Kinky Boots is an amzingly sparkily musical, flicking between a shoe factory (with behaviour around “workshop equipment” that made me wince during the dance scenes, and Lola’s world. Then gradually the two mix, and Lola is brought in to save a gradually closing factory from disaster.
I saw this the day after For the Love of the Game, on our annual trip to London. Despite both outwardly having very different themes, they are both about boys trying to live up to what their families’ and communities want without losing their own dreams.
An American in Paris was a few hours of irresistibly danceable tunes and swirling skirts. A mix-up of jazz-driven tap and modern ballet. It is taken from a classic musical film, but I hadn’t seen that before I went into the theatre, although I’m tempted to hire it to watch at home one night.
Despite the grim settings and back stories of many of the characters (none of whom are prepared to discuss the war they have just lived through at the start), it is about finding purpose, beauty and love as life unfolds before them, so becomes a very feel-good show
The number of dancers filling the stage, and the music also helped with this: the band were fabulous.
The greatest mystery is how the woman two seats across from me (near the front of the stalls!) managed to fall into such a deep sleep that she was snoring in both acts!
I am a big fan of musicals, including Wicked, and wanted to revisit the novel that inspired the musical.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West does not have the same plot as the musical, but the same starting premise. Elphaba is given a stronger destiny, and Galinda more socially constrained in the novel. Not to mention the stronger political tones with genocide and murdering dissidents.
This is a full story of a life, starting with a difficult childhood, and an escape to university which is more complex than expected, and full circle being reached again with family links. She has life-long friendships throughout this in the flawed but loving Nanny and Boq, her partner-in-crime. But fundamentally it is about the life of a woman who faces discrimination and battles it to try and be a force for good in the world.
Maguire’s reimagining of Oz manages to be magical and political. He weaves together complex characters with a range of motives, each of them flawed, but so many driven by a higher purpose or destiny.
And of course, it being Wicked, we need a video. I’ve had a good few weeks of concerts recently, and have heard Defying Gravity at both Idina Menzal’s world tour and at an orchestral performance sung by Ashleigh Gray.
I had barely heard a song from Ragtime before we saw it this weekend – but it was the most suitable-looking show on in London this weekend with tickets available that we hadn’t already seen, so front-row tickets were booked.
Of course we didn’t know what to expect: but from the opening number it was clear we were in for something which was both deep and rocking. There are some seriously catchy tunes, heartbreak and politics. A lot of it is looking frighteningly relevant to the way the world is currently moving (as we saw this in the week Trump won the presidential election).
I really enjoyed the way this production had all the instruments onstage, and a simple set of two walkways that swung back and forth and was used imaginatively. Part of the fun was how the pianos were used as furniture on stage: I was amazed how much jumping on and off the tops was manageable without slipping or standing on the keys.
Other bits of fun whilst we were in London: John Soane’s museum, a fascinatingly packed house of everything he had collected in a lifetime, and of course a trip to the London Review of Books bookshop.
I’ve kept meaning to go to a performance at Chorley Little Theatre for a while, so this week picked up a ticket for I love you because.
I didn’t know anything about this musical before I walked into the auditorium, the cost of tickets being such that I was happy to buy one whatever the show was. It was a wonderfully lighthearted love story, with the traditional star-crossed lovers working out who they are and what love means. I came out humming the very catchy theme, and bought the soundtrack that evening.
As for Chorley Little Theatre, again it is very impressive. The actors and acting were great, the set was tidy and the musicians were fabulous! Plus I had a hot chocolate for £1 in the interval (getting up for work early the next morning). I’m now considering buying a season ticket for 2016/17 and will be back.