Album Reviews: Renée Fleming – Broadway & The Quentin Dentin Show

Two new music releases – Renée Fleming tackles Broadway classics in style, and The Quentin Dentin Show releases its cast recording

“Life is what you want it to be”

No matter what you think of Renée Fleming, you can’t accuse her of resting on her laurels. At this point in her career, she could well be taking the easy route but this decade alone has seen her tackle Broadway (most recently receiving a Tony nomination for Carousel) for the first time and release an album that featured interpretations of three Björk songs. Her newest release cleaves closer to musical theatre though, and Broadway is available now from Decca Classics. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Renée Fleming – Broadway & The Quentin Dentin Show”

Review: The Quentin Dentin Show, Tristan Bates

“If successful, you can go for the upgrade”

I was rather seduced by The Quentin Dentin Show’s charms when I saw it last year – riding post-Edinburgh enthusiasm, this sci-fi musical slotted into the late-night berth at the Above the Arts studio perfectly. Buoyed by that success, producer Hannah Elsy and writer/composer Henry Carpenter brought on a new co-book writer – Tom Crowley – to further expand the show for this new run at the Tristan Bates Theatre.

It’s an interesting development as the increased running time now carries with it an interval and I’m not entirely convinced that the show carries this off. The Quentin Dentin Show is always amiable, the glint in its eye feels cheeky even as it approaches something darker in tone and so the ‘drama’ imposed by the cut to black feels a little artificial. It gives the opportunity to go and get another drink sure, but its hard not to feel that the energy flow would be better maintained.  Continue reading “Review: The Quentin Dentin Show, Tristan Bates”

Dispatches from the Vaults #3

“Did you not learn anything?”

Henry Carpenter’s The Quentin Dentin Show was a deserved Edinburgh whose late night charm transferred well to the late night slot at the Above the Arts Theatre last year, so it makes sense that his new musical, Summer Nights in Space, billed as a sequel in spirit if not in content, has opened as part of The Vaults festival. But where I was seduced by the random insanity of its predecessor, this new sci-fi musical still feels like a work-in-progress with work still to be done.

All John Spartan has ever wanted to do is go to outer space but like many a man with an obsession, this dedication has come at a cost to his friendships and marriage as he finds himself packed off on a solo mission, which ultimately isn’t at all what it seems. Matthew Jacobs Morgan’s space traveller is thus left to carry a huge amount of the show by himself and sadly, Carpenter’s book just doesn’t give him enough material to sell it as a dynamic one-man-show. Continue reading “Dispatches from the Vaults #3”

Preview: VAULT 2017

Established now as one of the major arts festivals in London, the VAULT Festival returns from 25th January to 5th March 2017 at its original home beneath Waterloo Station and, for the first time, at satellite venues Network Theatre (just to the side of Waterloo) and Morley College (a little further away past Lambeth North). As ever, the programme features an exciting selection of shows exploring many themes via many more mediums. Full information and tickets are available now via VAULTFestival.com.

I’m still working out exactly what and how much I am going to see but I have got a few selections of the things that have definitely caught my eye.  Continue reading “Preview: VAULT 2017”

Review: The Quentin Dentin Show, Above the Arts

“Absolute profound happiness in 60 minutes or less”

It’s a big claim for a little show to make but The Quentin Dentin Show gets pretty close in its own unique way. And what a way it is – a bit Rocky Horror, a bit Dale-Winton-presented-Saturday-evening-gameshow, a bit 2am-at-the-Joiners’-Arms, and yet entirely its own thing. Sliding into the late evening slot at the Above the Arts Theatre, it’s that random but tasty slice of musical theatre that you didn’t know you needed at the end of the night.

I can describe the plot – frustrated pharmacist Nat and would-be writer Keith have hit a stumbling block in their relationship, as evidenced by a bowl of bland pasta, but are offered the chance of couples therapy (of sorts) when Keith conjures up a supernatural therapist from inside his radio – but that’s only half the story of Caldonia Walton’s production, which magics up the kind of carefree energy that makes you see why it was a hit in Edinburgh. Continue reading “Review: The Quentin Dentin Show, Above the Arts”