Wednesday 14 August 2013

Evidence of my incompetence!

So, I am not working at the moment (bar some teaching and the odd gig), I have no money and yet I seem Hell bent on chucking away what little I do have. 

2 weeks ago I was supposed to attend a Rogers and Hammerstein concert at the Union Theatre in London but, because of a rather painful wisdom tooth incident, I could not go. I don't think my wailing in pain would have gone down well with the performers so really it was a selfless act not to go. No incompetence here you say? No, I suppose not. Fast forward to today, Sunday, and I am due at the Union Theatre once again. This time to see the, in my case, unheard of R&H musical "Pipe Dream". I was interested to see what it was all about and booked my ticket back in June! So today I pottered about in the morning, did a bit of knitting, a bit of ironing, had a spot of lunch. At 2.30pm I went to my printer to print out my e-ticket in order to make my way to the Union for 4pm. "Why would you be going to the Union for 4pm when the show started at 2.30pm?", I hear you cry!

One word comes to mind........ INCOMPETENT!

If you ever want me to come see anything you are in please check and double check with me that I know when it starts or chances are I won't be there. On a more positive note I did make it to 2 other shows this week and did participate in 2 concert performances of a new opera at the TĂȘte a TĂȘte Opera Festival at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. I will write about the festival in the next entry but for now let's focus on the 2 shows I went to see but did not participate in.

Tuesday, again booked back in June, was "Titanic" by Maury Yeston at the Southwark Playhouse. I was aware there was a musical based on the sinking of the Titanic but totally unaware of any of the music from it. Now, we all know how it ends so I did expect the evening to be light on laughs but I did not expect to be moved as much as I was. Having said that about laughs there were comedic moments, just the right amount really, to stop it becoming too maudlin. I was unprepared for how good the music was going to be and even more unprepared for the incredible sound the 20 strong cast and 6 piece band were going to make. I tend to get chills when listening to opera but not often in musical theatre. It is not unheard of but it is rare. I had chills almost from the outset until the final chord. The singing, and the music they were singing, was beyond fantastic.

"Titanic" does seem a peculiar topic for a musical but then there has always been grit in musicals. "Carousel" isn't a barrel of laughs, neither is "Jesus Christ Superstar" or "Les Miserables" so why shouldn't musical theatre tackle difficult subjects? I, for one, am not interested in 'light and fluffy' all the time so I was thoroughly excited about seeing this particular subject laid out in musical theatre form and I was not disappointed. There was not one weak link in the production. The space was utilised beautifully and although, I was later informed, I was sitting in possibly the worst seat in the house it did not seem so. The first half is full of hope and happiness and we find out what has brought this group of people together on the ill fated liner however, you can't help feeling uncomfortable watching as you know what fate ultimately holds in store for the characters. I wholeheartedly recommend you listen to the score if you can't get to see the show itself. It is a revelation and deserves a larger scale outing some day soon. No one person really stood out more than anyone else as every single person on stage gave everything they had to the performance so I am not going to mention any names (I apologise to the friends I have in the cast but the whole blog would be taken up with names if I name everyone). The whole cast is exceptional and I urge you to get to the Southwark Playhouse before the 31st August and see (and more importantly hear) for yourselves this gem of a piece.

The following day I was still reeling from what I had seen the night before and was invited to join a friend to see Sophie-Louise Dann in cabaret at The Crazy Coqs near Piccadilly Circus. I had nothing planned so decided a little spontaneity would not be a bad thing and agreed to go. I knew very little about Ms. Dann so was intrigued. Also, I thought it would be a good research opportunity to see how a seasoned pro delivered a cabaret. Needless to say what I encountered was slick, clever and entertaining. Dann knows how to do comedy! She does not have to try it just happens and was wonderful to see and hear. Where the show suffered (suffered is a strong word, I had a thoroughly fabulous evening); where the show was marginally less than excellent was when she delivered the old standards (the unfunny ones). Here, I was left a little cold (no, cool. Cold is also a strong word. Cool is better). Although she needs do nothing but raise an eyebrow to make something funny I felt she worked a little too hard at 'feeling' the more earnest songs. There is no doubt, however, that she is a master of the cabaret and my niggles with a very small part of the evening are my own. Someone else at the same cabaret could have felt totally differently. The one thing I can't take away from her, but can learn from, is that she 'owns' the performance. She was totally confident and comfortable in everything she did and I thank her for the lesson!

I think, including the week just gone, I am set to see more music and theatre in the next month than I have seen in years so expect to be bombarded with diary entries over the next few weeks. Please share my diary with everyone you can and feel free to sign up below to receive each new entry by email if you so desire. I am really grateful that people seem to enjoy reading what I write. Who would have thought when at age 12 I was put in to the remedial English comprehension class for a term I would be able to right stuff wot yous like by the age of 39! (Tee hee).


  1. This'll make you feel better. A few years ago, I was having trouble sleeping. My GP gave me some sleeping pills. I was taking two courses of medication at the time, and the other pills were the cause of the insomnia, and I was supposed to take those first thing in the morning. I woke up one morning and stumbled into the bathroom, washed took pills, etc. Started yawning, realised something was wrong. Looked at the packets, realised ramifications of stupidity. Had to phone my then boss and explain error. Worst part was, boss didn't think this was unusual behaviour for me :(

  2. Ah Alistair, I am very pleased to know I am not e only one prone to incompetence. x

  3. There was also the time I severely lacerated my foot while fitting a Roman Blind. The time I made a frenzied 20 minute assault on a loft hatch with a mains operated Jig-saw, and did absolutely no damage whatsoever. Or indeed, the time I wrecked a valuable classic sports-car with failed brakes, by towing it downhill. I could even regale you with the sorry tale about the brand new Jaguar I broke one morning, and how I did exactly the same thing to an LDV van in the afternoon, both in front of a paying audience.
    All these stories can be told, should you seek solace in mutual ineptitude.

  4. I thank you Alistair for making me feel I am not alone in my incompetence!