Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oh, What A Circus

Do you know, I’ve only ever been to one Andrew Lloyd Webber musical? And that’s because someone gave me a ticket. I went to see Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria theatre. It was rubbish.

This week, however, Evita is in town, and I thought I’d give him (Lloyd Webber, that is) another chance. We scored some tickets for the Saturday matinee performance. We went for a quick lunch at Egmont St Eatery, a new-ish café on (you guessed it) Egmont St. This café had recently taken the award for “best burger” at this year’s Burger Wellington competition – I’d even eaten the burger in question during Wellington On A Plate – so I was looking forward to trying it again. I asked the waitress if this was the same award-winning burger, and she told us it was its “little brother”. It was, to coin a phrase, a tasty burger. It had everything you want in a burger, and nothing you didn’t. In the spirit of Burger Wellington, I washed it down with a Hapi Daze from Garage Project. Mmm, tasty. Nicola had a cheese and ham toasted sandwich.

We were just across the road from the Opera House, so a short walk took us there, where we met up with some of Nicola’s fellow chorussers, who had got the tickets for us. And we settled back to watch and listen.
You probably know a couple of the tunes – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and Oh What A Circus. The rest were fairly standard musical fare in a variety of musical styles from classical to latin. The story follows the rise of Eva, her marriage to an up and coming army colonel, Juan Peron, and her subsequent career as the first lady of Argentina. At the end she dies. The musical ends very abruptly at this point…I was expecting a big finale (no matter how inappropriate that might sound), but there isn’t one.

We emerged blinking into the sunlight…ha! Afternoon performances will do that to you!

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Seventies legends 10CC are touring Australia and New Zealand at the moment. Of course we’re going to see them!

But first, the (by now I hope) obvious question: where to go for dinner? We haven’t been to Ortega for a good while, so we decided they were worth a return journey. And we weren’t disappointed. I had the prawns followed by gurnard, and Nicola had tuna sashimi followed by terakihi with a laksa sauce.

 A quick trot up Courtenay Place to St James Theatre, and we were in time for the opening act. the announcer said "Welcome to the stage, Graham Gouldman". Wait, isn't he in 10CC? Why yes, he is! Well spotted! He played a song he'd written called Pamela Pamela, originally recorded by Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders. Remember them? Me neither, but The Mindbenders included one Eric Stewart, who went on to form 10CC. Are you following all this? As he welcomed  further members of the band onto the stage, they played an acoustic set of songs written by Gouldman in the Sixties, including Heartful Of Soul and For Your Love, (The Yardbirds), Look Through Any Window and Bus Stop (The Hollies) and No Milk Today (Herman's Hermits). He also mentioned the N-word, dreaded by all concert-goers to "heritage" acts. That's right, he slipped in a couple of songs that were New Material from his 2012 solo album, Love And Work. 

They left the stage so the roadie could clear away the acoustic set seating and guitar stands; they played Neanderthal Man from the PA before returning to the stage as 10CC, together with a drummer this time, and kicking off with Wall Street Shuffle. They then played their way through the hits - you'll know all the names: The Things We Do For Love, Good Morning Judge, I'm Mandy Fly Me, Life Is A Minestrone, Art For Art's Sake, Silly Love, Donna, The Dean And I, I'm Not In Love. They fitted in a couple of album tracks too for a bit of variety, before finishing up with Dreadlock Holiday, and coming back on for an encore with a really extended version of Rubber Bullets.