Thursday, August 23, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Photos

Hi there! The musical tour is over, and I'm already missing it :-)

Here are the photos of the theaters of the musical I saw (in chronological order). Unfortunately, I can't find the one of Mamma Mia!

Mary Poppins

Les Miserables


Billy Elliot

Avenue Q

The Sound of Music

The Phantom of the Opera


What fabulous days! Hope to get back there soon :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 5

Here's the report of yesterday (14th August); my musical tour finished yesterday, since today I'm going back home.

For yesterday matinée I went at the opening of the box office of the Phantom of the Opera, to see if I could find a day ticket or any discount. Unfortunately, there was no day ticket, but they had a good price for the stalls: 30 pounds instead of 55, in row K! Since I had seen the phantom before (that was my 5th time) but never in a really good seat, I had no hesitation, and went for that ticket :-)

Ah! The phantom! it's always an emotion to see this show, and I guess I'll never get tired of that, never! Since the seat was really good, I could enjoy every minute of it. The phantom is now played by Earl Carpenter, who was great, with a very powerful voice! As for Christine, there are two alternates in this production; at this performance there was Robyn North. She's very young, but yet really good! Probably, she's not the best Christine I've ever seen, but she was very moving in singing and acting, trying to interpret the song, instead of just thinking about a perfect execution. Since this was not a recording, but a live show, I think this was for the best. Indeed, I noticed, that every one tried to think more about the interpretation, and that made the show very good.

Wendy Ferguson was playing as Carlotta, and she was very funny. Probably she missed some notes and went slightly out of tune in those high parts (the finale of Prima Donna), but she was great in the show. Also Raoul, Michael Xavier, was good, and he had a very powerful voice too. So, it was a very nice experience to enjoy the phantom once again :-)

By the way, after the show I went to the Stage Door, and got the autographs of Earl, Robyn, Michael and of Lindsey Wise (Meg) :-)

Basically, I had seen all the musicals I wanted to see, so for the evening I could pick up one of any choice. I was tempted to see The Little Shop of Horrors, but I had seen it in Italy (in Italian) and wanted to try something different.

I heard many good things about Wicked, so I though I'd give it a try. Since I had been at the box office of the phantom for the opening (10 am) when I arrived at the Wicked's theater, there already was a small queue, and could find any day tickets. Actually there were few seats (this musical seems to be a success), and only found a 15 pound seat, very far, but with a nice view of the stage.

Well, Wicked is basically an alternative version of The Wizard of Oz and it is based on the novel "Wicked" (1995) by Gregory Maguire. It is The Wizard of Oz, but viewed by the wicked witch of the west (who, as you'll see, probably was not so wicked) and it tells the story of her "career" as a which.

The story is very nice and also the show was brilliant! In particular, the two main singers Kerry Ellis (Elphaba) and Dianne Pilkington (Glinda) were absolutely wonderful! I suggest to see this musical. I bought the book to be sure I got the plot right ;-)

By the way, the witch of the west has green skin, and she goes to Emerald, a green city and there was a lot of green in the show... well, green is my favorite color, so I might be biased? ;-)

Well, this musical tour is over :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 4

Yesterday (Monday 13 - on Sunday there's only The Lion King and I had already seen it... and didn't like it that much) there was no matinée and I decided to go for The Sound of Music which I had never seen (of course I saw the movie many times and love it).

Once again, I was lucky enough to find a day ticket: 20 pounds for the first row (they consider first row as a restricted view, but it's a wonderful sit! And you can also see a little of bit of the orchestra which is nice in my opinion).

At this performance, the role of Maria was played by the alternate Maria, Aoife Mulholland. She was very very good at singing and acting! The role of Captain Georg von Trapp was played by Christopher Dickens and he was good too!

Probably, the most impressive performer was Margaret Preece, playing Mother Abbess (i.e., the one singing the wonderful "Climb every mountain"). There's no doubt about it, also considering she's been playing the role of Carlotta in The Phantom! By the way, by looking at her biography, you also find out that she's the one singing the parts of Carlotta in the Phantom movie (Minnie Diver does not sing those parts).

The show was really great and I enjoyed every minute of it! Many compliments to the whole cast!

At the end of the show I went to the Stage Door, and managed to get the sign of Sophie Bould playing the role Liesl (very bright in her performance, and so cute and wonderfully kind after the show at signing! - by the way, she also played the role of Maria sometimes) and also the one of Christopher. Unfortunately Aoife wasn't coming out and I didn't want to be too late.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 3

Here's the report for yesterday (11 August).

Since it was Saturday I knew in advance that it would have been quite hard to find any good ticket (if not any ticket at all) since that's the most crowded day for musicals.

I first tried with the Sound of Music, but they had really high prices and only one "cheap" available sit (very far and with restricted view). Too bad. I tried with Billy Eliott the musical. Well, there was an acceptable queue for day tickets but fortunately I found one for 25 pounds in the second row. This was intended as a restricted view, since you had to keep you are very near the stage which was a little bit high. However, it wasn't restricted at all! That was really a very good sit and I could see everything and very well!

The show started very well and looked pretty good! In particular all the kids were very good at dancing and also singing. The music was not that impressive in my opinion. The show lasts 3 hours and I found it pretty long... many numbers might also be removed without losing anything, I think. Moreover there were many kitsch parts... for instance, the one sung and "danced" by the grandmother and most of all the encore after the finale... well... I guess it might have been better... I'm not saying I hated the show, but I've surely seen better ones, and I'm sure I wouldn't want to see it again.

For the evening, I found another 25 pounds dayticket, fourth row in the stalls, for Avenue Q. I knew nothing about this show but it was suggested to me by some friends and I thought I should give it a try... Thanks a lot to those who suggested it! That's one of the most funniest show I've ever seen! I laughed and laughed and laughed till I got misty eyes, really!

The characters of the show are both "humans" and puppets (that are moved by actors that act together with the puppets themselves while they're singing) who live in Avenue Q. It's incredible how the actors moving the puppets succeed in creating such expressions in the puppets! And, both the actor's and the puppet's several face expressions are the same. The show is really meant to be funny: really, nothing serious, even though it tries to provide a moral, which is nothing new, but not even wrong.

The cast was really greeeeattt! Only six persons; 3 of them acting as "humans" and 3 of them moving the puppets (these 3 often played more parts at the same time). They were great at singing and also at acting (and at moving the puppets). Unfortunately, I missed some jokes, due to the English language, but for most of the time I laughed and had fun.

If you have the chance, please do not hesitate, and enjoy this show! :-D

By the way, without knowing it in advance, I happened to attend the 500th performance of Avenue Q :-)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 2

OK, so here's the report about the second day (10th August, which, by the way, was also my honomastic)!

For the matinée I tried to go to the theater of Grease. I had seen this musical in Italy and I enjoyed it, so I thought I could see it in West End :-) I was actually quite skeptical about seeing it in the West End, since I happened to read on a magazine here in London, that critics about it were not quite good, although the audience loved it. However, I found a day ticket, 20 pounds, first row (yeah, really first row).

Well, the audience was right: it was a really, really, funny show! The cast was absolutely brilliant! Everyone! They were good at singing, at dancing, and most of all, at acting! And this makes Grease a really enjoyable show that I suggest to everyone that also likes to have fun and laugh at musicals :-)

For the evening, I decided to see one of my favorites: Mamma Mia! this was the third time I was seeing this musical.

This is one of those funny musicals, where you really laugh a lot (well, probably if you're mother tongue, you'll probably laugh more than me, since I miss some jokes: you know, when the audience suddenly laughs and you don't know why :-)

Abba songs are carefully and ingeniously embedded in a funny comedy!

Well, I must admit that the cast was not so brilliant in singing... but they really compensated that with their acting: they were perfect for this comedy! Every moment, every expression was meant to make you laugh. I had a very good place (sort of day ticket) about 10th row, perfectly central, so I could see every single blinking eyes, and every single minimal face expression of the cast. So, this was definitely my best Mamma Mia performance.

Mamma mia is a must see, in my humble opinion! I might be biased, though: I love Abba music :-)

So, this musical day was indeed a funny musical day!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 1

I made it! I made it again! I'm back in London to see musicals, similarly as I did in 2002 :-)

I arrived yesterday (9th August) in the morning, so I had the chance to enjoy 2 musicals already!

The first one was the matinée of Mary Poppins the musical. This musical features the original songs plus some new written songs (just for the musical I guess). The original songs are lovely, while the new songs... well... they look like they're there only to fill some gaps... probably I'm saying this only because I heard them once.

However, the cast was great and also the choreography was brilliant; there were also lots of special effects (Mary actually "flights" with her umbrella also over the audience and Bert walks upside down on the stage).

I cannot say it's the best musical I've ever seen (and don't know whether I'd like to see it again), but I surely enjoyed it, and I feel like suggesting it.

For the evening... I special musical, one of my favorites... Les Miserables! This is always a fantastic show! Absolutely! That was my third time but it's always magic! Moreover, this time, there was something I really had to see, John Owen-Jones performing Jean Valjean (the main character). John played the Phantom for 4 years in the West End (I saw him in that musical too), and he's really great. He did not disappoint me in Les Miserables, his voice is really great. I must admit, though, that I was a little bit disappointed about his acting... that was not really good, but after all he was great. I'd have some critics also about some other performers: Hans Peter Janssens as Javert and Edward Baruwa as Enjolras... I think they didn't really fit their role (especially Edward: his voice was not really perfect for the role). But this is just to find something wrong in this fabulous show ;-)

Well, stay tuned for some more news ;-)

At the moment, I found a 20£ ticket for Grease, this afternoon. Now I'm trying to find a good one for Mamma Mia for tonight!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Purple Sucker, Live Legri 30 June 2007

Purple Sucker is a Deep Purple cover band I've been playing with since 1999. We perform only songs by the great Deep Purple! You can also find us on MySpace.

Here are some photos from our concert in Legri, on 30th June 2007. You can find the whole photo gallery in this section of our home page.

Jacopo Meille - Vocals

Lorenzo Bettini (myself) - Guitar

Pierluigi Pozzi - Bass and Backing Vocals

Alessio Olmastroni - Drums

Dario Scovacricchi - Organ

On our YouTube section,,
you can see some of our live videos!