Julie at National Theatre

28276321_10156248551934973_4813927839880737730_nVanessa Kirby is a great actress and could not fault her – she plays an early thirties wealthy and aimless heiress with aspects of a spoilt and wilful teenager. And yet you see the anxiety and inner torment. It is a long, long time since I saw Strindberg’s Miss Julie on which this is based and a lot of the reviews have not liked this adaptation. For me though is about the speed of descent into tragedy which seems disproportionate to what we get of the back story in the play. Some critics did not like the 10 minutes of party scene with dancing and thumping music; I loved it. So good and bad. Great acting and dancing from the whole cast but unconvincing storyline.


Dropped by Hauser and Wirth on the way to the Royal Academy and took a look at Speigelgasse (Mirror Alley) with works of Swiss artists from 1930’s to today.  Interesting and worth a stop if around that area


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Summer Show at RA 2018

Loved this.  Grayson Perry curated the Summer Show this year and it is colourful and fun.  Not the usual fare in each room; in fact if you fancied your chances this year and put in an entry, you may have well got through.  Decorated rubber gloves and an egg shell portrait of Eggy Pop sitting alongside Paula Rego, Rose Wylie and Banksy, although I did not spot the latter and had to look it up when I got home. Each room is curated, under Perry’s guidance, by another artist and interestingly on the blurbs on the entrance boards, they talk about raising their game to match Perry’s sense of fun and picking exhibits that took them out of their usual comfort zone.  It shows.  My faves a stretched sculpture of the Pink Panther by Olga Lomaka, Anish Kapoor’s Symphony for a Beloved Daughter in the courtyard, a bear emerging out of a carpet and Yinka Shonibare’s Young Academician, a female Victorian figure running along with a toppling pile of books with famous females on the spines.  If you visit you also get to see how they have now joined up the two RA buildings which is impressive and an improvement.  This has an exhibition by Perry himself alongside the main show.  They have also taken the print room up to the Sackler Gallery so you find yourself roaming all over the building.  Get along and take a look at the 250th show.

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The exhibition covers a tumultuous 12 months in Picasso’s life.  At the start of the year he meets Marie-Thérèse Walter and starts an affair whilst living with his wife Olga and young son; he is wealthy and famous, yet worried that his popularity might be on the slide. He is so inspired by her he is able to produce a painting in one evening and start another – the show is remarkable for showing how prolific he was. During that 12 months he buys a Normandy mansion, he sells a painting for a record-breaking amount, has a solo show in Zurich and plans and holds his first hugely popular retrospective in June.  The paintings of Marie-Therese appear in the show and this might be the first time that Olga realises who she is.  Olga moves away from Picasso with their son at the end of the year but does leave him for good until Marie-Thérèse is pregnant in 1935.    The paintings are supported by photos, catalogues and the story itself which is fascinating.  The retrospective is represented by a few key paintings.  But the exhibition is dominated by Marie-Thérèse.  Ends 9th September; photos allowed of most paintings.

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Lee Bul at the Hayward

Cyborgs, glitter, mirrors, ceramic baths full of black ink, a huge silver foil Zeppelin filling a whole room.  It is a cross between science fiction and architecture with pretty strange but interesting results.  Strangest bit for us was going into a black cave like structure with mirrors, putting on headphones and then making as much noise as we could with a queue of people outside.  Lee Bul is South Korean and pushed the boundaries over the year’s as a women within that environment.  The video clips show her wearing some of the tentacled costumes in the first room, wandering around the streets encountering people, with what were very political statements.  Ultimately disappointed as two exhibits were not functioning and one had a queue of around 30-40 minutes, time we had not factored in as it was not mentioned on the website.  Go along to visit but ensure you give yourself lots of time.  And put your inhibitions to one side and make as much noise as you can!

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How have I lived in London for over 30 years and not known about this place?  A tunnel of arches behind Waterloo Station, off Leake Street, full of every changing graffiti.  And I know it’s ever changing because there were quite a few people spray painting the walls when we were there.  It really is something; not all great graffiti but fantastic to see it all in one place.  There are fairy lights around as well and some interesting cafes and restaurants opening up to the sides so looks like it may become a bit more commercial.  Worth a look and then a return visit few months down the line to see the changes.

Found this one a little complicated to follow at times but it has a great cast and is Screen-Shot-2018-02-19-at-10.13.43-PM-260x300genuinely funny period piece. Congreve’s play is from the 1700’s and yet gender equality is key in the plot.  Millamant wishes to marry Mirabell and there is a scene where the contract is negotiated.  Central to Mirabell’s demands is that she does not fall into the stock role of wife but mutual respect is to be at the heart of the marriage.  Justine Mitchell as Mirabell is hilarious bringing a modern intonation to her speeches.  Haydn Gwynne is on form as Lady Wishfort and absurd character, her best scene being one where she is getting ready to meet a potential suitor, arranging herself on the chaise longue in white powder.  Keeping this review brief though as the run ended the day after I saw it so you can’t go and see it.  Sorry!