The Lehman Trilogy at the NT – Loved it (and I worked there)!

We’ve just returned from a performance of the Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre. It was one of the best plays we’ve seen in years, truly awesome. While previous performances of the play across Europe have involved vast casts, Ben Power‘s (the NT deputy artistic director’s) English language version of Italian playwright Stefano Massini’s play involves just three actors. They re-enact the one and a half centuries of the Lehman brothers’ family history from when the first of the initial three brothers emigrated from a small village in Bavaria (where I’m from) to Montgomery, Alabama, in the South of the U.S. From when they were god-fearing, law-abiding, humble, not-so-well-to-do corner store owners (and later on cotton merchants) to them losing control of their investment bank in the 1960s, and to the bank’s demise as a faceless global investment bank in the Financial Crisis of 2008, when godless monsters like Dick […]

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Preview of Rattle and LSO performing Stockhausen at Tate Modern

We’ve just returned from our visit to the preview of Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra performing Stockhausen at the Tate Modern, and what a treat it was! The evening (of only 50mins performance; 60mins in total) started with Olivier Messiaen’s 1964 Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum (And I await the resurrection of the dead), a piece for brass, winds and percussion. Perhaps the most memorable bit about this part was how one of the musicians (no instruments/names mentioned; anyone present tonight would know who I’m talking about) thoroughly got it wrong big time, and – much more impressively – how the great maestro, Sir Simon Rattle walked up to the person in question at the end of the piece, and gently, smilingly, warmly, and clearly trying to suppress a burst of incredulous laughter, asked “What happened?”, to which the perpetrator said “I don’t know”. The world’s most famous […]

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Andrew Scott in Sea Wall, celebrating 200 years at the Old Vic

We’ve just returned from our visit to the Old Vic to watch Sea Wall, a monologue performed by Andrew Scott. It was written specifically for him more than ten years ago by Simon Stephens. This time around, it was staged again to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the theatre. Scott’s character Alex tells the audience about his life with his loving family. How he made friends with his wife’s father, an ex-soldier, how their young daughter brings joy to their life, how he’s happy with his job and where he lives.    Photo of Andrew Scott (c) Kevin Cummins; rest (c) BSqB Gradually the monologue steers towards the revelation of perhaps the most horrible event that can happen to man. As you would expect from an actor of Scott’s calibre, his performance is smooth and precise. The audience is laughing out loud one second and holding back tears the next […]

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Magic Moments: The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre

A few days ago, Ms B asked me if I wanted to see the preview of a play about the migrant crisis for £25 at the Playhouse Theatre. Little did I know what a truly magical theatre experience lay ahead of us. In hindsight, I can’t believe we hadn’t heard about the sell-out run this play had had at the Young Vic last year. The play is set in a ramshackle Afghan café in the Calais migrant camp. The set merges with the audience, with theatre-goers sharing the table with thespians, actors walking through the aisles of the auditorium. The play starts with an ending: another eviction notice has been served to the residents of ‘The Jungle’, leading to a chaotic frenzy where everyone tries to figure out how to deal with the threat of losing their temporary home. The end of the play has been well-documented in the media: […]

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Kaboom – Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic at the Southbank Centre: Brahms

We’ve just returned from one of the two London concerts of Sir Simon Rattle’s final tour as the Berlin Philharmonic’s chief conductor. The evening was designed to showcase his time and achievements with his orchestra of the past 16 years (he has taken over the London Symphony Orchestra earlier this year and kept two hats on until now). Known for his love of and expertise with modern pieces, Rattle started the evening with the UK premiere of a piece by the famous, only 44 years old, Munich-born (like me!!), Berlin-based, German composer-clarinettist Jörg Widmann: ‘Tanz auf dem Vulkan‘ (Dance on the volcano), which had been commissioned by the BPO to mark Sir Simon’s departure, and only had its world premiere in Berlin three days earlier. Over the years, the conductor and the composer had collaborated on various occasions. Widmann is known for his wit in how he composes, everything is […]

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