Rogue Orchestra presents: Drive

When your favourite movie has such an iconic soundtrack as “Drive” does it’s impossible not to get excited about ANY event and even more so seeing it performed live by an Orchestra in London.

The Drive soundtrack has long established itself as something special developing quite the cult following. So much so that Radio 1 took the chance to completely remaster the soundtrack with new performances from bands such as The 1975 and Foals to give it an update in 2014. Having seen all this it’s fair to say I was expecting big things from Rogue orchestra.

The event was in XOYO club in Shoreditch in the basement bar and despite the ticket outlet I used advertising it as an unreserved seated event it was very much a standing event. Moreover the event actually ended up starting late. My high expectations were lessening by the second.

The “Green” room in XOYO

Anyone who has seen the movie would recognise the opener in a heartbeat with its perfect electro-pop beat. Rogue orchestra only highlighted this more by showing the opening credits to the movie alongside the performance; a very thrilling touch.

The orchestra continued on through the soundtrack with lead vocalist performing on maybe one in every three tracks. It was clear they didn’t have the licensing agreement to show most of the movie but rather repeating a lot of the same clips over and over. With a soundtrack that Drive has and the amount of instrumental only songs this felt like an oversight. It quickly killed the atmosphere and took a vocal performance to pick it back up momentarily before it only dropped again at the next track. They ended the first half with probably the most well known song on the album “Real Hero”. As the most well known it did seem a strange decision to end the first half on this.

The opening song accompanied by some movie clips

The second half seemed to only cover off a few more songs on the album before moving into more generic and general synth-pop songs from the likes of Eurythmics. None of which were familiar to me and ultimately I was left generally disappointed with the whole event. If it had been sold as a celebration of synth pop I might have understood but it was an orchestral performance of the Drive soundtrack which didn’t include eurythmics. Overall I feel like they had the opportunity to do A LOT more with this than they did. I would have much preferred a theatre venue with the orchestra on stage and screens at the side relating the scenes of the movie to the music. Even though it’s my favourite film I’ve only seen it a handful of time so it was difficult for me to match the movie to the music which felt like a shame (and has subsequently made me watch it again).

I’d certainly return to another orchestral performance though I may choose to read up in future first exactly what I’m attending!

NG x

FOOD: Dinner at The Terrace on Piccadilly

One of the most amazing things about London is the amount of different restaurants available. So when I was tasked with finding a restaurant for a pre-theatre dinner I was more than happy I stumbled upon The Terrace at Piccadilly.

The restaurant

A tiny little London wilderness disguised in a hotel with an atrium feel. Even on a winter evening the restaurant itself is beautiful, cosy and intimate so I can only imagine just how stunning it is in the summer. The array of plants and seating make it a perfect spot for dinner or drinks. It’s also exceptionally instagrammable if that’s your flavour.

The food

Nibbles: freshly made flat bread with an avocado dip and home made hummus and an amuse-bouche of cherry tomatoes mozzarella and pesto.

Starters: Pan-fried scallop with pancetta and petite pois

Mains: Chloe – tiger prawn linguine, Tom – braised beef cheeks with a side of lobster mac and cheese.

Every single course was delicious. There were some definite stars of the show including the avocado dip for starters. The braised cheek was exactly as expected and I have to say it left me suffering with major food envy with the way it melted and fell apart. There were also some slight misses for us both. That’s not to say there was anything unpleasant about any dish but we both agreed that neither pasta dish blew us away. It didn’t taste that different from what a good home cook might make.

The price

To say it’s in the heart of Piccadilly the pricing was quite reasonable and typical of central London. As tastecard holders this restaurant is also one of their 2-4-1 venues meaning that both our starters and our mains were buy one get one free. This offer is available for 2 people Monday-Thursday but pre-booking is required. All in all it’s definitely a restaurant that’s staying firmly on my radar and no doubt somewhere I will return to again.

NG x

REVIEW: The Book of Mormon

I have a confession. I don’t like any animated comedy TV series. Family Guy, Simpsons, American Dad, Futurama and even South Park. I’m not just talking an “I don’t find them funny” kind of dislike; oh no. I’m talking full scale them actually being on in the background borderline angers me kind of dislike. So why on earth would I go to a musical created by the same people behind such TV shows I hear you cry. Well, it was the top of Tom’s list and recently his birthday so I decided to put my personal opinion aside and get him tickets. Also part of me was curious. I mean with nine Tony Awards and a Grammy I couldn’t possibly hate it could I?

The Theatre

The Prince of Wales Theatre in the heart of Leicester Square is the BoM’s home. A Mackintosh theatre it has multiple bars with a surprising amount of room as far as theatre’s go. I’m also a big fan of the fact that like many of the London theatres they serve Yorkshire crisps and popcorn #represent. We had dress circle tickets and I have to say the gradient of the rake was quite impressive. It certainly helps make the theatre feel intimate and you can pretty much guarantee a decent view right from the back. Added bonus that you don’t have to be concerned about someone tall sitting in front and as a shortie this is a regular concern for me.

The view from our ‘Row E’ seats

The Music

I don’t know where to start. I went in to this pretty much blind. I’d only ever heard the opening song “Hello” and that was from a video from Facebook a few weeks before my theatre visit. Needless to say that one video was enough for it to be on repeat in my head EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. But “Hello” is only one of the many incredible songs in this show. It has a remarkable way of taking some controversial subjects, putting a joke into and still making the music sound like an absolute broadway classic. Seriously impressive stuff. Though good luck picking a favourite song AND not having “Hello” in your head for daaaaays.

The Show

Whilst it’s certainly not “family friendly” though that does depend on the sense of humour of your family I guess. It sheds light on some very important themes and messages. Religion being the obvious one, Mormon culture and values another and not forgetting the oppression and violence facing the villagers in Uganda. Though you will be forgiven for laughing at what can sometimes feel like the most inappropriate times. You’ll come away laughing as if you’ve spent the last 2 hours at a stand up comedy gig. I guess that’s the brilliance of comedy writing. There’ll be moments that will touch your heart, make you spit out your drink and come away thinking “WTF”. Never in my life did I expect to see a scene in a musical that included Hitler, giant dancing coffee cups and skeletons with doughnuts but BoM more than delivered on that front. You’ll also never think of/look at a frog in the same way.

 Considering I’ve been lucky enough to see shows at £20 a ticket BoM is certainly on the slightly more expensive side of the scale but it’s also worth every penny. Like with all the shows week nights will always be cheaper and there are plenty of websites out there with flash sales and last minute “seat filling” offers. The run time is 2 hours 30 mins with a 15 minute interval. Bookings are currently available until mid May with group bookings running longer. There is also a daily lottery where 21 top-price tickets from each day are made available for £20 each. More information can be found on the theatre website:

https://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/tickets/the-book-of-mormon/

NG x