West End Bares Sept 2010

First of all: Everything that happened at West End Bares stays at West End Bares. It was for a good cause, after all! The MAD trust (Make a Difference) sent a shout out and everybody followed, first and foremost John Barrowman, to collect contributions for people living with HIV and Aids as well as people who aren’t able to work in the theatre business any longer as a result of a long-term medical condition. madtrust.org.uk

So after queuing for a while (what are 90 mins amongst friends?) and meeting with the lovely Jeremy we were allowed into the Cafe de Paris and lucky enough to stand as close to the stage as humanly possible. Another 90 mins wait with taped music (too loud) and strobo lights (too strobo) later and it finally happened!

The absolutely gorgeous Oliver Thornton (from “Priscilla”) had the opening number with “Strip Britannia” and not only set the tone but also the way .. things would happen during the rest of the show. I was amazed at the speed he “lost” his pants and shirt and ran around in aussiebum (underwear sponsored by aussiebum).

Zizi Strallen (Sister Act) teamed up with Mark Jennings in a very suggestive “Hot to Trot” dance routine, Tea Party had girls stripping at the drop of a … drop of rain. Weather front should have featured Adam Garcia,  who wanted to arrive with his tap dogs, but the producers of his show didn’t allow it (loud booooos from the audience at the mention of the producers), so he got to show off his very luscious bum and (in the second show) his equally toned back “branded” with red paint and the WEB Logo.

(“I have to sit down to watch this”)

They then had a “storm front” instead – a guy dressed in paint and not much else and a lady reporter who pointed out the best bits on is body with stick on suns and thunderstorms. (guess where what landed! 😉 )

There was Underground with policemen who bared it all and even Lions who only kept their furry heads on and tried to cover their private parts with styrofoam “steaks”. Unfortunately at least one of the fake steaks disappeared during the dance act and so there finally were two lions who didn’t know how to cover their privates properly.

(“I have the best seat down here…”)

There was also the Tale of Lizzie Windsor featuring the glitzy and sparkly Jack Jefferson as the Crown Jewels – marvellous body, really enviably well trained. He is on facebook and has a wonderful pic up from WEB already (www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503778416) – together with Ian Oswald, whose acrobatic act was absolutely brilliant (unfortunately the long sheet of fabric with which he played in mid air had a malfunction so they couldn’t use it in the second show. What a shame, the man was truly magnificent)

And of course Paul O’Grady who kept mentioning the bottle of Tequila he had brought with him – and seeing him in the second show he probably didn’t share that much with his colleagues. At one point in the second show he kept monologuing to the delight of the audience and of John Barrowman. Finally he said turning to John, “shouldn’t I have given you a cue?” “Yeah, oh about ten minutes ago…”

And so we finally come to the part I love the most: John Barrowman was hosting the show and he did it with his usual charm and humor, getting even raunchier in the second show. This man is just wonderful. He flirted with the audience, the participants, he joked his way around some minor mishaps (cue!!! and then finally the lights went out; only at one time the lights went out and he sniggered exasperated: “you should keep the spot on me while I’m talking, you bastard!” which had the whole audience join in his giggles)

He played with the microphone as well as with a “pink stick” of sugar he seemed to like  a lot (and Bettina, who had a VIP seat for the second show, reports that he walked around on the gallery with said pink stick of sugar, sucking on it slowly and with a delighted expression on his face! thank you Bettina, for sharing, you’re a star!), and he clearly had a lot of fun. He included his wonderful (and ever so patient) partner Scott in his banter and had us all in stitches as soon as he took the stage – in an “I heart London” t-shirt and a tiny union jack wrapped around his hips. Oh, and he was in his white La-Cage-heels! It was hilarious! (my pics of that are all blurred. me thinks I was laughing too hard.)

But not only did John host the whole shebang with brilliance, he also participated in the “stuff money into half naked men’s and women’s underwear” – only that he of course stayed in his shiny suit, which meant he had a lot of room for all the fake and real money girls and boys were shoving into his pants. It finally started to “trickle” down his legs and he had to collect it again, stuffing it into overflowing suit pockets. And he did so at both shows. I really hope they reached their goal of 50.000 pounds. Shouldn’t have been so hard: 30.000 came in through ticket sales and the audience polished off all of their champagne. (addendum: On Thu during an interview in the Alan Simpson Show in Ulster John Barrowman was able to disclose that the two shows had raised up to 70.000 pounds in one night. Well done!!)

My only regret indeed (no, get your minds out of the gutter, all of you!) was that John Barrowman didn’t sing. We only got to listen to two of his songs during the wait on a tape. oh, well.

I shouldn’t be grumbling. I got my hand into John’s pants – twice. I can die a happy slu… woman now. And it was so worth the hassle of flying in and out within 24 hours and having to stand for hours (my back still hasn’t forgiven me!) and barely sleeping. I loved meeting my friends again – and we even got an “honorable mention” at the WEB by John: he called us “my girls” who’d donated more money already!

So yes, a good time was had by all (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2047032&id=1473081211) and I cannot wait for the concert tour in October…

PS: Do I even have to say whose quips are between brackets? no, thought so!

Dangerous Liaisons & Two Gentlemen of Verona Aug 2010

stratford logo

I am so very sorry. Real life (bugger) and jetlag and another trip intervened so that I still haven’t had the time to post two more reviews from brilliant Stratford. I am deeply ashamed.

+*+*+*+*+*+

So here it comes, though very short and sweet:

Dangerous Liaisons.

Absolutely fabulous. I especially loved the brilliant stage setting, all in blacks and silvers. But of course it’s the amazing talents of Seana McKenna, Yanna McIntosh and Sara Topham that really carry the play and make it an extraordinary experience. And Tom McCamus is just the icing on this absolutely fabulous “cake”!  Not shying away from nude scenes and a lot of on hand and very raunchy scenes the play and its marvellous actors  never went over the top, but wove the story of boredom and cruelty as well as love and seduction in a way that did not let my thoughts stray. Basically the only thing I didn’t like that much was the very last scene, where the card playing marquises sit around their table, luxuriously bored again, le Merteuil wearing a bright blood red dress, a red spot of light on them – and then the director destroys the eerily prophetic scene of things to come on the eve of destruction with some Sans-Culottes storming in, shoving a Guillotine in. Other than that: Brilliant!

+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+

Two Gents.

It’s Shakespeares first play – and some think it’s him making fun of the at the time very popular dramas that crowded the stage. And indeed it is a fun play to watch, about two best friends who fall apart when they both fall for the same girl – who doesn’t want any of them as soon as she learns that one betrays his betrothed and the other his friendship. Plus: it’s the “Tempest”‘s staff night out! Claire Lautier is a bewitchingly beautiful Silvia, Dion Johnston and Gareth Potter are marvellous, and then there’s of course Bruce Dow, whose Speed has probably the only true friendship – with a lovely and incredibly patient (bordering on lethargic) Basset Hound. Those two together alone were worth watching the play. It’s a fun, lovely and sweet play I enjoyed a lot.