theatre outing of the week was to The Old Vic for the revival of Tom Stoppard's 'Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead', another bargain-licious night out as we had scored some of the PwC £10 tickets as this was one of the first five previews, so we had some great seats in row J of the stalls.

Again this is one we haven't seen before, (although Miss Culture studied it in drama darling...).

Described as an 'absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy' this could put some off! It's based around two minor characters from Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' and expands on the characters through seeing them in the scenes within 'Hamlet' and then what happens to them when not in that story line but 'in the wings' as such, however without any knowledge as to what's going on between their appearances as they have not story line written for them so they are left in a kind of limbo state.

It's quite confusing to try and describe and makes more sense when seen played out, although a knowledge of 'Hamlet' is probably quite important too as it helps keep up with what is playing out in the Shakespeare story line and how things are progressing.

This is quite a high profile revival due to the involvement of Daniel Radcliffe which has drawn in the Harry Potter crowds, which will hopefully be a good thing and get some younger audiences into the theatre.

Along with Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire makes up the lead duo, (we'd previously seen McGuire in 'Privacy' at the Donmar and 'Future Coneditional' at The Old Vic), and once again he was fantastic, providing the majority of the sarcasm and laughs. Radcliffe was also impressive playing the more clueless of the pair, although proved his comedy and acting chops too.

Although the play was stolen in our view by David Haig as The Player, who's exuberant and animated performance stole every scene he was in.

There are lots of laughs which come pretty steadily throughout, although as stated before if Shakespeare and the willingness to embrace the existential nature isn't your thing it could be a little hard going.

The lovely artwork for the show...

However if all this sounds like it floats your boat it well worth catching, although it won't be for everyone.

It's on until the 29th of April, but tickets are selling pretty quick so be fast.

D*Face VNA Ltd Edition Launch

Miss C was out on Thursday night doing some wedding planning related activities so on my way to a gig I stopped by the launch of the limited edition of the latest issue of Very Nearly Almost magazine, featuring street artist D*Face as the cover star, (you may recognise his work from the latest blink182 album cover).

I've purchased the magazine before but haven't attended a launch, however I was keen to get my hands on one of the 150 copies available with screen printed cover and print.

It was being held at D*Face's biker cafe, Rebels Alliance just off of Brick Lane and basically involved joining a queue of other fans, (and some inevitable 'flippers' hoping to buy a copy then flip for a massive profit on eBay).

A D*Face piece outside the cafe...

A D*Face Marilyn Monroe canvas with the iconic wings...

The limited edition in all it's glory...

Anywho, I managed to get one eventually, and didn't have to queue all afternoon like some people did apparently, and thought I'd bring his work to your attention if you like that kind of thing. Enjoy.

Charlotte Carpenter

So after my little detour to Shoreditch, it was on to Dalston and The Victoria pub/venue to see a show by a great singer/songwriter Charlotte Carpenter.

She's released a few EPs up until now, which can be found on the usual places for streaming/buying, my particular favourite being 'How Are We Ever To Know?' from last year.

The Victoria itself is quite a nice chilled venue, a pub in the front and the music is in a room in the back with a stage, quite intimate which was perfect for this type of music and the sound was pretty good too.

Charlotte herself, backed by her band comprising a guitarist and drummer, who also provided some backing vocals, was pretty darn great.

Her delicate but soulful voice compliments the bluesy, stripped back sound which allows the lyrics to shine, but always coupled with a nice memorable harmony.

Charlotte bathed by the pinky lighting...

However that's not to say she doesn't have more up tempo tunes, such as 'Electric' and 'Fire', which showcased a little Fiona Apple in her voice, but all the while showcasing a sound which deserves to be heard and celebrated.

A captivating stage presence...

The more delicate songs also allowed Carpenter to showcase her vulnerability and knack for an affecting story within her songs, such as 'Lately' and 'Contracts'.

Strong songs coupled with a beautiful voice meant the whole gig was captivating and shows that she's a talent to watch out for.

Check the link at the top of the page for more info.

That's it for this week, but next time we'll have some cult theatre, some art and more live music. Until then, get inspired...

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