Showing posts from 2013

Review: Showstopper! The Musical!

I mprov, unscripted and unrehearsed theatre, is currently underrated. I have had long conversations attempting to describe improv to which I eventually get the exclamation of ‘You mean like “ Whose Line Is It Anyway? ”!’ - a 90’s Channel 4 hit which sadly is not trendy nostalgia.

Review: Royal Ballet's Don Quixote

This autumn has seen one of the most highly anticipated classical dance events of the year - Carlos Acosta’s directorial debut for The Royal Ballet with his new production of Don Quixote. Acosta has previously directed his own shows, such as ‘Tocoroco - a Cuban Tale’, but in his fifteen years at The Royal Ballet this is a major first for the company.  Don Quixote is one of the happiest ballets around and Acosta has delivered a production full of lightness and humour with a re-orchestration of Ludwig Minkus's cheerful score by Martin Yates. Not only are the cast incredible dancers, who make single-handed lifts and thirty two fouettés look effortless, they are also good actors which emphasises the show’s charming quality. There’s passion and playfulness between Acosta and Marianela Nuñez as Basilio and Kitri as they tease, fall in love, bicker and make up all over again. Physical comedy is boundless with the likes of Christopher Saunders’ Don Quixote, his sidekick Sancho Panza play

Food & Drink: Gaby's Deli

As a Londoner born and raised with family in the theatre business, I have long been familiar with Gaby’s Deli in the West End. Gaby’s is the place to go to for when I catch up with a friend over lunch (with inevitable copious amounts of house red) or for grabbing some dinner before heading off to see a film across the road. For animated social occasions or times alone with just a book for company, the atmosphere at Gaby’s always suits. Less than a minute’s walk from Leicester Square tube station and close to a number of theatres and other attractions, Gaby’s is popular amongst an eclectic array of customers including actors, local office workers, media types and tourists. Opened in 1964 and run by Gaby Elyahou, this cosy establishment, plastered with theatre posters old and new, is the epitome of comfort food for its many regulars. Reasonably priced and generous portions of Middle Eastern and European cuisine satisfy lunchtimes and pre-theatre meals such as the Salt Beef Special, m

Review - Jane Eyre - Shanghai Ballet at The Coliseum

This summer saw Shanghai Ballet’s London debut with an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, a novel often cited as being quintessentially English even though it has universal themes of love, betrayal and sacrifice. Choreographed by Patrick De Bana, this production transforms the story from heroine Jane’s autobiography to a love triangle which brings more focus on Rochester’s first wife and “mad woman in the attic” Bertha Mason. Rather than starting off with Jane’s traumatic childhood, the production begins with her arrival at Thornfield Hall which can confuse readers of the novel.The only reference given to Jane’s past is the ghost of her friend Helen who jaggedly circles around her during moments of solitude. Patrick De Bana states that he was drawn to the character of Bertha and that was apparent in the choreography for the role as masterfully played by Fan Xiaofeng - passionate, vulnerable and with a growing sense of heartbreak, moving quickly en pointe like a angry moth

Review - Oliver Reed: Wild Thing at St James Theatre, London

Image Oliver Reed - actor, prolific boozer and professional hellraiser - had a life and career so talked about to the point where he became like a mythical ancient god found in fables of romp and drama. Even if you know nothing about the drinks and the punch ups, Reed’s film roles showed a one-off individual who left a lasting impression. My first introduction to “Ollie” Reed was in Oliver! as brutal criminal Bill Sykes - a dark scary presence amongst the gaiety of ‘Oom-pah-pah’. For other audiences, a first Reed experience could have been 'Women in Love', which bore the first ever male full frontal nude scene in British cinema, or the heavily censored 'The Devils' with its explicit themes of sex, violence and religion.

Review - The Paper Cinema's The Odyssey - My Edinburgh Fringe Choice

Next week the Edinburgh Fringe kicks off with thousands of performers, established and new, giving it their all on one of many stages all over the city. There will be so much to see at Europe’s largest cultural festival so here’s a little tip from me - Whatever you do at the Fringe, go and see The Paper Cinema! Founded in 2004,The Paper Cinema creates live animation with elaborate ink and pen drawn paper puppets accompanied by live music and special effects. Earlier this week I rocked up to the Battersea Arts Centre to check out The Paper Cinema’s production of Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’. Projected onto a screen, there are individual puppets and settings for every single scene. The characters and their surroundings become multidimensional through the painstaking manoeuvres of the puppeteers. Scenes, such as Odysseus sailing away while Penelope watches in the foreground or Odysseus and his crew running from the Cyclops with the latter’s gigantic feet crashing around them and trees speedi

Review - Coppélia - Stanislavsky Ballet at The Coliseum

Last night I went to see the much-talked about Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet production of Roland Petit’s 1975 version of Coppélia at The Coliseum. The evening I chose to attend the show may have had a calmer atmosphere compared to the previous night which had a certain sensational bad boy in its cast. Semyon Velichko played Frantz, the boy enraptured by the life-like doll of the ballet’s title, with carefree charm and boyish swagger embodied in his leaps and facial expressions. As the real true love of Frantz, Natalia Somova’s Swanhilda was portrayed with sassiness and wit in her attempt to win back the silly doll-obsessed Frantz. The interactions between the two principles were both sexy and farcical.

Eurovision 2013 Final Tonight! - The Culture Tiger View

This week has been a particularly thrilling one with the semi finals of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest from Malmö leading up to tonight’s grand final. On Tuesday night, viewers were stunned by a kilt-wearing giant carrying Ukraine’s Zlata Ognevich onto a rock, bedazzled by Ireland’s tattooed topless drummers and left aghast by Montenegrin dubstep astronauts failing to quality for the final. On Thursday, theatricality and drama were cranked up to the max with high pitched pop opera by a vampire cloak-clad Cezar from Romania and a dancer in a glass case mirroring the moves of Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov. This year’s contest will be a vintage year for Eurovision - viewers playing Eurovision-themed drinking games, such as a drink per smoke machine or folk musical instrument, will be pickled like gherkins.

Lekiddo - Lord of the Lobsters!

If the glorious bank holiday sunshine didn't perk you up then look no further than Lekiddo - Lord of the Lobsters! Still from Beautiful London video © Lekiddo2012  Lekiddo's music is the ultimate in feel-good fun with a generous dose of eccentricity thrown in. 'Beautiful London', a sunny tribute to the capital,  is a vibrant mix of pop, rap and a chorus straight out of infectious musical theatre. A joyous guide through the city, 'Beautiful London' lovingly dances and leaps through the sights and sounds of the city including Buckingham Palace, the parks, the theatres and the markets. And there's no rain or commuter misery in sight. If anything, 'Beautiful London' makes me more proud to be a Londoner than last year's Olympics!

Review - David Bowie Is at the V&A

Following the success of Hollywood Costume, the V&A brings us another box office smash hit with David Bowie Is. So far in 2013, David Bowie has reappeared at the forefront of the public conscious with the build up to this exhibition and the release of new album The Next Day following a refreshingly subtle marketing campaign. The V&A’s latest offering will undoubtedly attract masses of visitors even more eclectic than usual to a single exhibition - there is no such thing as a typical Bowie fan. My first memory of Bowie was his introduction in the TV production of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman with butter yellow hair and patterned jumper. But for others, their first Bowie memory could be anything from a Top of the Pops appearance from one of several decades to one of many feature films.  

Review - Royal Ballet Triple Bill

As part of my days-long birthday celebrations, I arranged an overdue trip to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden with Hull Girl to see a matinee of the Royal Ballet’s much anticipated latest triple bill. A 20th century classic and brand new ballets from two of today’s top choreographers? You’re spoiling us!

Review - Valentino: Master of Couture at Somerset House

Valentino: Master of Couture at Somerset House explores the career of one of the world’s most prolific (and smoothest) Italian fashion designers with a vast display of his couture from the past fifty years.This exhibition is full-on excess glamour with a nod to the craft that went behind it. The first room is a walk-in biography of Valentino Garavani (famously known by only his first name just like Cher) with timelines highlighting key points in his career and displays of candid photographs, sketches, show invitations, press cuttings and correspondence from the likes of royalty, film stars, fashion editors and fellow designers. It resembles shoeboxes and scrapbooks of memoirs tipped out and meticulously categorised. I did become a little weary of the constant celebrity name-dropping - is it too vulgar? -  but it does emphasise the incredible influence Valentino had in the world of high fashion. Jackie Kennedy in a one shoulder Valentino gown during her visit to Cambodia in 19

Review - Hollywood Costume at the V&A

Hollywood Costume is the V&A’s latest show stopping event, dazzling with an immense collection of costumes from silent film  to contemporary blockbusters and a highly thorough insight into the painstaking work that goes into creating costumes. Walking into the exhibition evoked the feeling of walking into a darkened cinema  - spine-tingling dramatic music and a huge screen ahead of you with a montage of popular films from the past century. Rather than using the orthodox method of showing exhibits in chronological order, Hollywood Costume is laid out according to subject such as characters’ backstory and ever-changing technology so you’d have exhibits made in different time periods placed right next to each other. There are also in-depth case studies such as the research that went into each character’s costume in Ocean’s Eleven - brilliantly displayed with the costumes (with actors’ faces on suspended small screens) sitting around a table filled with projected images of scripts, r


Welcome to my shiny new blog space devoted to arts, entertainment and good times from the decadent to the cheap and cheerful. Here I will update you with reviews and accounts of experiences of a diverse range of events and activities from exhibitions and theatre productions to cultural festivals and TV shows. I will also give you an insight into my culture heroes as well as films, music and shows that have made a long lasting impression on me.  2013 looks like it’s going to be a fun packed year whether you’re staying in watching the box or painting the town in all manner of sparkly colours. Enjoy the ride!   Next week: Review on V&A’s Hollywood Costume and my first Latin Ballroom class for Beginners.