This was the first time I had seen a performance in the studio part of the Abbey Theatre. I must say I liked the intimacy this created. Allowing the audience to feel a part of the production, almost. The play is quite short, in two acts of 45-50 minutes or so and this felt right. All the dialogue and action had meaning and impact.
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.
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.
There was a real family affair at the Alban Arena on January 20th. Friends, family and fans of the late great rock musician Jim Rodford gathered at the theatre to pay tribute to a local hero. At the side of the stage under a spotlight was a poignant reminder of the musician who had died in St Albans 12 months earlier – his bass guitar and hat.
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.
The Alban Arena is a venue with a rich history of welcoming touring acts, some of which have gone on to world-wide fame - such as Dire Straits, who played there in 1978. I saw the legendary Rory Gallagher there in 1988, more recently The Waterboys and The Gorillaz have graced the stage. It is maybe a sign of the times that more tribute bands than original artists perform there these days. So when two of the UKs most respected musical artists were coming to the Alban Arena it was likely to be an evening not to be missed!
Michael Jackson might be gone but his wonderful music lives on thanks to performers like CJ who brought his show-stopping production to the stage of the Alban Arena on Friday, October 26. The spectacular show, a kind of cross between a Michael Jackson concert and a stage production, is truly sensational. CJ has the not-inconsiderable support of four well-drilled girl dancers , a top-class four-piece backing band, plus dazzling lighting effects and video footage shown on a big screen and keeping everything in context.
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