Archive | July, 2017

LORNA DALLAS at the Crazy Coqs

2 Jul

At the Crazy Coqs
‘You’ve still got it’ shouted one of the distinguished artists that made up the audience for this magical lady’s return to the UK. She began her set with ‘As If we never said Goodbye’ with special humorous lyrics written by her producer Barry Kleinbort. And she certainly had still got it. Twenty years ago, she made regular appearances on the West End Stage. One of the very best vocalist in the business. And I would say certainly the best soprano. She is a lovely warm hearted woman wrapped in turquoise satin with a tremendous vocal talent that can cover anything as she effortlessly goes from one style to another with apparent ease.
Her voice is a true operatic soprano and along with her acting talent and the kind of versatility that can wring your heart one minute and make you laugh at the next with her playful sense of humour, she creates an atmosphere of happiness. .
For me the most impressive of her talent is her presentation of Ivor Novello. This is a composer that I usually avoid because his numbers have been mutilated by many second rate sopranos. But after hearing Lorna with her thrilling voice and perfect diction gives a new impression of his work. The combination of You are Love and Look in my Heart is an amazing double that throbs with emotion and her final number is another from Novello My Life belongs to you.
Her personality is vibrant and unusual. She is still as beautiful as she was twenty years ago and her voice is probably even more powerful. She works mostly solo except on the one occasion when she duets with her accompanist, the hugely talented musical arrange Jason Carr.
Her show is quite short – only an hour and one is so sad when it finishes. I walked back through rain soaked Piccadilly cheered by her songs which still filled my head – and still do.
It is important to mention that she is doing only one more set at the Crazy Coqs on 4th July.
It would be advisable to book as soon as possible as this is a theatrical coup that should be experienced.


2 Jul

Macbeth at St Paul’s Churchyard, Covent Garden
Iris Production
“Who would have thought the Old man to have so much blood in him.”
Well we certainly saw plenty of it spattered over members of the cast in this intelligent and entertaining production of Macbeth directed by Daniel Winder in the normally serene gardens of the Actors Church
I have heard it said ‘Doctor Winder loves Blood’ well he certainly does, and you can be sure that there will be plenty of it mingled with the poetry in all his Shakespeare tragedies. It is helpful that Daniel Winder’s wife is a brilliant historian and between them they extract every ounce of psychological meaning from the script. Barbara Winder also writes a dissertation in the programme about how and why Shakespeare was so inspired and how he captured the mood of the people at that time
Richard the Third was a triumph a couple of years ago and this is an unbeatable production of the Scottish play. Every line has been carefully worked upon so that we are totally in the head of everyone who speaks it. Of course, David Hywel Baynes, one of our best Shakespeare actors absolutely inhabits the mind of Macbeth like no one I have ever seen before and his beautiful lady played by Mogali Masuku uses her enormous charm to help fire her furious ambition. At the start of the play when MacB is a conquering hero and she his loving wife, there is acute sexual feeling between them and their great love is highly convincing. It is all more heartrending to see how his ambition and hers destroys them along with their loving relationship.
The most extraordinary scene is set not in the garden but inside the actual church. The banquet scene when Macbeth confronts the ghost of murdered Banquo really chills the blood is set within the surroundings of the exquisite Inigo Jones church. The scene is really terrifying as the ghost comes and goes as if by magic and seen only by Macbeth whose reaction is that of a screaming uncontrolled madman. As we leave through the anteroom of the church there is even more horror to behold.
The creation of the witches has a touch of genius about it. These are creatures which would be more familiar to Dr Who than to MacB and Banquo. One of them is a giant figure on stilts who dominates the action from the beginning of the play. In the original the witches would have been invented to cause feelings of unease and perhaps fear to the members of the audience So it is appropriate in the modern day that they resemble characters from outer space.
This is a Macbeth like no other. It is a promenade production which moves us around many of the gorgeously landscaped gardens surrounding the Actors Church.