Back on track after a week off, here’s what I’ve seen this week (plus one from the week before):
My second visit to see Oddsocks, whilst on holiday in Guernsey. Castle Cornet is a lovely setting, even when it pours with rain, and Oddsocks never fail to entertain with their unique, family-friendly approach to Shakespeare. Their Twelfth Night is a Britpop musical featuring hits from the likes of Adele, Roxy Music, Take That and – yes, really – PJ & Duncan. As always, you never quite know what to expect from an Oddsocks show, but it’s always a safe bet that it’ll be great fun.
I’m no expert on opera, but of the ones I know, this is a favourite. And this particular version, part of the Grimeborn Opera Festival at the Arcola Theatre, is different to any I’ve seen before. It’s a unique reinterpretation of the classic story, based on Japanese ghost stories, with a set that looks like something out of a horror movie. But it still retains the emotional punch of the original, thanks to the intimate, candle-lit setting and incredible performances – from the entire cast, but particularly from Natasha Rouhl as the tragic heroine, Butterfly.
You won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews
Yes, that is actually the name of the show; it’s a quote from Monty Python musical, Spamalot. This is a gloriously, unashamedly stagey celebration of the contribution made by Jewish people to musical theatre over the last century. Which actually includes a lot more shows than I realised – Hairspray, The Wizard of Oz, Fame, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, Godspell… even my favourite, Les Mis. The show, at St James Theatre, is fast-moving (sometimes a bit too fast), funny and filled with sensational performances from the cast of singers and dancers. If you’re a fan of musical theatre, this is the show for you.
The Lion King
This was probably my fifth visit to see The Lion King, one of my favourite shows ever since I first saw it years ago. I don’t know how, but it somehow manages to turn me into a child, and by the time that opening scene (in my opinion, probably one of the best of any show) finally started, I was basically bouncing up and down in my seat like a five-year-old. And it was just as good as I remembered. Between the story, the humour, the music, the set and the incredible puppetry, it’s all brilliant, and so much fun it’s impossible to resist.
Bonus – this time, I was with a friend who’d never been to a musical before, so I was also really excited for her. And although I’d briefed her on the fake happy noises she was to make if she didn’t enjoy the show, the good news is that none were required, because she loved it too.
NEXT WEEK’S THEATRE
Kinky Boots – Adelphi Theatre
Thoroughly Modern Millie – Landor Theatre
The Man Who Had All the Luck (End of Moving Walkway) – King’s Head Theatre