Thursday, 22 July 2010

Musical interlude

I was invited to see the musical Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Tuesday. What an evening! On a balmy (aka hot and sweaty) Summer night, we were packed into the auditorium with hundreds of tourists, school children and noisy fans. But the show was great – in fact, I was curiously surprised at my reaction to a popular art form that I might otherwise have gone out of my way to avoid.

I was particularly impressed by the interior of the neo-classical building, with its grand staircases, wide corridors and roomy bar spaces, which were a pleasure to behold: Spacious, elegant and redolent of a bygone era of theatrical splendour, adorned with ornate cornicing, gilt framed paintings, and high ceilings with dramatic antique light fittings.

Afterwards, at a dinner held in the magnificent Garrick Club, cast members including the show’s star, Russ Abbot, were in attendance. It was here that I asked Russ where he had learned to sing. Turned out that years ago he’d sung in a backing group, along with a fellow backing singer – none other than Mr Elton John!

I was genuinely surprised at how good a singing voice Russ Abbot has - and he seems to be a really nice guy too. In this production, he makes the role of Fagin his own, adding his trademark style of wit and contemporary interest to Dickens’ curiously insightful storyline.

This is a very entertaining performance and well worth seeing if you get the chance. The sets are also amazing, with backdrops of Victorian London that include St Paul’s Cathedral and quirky British touches, like Bill Sykes’ aggressive little bulldog.

Yesterday, I also discovered that the ingeniously arty Nananapgirl, winner of the Curious Paper Dolls contest held by Are you ShopCurious? at Polyvore had received her prize – a pair of vintage Christian Dior sunglasses. Apparently, they made her look like Elton John, so she’s given them to her son’s finacee, and says, “Who knows where these vintage treasures have been before their trip out to Australia, but they will soon set out for a wedding in Canada and then the new owner’s one in Las Vegas, where they will be splendid.”

Anyway, I’m so pleased these shades have found a good home - and that their cool retro style can be appreciated across the generations... Talking of which, I was also struck by the curious fact that Elton seems to be popping up a lot in the conversation lately. I hope you don’t mind…


Jan said...

Certainly don't mind!
Always loved Oliver,the film anyway
(and let's not forget the book)
Haven't seen Russ Abbot for years - good to see him doing so well.

Susan said...

Jan, thanks - I'm such a devotee I didn't even notice it's Abbot with one 't'.. love the David Lean film (as for the book, goes without saying).