Saturday, December 27, 2008

La Cage aux Folles & Twilight

Had an all-round good day today; we’d tentatively agreed with Rosie to spend a few hours in the National Portrait Gallery before going on to the matinee of La Cage aux Folles. I called up Ping and Mikey as I thought they may be interested in joining us. Ping was still feeling solitary after Christmas, but Mikey was up for it.

When I’ve done the NPG exhibitions in the past, I’ve usually done them with Ping and we challenge each other to pick two pictures from the exhibit; one that we would give a prize to as ‘Best in Show’ and one that we would like to have hanging on our wall at home. I wanted to do the same today at the Portrait Photography Prize Exhibition. This was my second time around this particular show and it rather reinforced how melancholy the entries were this year; there were very few smiles, very few bright colours. There were several pictures I’d award a prize to as technically excellent or as telling insights into the world today, but nothing that I’d want to look at day in, day out.

By the time we’d finished that gallery, Mikey had made it into town and we went into the Annie Leibovitz exhibit. It was a great show, mingling her commissioned work with her private snapshots – many of which were just as striking as the paid stuff. Unlike the Portrait Prize, there were plenty of pictures here that I would have loved to take home – although ironically not that many smiles or bright colours either! I’m already toying with doing the exhibition again or, more likely, splashing the cash on the book of her work.

Once we’d finished at the NPG we wandered around into Trafalgar Square and spent a few minutes revelling in being in London before nipping down to the café underneath the terrace for a light lunch. Then Brett, Rosie & I headed down Northumberland Avenue to the show whilst Mikey headed home to catch some sleep ahead of his shift at the homeless shelter tonight.

The show was late starting, as it turned out that not only was the guy playing Albin sick, but his first understudy Adrian (Maria Friedman’s other half) had succumbed too, so they were busily preparing the second understudy who had never actually played the role in a performance before. In the end the show was still very enjoyable and quite touching. We bought the soundtrack and will probably go back when Graham Norton takes over as Albin in the New Year.

Dined at the Texas Embassy after the show and quaffed a few margaritas (which may have led to a few outbursts of song afterwards – mostly Phantom of the Opera highlights, strangely…) We wandered up to the Trocadero in search of a movie to watch and from there on to Leicester Square, settling on Twilight at the Vue.

I had dithered about seeing this previously, having been intrigued by the advertising but somewhat put-off by the trailer. In the end it was entertaining enough, although a little slow in places. Very much the brooding, angst-ridden impossible-love story all set in a somewhat noir-ish high school in Washington State; lots of repressed passions, rites of passage and meaningful glances.

By the time we were done and gotten home it was 23:30, so it’s time for bed!

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