musings, Recipe, Uncategorized

At the Centre of it all

a personal reviewIMG_4013 (1).jpg. Kings Cross Theatre. 3rd November 2016

I told my friend I was going to Lazarus, the David Bowie Musical. She of course looked thrilled and excited for me. “Amazing” she said.

I retorted, “He’s not in it!”

We guffawed; there was some nervous laughter, and guilt. Too Soon? Of course, Too Soon. Certainly Too Soon for me. But the comedy timing was admirable.

The show is playing Kings Cross theatre, bang in the middle of the new thrilling and confusing, unfamiliar and rather jolly. Boulevard. The theatre, a purpose built shed structure, divided in two, one half showing The Tempest (which was Tempting) and the half other Lazarus.

The audience was as you would expect, well healed, nicely dressed, or Dressed Up, with a touch of fervor behind the eyes. Mostly middle aged, some young, a lot of cool and classy.

We are told that the performance is two hours long. No interval. You can leave but you may not be allowed back in (okay, not for 20mins or so). So this led to a “when do we pee” panic – could explain the fervor in the eyes.

As we settle in our seats, we see Michael C Hall wander on to stage and have a little lie down. This is twenty minutes before ShowTime. It is a little awkward. I feel for him, unless maybe it really is the best place for a power nap.

The premise is a loose sequel to Man Who Fell to Earth. Our alien is still trapped on earth, , not getting older, drinking gin, watching TV,  knowing that he can’t get home. He misses Mary-Lou and indeed it would have been nice to see Candy Clark.

The set is the apartment that Thomas Newton never leaves.

The physical propping consists of a rumpled bed and a fridge full of mother’s ruin.

At the back of the stage, the live band play displayed through glass windows.

Centre stage, a screen. Sometimes lots of screens. I thought I was over screens. But I am an idiot.

The projection and visual trickery is  incredible, impressive,  remarkable. I won’t  describe how it works so as not to spoil the surprise and awe. Also, I can’t find the words to get across quite how exhilarating.

I can say there is technical wizardly. The FX are seamless, delightful and surprising. The design is impeccable, the execution effortless. Virtual, physical, ever shifting. A feast for the eyes and ears. Lighting design to delight, that also does a job.

It was actually  raining on the roof which added some pretty special atmosphere.

The whole thing is Magic in a digital literate age.

I had read that this wasn’t the Mama Mia Greatest Hits genre of musical, that the story wasn’t a way to thread a load of songs together.

But it kind of was. Certainly the songs enhanced and punctuated the narrative.

Maybe it is just that Bowie’s oeuvre is so rich, all his songs can work to whatever storyline.

The opening track, the heartbreaking Lazarus, was beautifully performed. When it was released in back in sad Blackstar January, we all retrospectively understood it was about Bowie’s upcoming death. Johan Renck’s visuals enforced that. Now, not so sure.

Now it sounds like it was written specifically for Thomas Newton’s not-old age.

And that is another wonderful Bowie facet. Whatever he writes, you can find some significance that works for you at the time. Lyrics and mood appropriate and ready for anything.

“Kooks” targeted directly at you because you were a different kind of kid.

“Heroes” for our brave troupes.

“Laughing Gnome” a piece of ironic future proofing  theme for Alan Sugar.

“Sue” for me!

Predictably, all the songs were phenomenal. The new ones, the old ones reworked, the classics and the novelty. From a raucous All the Young Dudes to a charming Absolute Beginners. Changes , changed, all for the good.

Somehow all the vocalists captured Bowie’s tone. They never quite made the songs their own, but nor did they mimic. Clear and strong and meaningful. But it is a funny old thing, how singers on the stage take on that Musical style. It was subtle, but it was there, and made me wonder how they would fare on The Voice.

After we were introduced to a China Girl early on, I realised that the staging was littered with references and reverence. I probably missed quite a lot, but that didn’t spoil the ride. Good spotting for the uber hard-core fans, rather than me, kind of superfan, but soft-centred.

The story is a bit silly. The characters are fascinating and often confusing. The pace erratic. Great highs of engagement, sometimes not so much, and there is a proper ending.

Maybe if it wasn’t The Dame I might view the whole as a touch self-indulgent and beside itself. Perhaps I have buttons over my eyes and stardust in my sound and vision. But I don’t think so.

There is so much good and clever and original and slick and powerful and emotional and so damn interesting about it. There are some great moments of levity to stop it taking itself too seriously. The cast do it more than justice, the set design and execution is off the scale. And of course the music.

So I think it would stand alone on its own merits.

But undeniably,

At the Centre of it All is…





Someone sent me  How to make Rainbow Bagels.

And then we found  What Jews wanna eat

So over excited, we made our own Rainbow Bagels,  and this is how we did it.FullSizeRender (3).jpg

It starts quite normally,that is, if you normally make your own bagels.

Add 2.5 teaspoons of least to about 200ml warm water, along with 2 tbs of sugar – we used golden caster sugar.

Leave it for a few minutes while it froths up.

Meanwhile, preferably in a Kitchen Aid, but otherwise in a big bowl, mix 500g of Strong White Flour with 2 teaspoons sea salt and a teaspoon of vegetable oil.

Then add the yeast mixture and start to combine. Add about 25oml warm water until it all comes together and make a nice dough. Keep working/ kneading for a good 10minutes FullSizeRender (11).jpguntil it is lovely and smooth.

Put it in an oiled bowl and leave to rise somewhere warm for an hour or so.FullSizeRender (2).jpg

When it has doubled in size. divide the dough into six equal parts.

Put on Rubber Gloves.

Turn your oven on to the highest.

Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment.

Drop a fair amount of neon food colour – we use Americolor Electric -into the centre of each mound of dough.

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FullSizeRender (5).jpgThen work them one at a time until the colour has really got into all the dough. It seems lighter colours work the easiest, but keep at it. Don’t pull it apart; just keep folding it in on itself.

Suggest you rinse your gloves between each colour. And make sure the gloves don’t split. Its not a great look.

When you have six beautiful coloured piles take them one at a time and roll them out. Use flour on your rolling pin and cover the dough that is waiting so it doesn’t go dry.

FullSizeRender (1).jpgTry and follow the colours of the rainbow  –  Yellow and Pink and Blue, Orange And Purple and Green (we didn’t actually have red).

Then slice across your layers, and take a piece to make a little sausage. You twist it once, twice, three times and then form a ring.

Meanwhile, get a big pan of water on the boil.

You should get about 6-8 rings from the batch. Leave them for 15 minutes to prove a bit. They won’t get huge, but they will have a bit of fluffiness.

Then drip them into the boiling water. 3-4 at a time. Remove with a slotted spoon after 30 secs and drop onto prepared baking tray. they will be nice and shiny.

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Leave to setle and dry for a few minutes and then bake , very high, for 20 minutes.

While they cool down, start on your achingly sweet shmear.

Beat together 100ml unsalted butter, 300g of cream cheese, 300g of icing sugar, and a splash of vanilla altogether.

Put in the fridge until you are ready to Rainbow Bagel.

Cut your bagel in half and be amazed at how it looks inside.

Smear your shmear over half and sprinkle rainbow sprinkles. Sandwich together, and enjoy half cake, half bun, all Gaygel.

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