Ian (lovingboth) wrote,

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Night at the Opera (and more at the theatre)

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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