A trio of quick London cast recordings – The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾, Heathers and Calendar Girls
“For a greasy little nobody, you do have good bone structure”
I was delighted to see a belated West End transfer for this lovely new musical by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary. I’ve loved every step of its journey and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ (Original London Cast Recording) proves the perfect accompaniment as it captures so much of the energy of this most British of tales and sparky performances from the likes of John Hopkins and the luminous Kelly Price.
I didn’t however make it to Heathers, it just not appealing to me at all. With Heathers (Original West End Cast Recording), the opportunity to listen to this high school musical is now ours but I have to say, its charms elude me. There’s a fatal mismatch between the darkness of the source material (it really is a brutal film) and the breeziness of Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy’s pop-rock score that not even the quality of Carrie Hope Fletcher, Jodie Steele, Sophie Isaacs and Jamie Muscato’s strong performances can overcome.
And I thought I’d pay another visit to Yorkshire for Calendar Girls (Original London Recording) to see whether it stands the test of time. It proved an amiable if short-lived presence in the West End and listening to it again, I’d argue that there’s a gentleness to it that doesn’t quite linger long enough. Gary Barlow’s tunes are undeniably pretty but ultimately, they don’t really call out to be listened to over and again.
“Love makes you do the strangest things, sometimes”
Won’t somebody think of the children? In fact, that’s exactly what’s writer/director Anne-Louise Sarks and co-writer Kate Mulvany have done with their version of Medea, first seen at the Belvoir, Sydney a couple of years ago. Their spin – and a spin is needed here in London, given that Rachel Cusk’s adaptation of the play has only just closed at the Almeida – is to retell Euripides’ tragedy through the eyes of Medea’s two sons.
It’s an innovative approach and one that pays great dividends in Sarks’ production. Played out in real time at just over an hour, we first meet Leon and Jasper as their mother locks them in their bedroom before going downstairs to argue with their father. To pass the time, they bicker and play games, ominously focused on death and violence, and tiptoe delicately around their limited understanding of the strangeness of their situation. Continue reading “Review: Medea, Gate Theatre”