Theatre

London-Theatres

There is so much going on this month and I’ve had quite a task narrowing down my top 5 recommends, but here goes:

1. Celebrate Chocolate Week with Hotel Chocolat at The Botanist! You can read my post on the amazing hot chocolate cocktails on the menu here.

2. Designer Sales UK (DSUK) returns to the Chelsea Town Hall from 25th until 27th October.

There will be markdowns from 60-90% off retail prices. Labels include See by Chloe, Belstaff, Moschino, Jimmy Choo, Valentino, Missoni, Lanvin, YSL and King’s Road fave Vivienne Westwood. Entry fee is £3/£2 (concs).

3. SACRED returns to Chelsea Theatre on 19th October and will be running until February 2013. Live art events and contemporary performances kick off with So Below, from Chelsea Theatre Associate Artist Karen Christopher, (Formerly part of Chicago’s Goat Island) and Gerard Bell on October 19 and 20 at 7.30pm. For more information on SACRED’s programme, click here.

4. On 4th October, Ross X Bute will be having an in-store event for their customers which includes an informal wine tasting and styling tips from the creative team behind this fabulous King’s Road boutique. See your invitation below!

5. I have yet to pop down to the Hollywood Arms for the Sunday Cinema nights but the screening on 21st October sounds very appealing. Which film is good enough to take me away from the cinema and sway me towards a pub supper and free screening upstairs?

Drive!

I LOVE THIS FILM! (More details)

If you have anything you’d like to add to the list to let folks know, please feel free to leave details in the comment box below because I haven’t even touched upon Halloween. So much going on! x

It had been a while since I visited The Royal Court and last week I decided to head back for the preview of Love and Information, written by Caryl Churchill.

When I booked my ticket, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of plot or characters. The video on The Royal Court’s website evoked a sense of fragmentation in the narrative and didn’t give too much away.

But I wouldn’t call it blind faith that convinced me to purchase my ticket because in my eyes, Caryl Churchill is the most prolific British female playwright around. Forgive me if I have forgotten someone obvious but whilst studying theatre, it was Churchill’s female voice that rang out to me.

Today Churchill’s voice is still as strong as ever and at the age of 74 years old she hasn’t lost her sense of humour.

Love and Information is 50 scenes, divided into seven parts plus an epiologue. Each scene explores the dynamics of a relationship where love is either examined or questioned through the revelation or the holding back of a piece of information.

Sometimes the scenes are touching or thought-provoking but for the most part, they are hilarious yet truthful. And as hinted in the promotional video, the narrative is episodic and the scenes are not related to each other. They are random moments in 100 random people’s lives, played by 16 actors, that we have managed to capture albeit very briefly.

Normally Churchill’s plays can provide hard hitting left-wing blows with her political messages but in Love and Information, Churchill seems to be having more fun with her characters – even at those she pokes fun at.

At just under two hours, with no interval, the pace may have lagged towards the end of part six but as I started to realise that the evening was soon coming to an end, I sat back to soak up the wit and insight that Churchill was ready to throw at us in their bite-sized yet very entertaining chunks.

And as I stepped out of the theatre and onto Sloane Square, I could honesty say that Love and Information was a fun night out which I would definitely recommend.

Love and Information runs until 13th October 2012 at The Royal Court.

Woohoo, the rain has stopped for now and it looks like next week is going to be much better. Well, it better had, because I’m going to be watching Madonna in Hyde Park on Tuesday!

Something else that is happening next week is a theatre production of Alice in Wonderland. But this isn’t your average retelling of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. The whole performance will be taking place on bicycles and that includes the audience too. For more details, go to Bikeminded’s page where you can find out more about the production and buy your tickets.

The last night of Chelsea Theatre’s SACRED season presented the electric performance duo Othon & Tomasini along with supporting act Laura Moody and a guest appearance by Marc Almond.

As Laura Moody began the night with her cello, her experimental pop style grabbed the audience’s attention: this was something different. Were we going to like this? But with her high-pitched voice, her music became mesmerising as if her initial songs had lulled us into a false state of presumed expectations. By the end of the set, Moody had successfully transfixed an entire auditorium.

Next up was Othon Mataragas as he took to a grand piano, dressed in bondage headgear. First impressions were avant-garde but his style in music was pure classical. As his fingers danced across the piano keys, the whole room was yet again spellbound. The evening took another surprising turn with the baroque performance of Ernesto Tomasini whose theatricality transported us to another time and place: 1930s cabaret.

We were also lucky enough to listen to work in progress by Othon & Tomasini because for the last few years, Tomasini has been Othon’s muse and their musical chemistry heralds pure originality. At one point during their performance, Othon accompanied Tomasini donning boxing gloves as he bashed the piano keys surprisingly successfully.

Their special guest, Marc Almond, contradicted Tomasini’s melodramatic performance. Instead, Almond was haunting. He was quiet and he pulled the audience to the edge of their seats as they hung on to each note. It was a far cry from the Soft Cell post-punk days. This time, Marc Almond was gothic.

For the last stage of the evening, Marc Almond left the performance space as Laura Moody and Tomasini returned to end what was an evening that reminded me, music can still be entertaining and original.

Last week I visited Chelsea Theatre for the second night of its SACRED season. And as I arrived at the World’s End location, I had plainly forgotten the cardinal rule of this venue: banish all sense of expectation because yet again I was in for another refreshing surprise.

The evening began with a 10-minute live art piece in the theatre’s foyer. The visual vignette explored an individual’s quest to unravel her path of a coiled rope, only to become entangled and troubled by what seemed like a simple task.

Upstairs, in front of a thrust stage trimmed in silver, an audience gathered as if they were a crowd congregating at a gig. The female singer in her peroxide bob and sequinned hot pants catsuit lip-synced to Elvis Presley, mingled with the audience and fought with her only band member. The performance duo, otherwise known as Action Hero, took its audience on a journey from laughter to discomfort, rage and finally a state of peace in this production entitled Frontman.

After the interval, we were led back into the foyer where Dorothy’s Shoes was ready to take the audience Flying Down To Rio. Two installations residing in separate rooms provided the pre-show entertainment whilst the main performance started with a Fred & Ginger inspired dance routine and continued on a journey through the history of Brazilian dance pieces, until the present day. The two main performers Dorothy’s Shoes and Champagne Charlie also provided laughter whilst involving the audience in some of the dance routines and carnival dressing up.

Yet again, Chelsea Theatre broke down the barriers of theatricality to push its audience further into the performance experience. It allowed us to question our position in relation to the artists and to become involved at our own discretion; plenty of fun.

 

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