Category Archives: Just for fun

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Hamilton the musical: review


If you thought that a hip-hop musical about the founding fathers was not something missing from your life, well, you’d be wrong. Alexander Hamilton is not a well-known figure in the UK, but this musical based on his life (and the remarkable number of achievements he managed to fit in 49 years) is bound to change this.

 

The musical opened in London in December, after its roaring success on Broadway, where it’s been performed since 2015. Sadly though, as with all good London activities, tickets went on sale in January 2017, only to sell out instantly.

 

It’s easy to see why the show has been so successful. The 3 hours of non-stop rapping and singing takes us through Alexander Hamilton’s ascent from an unhappy childhood on a poor Caribbean island, to his key role in the American war of independence as George Washington’s right hand man, to his many achievements as part of the first government of a young US nation.

 

I was a little worried about the combination of hip-hop and 18th century characters, but I never questioned it past the opening lines- somehow, it works very well. The colour-conscious acting adds a further dimension in reminding us that the US, at its very beginnings, was a nation built by immigrants. As two of the main characters proclaim ‘Immigrants – we get the job done!’ followed by a high-five, it is also a much-needed rallying cry in an era where immigrants are finding it difficult to find their place in American society.

 

The show also happens to be very funny. I feel compelled to mention one character in particular – George III is presented as a pompous man-child in a bedazzled costume who sings Britpop break-up songs to the Americans and enjoys watching them argue amongst themselves. You will come out of this show singing, rapping, and looking up the fascinating lives of Hamilton & friends on Wikipedia.

 

Tickets are hard to come by, but if you are feeling lucky, there is a lottery for £10 tickets available two days before performances on http://hamiltonmusical.com/lottery/ . Good luck!

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Phil Henson’s predictions for the 86th Academy Awards nominees


Phil Henson’s predictions for the 86th Academy Awards nominees

Every year I stick my neck out and set out my predictions for the academy awards.

I predict that the British team behind Gravity will need to have worked their arms in the gym this week to bring home all their awards; and I am optimistic that 12 years a Slave will prevail in the best picture, and best director categories.

Some of my choices are far from being the favourites to win, including: Michael Fassbender (best supporting actor), and also Captain Philips (best editing), Alexandre Desplat (best score) but they would all be worthy of the accolades.

Best wishes to all,

Phil

PREDICTIONS

Best Picture
  • 12 Years a Slave
Best Actor in a Leading Role
  •  Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Actress in a Leading Role
  •  Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  •  Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  •  Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Best Animated Feature
  •  The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki)
Best Cinematography
  • Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Best Costume Design
      • American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)
Best Directing
  •  12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
Best Documentary Feature
  •  The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)
Best Documentary Short
  •  The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)
Best Film Editing
  •  Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)
Best Foreign Language Film
  •  The Great Beauty (Italy)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  •  Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)
Best Original Score
  •  Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
Best Original Song
  •  The Moon Song (Her)
Best Production Design
  •  The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)
Best Animated Short Film
  •  Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim)
Best Live Action Short Film
  •  The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill, Baldwin Li)
Best Sound Editing
  •  Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)
Best Sound Mixing
  •  Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro)
Best Visual Effects
  • Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)
Best Adapted Screenplay
  • 12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
Best Original Screenplay
  •  Her –Spike Jonze

Do you agree with my choices?

Phil Henson

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