Wednesday 23 October 2013

Twelve Angry Men at Norwich Theatre Royal

On the evening of Tuesday 22nd October 2013 I attended the performance of Twelve Angry Men at Norwich Theatre Royal. This brand new production paid tribute to the 1957 film version, starring and produced by Henry Fonda. This is often lauded as one of the great must see movies of all time.

Twelve jurors have death on their mind and a life in their hands as they have to decide the fate of a young delinquent accused of murdering his father. But what begins as an open and shut case becomes a dilemma for each of the Twelve, as their prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused and each other, turn the tables every which way, until the nail biting climax.

Twelve Angry Men was written by Reginald Rose who was inspired by his own experience serving on a jury. This production was directed by Christopher Haydon with set and costume design by Michael Pavelka. Martin Shaw and Robert Vaughn gave fantastic performances on a night at Norwich Theatre Royal when a life hanged in the balance.

Monday 21 October 2013

Britten Sinfonia's Within Her Arms at Norwich Theatre Royal

On the evening of Sunday 20th October 2013 I attended the Britten Sinfonia Within Her Arms concert at Norwich Theatre Royal. This was Britten Sinfonia's first concert at the venue in their 2013-14 concert season.

The programme consisted of Three pieces for String Quartet - Stravinsky, Within Her Arms - Anna Clyne, Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K414 - Mozart, Little Concert - Maw and Symphony No. 60, II Distratto - Haydn. This concert featured Dejan Lazic - piano/director, Jacqueline Shave - violin/director and Nicholas Daniel - oboe.

Stravinsky's Three Pieces for String Quartet was finished in 1914, revised in 1918, and eventually published in 1922. As most of the works by Igor Stravinsky, this three-movement work was arranged from a four-hands on one piano version, from which the final revised version of 1918 derives and differs in some respects. The manuscript contained no movement titles for any of the three pieces. However, with the passing of time, Stravinsky rearranged these three movements for large orchestra, together with his Étude pour pianola, and premiered the whole collection as Quatre etudes in 1928.

Within Her Arms was composed by Anna Clyne in 2008-09. The composer wrote: Within Her Arms is music for my mother, with all my love. London born Anna Clyne is a composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music, combining resonant soundscapes with propelling textures that weave, morph and collide in dramatic explosions.

Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K414 is the first of a set of three rather modest concertos for piano that Mozart began writing in 1782 and performed in his Lenten concerts of 1783. Mozart declared that he could be sure that all three would be a happy medium between what is too easy and too difficult.

Nicholas Maw Little Concert For oboe accompanied by strings and two horns is a kind of concert aria for oboe, was completed in 1988. It was written to celebrate the twenty first anniversary of the Orchestra of St. John’s, and as a tribute to the playing of Melinda Maxwell. The musical language employed represents an intermittent preoccupation of mine to write a piece somewhat light in specific gravity and tone, but that does not really fall into the category of light music.

Haydn composed his Symphony No. 60 in 1774 which is sometimes given the nickname Il Distratto or The Distracted. The symphony makes use of music Haydn wrote for a play, Le Distrait, by Jean-François Regnard, given a German revival in 1774 by Karl Wahr under the German title Der Zerstreute. Symphony No. 60 contains the overture, four entr'actes and finale from the music composed for the five-act play.

This was a fantastic night of Classical Music at Norwich Theatre Royal which was greatly enjoyed by the enthusiastic audience. Britten Sinfonia were on top form for their opening concert of the season. My highlight of the evening was Stravinsky's Three pieces for String Quartet.

Friday 18 October 2013

Rambert at Norwich Theatre Royal

On the evening of Thursday 17th October 2013 I saw Rambert at Norwich Theatre Royal. They are the most distinctive and creative contemporary dance company working in Great Britain today.

Rambert, a powerhouse of dance since 1926, presented a spectacular evening of entertainment featuring terrific dancers, wonderful costumes and great live music from the Rambert Orchestra conducted by Paul Hoskins. The programme consisted of SUB, Dutiful Ducks, Sounddance and The Castaways.

Following the critically acclaimed and multi-award nominated A Linha Curva, Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili returned with his high energy work, SUB, a battlefield of relentlessly sparring testosterone. SUB is performed by seven men responding with full force to the rhythmic complexity of Michael Gordon's Weather One.

Using Charles Amirkhanian's tongue-twisting sound-text of the same name as a starting point, Richard Alston's short solo for a male dancer, first created for Michael Clark in 1982, is sharp and witty. Dutiful Ducks premièred as a solo in 1982. It premièred for four dancers by Ballet Rambert at Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury on 10 October 1986.

Made in 1975 by the late master of contemporary dance, Merce Cunningham, this ecstatic opus was inspired by the words of writer James Joyce and the tiny racing life seen under a microscope. Sounddance made its UK revival première at Sadler's Wells, London on Tuesday 16 October 2012. Sounddance was last performed in London July 1980.

American-born Barak Marshall, has presented work across the world but rarely in the UK. Arresting, original and fevered in style, Barak made his Rambert debut this October with The Castaways. Set to a vibrant mix of traditional Yiddish music and American popular tunes from the 1950s, Barak Marshall's The Castaways is a humorous and playful exploration of human nature. Celebrated for his inventive choreography and witty theatricality, Barak has a truly unique style, the way he brings together popular music, inventive dance and enthralling story lines which makes for an unmissable spectacle.

This was a fantastic night of Contemporary Dance at Norwich Theatre Royal with Rambert performing four wonderful works. The Castaways was my favourite piece which followed the journey of twelve souls trapped in a kind of no-man's land.

Friday 11 October 2013

Ghostpoet at Norwich Arts Centre

On the evening of Thursday 10th October 2013 I attended the Ghostpoet gig at Norwich Arts Centre with support from No Ceremony and Sullivan and Gold. This gig was part of Norwich Sound and Vision Festival. I love both of Ghostpoet's albums, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam and Some Say I So I Say Light and was greatly looking forward to seeing him live.

Sullivan and Gold is the pen name of Adam Montgomery and Ben Robinson who both hail from Co. Derry, Northern Ireland. Their sound is an evocative mix of Laurel Canyon soul and British alt-indie. Bold, atmospheric and emotive songs. Sullivan and Gold release their new album on Smalltown America, For Foes in the UK and Ireland on 4th November 2013.

No Ceremony are an Electronic three piece from Manchester. The band announced their arrival onto the musical landscape, with their track Hurt Love. 2012 saw the release of further songs which were all included on their summer 2013 debut album No Ceremony.

Ghostpoet is a singer and producer from Coventry. In June 2010, Ghostpoet released his first EP The Sound Of Strangers on Brownswood Recordings. He released his debut album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam in February 2011. Ghostpoet's second album Some Say I So I Say Light was released in May 2013. Ghostpoet reminds me of Tricky with his mixture of Hip Hop and Electronica.

Ghostpoet was brilliant on the night but due to the late running of the show he had to cut his set short at Midnight. He told us he wanted to come back to the Norwich Arts Centre next year. No Ceremony and Sullivan and Gold were great as support on a night when Ghostpoet gave us a night to remember with his fantastic music.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Northern Ballet's A Christmas Carol at Norwich Theatre Royal

On the evening of Wednesday 9th October 2013 I attended the Northern Ballet's performance of A Christmas Carol at Norwich Theatre Royal. Christmas arrived early this year as Northern Ballet's heart-warming and hugely popular adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale returned to the stage.

Colourful sets and costumes by Olivier Award winning Lez Brotherston (Northern Ballet's Romeo and Juliet, Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Edward Scissorhands) conjured up a traditional Victorian Christmas, while Carl Davis' festive score blended classical music with traditional Christmas Carols, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia. A Christmas Carol has been an audience favourite for over 20 years and was a guarantee to get the festive season off to a magical start.

This adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale brought the magic of Christmas to Norwich Theatre Royal featuring three terrifying ghosts. There were fantastic performances from Sebastian Loe as Scrooge, Pippa Moore as Ghost of Christmas Past, Isaac Lee-Baker as Ghost of Christmas Present, Joseph Taylor as Ghost of Christmas Future and Jessica Morgan as Mrs Cratchit.

I will live in the Past, the Present and the Future!’ Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions … the shadows of the things that would have been, may be dispelled. They will be. I know they will! This was such a magical evening to be in attendance at Norwich Theatre Royal as Northern Ballet put us in a festive mood. God Bless Us, Every One.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Don Quixote at The Royal Opera House

On Saturday 5th October 2013 I attended The Royal Ballet's matinee performance of Don Quixote at The Royal Opera House. I caught a early train from Norwich to London eagerly looking forward to this fantastic event.

Carlos Acosta presented his first work for The Royal Ballet, a dance adaptation of the classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes. Acosta has already established himself as an exciting choreographic talent with Tocororo – A Cuban Tale, a semi-autobiographical work that draws on his childhood in Cuba and broke box office records at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 2003.

The adventures of the bumbling knight Don Quixote and his ever-faithful squire Sancho Panza have been the inspiration for countless ballets, of which one of the most well-loved is the version by 19th-century Russian choreographer Marius Petipa. Acosta has danced the virtuoso role of Basilio many times, and now brings his unique and vibrant vision to the story, drawing on Petipa and with music by Ludwig Minkus, full of Spanish flair and atmosphere. Don Quixote, with its famously bravura Act III pas de deux and its infectious joie de vivre makes for a wonderfully entertaining experience.

There were fantastic performances from William Tuckett as Don Quixote, Roberta Marquez as Kitri, Alexander Campbell as Basilio and Laura Morera as Mercedes as The Royal Ballet brought this colourful Spanish novel to the stage. Don Quixote was a ballet full of emotions and amazing dancing. The costumes were sensational as this new production of this exuberant tale of friendship, love and loyalty gave us an afternoon to remember.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Rationale's In My Shoes at Norwich Playhouse

On the evening of Tuesday 1st October 2013 I attended Rationale's performance of In My Shoes at Norwich Playhouse. Through exhilarating and witty choreography, Rationale are set upon bringing hip-hop theatre into the community, inspiring its audiences, and bridging the gap between old and young. Rationale promises to transform the four walls of a theatre into an exciting melting pot full of passion, energy and street dance.

The Rationale mission statement is to produce high quality theatre productions that are accessible to all, both nationally and internationally. To push the boundary of hip hop theatre through innovative, unique and inspiring practices both on a professional and community level. In My Shoes centres on the troublesome relationship between a father and son. In a desperate attempt to confront their problems, they attend an extreme therapy session where they finally begin to understand how it feels to be in another person's shoes.

Rationale put on a performance which combined slick theatre and highly skilled, exhilarating dance. This was a story portraying life's challenges which got the Norwich Playhouse audience hand clapping combined with lots of laughter. This Was a fantastic night's entertainment at Norwich Playhouse.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Hairspray at Norwich Theatre Royal

On the evening of Wednesday 25th September 2013 I attended the performance of Hairspray at Norwich Theatre Royal. This is the big hit musical with big hair and a big heart. A show to enjoy and be happy.

Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart as she sets out to follow her extraordinary dreams, inspire her mum and win the boy she loves. This ultimate feel good show is packed with uplifting songs, breathtaking choreography, 60's inspired costumes and the most incredible array of wigs you will ever see.

There were fantastic performances from Mark Benton, Lucy Benjamin, Marcus Collins and Freya Sutton who starred as big hearted, big haired teen heroine Tracy Turnblad. Good morning Baltimore. Every day's like an open door, every night is a fantasy, every sound's like a symphony. Good morning Baltimore and some day when I take to the floor the world's gonna wake up and see Baltimore and me.

This was a fantastic night at Norwich Theatre Royal as we were taken to Baltimore in the 60's and given a brilliant feel good show that put lots of smiles on faces at a packed Norwich Theatre Royal. Hairspray is the most happy, funny, sunny show in town.