October 2011

Aida more than fascinates

Little wonder there was a packed house to greet Fascinating Aida when this trio of outrageous women took to the stage at the City Hall last night. This was satire and cabaret and superb musicality all rolled into one huge biting, hilarious and even sentimental ball of fun and A=class entertainment.
From the opening number sticking the boot into Companies Using Nefarious Taxation Schemes (you work out the acronym) through to the finale singing the praises (sort of) of Truro, this was as good an evening’s entertainment as you will find anywhere.
Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and newcomer Sarah-Louise Young are showing no signs of losing their satiric edge or their abundant energy after 28 years of touring. This was Tom Lehrer mingled with Ute Lemper plus hints of Lotte Lenya, Deitrich, Weill and Brecht – some of whom duly received a deliciously precise lampooning during the evening.
With Keane orchestrating everything from the piano (plus a bit of drumming and cymbal clashing), the keenly-edged satire was embellished by the trio’s fine voices.
Highlights were the ode to dogging, lauded by The Times as “the dirtiest and funniest song of the century so far” and the trio’s hymn to cheap air travel, while the bracket of pithy Bulgarian folk songs underscored how fresh and up-to-date is the group’s material.
As the saying goes … not to be missed.

Nesbo delivers

Consistently better than the over-lauded Steig Larsen, Scandinavian author Jo Nesbo gets better and better. His latest, The Leopard, is a real humdinger. After forsaking the lugubrious Harry Hole for last year’s inexplicable Headhunter (did Nesbo really write this?) the author has thankfully switched the spotlight back on to Hole and his dogged pursuit of Norway’s most pernicious criminals.
The Leopard takes off from where The Snowman left off, with Hole down and out in more ways than one drowning his sorrows in the opium dens of Hong Kong.
Duped into returning to Oslo by new love interest Kaja Solness, Harry is enmeshed in a world where a devious serial killer, his dying father, duplicitous colleagues, avalanches and African despots combine to give him the toughest ride yet of his tumultuous career. The result is one of the best crime fiction reads of the year; a true page-turner than careers forward in a way that rightly keeps Nesbo at the top of the crime-writing bestsellers.

Kosky chaos

It seems like the manic Barrie Kosky is still wreaking theatrical havoc with publicity-seeking creations that add confusion where clarity is required. His latest bit of mayhem is a production of Rameau’s Castor and Pollux at the London Coliseum.
As one cast member explained: “There’s some very strange stuff involving men’s pants. Lots of blood and glitter, too, and a fantastic scene in hell with a lot of naked bodies writhing around.” Yeah, very Kosky. Same old, same old …
Can’t wait to read the reviews.