Tag Archives: simon callow

A Christmas Carol (Arts Theatre)

Just outside of the festive season a trip to see a retelling of the Dickens classic was in order, although when I say ‘classic’ I was amused to hear one person behind me having the whole story explained to them before the show started.

A one-man show, with Simon Callow in fine feckle as the grumpy and avericious old Scrooge, also essaying at various points the entire Cratchit family, the old Fezziwigs dancing, the jovial nephew Fred, the fat merchants, the spirits, and more.

The story may be familiar but this version has humour and effective simplicity in its sets (a solitary candle, some chairs, clever lighting, a screen, and a handful of props and ideas from a snowy street to an open window).  The power of suggestion comes from Callow’s gift as a storyteller, and this is a lovely festive piece of theatre.

Last performances today.


Prom 36: Glamorous Night – A Celebration of Ivor Novello

The late night Prom on the 9th August promised a lively evening of classic musical tunes from a more innocent era, that of the Ruritanian operetta as personified by composer and actor Ivor Novello.

Born in Wales in 1893 as David Ivor Davies, the young Novello adopted his mother’s maiden name, perhaps as it sounded much more grandiose and suitable for the theatre. Although primarily a writer of music for songs, he made a name for himself as an actor in the silent cinema, notably in the Rat trilogy, in Noel Coward’s ‘The Vortex’, and in two films for the young Alfred Hitchcock. His musicals were extremely popular in their day but are rarely revived outside of amateur groups these days, and the songs, although pleasant, could stretch a dedicated evening in the wrong hands.

So, with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder, two excellent singers took on the task of bringing Novello’s songs to a 21st century audience, with the help of Simon Callow as intermittent narrator. The tenor Toby Spence started proceedings with a rousing rendition of ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’, but he also provided, with piano accompaniment only, a rarity, Novello’s last song, ‘Pray For Me’, a quiet muse on mortality. The charming soprano Sophie Bevan gave froth and glamour to the songs associated with likes of Mary Ellis, Dorothy Dickson, and Olive Gilbert – ‘I Can Give You The Starlight’, ‘Someday My Heart Will Awake’, and the two duets with Spence: ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs’ and ‘Why Isn’t It You?’.

My verdict – a triumph. Callow’s tongue in cheek comments on Novello’s life and career held the interest, and singers and orchestra were in perfect harmony. The only thing missing was the witty and jaunty ‘Primrose’, one of my favourite of Novello’s songs which match humour with melody. But a small quibble on such a glamorous night.


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is there room for me to sew?

Quilting, Reading and the Movies

Jaime Rebanal's Film Thoughts

Cinema - moving around life one film at a time.

The Case for Jeanette and Nelson

"Whaddya gonna do? I love her. I think she loves me." -Nelson Eddy on the Jack Parr Show, 1960

STARDUST AND SHADOWS

Opinions on Classic Hollywood , B Movies, Grindhouse, SF film , Classic Horror, Film Noir, Books, and related subjects by Canadian film guy TERRY SHERWOOD. (This site is not affiliated with author Charles Foster and his book Stardust and Shadows.)

The Wonderful World of Cinema

This blog is all about cinema, movies and stars of every decades. It's wonderful!

Movie classics

Thoughts on older movies, especially those from the 1930s to 1950s.

Hiss and Tell

Featuring Gryff, the angry diabetic cat, and the humans who serve him

TESSA BARRIE'S LOST BLOGS

Random Blogger from Jersey, Channel Islands, UK. Not Noo Jersey, USA. Expect the unexpected. Life's too short to be niche.

[insert title here]

just one of many things i'm still trying to figure out

buchanblog

A trip down Memorex lane

The Phantom Frame

Information about the creative works of Gareth Preston

West End Blog

Bringing you independent, honest, experienced reviews of current theatre shows. We believe theatre is something truly magical and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Archive Television Musings

"To waste one second of one's life is a betrayal of one's self! I wonder what's on television?"

The Actor's Advocate

In defence of acting

Ritchie Blackmores Rainbow

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So much content, so little time...

Just another review blog

The Film Colony ♛

with Alicia Mayer

Spectacular Attractions

film in all its forms

Mingled Yarns

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book

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