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300 Words From London - Opera, Ballet and Rattling Newspapers

Martha Wainwright at the Royal Opera House but all is not well in the cheap seats.

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by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: May, 2007
I am getting a little perturbed by my fellow travellers in these "less expensive" seats

Back at the Royal Opera House. This time for a programme of three short pieces but mostly to see The 7 Deadly Sins. This was described as the "most shocking ballet ever" by the tabloid newspaper the Sun. Indeed, as their headline blared - it was "Tutu Much".

True the dancer's weren't wearing much. Suspenders, stockings, lingerie. I could be more specific but to be honest from were I was in my £4 seat it was kind of hard to tell and I was too self-conscious to take out my recently acquired 1908 French antique opera glasses for fear of looking like a sleazy peeper.

For years the whole Brecht and Weill thing had been ruined for me by memories of Jim Morrison barking Alabama Song like the tedious bar room bully that he so evidently was. In this work, a ballet chante, a single character is played by both a singer and a dancer. But is it one character or two sisters? It's all very Lynchian.

Anna 1 was sung by Martha Wainwright and she was good. I hadn't really paid any attention to the Wainwright's until I saw Rufus do his Judy Garland show at the Palladium. Fabulous was the only word for it. Great entertainment. I was always put off by memories of Dad Wainwright who just seemed to do annoying novelty songs on light entertainment shows in the 1970s (or maybe it was the 1980s) but the kids have something. Martha's When The Day Is Short sounds like it's 40 years old (that's good) and Rufus's new album is sublimely overblown.

But Oh, the peril of the cheap seat - the anguish of the restricted viewer. I am getting a little perturbed by my fellow travellers in these "less expensive" seats. They are putting me off. Here was a woman I had already run into at Madam Butterfly who chose the very end - I mean right at the M Butterfly kills herself bit - to get up and leave meaning everybody in the row had to get up to let her out. This time she was just talking through it all and the person she was talking to was reading a newspaper and rattling in the quiet passages.

I looked down longingly at the stalls and cursed my fellow misers.

(photo by John Ross - hi John, hope you don't mind)

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Lake
Editor, London

the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.

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