A trio of musical theatre reviews: Barbershopera, Nunsense A-Men, and Bullets and Daffodils

I’ve been remiss about linking out to my reviews elsewhere recently. Here are three that I’ve written recently for Musical Theatre Review.

Bullets and Daffodils

Tristan Bates Theatre, July 1-6

The poetry of Wilfred Owen, born as it was from anger at the cruelty of war, is full of powerful imagery and intense emotion. Sadly, neither are on display in Dean Johnson’s tribute to Owen…

Nunsense A-men!

Landor Theatre, until July 28

The show gives the best moments, the best numbers and the best lines to the Broadway-obsessed Sister Mary Robert, and Alastair Knights takes full advantage. Stealing ensemble scenes with gay abandon, it is his solo numbers – and his wimple-based impressions – which will remain in the memory.

Barbershopera! – The Three Musketeers

St James’s Theatre Studio, July 13 – touring until October 26

Alexandre Dumas’ novel has formed the basis of several musical interpretations before… None has dared attempt to stage it as a cross-dressing, four-person a cappella production, though – and after this riotous evening, one can only feel the other productions are missing a trick.

 

I should have taken those odds

At about midday yesterday, I tweeted:

Jedward are performing for Obama later today. What are the odds the UK state visit will start a few hours earlier than originally planned?about 22 hours ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

And then it turns out that the President did, in fact, leave Ireland on Monday night, instead of early this morning as planned.

They say it was because of the dust cloud, but I wouldn’t be so sure…

For Maggie, 1935-2009

I think no matter where you stray,
That I shall go with you a way.
Though you may wander sweeter lands,
You will not forget my hands,
Nor yet the way I held my head
Nor the tremulous things I said.
You will still see me, small and white
And smiling, in the secret night,
And feel my arms about you when
The day comes fluttering back again.
I think, no matter where you be,
You’ll hold me in your memory
And keep my image there without me,
By telling later loves about me.

— _’But Not Forgotten’ by Dorothy Parker_

From Maggie’s 70th birthday celebrations in 2005 — a remembrance of happier times:

Buy a fucking camera

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You’ve got to love Merlin Mann’s straight talking way of getting people to buy a camera through his Amazon affiliate link. He gives some good video tutorials on what to do with it once you’ve got one, as well.

The Sony A200 DSLR - an exceptional value starter DSLR

If you’re thinking of dipping your toe into the DSLR waters but are baulking at the price, why not consider the Sony DSLR-A200K Digital SLR Camera? It’s great value and delivers a heck of a punch for the outlay.

When using it, the main negative I’ve found is connected to my habit of switching the camera off when I know I’m not going to be needing it for a while. If I’ve changed any settings away from the defaults, they don’t get remembered when the camera’s switched back on. Countering that, the default modes selectable from the physical wheel on the camera’s top left provide excellent default settings, and the battery life seems to be superb — so maybe the problem is more with my own habits than it is with the camera.

You can see a range of photos on Flickr taken with the camera from its own page on the website. Mine are in there, but so too are loads from people who know what they’re doing with it.

So what are you waiting for? Buy a fucking camera!

Memeing: I like to…

Taking up the mantle from the gorgeous [Anna](http://littleredboat.co.uk/?p=2875), some of the statements I find upon Googling [“Scott likes to”…](http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=%22scott+likes+to%22):

* **Scott likes to watch movies. Scott likes to listen to music. Scott likes to read books.** Yes, yes, yes. Things are going well. This is clearly a good game that indicates how representative of all people named Scott I am.

* **Scott likes to work out, play golf and go boating.** No, no, no. This is clearly a stupid game and has no value in determining personal taste whatsoever.

* **Scott likes to display Random Acts of Kindness to his listeners.** Well, I’m a misanthrope who nobody listens to, so this one’s not going to turn out well, is it?

* **Scott likes to keep his expectations modest. “That way,” he says, “you never take anything for granted.”** Nice sentiment. But when I do have occasional flashes of optimism, they do tend to be quite extreme, and I do like to hope that things will turn out 100% peachy. Maybe that’s why I’m so often disappointed…

* **Scott likes to dress up like Waldo.** Erm, no. (Hides red and white striped jumper and bobble hat)

* **Scott Likes To Do Toes.** No. Comment. Whatsoever.

Scott likes to pass these things on, but is too lazy to do so.

Quick comment on blogging and PR

Tom has [much to say on PR agencies who try and peddle their wares upon personal bloggers](http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2007/08/the_vatican_on_the_et/).

There’s not much to add, especially beyond what [Stowe Boyd](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/08/tom-coates-kick.html) has said. Other than:

* At work — where I’m assistant editor for [a performing arts publication](http://www.thestage.co.uk/) — so many PR agencies send out blanket emails from a centralised resource, e.g., MediaDisk, without ever checking whether the information is accurate. Or indeed, relevant — quite why I’d be interested in a local council anti-bullying campaign (worthy as it is) is dubious.

Those organisations which take the effort to target occasional emails, even adding a request to forward it to a more relevant person, get a mark upwards in my book — although a couple or marks down if they don’t respond to my email updating their database.

Companies who never attempt any filtering of the mailing lists they get from PR mailing list distributors are not only stupid, but spammers.

* Dealing with PR agencies is an occupational requirement in my line of work, and they’re extremely variable. Often, they don’t know how to deal with us, because we’re an industry paper with a public presence and they’re geared up to deal with 100% consumer press.

There are some PR agencies whose reputation precedes them. If I suggest a particular show or interviewee to cover, some will elicit the response, “oh, good luck — _<name>_ is handling the PR”. And yet, they still get a lot of work. It’s so infuriating.

I have met some good PR people in my time; special praise is due for the people who’ve taken a punt on something we may be interested in, have been politely knocked back and then returned with something we definitely would be interested in. The sign that you have listened and taken the feedback into account is always appreciated. Sadly (and I suspect every industry probably feels this) such people are a rare breed.