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  1. Follies

    Good question Fonty and I have been brooding on how to answer. It certainly isn't a matter of comparing with a long ago memory: without checking I couldn't tell you how often I have seen this show before, or even how many separate productions, my memory isn't up even to that never mind nuances. No, my puzzle is rather whether, despite a cast I (mostly) admire and a truly magnificent staging, with great response from much of the audience, whether it was actually just me; or this production; or possibly, this work itself, so relentlessly clever and so insistently inauthentic (every number is a different parody of a different kind of era/author). Or even just something apparently insignificant, like they should have kept it with an interval rather than doing it straight through so it got a bit wearying You will certainly have an excellent evening, and I very much hope you are in the category of jumping-up-at-the-end-and-cheering: it is such an expensive show to mount, I doubt whether we will have it back in London again for a long time!
  2. Interesting question. But any chance of changing the subject line to something like: "Matthew Bourne: Red shoes vs Sleeping Beauty"? I clicked on this in some confusion!
  3. Who's the child? Where did they find such a wonderful boy? Anyone know something?
  4. Audience Behaviour

    Oh dear: https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2017/theatre-producer-punched-asking-audience-member-stop-using-phone/
  5. Yes. I can go further, with an example of ballet sometimes trumping words with music: even though the opera Eugene Onegin is one of my favourite works, the ballet Onegin has on occasion moved me more deeply.
  6. Last night's review in the Standard: https://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/arts/project-polunin-review-just-a-flash-of-former-magic-on-show-a3712856.html
  7. Follies

    Stephen Sondheim's Follies is one of the great shows. Not quite as resonant as his masterpiece Into The Woods (I am not in the camp which finds the extended skit Sweeney Todd to have enduring value) but it is still high order theatrical music writing. So of course the latest production - National Theatre - is a must see, and I have now been twice. Posting here as, despite the semi-standing-ovation at the end (a lot of US tourists in the audience?) there is something not quite right. Wonderfully staged, with perhaps the most beautiful designs (sets as well as costumes, happily the same person) on the London stage at the moment, nonetheless it didn't quite pack the punch it should have done. Some weaknesses are obvious. A large British cast all doing American accents is never going to be pitch perfect, some will always be off (we are really bad at accents, with honourable exceptions such as Ruth Wilson and Dominic West, currently starring, not coincidentally, in the US). The wonderful Imelda Staunton (who I had the honour of working with briefly on the umpteenth revival of Guys and Dolls a few decades ago) is never going to convince as a showgirl, even a "little" one. And at least one of the cast couldn't actually articulate the delicious words in her (mercifully) only number (I immediately got out the essential Sondheim book, Finishing the Hat, to check what she was singing - this is a show which is almost as enjoyable to read as it is to see). But all such niggles would have barely been noticed if the whole had delivered. Still puzzling over what was missing. Anyone feel as I do?
  8. Audience Behaviour

    What is it with me and feet in the auditorium? A few weeks ago I posted here about the couple who took their shoes off and put their feet up on the ledge of the box they were in. Well, Row B of Coliseum Upper Circle for Zakharova, Saturday night, hello lady with the large woolly boots, no doubt everything was aching just a bit but none of us appreciated you taking both boots off and keeping them off for the whole show. You're not at home. Just saying. Much appreciate Nimax (who put on many great shows) finally getting to grips with noisy food and drink.
  9. Three short interviews just published here, perhaps of interest:https://life.spectator.co.uk/2017/11/dancing-queens-meet-britains-next-great-ballerinas/
  10. "Filming" ballet

    Joke of the week Alison, thank you for giving me a laugh on this cold morning!
  11. Might you post a link? I know the clip of the (I think) 12 year old Osipova doing Kitri's fan variation but am having trouble finding this one.
  12. May I retell a story from a while ago about my daughter's good fortune at a stage door?
  13. Many thanks Bluebird. So does this mean that matinee, which is when I have tickets for, won't include Scriabiniana, so liked by Amelia? We wait to see, I suppose.
  14. I saw Nunez at the dress rehearsal and again last night, on opening night. There is true glory in her performance but I have no idea how authentic what she was doing was, either to the 19th century inspiration or to Ashton. A lot was very big (rather like a Balanchine dancer I felt). Which may have been because she is a huntress. Or it may have been because, according to the programme, the coaching was by Bussell (never my idea of an Ashton dancer). In any case both she and Muntagirov showed themselves to have mastered the very difficult choreography, not so some of e.g. the corps (but I am pleased they are trying to do it, as learning the steps and the style will surely help to further raise the overall standard). And not only the goats. As Mary wrote earlier, "It is an entertainment, of a fabulously delightful kind. It is comedy, not tragedy". If I had any overall observation, it would be that on opening night the comedy was not pointed as much as it might have been. Today's audience needs even more help - as comments here have shown - to understand the parody elements, the jokes, and indeed the overall light-heartedness. I think there is a risk that audiences may just look at the scenery and make assumptions about old-fashioned solemnity, which would be to miss the point. The music makes it all clear, of course, but not everyone trusts their ears these days.
  15. She is of course wonderful. But will the show be worth seeing, or are these works only a series of vanity projects?