As a half French, half American individual, I give in to a pastime common to double nationals, which consists of regularly comparing both countries of origin.
Lucca, Italy, was the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini in 1858 in an apartment that is now a museum to the last and most famous of generations of Puccini maestros, restored to its Second Empire glory, down to a bed, surrounded by columns, that replicates the one in which Puccini was born.
A show that leaves the line “Are you fucking kidding me?” ringing in your ears and delivers a series of morals that include “don’t pressure other people into sex because it doesn’t work” and “don’t judge people by appearances, unless they’re really hot” could cause offence.
The evening opened with Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major K622. This is Mozart’s last finished orchestral work. Composed in 1789, it is one of the most exquisite of Mozart’s creations. Annelien Van Wauwe’s interpretation was curiously intimate and delicate.
Here we are in a small town in the Gers department in South West France. This year around 200,000 visitors are expected to descend upon the village for the Marciac Jazz festival. It sounds impossible, but it works!
According to her latest memoir, To Throw away Unopened, Viv Albertine is very, very angry. Her first, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys opens with the story of how she joined girl band The Slits in the late 1970’s with Ari Up, Tessa Pollitt and Palmolive to make music in the same riotous spirit of amateurism as their punk brothers, the Sex Pistols.
The London theatre scene could easily manage without another musical about love. But the UK premiere of this Australian-born celebration of the greatest of emotions by Peter Rutherford and James Millar is nevertheless as welcome, even as necessary, as every generation’s attempts to redefine love for themselves.
As far as 1960s audiences were concerned, Lionel Bart – famed for the musical Oliver – had lost his “twang” when he came up with the box office flop “Twang!!”, with two exclamation marks. But if the audiences of the swinging sixties weren’t ready, the 21st century theatre-goers of London’s Union Theatre – renowned for alternative, low-budget, high-entertainment musicals – are.