Thursday, 29 October 2015

'As You Like It' at the National Theatre

'As You Like It' at the National Theatre only started in preview on Monday this week but we went to see it tonight so this was the third time they've done a full performance in front of an audience. Might I saw 'wow'?

Before-hand I was trying to think how I knew the story to the play - I've never seen it so must have read it at some point. It hasn't played at the National for 30 years so it's well overdue a showing. Shakespeare tells eternal stories and, with him, sometimes it's the writing or story-telling or clever plotting that really stands out and sometimes it's the whole lot. There's some wonderful writing in this play (such as the 'All the world's a stage…' speech) but there are also some lovely characters and that's partly the casting and production.

It's the tale of Rosalind (daughter of the deposed Duke) and Orlando (son of a knight loyal to the Duke), our young lovers who meet once and can't tell each other of the love bomb that dropped because they don't know how to. Then Orlando needs to flee since his older brother plots to kill him and Rosalind is banished by the usurper Duke and they both end up in the Forest of Arden. Except Rosalind is dressed as a man to help protect her and her friend Celia (the usurper Duke's daughter). Throughout the forest are various lovers and would-be lovers that appear and disappear on an ongoing basis as well as the deposed Duke and his followers. After much to-ing and fro-ing our young lovers get together and are married with three other sets of lovers (including Orlando's older brother who's seen the error of his ways and marries Celia). There's a lot going on in this tale, with love, usurpation, pretence and country v city life all being themes within the play.

So that's the story (sort of) but what about the production? When I walked into the theatre I hated it. Awful! The set is a bright office with a multi-coloured carpet, computer screens everywhere and actors already sitting at desks doing, I suppose, 'acting'. I'm getting bored with this current trend of actors being on stage being busy before the thing starts. But the set was awful. Clashing colours, loads of desks for the actors to manoeuvre round… an accident waiting to happen. On comes Orlando, our hero, dressed as an office cleaner. And then he opens his mouth and out comes this poetry - the setting is all wrong, it jars and maybe that's what it's meant to do but I didn't like it. Despite hating the set, the writing and acting kept me engaged.

When Rosalind and Orlando escaped separately and headed to Arden is when the magic happened. The ceiling of the office started to rise and pulled all the office furniture after it, using the tremendous height of the Olivier Theatre to pull the furniture up and up so it started to take the shape of the gnarled trees of the forest. The transformation was gob-smacking! And then there were actors in chairs up in the trees playing the parts of the wind, the birds and whatever background noises were needed. I was all 'wow!' about it. That was spectacular! But I didn't see what happened to the awful office carpet - where did that go?

There aren't any production photos available yet but it'll be a thrill to see them - especially a video of the transformation scene, that's what I'd like. There are all sorts of oddities in the production, like a herd of sheep invading the stage at one point which is half the cast on their hands and knees wearing big wooly jumpers. At first I was all 'whaaaat?' but then I loved them. I *want* a herd of sheep now, please. How inspired and playful and fitting for this play.

The writing is wonderful but it's the actors that bring it to life and I really liked Rosalind and Orlando played by Rosalie Craig and Joe Bannister - I thought they made a really charming couple. I know who wears the trousers in that house. Patsy Ferran was great fun as Celia, playing her very modern and knowing and by no means just anyone's sidekick. I last saw Patsy as 'Jim Hawkins' in 'Treasure Island' at the National last year. Of the minor characters I liked old Adam, played by Patrick Godfrey, as Orlando's loyal servant, who gave a very touching performance and Ken Nwosu as the shepherd in love with his shepherdess who spurns him. Ken's desperation to please, to love his shepherdess was almost lip-trembling in it's tenderness (someone to watch, I think).

The final word must go to Lizzie Clachan for her set design and the astonishing transformation from office to forest. I mean, wow! I sat with my mouth open, gawping at it in front of me. But Lizzie, what happened to the carpet? Where did it go?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

'The Hairy Ape' at The Old Vic

Went to see 'The Hairy Ape' at The Old Vic last week and I've been struggling with what to say about it. It's still in preview (I ought to make plain) but I don't know what to say. It's described on the website and elsewhere as 'Eugene O'Neill's existentialist masterpiece' but, from where I was sitting, 'masterpiece' is the last word I'd use to describe it. It stars Bertie Carvell who, clearly, can act his socks off and it's his job to carry the play.  It's not that I saw it on an off night, I suspect it's the play I didn't buy into.

It's the tale of Yank, a stoker in the boiler room of an Atlantic cruise ship and he rules the boiler room with threats of violence and his presence alone. Don't mess with Yank, the rest of the crew quickly learn. He's the dominant man, the alpha male in that world.  But then the spoiled daughter of the shipping tycoon wants to go to the boiler room and turns up unannounced, is shocked at what she sees and runs off, fainting into the first officer's arms. Yank is upset by this - how did seeing him working upset her so much? it's his job, he has every right to be doing his job doesn't he? he's right isn't he? And he wants revenge on her and has to be held down and subdued to prevent hi from marching up to her cabin.

So far so good, but then he gets off the ship in New York and encounters a load of posh people, gets aggressive and ends up in jail for the night. He causes trouble there and seeks out the local liberal pinko-commies to work for them and blow up the steel mill for the cause so they throw him out and beat him up. So he ends up at the zoo and somehow gets in and taunts the gorilla before going in his cage and, presumably, gets squeezed to death. Um, ok then, I'm with you so far…

Well, no, I'm not actually. How can a violent thug like Yank be beaten up by a bunch of liberal pinko-commies (wearing glasses no less) when he rules the boiler room? How and why is he so slow-witted and thick? I'm getting really tired of American plays that seem to always depict working class men as thick and violent who end every sentence with the word 'see?'. I thought that was a Jimmy Cagney gangster-thing but clearly it's much broader. Don't any of these men know how to think, to read, to reason? It is possible to depict working class men in other ways than by being almost incapable of stringing a sentence together and talking with their fists. And I think there's the nub of my problem with 'The Hairy Ape' - it's the play not the production. I won't be going back.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Giotto at Santa Croce, Florence

Santa Croce is one of the larger church complexes in Florence. It's also one of the most important art complexes with works still in place after 500 years. The first time I went there I got terribly excited by seeing a Giotto fresco cycle for the first time and exclaiming out loud that 'he invented art!'. Well, he did, sort of.

The church is at one end of a large square that hosts a market some days of the week. At other times it's empty and you're greeted by a rather severe statue of Dante surrounded by four lions. His disdainful countenance which is based on is death mask looks down on you and asks whether you are worthy to enter the church. I am actually, Mr Dante. So you pay your due and go in near the main altar which is very splendid but the main sight is to the right of the altar. A Giotto chapel!

The chapel is dedicated to St Francis and his followers and Giotto depicts scenes from his life and his death. It's really quite wonderful to see a wall - several walls - covered in paintings by Giotto, some so high up you can' really see the detail at all but it's all there. Giotto tried to bring a new naturalism into his art, to show people as they really were in the presence of God and his Son, his saints and holy men and women. That's what we see in this chapel, Giotto trying to bring a new naturalism to religious art.

That's what we see in the scene that depicts the deathbed of St Francis, his monks shocked and appalled at his death, hardly believing that such a holy man can have died. And Giotto tries to capture the various expressions that might happen at such a pivotal moment. How would you react to the most holy man you've ever met leaving you to join your Lord?

Some of the monks hold up their hands in shock and disbelief, some bend to kiss his hand for the last time while others try to commiserate with them. 'How is this possible?' some are muttering while others comfort themselves by recognising that their Lord has called him to His side. So many emotions in one panel of a fresco. Emotions not seen before Giotto interpreted the holy tales and painted them in this chapel. That is the power of a great artist, to make us see something we can't possibly have seen ourselves but he shows it to us. He tries to make us part of the scene by depicting real people. And Giotto was the first, the trailblazer who escaped from the previous artistic tradition and began a new journey. How wonderful.

Here are some more photos of that chapel, of that story that Giotto told for the first time. Look and marvel. And go to Santa Croce if you can - don't take my word for it.

'Xanadu' at Southwark Playhouse

GO AND SEE IT NOW! There, you have the key message from this blog right up front. It's only on for a few weeks at Southwark Playhouse and you will hate yourself forever if you don't go to see it. Honest.

So, 'Xanadu'? What's that about then? Wasn't it a pome by Coleridge and a fillum with Olivia Newton-John in 1980? Yes to both, but it's also a fantastic musical that I saw on Broadway back in 2008 and a production has finally opened in London at Southwark Playhouse. I loved that mad production with it's glitter-balls so I had to book tickets when they went on sale and I'm so pleased I did. It was the perfect remedy to a bad day at work.

So, OK like, I'll tell you the story but it's complicated so listen hard people. Sonny is a graffiti artist who wants to create great art so Clio, the head Muse, descends to Earth to inspire him. To protect her secret identity she chooses the name Kira, an Australian accent and leg-warmers and no-one will guess she's a Muse. Sonny soon confides his artistic dream is to open a roller-disco (obvs!) and Kira decides to help him. Two of her sister Muses don't approve and decide to bring her down, like bad down. And there you have the plot. Sonny and Kira will make it over all obstacles including an older building developer who Kira inspired to build a theatre when he was younger. They will fight for their art and their love but there are a few hurdles. I hope you followed that exposition?

Of course, what really matters is that it's full of glittery dance and movement, camp as anything, roller-skates heaven and those wonderful ELO songs with alternative lyrics. 'Evil Woman' is about Melpomene (bad Muse), "Strange Magic' is when Kira and Sony realise they're in love and 'Physical' is when the Muses get captured by the gym-hunks of the earthly world. 'Xanadu' is the finale song of course, with the whole cast on roller-skates whizzing about that small space.

It was great fun on so many levels - I don't think I stopped smiling at all after it started and gave big clapping at the end of each half as well as much excited talk about it. Ace lines like '1980… the year inspiration left the arts' are pure gold against the backdrop of the roller-disco. Our heroes are Carly Anderson as Kira, Samuel Edwards as Sonny, Alison Jiear as Melpomene and Lizzy Connelly as Calliope (evil women both). The rest of the cast are most fab as well and the staging makes the best of the small space. My one plea is for more glitter-balls please - one can never have too many glitter-balls.

It's the funnest and daftest thing on in olde London Town at the moment so head on down to Elephant & Castle to see it. It's only on until 21 November and you will curse yourself forever if you fail to see it. You will, trust me. The only way to avoid that curse is to book tickets now. And no, I'm not on commission.

Dame Diana Rigg and Emma Peel - The Avengers

Diana Rigg and Emma Peel are the same person, right? Or are they? Have you ever seen them in the same place at the same time?

On Sunday afternoon I was escorted to the National Film Theatre to see an episode of 'The Avengers' from 1966 that explains the history of Emma Peel followed by a Q&A with Diana Rigg to celebrate Emma Peel at 50. The episode was from her first series of 'The Avengers' and was in black and white, very 60s-looking and very seasonal with no leaves on the trees in the countryside. It was 'The House That Jack Built' in which the bad guy (who was dead) tried to drive her mad and to suicide but Mrs Peel survived to karate chop another day, obvs. When will the baddies ever learn? You don't mess with Mrs Peel.

It was great to hear that theme tune again and see The Avengers - Steed and Emma were always my favourites. It was all very gripping and 'ooo what will happen next'. Emma will win, obv, but how? Patrick Macnee was on holiday when that episode was shot so it's really her show. It turns out that Emma is the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate and she ran the company for a while after her father's death before she married an ace test pilot (Peter Peel) and that's partly how she's so clever. And also how she started to collect enemies as we see in this episode. It was nice to re-live the tension, the suspense, the 60s special effects and Mrs Peel chopping a man so hard he flies across the room (that lady doesn't know her own strength).

At the end of the episode there was a resounding ovation from the sold-out audience, most of whom seemed to be 'a certain age' (like me). And then Diana, who'd been sitting in the audience to watch the episode walked to the stage with the aid of her daughter and went up to be interviewed by Dick Fiddy in what turned out to be an interesting and fun interview followed by questions from the audience. Half-way through the interview it occurred to em that I could've been sitting next to her! I wasn't, but I could've been.

Diana came across as being lovely, assertive and not afraid to speak her mind. When talking about working with Vincent Price she said he was 'mean as mouse-shit' in a loving way to enormous laughter. She said she hated the black leather catsuit (which I don't believe for a minute and am sure she was wearing it under her outer-wear just in case of attack) and much preferred the trendy fashions of the later episodes and second series.

Questions ranged across her career with the notable exception of her appearances in 'Game of Thrones'. There were also a couple of film clips, the first from her appearance in a TV play with Harry H Corbett as a manic tropical horticulturist, and the second, which closed the event, was the end of her final appearance in 'The Avengers' after her previously lost husband turns up again in the Amazonian jungle. Emma says farewell to Steed and, walking down the stairs, passes Tara King going up and she gives her advice on stirring Steed's tea. Farewell Emma!

It was lovely to be re-acquainted with Emma Peel and Steed, hear that music and see Mrs Peel outwit yet another bad guy. And lovely to see Dame Diana and listen to her stories.

'Mr Foote's Other Leg' at Hampstead Theatre

Last week we went to see a new play at Hampstead Theatre, 'Mr Foote's Other Leg'. It's the tale of a group of would-be actors who meet at an acting class in the 18th Century and who go on to define the theatre of the future. We have Mr David Garrick who re-popularised Shakespeare and had his own theatre (guess what it was called?), Mistress Peg Woffington with her dense Oirish accent that softened for her to become a comedienne and tragedist, and Mr Samuel Foote, the satirist who also ended up with his own theatre (the Theatre Royal Haymarket, just along the road from where the current theatre stands).

We see these three friends getting round the censors that governed the theatre in Georgian London and developing their own works. As they become famous and have a bit of cash in their pockets they stray apart on their own theatrical adventures, particularly Mr Garrick and his quest to popularise  Shakespeare. Mr Foote wrote his own plays and satires and even satirised his friend, Mr Garrick's 'Othello' by putting on a comedy version of the play.

And time passes and the three grow older, meet the royals and are awarded royal status for their theatres, and Mr Foote has a silly riding accident that means he loses his left leg in a harrowing scene where it's sawed off on stage in front of us. Ouch. He gets a false leg but has twinges of pain for the rest of his life. Guess where the title of the play comes from?

Life kicks in and Mistress Woffington is diagnosed with cancer. There's a lovely scene with the three friends together again on her bed, wigs off, as she lies there dying, reminiscing about the old days as old friends do. Mr Foote still lives on the edge and pokes fun at the rich and powerful but when they start fighting back, accusing him of sodomy, then his life takes a downward spiral with bouts of madness and depression and he tries to commit suicide. He's advised to leave England by Mr Garrick and he dies while waiting for a ship to France.

There's an awful lot going on in this play which spans many years and even brings in Benjamin Franklin in places while he lived in London. So much is happening that I've hardly done it justice in this blog - if you go to see it, maybe take a notebook to note it all down.  'If you go to see it…' - well you should because it's well worth seeing and it's transferring to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket (co-incidentally?). It sounds a bit serious but it's laugh-out-loud funny in places - there's something there for everyone (and the author even plays the prince).

Dervla Kirwan was excellent as Mistress Peg and it took me a while to realise it was her, she was so in the part. Her touching scene in her death-bed was terribly sad, knowing what is going to happen but determined to go out with a laugh. I also liked Jenny Galloway as the stage manager who I've seen in a few things over the year and always delivers the goods. She's a safe pair of hands. Joseph Millson was good as Mr Garrick, pompous and apoplectic by turns but still the good friend throughout.

The play belongs to Simon Russell Beale and it's definitely his vehicle. The ambitious actor, the wily playwrite, the mad schemer are all him in different guises. I've seen him in lots of plays over the years and he never fails to impress and this is another one of those. You leave the theatre talking about him and the changes he goes through - he takes you a journey... but he's in charge. The light and shade he brings to his characters, the physicality and enegry he gives them pulls us along with him. He's a great actor.

The staging was great too, lots of detail where detail was needed and sparse where that helps.The costumes were just what you'd expect for the period. It'll be interesting to see how it transfers to the much bigger stage of the Theatre Royal.

'Hey, Old Friends!' Sondheim at Drury Lane

It's Stephen Sondheim's 85th birthday so the Sondheim Society put together a gala show at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in aid of the charity Silver Line, a telephone helpline for older folks of the silver variety. It was one of those things where you throw together some big names and some littler names and they all put on a show of Sondheim songs. I didn't know a lot of the folks on stage and some of the songs were new to me but it was fun nonetheless.

Various names wandered on and off to introduce the turns with the full orchestra filling the bacl of the stage. We had Julia McKenzie, Millicent Martin, Nicholas Parsons, Anita Dobson and others, all looking very glam.

Anita Harris (who I last saw singing an X-Ray Spex song at Polyfest a couple of years ago) did a song as did Rula Lenska (who will always be a star from 'Rock Follies' to me) along with some dancers jigging around her. Rula still has all that hair and her voice has become more smokey and reminded me a bit of Marianne Faithfull. Millicent Martin did a song and so did Daniel Evans (who I've seen in productions in London and Broadway). There were some lovely voices and some voices that have seen better days but it's good that they still get up there to belt out a song.

Special praise goes out to Bonnie Langford who, in a sparkly almost-nothing costume, danced and sang and didn't get out of breath even when picked up and twirled around by Anton Du Beke. She high kicked 180 degrees and did the splits on stage and got a huge ovation for the non-stop singing and dancing spectacular. Well done Bonnie!

At the end of the first half Ester Rantzen came on to explain what Silver Line was and to tell us the phone number (0800 4708090). At the start of the second half there was a spoken message from Sondheim who's sounding in good health and said he's working on a new show.

My favourite performances were from Lorna Dallas, Haydn Gwynne and Michael Xavier. Lorna sang a touching version of 'In Buddy's Eyes' from 'Follies', a tender love song by a mature person looking back. I've not heard of Lorna before so there's a name I will need to look out for again. Haydn did a lovely version of 'Send In The Clowns' singing to Daniel Evans, gentle and strong by turns. I last saw Haydn in 'Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown', the musical of the Almodovar film. She has a good voice and should do more singing.

The final performance was Michael Xavier's take on 'Being Alive' that kept in the dialogue from the show to help give it context and he was superb. It was a masterclass in how to deliver a song, building and building, with him moving slightly forward on the stage with each verse and that big 'ta-daa' ending having taken the audience along with him. Now, that's skill. I saw him in 'The Pyjama Game' a year or two back but I'll always think of him as the Prince in 'Into The Woods' singing 'Agony' and trying to out-agonise the other prince. He was also the Wolf, of course.

It was a very fun evening and it'll be interesting to see if any of the performances turn up on YouTube. One message I'll take away from this show, though, is to never book tickets in the vertiginous balcony of Drury Lane - never again!

Photos courtesy of Broadway where you can find more.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Goya: The Portraits at the National Gallery

Went to see the new big exhibition at the National Gallery - 'Goya: The Portraits' - and that's exactly what it is, room after room of portraits. I always wonder about the National Gallery putting on portrait exhibitions when the National Portrait Gallery is just round the corner, but hey ho.

I don't really know anything about Goya other than he was Spanish. I've probably seen some of his paintings in galleries but he falls into that period I tend to skip over, i.e. after the Renaissance and before the Pre-Raphaelites and Impressionists. I don't really know why but paintings in those centuries rarely do anything for me so I miss out on many of the greats, including Goya. So going to this exhibition was an attempt to start filling in some gaps.

Goya started painting portraits when he was 37 and already successful, so his sitters were the aristocrats he was taking other commissions from, people at court and the rich and powerful. The first couple of rooms of the exhibition are full of these portraits, courtly and respectable, with fine clothes and comfortably wealthy.

The painting that first made me look twice was 'The Duke of Osuna' from around 1795. This isn't terribly courtly or posh, it's a painting of a real man sitting in three quarter profile, relaxed and being himself with the painter, probably chatting about the latest art commission or the state of the court. The colours of his face almost glow with health and heartiness.  He has the face of a nice man, someone chatty and generous with his time as well as his money.

This is in great contrast with the poster lady for the exhibition, 'The Duchess of Alba' painted a couple of years later. She is haughty and proud as befits the second most important woman in Spain after the Queen. She's painted standing in the grounds of her estate in Andalusia wearing traditional dress with fine laces very carefully painted. She's pointing down to an inscription in the sand that reads 'Only Goya'. I don't think I'd like tea and a chat with this great lady, I suspect I'd be talked at rather than with in her presence.

There's a portrait of the Duke of Wellington that is on most of the merch for some reason. As the court painter, Goya was commissioned to paint his portrait after he entered Madrid in 1812. He has a small mouth There's also a chalk study for the painting hanging beside it. I walked past it.

Another painting I liked has the odd title of 'Portrait of an Artist formerly thought to be Evaristo Perez de Castro', a warm portrait of a serious young man gazing out at you with calm eyes. He looks 'real' and surprisingly modern, someone you could bump into in the street today. He's probably someone you could bump into in Soho or Hoxton on a regular basis, hanging out in a wine bar with a circle of friends. He'd probably have a trendy beard these days.

Another young man you could bump into is 'Bartolome Sureda y Miserol' with his messy fringe and weary eyes, his slightly rumpled but good quality clothes that let you know he is a young man of distinction. He was an artist and engineer. All of this looks to me like he was out on the lash the night before and while he  dutifully turned up for the sitting with the great artist, he'd much rather be home in bed. I can almost hear him asking for a glass of water to freshen up his mouth just as the red inside of his hat brightens up the portrait. Please can I have a glass of water…?

Goya was a liberal and was forced to flee Spain to live in France in 1824 at the age of 78. He went to Bordeaux to live with other exiled liberals. On a visit to Paris he met another exile, Joaquin Maria Ferrer and his wife, and painted portraits of both. The portrait of 'Manuela de Alvarez Coinas y Thomas de Ferrer' is my final choice to highlight. I like this lady. She'd make sure you never left her parlour without having had tea and cakes or a nice meal with a glass of wine. She'd take care of you and keep the gossip flowing with witty anecdotes. I bet she was a cheery soul that everyone would be happy to have as a friend.

Yes, I do invent stories about paintings and people and, as far as I'm concerned, they're true.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Birmingham Royal Ballet - 'Triple Bill' at Sadler's Wells

Last night we wended our way to Sadler's Wells in Islington to see the Birmingham Royal Ballet's 'Triple Bill' of three one act ballets and what a joy they were. I'm not the biggest fan of bally but every so often it's a joy to behold so choose your productions wisely. Luckily I chose wisely last night!

The first production was 'Theme and Variations' with music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by George Balanchine. It looked gorgeous with huge billowing blue curtains framing the stage and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. It was what I consider a bally to be - lasses in tutus and men in tights - you know what you're getting with tutus and tights. It was the shortest of the three ballys but it was wonderful to see the classic moves and simplicity of the production. I admit to wincing every time the lasses went up on tippy-toes - that must hurt and ruin their feet. But it was lovely to see the grace and beauty they created on stage.

After an interval we had the second bally, 'Enigma Variations' set to music by Elgar and choreography by Frederick Ashton. Much as I liked the first bally, I think I liked this one more. The curtain rose to reveal an autumnal stage in golds and browns, the right side of the stage set like an Edwardian drawing room in a country house and the left side as the garden, complete with falling leaves every so often. Perfect for an autumnal day in mid-October. The men in tweeds and the women in long frocks, with country yokels and old fashions bicycles, it summoned up a brilliant picture of olden days.

The bally moves through the day, from the exuberence of the morning through the lazy afternoon and into the evening, with great atmospheric changes in the lighting. The real power behind this production was Elgar's music. Two thirds of the way through the bally the music picked up the themes that are always played on Remembrance Sunday (at least on the BBC in the UK) that instantly bring to mind the First World War and poppies for remembrance.

At this point I made up my own story to the bally, with the mother and father figures dancing while the younger son intercepts a telegram and shows it to them and they react with joy - confirmation that their elder son is alive. The production ends with a photograph of the extended family. It was all very touching, especially since Remembrance Sunday is only a few short weeks away.

After another half-time we moved on to the final bally, 'The King Dances' with music by Stephen Montague and choreography by David Bintley with some incredibly dramatic lighting by Peter Mumford. This tells the tale of how the Sun King, Louis XIV invented bally, inspired by a horned devil and some homoerotic dancing. It was very spectacular and opened with dancers bringing on burning flames that surrounded them to raise the tension. It worked. This was the longest bally at 38 minutes and it was spectactular.

We follow the king through an evening and night of terrors until the king emerges again, the Sun King in all his golden glory. It was all terribly wow-inducing and then we see the king in all his glam-rock glittery finery at the end with his courtiers. Clap clap clap!

These were three very different and very spectacular ballys and all were great in their own ways. It was a nice reminder that bally isn't solely about dancing - like any public production, it was also about costume, stage design, lighting and music. Put it all together and you get something worth seeing. I'm very pleased I saw these productions and well done to everyone involved.