It not a joke!!! It is the truth!!!

Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

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Night at the Opera (and more at the theatre)
mini me + poo
lovingboth
Present Laughter (NT): OK Coward on the tribulations of being a great actor/producer like himself, starring the great Alex Jennings - the first act sets up the second one and it'd be better balanced if the first were shorter than the second rather than the other way around. 3/5

John Hegley: Short, very short at about 45 minutes, but sweet. 3/5

Circus of Horrors: A mix of 'not suitable for children' acts. Ironically, the best bit was the back flips - about ten - done at high speed from a standing start by one of the acrobats in the 'meet the cast' section. Their actual slot was nowhere near as impressive. 3/5

Here Be Monsters: I used to be a huge fan of Rejects Revenge and would book for their shows on sight. They used to tour excellent comedies with four or five of them doing multiple roles: Peasouper is one that springs to mind: a village of characters lost in a fog. Then a few years ago they tried to do 'serious' with a play about a bridge in a town in the civil wars in former Yugoslavia. It was ok, but nowhere near as good as the comedies. This is back to comedy, but only two of them sticking in one role each as mad Victorian inventor and delivery boy on a voyage to the moon. Somewhat misleading publicity meant there were lots of children in the audience and the funniest bit was one of the children in the audience asking his mum 'what's bugger mean?' 2/5

Into the Woods (Greenwich): This was a show by degree students at a drama college and, because all but one of them is doing musicianship as well as acting, the actors were also the orchestra. So Little Red Riding Hood plays her own theme as she wanders about! The musical itself is one of my very favourites: even if Sondheim can't do more than one really good tune per show, his lyrics are great and the book (the plot / spoken dialogue etc) is utterly wonderful. 4/5

The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other (NT): no words, just a pile of actors being even more characters doing unconnected stuff in an urban junction. You're probably either going 'pretentious crap' or 'how exciting!' and the truth is somewhere in the middle. Some of it is funny, but nowhere near funny as NT saying this is a 'new translation'!?! There's no continuing development, any five minutes is almost the same as any other five minutes, so it's difficult to justify the attention necessary. I spent most of the 90+ minutes thinking that it wouldn't be difficult to do it better. 2/5

The Mikado (Carl Rosa): It was ok. It's difficult to really mess this up - even Hot Mikado's turning the Mikado's punishment song into a tap number wasn't enough. Speaking of which, the update to this was probably the best bit. 3/5

Iolanthe (Carl Rosa): A good version of what is - sorry David - one of the second tier of G&S operettas. 3/5

Lucia di Lammermoor (ENO): Fab. ENO had a Turn of the Screw recently with much the same stark black and white production design - the only other colour is the blood that's spilt - but this is a much better opera. 4/5

Masque of the Red Death: Gosh, this is good. I think I only saw about a third of it, but that included a cabaret, rape, cheating at cards, incest, and premature burial before the actual climatic ball. They absolutely must do either a DVD with multiple angles or a free form game of this production so you can see it all. Anyone else hoping to win awards for set design in next year's awards should abandon all hope now too, because I've never seen a better use of a space... Did anyone work out how to get backstage at the Palais Royale? Or find Ben Wah? 5/5

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Hang on, that's only ten. What am I forgetting? Hmm...

Masque of the Red Death was fab, although a lot of the action I saw I had no idea what was going on - I saw the 'cheating at cards' scene 3 times and only understood it when I read the graphic novel.

You got backstage at the Palais Royale by going left, left, and left at the top of the stage. Took forever to find how to get in, mind you. I wasn't looking for Ben Wah (as in balls??).

Ah, I wondered if they repeated things.

'Top of the stage'? As you come in, before descending the stairs or by the side, near the bar? Or past the 'no entry' sign to the right?

That was how I remembered the name! It was given to us on entry in connection to 'some of you may be hunting for treasure'.

for 'stage', read 'stairs'.

We were simply advised that treasure should be taken to the bar, and they alluded to the Golden Bug.
However some of the ladies' loos had grafitti telling you to look for further info at www.goldbug.squarespace.com

http://goldbug.squarespace.com/66tales/post/332269 for details of lots of the puzzles, most of which I never found!

Benoit is the character in the bar, I imagine.

Edited at 2008-02-27 11:50 am (UTC)

Ah is that how it's spelt? You can see that it's been a while since I read Poe and why I got a U for my French O-Level :)

It only dawned on me after reading more of the Goldbug website. I didn't even do French to O-level. Tried learning last year at work but the teacher was shite - but at least my basics are less rusty. What I know, I know pretty well.

Couldn't solve any of those codes or ciphers, though. My U in A/S Maths probably doesn't help. :)

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