INTERVIEW: RICHARD CADELL (X-TREME MAGIC)

Interview

Richard Cadell is a British illusionist, puppeteer, actor and screenwriter, starring in the UK tour of X-treme Magic.

– Richard – as the star of X-treme Magic, what can audiences expect?

Forget card tricks and hankies – this is thrilling magic, the scale of which has never been seen in the UK before. We have uniquely combined circus skills and genuine danger with some of the most mind-boggling illusions ever imagined.

– Do you get nervous performing your death-defying stunts? What if something goes wrong?

That’s why I do it! That’s the thrill of it. I had one near miss a couple of years ago and if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of one of my assistants, I wouldn’t be here to tell the story. Let’s just say it involved a chainsaw. It gave me an immediate fear of that stunt but I had to overcome that and put it back in the show. I’ll be performing it on this X-treme Magic tour. It’s the only element of the show which nobody will insure me for.

– The show and the props were created in Las Vegas – tell us a little bit about that process, and how the show has been in rehearsals for two years.

I’ve been performing magic all my life, and also teaching it. Over twenty years ago, one of my students, Tim, moved to Las Vegas where he started creating illusions for the world’s greatest illusionist, David Copperfield. I was thrilled when Tim then agreed to build for me. I generally fly to Vegas once a year. We will come up with new ideas, and the props are then built over many months and shipped over. We then go into heavy rehearsals, and adjustments are made, in order to make everything perfect. And then it hits the stage!

– What is your favourite stunt to perform / part of the show?

Without doubt, the mid-air vanishing motorbike. I ride my bike into a cage which is hoisted into the air. You can see all the way around it, from every side. The audience are just feet away from it when I and the bike disappear. No covers – it all just melts away – it’s impossible. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s the one everyone talks about. It’s – dare I say – extreme!

Playing at the New Wimbledon Theatre 25 October 2022.

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ALEXANDRA PALACE FIREWORKS FESTIVAL | London

Recommended

Alexandra Palace’s Fireworks Festival is one of the biggest and best in the country; described as “the Glastonbury of fireworks” (ITV). On Saturday 5 November 2022, the venue will be taking on a full festival across its 196-acre park and historic palace, with outdoor live music, DJs and street food.

The legendary display will light up Ally Pally’s epic skyline, soundtracked by a specially curated playlist. There will be a huge family area, including a bonfire and fire shows. Visitors can also step inside the Palace, with the ice rink featuring an ice disco, while the Great Hall will be transformed, as is now tradition, into the UK’s largest German Bier Festival, featuring pulsating live music, including Europe’s leading Elvis tribute act, ‘One Night of Elvis’. The Palace’s award-winning theatre will host film screenings, while Gok Wan MBE headlines the DJ bill with a set of soulful and uplifting club classics.

“We’re going big,” says Simon Fell, Alexandra Palace’s Fireworks Festival director, “with a sensational display and massive bonfire. It’s a proper festival vibe with live music and street food, perfect for families. It’s going to be spectacular!”

The firework display will start at 8pm, but visitors can join the fun anytime from 4pm. Early birds can enjoy an up-close fire show by Tottenham-based Chivaree Circus, with the bonfire lit at 6:30pm. The party continues with food, drink and live music until 10:45pm.

Book online for Saturday 5 November 2022. Tickets £16.50.

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PICKLE | London, Park Theatre

Recommended

Two-word summary: it’s Jewish Fleabag. Yes, that world-dominating, award-winning sitcom started as one-hour, one-woman show, too. After captivating audiences during its sold-out performances in May, Pickle returns to the Park Theatre for a two-week run, in this cheeky and authentic exploration of what it means to be a young Jewish woman in London today.

Pickle is written and performed by Deli Segal, produced by Tanya Truman (Confessions of a Rabbi’s Daughter; Tier Three Sisters) and directed by Kayla Feldman (Swimming; Dear Peter), all female Jewish theatre-makers who strive to amplify Jewish voices on stage.

Pickle is all about one woman’s experience of reconciling belief and tradition with change,” says Deli Segal, writer and performer. “I wanted to tell a story that explores being in the middle of both worlds: the parts that fit together, and the parts that don’t. The vibrancy, the spirit, the richness of culture, the humour of Jewish life – those things often get lost.”

Ari lives at home in North-West London, where her life is dominated by overbearing parents, tradition and expectations. However, her daily life includes her job, going out – and, inevitably, the dating scene. Pickle follows Ari as she tries to balance Friday night dinner with drinks at the pub, JSwipe with Hinge, being Jewish and secular. This uproarious simcha of a one-woman show explores a young Jewish woman’s psyche as she navigates her two contrasting worlds with irreverent humour and heart. Expect smoked salmon, guilt and a large dose of self-deprecation as Pickle brings Ari’s vibrant world to life.

Playing at the Park Theatre 14 – 26 November, 2022.

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LANG LANG: THE DISNEY BOOK | London, Royal Albert Hall

Recommended

Global superstar pianist Lang Lang returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall, for an unforgettable evening of music celebrating the upcoming centenary of The Walt Disney Company, which was founded in 1923. Lang Lang’s 55-minute album featuring new solo and orchestral arrangements of classic Disney tunes was released in September earlier this year, to the delight of his fans worldwide.

At this celebratory event, Lang Lang is joined by the entire Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, to perform favourite melodies that span the Disney centenary – from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and The Jungle Book (1967), to Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Encanto (2021). Lang Lang also draws on material from Disney’s iconic theme park attractions, like a solo theme and variations on “It’s a Small World”.

This enchanting musical journey offers the perfect half-term treat for young and old alike, with the magic of Disney brought to life by one of the world’s greatest pianists – alongside the sumptuous sound of a full symphony orchestra. It’s all part of Lang Lang’s aim to encourage the exploration of classical music.

With more guest artists still to be announced (on the album, Lang Lang partners with guest star singers like Andrea Bocelli and instrumentalists like Guo Gan), this promises to be one of the highlights of the Royal Albert Hall’s autumn calendar.

Tickets for Mon 24 Oct 2022 are available on the Royal Albert Hall’s website, priced £55.75 – £109.50.

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RE:IMAGINING MUSICALS | London, V&A Museum

Recommended

A new free musical theatre exhibition has been announced at London’s V&A Museum from 15 October 2022, featuring previously unseen items from their theatre and performance collections.

Re:Imagining Musicals will celebrate some of our best-loved musicals, from Miss Saigon to My Fair Lady, and Six the Musical to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and will explore their cultural significance.

The museum said: “Re:Imagining Musicals will explore how musicals have been adapted, revived, and retold for new audiences and reimagined against cultural and historical contexts.”

Considering how extensive the V&A’s collection of modern and ancient theatre artefacts is already, this is set to be a fantastic opportunity for all theatre lovers. It’s definitely worth a visit to the V&A before October 15, too, to check out the current free exhibition, including costumes from War Horse and The Lion King, and set design models from London productions throughout the decades.

Re:Imagining Musicals opens at the V&A Museum in South Kensington on 15 October.

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KALEIDSCOPE FESTIVAL | London, Alexandra Palace

Recommended

Following 2021’s triumphant, sold-out spectacular, Kaleidoscope Festival will return to Alexandra Palace on Saturday, 23 July, with more crowd-pleasing live music, DJs and comedy at London’s highest festival. With a backdrop that takes in sweeping views across the whole city, acres of parkland to explore, plus access to some of the hidden corners of the iconic Palace, this is a summer festival like no other. For fans, families and fun-seekers, Kaleidoscope is hard to beat, and this year’s line-up demonstrates it’s a favourite for artists too.

On the main Hilltop Stage, ORBITAL promises to bring proceedings to a scintillating climax following the inimitable Manchester sound of HAPPY MONDAYS. CHARLOTTE CHURCH’S POP DUNGEON brings a medley of bangers to raise the temperature as the sun begins to set, while THE MAGIC NUMBERS and HOUSE GOSPEL CHOIR will have crowds of all ages dancing all afternoon.

Over on the DJ Stage – Cloud 10 – the line-up is equally mouth-watering with CRAZY P SOUNDSYSTEM, CRAIG CHARLES, DJ YODA, ZERO 7 and PBR STREETGANG all performing on the terrace decks, whilst The Alternative Stage features the legendary Creation Records founder and music industry visionary ALAN MCGEE in conversation; comedy from trigger happy stalwart DOM JOLY and rising star SINDHU VEE; plus THE CUBAN BROTHERS will ramp up the party atmosphere.

There will ALSO be a host of entertainment for families around the festival site, including interactive theatre, workshops and story-telling. Meanwhile the Palace’s secret Victorian Basements will be opened up for people to discover; and there’s more line-up to be announced on all stages.

Book online for Kaleidscope Festival, running 1pm – 11pm on Saturday 23 July 2022.

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REFLECTIONS | Berlin, Bar Jeder Vernunft

Recommended

Jack Woodhead’s new show Reflections is bruising, wounding cabaret in all its rabid, raucous splendour. After committing a murder – matricide – reflecting is Jack’s coping mechanism, a spectacular and intimate form of PTSD. Jack’s shimmering and darting reflections move with streamline precision towards redemption through loss of memory. In his own words, Jack searches “far and wide” for his forgotten inner child. He must remember what is forgotten, in order to forget what he remembers.

But did Jack murder his mother? Perhaps he’s just a little drunk, just a little lonely, sipping a tipple while sitting in a moth-eaten armchair in a cold flat in a dark windswept city no one has heard of. Perhaps he lives a life of quiet desperation that reaches sublime heights that no one will ever know.

Reflections is life seen through a peephole, magnified and whispered through art and alcohol. It shows how life can slap you around and you may just slap it back. It shows imagination as a corrective and rampart to reality. But though reality bites back, the siren call of the forgotten inner child, lured to the surface by alcohol, trauma, or simply by childlike wonder, can provide solace.

Somewhere between Beethoven and burlesque, with his band of four, Jack Woodhead manages to negotiate a musical metamorphosis from concert pianist to cabaret star. His dramatic make-up is only surpassed by his eccentric stage outfits. Flashy and provocative in nail varnish, leather, fur and sequins, he moves elegantly and sleekly across the stage. His performance is lightning fast, sharp as a razor and completely wacky.

Next playing 25 April and 13 June 2022 at Bar Jeder Vernunft, Berlin.

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DISNEY IN CONCERT: A DREAM IS A WISH | Hong Kong, KITEC Star Hall

Recommended

The Hong Kong Symphonic Winds (HKSW) Symphony Orchestra are once again putting on a spectacular new concert that combines the thrill of a live orchestra with a cast of singers and clips from classic Disney movies on a cinema-style screen.

With only four special performances over the New Year’s Day public holiday weekend, audiences of all ages can enjoy orchestral selections from The Little Mermaid (1989); Beauty and the Beast (1991); Aladdin (1992); The Lion King (1994); Frozen (2013); and many more.

Although the HKSW Symphony Orchestra is a majority amateur ensemble, the standard is unbelievably high, conducted by celebrated conductor Fung Ka Hing. The gigantic ensemble fills the cavernous Star Hall at Kowloonbay, ably supported by extra percussion and rock instruments, in addition to wonderful sound tech.

The name of this concert is taken from the title song in Cinderella (1950): “A dream is a wish your heart makes”. This festive season, enjoy the magic of classic Disney songs, played as they’re meant to be played, in this family-friendly concert for all ages.

Playing 1 – 2 January 2022, 3rd Floor, Star Hall, Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre, Kowloon.

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INTERVIEW | Septime Webre

Interview

Septime Webre is the artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet. He was kind enough to talk to us about Hong Kong Ballet’s new, upcoming production of The Nutcracker.

What made you decide it’s time for a new production of The Nutcracker?

The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition – the Christmas season just wouldn’t be the same without it! Our current production is almost ten years old, and it seemed like the right time for a make-over. The new production is set in early twentieth century Hong Kong, and is a celebration of Hong Kong’s culture, history and natural beauty – I think it will resonate with Hong Kong people.

What about all those audiences who still love the old production of The Nutcracker?

The essence of the previous production is to be found in the majestic Tchaikovsky score, and that remains intact. In fact, the music is the heart of The Nutcracker, and this new production provides the roadmap: it’s very much a return to the original ballet’s concepts, a charming story of a young girl’s marvellous journey to magical new lands.

What have been your major aims for Hong Kong Ballet, since taking on the role of artistic director in 2017?

We have long been one of Asia’s premier ballet companies—our goal is also to be its most forward-looking, with a focus on being cherished locally and respected globally.  We’ve endeavoured to reflect Hong Kong more thoroughly, while simultaneously raising the classical standards of the company. And we’re achieving our goals!

What’s next for Hong Kong Ballet?

So much exciting new work!  A major residency at M+, Hong Kong’s new signature contemporary art museum; the return of Yuri Ng’s lively Ballet Classics for Children: Swan Lake; a mixed bill which celebrates the rule-breakers of ballet; a new full-length ballet about the life of Coco Chanel, and more!

Playing 11 – 26 December 2021 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

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DISNEY IN CONCERT: MAGICAL MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES | Hong Kong, KITEC Star Hall

Recommended

This summer, the renowned Hong Kong Symphonic Winds Symphony Orchestra are inviting us to experience some of the most beloved Disney scores of all time, with Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies. Joined by four powerhouse vocalists, and conducted by Fung Ka Hing, the orchestra play alongside perfectly synchronized projected video clips from iconic Disney films, so the whole family can enjoy.

Audiences will be treated to Disney’s most iconic scores and songs, including for the Oscar-winning animated features The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994). Live action features like Mary Poppins (1964) and the swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean film series are also set to be particular crowdpleasers.

This is without doubt the perfect pick for a youngster’s first concert. Founded in 1987, The Hong Kong Symphonic Winds (HKSW) is the first amateur band in Hong Kong with considerable size and structure, devoted to promoting music education in the community. The standard is extremely high, with a number of top professional players among the ranks.

These family-friendly concerts are always extremely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment. There is no better way to fall in love with the magic of a live orchestra than through the magic of Disney.

Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts © All rights reserved

Book online now for 31 July and 1 August 2021.

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