Ray's Gigs

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Thursday 06 January 2022.

Wednesday 05 January 2022....I was out all day today at three events... 1pm to 1.30pm. THE MARBLE ARCH MOUND, Marble Arch, London W1. This fiasco was dubbed "London's worst tourist attraction". How on earth did Westminster City Council end up spending £6 million on this disaster? Basically , it is some scaffolding covered with fake green grass. The £6.50 admission charge was soon scrapped, and it is now free to get in. You walk up the stairs slowly (didn't see a lift) to a height of 82 feet....around six floors. Views of The Shard ,The London Eye, Battersea Power Station chimneys in the distance along with a few others....as you leave there is a dark room full of digital images. Not much else, to be honest. It has had nearly 250,000 visitors since it opened in July 2021, which is pretty good. It is free to visit, many folks like me are turning up to see if it is bad as they are saying it is. The last day it is open is Sunday 09 January 2022. If you are coming for the final weekend it may be worth booking free advance tickets. The Westminster official responsible for this has recently resigned in shame. -------------------------------------------- then 2.30pm matinee show.....PANTOLAND is at The Palladium, Argyll Street, London W1. 1970s pop star DONNY OSMOND and ultimate pantomime star JULIAN CLARY star in Pantoland. The home of pantomime will welcome back Palladium panto favourites Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot as well as the return of some past stars of the Palladium’s festive treat including West End sensations Jac Yarrow and Sophie Isaacs, and the world-famous Tiller Girls. I have seen The Osmonds a few times, including The Royal Albert Hall in 1979 and The 02 Arena in 2008 when Donny rejoined them for a tour...also a couple of times without Donny at Wembley Arena as part of those 1970s packages. The last day of Donnys stint here is Sunday 09 Jan 2022. ---------- The Palladium panto is always the biggest production, with the biggest celebrities and best costumes. The show was on for 1 hour 50 mins over two sets of 60 mins and 50 mins. Julian Clary has a dozen visually mega over the top huge costumes during the show. Julian is the one with his famous naughty innuendo one-liners. Pretty amazing to see the ever youthful DONNY OSMOND in a London panto. His first UK appearence was at this venue in 1972, for a Royal Variety Show appearance. Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and his puppet Sam are superb, including a great audience participation. Gary Wilmot sung a song naming every London and Crossrail train station. A dozen Tiller Girls in full showgirl attire performed a couple of routines. Nigel Havers is the butt of many old age jokes. A couple performed a couple of routines with sparks flying everywhere. Donny sung a few songs which sounded great with the band and orchestra including "Puppy Love" , "Crazy Horses" , "Love Me For A Reason " and "Let Me In". Donny and Julian duetted for the Joseph song "Any Dream Will Do". A full standing ovation at the end, and the older woman here still swooning over Donny. An excellent show that was full of great songs and entertaining laugh out loud hilarity. --------------------------------------------- then 7.30pm show....THE BOOK OF MORMON is at The Prince Of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London W1. Beginning on Broadway in 2011, The Book of Mormon, has consistently entertained and shocked audiences across theatres for 10 years now- and the hype surrounding it has yet to decline. Written by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone, the production follows two missionaries to Uganda, where they are sent to try and convert a small village to the Mormon religion. This mission, as expected, does not go as smoothly as they would like. The pair know nothing about the environment to which they are introduced, which leads to an abundance of controversial surprises and misunderstandings. The two missionaries perfectly depict the common dynamic of the serious and the not-so-serious being paired together, creating a comically incompatible duo. Both actors accurately convey their character’s stereotypes: One as the obnoxious and overly confident western man coming to ‘save the day’, and the other as the endearing, bumbling sidekick. ---------- The show was on for 2 hours 10 mins over two sets of 70 mins and 60 mins. Another theatre event that had loads of great songs in it. Like iconic tv series Father Ted that sends up the Catholic Church this theatre production certainly pokes fun at The Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Brace yourself for a shock: ‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Broadway-munching musical has some very below the belt swearing and taboo sayings... Sure, there are ‘fucks’ and ‘cunts’ and gags about baby rape – but most of it is deployed ironically; beneath it all, this is a big-hearted affair that pays note-perfect homage to the sounds and spirit of Broadway’s golden age. The strapping young Latter Day Saints missionaries in ‘The Book of Mormon’ are as cartoonish as any ‘South Park’ character, with the endearing alpha-male woodenness of the ‘Team America’ puppets. In other words, they are loveable, well-intentioned idiots, traversing the globe like groups of pious meerkats, convinced they can convert the heathen through sheer politeness. And if they have doubts, then as Stephen Ashfield’s scene-stealingly repressed Elder McKinley declares in glorious faux-Gershwin number ‘Turn it Off’, ‘Don’t feel those feelings – hold them in instead!’ His advice is ignored by the show’s heroes, narcissistic, highly strung Elder Price (Gavin Creel) and dumpy, lying Elder Cunningham (Jared Gertner). The pair are sent to Uganda in an effort to convert a village to Mormonism, a religion that essentially tells the penniless villagers how great distant America is. The locals are not keen: Price cracks and unwisely clashes with a crazed local warlord; Cunningham makes up his own version of Mormonism which involves fucking frogs to cure oneself of Aids. An excellent show that also had a great entertaining mix of songs and comedy.