So it’s nearly the end of April and let me tell you it has been a fantastic month. I love being a tourist in the greatest city in the world, yes London! As a Londoner I might be a little bit biased but really, this city is amazing! There is so much to see.
So what I have been up to; Streetwise Opera’s The Answer to Everything (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEHdIAi6IVo) at BFI, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Puz/zle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qNfDUhqgRA) at Sadlers Wells, Royal Ballet’s Draft Works at the Linbury Studio and The Tempest at the Globe Theatre.
So let me start with Streetwise Opera’s The Answer to Everything. Based in a fictional conference, Locateco Solutions leads the way in the single person re-homing market, by their proposals to radically re-purpose under exploited brown-field lands and re-direct underactive citizens through their rigorous human energy resource channelling programme (hmmm conference speak!). Just like any conference, I registered, got my lanyard and conference pack and for the duration I was ColinCreek, Coordinating Manager of Special Structures (no ordinary structures for me!). I was invited to wear a tie, the person in front of me just nabbed the orange one (my favourite colour) so I plumped for a pink and blue striped one, which looked beautiful over my sweatshirt. There was much handshaking from the organisers and “welcome to the conference”, “what’s your name, what do you do?” There was also much looking to the audience and “hi, how are you? Haven’t seen you seen last conference, good to seeeee you”. It was pretty much what I had experienced from conferences, ridiculous presentations where the presenter fails to grasp any knowledge of plain English, syntax and audience awareness. Spot on Streetwise Opera! It was part film and part performance (obviously starring homeless performers). There was of course much singing and music including Handel, Schumann, Britten and Vivaldi. And then a little bit of dread from me, audience participation; the “Ten Principles of Good Business” all with actions to accompany the 10. Now I am no singer and I did go on my own, so it is a bit embarrassing singing, badly on your own. However, I stood and mouthed the words. I can’t remember all of the ten principles but here are a few; “feed the photocopier”, “blue sky thinking”, “networking”, “light bulb moment”, “downsize”, “upgrade” and “be the future”. See I told you, just like any real conference! We ended with the Locateco Anthem sung to “Soldiers Chorus” from Faust and by then I was joining in! As the credits rolled I realised just how splendid Streetwise Opera are and what they do, and it brought a little tear to my eye.
And then Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Puz/zle at Sadlers Wells. Two hours of contemporary dance and I was excited. The show was a mixture of beautiful dance, music, singing, stage movement and human movement. It really did have it all. And like nothing I had seen at Sadlers for a good while. It is difficult to explain but I’ll try. As the dancers moved about the stage they reconfigured the set, a mixture of geometric shapes, at one point the columns holding up the top shape were kicked away and were held up by the dancers, not impressed, well there was a dancer on top of the shape!!! You could hear an intake of breath from the audience. The dancing was top notch, such beautiful movement mixed with energy and power, quite something. The music perfectly matched the movement and at times I was in a trance with it all (and yes my mouth was open!). You had the singers mingling in with the dancers, and such beautiful singing. When it finished I was left wanting so much more, couldn’t believe it had been 2 hours and a standing ovation so very well deserved! Go check them out next time they are in town, you will not be disappointed.
And so to Draft Works at the Linbury Studio. Draft Works provides an opportunity for dancers to create their own work, the brief is entirely open. Wayne McGregor opened it and I remembered the time we had an away day at Sadlers Well’s and he spoke to us, reconnecting us back to the art. Because they are Draft Works it can be a little hit and miss but for £10.50 you can’t complain! Some of the pieces did nothing for me, whilst others I thoroughly enjoyed and I hope the choreographers get to develop it further. The pieces I really enjoyed were Kristen McNally’s Untitled, the first section. Can you imagine Royal Ballet dancers doing the funky chicken to Vivaldi? Ludovic Ondiviela’s Exordium was about a boy chasing his rainbow, his happiness and was cheeky and quirky. Kenta Kura’s D.M. was fast, furious and powerful and Marcelino Sambe was a fantastic dancer. Kenta’s reaction afterwards was marvellous, jumping up and down, smiling and clapping!! And finally Valentino Zucchetti’s Orbital Motion. I am a sucker for synchronisation in ballet and dance and this had it, beautiful movement and precision. A top night out. Plus I heard “The Beast in Me” for the first time, top tune!
And then to today, The Tempest at the Globe. I am not a big Shakespeare fan (sorry to those who are) but I love The Tempest. I saw Cheek by Jowl’s performance at the Barbican, in Russian, which was fantastic. I wasn’t expecting the same but I was expecting an impish and cheeky Ariel (I named one of my cats Ariel, arh bless, he is dead now). I wasn’t disappointed. Both Ariel and Caliban were brilliant in very different ways. Caliban, aggressive and subservient and Ariel, slightly aloof, impish and subservient. As with the Globe productions it was very funny in parts, made great use of the yard (where I was standing, £5 tickets) and the actors had to put up with the many helicopters flying over. Ariel and his spirits were in amongst the audience, freaking them out as much as the ship wrecked crew on stage. Costumes were amazing, the massive bird Ariel turned into, the dogs that attacked the shipwrecked crew, and Ariel’s make up, spot on. As you can tell, I only really see the Tempest for Ariel. Apart from it being little chilly (I didn’t wear a coat!) and my back hurting, (I can’t really stand for long periods) I really enjoyed it. Perhaps next time I will book a seat, instead of standing.
So next week as ever is a busy one, appointment with an agency (fingers crossed), Hofesh Shechter at Sadlers Wells, networking, dinner and drinks with colleagues of time gone by, an interview (haven’t had one of those in 5 years!) and at last Beckenham has delivered Tai Chi classes!!! And I get to spend some more time with my mum. Marvellous!
So, of course, life is good, actually it is damn splendid!