spring pickings

                                London skyline

After a fine sunny evening, which has been more of the Spring feeling rather than the more recent conditions bringing in snow, hale and sleet, it is time to cast some thoughts over some of the forthcoming productions appearing in our great capital this season. With the clocks going forward last night too, the lighter evenings provide the perfect opportunity for brief, pre-dinner evening walks before indulging in some of London’s finest. Here are my picks – this one’s quite a long one, however, please stick with it and decide for yourself:-

Family:- Into the Hoods by ZooNation @ the Novello Theatre, WC2 – Nearest tube Covent Garden.

What they say:

This energetic show puts an urban spin on Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s darkly humorous musical Into The Woods and sets it to a soundtrack of music by artists including Gorillaz, Basement Jaxx, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Black Eyes Peas and The Chemical Brothers. 

What I say:  

A great evening out for a viewing of some top-class moves from a highly energetic cast. Director Katie Prince delivers this classic story through the magic of fairytale, just about every one you can imagine, in an up-to-date, cartoon style. You are always left wanting more, whether it’s the backing dancers, breaking body poppers or the ugly sisters; aptly played with cross dressing. The soundtrack is especially a treat accompanying some fine choreography and, of course, a true fairytale happy ending.

Musical:- Jersey Boys @ The Prince Edward Theatre, W1 – Nearest tube Leicester Square

What they say:

A smash hit on Broadway, the musical Jersey Boys tells the story of how four blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks – Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi – became one of the biggest American pop bands of the 1960s, selling 175 million records worldwide.

What I say:

The show with the hits that you never knew you knew until you hear them. Transferring from Broadway carrying no less than four Tony Awards in 2006, including best musical, the auto-biographical tale is not your everyman rags to riches story but an awe-inspiring and atmospheric journey. Frankie Valli, played by a hauntingly accurate Ryan Molloy, and his Four Seasons, give the audience a mesmeric insight into their Jersey high school drop-out days taking them all the way to the height of selling all those records.

Opera:- Lost Highway (4-11 April) and Punch & Judy (19-27 April) by English National Opera @ The Young Vic, SE1 – Nearest tube Southwark and Waterloo

What they say:

Lost Highway – David Lynch’s psychological thriller, a film that explores identity, dislocation and desire through the eyes of troubled jazz musician Fred Madison, has been adapted for the stage by Olga Neuwirth. A seething combination of sound and image, Lost Highway is directed by Diane Paulus.

Punch & Judy – The story of the murderous Punch and his desire to possess Pretty Polly. Harrison Birtwistle’s controversial first opera, premiered at Aldeburgh in 1968, is directed by Daniel Kramer in the work’s 40th-anniversary year. Conducted by ENO Music Director Edward Gardner.

What I say:

A new venture between the Young Vic and ENO full of much promise. The two chamber operas will be seated in-the-round and will provide a fusion between the hi-tech and the traditional. This is another snatch at bringing opera, which is often seen as challenging and exclusive, to new, fresh and young audiences by giving it a highly contemporary spin. The collaboration between the two producing houses, traditionally established ENO and vastly ambitious Young Vic, will present some exciting work, hopefully, to please all sorts of taste-buds.

Theatre:- Major Barbara @ The National Theatre, SE1 – Nearest tube Waterloo and Embankment

What they say:

Major Barbara works tirelessly for the poor at a Salvation Army shelter until a large but morally dubious donation is welcomed from her estranged father, a millionaire weapons manufacturer. But when she visits the factory itself, the well-fed workers in their thriving model town make a devastating case for arms trade profits and a whole new set of ideals.

What I say:

If you kick off with the National Theatre’s Travelex £10 Tickets season then you can’t go wrong with another Bernard Shaw play under Nicholas Hytner. Major Barbara, written in 1905, is every bit worth it from some implausible performances across the board. Simon Russell Beale takes to the stage with an intricately built characterisation of Andrew Undershaft, the obstinate arms dealer, delivering an exigent paradox of salvation of life, accutely placed along side his daughters’, Barbara (Hayley Atwell) and her devotee stance to the Salvation Army. Culminating with a delibaration in Undershaft’s capitalist mind-set, Tom Pye’s set – a stage full of missile rows, provides the backdrop to a century old play with a new century idea – war is war is war.

Dance:- Sylvie Guillem & Russell Maliphant PUSH @ London Coliseum, WC2 – Nearest tube Charing Cross

What they say:

After three sell-out seasons at Sadler’s Wells, five star reviews, a European tour and sold out performances in New York, PUSH will now be performed at the London Coliseum.

What I say:

A duo to die for between French ballerina, Guillem and British choreographer, Maliphant, this extensively successful piece makes a short run at the Coliseum to, once again, wow the London audiences. An array of pieces, in which each of the pairing takes precedence in, is a showcase in a collaboration of some world-class movement and choreography – a dance fan would be a fool to miss this, even though the prices are somewhat a rile.

Apologies for for the lack of links. It is being rubbish. Thank you!

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