Friday, 14 January 2011

This Fela walks into a bar

I saw Fela! the musical last night, broadcast live from the National Theatre direct to Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. I dig that this kind of thing is possible now and makes for a nice idea, working well for some projects, not so well for others. We're big fans of Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, the cafe is great, you can booze in the cinema and they do show a great alternative selection of movies and film projects on the big screen, so big up them for hooking up with the NT Live team.

However, the musical itself didn't really translate all that well as a filmed event. I reckon you had to be there (Steve?) to get the full effect as whilst the dancing and production was awesome to watch, the colour and vibrancy and movement and depth was lacking - you wanted to see the whole spectacle, not just where the camera was directing your attention to. As for the sound, forget it - with Afrobeat, you need the drums firing into your face, shaking you to the ground - whoever was EQ'ing the broadcast needed shooting. Still, not to take away from the fact that it was really well done, really enjoyable and didn't water down the music or his life - I wasn't bored for a second and it was about as good a "musical" as you could ever hope for. Dude who played Fela was top dollar - puff, puff, pass! I'd recommend seeing the show while you can.

Up on Thursday 20th January at Cambridge Arts Pciturhouse Cinema:

RIDE, RISE, ROAR is a David Byrne concert film that blends riveting onstage performances with intimate details of the creative collaborations that make the music and performance happen.

Shot with multiple cameras over several concerts during the 08/09 tour, the film combines the energy and charisma of classic Talking Heads with the heartfelt pathos of David Byrne and Brian Eno’s most recent collaboration (‘Everything That Happens Will Happen Today’).

Between the songs (each of which is shown in its entirety), the film achieves an unprecedented intimacy with David Byrne and the band, documenting behind-the-scenes auditions, rehearsals and interviews with key players while revealing the creative process that led to the show's unique fusion of pop music and modern dance.

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