I'm writing this from the till at the checkout of my local Waitrose in Canary Wharf. Why? I hear you scream. Well, on the first night of the brilliant Lend Me a Tenor at the Gielgud Theatre, I said, if the critics don't like this I'm going to work at my nearest supermarket. They were very indifferent to it, even though the audience stood to a man and screamed their approval.
Beautifully directed by Ian Talbot, wittily choreographed by Randy Skinner and superb performances from Matthew Kelly, Joanna Riding, Damian Humbley, Michael Matus and Sophie - Louise Dann. To see Miss Dann, climbing the walls with a loo brush in her mouth, whilst singing every known aria from every famous opera, is worth the price of admission alone. I loved it.
My favourite musical ever, Les Miserables, at the Queens Theatre, had a midweek low-key opening night. A fantastic new sound system has been installed as have Alfie Boe and Matt Lucas. They were brilliant in the O2 anniversary production, and now they are superb - Matt's comic timing and joyous performance are sensational. But Alfie Boe is something else - he is quite frankly the greatest ever Jean Valjean apart from the brilliant original Colm Wilkinson. I could easily sit and listen to him sing the telephone directory. The audience went wild and quite right, it's the peoples musical. Critic-proof.
My invitation for the opening night of Shrek at Drury Lane must have gone astray. I didn't mind as in NY we walked out, not my cup of tea.
Lis Robertson, currently in Love Never Dies, was the last wife of Alan Jay Lerner. On June the 14th she unveiled a plaque to Alan in St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, and put on a bit of a love fest to Alan. Bit of, is a bit of an understatement - it was a fantastic show to a great man. Rev'd Simon Grigg timed his entrance to the limit with a theatrical swirl. Don Black, a fellow lyricist, gave a brilliantly witty tribute, Sally Ann Howes, Katie Knight-Adams, Jill Martin, Amy Nuttall, Liz Robertson and Jean Scott, all Eliza Doolittles at one time, sang Wouldn't it be Loverly.
What a joy to see the Truly Scrumptious Sally Ann Howes sing again. Anthony Andrews very movingly gave the Proposition Speech from Camelot - not a dry eye in the church - but my favourite, and very much a congregation-pleasing moment, was the fine rendition of Wandering Star by the superb Sir Tim Rice accompanied by the very clever Cantable. What a riot, superb.
The English National Ballet at the Albert Hall put on Strictly Gershwin, a very commercial title but a great evening beautifully choreographed by the talented Derek Deane, who knows how to use that vast space and somehow make it feel so natural and exciting at the same time - we will always remember his brilliant Swan Lake in this very building.
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