Wednesday 8 May 2024

I couldn't find an image to do this justice ... because this 5* brilliant show is possibly the best thing I have ever seen on a London stage. (Never having been to Tokyo where apparently last year the stage run sold out in just four minutes!) And to think I was very meh about booking yesterday: I've never seen the film, thought it might be just another overly-loud West End musical, felt a bit sniffy about going to a kids' show ... okay, hands up, I was simply entranced and sat with a big grin on my face all the way through. (Only saw one child which is possibly a reflection of the stonking ticket prices as well as its being a school day.) Massive standing ovation at the end with the whole Coliseum audience up on its feet .. the young Japanese heroine looked enthralled as if she were trying to capture the moment forever in her memory. And I felt quite teary that it was over! I'd have happily sat down and watched it all over again. I wonder what the Japanese audience made of the sorceress Yubaba - because to me she looked like Mrs Thatcher crossed with Princess Michael of Kent.
So yes, I'm still here, still out and about - quite a bit, when I look at the sidebar that reminds me what I've been up to. But somehow with the rain, the rain and more rain, I've been feeling rather lethargic and not in the mood to write. I thought I might do a round-up to catch up - but every play I've seen since I last wrote has either closed or is on the point of closing. At least I'm on the ball with Spirited Away! And there's something about seeing such a wonderful show and emerging into sunshine (because I do love a matinée)that has recharged my batteries tonight after flopping about last week thinking I'll do something when it stops raining. Watch this space ...

Thursday 29 February 2024

Absolutely glorious... and if I'm too low-brow to meet the Guardian's high standards (another snotty review here) I truly couldn't care less. That fabulous dress - the warmth of the evening - the scent of oleander (does oleander smell? I haven't a clue) - the light shimmering on the sea - the faintly perspiring slumber of a lady who 'merely glows' ... oh, give me Flaming June over Angelica Kauffman any day. (I found the RA's Angelica Kauffman exhibition rather too worthy ... I can respect her as a woman thriving in a man's world, but her paintings spark nothing in me at all.) And what a back-story to Flaming June! Disappeared in the 1930s - rediscovered behind a false wall during building work in 1962 and separated from its frame which was considered to be more valuable than the painting - discovered again in a London antique shop by the young Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose granny refused to lend him £50 to buy 'Victorian junk'- and finally ending up in a museum in Puerto Rico. Currently on loan to the Royal Academy. (And free to get in. Unlike the worthy but ever so slightly dull Angelica Kauffman.)

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Just booked my ticket. I'm really looking forward to seeing this. A nice, old-fashioned play.

Saturday 3 February 2024

This was fascinating and heart-breaking - the true story of a prosperous Jewish family in Vienna, written by their son. It's quite slow-moving and gives such a vivid picture of ordinary life through the 1930s, the meals, the holidays, the visits from relatives, a 17-year-old's first ball only days before the Anschluss, a tea-dance in Berlin even as other Jews were being rounded-up on the streets. Burying heads in the sand because it will all blow over, the procrastination, the bad decisions, then - incredibly - after escaping to neutral Ireland the return to Paris where it still seemed possible that life might be ... normal. And reading it you realise that you'd have been exactly the same, frozen by indecision, incapable of action, sweating the small stuff because the unthinkable is exactly that - unthinkable.

Thursday 25 January 2024

I loved The Crown, at least I loved the early episodes before all the Diana nonsense (I'm not a huge fan of the People's Princess!). So it was fun to see this auction exhibition at Bonhams of costumes and props from the series, so clever - even though close-up you'd never mistake them for the real Norman Hartnell etc. I did wonder who is going to bid for a life-size State Coach, looks authentically bone-rattlingly uncomfortable (estimated price £30,000-£50,000); or a Coronation chair with fibreglass Stone of Scone (£10,000-£20,000); the Queen's many ballgowns and Princess Anne's teenage mini-skirt ensemble for the Caernarvon Castle Investiture (£2,000-£3,000); or for smaller budgets perhaps a slightly battered barbecue from Balmoral (£400-£600). Diana's engagement ring? Genuine cubic zirconia (£2,000-£3,000) - or her off-the rail engagement outfit from Harrods (£1,500-£2,000). They said they are expecting lots of interest from America. Where I'm guessing there is perhaps a hazy perception of what's real and what's Netflix. Four floors to browse and it's all free.

Wednesday 17 January 2024

So looking forward to this sumptuous exhibition. And especially to seeing the gowns from the portraits.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

And the second film of the year ... Think Chariots of Fire: The Wet Bobs. I enjoyed it well enough but Chariots of Fire was better. Bizarrely, George Clooney didn't think to tell us at the end what happened to the real boys in the boat after the Olympics. There is a bit more here but not much.