I’m still not really sure what the word swagger means, but if pressed to define it, I’d say Janelle Monae sums it up. This little lady has more soul, rhythm and flair than any other modern musician. It is rare to see a singer-songwriter with such mesmerising moves and infectious energy. By the final song she had the whole floor bouncing.
Hailing from Kansas, Monae or the Electric Lady as she’s commonly known, has wowed British crowds for a few years now, popping up previously at summer festivals. I have seen her once before at Latitude Festival, when her cheeky talent was equally impressive. With her second album out, she is currently touring the UK spreading the joy of her music to every major city.
I joined a boisterous crowd at Brixton Academy for her, as always, monochrome show. Wearing a sharp tailored black outfit, she showcased her oeuvre – her set combined songs from the first and second albums, the singles particularly exciting the crowd.
Tightrope, her most celebrated track, was electrifying. I was oblivious to my surroundings as I screamed the lyrics with her and danced about madly in appreciation. Electric Lady was a blast too; as her voice soared on the melodic runs, the crowd joined in enthusiastically, not as tuneful as the star on stage but equally happy. I also really enjoyed her rendition of ABC made famous by the Jackson 5 which carried all the same youthful spirit as the original.
The crowd left elated, truly inspired by a musician who genuinely possesses a unique talent, Janelle Monae I salute you.
More information about Janelle Monae here.
A growing Christmas tree, a floating hot air balloon, hurrying ice-skaters, mean rats, dancing snowflakes, a heroic nutcracker… Tchaikovsky’s magical ballet is the ultimate Christmas show, always elegant and wonderfully imaginative. Slump into a comfortable velvet Coliseum seat and let the immaculate dancing and mesmerising set engross you.
The orchestra bring a new energy to this familiar score. The narrative is slightly overcomplicated by the part-sharing and splitting: Junor Souza dances as the masked Nutcracker, whilst Vadim Muntagirov dances him unmasked as well as taking on the role of the Drosselmeyer’s nephew; meanwhile grown-up Clara also dances as the Sugar Plum Fairy, completely confusing me! At least the dancers seem to know what they are doing and seamlessly float from scene to scene, excelling in Wayne Eagling’s virtuosic choreography.
The lead couple, Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov complement each other, and move effortlessly in the main sequences. While James Streeter is fantastically gruesome as the shudderingly menacing King Rat. It is Eagling’s ensemble dances which really shine in this production, the pretty snowflake chorus and the second act Waltz of the Flowers highlights the English National Ballet talent.
The Tring Park School kids are a joy on stage. Assured and adorable, they animate the production, and dance and sing with an excited spring in their step.
Another magical production of the Nutcracker at the Coliseum completes the Christmas festivities.
View more information about the English National Ballet productions here: www.ballet.org.uk
I’m sure we aren’t the first or the last people to turn up at the wrong theatre. For those that don’t know… Sadler’s Wells has a younger sister venue, the Peacock Theatre in Holborn. After a rather stressful sprint to the correct theatre we settled in for an awe-inspiring performance.
Cirque Eloize is an energetic and passionate production company – in their new show iD they combine hip hop dance and circus acrobatics in an organic urban fusion which is lively and invigorating to watch.
They began by exploring the genre of hip hop dance, moving fluidly into other forms of movement and performance. The show has little narrative, instead the cast are each given their chance to display their individual talent… whether it be on a bicycle, in the air or with ten juggling balls. The cast reconvene often to present impressive group acts, for example a trampoline sequence which drew audible gasps from the audience as the performers threw themselves around with great aplomb.
There are poetic moments too… contortionist Emi Vauthey and skater Jon Larrucea perform a beautiful piece towards the end of the evening that demonstrates skill and creativity.
The music, which sadly wasn’t live, was immersive and powerful with compulsive rhythms and insistent melodies. The simple but versatile set, designed by Robert Massicotte, provides a quirky backdrop which constantly reinvents itself.
Cirque Eloize are a team of super-talented artists with a strong sense of character and motivation. Their infectious energy ensures the audience have a good time, every night.
Continues until 19 October, book here.