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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Book Review – London Theatres by Michael Coveney and Peter Dazeley (Frances Lincoln)

Few would argue that London is the undisputed theatre capital of the world. However most theatregoers focus on the action on the stage and often pay scant regard to their surroundings. This new book ‘London Theatres’ takes readers on a tour of forty-six London theatres with stories of the architecture, the people and the productions by leading theatre critic Michael Coveney and a series of stunning photographs of the public areas, auditorium and backstage by acclaimed photographer Peter Dazeley.

Award winning actor Mark Rylance writes the foreword for the book, describing the interaction between the actor and the theatre space. One of the first actions he takes when entering a theatre is to look up at the ceiling, if there is some kind of circular device, he is convinced that the theatre experience will be fine.

The book considers 46 London Theatres as they stand in the 21st Century, ranging from the grand Royal Opera House to the lesser known delights of Wilton’s Music Hall. The theatres are divided into chapters that illustrate some of the remarkable diversity of London Theatres, these include  Grandes Dames, Palaces of Pleasure, Popular Landmarks, Informal Delights, Legends Alive, Hidden Gems, Eastward Ho! and West End Jewels.

Michael Coveney in the book’s introduction considers that to understand many of London’s theatres development, it is important to study the architectural and cultural context. Although for centuries, theatre was a favourite British national pastime, by the 1980s thousands of theatres around the country have been lost. Remarkably, the West End of London has been resilient and constantly reinventing itself, even new theatres have sprung up to provide a platform for different types of drama. Although many of the large theatres are owned by large concerns, they have often spent millions of pounds to restore the decaying fabric of many old theatres.

The book begins with the opulence of the Royal Opera House, Theatre Royal Haymarket and Theatre Royal Drury Lane, these ‘Grand Dames’ provide evidence of intriguing history, decorative splendour and more rustic back stage. One of the themes of the book is the contrast between the front and back of house with grandiose design schemes and often Heath Robinson contraptions that create the atmospheric magic from back stage.  Peter Dazeley’s remarkable range of photographs take us on a journey in the theatres where often things are not what they seem to be and the glitz and glamour is often a mere façade.

One theatre that has redefined the theatre going experience is Shakespeare’s Globe, the wooden recreation of one of the famous theatres from the time of Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson illustrate that the connection between actors and audience was not always as clearly defined as modern theatres and the more basic seating or standing can provide a wonderfully different theatrical experience.

The connection between audience and actors has been one of the guiding lights of the more modern theatres which have often gone back to basics, Donmar Warehouse, the Young Vic and the Almeida Theatre suggest that it is important to concentrate on the quality of the drama rather than worrying too much about ornate splendour of the surroundings.

The book is full of wonderful stories and anecdotes from the theatrical world with the Theatre Royal Drury Lane holding the record for the number of ghosts stalking the building. Often it is the ghosts of the past that make a meaningful connection between theatre and theatregoer. Many of the great actors and actresses of the past have trod the London theatre boards and it often is considered their presence is still there in the memories of the audience and fellow actors.

This fascinating and important book puts the selected London Theatres centre stage with the illuminating photographs by Peter Dazeley  and intelligent commentary by Michael Cloveley. Generally, because so much time is focused on the action upon the stage, relatively little is written or shown about the part the actual theatre plays in creating the right environment for a successful performance.  The nature of theatre and drama is often about illusion and make-believe and this book illustrates the interesting part the theatre plays in this process. Walking into an opulent building indulges the fantasy that you are entering something extraordinary and amazing things will happen on stage. Even the theatres that have gone back to basics are creating a different kind of illusion that draws the audience into the make-believe world of theatre. This intriguing book provides plenty of evidence that the whole structure of a theatre is often as much part of the performance as the action on the stage.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or buy a copy of the book, visit the Publishers website here

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Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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NBA : Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics at the O2 – 11th January 2018

The National Basketball Association is returning to The O2. The NBA London Game 2018 will feature the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics playing a regular-season game on Thursday 11 January 2018.

The game will mark the league’s eighth regular-season game in London and the Celtics’ second game in the capital, having played a preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007. The 76ers will be playing their second game in the UK and first game in London, having previously played a preseason game in Manchester against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2013.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ current roster features 2016-17 NBA All-Rookie First Team members Joel Embiid (Cameroon), who led all rookies in points and rebounds and Dario Šarić (Croatia), who was twice named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month during the 2016-17 season, as well as 2016 and 2017 No. 1 overall draft picks, Ben Simmons (Australia) and Markelle Fultz (U.S.), respectively. The Celtics’ roster currently features two-time NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas (U.S.), who last season led the team in scoring with a career-high 28.9 points per game, 2017 NBA All-Star Gordon Hayward (U.S.) and four-time NBA All-Star Al Horford (Dominican Republic), who last season led the team in rebounds.

In addition to the on-court action, the NBA London Game 2018 will feature a variety of interactive fan activities, NBA Cares community outreach initiatives and Jr. NBA basketball programming that will bring the NBA experience to fans in London.

Tickets go on sale in October 2017.

For more information , visit the O2 website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Review : Royal Gifts exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace – 22nd July 2017 to 1st October 2017

Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty The Queen and is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. For a limited period in the year, the State Rooms are open to the public in which a special themed exhibition provides some insights into the Queen’s life and reign.

Royal Gifts, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of the Palace in 2017, tells the story of The Queen’s reign through a remarkable display of official gifts presented to Her Majesty during the past 65 years. Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth II has been presented with gifts of great value and historical significance from world leaders such as former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former South African President Nelson Mandela and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China.

However much of the focus of exhibition is to display the incredible craftsmanship from the United Kingdom and across the globe. The fascinating objects come from more than one hundred countries, and cross every continent.

The section on Europe illustrate an eclectic collection of gifts that include Francesco Valdambrini’s Polychrome female bust from the early fifteenth century, G Perlee’s (Amsterdam) Model barrel organ and a present from Pope Francis in 2014 of a Decree canonising King Edward the Confessor on 29 May 1679.

Many of the gifts celebrate local cultures and traditions including boomerangs, indigenous art from Australia, a Yoruba throne from Nigeria, a Queen inspired Tree of Life from Mexico, a Totem pole from Canada, a Duho ceremonial stool from the Bahamas and a Burmese Silver Tea set.

Some of the more unusual gifts include a bag of Salt from the British Virgin Islands, a pair of Mittens from Canada, a model bus from Pakistan, a hand painted jigsaw in a box from New Zealand, a pair of Ostrich shells from Namibia and a dinosaur fossil from Canada.

The Queen has met many major leaders throughout her reign and the exhibition includes a Scarf depicting San (Bushmen) hunting a herd of eland antelope from President Nelson Mandela, a Vessel of Friendship from President Xi Jinping of China and a framed photograph from American president John F. Kennedy.

This summer marks the twentieth anniversary of the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. As a tribute, the desk where The Princess worked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace will be displayed in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace. Many of the objects on and around the desk have been selected by her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to reflect her commitment to duty and their personal memories of their mother.

The fascinating Royal Gifts exhibition illustrates the importance of giving and receiving gifts in the world of Royal protocol. The Queen promotes British craftsmanship and other countries have followed that lead by giving gifts that highlight local crafts and traditions.

A ticket to the Summer opening of the Palace includes the Royal Gifts exhibition, the special display in the Music Room as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, a multimedia guide and access to the Terrace Café, the shop and a walk through the gardens to the exit.

Admission Prices

Adult £23.00, Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £21.00, Under 17/ Disabled £13.00, Under 5 Free, Family £59.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Video Review available here

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Labour of Love at the Noel Coward Theatre – 15th September to 2nd December 2017

Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire star in what is described as a razor sharp political comedy about the Labour Party, set in the party’s traditional northern heartands where the clash and divide between party philosophy, class and culture couldn’t be more divided.

The production reunites writer James Graham with Headlong Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin following their previous collaboration on the National Theatre and West End hit play This House. No stranger to political plays, James Graham’s works include The Vote which was broadcast on television on the night of the 2015 General Election, as well as Privacy which ran at the Donmar Warehouse and New York City.

Important information

Performance dates

15 September – 2 December 2017.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Booking website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Ink at the Duke of Yorks Theatre – 9th September 2017 to 6th January 2018

Fleet Street. 1969. The Sun rises. A young and rebellious Rupert Murdoch asks the impossible and launches The Sun’s first editor’s quest: to give the people what they want. No matter the cost.

Following a sell-out season at the Almeida, Ink, written by James Graham (This House) and directed by Rupert Goold (King Charles III), transfers to the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season. With a cast featuring Bertie Carvel (Doctor Foster, Matilda) and Richard Coyle (The Associate, The Lover), this ruthless, red-topped new play leads with the birth of this country’s most influential newspaper.

Important information

Running timeTBC

Performance dates

Saturday 9th September 2017 – Saturday 6th January 2018.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Booking website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Apologia at the Trafalgar Studios – 29th July to 18th November 2017

Tony and Emmy Award winner Stockard Channing, Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who), Olivier Award winner Desmond Barrit, Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey) and Joseph Millson (The Last Kingdom) in a new production of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s darkly funny play about family and its secrets, directed by Jamie Lloyd.

Kristin Miller (Stockard Channing) is a firebrand matriarch and eminent art historian. As a darkly funny evening to celebrate her birthday progresses, secrets emerge about the sacrifices she has made and the price paid by those she loves.

Stockard Channing, best known for starring roles in The West Wing, The Good Wife, her Oscar® Golden Globe nominated role in Six Degrees of Separation, and of course the iconic role of ‘Rizzo’ in the film Grease, is also an acclaimed Broadway and West End star, most recently nominated for her 7th Tony Award for It’s Only a Play and Other Desert Cities, affirming her position as a true theatrical legend.

Important information

Performance dates Saturday 29th July – Saturday 18th November

Special notice: Latecomers may be admitted at a suitable break, but late admission cannot be guaranteed until the interval

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Booking website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle at the Wyndhams Theatre – 3 October 2017 to 6 January 2018

In this uncertain world, who can predict what brings people together? When two strangers meet by chance amidst the bustle of a crowded London train station, their lives are changed forever.

Tony and Olivier Award winning playwright Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle is a surprising and life-affirming new play starring Anne-Marie Duff and Kenneth Cranham.

Important information

Performance dates Tuesday 3 October 2017 to Saturday 6 January 2018

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Booking website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here