Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, July 31, 2023

Little Shop of Horrors @ Westside Theatre…

Yesterday afternoon Stuart and I went to see Little Shop Of Horrors at the Westside Theatre in New York’s glitzy Hell’s Kitchen. And what a fantastic show it was.  Without doubt the best production we have seen of it. 

We’ve both always loved the Little Shop Of Horrors musical and of course Frank Oz's 1986 cult classic film version was sublime. Little Shop actually has it's origins in the late 50's as a sci-fi B-movie starring new-comer Jack Nicholson. Rather like Rocky Horror Show and Return To Forbidden Planet before it, it provided an ideal bit of campery to set to music. Done so rather wonderfully by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Their songs are indeed both memorable and loveable. In fact when I went to go and see Ellen Greene in concert a few years back she confided that the songs Suddenly Semour and Somewhere That's Green as being two of her best friends.  

The show last night captured all the fun of the original Little Shop staging, much of the quirkiness of the musical film, and stubbornly resisted to tack on that happy Hollywood ending. Hurrah. 

Lead player Jeremy Jordan was energetic, bouncy and pitched the nerdy but easily tempted Semour just right. (I've always had him down as the sexy nerdy type). 

The very talented Joy Woods as Audrey was just the right mix of vulnerable, dizzy and sexy. She had us in tears as she sang Somewhere That’s Green. 

And Arron Arnnell Harrington's voicing of the plant was deliciously deep and suitably menacing.  

That said, Audrey II herself was of course the star of the show. Growing and growing with each bloody drop of blood and the bite movements were spot on and we were all happily suspending our disbelief way beyond the finale.  

So with a night of great acting, great singing, great dancing, plenty of laughs and a production which was beautifully designed and perfectly executed there was nothing to fault. It was just perfect. A killer of a show. 

We can only hope in transfers to the West End - it is bound to be a smash. And deservedly so.


















Saturday, July 29, 2023

Here Lies Love @ Broadway Theatre…

Ok. Forget Stuart’s 50th birthday… the real reason we are in New York… is for me…. for me to see a show. A show I’d be seeing for the eighth time…

What's that you say? A musical about Imelda Marcos? A DISCO musical about Imelda Marcos? A disco musical about Imelda Marcos written by David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim at The Broadway Theatre just off New York’s glitzy Times Square? Set in a Studio 54 style night club? With flashing lights, a giant disco-ball, non-stop dancing, podia that twirl and slide and glide across the auditorium and banging tunes that stick in your head like earworms? I… sorry WE… were so here for you Here Lies Love. 

Who cares if there is no reference to shoe collection? Who cares if politics takes a bit of a back seat to the disco bangers at times? The audience were clapping, singing, and on their feet dancing along. We (and when I say ‘we’ I probably mean ‘I’m) simply fell in  love with show all over again. Every thumping, thrilling ecstatic 90 minute of it. 

I was laughing, I was crying, and bless him Stuart was simply enjoying watching me do both. He’s a keeper. 

Let's hope for a transfer of Here Lies Love back to the West End soon! Either that, or Stuart will get flown out to New York again. And he must hate that. πŸ˜‚


















New York City - Hudson River, Times Square, One Vanderbilt. Loved it.

Our first full day in New York was fab. Wandered down to the Hudson River, walked across Times Square, but most fabulously went up One Vanderbilt to the spectacular viewing platform. 






















Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Barbie…

Thank you Darce for taking me to the pictures last night. We laughed and laughed. 

Barbie is fab. It’s pink, it’s funny, it has a great soundtrack, it has dancing, it beautifully deconstructs it’s own issues, it pokes fun at itself, it pokes fun at men (ok, we can take it sisters), and it has one of the most fantastic speeches in it by America Ferrera’s character. 

America Ferrera’s Gloria — a woman in the real world whose dark fantasies about Barbie have set the doll’s crisis in motion — comforts and reassures Barbie in a sweeping monologue that outlines the maddening and contradictory expectations women must negotiate.

The speech is not a plot spoiler, just something she says. The whole cinema went quiet when she gave the speech. 

“It is literally impossible to be a woman. 
You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. 
Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.  
You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. 
You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. 
You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. 
You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. 
You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. 
You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. 
You have to be a career woman, but also always be looking out for other people. 
You have to answer for men’s bad behaviour, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. 
You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood. 
But always stand out and always be grateful. 
But never forget that the system is rigged. 
So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful. 
You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. 
It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! 
And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.  I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. 
And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.”




Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Pillowman @ The Duke of York's Theatre...

Once upon a time there was a man made of pillows. The Pillowman visits people on the verge of suicide because of the tortured lives they have suffered. He travels back in time to the person's childhood and convinces the children to commit suicide, thereby avoiding the life of suffering. This task saddens the Pillowman, however, and he decides to visit his own younger self, who readily commits suicide. This relieves the Pillowman's sadness, but also causes all the children he saved to live out their miserable lives and eventually die alone.
 
Yes, the Pillowman is a jet-black comedy play by British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh that Stuart and I went to see last Friday night at The Duke of York's Theatre in London's glitzy West End.
 
The play has Katurian (Lily Allen), a writer of short stories that often depict violence against children, arrested by two detectives, Ariel (Paul Kaye) and Tupolski (Steve Pemberton), because some of her stories resemble recent child murders.
 
What plays out is a good cop/bad cop routine in a police room of a totalitarian dictatorship. Katurian is bullied, tortured and abused to try a get her to confess to the child murders.
 
So we hear a series her dark fairy tales that could have been written by the Brothers Grimm if they were commissioned by Inside No 9. But are any of these macabre tales true?
 
Allen is excellent, as are both Kaye and Pemberton. A delightfully twisted night with lots of shocks and surprises.




Monday, July 24, 2023

Shelley’s 50th…

An amazing 50th birthday party for the equally amazing Shelley. Surrounded by all of the best celebrities the 1980s had to offer. We danced, we laughed, we laughed some more. Happy birthday old girl. ❤️






















Friday, July 21, 2023

A Hard Man is Good to Find! @ The Photographers' Gallery...

A little while ago Andrew, Kevin, Stuart & I went to the see the exhibition A Hard Man is Good to Find! at The Photographers' Gallery in London’s glitzy West End.  


It was fun. Modest in size but immodest in nature. There were some great candid photos - although obviously only showing the tamer ones here.  


Here’s the blurb… 


The exhibition features queer pictures of men in twentieth century London and charts the postwar development physique photography. 

Before the Sexual Offences Act 1967, marking the partial decriminalisation of gay sexual activity. any representation of male nudity which suggested homosexuality remained subject to the Obscene Publications Act 1857 (also 1959). This made making or distributing such images a criminal offence. It produced a clandestine visual culture regulated by laws which enforced homosexuality as invisible. In turn, it prompted a defiant gay press which fuelled gay liberation and the overt self-presentation of queer men.  


The exhibition identifies areas of London which were a focus for men seeking other men in order to photograph them, mapping a territory of risk and possibility. It explores how artists, photographers and publishers were securing images with queer sensibilities in radical ways. What emerges is an approach and aesthetic unique to London. The ideal of hard-bodied physical perfection - whether drawn from classical antiquity or Los Angeles studios - is exchanged for an under polished. somewhat domestic and slightly intimate. sensibility.  


The photographs are rare fragments from London’s queer visual history. Much of it has not survived due to forms of queer erasure - whether by queer people for reasons of self-preservation, by their heirs disassociating from evidence of queerness or through the misinterpretation of institutions. It is important to credit the work of the private collectors. library. university museum. and commercial gallery who kindly loaned them. Without their intervention. the record would be greatly diminished. Whilst this is an exhibition of queer pictures, it is important to note that not all the photographers or models can be claimed as queer subjects. It also acknowledges that language evolves and while queer is employed today for its inclusivity, the reclaiming of the derogatory term can sit uneasily for the generation subjected to it: the term homosexual can be similarly problematic for a younger generation. 


As a number of the works are historical documents, it has not been possible to identify all individuals represented in the exhibition. We welcome any amendments or additions. 


 Curated by Alistair O'Neill. Professor of Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London) #HardMan


























Thursday, July 20, 2023

Spitting Image : Idiots Assemble @ Phoenix Theatre...

Last night I went to see Spitting Image : Idiots Assemble at the Phoenix Theatre in London's glitzy West End.
 
Based on the popular topical satire TV show it was… meh. Ok, it was fine. I laughed a bit. I smiled a lot. I groaned even more.
 
The puppetry was excellent though. The models were spot on. The songs and dancing all very clever.
 
It's just the script was a little lame, a little dated. Inevitably I suppose as it had to have been written and rehearsed many months ago.
 
For me topical satire has to be topical. Whereas a show written a while ago that focuses on say the events of Summer 2022 (Boris, Truss, Prince Andrew, the Queen passing, the upcoming coronation etc.) is inherently a little dated.
 
A bit like watching reruns of Have I Got News For You it loses its impact. So, jokes about Prince Harry's book Spare and he and Megan moving to America just seemed all very 2022.
 
That said, pitching Suella Braverman as a ghoulish Regan from The Exorcist was hilarious. And when Sir Ian McKellen delivered a tentative, considered and detailed description of Sunak and Johnson followed by saying "So in short, they’re both c*nts!" genuinely got a laugh and round of applause. 
 
The show closes soon. Maybe go if you can get a cheap ticket. Which you probably can. The auditorium was half