Monthly Archives: December 2012

Nothing to do with my blog

This is nothing to do with the purpose of my blog but sometimes another blog says something so completely right:

http://www.platitudes.org.uk/platblog/comments.php?y=12&m=12&entry=entry121227-145853

I’ve linked to the comments so you’ll need to scroll up to read the entry; I’m not sure how to link directly to the main entry.

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Favourite happening of 2012: John Cage Musicircus

There have been a few events this year that do not fit into the conventional categories. I really enjoyed Like a Fish our of Water from Seven Sisters, a strange little tale told through an iPod touch with headphones while walking around Uxbridge lido watching short performances from members of the English National Ballet. As every year nowadays, there were fun happenings on the South Bank and Slow Food UK‘s family event at Massimo’s in February was lovely but it was telling that half the people there were Italian.

Clapping Sisters

However, the most wonderful of all was the Musicircus at the Coliseum, celebrating what would have been John Cage’s 100th birthday. I thought this would be interesting but did not expect such perfect entertainment. From the hand-clapping sisters above (from the ENO’s Flickr set) to the brilliant musicianship of Sxip Shirey. Perhaps the favourite of all my favourites.

Favourite play of 2012 in a big theatre: Long Day’s Journey into Night

The commercial West End has outshone the both the NT and the Old Vic this year. The year started with Death and the Maiden, then a couple of great Noel Coward revivals, a tour de force by Anthony Andrews in Bully Boy, but the peak was the riveting production of Long Day’s Journey into Night at the Apollo Theatre starring David Suchet. There is a perfect description of it in this Telegraph review.

Favourite exhibition of 2012: Christie’s at Waddesdon Manor

IMG_2250

I enjoyed Bronze and I found the Metamorphosis:Titian exhibition a bit disappointing, although I did enjoy the associated ballets. However, despite the rubbish weather, the big thing this year for me was sculpture in beautiful, outdoor settings: David Nash at Kew Gardens, the Garden of Reason at Ham House and this. There are some great pictures of some of the works here and Christie’s press release shows the thinking behind it. The juxtaposition of the modern art with the old was sometimes great, such as the Robert Indiana sculpture contrasting with three more traditional images of love:

IMG_2255 IMG_2253 IMG_2256 (all photos taken by me – please ask to use elsewhere).

[Review] The Body Adorned: Dressing London

This is a bit late in the day as this exhibition at the Horniman Museum has been there since March and finishes on 6th January. However, unlike most of their special exhibitions, it is free and worth mentioning. Taking the cultural diversity of London as a starting point, it looks at the different roles that clothing and other body adornment can take, whether for protection, display, war or ritual. By being family-friendly it unfortunately misses any sexual aspects of body adornment (no penis sheaths of lingerie here) but apart from that it is great fun and well worth popping in if you are nearby.

Favourite opera of 2012: Julietta

I am very surprised to realise that I enjoyed this more than any other opera this year. Other productions were better, such as Robert le Diable or Pilgrim’s Progress and if I’d kept my eyes shut then Julius Caesar would have won easily. However, the synthesis of music, performance and production reached its peak for me in the ENO’s production of Martinu’s Julietta. The most promising work was probably Dr Dee. I am a big fan of Damon Albarn and recommend The Fall by Gorillaz but this didn’t quite work. I gather it was an improvement on the original Manchester production and look forward to seeing further refinement – I think it could be really great.

[Review] People

Nicholas Hyntner’s production for the National Theatre of Alan Bennett’s ‘People’ at the Lyttelton is a sheer joy. Frances de la Tour heads a triumvirate of three excellent actresses whilst some of our best known actors are happy to take quite minor roles. It is clear that Alan Bennett enjoyed writing this satire about the National Trust and that the cast enjoyed playing it. We in the audience were, I’d guess, mostly members of both the National Trust (it was a half price midweek matinee for over 60s) and were well in with the jokes. Hilarious, knowingly clichéd farce (the short-sighted bishop turning up during the filming of a porn movie) combined with cutting satire on various aspects of modern society to produce a play which is very much of its time but no less enjoyable for it. Thoroughly recommended.