Tag Archives: theatre

ola stranger

5 Jul

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to Secret Screenings – the new(ish) arm of the incredibly popular ‘Secret Cinema’.

For the uninitiated (if there is anyone left out there that hasn’t heard of this great concept), at Secret Cinema you buy a ticket to a film but you don’t know what it is. There’s always a big interactive element to the experience, but you don’t know what it’s going to be and the only thing you know is that it’s going to be pretty special.

The screening last night was of ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ – a documentary about a musical legend from Detroit you’ve never heard of.

With a voice and sound that’s reminiscent of Bob Dylan fused with Nick Drake, yet completely individual, Rodriguez recorded two albums in the late sixties / early seventies which, although a critical success, sold barely any copies. Rodriguez was subsequently dropped by the label and he disappeared.

Yet somehow his albums made it to apartheid era South Africa, where the songs, protest themes and lyrics connected with those that opposed the regime. Unbeknownst to Rodriguez his records sold hundreds of thousands of copies, he inspired a generation of musicians and was literally more famous than the Rolling Stones (he never received a penny for any record sales).

The crazy thing about his huge fame was that no one knew anything about him and legend had it that he committed suicide on stage. This amazing documentary follows two South African fans searching for the Sugar Man and the unbelievable discoveries they made.

All I’ll say is that after we had the pleasure of watching this great film, we were treated to a very very special performance which practically blew everyone in the audience’s mind.

This is one of my favourite songs from Rodriguez – as they say in the doc, one of the saddest, most beautiful songs you’ll ever hear.

Sign up to @secretscreening and @futurecinema on twitter for future events.. And also make sure you go see this doc when it’s released.

happy clappers

23 May

As a self-confessed nerd  i’ll happily admit that I pretty much love the internet..

If you ignore the plethora of porn, the tonnes of trolls or the flocks of fraudsters (so basically I’m asking you to forget 99% of the ‘net), enabling billions of people to publish their thoughts, advice and ideas is amazing.. Pretty much on a weekly basis I’ll see something that friends have recommended or I’ve stumble upon that is brilliant and makes my life easier / funnier / less productive.

Two examples for you all.. As you may have noticed we’ve been doing a little theatre going recently (some good, some bad), and in the process of researching & booking I found these two sites.

Theatre monkey.


A friend recommended this nerdy gem to me – although it covers a huge amount of information, I love the venue seat opinions section to each of ALL of the theatre venues in london… I don’t know about you, but when I’m booking seats I spend way too long procrastinating whether a seat is worth the £5 premium.. So having this nerd sage’s advice on where to sit and which are the best seat is a god send..

Audience Club

Now this is something really special.. I’ll be upfront and say there is a waiting list to join, but its worth signing up because when you get on this gravy train there’ll be no looking back..

Have a read of the screen grab, but simply put, as there are always left over tickets at theatres, promoters want to get rid of them so the place is full and this site is where you can get your hands on them for dirt cheap (roughly £2.50 a ticket)… In your face ticket booths!

To join you pay a yearly membership fee (less than £20) and top up your kitty with a tenner.. i.e. Four tickets to a show… so the going to one performance is worth the joining / kitty fee alone!

Cynics might question the quality, but the brilliant thing is that these tickets aren’t for bad shows, crap seats or random pub theatres in Wood Green. We’re talking proper West End “must see” shows, as well as comedy, Opera, Ballet etc.

So happy clapping everyone (Because you can see perfectly and the show cost you less than a pint).

to read or not to read…

15 May

Reviews. Good, bad or indifferent? Dangerous territory I know, given the main premise of this blog is reviewing stuff to do London…

I will however quickly caveat this statement by saying that the majority of the stuff we cover on here is about loving, not hating.. so if we write about it, presume we recommend it.. no point wasting time by adding to the excessive levels of bitterness already present in cyberspace…

Why then you might ask are the His and Hers coming over all ponderous? Well tomorrow we’re off to see the production of Babel at Caledonian park…


Looks pretty epic right? When we saw it and the production team involved – the people behind the epic passion play staged with Martin Sheen in Port Talbot last year, as well as the BAC, Young Vic etc – we booked some tickets straight away (this was about a month ago).

Now here’s the dilemma. Since it opened it has had some of the harshest reviews I’ve seen in a long time. I’m not just talking about the usual suspects being caustic in order to maintain a persona, it’s across the board The Guardian, Torygraph, What’s on stage and even the usually positive blogosphere.

Being somewhat opinionated, I like to make my own mind up about this sort of thing, but my question is this.. Will I still be able to go tomorrow with a truly open mind, not prejudging my experience at all after reading this raft of negativity?

Will I dare to disagree with Deborah “First time commenter” and her uber cultured 13 year olds?!

Only time will tell.. If you see a review on the His and Hers on Thursday then ‘yay’ for Babel.. If not, well you’ll probably be able to guess what we thought…

looking and booking

9 Apr

Great thing about long weekends and long train journeys to and from the provinces, is getting a bit of time to scour listings and organise the diary of what we want to do and see over the next few months.

Recommended by our culture vulture insider, we were told to put Big & Small, a play opening this week at (our favourite) The Barbican, top of the list in the booking department.

With Cate Blanchett in the lead role, and winning all sorts of awards and plaudits amongst Australian cultural critics (ahem) when it was staged in Sydney last year, this production seems to have fallen well under the radar for most people (including us) over here..

We booked over the weekend and there seemed to be heaps of availability across the production’s run. Based upon our insider’s previous recommendations, I doubt you, or we, will be disappointed with this trip to the theatre.

Big and Small: 13th –  29th of April

all new people

21 Mar

There are countless theatres in London which means theatre goers are spoilt for choice. Ergo, my decision generally has to be dictated by the following factors:

  1. Is there someone famous in it? (Yes, I know I’m a dweeb but seeing someone famous is exciting for a girl from Oz)
  2. Do I like the play/playwright? If it’s Noel Coward, Arthur Miller, Oscar Wilde etc, I’ll generally try and see it. Also, the Arcola in Dalston often put on really great new plays.
  3. Has there been a lot of buzz?
  4. Has it been advertised at Holland Park tube station? They never change the posters at my station which means I spend months on end staring at the same ad. The subliminal messaging eventually breaks me and finally I just cave and book. ”Fine. I’m going to see it now. Are you happy now you stupid poster?” This is how I have come to enjoy such delights as “Elvis Presley – Back from the Dead”. I’m kidding about that one.

So. Factors 1, 2 and 4 led me to book tickets to All New People at the Duke of York Theatre last night. It has just finished a season in New York, where Zach Braff did not star. Did they think it needed Zach Braff’s star power for the London run? I certainly can’t imagine so. It was a true ensemble cast – each of the four actors were brilliant and the script was pacey. The jokes came thick and fast and the gentleman behind me was laughing so hard at one point that he started snorting. A lot.

The play opens to Zach Braff’s character, Charlie, attempting to hang himself at his ‘grandparents’ beach house’. At the crucial moment, he is interrupted by Emma, a real estate agent trying to rent the house for the summer. Emma, assuming the house would be empty, saves Zach’s life, much to his chagrin. We are soon joined by Emma’s friend and ‘Firefighting Chief”,  Myron, and Kim, a $15,000 a night hooker on whom George (my boyfriend) quickly developed a very unhealthy crush. “You should get a dress like that Jane” was not met with encouragement.

Go and see it. It’s only on until the end of April but I guarantee you’ll LOL.

the master and margarita

20 Mar

The Master and Margarita is one of those books I have pretended to have read for nearly ten years.

Given I am going to see the Complicite production of M&M at the Barbican in a couple of weeks, the time has come for me to bite the bullet and actually read it. And it’s great! So great that I almost missed my bus stop this morning…

I have another 350 pages to go before next Saturday – the race is on!