Ray's Gigs

Daily news and reviews of gigs bars clubs restaurants product launches films theatre fashion shows books art galleries hotels competitions interesting places to visit ...and much more!

Friday 26 May 2023.

Friday 26 May 2023...I went to two events tonight... 7pm ROSE - press/vip night - Ambassadors Theatre, West Street, London WC2. I arrive at the venue and pop up to the circle bar and it was great to see music legends BOY GEORGE and PETE TOWNSHEND having a good chat. Also here were JULIE WALTERS, LESLIE JOSEPH and CLAIRE SWEENEY. DAME MAUREEN LIPMAN (now aged 77) is an English actress, writer and comedian. She trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and her stage work has included appearances with the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She was made a dame in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to charity, entertainment and the arts. The award-winning, critically acclaimed production of Martin Sherman’s Rose transfers to the Ambassador’s Theatre for 28 performances, from Tuesday 23rd of May after sell-out runs at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, and The Park Theatre, London once again starring Maureen Lipman. Olivier Award winning Maureen Lipman has performed with The National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has starred in innumerable West End productions including Messiah, Wonderful Town, ReJoice, Glorious, Oklahoma, & Daytona. For the last five years she has been delighting television audiences as Evelyn Plummer on Coronation Street. Written by award-winning Martin Sherman whose other plays include Bent, Messiah, A Mad House in Goa as well as When She Danced, the films Alive and Kicking and Mrs Henderson Presents as well as the Broadway Musical The Boy From Oz. Rose, a woman whose tumultuous journey through anarchic times takes her from the devastation of Nazi- occupied Europe to the allure of the American dream. Through the life of one woman Rose tells the story of a century where everything changed except the violence of the strong against the weak. The original production of Rose was produced at the National Theatre and on Broadway in 1999. It is perhaps even more relevant today, with the plight of refugees and allegations of antisemitism continuing to dominate the news. This powerful production is a moving reminder of the harrowing events that shaped the last century. Please note, the production includes references to death, grief, sexual references, exorcism, genocide, and the Holocaust Maureen is pretty amazing , as she holds the stage, solo perched on a bench – in a “sitting Shiva” mode, a Jewish ritual of mourning – for two and a half hours, only a short interval interrupting the flow. It’s a terrific feat of concentration, memory and skill. then... 10pm to 12pm. There was no afterparty for the above theatre event, but a friend was nearby reviewing another theatre event so i went along to that afterparty which was for EDDIE IZZARD press/VIP night. Around 150 guests here over the different levels. Following a sold-out New York run Eddie Izzard returns to the West End stage at The Garrick Theatre for six weeks only playing 19 characters in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, a classic tale of convicts, mystery, friendship, rivalry, unrequited love, revenge, and redemption. Actor, comedian, and multi-marathon runner Eddie Izzard’s boundary-pushing career spans all of these with record-breaking comedy tours and critically acclaimed film, TV, and theatre performances. But few know that acting was her first love. My friend said JULIAN CLARY and PRUE LEITH were both at the show, but not here at the party , which was held at St Martin's House , which is opposite Stringfellows. Tv and radio presenter NICK FERRARI was here , and EDDIE IZZARD eventually turned up in his usual female attire and black Prada high heels...which he dumped after a few mins after his speech. Eddie won't allow anyone to take photos , but he actually takes hold of the persons smartphone , and takes the selfie himself to make sure he comes out how he likes it, rather than rely on anyone else. Complimentary prosecco , wines, beers, full size cheeseburgers and canapes for all the guests. We got a goodie bag on departure , that oddly included a full size pork pie from Fortnum & Mason. See my Facebook page for a couple of photos. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Thursday 25 May 2023....I went to two events tonight... 4pm to 6pm. ARGENTINA NATIONAL DAY RECEPTION at Their Ambassadors Residence, 49 Belgrave Square, Belgravia, London SW1. Designed by Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855), this building – christened by its first owner, Sidney Herbert, as 'Belgrave Villa – was acquired by Argentina in 1936, with its sumptuous interiors intact. The residence isn't normally open to the public, but for the past decade has taken part in the Open House London event. Over 200 guests here , with maybe 75% folks from Argentina. Their very friendly ambassador greets everyone on entrance, to this stunning building. At 5pm , the two national anthems are sung, and the ambassador gives a speech. Later on I would be introduced to one of the judges in The Trial of the Argentinean Military Junta in 1985. Complimentary prosecco, gin & tonics, Argentinian wines and Argentinian canapes. See my Facebook page for a couple of photos from the event. then ASPECTS OF LOVE - vip/press night- Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1. From the cobbled streets of Paris, through the French countryside to the splendours of Venice, Aspects of Love is a sweeping romantic story of passion, love, betrayal and heartbreak across three generations. In ravaged post war France, beautiful actress Rose Vibert finds herself homeless and penniless after her hoped-for career break play closes early. Invited to a country villa by a love struck young American, Alex Dillingham, she impulsively accepts. When unexpectedly interrupted by Alex’s distinguished uncle George, everything changes. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart, based on the novel by David Garnett, Aspects of Love is directed by Jonathan Kent. An enjoyable show was followed by the afterparty... 10pm to 12pm We had a 10 mins walk to Andrew Lloyd Webbers Theatre Royal , Drury Lane, London WC2. ALW has recently spent multi-millions refurbishing this luxurious venue he actually owns. A massive crowd, as there must be around 500 guests here. ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, DON BLACK and MICHAEL BALL were all here. Also other cast members and BRUNO TONIOLI, JACKIE ST CLAIR, SU POLLARD and a few more. Complimentary prosecco, wines, beers , various bowl foods and tubs of ice-cream. We left at midnight, but it was due to finish at 1am. See my Facebook page for a couple of photos from the event. ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------- Wednesday 24 May 2023...I went to two events tonight... 6.30pm to 7.30pm HALCYON FLAGSHIP GALLERY - launch party - 148 New Bond Street, Mayfair, London W1. Halcyon Gallery is proud to launch its new flagship gallery at 148 New Bond Street with the inaugural and ground-breaking exhibition Feeding Consciousness by the pioneering digital British artist Dominic Harris. Harnessing the magical, fantastical and the sublime, Harris invites the viewer to explore his intricately created worlds, igniting imagination and offering a glimpse of the infinite. Harris’ visual inventions have been digitally painted by hand through a painstaking process that is comparable to traditional oil painting, though his use of technology as a means to produce movement and interaction, creates an immediacy with the viewer that no ordinary still life ever could.....Around 100 guests here... Ex Page 3 girl JACKIE ST CLAIR is here....she told me , how after 20 years of trying she got ERIC CLAPTON & BAND yes Eric Clapton , to play an hour long show for her husbands 70th birthday at The River Cafe in Hammersmith a couple of weeks ago...Eric's fee went to his Crossroads charity. Also here was ANDY COPPING who is one of the main guys from promoters Live Nation. He was at his shows Steel Panther at The Forum and Def Leppard/Motley Crue on Monday in Sheffield. Complimentary Taittinger champers and canapes for all guests. then 7.40pm to 10pm. LISA SNOWDON 'Just Getting Started ' book launch party - Upstairs at Langans, Stratton Street, Mayfair, London W1. Lisa Snowdon (now aged 51) is an English television and radio presenter and fashion model. She was the host of the Living TV reality television show Britain's Next Top Model from 2006 until 2009. She also co-presented Capital Breakfast on Capital London from August 2008 until 18 December 2015. Lisa had an on/off relationship with actor George Clooney from 2000 to 2005. Very nice to be back at this well known brasserie , where i attended the re-opening launch party. Around 120 guests here including several well known faces from tv and radio and sports etc including... DAME DENISE LEWIS who is a British sports presenter and former track and field athlete, who specialised in the heptathlon. She won the gold medal in the heptathlon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was twice Commonwealth Games champion...also JACKIE ST CLAIR, KELLY HOPPEN, LEIGH FRANCIS, DAVE BERRY, VANESSA FELTZ, KATE THORNTON , ANNE PIGALLE, ANDREA McLEAN and radio DJ NIHAL ARTHANAYAKE. I had a nice chat with jeweller STEPHEN WEBSTER , who is a good friend of Mick Jones(The Clash). He confirmed Mick Jones is a bit of a hermit these days....Stephen now co-owns a bar in Nashville. I had a nice chat with an up and coming female singer called EKKAH. We had a speech from Lisa at 8.15pm. It was very lively here, and folks on the dance floor for the last hour dancing away as MELANIE BLATT from All Saints was the celebrity DJ playing the tunes. Complimentary Frerejean Freres Champers, two different cocktails, wines , NOAM lagers and canapes. All guests got a goodie bag on departure, including a copy of the book. An excellent event. ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------- Wednesday 24 May 2023. Very sad news that TINA TURNER has died aged 83. I was lucky to have seen her live several times, with the first time in 1974 at Hammersmith Odeon as part of Ike and Tina Turner...and also including a fantastic headline show at Wembley Stadium, in 2000 where she was supported by Lionel Richie and John Fogerty, I will be going to see Tina Turner - The Musical for the third time in August 2023.