CIRCA | London, Old Red Lion Theatre

Recommended

After premiering with a cast of twelve at the Theatre de Meervaart, Amsterdam in 2016, followed by an acclaimed run with a cast of seven at The Vaults in London, Tom Ratcliffe’s company work.Theatre returns in a co-production with Harlow Playhouse.

“I can’t wait to be bringing Circa back this year for a longer run in London, and then to Harlow,” says Ratcliffe of his debut play. “The play has become even more topical over the past two years, and loneliness amongst the gay community is something that needs to be spoken about. The play has developed over the past two years and it’s something I cannot wait to share with everyone.”

In the 21st century, being gay is supposedly more integrated than ever: marriage is legal, parenthood is possible, and #LoveWins is trending on Twitter. But in a world where sex is readily available, what does it mean to be in a gay relationship in the modern age? And why are so many gay men still lonely?

Circa explores the blurred identity of the gay relationship in the modern age. Following the story of one man’s romantic life, we are taken through the different relationships and encounters he experiences over a period of thirty years, joining him through the joys and pitfalls of love.

Book online at www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk. Tickets from £12.

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Too Many Zooz | Ronnie Scott’s, London

Music review

I had two tickets for the rave at Ronnie Scott’s last night. Queues all down Frith Street for the fusion trio beloved by Beyoncé, and a regal appearance from the Zooz themselves some forty minutes after their scheduled slot began. They walked on stage wordlessly, and after a small pause began one of the most relentlessly paced and technically extraordinary shows I’ll probably ever see.

Masters of fresh, fierce, discordant revels, they whipped the crowd into a frenzy of Englishly awkward head-banging and shoulder rolls, with their carnival speed, Leo Pellegrino’s commanding gestures, and the trio’s intense improv. Laconically fronted by the furiously concentrated Matt Doe (trumpet) who never once removed his sunglasses, Leo Pellegrino (baritone sax, mainly) left me open-mouthed as he leapt, thrust, and cavorted over the stage, barely stopping for breath as he produced the sound of six saxophones from one. Operating on a register from squawk to didgeridoo, he was supported and punctuated by Doe, and all this was bound together by David Parks’ uniquely ferocious drumming. It was rebarbative, insouciant New York invention at the top of its game. Looking around, I saw a packed house full of the possessed, with a few bewildered – or frankly incredulous – faces, still ensnared by sheer bedazzlement.

Since they’ve just been signed by the Ministry of Sound (as a thoughtful Parks broke his silence to tell us), I’m curious to see where the stardom that must, surely, be about to overtake them will direct their music. Commercialisation seems the last thing that could happen to this unique trio – especially when they pulled an unexpected card from their sleeve halfway through. A glimmer of romance (with a swing rhythm and insistent drumming, naturally) suddenly shone out when Doe sat down at the piano to take on Pellegrino’s sparkly black alto sax. Wherever they’re going next, long may Too Many Zooz keep surprising us.

Too Many Zooz are touring the UK throughout May: https://www.songkick.com/artists/8221618-too-many-zooz

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Barbican – Sound Unbound 2017

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Sound Unbound sees the Barbican fling its doors wide open to share intimate encounters with classical music. The 60 performances represent 60 different opportunities to taste something new and interesting from a spectrum of pioneering, brilliant ensembles and composers.

In particular, we’re looking forward to Chilly Gonzales with Britten Sinfonia conducted by Jules Buckley in the world premiere performance of The Young-ish Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. You can also catch the orchestra with Alison Balsom and Timo Andres for a jazz-inflected programme of Rhapsody in Blue and Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain.

Guiding another generation through and to classical music is BBC Young Musician 2016 winner cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason who performs as one third of a trio, joined by his talented siblings on violin and piano.

Anna Meredith‘s work grows ever more interesting plumage with every year, and the Curve Gallery is privileged to be hosting an installation performance called ‘Hum’. The infinitely hip Pit Sessions in association with Boiler Room will also be channeling Calder Quartet, Liam Byrne and Ensemble Nevermind never satiate your desire for online-streamed cool.

Events are scattered (in an artful manner) across Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April so you might want to check out what’s going on when and then enjoy the wanderlust of the open-house. Check it out here.

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RETURN: The Jazz Cafe

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Q. What do Gil Scott Heron, Herbie Hancock, Mulatua, Astake, Lee Scratch Perry, D’Angelo, Lana Del Ray, Bobby Womack and Amy Winehouse all have in common?

A. They’ve all performed at Camden’s Jazz Cafe, which is reopening after a £3million renovation project.

By the looks of the announced line-up, it’s not just the 25-years-old venue that’s had a face-lift. The programme packs a punch, with established quality lining up alongside emerging sounds on the scene. For example, you can get down there to see the likes of Dave Harrington or Portico. How about Mammal Hands with a smattering of soul and hip hop options to broaden the palate? It’s tasty.

With a vibey new look and feel, here’s to London regaining a venue equal to its history and famous name.

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