Measure for Measure, Young Vic

Zubin Varla and Paul Ready Young Vic - Image: Keith PattisonShakespeare’s strangest and nastiest play is a kind of black farce where the reckless dash to redemption makes the redemption itself – forgiveness, reconciliation, all is sort of forgiven – seem like an afterthought. Joe Hill-Gibbins is having none of it and dives into the play’s intractable vision of a city, a culture, a world, … [Read More]

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, London Coliseum

lady_macbethMark Wigglesworth’s arrival as English National Opera’s new Music Director was never going to be a quiet affair. They probably heard it all the way over at the Kremlin. It wasn’t so much a case of a new door opening as the existing one being kicked in. The choice of composer was shrewdly one he … [Read More]

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

Jurowski - Festival HallMahler’s supersonic Seventh – a grand experiment in sensory colouration if ever there was one – needs no special pleading: it is what it is, a one-off, an oddity, a new departure of no fixed destination. But how different and how much more subtle and individual it sounds through the ears and fine sensibilities of … [Read More]

Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre

Kinky-boots-london-company-03-homeIf the shoe fits, they say, wear it. But in truth there’s always been a bit of a size differential between Kinky Boots, the modest urban Brit-flick, and the Cyndi Lauper/ Harvey Fierstein musical that it spawned. Lauper’s score resides principally in the funk and spunk of cross-dressing catwalk glamour while the somewhat dowdy … [Read More]

BBC Kaliedoscope interview with Paul McCartney

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 11.34.20Proud of this one from 1997. I remember the day well: me, McCartney and his press agent congregating in the Broadcasting House lobby, heads turning. Then a swift elevator to the fifth floor studio sharing with a BBC post-boy who got in on the second and whose jaw nearly hit the floor when McCartney said [Read More]

Bernstein at the Proms, The John Wilson Orchestra

John Wilson Proms 2015Yes, this was one of those evenings where EVERYONE stepped up. So many highlights: Louise Dearman’s “100 Easy Ways’, Julian Ovenden’s “Maria” with a stonking top B, Scarlet Strallen’s quite startling “Glitter and Be Gay” and Lucy Schaufer’s heartfelt and beautifully word-poignant “Take Care of This House” and insanely hyper “Island Magic”. But Lenny would [Read More]

Grand Hotel, Southwark Playhouse

Grand Hotel Southwark PlayhouseNever in a million years would you guess that GRAND HOTEL – now brilliantly revived at the Southwark Playhouse – is one of Broadway’s great rescue jobs. That something seemingly so organic, so cohesive, so intricate, could have reached the final stages of production in such trouble that even a force of nature like Maury … [Read More]

Philadelphia Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Philadelphia Orchestra Nézet-SéguinThe venerable and venerated Philadelphia Orchestra swept into London bearing gifts and mixed messages from Nico Muhly. Actually that was the title of his crowd-pleasing opener for the orchestra – Mixed Messages (UK Premiere) – and for a moment or two the confusion implicit in the title might have extended to the identity of the … [Read More]

High Society, Old Vic

High Society Old VicIt took 30 years for High Society to make its laborious transition from screen to stage. There are good reasons for that. The indelible  impression left by the movie and its star Grace Kelly was undoubtedly the biggest of them and before that, of course, there was the play – The Philadelphia Story – and … [Read More]

The Pirates of Penzance, London Coliseum

pirates of penzance @ ENOLet it never be said that English National Opera hasn’t done its bit for Gilbert and Sullivan – but the fact that only one its several stagings has achieved recognition and longevity surely says something about the very particular difficulties of this fragile repertoire and the suitability (or otherwise) of the London Coliseum as a … [Read More]


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