Wednesday 24 May 2017

Some fantastic theatrical drama, comedy and music, plus some live music from a 70s legend's new project...

15th May - 21st May 2017

Those Pretty Wrongs - Thousand Island (Previously Upstairs At The Garage)

Unfortunately we were unable to get to a couple of our planned exploits due to 'circumstances beyond our control', however there was till plenty to enjoy, so...

Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour

To read the description of this play, it may sound a little bizarre...

A group of Scottish Catholic school girls take a school trip to Edinburgh to take part in a choir competition, however they plan to sneak out and explore the nightlife whilst there, involving many strange characters, lots of alcohol, sex and much hilarious profanity, all performed by six hugely talented actresses who play all the roles... Oh and are prone to break into pop songs, mainly by ELO throughout, backed by a three piece band...

Trust us though, it's brilliant...

We had front row tickets in the upper circle and as the Duke of York's Theatre is quite small they were great, you could all the stage and never felt too far away from the action, bargain priced too!

The action plays out on a single set, which comprises a dance floor type area with a stage at the back, which the band inhabit and is sometimes used by the cast, and there is on stage seating available for some audience members at the sides at bar tables.

Although there's singing and songs in the show it's not really a musical, more a play with some songs, and great songs at that. The six girls' voices complement each other very well and the harmonies are superb.

The chemistry between the cast is also evident, you really get the sense of camaraderie between them and they interactions are very natural and just as you'd expect some teenage girls to be, with plenty of crude language and talk about sex and drinking. That's not to say there isn't any drama too, as the characters back stories are explored and it all adds to the richness of the piece as the various lots in life that the girls have been dealt shape their attitudes, behaviours and interactions with each other.

It runs about one hour and forty five minutes with no interval but flies by.

It's overall a touching, frequently hilarious and uplifting evening and well worth seeing, breathing a breath of fresh air into the current theatre landscape. It's on until the 2nd of September.

The Play That Goes Wrong

On Thursday night we decided to take in a play that's been on for several months in the West End now, but we'd never got round to seeing.

Having heard comparisons to 'The 39 Steps' which resided at the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus, (currently home to 'Comedy About A Bank Robbery' by the same theatre group as this show), and it's madcap brand of slapstick farcical comedy we were intrigued, as we'd really enjoyed that one.

One of the signs outside the theatre...

This show was at the Duchess Theatre just off Strand, another of the older London theatres which still has a lot of the original features, including the box seats we'd booked for the performance, which were at the back of the circle, however not being a large theatre meant it didn't impede the view at all.

The show kind of starts before it actually starts with 'stage hands' trying to get the set ready with a variety of mishaps and disasters occurring, which at one point involved a member of the audience to be roped in to help much to their dismay!

The premise of the play is that it is a amateur dramatic performance of an Agatha Christie style murder mystery, however cast tensions, hammy acting and a death trap of a set all conspire to make the production a disaster from the off, which just snowballs...

The physical comedy is as much a part of proceedings as the verbal exchanges and it's all executed with gusto by all concerned, in the fine tradition of British stiff upper-lip-ness and carrying on regardless...

If things like 'Fawlty Towers' or 'One Man Two Guvnors' and slapstick comedy floats your boat then you'll get a kick out of this, we do so found it very entertaining.

Those Pretty Wrongs

So on Friday night we headed over to Islington and the newly refurbished Upstairs At The Garage, now known as Thousand Island, (after a cracking dinner at Meat Liquor down the road), to see ex-Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and singer-songwriter/producer Luther Russell in their latest project Those Pretty Wrongs.

The support for this show was by Ned Roberts a British folk singer who p[layed a quite captivating set, and we'll definitely be checking out his stuff in due course.

Although the debut album has a full band sound, these shows are just Stephens and Russell on vocals, with Russell playing acoustic guitar, however the quality of the songs and performance mean that in a way these are the perfect showcase for the material.

During Stephens' time in Big Star he obviously showed he had a knack for harmonies and his songwriting contributions were always strong, something he again showed during the Big Star reunion era and in his brief time with Golden Smog, (a 'supergroup' featuring members of Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks and Wilco to name but a few). In fact they even played a Golden Smog song at this show, for those that care, yeah I know, pretty awesome...

The bulk of the show was a performance of the whole of the album in order, plus the b-side to their initial 7" release, they also squeezed in an Andy Hummel song, (another member of Big Star), and some Big Star tunes too, in fact they played both of Mr C's favourites, 'Ballad Of El Goodo' and the superb 'Thirteen', (Roberts joined in on Harmonica and vocals for the last couple of songs which was great).

Particular stand outs from the album are the tracks 'Lucky Guy', 'Thrown Away' and 'Never Goodbye', and hearing them live with Jody Stephens' emotive vocals and Luther Russell's backing was a real treat.

We even got to meet them and got a copy of the album signed.

Next week sees a smattering of film talk and some live music, till then, get inspired...

No comments:

Post a Comment