The American horror show


Here I am again stateside, away from the maddening Brexit crowd; In Boston, a great city to hang out in with generally quite genial people. However, some things don’t change. I write this while travelling on the ‘T’, their Tube. The addiction to technology remains unabated and relentless. Ninety nine percent of my carriage is plugged in, listening, texting, face-timing, gaming and doing whatever they can so as not to be in the ‘real’ world. With all that head bending going on, the physio profession is going to be very busy in the next few decades. It’s understandable, this escape from reality. After all their reality is Trump. Right now however, the attention is on the Democrats as the final 10 (the original field was 49 making the Conservative Party leadership election a minor squabble in comparison) battle it out to decide who will be their challenger to the TweetKing in 2020. Switch on the TV and there are analysts analysing, commentators commentating, and pundits delivery amusing punditry on every line they utter, most of which is pathetic political piffle.

So rather than caught up in all of that, after all I am on vacation as they say, I choose to go and see the Little Shop of Horrors performed by The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, now forty five years strong. This is my third time seeing this extremely likeable and talented company. You receive a warm welcome from their army of volunteers and staff and the small, intimate performing space, located on the second floor of a hotel, is adaptable and atmospheric. Alan Menken (music) and Howard Ashman’s (book and lyrics) musical is a total p**stake of the B-Movie horror genre such as It Came from Outer Space and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Likeable as it is, and this production was very enjoyable, it suffers from an overweighted first act leaving the post interval entertainment short on action and fun. Nevertheless, the company all give it their best shot, high quality stuff, and the horrific man-eating plant, Audrey II, scoffs her way into the record books.

Meanwhile back outside, the horror that is modern day America, strikes home in the form of a sandwich board man, wearing a Stetson, whose message simply reads “America First…Trump is our Saviour…Ditch the Liberals”. My mother always did say “Then eshi san douz Ameriganouz…je douz Englezouz”. #NotMeToo.

Meanwhile Sotira Kyriakides gets vocally bejewelled…

Daniel Clarkson’s The Crown Dual (Wilton’s Music Hall)was a terrific parody of the popular Netflix series ‘The Crown’, a very amusing homage to the often absurd thinking of the Royal Family and the Realm. Rosie Holt and Brendan Murphy were an absolute hoot as they portrayed Queen Elizabeth 2 and Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh during the early years. The portrayal of Princess Margaret was exquisite! Endless quick change routines, hat passing, corgi impressions and audience engagement all added to the merriment. The mimicry was tip top, making me feel a bit sorry for our Royals who have to enunciate in their vowel -strangling speech. You need to know the series to get some of it but either way a highly entertaining evening!

And Jonoulla Havana delights in her ignorance…

I had an amazing time watching Ben Johnson’s bawdy Bartholomew Fair (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), part of the Globe. It is raucous, joyful and so funny. Was it because I didn’t know the play and therefore didn’t have any preconceptions? I don’t know, but I loved it. Maybe not everybody’s cup of tea but this girl had a whale of a time. The smaller space suits it perfectly, and the company utilise the stage, the auditorium and beyond, popping up behind you, above you in the balconies and sat among us. The musical minstrels provide additional energy and the actors display extraordinary stamina and skill, swapping roles in a jiffy, each persona they play uniquely funny and delightful. The characters are everything you imagine; a rogue’s gallery of thieves and vagabonds, who would do anything to survive, thoroughly amoral, but so appealing too. Highly recommended excess!

Finally Gracia Erinoglu heeds the call…

Programme Bfrom the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (Sadler’s Wells)featured Ailey’s signature piece, Revelations, a beautifully ethereal ensemble work, EN, by Jessica Lang, and Juba by Robert Battle, which was an interesting interpretation of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. However, the piece that captivated me was The Call, which successfully married West African, classical and jazz with a quintet of dancers that were poetry in motion, like ballet with soul. The fluidity and synchronicity was a joy to behold, performed with so much passion and energy. Lucky you if you also managed to experience this unique troupe. They’ll be back!


The Crown Dual – run complete

Bartholomew Fair – 020 7401 9919

Alvin Ailey’ – run complete

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