Mates blogger: Edward Seckerson


Edward Seckerson is one of over 45 theatre bloggers who are part of the MyTheatreMates collective. This page features Edward's posts on MyTheatreMates. Take a look at our full list of theatre bloggers and our aggregated feed of all our Mates' posts. We’re always looking for new theatre bloggers. Could that be you? Learn about how to join us.
Edward Seckerson
A prolific broadcaster, writer and journalist as well as a self-confessed ‘musical theatre obsessive’, Edward has interviewed everyone from Bernstein to Liza Minnelli, Paul McCartney to Pavarotti, Julie Andrews to Andrew Lloyd Webber. He wrote and presented the long-running BBC Radio 3 series Stage & Screen. He also regularly produces podcast interviews with notable theatrical artists and makes regular appearances on the BBC Radio 2 Arts Show, BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, where he presented the 2007 series of the music quiz Counterpoint. He has published books on Gustav Mahler and the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, is a regular critic for Gramophone Magazine and Opern Welt and a founder member of The Arts Desk. He also blogs independently at www.edwardseckerson.biz and tweets at @seckerson.
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The latest from Edward on MyTheatreMates

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RAMIN KARIMLOO – London Palladium

In Concerts, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

Strictly speaking it should have been billed as “Ramin Karimloo and Broadgrass at the London Palladium” – then we might have anticipated the support act and late arrival of the West End and Broadway star known especially for having journeyed through pretty much every principal role in The Phantom of the Opera (and, of course, its sequel Love Never Dies) and Les Miserables.

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THE GO-BETWEEN – West End

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It has taken six years – and Michael Crawford – to bring Richard Taylor and David Wood’s poetic musicalisation of L P Hartley’s The Go-Between to the West End stage; and before the tired old debate begins as to what it is (opera? musical? play with music?), before anyone goes in search of a comforting label, let it be said that what really counts for something here is the storytelling.

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FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS – Sheffield

In Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

Taylor writes an altogether different kind of musical in which “songs” rarely arrive fully formed but rather are in the process of evolving – beginnings of songs which are content just being songful and serving as aides-memoires, melodic remanants which in some cases return again and again with all their emotional memory intact. Wagner called them leitmotifs.

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THE THREEPENNY OPERA – National Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

Rufus Norris may have commissioned a new adaptation of the Brecht by Simon Stephens to tick myriad boxes of contention from the politics of gender, sexuality, disability, and (naturally) the Middle East to the ever looming shadow of radical nationalism but no amount of theatrical panache and comic posturing can ever really disguise the fact that between the songs Threepenny Opera is a bore.

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SUNSET BOULEVARD – London Coliseum

In Audio, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s been 20 years since I saw Glenn Close in the location of the movie and musical, the City of Angels, two days after the big Northridge earthquake while the earth was still moving in extraordinary ways – and she was sensational, a wonderful actress inhabiting the lonely world of a faded star albeit one fired by the possibility of new beginnings to old triumphs. Her performance at the Coliseum continues the journey bringing with it 20 years’ more life experience to intensify what was always there.

SUNSET BOULEVARD – London Coliseum

In Audio, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s been 20 years since I saw Glenn Close in the location of the movie and musical, the City of Angels, two days after the big Northridge earthquake while the earth was still moving in extraordinary ways – and she was sensational, a wonderful actress inhabiting the lonely world of a faded star albeit one fired by the possibility of new beginnings to old triumphs. Her performance at the Coliseum continues the journey bringing with it 20 years’ more life experience to intensify what was always there.

SUNSET BOULEVARD – London Coliseum

In Audio, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s been 20 years since I saw Glenn Close in the location of the movie and musical, the City of Angels, two days after the big Northridge earthquake while the earth was still moving in extraordinary ways – and she was sensational, a wonderful actress inhabiting the lonely world of a faded star albeit one fired by the possibility of new beginnings to old triumphs. Her performance at the Coliseum continues the journey bringing with it 20 years’ more life experience to intensify what was always there.

SUNSET BOULEVARD – London Coliseum

In Audio, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s been 20 years since I saw Glenn Close in the location of the movie and musical, the City of Angels, two days after the big Northridge earthquake while the earth was still moving in extraordinary ways – and she was sensational, a wonderful actress inhabiting the lonely world of a faded star albeit one fired by the possibility of new beginnings to old triumphs. Her performance at the Coliseum continues the journey bringing with it 20 years’ more life experience to intensify what was always there.

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MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS – West End

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

The old gags are the best, they say – or just the oldest – and in this hugely enjoyable adaptation of the movie Mrs Henderson Presents they come thick and fast from the mouth of the show’s very own Emcee Arthur (Jamie Foreman) who steers us through good times and bad, through blitz and all-clears, for the little review theatre whose slogan “We Never Close” was something not even Hitler’s bombs could challenge. Our own Lord Chamberlain had more chance but even he failed to exact a direct hit on the tits and ass. And to think The Windmill was/is just from where we were sitting just across Leicester Square.

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GREY GARDENS – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s not hard to see why Grey Gardens – the musical – has become such a collector’s item. This strange but true tale of American royalty gone rogue, of Jacqueline Kennedy’s rebellious relatives, of a stain on the Bouvier clan somehow exposing the rot at the heart of the American dream was/is irresistible. We all fell for the delicious anarchy of Albert Maysles’ splendid documentary but equally picked up on the sadness of what was at heart an extreme case of co-dependancy. But when “Little Edie Beale said “It’s very diffiicult to keep the line between the past and the present” she unlocked what makes Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright’s work really special.

FUNNY GIRL – Menier Chocolate Factory

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s hard not to invoke the B word – Barbra, that is, not Brice – and I speak as one who bunked off school to catch her at a mid-week matinee. It was standing room only at the Prince of Wales but by then she was pretty much phoning in her performance and only the thrill of that voice (smaller than one expected but laser intense) carried her through.

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THE FORCE OF DESTINY – London Coliseum

In London theatre, Opera, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

Whenever the name Calixto Bieito is mentioned, it’s invariably to mention ‘the toilets’ – not the reasons for them, just the fact that they were there at all. That production of Verdi’s A Masked Ball was one of the most theatrical and exciting in English National Opera’s post-powerhouse era. It’s true that Bieito’s passion can be hard to swallow, that he sometimes lets his impulses rule his reason, but at his best – the recent Carmen and this new Force of Destiny – his red-blooded theatricality is breathtaking.

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ELF – Dominion Theatre

In Children's theatre, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

There’s nothing wrong with Elf that a decent song or two wouldn’t help put right. Oh, wait, there is one – “Nobody Cares About Santa” – which bucks up act two no end and turns rather deliciously into a chorus line of Santas with swinging sacks. But it’s also the only moment where Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin’s score actually embellishes the comedy and lifts the show to a level of invention it otherwise never achieves. That number is set in a Chinese restaurant where New York’s Santas go for the hot and sour soup special at the end of another grim season of promising kids expensive gaming packages while they text on their mobiles. It’s wonderfully cynical and almost touching.

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THE STATIONMASTER – Tristan Bates Theatre

In Audio, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

Aria Entertainment’s From Page to Stage platform for new writing in musical theatre is another of those life-lines which refreshes the parts that the West End so rarely reaches – and to see a fledgling musical like The Stationmaster find its feet and roar for the first time on a stage, in a theatre, is immensely gratifying.

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BERNSTEIN REVEALED by Seckerson in new stage show

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

As we approach the centenary of his birth, Leonard Bernstein enthusiasts Edward Seckerson and composer, arranger and musical director Jason Carr are joined by Olivier Award nominee Sophie-Louise Dann to celebrate the musical superman who bestrode the Broadway stage as whole-heartedly and adeptly as he did the world’s great concert halls.

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Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Chailly – Barbican

In Classical music, Concerts, Features, London theatre, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

There’s an old conductor’s adage which suggests that the only way safe to start Strauss’ Don Juan is to start before the applause has died – that way no one hears any imperfections in the upward rush of strings. Remembering those words made me smile as Riccardo Chailly and his magnificent Leipzig orchestra lept as one from the starting blocks, stretching every sinew of Strauss’ youthful tone poem as if the imperative of the piece was directly proportionate to the Don’s sexual prowess.


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