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curtain up at the V + A

curtain up
no visit to london would be complete without a visit to my favourite museums: the V+A and the british museum. this trip out the V+A’s feature exhibit was curtain up: celebrating 40 years of theatre in london and new york, while sunken cities: egypt’s lost worlds was the draw at the british museum.

in celebration of 40th anniversary of the olivier awards, the exhibit featured costumes, props, posters, programs, playbills, artifacts, recordings and sets from award-winning plays, musicals and productions such as: war horse, a chorus line, the phantom of the opera, curious incident of the dog in the night-time, matilda the musical, the lion king and much more.

curtain up, a joint collaboration between the V+A, society of london theatre and new york public library for the performing arts, features both broadway and west ends shows from 1976 to present day. it’s being exhibiting first in london, before making its way to new york later this year and 2017.

and of course, the exhibit leads to the part of the V+A’s permanent collection featuring a re-creation of kylie minogue’s dressing room while on tour. the costumes, the make up desk, shoes and sparkle.

after the V+A, i wandered down to soho to check out the new harry potter (what? again with the harry potter?!) exhibit at house of minalima. the graphic design team of miraphora mina and eduardo lima are the powerhouse duo who are responsible for all the graphic prop designs in harry potter. that means, posters, book covers, acceptance letters, stationery, newspapers, maps, signage, packaging – any and all print materials from the movies.

the 4 story pop-up art gallery also doubles as a store, so that potter heads could buy their very own daily prophet or wanted posters of sirius black or bellatrix lestrange, even no. 1 undesirable, harry potter.

there’s a sort of harry potter fever going on in london right now, what with fantastic beasts and where to find them opening up at the end of this year. who knew that i’d have so much fun taking in all the harry potter excitement?

talk about a potter-centric week in london!

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insta-london: house of minalima

you’ve got mail! with the new harry potter play and upcoming fantastic beasts and where to find them movie, it’s all coming up HP. new exhibition featuring all the graphic design work in the movies: the daily prophet, potter’s undesirable no 1 poster, hogwarts express tickets, harry’s acceptance letter + more. all here and up for purchase!

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jon snow as doctor faustus

doctor faustus 1
blue pill or red pill? doctor faustus or romeo and juliet? kit harington or richard maddon? that was my dilemma when it came to picking which theatre show to attend.

do i go see game of throne‘s richard maddon (robb stark) and lily james perform in kenneth branagh’s romeo or juliet at the garrick theatre? or should i hit up game of throne‘s kit harington (jon snow) playing doctor faustus at the york theatre instead?

first world problems, i know.

in the end, i decided on doctor faustus. only because i know romeo and juliet well and also that the live broadcast will end up being shown at our local cineplex later on in the summer.

todays tix
pro tip: download today’s tix‘s app to get notifications for rush theatre tickets to some of the most sought after shows in the west end.  i got my royal circle E11 seat to doctor faustus (day of) for £13.50, compared to the regular price of £76.50! 

so like the matrix‘s neo, i took the aforementioned red pill, and stayed in wonderland, while morpheus showed me just how deep the rabbit hole went.

i say this because doctor faustus was absolutely bonkers. i totally fell for the “innovative and anarchic reinvention of christopher marlowe’s classic” spiel. this production, directed by jamie lloyd, did just that – but not in a good way.

dr faustus 2
the tale goes like this:

faustus make a pact with the devil, selling his soul in return for the ability to perform absolutely anything he pleases with the power of black magic. the fatal decision catapults him into an intoxicating world of celebrity, as he becomes a world-renowned conjuror, international heartthrob and friend of the rich, famous and powerful. but at what cost?

this new spin saw the play set in a modern day, celebrity obsessed society of greed and instant gratification. naked kit harington aside, the play was a dirty, hot mess. in the literal sense. sparse sets, gross out images like bodily fluids, black, oily slime, writhing bodies, meatloaf’s bat out of hell interlude and mephistopheles taking a dump in the toilet and then serving feces as canapes.

the show was lewd, crude and utterly rude – an obvious ploy to get young butts in seats, for only the millennials can appreciate this version. kit harington was fine. he worked with what he got, but the production was so dumbed down, that i almost didn’t even come back after intermission. that’s how visually assaulted i felt.

it’s like my preference on museums. most of the time, classic art appeals to me more than modern art. beauty would attract my eye over ugliness for the sake of ugliness.

this re-mount of doctor faustus reminds me of the time i went to tate modern in 2008, when i walked into a darkened room. two film projectors were playing, and in one of those black and white reels showed a shapeless, naked man, wearing a pig mask and boxing gloves, pummeling himself in the face, continuously. that was not art and unfortunately, neither was jamie lloyd’s doctor faustus.

hindsight is 20/20. perhaps i should have taken the blue pill instead.

the black rider
now if we’re talking about faustian productions, i really enjoyed tom wait and william s. burrough’s the black riderwhen it performed at the push festival in vancouver in 2008. although technically, not “doctor faustus”, it was a dark, diabolical faustian tale of addiction, love and loss.


photo credit: the jamie lloyd company, today’s ticket and push festival