Wilton’s Music Hall

Showtime in Shadwell and Greenwich

Cowardy Custard at the Greenwich Theatre

So, yesterday afternoon, to Greenwich for a romp through the world of Noël Coward in the company of Kit & The Widow and Dillie Keane, plus young talent Stuart Neal and Savannah Stevenson. (more…)

Noël Coward at Wilton’s Music Hall

The evening didn’t get off to a good start.  The foyer of Wilton’s was crammed with people queuing for (or, rather, ‘mobbing’) the ticket desk and the bar was slightly chaotic.  I got the wines, he got the tickets (eventually).  Then we went round the other side of the stairs which used to be one of two queues into the auditorium, and were told to go back round the other side.  Then, when we got to the ticket usher, we had to put everything down and faff about pouring our wines into plastic beakers.  Had the bar bothered to ask, I’d have said we were taking it in, and been given plastic from the start.  I know the place relies on volunteers for some of these roles, and it’s a lovely affair all round, but they need to get a bit of a grip on this sort of thing.  It’s anxiety-provoking enough wondering whether you’re going to get good seats (because it’s unreserved seating) but when you’ve slogged away at work for the day and turn up for your evening out, a scene of chaos and faffing is the last thing with which you want to be greeted. (more…)

Blowing the dust off G&S

The auditorium of Wilton's Music Hall

The fabulous interior of Wilton's

Something rather wonderful is happening at Wilton’s Music Hall.  Amidst the crumbling fabric of this very special venue, another crumbling relic has been firmly returned to full health and vitality.

The Union Theatre’s production of the Pirates of Penzance has arrived in E1 in all its camp, draggy honesty.  And rather fabulous it is too.

The gimmick is that this production is all-male.  Yes, not since Hinge & Bracket has a man been as convincing a Mabel.  But more of that anon.  The general take on the production is actually simplicity.  Characters are in simple whites, beiges and blacks, with blue uniforms for the police.  The backdrop is a large white drape for the first half, none for the second half, both cleverly and boldly lit.  The stage contains varying (and slightly dizzying) heights of packing case with tubs of grass to add dynamics.  The remaining set is the theatre itself, with its barley sugar columns and spit-and-sawdust feel coming into its own as the cast spread themselves amongst the audience. (more…)

Modernism in all its glory

This week, as if to lighten the January gloom, I had the chance to experience two sharp doses of modernism.  Both were performances of the very highest quality, and in different ways they both left their mark.

Firstly, back on Sunday evening I managed to score two tickets to The Waste Land at Wilton’s Music Hall.  The production has quite a pedigree, having toured the world and having marked the reopening of Wilton’s Music Hall back in 1996 when the venue was starting out on the road to recovery and was in a more parlous state even than it is now.  For these purposes, however, the venue is perfect, and the air of decayed splendour seems to suit the stifled atmosphere of the poem.