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Showing posts from June, 2020

Yay Us! - Reasons to be Cheerful: Further Adventures in the (Online) Screen-Trade

A couple of weeks ago, I watched an online broadcast of Reasons to be Cheerful, a street-smart musical based around the songs of the late Ian Dury. I’d been asked to review it for a radio programme, and is one of the few online theatre streams I’ve watched, preferring to remain stubbornly puritanical about the sanctity of the live experience over a diluted onscreen one. I’d seen the original stage production of Paul Sirett’s play presented by Graeae Theatre Company back in 2012 when it toured to Dundee, and this revival had been filmed in front of a live audience at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. This was a fitting venue for the show, having been put on the map in the 1950s and 1960s by Joan Littlewood and her Theatre Workshop company. The once dilapidated emporium the company called home became a launchpad for working class actors, many of whom becoming household names in popular film and TV. Probably the best known of TW alumni is former Carry On and EastEnders star, Bar

Keith Tippett - An Obituary

Keith Tippett – pianist, composer, improvisor Born August 25, 1947: died June 14, 2020 Keith Tippett, who has died aged 72, was a musical force of nature, whose free-thinking improvised piano meditations went beyond any perceived notions of jazz to take it somewhere else entirely. Tippett did this over fifty years, leading ensembles of all sizes and playing solo in a series of concerts that pushed his instrument’s limits while retaining a spirited playfulness at its heart. Tippett was one of a generation of British musicians who arrived on the late 1960s London scene when anything seemed possible. While rooted in jazz in its broadest sense, Tippett moved between the prog of King Crimson, with whom he appeared on Top of the Pops, to the 1980s nouveau jazz of Weekend and Working Week. Inbetween, he appeared on an all-star Rock Peter and the Wolf alongside the likes of Stephane Grappelli, Brian Eno and Phil Collins. These were diversions, however, from a singular life-lon