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I’ve seen three Shakespeare plays this year so far, two of which were amazing, but the most recent one was quite disappointing really – although something on the same evening kind of made up for it! I admit that one of the appealing things about going to see these plays is who has been in them – although I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, as getting famous people to play these parts introduces people who would never have usually gone to the theatre to seeing plays and then hopefully they’ll go on and see other things without famous people in them. I have quite a lack of knowledge of Shakespeare, which I feel quite bad about – as far as I can remember we only studied two plays at school (Macbeth in year 7 and Twelfth Night in year 11) so I don’t know the details of many plays beyond these. However I have seen more plays recently, both at the theatre and on TV, which I’ve mainly enjoyed, so I will keep looking out for more. In the theatre I’ve seen The Taming of the Shrew (years ago, because I love the film 10 Things I Hate About You, which is based on the play), Macbeth (at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1999 – it was a bit scary!), Richard III (with Kevin Spacey – amazing!), Much Ado About Nothing (with David Tennant and Catherine Tate, they were great!) and The Tempest.
Now, I think out of those The Tempest is the most “fantasy” one, and its also the one which I didn’t like. It had Ralph Fiennes and Nicholas Lyndhurst in it, and I thought Ralph Fiennes would be just as good as Kevin Spacey was, but he really wasn’t. I didn’t really feel that he had any “presence” on the stage, and didn’t really bring anything more to the role than any other actor would. I suppose I tend to think that film actors are somehow “better” than “just” stage actors, but that’s not necessarily true. After all, film actors can do each scene 20 times, whereas stage actors have to get it right straight away! With regards to the Tempest, I found the story quite confusing, and it really dragged at the end. None of the characters really caught my attention (like, for example, Kevin Spacey as Richard III did), and I didn’t really like the fantasy type bits. Also it seemed to have songs in it, which I didn’t realise, haha, and the person singing them couldn’t sing…I don’t know if that was the point, but it wasn’t very nice. In contrast, I also didn’t really know the story of Much Ado About Nothing, but the characters were engaging and kept your attention. David Tennant and Catherine Tate have a really great chemistry between them, and so you could really believe that they were the characters they were, and that they secretly loved each other and were tricked into admitting it!! That was great, and so funny. Kevin Spacey in Richard III was just such an imposing presence on the stage, and the whole play was really put together very well with some very striking parts, for example the use of drums by the whole cast at one point was great.
Actually, I think I’ve also seen Hamlet and Macbeth on TV, both with quite minimalist sets and with good actors in them – David Tennant in Hamlet and Patrick Stewart in Macbeth – so I think it must have been more the structure and story of the Tempest which I didn’t like, rather than Shakespeare as a whole, which is good! I really need to read up on more of his work though, and go to see more, as whenever I go I feel really uncultured, haha!

ooooooooooohh........and I also forget to say what made the night we went to see the Tempest amazing.......we following Vivienne Westwood down the street for about 500 metres :D :D I first saw her crossing the road near to Trafalgar Square, at first I was drawn to her hair (which is bright orange!) and then I realised who it was...i think I went a bit star struck!! It was so amazing to see her, just walking down the street like a normal person, I mean I know she's a normal person, but I would have thought that she would have had people looking at her or something, but it didn't look like anyone had noticed. Apart from me and my friend anyway! It was so great. I'm kind of glad I didn't get into any situation where I had to speak to her though, as I think I might have been a bit speechless!! :)
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I have almost caught up on my reviews for this year – which is good as it’s nearly the next! Its not a chore to do these reviews, its just that sometimes I feel like I’m not in the mood to write as well as I could do, so I like to wait until I’m in a writing mood! Unfortunately it means that these gig reviews are really late, as I just didn’t feel like I could do them justice. I might actually post some pictures as well – I know I always say that, but I have some great ones of the March Violets gig that I should really post!

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and Luxury Stranger at Slimelight, 16th October 2010 )

The March Violets / James Ray’s Gangwar / Faderhead, 13th November 2010 )

Not really a gig, but...Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, 28th December 2010 )

So that’s it for the gig reviews. This year hasn’t been too good for gigs – I haven’t been to as many as usual, and most of them were bands that I’d already seen before. Next year is already looking excellent though, I’ve got tickets for the following already:

Murderdolls – 12th February (not seen since 2003!)
Rob Zombie – 16th February (woooooo! never seen before!!)
Blancmange :D :D – 15th March (never thought I’d ever see!! Wooo!!)
Bloodstock – 11th – 14th August (Immortal! Haha! I don’t even really know much of their music, but I’m excited about it anyway!!)
The Mission – 22nd October (never seen before!)

I’m also probably going to:

Nachtmahr / Uberbyte – 5th February
Resistanz festival in Sheffield – Covenant, And One, Uberbyte, Suicide Commando and many more!
Manowar if they announce any other dates other than Birmingham!! (such a random place to play! Why not London! Boo!)
DV8 - July – I actually want to go on holiday to York around this festival as I’ve never been there before and it looks lovely, but just need to persuade others to go so it’s cheaper to book a flat / cottage / house.
Whitby – October

Ooh I’m excited about it all already! :)

War Horse

Sep. 6th, 2010 11:25 am
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War Horse

Last week I went to see War Horse at the New London theatre in London (which was probably the most modern theatre I’ve been to in London, and had a magical escalator which went whichever way you needed it to go!! :D ) . I’d heard a lot about how great it was, and my parents, who had seen it before, said that we should definitely see it, so I was looking forward to it, and it didn’t disappoint – that’s an understatement actually, its one of the best theatre productions I have ever seen.

War Horse is based on a book by Michael Morpurgo. It tells the story of Joey the horse, and Albert, his owner. Albert’s father buys Joey as a foal, with the mortgage money!! after competing with his brother over who can give the highest price. Albert grows up with Joey and they become very close. At the outbreak of the First World War, Albert’s father sells Joey to the army, for £100, and Joey goes off to France. Albert is very upset at this, and he joins the army to go to find Joey. I don’t want to spoil the story, but the story continues to follow Joey and Albert through both of their experiences of the war, from both the British and German sides – which I thought was good, that its not just from the British point of view.

The story is very sad and very well told, with a member of the cast singing a few verses at points in the story to advance the story and show the passing of time. But it is the horses who really steal the show. They are puppets, operated by three people each – two inside the body and one by the head. They are so talented, even though you know they are puppets you forget that – they move and twitch and flick their tails just like real horses. The person standing by the head of the horse moves the head and ears around, but you get so wrapped up in the story that I almost forgot that – it was like they were just standing and holding the head of a real horse, who was moving independently from them. There was a really moving part when one of the horses died and the puppet operators respectfully moved away from the horse, signifying his death and lack of movement.

I don’t know if that sounds a bit silly – you’re probably thinking how can you forget they’re puppets – but it truly did feel like that. It is so clever and so amazingly done. I definitely recommend this to anyone – even if you haven’t been to the theatre before, the story is absorbing and clear, and will really draw you in. One thing I would say is that I’m not sure if its suitable for the very youngest children - the war parts do get a bit loud and could be scary. But everyone else - Go and see it now!

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...can be summed up by this one picture, I feel.

:) :) :)

I also went to Inferno (rubbish!) and saw the ballet of Edward Scissorhands (excellent!) but I think the above picture sums up the best moment :)
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Does anyone have any spare tickets to Hamlet with David Tennant in it? For any date after 21st December preferably...

Maybe you accidently bought double the amount you needed to or something? (haha, I wish!)

But if anyone does for any strange reason have too many tickets, i'll take them off your hands...I need four ideally.

Having been on the phone nearly all day and then only getting through to be told that they've sold out, I'm now so disappointed :(

I know this is a long shot, and no one will have them, but I thought I better ask just in case! :)


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