The Diary: Antony Gormley; Rambert Dance Company; Coronation Street; Swan Lake; Carnival of Monsters
Friday 23 July 2010
Having populated the Austrian Alps with 100 of his standing figures this summer, Antony Gormley is going super-size for his next work, which will be even taller (by five metres) than The Angel of the North. The 25m-high, 60-ton new work, Exposure, will be unveiled in September and is currently being erected on a polder 60km to the east of Amsterdam.
"It's a polyhedral matrix that has about 5,000 elements with about 600 nodes and 14,000 bolts", he tells me. "It's a crouching-body form that looks out over to the horizon. The wind blows through it." Perhaps its size will prevent it from being the butt of practical jokes at the hands of the viewing public. When Gormley installed six of his life-sized figures along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh last month, almost overnight local wags had dressed them up in, variously, a pink bikini and a McDonald's uniform.
"I just observe", says the artist. "I try to be equanimous about it. It's what people like to do and I'm invading their space, so why shouldn't they play with my work? It doesn't last usually and it's fine. There were lovely moments with the sculptures on Waterloo Bridge – the early morning green T-shirt, followed by the kilt, followed by the evening Y-fronts."
Time to jump
It's wonderful news that the Rambert Dance Company is to have its own home on London's South Bank. Having been given the £5m plot of land (a car park behind the National Theatre) by Coin Street Community Builders, the first work on site has just begun and the company is in the process of raising £19m to fund the move. When they move in, in 2013, it won't be a moment too soon. I'm told that their current rehearsal space, in Chiswick, is beyond being unfit for purpose.
"There's a sign on the door that says, 'No jumping in the middle studio'," a Rambert insider tells me, "which is quite difficult for a dance company, really. We can only use it for physio these days."
Coronation Street condensed
If you've ever felt a burning need to relive Alan Bradley being run over by that tram, the ins and outs of Ken Barlow's love life, or you simply miss Betty Driver's hotpot and Ena Sharples's hairnet, then good news! To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Coronation Street, The Lowry is presenting Corrie!, a new live show which condenses 7,000 episodes (115 deaths, 37 births, 86 marriages and one conflagration) into a two-hour romp. The show, which opens on 12th August in Salford, has been written by Jonathan Harvey, the playwright of Beautiful Thing and Babies, who has also contributed more than 100 episodes of the soap opera in the last six years. A heroic company of five (plus a narrator from the original television cast) will take on 65 characters.
This must be a first. A recent performance of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake floundered to a halt thanks to a male swan with burning feet. Part of a triple bill presented by Sadler's Wells on a stage in the middle of the lake at Latitude festival, the pas de deux started well but, five minutes in, it was clear that something was wrong. Jonathan Ollivier, dancing the swan in feathery trousers and baking sunshine on a black stage, was finding the stage too hot to land on in bare feet. He flew off stage-left and re-emerged, two minutes later, in a borrowed pair of black socks. Not quite the look designer Lez Brotherston was going for, but the show (socks?) must go on.
Here's some comedy with added value. Colin Hoult is reliving his 2009 Edinburgh show, Carnival of Monsters, at London's Leicester Square Theatre all week – and he has called in some friends to help. So far Nick Mohammed, Justin Edwards and Cardinal Burns have pitched in as guests, and this weekend he's bringing out the big guns with last year's Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Tim Key and sketch troupe The Penny Dreadfuls joining the show, which Hoult hopes will have the feel of a "late-night, dark and bawdy cabaret". Hoult and The Penny Dreadfuls will reunite next month in Edinburgh on Gutted, a musical billed as "Glee meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".
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