Archive | October, 2013

Stephen Mangan and Matthew Macfadyen: On friendship and Jeeves and Wooster

31 Oct


‘It’s like trying to do a 1,000-piece jigsaw – you think you’ll never get it.’ Stephen Mangan is preparing to take to the West End stage as disaster-prone aristo Bertie Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, a new farce based on PG Wodehouse’s novels.

‘It’s the most ridiculously complicated plot in the history of theatre!’ he declares of the Goodale brothers’ furiously fast and funny play-within-a-play.

Fortunately, Matthew Macfadyen, playing Bertie’s unflappable valet, is on hand to bring a touch of Jeevesian calm to the situation. ‘It’s exactly like a dance,’ he says. ‘It’s more about having it in your body, a physical memory.’

If you’re going to form a double act with someone, it’s probably a good idea to do it with a friend. Mangan and Macfadyen have known one another for almost 20 years, having been at Rada at the same time and previously worked together on productions of Much…

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Mild-mannered From Here To Eternity musical: Erotic as a picture postcard

24 Oct


Theatre Review: From Here To Eternity at Shaftesbury Theatre

It’s 1941: war is raging across the globe and the members of G Company are growing bored in their easy berth of Hawaii.

They engage in fractious barrack-room banter and involve themselves in impossible romances, little knowing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour is about to shake up their lives.

Perhaps interpreting its title too literally, this stage adaptation of James Jones’s 1951 novel takes an eternity to achieve narrative focus. Even then, emotions rarely threaten to boil over.

As hard-bitten First Sergeant Milt Warden, Darius Campbell (of Pop Idol fame), demonstrates vocal grace but rarely allows a visible emotion to curdle his matinee-idol good looks.

The musical marks the return of lyricist Tim Rice. With composer Stuart Brayson, he’s crafted some smart, consciously old-fashioned tunes: Run Along Joe is so catchy you’ll be singing along before Siubhan Harrison’s Lorene has…

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Hard rock album reviews: Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, Metallica and The Answer

11 Oct


Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt

The urgent, angsty teenage howl and rapid burn-out of Nirvana in the early 1990s suggested grunge wasn’t built to last.

But recent albums from Alice In Chains and Soundgarden have demonstrated that Seattle’s survivors are capable of charting the more varied emotional terrain of middle age.

Pearl Jam, grunge’s most consistently successful graduates, also now return with a new album.

The excellent Lightning Bolt (Monkeywrench/Republic) kicks off with the punk-rock charge of Getaway and Mind Your Manners, before heading off into moodier, mid-tempo territory with Sirens and ending with the wistful balladry of Future Days.

All of which goes to show that the band’s strong songwriting, topped off with Eddie Vedder’s warm baritone warble, remains a winning formula.

Linkin Park – Recharged

After Reanimation, the hip 2002 makeover of the mega-selling Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda said he’d never do another remix album.


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Rosalie Craig is spunkily charismatic in Tori Amos’s The Light Princess

10 Oct


Drawing on a Victorian fairy tale by George MacDonald, this ambitious new musical by Tori Amos and Samuel Adamson tells the story of Althea, a princess who lacks gravity in both the physical and the emotional sense.

Though great sadness has marked her early life, she prefers to float giddily ‘up in the skies, where no one cries’ until an adventure in a deep, dark forest – this is a fairy tale, after all – challenges her to come down to earth.

The Light Princess has been a long time in the making. But despite spending so much time in development, it still lacks narrative shape: the main love story feels at once drawn out and too compressed.

The big elemental conceits – as well as the principal aerial motif, there’s a lot of stuff about water – are never quite made to resonate with the dark intensity you expect…

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Theatre Review: National Youth Theatre West End Rep Season

6 Oct

Theatre Review: National Youth Theatre West End Rep Season

Angelo Musco’s Brave Nude World

4 Oct


‘OVUM’ by Angelo Musco. Image courtesy the artist

Given that his photographic bodyscapes can stretch to a length of up to 20 metres, it’s hardly surprising that the shooting and post-production process necessary to create Angelo Musco’s works of vast and surreal beauty should be pretty epic too. Hailing from Naples, Musco was deeply marked by the trauma of his birth. Having spent 11 months in the womb, he suffered paralysis in the right side of his body for the first years of his life; it’s an event that has had a powerful impact on his art making. He is now based in New York, where he makes works of increasing visionary intensity and immense physical and artistic ambition, using the naked human form as his basic brush stroke.

To find out more about Musco’s work, you have some exciting possibilities:

1)   Go and see the premiere of Robert Jason’s documentary about him, Conception, on 14 October at the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center, New York City. You can watch the ‘sizzle’ here.

2)   Get hold of a copy of the new issue of Elephant, which features an interview with the Italian maestro.

Musco will also be in London for Frieze and will be shooting a brand-new work at Sunbeam Studio on 19 October.