08th February 2011
Posted in: Uncategorized
Part of the perceived glamour of working in a theatre is the excitement of day to day contact with celebrities. But in reality, it’s often the less “famous” that make more of an impact.
Yes, I have stories of Sienna Miller coming back to apologise for not holding a door open for me, or answering the ‘phone to Patrick Stewart - but they’re not encounters that are genuinely exciting to me.
On the other hand, Plenty (currently running at the Crucible Studio) stars Junix Inocian. I’m massively excited. He was my first (The) Engineer!
The strange looks I’ve had everytime I’ve excitedly announced this - to people who really should know better - imply he’s maybe not that well known. “He used to be a plumber?” “The what?”
Ok, the guy in Miss Saigon who runs the Dreamland club. Who sells the bar girls and sings of The American Dream and survives re-education and pirates as he tries to scheme his way to a better life. The guy from the musical that I’ve loved for years and made me drag the wonderfully long suffering @paulyg round Vietnam in 40degree heat and insane humidity (sorry dude). The musical where I first discovered Lea Salonga and that featured Myleene Klass before she joined Heresy. And the first time i saw Miss Saigon, in the summer of 1994, Mr Junix Inocian was The Engineer.
And now he’s in Sheffield. In my theatre.
So, now you’re all with me (?) on the wonders and diversity of musical theatre…. what’s coming up?
Well, firstly and most excitingly, Houdini. It may take a while to open, as it’s still being written - but it’s being written by Aaron Sorkin (of the West Wing and Studio 60) with music by Danny Elfman (who writes the scores for Tim Burton movies) and is expected to star Hugh Jackman (XMen).
I’m also hoping that Swallows and Amazons (the Neil Hannon musical playing Bristol over Christmas) tours, or goes somewhere more convenient. And maybe that a decent Count of Monte Cristo musical happens. I think the novel would make a fantastic musical, but the adaptations I’ve heard so far have been uninspriring. There’s a newish one by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, Scarlet Pimpernel) which sounds promising so I think I need to download.
I’ve got a London trip coming up soon, where I’ll finally get to see Love Story (based on the film of the book) and am also going to see The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Don’t know much about it, but it’s got Joanna Riding in it, and I’ve yet to see her in something bad. But I think I’ll need to go back to see the new Cameron Mackintosh production of Betty Blue Eyes - and maybe also Love Never Dies. I’ve heard the score to Love Never Dies and not been blown away, but I think its Phantom, Ramin Karimloo, is brilliant - and I suspect the set will be pretty spectacular too.
Ooooh - and Memphis, a wonderful musical by David Bryan and Joe diPietro, is being filmed this week. I’ve been hoping for a UK transfer of any of their musicals for a while now. Whilst I’m still hopeful, in the meantime, I’ll gladly settle for a cinema release or DVD to keep me going.
For now though, I’ll settle for the bright and cheerful tones of Me and My Girl over the tannoy…
25th January 2011
Posted in: Uncategorized
As a musical theatre junkie, I’ve all too often heard the words “oh, I don’t like musicals”
Based on what?
Usually, half-watching some dated Rodgers and Hammerstein movie at Christmas.
It’s depressing. It’s like writing off the whole movie genre based on Hitchcock movies.
Musicals have moved on since the 1960s. And there’s a whole range of different styles. I personally don’t like the stilted and rather dated style of these old fashioned musicals, and far prefer the wide range of modern musicals. There are musicals with a range of styles - Disney, Eminem’s 8Mile, operas written by Blur, a wonderful writing partnership of BonJovi’s David Bryan and Joe diPietro.. Now seems to be a particularly interesting time. The RSC’s Christmas show (Matilda) had music by comedian Tim Minchin, and Bristol’s (Swallows and Amazons) music was by the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon. How much more credible can musical theatre get!?
The other main criticism of the genre is that “it’s annoying when they break out into song”.
Actually, there are a lot of sung through musicals. Not operas, but musicals. Like Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, etc. So also not really an excuse.
I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who’s willing to watch pretty much anything with me. He’s suffered through some really bad productions - nearly 4 hours of a preview of Gone with the Wind, and an exceptionally bad production of Aspects of Love - but still never given up. And he’s even enjoyed some. He likes the depressing ones, where everyone dies - like Only the Brave, Parade, and Les Mis. He rocks.
Tonight was a lovely evening with my parents. And for the restaurant, it was one of those evenings where anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
For me, it was another evening where I didn’t get to eat much till dessert. I think I could get used to that!!
I’d made a slight amendment to my order vs the dish on the menu. The chef forgot the amendment, and the waiter took it back - before I said anything - to rectify it.
I really don’t want to know how they did that, as half way through my meal, I discovered a hair in my food. ICK! So I stopped eating my dinner and moved on to my dad’s chips instead
The waiter brought the manager over, who said of course my meal would be free, and offered us all free desserts. Dad said his meal had been lovely so he didn’t think he merited a free dessert, but the manager insisted.
The chef hadn’t really picked up on his attention to detail though - and dad’s dessert had ice cream instead of custard. We didn’t let the waiter take it back this time though!
I was really surprised though, as we enjoyed the meal - the food was really good, and the company great. But we didn’t make a fuss at all - just politely brought the hair to their attention. I’ve had so many far more serious or annoying issues in shops and restaurants in the past, where I’ve felt I justified some kind of recompense and had to make my point very assertively with the manager. But this was dealt with in a really understanding, professional and customer focussed way which really impressed me.
I’m wondering if there’s changes in policy as places don’t want to lose customers or damage their reputation because of the credit crunch, or whether they’d just been trained really well.
I’d go back. Especially for more dessert..
So, despite needing to lose 3 inches before ordering my wedding dress, the last week has seen quite a few meals out. Oops, but nyom…
Last weekend was a continuation of a quest to find the perfect pizzeria in Sheffield. It used to be San Lorenzo on Sharrowvale Road - awesome food and great atmosphere. Sadly it closed about a year ago. Since then, we’ve been looking but not yet found a new ‘local’.
So, we found ourselves in Mamas and Leonies. I’d heard that it was one of few places to have cheddar on pizzas, and that the lasagne was nice but very filling, so more of a winter place.
The service was great - very friendly, attentive and competent. The decor was a little dark, but interesting, with lots of pictures and things to look at. It was the food that really confused me.
The garlic bread was a pizza dough (normal) dripping in butter with some garlic. Theatrekat’s don’t really like butter on sandwiches, but normal garlic butter is fine. This was just overpoweringly buttery.
The ribs were definitely overdone, and didn’t taste as ribs normally do. The meat seemed decent quality, but the sauce seemed more like bovril than what I would’ve expected. Not unpleasant again, but just not to my taste or expectations.
I’d played it safe with my main course - pasta with tomato sauce. It’s not difficult, and always looks the same. Except here - this was a sort of bolognese brown sauce dumped on top of the spaghetti. You couldn’t discern any tomatoes - but lots of minced onion. And no idea what the rest of it was. Again, not inedible, but weird, and not particularly appetising.
But the staff were really lovely, so rather than complain, I tried to disguise the fact that I’d hardly eaten anything and said it was lovely and then scarpered quickly over the road to Piccolino’s for dessert.
If you’ve never tried it, cocktails and dessert outside Piccolino’s, overlooking the Peace Gardens, Winter Gardens and Town Hall is definitely one of my Sheffield Recommendations. It’s peaceful, relaxing, and everything on the menu’s delicious. Perfect end to an evening!
27th August 2009
Posted in: Uncategorized
So this week’s newly published See was no better than the rest, with
AN EVENING WITH SNOW PATROL
This November come and join Snow Patrol for a memorable evening of top music. The tour will feature songs taken from both Snow Patrols impressive back catalogue as well as front man Gary Lightbodys side-project The Reindeer Section. Special guests will also feature in what is shaping up to be a hugely innovative and exciting experience for all.
Snow patrol’s back catalogue and Gary Lightbody’s side-project please.
Oh how weve missed them! Do not worry because Irish rock legends are back to fill the void. Theyre fun time rock and outstanding live shows are back this November with a tour to support their novel ‘A-Z’ series of 26 single releases.
We’ve missed them, and their fun time rock.
Get ready to be rocked again by Britains favourite imports as they take to the stage this September in support of their new album ‘Shaka Rock’. Check out their new track Shes a Genius to remind yourselves just how good these guys are. A limited amount of tickets are left, so do not miss out as there .
Yes, they can do apostrophes for the album title (here anyway - not on the other albums so far) but not for Britain’s or She’s. And do not miss out as there ??????
The email goes on. And on. But I don’t think I can read more.
No See theatre bookings for me this week.
08th August 2009
Posted in: theatre
Just to follow up from see tickets “Jospeh” gaffe of October 08 (http://www.theatrekat.net/?p=47)..
July saw them emailing about a special offer on the stage version of that well known classic “Dirty Dancig”
I wonder what’s going to be next….
After great hype and exposure from Gordon Ramsey’s TV Nightmares and comments from colleagues, what else could we do but go and check it out? Particularly given that as the official partner restaurant of the Sheffield Theatres Spring Season, it has a (very) tenuous theatre link.
To summarise the tv programme, it’s an awesome chef (who’s language is even more colourful that Gordon’s), a slightly camp owner, who wishes he was running a club and isn’t too hot at running the front of house, and his long suffering girlfriend.
I was therefore unsurprised when it took around an hour and a half to get our starters - but the ambiance and company were good, so it wasn’t a problem.
It was a little disappointing that the waitress (the girlfriend) painstakingly wrote down the details of our order in longhand - particularly after Gordon had painstakingly explained how you can shorten each dish to just a letter or two.
Strangely none of us ordered the “special” - a vegetable pieat £12. This was leftovers from pie night, four days ago, and when fresh it had only cost £8.50.
It was also a little disappointing that we had to ask for the wine menu back after we’d ordered our food - how else are you supposed to find a wine that complements your meal?
But my choices - garlic prawns and tomatoes, followed by steak - sounded good. Ask! do a really wonderful prawn and tomato starter. Lots of yummy prawns in tomato sauce, with a nice rocket and parmesan salad and garlic bread to dip in the sauce. Silversmiths have large prawns, but no bread or salad, and the dish is overpowered by the very strong salty garlic butter. The rest of the party had barley soup - which looked like a thin vegetable soup, and again didn’t come with any bread.
The steak was inedible in parts due to gristle, but the chips it came with were nice. Again the dish was completely overpowered by the salt content of the garlic butter.
My final gripe would be that the cheeseboard listing in the menu explaine d in great detail the sourcing of the chutney, but despite three people in our party choosing the cheese, no-one thought it might be interesting for us to know what the cheeses actually were.
I’d give Silversmiths another go - as I’m sure alternatives on the menu must have a lower salt content. But I wasn’t overly impressed by the first visit.
If you like the sound of this: try drinking salt water
To anyone from the Toxie site reading this - it’s another one with some of Christopher Jahnke’s orchestrations.
To anyone else, I loved the original Bristol production, I loved the London production, and I love the UK tour.
Yes, there are differences - there has to be to make it tourable - but the overriding principals of a Cameron Mackintosh production remain. The set is spectacular, with lots of breathtaking moments where you wonder just how they did that. The casting is practically perfect - we got the understudy Mary, but she was still brilliantly cast with an amazing voice and jaunty confidence the role requires.
The music is gorgeously orchestrated, and and songs a mixture of old favourites and seamlessly integrated new ones. The story keeps you captivated throughout and the characters are all developed to give you a sense of empathy towards all their journeys.
I took my mum, dad and fiance to see it - and they all loved it.
The main differences between this and earlier productions is the new “hand drawn” style - the house is a black and white pencil/charcoal drawing, and the park also has this feel (but in colour). The costumes from Jolly Holiday have also changed - and look even more colourful and amazing. And Anything Can Happen If You Let It has changed AGAIN! The ladders are still gone, but the sparkly mushroom has been replaced by a huge parrot umbrella that looks cool.
Definitely worth seeing - so many magical moments!
This opened off Broadway to great acclaim - and people who’s opinions I really respect have raved about it. The brilliance is supposed to be in the juxtaposition of modern, edgy songs vs the controversial 19th century German play the musical is based on.
Despite the rapture of the audience around me - many of whom seemed to be friends of the cast, or drama students - I personally failed to appreciate the show’s “brilliance”.
The songs are all catchy in an unmemorable sort of way - you can imagine Girls Aloud, or a Pop Idol contestant singing any of them.
The show seems like it’s evolved from an improv class with intelligent - but pretentious and pubescent - boys. The character development lacks the depth that greater maturity would provide, and the plot is very basic and not particularly well thought out.
It seems to be trying to be a bit like Jerry Springer the Opera - which was also controversial, and also one about which people held strong opinions. But JStO was more original and had some very intelligent concepts and humour amongst the contraversial and provocative stereotypes.
In its favour, I liked the opening scene and song, but felt the rest of the show failed to live to to its potential. And the cast are nearly all newcomers, and gave energetic professional performances. But that didn’t really make up for the lack of plot, dirgey score, unflattering wigs, unimaginitive set and poor direction.