I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a local group was to perform 'Spamalot'. St. Albans Musical Theatre (previously known as St Albans Operatic Society) have been producing high-quality productions for some years now and I must say expectations were high. St. Albans is blessed with many high-quality amateur and professional performers (being located close to London being one of the main reasons), as well as directors and choreographers.
The latest production by the Radlett Musical Theatre Company is one of the first amateur productions of the hugely popular musical ‘Cats’. The RMTC seem to be making a habit of choosing an eclectic range of material for their shows. Their recent staging of ‘The Producers’ was an inspired choice, with the emphasis on slapstick comedy and well-defined lead characters, with a great plot and spectacular set pieces. ‘Cats’ is a very different beast (no pun intended).
I have been a fan of the film since childhood. Very much a period piece of the 1960s, with a career defining performance by Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock. So inventive, irreverant and outrageously funny. A lot for the stage show to live up to and on-the-whole, it did.
I have been a fan of Pink Floyd since 1979, when I lost a £1 bet about whether Another Brick in the Wall would reach number one in the singles charts. A friend, who had heard the song and loved it, offered me this bet. I hadn't heard the song, but knew Pink Floyd was not a band that put out singles at all, let alone ones that would top the charts. Well the rest is history. One of the few bets I'm glad to have lost. Anyway, since that time I have seen Roger waters and several Pink Floyd tribute acts. Think Floyd did not disappoint.
I've seen Think Floyd a few times now and they never disappoint. Of course playing the music of Pink Floyd means you have an amazing musical back catalogue to work through. And for the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd they did just that, playing something from each album. Personally I have little love for the very earliest and latest albums in their history, but it made for an opportunity to hear some pieces that I had long since forgotten. I could happily just have Dark Side of The Moon and Wish You Were Here back to back and go home smiling, so I suppose good to make me broaden my horizons.
I was lucky enough to be invited to sample Champneys new product lines at their Spa in St. Albans. They were launching a new range - Mediterranean Bliss Treatments, which are also available in Boots apparently.
The Johnny Cash Roadshow played the Radlett Centre on the 16th February 2014. This is a review of that concert.
I never got round to seeing David Bowie live and of course I never will now, so the opportunity to see a highly-rated tribute act on my doorstep was not to be missed. The sound at the Harpenden Halls has been pretty ropey in the past, but from the first notes it was clear that this band had their own PA and had made an effort to get the sound right. The show consisted of two sets, with the first one comprising of songs from his great period in the early seventies - Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. The costumes and sound was pretty much spot on. The band were note perfect and classic after classic followed.
I still have strong memories of watching Abigail's Party on the BBC back in 1977. I was a young teenager and alternately bemused, amused and appalled at what I saw and heard. It left a lasting impression and I have followed the work of Mike Leigh and Alison Steadman ever since. It is not the safest of choices for a local theatre, although it can be hilarious in places, the characterisation is very strong and the reputation of the original production is so strong that any new production has a lot to live up to.
Reviewing a tribute band will always be difficult. Do they sound as good as the original? Do they look the part? Thankfully ABBA Forever came up positive on all these points and I believe the sold-out crowd at the Radlett Centre would back me on this.
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