29th Jul2017

The Marriage of Kim K. (Theatre)

by timbaros

kimk-vanity-plate-3For a different night at the theatre, go see “The Marriage of Kim K.”

Yes, you read that right. The famous opera “The Marriage of Figaro” has been modernised for the 21st century in a show now playing at the Arcola Theatre – it’s a show that reflects our appetite for all things reality. And there is no bigger reality star than Kim Kardashian. But the “Marriage of Kim K.” goes a bit further, it specifically looks at Kim K.’s 72-day marriage to American basketball star Kris Humphries in 2011. And this segment of their marriage is interspliced with a modern day couple watching television and a third couple actual performing scenes from “The Marriage of Figaro” opera. It’s a bit unusual, yes, but it works.

For 90 minutes, all three couples have their moment. Kris (James Edge who plays the tall and dumb athlete very well) can only think of one thing – sex – with Kim K. (Yasemin Mireille – who’s got a butt to rival Kim K.s’). And newly-qualified lawyer and Keeping Up With The Kardiashian’s-watching fan Amelia (Amelia Gabriel – very good) and her yet to be successful songwriting husband Stephen (Stephen Hyde – good as well), and by the way who are a couple in real life, are all lovey dovey then bicker about her KUWTK addiction. And Emily Burnett (excellent) plays Countess Almaviva while Nathan Bellis (good) is Count Almaviva. The differences in their background – he comes from aristocracy while she has a less privileged background – causes rifts and tension in their marriage. And the finale of this show takes off in a crescendo-exploding battle of the singing divas and divos as they all fight to save their marriages (except Kim K. because before the end of her marriage to Kris she had already met Kanye West). And we all know that it took Kim and Kris two years to actual get their divorce final because Kim wanted an annulment while Kris wanted an actual divorce.

Hyde, who wrote the music, and Leo Mercer, story and lyrics, have created a unique and timely piece of theatre that is innovative and timely. It’s very unique and is much more interesting that anything the Kardashians get up to themselves.

The Marriage of Kim K. is part of Arcola Theatre’s Grimborn season, where bold new versions of classic operas, rarely-seen and long forgotten works, are being presented until September 2, 2017
For tickets, please go to:

Grimeborn

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27th Jul2017

The Big Sick (Film)

by timbaros

Kumail Nanjiani as "Kumail" and Zoe Kazan as "Emily" in THE BIG SICK. Photo by Sarah Shatz.

An unusual romance blossoms between a Muslim comedian and a white American woman in the new light-hearted comedy “The Big Sick.”

The not funny title is completely intentional because halfway through the film Emily (Zoe Kazan) gets really sick and falls into a coma. But before this we see the beginnings of a romance (and the breakup) between her and aspiring comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani). Even though they come from two totally different backgrounds, they fall head over heals with each other after Zoe heckles him at one of his shows. But it’s when Zoe is diagnosed with a mystery illness, and after they break up, that Kumail decides that he really wants to be with Zoe, but he’s got to share her hospital room with her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, who are both excellent). Meeting her parents for the first time in the hospital tests him and his love for Zoe, but it’s also her parents who have to do some soul searching themselves because they are not quite yet able to accept a Muslim man as their only daughter’s boyfriend. And to make matters worse for Kumail, his family insists he marry a Muslim girl with his mom constantly inviting single Muslim women over for dinner and tells Kumail that ’they happen to be in the neighborhood.’ Kumail has lots of dilemmas in his life.

“The Big Sick” is the true life story of Kumail and his real life wife (Emily V. Gordon), who had become very sick when they were dating, and this is where the story of this film comes from (they co-wrote the script together). Directed by Michael Shwalter, “The Big Sick” is a very funny and light hearted comedy that will tug at your heartstrings. And it’s Nanjiani (from television’s “Silicon Valley”) who lays his heart out and lets us in on his real life relationship that has now been turned into a very good romantic comedy.

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25th Jul2017

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (Film)

by timbaros

captain-underpants-sq1300_s840_f243_RGB_FIN_rgbA cheeky children’s series of novels has now been turned into a gleeful and silly animated film. It’s “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.”

Yes, in case you weren’t aware of this popular children’s book series by Dav Pilkey, it has our superhero fighting crime wearing a cape and his white underpants – Y fronts. But he’s actually the creation (and from the imagination) of George (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch), 4th grade friends and next door neighbors. They are king of the pranks at their elementary school so it’s no surprise that when principal Benjamin Krupp (Ed Helms) threatens to separate them, they, through their self-created comic book, and after one unfortunate prank that goes wrong, turns Mr. Krupp into Captain Underpants! But the boys want to keep Mr. Krupp in his superhero kit so he doesn’t turn back into the mean principal who is going to separate them. But they can’t keep him wandering around town in his underpants all the time. They also have to deal with the nerd inventor prodigy Melvin (Jordan Peele) as well as the new mad science teacher Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll), who is up to his own evil plans.

For the little boy in you (and that would be boys who will sure find this animated film funny, as it’s pretty much that kind of humor), but the rest of us will shake our heads at the silliness of it all.

If this is the first (as per the name of the movie) in a series of more Captain Underpants movies, I’m not too sure it’s going to be a good thing.

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24th Jul2017

Briefs: Close Encounters (Theatre)

by timbaros

ACF-11Jun-BriefsCE-credit-Kate-Pardey-123-1Those naughty Briefs boys from Australia are back in London in a new show at the South Bank’s Underbelly Festival called “Briefs: Close Encounters.”

And yes, it ’s close encounters of the good kind as the sextet lead us into a space-like zen to bring us a show where they twirl, twist, jump, bend and do all other sorts of things with their bodies while wearing very little clothing. As in years past, the Briefs Boys wow their audiences with stunts which you’ve probably seen before but where this time it’s a tight shw where they present a sharp, non-stop titillating 65-minute burlesque that’s more bang for your buck instead of long interludes between acts. Once again Shivannah (Fez Faanana) is the compere for the evening in her glittery best. She does an excellent job taking us through the evening – with amazing costumes! Captain Kidd wows us with his tight-rope climbing using his tight muscular body, while Louis Biggs shows us his balls, ping pong balls to be exact, and how he can juggle them while completing a rubiks cube, all in a state of undress. While cute as a button Thomas Worrell shines on the hoops as well as in a bird cage twirling himself over the audience and very very close to the edge of the stage. It’s death defying! This and more is all done in the safe confines of the Underbelly tent where a bar inside and the fantastic bar outside will keep your thirst quenched while you enjoy the show – before and after as well. And if you don’t get enough of the Aussie heartthrobs, you can stay for Club Briefs, the show held right after. So get ready for a night of music, performance and all sorts of mayhem.

Customers purchasing tickets for both Club Briefs and Briefs: Close Encounters in the same order will receive £5 off their order per person. (If you’ve already purchased a ticket to Briefs: Close Encounters, please visit our box office or call 0333 344 4167 to obtain your discount off Club Briefs.)

To purchase tickets, please go here:
http://www.underbellyfestival.com/#stq=&stp=1

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22nd Jul2017

Twilight Song (Theatre)

by timbaros

Twilight Song - Kevin Elyot - Park Theatre - 13th July 2017You know a show doesn’t make much sense, when, after seeing it, you and your friends don’t agree on what you’ve all just seen. To say “Twilight Song” is bit confusing is putting is mildly.

Now playing at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, “Twilight Song” is late British playwright Kevin Elyot’s final play. Elyot,who wrote the award winning and very successful play “My Night with Reg: (which was turned into a film in 1997), died in 2014, finishing “Twilight Song” right before he passed away. But the play itself is not a very good testament as a cap on his career – it’s a show muddled with characters and storylines that go back and forth in time that unfortunately raises more questions than answers in a play that’s a very very short 75 minutes.

Most of Elyot’s plays have direct gay themes or gay undertones (“My Night with Reg” was very similar to the groundbreaking 1969 film “Boys in the Band”), and “Twilight Song” is no exception. In a nutshell, it’s a play abut a middle aged man Basil (Paul Higgins) who lives in a North London terraced house (with an unfinished balcony) with his mother Isabella (Bryony Hannah) in the present day. Flash back to 1967 and Isabella is pregnant. But in both the present and the past (to and including a scene set in 1961), the family has secrets, secrets that they keep to themselves, and even secrets that they do not want to admit to themselves. Basil (Paul Higgins) pays an estate agent (Adam Garcia) money, not for a real estate transaction, but for sex, which happens too suddenly and out of the blue and out of character. Then Isabella unrealistically falls into the arms of the gardner (Garcia again). Meanwhile her uncle Harry (Philip Bretherton) pines for Charles (Hugh Ross), but Charles is broke because he is being swindled by a hustler (Garcia again). “Twilight Song” takes us all too rapidly through this family’s 50 year history too quickly. Throw in some cock talk, unknown origin of blood on the sofa, and a very very short running time, and it doesn’t leave us much time to get to know the characters and their motivations. Director Anthony Banks gets excellent use of his actors who all give fine performances, and a set design that’s true to it’s time (though an annoyingly loud refrigerator in their kitchen really serves no purpose and destroys the play’s tension), but it’s the storyline that doesn’t add up, and it’s shame because it is Elyot’s last work, and it’s being poorly received.

Another one of Elyot’s plays, “Coming Clean,” will have a revival at the King’s Head Theatre later this year, so perhaps hold out for that one if you can.

If you still want to buy tickets to “Twilight Song,” please go here:

https://www.parktheatre.co.uk

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20th Jul2017

Scribe (Film)

by timbaros

1364759-francois-cluzet-plonge-film-espionnageAn unemployed accountant takes a job that puts him in the middle of a political conspiracy in the new film “Scribe.”

“Scribe (La mécanique de l’ombre)” is a timely taut French thriller that builds it’s suspense in events that lead up to a political election. François Cluzet is Duval, a recovering alcoholic who takes a job as a transcriber that is literally offered to him with no questions asked. He is tasked with typing telephone conversations from tapes that are numbered and left for him in a non-descript flat where he is all alone. He is told by his boss Clément (Denis Podalydés) to keep to himself, to remain unnoticed, and to not smoke in the flat. He is supposed to open the curtains when he arrives at 9 a.m. and to close them when he leaves at 6 p.m. But as the days go on and the conversations on the tapes he transcribes become all too realistic and downright criminal, it’s clear to Duval that the organisation he is working for is somehow involved in trying to manipulate the upcoming election. After a high profile figure is murdered, the conversation of which is on one of the tapes, it’s just a matter of time before Duval gets caught up in the conspiracy, and a murder,
and eventually his life is in danger by the very organization that employs him.

“Scribe” has all the ingredients of being a great political thriller in the same vein as “The Manchurian Candidate” and 2006’s Oscar wining German film “The Lives of Others.” Director Thomas Kruithof superbly builds the tension while at the same time not giving too much away during the film until it’s explosive ending. This film is well worth a watch.

“Scribe” is in cinemas and on demand from 21st July

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16th Jul2017

Boys in the Buff (Theatre)

by timbaros
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If you want an entertaining, fun, sexy and scandalous night at the theatre, then Boys in the Buff is the show for you.

It’s a show that objectifies the male body, and a musical bacchanalia full of fabulous song and dance by a crew who don’t take the show, or themselves, too seriously – they’re having fun and they let the audience in on all the fun as well.

Natalie Harman as Diana is the hostess with the mostest – our compere for the evening. However, she unfortunately tells the boys what they can, and cannot do, and that means she demands that they don’t take their clothes off too soon in the show:( ! But before they do the dirty and exciting deed, we are treated to song after song of camp musical numbers in a show that packs a lot in to it’s 90 minutes in length.

Energetic and handsome William Frazer as Dan belts it out in the cute number “I Can Fly,” while the gang of men gets physical in “The Gym.” Shaun Riddick as Richard practically brings the house down in “My Foreskin and Me” and the hot and sexy and muscly Adam O’Shea gets to strut his stuff (along with his buff body) throughout the show which will have you screaming for more. And finally there’s Phil (Julian Quijano), who soon finds the confidence to strip off for the audience.

It’s all done in style that’s creates a cozy Chicago-style like cabaret show in a venue that’s perfect for it’s content – the Stockwell Playhouse (a/k/a Lost Theatre). Boys in the Buff is a musical revue with lots of skin on show that’s The Full Monty but with lots of laughs and thankfully some Monty.

To buy tickets, please go to:

http://losttheatre.co.uk

Boys in the Buff is playing until July 29th, so go see it as soon as you can!

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15th Jul2017

Cars 3 (Film)

by timbaros

NEXT-GEN TAKES THE LEAD — Jackson Storm (voice of Armie Hammer), a frontrunner in the next generation of racers, posts speeds that even Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) hasn’t seen. “Cars 3” is in theaters June 16, 2017. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
Lighting McQueen is back in the latest instalment of Disney’s Cars movie franchise.

If you remember him from “Cars” and “Cars 2,” Lightning McQueen is a racing car whose red exterior and very likeable and loveable interior melts children and adults hearts alike. But in “Cars 3,” the world is changing and Lightning McQueen (voiced by Luke Wilson) can’t keep up with the new mangled fangled super fast highly technologically-advanced new cars now racing, and this includes the shiny and cocky Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). So what should Lighting McQueen do, retire? No way! After a nasty car accident in a race, McQueen is sent to Radiator Springs to recover from the crash, and from there he joins a new racing facility so that he can up his game to compete with the new cars. There he meets Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), a feisty female personal trainer who whips cars back into racing shape. Ramirez also had hopes of being a championship race car but she gave these dreams up years ago. But McQueen has to follow her instructions and at the same time he has to convince his owner Sterling (Nathan Fillion) that he can and will win his next race, for if he doesn’t, then he will give up racing altogether and just stick to endorsements. With McQueen getting into tip top shape, and Cruz’s confidence picking up and raising hopes of her going back to racing, it all boils down to the big race where McQueen has to show what he’s now made of, all thanks to Cruz.

As in “Cars” and “Cars 2,” “Cars 3” is an entertaining movie that provides us with excellent animation and a story where we route not just for Lightning McQueen but for Cruz as well – a minority female character with an inspiring storyline – a rarity in animation films. Expect Disney to have another big hit on their hands with this film as it appeals to both children and adults alike, and perhaps expect “Cars 4” to come our way in a few years time.

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15th Jul2017

Yank (Theatre)

by timbaros

The company of YANK! at Charing Cross Theatre 2, credit Clair BilyardA gay fictional World War II love story that tells some of it’s story via musical numbers is now playing at the Charing Cross Theatre.

In “Yank,” Stu (Scott Hunter), also given the name ‘light loafers’ by his 89th squadron fellow soldiers, is an 18 year-old wet behind the ears soldier drafted for WW II. His fellow soldiers know that he is gay, hence the nickname, but they must also contend with trying to save their lives as battles loom ahead. It’s not too long before Stu and fellow soldier, the hot and sexy Mitch (Andy Coxon), get together. After a few side glances and more than a few cheeky conversations, they expectantly kiss when they’re forced to share a bunk bed (ah, it’s all of our fantasies!). But is Mitch really gay or is he caught up in the moment? Their sort of relationship takes a turn when Stu is offered a job writing for Yank Magazine (it might just as well be called Wank magazine). It’s a job Stu wants because it will take him away from fighting on the front lines and will hopefully one day help him to publish the diary he has written of his exploits as a soldier. Stu’s new position takes him all over but he begs his editor Artie (Chris Kiely) to go to Hawaii as this is where the 89th is fighting, and it’s of course where Mitch is. Stu can’t stop thinking about Mitch and they rekindle the romance they had, well now it’s more than a romance, it’s a full blown relationship as Mitch discusses them moving back to his hometown and living together. But it’s the evil Tennessee (Lee Dillon) who steals Stu’s diary and turns in into the authorities in a time when homosexuality was absolutely forbidden in the army. And things will not be the same for Stu and Mitch and the rest of the 89th- war, death, and jail rear it’s ugly head.

‘Yank’ is reminiscent of the war musicals of Rogers & Hammerstein (“South Pacific”) where romance, between a man and woman, was interspliced with memorable musical numbers. In “Yank,” brothers David and Joseph Zellnik have created a gay WWII love story that pays homage to these 1940’s musicals and cleverly takes the name of their show from the WWII army publication Yank, the Army Weekly. Having opened up, appropriately, on gay pride weekend, Yank is a celebration of gays in the military, but it does make a few missteps along the way. Hunter is fine as the scared soldier Stu, but I didn’t find him as charasmatic as he should’ve been, while some of the staging and songs are a bit off, including a song about pin-up girls (“Betty”) that goes on way too long. Coxon shows that he’s the true stage actor among the cast – his acting and singing are excellent, while the rest of the supporting soldiers do the best they can do with what they have been given (a scene about gay telephone operators is a bit dreadful and really doesn’t need to be in the show). There is at times clever use of the stage, including during the battle and interrogation scenes, and Sarah-Louise Young is just about perfect in her various roles. Director James Baker just doesn’t get it exactly right in making this show a must see event. While it’s a show that is light on it’s feet and has a few snappy musical numbers, it’s not groundbreaking nor particularly excellent.

To buy tickets, please go to:
http://charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/theatre/yank-a-wwii-love-story

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10th Jul2017

Heal the Living (DVD)

by timbaros

heal-the-livingHeal the Living (Réparer les vivants) deals with a tragedy that changes the lives of two families – it’s very sad and very dramatic like most French films are, but it’s also well acted and well told.

It deals with the delicacy of life, family, relationships and decisions that need to be made in a tragic time. Teenager Simon (Gabin Verdet) is experiencing his first true love, but when he and his friends get into a tragic car accident it’s up to his parents (Tahar Ramin and Emmanuelle Singer – both very good) to make a heartbreaking decision.

Meanwhile, Claire Méjean (Ann Dorval) needs a new heart, and while she is waiting she can feel her life ticking away. She’s got two grown boys, and she loves them very much. But without a new heart, she doesn’t have much time to live. So Simon’s tragic accident has very sad consequences for one family but the opposite effect for another family – in a film that is both beautifully and delicately told. Heal the Living, directed by Katell Quillévéré, will leave you in tears. It’s hard hitting yet it comes with an excellent original story (Maylis De Kerangal and Katell Quillévéré) and superb performances all around.



Heal The Living [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Katell Quillévéré
Starring: Tahar Rahim, Emmanuelle Seigner
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

New From: £7.76 GBP In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock
Release date July 3, 2017.
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06th Jul2017

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (Theatre)

by timbaros
Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill at the Wyndham's Theatre until 9 September 2017. CREDIT Marc Bren

Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill at the Wyndham’s Theatre until 9 September 2017. CREDIT Marc Bren

Billie Holiday is alive and well and performing at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre.

Well, it’s not quite Billie Holiday – it’s mega Broadway star Audra McDonald making her West End Debut in a show where she performs as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. And while most of us have never actually seen the real Holiday sing live, I can only imagine McDonald is as close as the real thing.

Billie Holiday, who was known as ‘Lady Day’, had one of the greatest jazz voices of all time. But sadly she died at the age of 44 in 1959 after a turbulent life, which included drug and alcohol addiction. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill takes place in South Philadelphia right before her death, and where she sings and also tells stories about her life, loves, and family. She recounts the time she was performing with musician Artie Shaw in an all-white club and was refused the use of the all-white woman’s bathroom so she pissed on the floor. Lady Day mentions that her mother called The Duchess married at the age of 16 and her father was 19, while she was three. And she rasps lyrical about the love of her life, Sunny, who didn’t exactly treat her like a lady. And she briefly mentions the year she spent in prison for drug possession. All this, plus signature Holliday songs such as Strange Fruit, Easy Livin’ and many many others are beautifully done at The Wyndham’s Theatre which has been crafted to emulate the original Emerson’s Tavern as it was known. And McDonald is astonishing as Holliday.

It’s not just that McDonald is acting like Holiday, but McDonald sings like Holiday as well. There’s a reason why McDonald has one 6 Tony Awards, she is one if not the most accomplished stage actress of our time. The likes of Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone or Elaine Paige don’t hold a candle to McDonald. She’s appeared on stage in both musicals and dramas such as Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun and Master Class when she was young where she proved that she’s a force to be reckoned with. Accompanied by Shelton Becton on piano, Frankie Tontoh on Drums and Neville Malcolm on Bass, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is a lush tribute to the woman who died way before her time, and a tribute to the woman who plays her – it’s a tour de force performance.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is playing until September 9, 2017. Regular seats can be purchased, or there are several tables in the stalls and even some on the stage that are for sale for those who want a complete cabaret experience.

https://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/tickets/lady-day/

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