Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Audiences start assembling an hour before with their picnics. The place has the feel of a cross between Glyndebourne and Wimbledon – only more relaxed and casual. No more summer sweats in London’s Victorian theatre snugs, elbowing past your fellow sufferers to reach a glass of warm white wine. Here there’s a choice of the barbecue stand or a drink from the very, very long bar to choose from.
Porgy and Bess was possibly meant to sound more operatic than this production delivers. No matter. The performing tradition for the piece is now heavily in favour of music theatre with the recitatives, as was the case here, rewritten as dialogue. Only a few of this committed and talented cast had obviously classical voices.
The evening starts with Nicola Hughes’ brilliant Bess in a state of cocaine-fuelled delirium – a fallen woman whom the God-fearing community of Catfish Row dismiss as a ‘liquor-guzzling slut'. Timothy Sheader’s production forgoes naturalistic scenery in favour of an impressionistic sheet of crumpled metal. The cast, though, is dressed in period costume and the evening pulsates with focused energy: snappy dance moves; outstandingly beautiful singing; acting veering from power to real vulnerability.
The men of this African-American community eking out a living on Catfish Row are shooting craps when Bess’s boyfriend, Crown, drunk and high, murders one of them in a fight. Philip Boykin as Crown cuts a heavy, menacing figure with a powerful baritone voice and comes to Regent’s Park from Broadway. On the edge of the action and another New York import is Cedric Neal’s seductive drug-dealing Sportin’ Life, all big-city dance steps, dandified in a canary-yellow suit, and plying his ‘happy dust’. He later brought the house down with one of the show’s famous numbers, 'It Ain't Necessarily So'. Rufus Bonds Junior, as a damaged yet dignified Porgy, completes an American trio of stars.
Crown goes into hiding; Bess stays behind. She redeems herself with the love of Porgy and gains acceptance into this community led here by Sharon D Clarke in imperious form as Mariah. The ensemble is outstanding and includes memorable performances from Leon Lopez as the upwardly mobile Jake and Jade Ewen as his wife Clara. Clara gets the show’s standout hit, 'Summertime', and Ewen sings it with limpid tone. Hopes are dashed by a storm and another murder, with Porgy arrested and Bess tempted back to the big city. The show ends with the indomitable Porgy starting out on the long journey to claim her back.
You would have to go a longer way to find a more perfect evening.
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (openairtheatre.com) until 23rd August.
Sugababe Amelle Berrabah takes inspiration from Dirty Dancing in Tumble training after stepping out in white bikini
Having the Time Of Her Life! Sugababe Amelle Berrabah takes inspiration from Dirty Dancing in Tumble training after stepping out in white bikini
PUBLISHED: 11:46, 5 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:13, 5 August 2014
Patrick Swayze famously lifted timid Frances 'Baby' Houseman, played by Jennifer Grey, out of the lake as they rehearsed their routine in Dirty Dancing.
And Amelle Barabah channelled the iconic scene from the romantic 80s flick as she showed off her skills alongside partner, and professional gymnast, Doug Fordyce on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old Sugababe's trim figure was impossible to miss in her white bikini as she took her Tumble training outdoors ahead of the start of the new BBC series this weekend.
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Eat your heart out Baby! Amelle Berrabah and her partner Doug Fordyce took their Tumble training to Guildford Lido, Surrey on Tuesday
The hunky 24-year-old was seen lifting the star up in the air after making a beeline for Guildford Lido in Surrey.
Amelle looked to be having a great time a she splashed her companion, after pulling a rather shocked expression as she posed perfectly while being held on her hips.
The beauty wore her naturally curly tresses down while displaying her toned tum in a crochet-style two-piece.
Mixing it up: The Sugababe hitmaker showed off her trim figure in a white bikini as she rehearsed with the professional gymnast
Scream if you want to go higher! The 30-year-old looked in shock as she recreated the famous scene from flick Dirty Dancing
The channel's new celebrity talent show will be hosted by The One Show's Alex Jones on Saturday evening.
Mentored by Olympic gold medalist Beth Tweddle and judged by gymnast and Strictly Come Dancing winner Louis Smith, the competing contestants will be in good hands for the channel's first gymnastics project.
Also competing alongside Amelle is Steps' Ian 'H' Watkins, Andrea McLean, Dynasty actress Emma Samms, Lucy Mecklenburgh and Carl Froch.
Having a ball: Amelle will compete in a series of gymnastic events on Saturday in competition with the other celebrities when the new BBC1 show kicks off
Impressive: The beauty shared this snap earlier in the week, captioning it: 'Are you ready for #Tumble?!!! #excited #TeamAmelle #SummerTime'
The complete lineup also sees Andrea McLean, Bobby Lockwood, EastEnders' John Partridge and replacing Mr Motivator, who had to pull out of the show after dislocating his knee, will be former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan.
Amelle has regularly been sharing photos from her training sessions, with one showing her doing the splits while suspended upside down in a hoop.
In a another fun snap she can be seen posing on a beam while flashing her midriff in a grey top and matching leggings.
Posing up a storm: She also posted this one as she sat on the beam in a crop top, leggings and trainers
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2716473/Amelle-Berrabah-takes-inspiration-Dirty-Dancing-Tumble-training-stepping-white-bikini.html#ixzz39YQ5cDKz
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Hanging with my best friend Doug! #SongFromTheHanover #ComesToMind looool! @dougfordyce @daveroy1012#Tumble #TeamAmelle #Crikey lol #SummerTime ✌️