Wednesday, 19 March 2008

HOT: New York City Ballet London Coliseum

After the debacle of the dire Pina Bausch, I felt that I owed Debora a decent night out at the ballet. Luckily, the world famous NYC ballet (who haven't performed in London in years) didn't disappoint. I particularly loved the Broadway medley, with its fluid lines and gorgeous 30s style dresses in block colours, and the dynamism of the West Side Story suite.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

NOT: The History Boys, Wynham Theatre

Yalin and I were unable to work out how this schlock was the winner of numerous Tony Awards (including for Best Play). Unrealistic, self-important and drawn-out, I was really disappointed with this play.

Friday, 14 March 2008

HOT: Unfinished Sky London Australian Film Festival at Barbican Centre

A fantastic film set in country Queensland about a loner out in the bush who helps a battered Afghan illegal immigrant woman who stumbles down his driveway one day. William McInnes perfectly captures the prickly demeanour of a man uncomfortable with human emotions, who slowly thaws in the warmth of new discovery and love.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

NOT: Tough Time, Nice Time, Barbican Centre

Another bizarre undertaking from Ridiculusmus, all of which takes place with them naked on stage in a spa bath. Unfortunately not very funny and they packed so much commentary into their quickfire script that I found it hard to keep up.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

HOT: Much Ado about Nothing, National Theatre

I had originally thought this would not be worth seeing - two middle aged actors playing the lovers Beatrice and Benedict? However, sometimes experience rather than beauty is what counts in interpreting Shakespeare, and Zoe Wanamaker and Simon Russell Beale really set the prose alight with their comic timing and unbelieveable diction during this delightful sunlit comedy. And there's a pool in the middle of the stage!

Monday, 10 March 2008

HOT: The Home Song Stories, London Australian Film Festival, Barbican Centre

Oh wow. A stunning, moving and shocking film based on the true life of Tony Ayres, a Chinese boy who immigrated with his nightclub singer monther and teenage system to dusty suburban Melbourne. It's a miracle he turned out vaguely normal given his emotionally wraught upbringing filled with uncertainty, itinerant housing and others' suicide attempts. The child actor was perfect as Tony, quietly observing the action around him, while Joan Chen was outstanding as his flighty and manipulative mother. A must see.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

HOT: Duchamp, Man Ray, Picaba at Tate Modern

The pioneers of modernism still have the ability to provoke, 80 years later. Even if the only reaction is of confusion. This exhibition is quite large, and key pieces for me included Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase (a great study in movement, although I'm not sure how walking down a staircase could be more controversially mundane than lying on a bed), Duchamps' The Lovers (a geometric yet rounded nude couple, drenched in pink and with an air of glowing tenderness about them) and Picabia's Daughter Born Without Mother (basically a picture of a piece of machinery, transformed into a work evoking Eve).

Friday, 7 March 2008

HOT: Noise, London Australian Film Festival at Barbican Centre

The Pit cinema at the Barbican was a fantastic cinema which reminded me of ACMI in Melbourne - plush wide seats and sloped stadium seating. Since moving to London I haven't really been keeping up with Australian news or seen Australian landscapes, so as I was watching this film, set in Melbourne, I experienced a strange feeling of familiarity yet distance. The film was not what I expecting at all - I thought it'd be a straight whodunnit (serial killer on train) but instead it was more of an exploration of the impact of the killings on various people, with no obvious conclusion. So it was gripping, but only because you weren't sure where the story was heading.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

HOT: Salome at Royal Opera House

My second opera experience at the ROH was very different to the Magic Flute. This production of Salome was set in an underground, starkly tiled space a la public toilet/abbatoir/dungeon which was manned by Teutonic stormtroopers. It turned incredible bloody (decapitation and stabbings), with some random male and female full frontal nudity. Although I did have trouble following the music, I thought Salome, a tiny flame-haired woman with an enormous voice, was brilliant.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

HOT: The Bread Shop 296 Chiswick High Road

I have the sort of stomach which means eating too much bread over consecutive days can do strange things to my digestion. Therefore, spelt, a gluten-free grain, is the answer. Unfortunately, spelt bread has always been tasteless and unappealing to me - until I discovered The Bread Shop. OK it's not cheap compared to your sliced white, but the spelt special is absolutely delicious and actually tastes like a proper french white baguette. I'm addicted, especially when it's spread with my especially-imported Belgian monk's beer cheese and avocado.