Friday 24th November

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Caro-Emerald-2013-1

Caro Emerald at Hampton Court Palace Festival, 17 June

By Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

This year’s Hampton Court Palace Festival has begun, with a star-studded line-up performing over the next two weeks in the stunning setting of the Tudor Courtyard.  The artists descending on Richmond include the great Tom Jones, Art Garfunkel, Katherine Jenkins and one name that has been a bit quiet recently: Caro Emerald.

Emerald burst onto the scene in 2010 with Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, and followed up her debut success by topping the UK album charts in 2013 with The Shocking Miss Emerald.

The engaging Dutch jazz and pop singer spoke to What’s On London about her rise to fame, movements since then and excitement at returning to these shores on Friday 17th June.

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Category: Festivals
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UnCorked Theatre presents ‘How To Solve A Problem Like Murder’

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By Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

With How To Solve A Problem Like Murder, UnCorked Theatre delivers one of the most intriguing, voyeuristic and memorable evenings in London right now: a captivating mixture of immersive theatre, murder-mystery and burlesque.  

The second you arrive at the venue – Paradise by way of Kensal Green – you become part of a complex and challenging reality, which claims you until the moment the murderer is finally unmasked.  The onus is on you to select your chief suspects and closely watch what they do and how they do it.  Our advice: get tickets while you can and then keep your wits about you.

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Category: Dance
Sophie Carmen Jones slays as Velma Kelly
Sophie Carmen Jones slays as Velma Kelly

Rouge your knees and pull your stockings down – Chicago is in town!

“Murder, greed, corruption, adultery and treachery…all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts.”

Remember in 2002, when Catherine Zeta-Jones slid down a well-oiled table in suspenders and bagged herself an Oscar for her performance in Chicago?  I certainly do.  And the only reason I know about the well-oiled table is because I attempted it in my Year 8 English classroom, with painful results ….

Chicago is probably my favourite musical.  Based on true events back in the 1920s, it tells the story of Roxie Hart, who shoots her lover and enlists the help of smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn to free herself from jail.  Along the way, we meet double-murderess Velma Kelly, spicy Matron Mama Morton and blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Amos Hart.  And it’s currently at the New Wimbledon Theatre, before carrying on its tour of the UK.

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Category: Music
Brian Charette

Brian Charette: Square One

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I was thrilled to get my hands on Brian Charette’s 2014 CD Square One. Having heard him play in ensemble at Jazz Club Soho earlier this year, he told me that he plays London too infrequently. His new recording is a treat for all Jazzers and a special offering for fans of Jazz organ. It may suffice until he returns to The Smoke.

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Category: Music
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
GHOSTPOET
Photo credit: Sophia Spring

Ghostpoet: Hackney Empire

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Music began with the affable Andrew Ashong whom I last saw supporting Jimmy Cliff no less at ‘The Other Empire’. Check-out his intoxicating blend of sunshine-reggae and cool jazz. His talented backing band comprised a drummer and percussionist with three guitarists including himself. Yearnsome harmonies attained that beauty in simplicity marking talent, and the nursery-rhyme-ish ‘Special’ would have anyone dancing around its playground. The programme had been delayed by an hour due to “problems with the tickets” but at least it hadn’t rained. Meanwhile, DJ Thom of Alt-J slammed some slabs.

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Category: Music
Amy Neilson Smith
Amy Neilson Smith

Poetry Café: Playerist Comedy Night – Review

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I was thrilled to present the Comedy Night for Playerist Literary Magazine at the Poetry Society in Covent Garden. Needing to ensure spot-on timing felt a little like operating a conveyor-belt. But what a conveyor-belt. It’s rare to be privy to such a collection of talent, and so pleasing to see a full-house at this venerated venue. The Poetry Café is smartly situated, central but hidden, in the heart of the city. This year saw Jillian Miller come aboard as the magazine’s patron, and she kicked-off proceedings with much appreciated verse by John Cooper Clarke. Drawing on two decades of public speaking, as CEO of an international charity, Jillian sparkled and lit the touchpaper. Next up was Brighton poetess (self-termed) Amy Neilson Smith who recited her naughty-but-nice rhymes. This girl has gumption and little wonder she’s in such demand, as fellow of the iPoets collective that last summer performed at the Royal Festival Hall.

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Category: Comedy
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Poetry Café: Playerist Comedy Night – October 17

Playerist’ is an annual literary magazine featuring a range of emergent and established writers and artists. It’s now reached its third launch event – Thursday October 17, 8pm – at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden’s Betterton Street. No ‘Better’ route to an early weekend! Apologies, the jokes will be better than this and the Basement is a delightful spot to relax; one of those hidden treasures of the city. As always the quality of work is astounding. London playwright Tanja Mariadoss will perform her wincing-ly observant story ‘The Very Tired Man on the Train’ and any male commuter will wonder if it’s about him. If you can pick yourself up off the floor, comedy actor Imogen Miller Porter’s well-sharpened wordage will blow the gaffe on another typically-English pastime.

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Category: Comedy