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Review: “Carnation for a Song”

The Young Vic Café / Bar is bustling…filled with people hanging out and relaxing, unlike the determined queue of people waiting to get access to the performance space for this show, tickets (which are free) are now scarce, such is its popularity.

This Community event commissioned by the Young Vic as part of its ‘Taking part project’ has clearly been a resounding success.

“Carnation for a Song” inspired by Oscar Wilde’s famous queer reference to green carnations, is an ensemble piece for fourteen LGBQ Londoners aged 50+, who share their personal life experience through stories and song.

This is a production that is both comedic and poignant. Its participants have lived through decriminalization, HIV, Section 28 and the legalization of same sex marriage, as well as the day to day trials of Gay life and online dating!

Josephs Atkins’ original songs and musical accompaniment, inspired by the original interviews with the cast, were a highlight, of the show. Expansive, expressive and toe tapping! I particularly loved “Gateways Girls” but enjoyed them all.

Director Megan Cronin shepherded her flock of ‘fearless participants’ and enabled the authenticity of our collective history to shine through. The audience were visibly moved.

This is an entertaining and interesting production. It illuminates the importance of narrating our history, lest it be made invisible. We must not forget our Trans and BAME family’s part in it.

 

Young Vic 10-13thApril

Tate Late 26th April

Review: “Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel”

This is a thrilling and very scary production. I loved it! I was literally gripping my seat…I haven’t seen anything so dramatically and musically accomplished for a very long time

“Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel” is part of the ENO’s commitment to supporting new operas and presenting works that appeal to a large and diverse audience. This one is a winner!

The production tackles its horrific subject matter head on. It unflinchingly depicts the pitiful and harrowing lives of the working class, uneducated, women who lived in Whitechapel in 1888. During this period poverty was regarded as a criminal vice, and women as mere chattels.

It charts the bloody reign of Jack the Ripper, focusing on five of his victims. These women were all in their forties, down on their luck and working as prostitutes. It explores the camaraderie that existed between them and the community the Ripper stalked. It goes some way in restoring the humanity and visibility of those women.

Right from the start, Ian Bell’s atmospheric score draws you into the dark labyrinth of the women’s precarious lives, revealing its humour, bravado and brutality. The fluid complexity of Bell’s beautifully executed composition illuminates the individual characters, as well as their interactions. It gave me goose bumps.

Emma Jenkins’ libretto is poignant and heart wrenching. “None but the lonely heart can know my sorrow” – a quote taken from one of the actual victims’ headstone – still haunts me.

The five central characters are beautifully created and sung with vocal dexterity and sincerity. It’s a star-studded cast and not one of the performers disappoints. Including the forty strong chorus.

This is an opera that will appeal to people who usually don’t go to, or like opera. If you’re a fan of drama, suspense, horror and an entertaining night out, don’t miss it. I suggest you take a friend…there will be lots to talk about

“Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel” runs 3-12 April

Booking: eno.org 

Box Office: 0207 845 9300

17:24:31

Remember the London Nail Bomb Attacks?

3 bombs over 3 consecutive April weekends.

Each bomb packed with a thousand nails

Each explosion wounding, maiming…murderous.

 

Its aim was to incite fear and hatred

In Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshi and LGBT places.

Targeting people just going about their business.

Ordinary, extraordinary people, like you and me.

 

In Brixton, people were shopping,

Thinking about what to cook for dinner.

Popping out, to pick up a paper.

Chatting in the street with a neighbour.

 

In Brick Lane, people were relaxing.

Eating dinner in local restaurants.

Planning their family’s weekend.

Repairing their car.

 

In Soho, people were Celebrating.

Having a drink en route to the Theatre.

Meeting up for the start of the weekend.

Hanging out, in a safe Gay space.

 

We commemorate those unfortunate people

In the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The shocked, injured, wounded, dying.

Who showed great fortitude and courage

 

Those bombs incited acts of individual heroism.

Kindness and generosity between strangers

A public outcry of outrage and horror

Immediate, professional support.

 

Our diverse Communities enrich society

We were not. Are not. Will not ever be

Diminished by hatred and evil

We stand united in our humanity, and love.

Remember Orlando

Remember the Orlando tragedy, at the Admiral Duncan pub