Friday 20th September

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Villiers Quartet
Tamaki Higashi, James Dickenson, Nick Stringfellow, Carmen Flores

Villiers Quartet: New Works Competition

Rating:

As always, a treat to take in the gorgeous canal views from an outside sofa during a balmy Sunday at the wonderful King’s Place. The double whammy being the equal treat for chamber music enthusiasts of the Villiers Quartet New Works Competition. This only comes around once every couple of years and is not to be missed.

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Category: Music
Tom Gamble at Jazz Club Soho, London.
Tom Gamble at Jazz Club Soho, London.

Tom Gamble: CD + London dates

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Classically-trained guitarist Tom Gamble recently played a solo set at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, going down a storm with the assembled literary crowd at the Playerist Comedy Night. He’s soon to leave these shores to further his studies abroad so catch him while you can. Meanwhile, music lovers will be more than satisfied with Mr Gamble’s fantastic début Jazz CD Rooftop Music. Recently graduating with a First from Trinity Laban Conservatoire in Greenwich, the maestro leads the Tom Gamble Ensemble at the South Bank Centre on August 8. He then departs with fitting flourish as Director of the Quiet Nights Orchestra at a very special gig at the National Portrait Gallery on August 22.

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Category: Culture
Bakersfield Mist at the Duchess Theatre
Bakersfield Mist at the Duchess Theatre

Bakersfield Mist: An authentic production that just falls short of being deemed the genuine article

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It is a story that captures the public imagination, an old painting, hanging overhead for countless number of years, considered ordinary and worthless, could actually be extraordinary, and worth a considerable amount. This is the essence of Stephen Sachs Bakersfield Mist. Through a long-draw out debate about the authenticity of a certain Jackson Pollock painting, both Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid, as Maude and Lionel respectively, dazzle in a production that leaves you wanting more.

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Category: Theatre
Sally Mortemore and Claire Louise Amias
Sally Mortemore and Claire Louise Amias

Women of Twilight @ Pleasance Theatre

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A fun night out ‘Women of Twilight’ is not. It is a truly great evening of theatre at a commendable (and welcoming) venue. If Sylvia Rayman’s play seems long-overlooked, in some ways it’s easy to understand why. The taboo of illegitimacy in post-war England seems not only reprehensible but through contemporary eyes is like visiting an alien land. Director Jonathan Rigby refers to “the continued relevance of the play…” as I imagine both at home and abroad, and considers that “maybe it’s appropriate to revive a play written during the early years of the Welfare State at a time when strenuous efforts are being made to dismantle it…” Rigby’s current production, at the roomy and comfortable Pleasance Theatre, is more than worth a revisit.

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Category: Culture
Imogen Miller Porter
Imogen Miller Porter photographed by Martin Slidel

Spotlight on Imogen Miller Porter

It’s a delight to catch up with actor and writer Imogen Miller Porter, just as she’s finishing her current run as the screeching matriarch in the interactive Faulty Towers Dining Experience at Charing Cross Hotel. Despite what I imagine as an exhaustive role she blusters into the nearby café looking fresh as a daisy; resplendent in turquoise plaid shirt, plaited locks not quite free of that infamous Sybil coiffure.

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Category: Comedy
Daniel Betts and Kelly Hotten
Daniel Betts and Kelly Hotten

Dial M for Murder @ Richmond Theatre

Rating:

You may think that taking on a legendary film maker and a major if not quite a landmark moment in cinema would make any theatre director wary. Not Lisa Bailey. Though what we’re left with is a shadow of the movie. Remarkable, when the play is billed with the Hitchcock suffix and this is not the film version as adapted by its playwright Frederick Knott. Nothing to do with Hitchcock, though we can see why he was so drawn.

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Category: Culture
BalletBoyz
Photo credit: Panayiotis Sinnos

BalletBoyz: theTALENT @ Richmond Theatre

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Balletboyz’ Michael Nunn and William Trevitt present their third round of ‘The Talent’ and how. As much as I love dance in all its forms I certainly know nothing about it. Apart from what I like. I witnessed ‘The Talent’ in its first year on the expanse of Sadler’s Wells. Such skill translates to the touring stage just as effectively, whilst according a whole new effectiveness. Hell, they could stage it in a shopping mall, ‘the talent’ is that great.

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Category: Dance
Theo Jackson
Photo by Ben Amure

Theo Jackson: Exploring the boundaries

Appearing at The Forge, Camden, February 27 + St James’ Theatre Studio, Belgravia, March 22

Theo Jackson is fast establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with on the Jazz scene, having returned to these shores from the US to two forthcoming London dates at The Forge in Camden and St James’ Theatre in Belgravia. Theo writes his own songs as well as offering a unique take on the standards. His slightly raspy voice belies the gentlest jazzy vibrato; imagine if you will Nick Drake in this genre and you’ll be somewhere near. I define Jackson as a contemporary storyteller and it’s one reason he cites Nick Drake as influential, alongside forces as diverse as Stevie Wonder and Tom Waits.

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Category: Music