Sweeney Todd, Les Mis, Homeland and Home

I’ve been meaning to tell you about this for days. Every year the West End stage their own version of the Eurovision Song Quest and they invite the casts of shows currently on in the West End to take a past Eurovision song and do their own version. It was staged last week. It doesn’t start until 11.30pm because the cast are performing in their own shows first and ends around 2.30am. This year there were 10 acts and they were spectacular.

The 2012 winner was Sweeney Todd and they had an advantage because the star of the show, Michael Ball, was a Eurovision competitor in 1992. So they did his song, “One Step Out of Time.” They had a Michael impersonator in the cast and he danced and sang the way Michael did in 1992, exaggerating all the moves. Then the real deal came out and….err, dealt to him. It was brilliant and it highlights for me one of the things I like best about Michael, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Have a look at this, it is hugely entertaining.


Talking about entertaining, Monday night saw the final double episode of “Homeland.” This is an American Tv series based on an Israeli series. It was superbly written and exceptionally well acted. Damien Lewis, Clair Danes and Mandy Patankin. I read this morning that Clair Danes was so emotionally charged during the filming of the final scene that they filmed the rehearsal and what we saw was largely improvised. That takes huge amounts of talent and confidence in your understanding of the material. Can’t wait for Series Two.

Russell Crowe is currently filming the Working Title film of the musical Les Mis in England. He’s playing the role of Javart and he tweets about the night shoots as he chases the elusive Jean Valjean on horseback. He’s a slippery character, that 24601. It’ll be fascinating to see the finished product. Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean and he looks the part, so does Crowe, although I’m not sure his voice will be up to some of the demands. “Stars” is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written and he has big shoes to fill, listen to the Bryn Terfel version.

Russell Crowe on his mount, Gymont

A new month makes it easier to track the book sales for a couple of days, 83 books sold yesterday and knocking on the door of 40,000 total. And in two days it’ll be 12 months since we left Auckland. It was such a stressful day, packing the removal truck and cleaning the house one last time and then driving south. We got here and found the kitchen was still ripped out and the lounge carpet was ripped up and it would be a fortnight before the house was habitable. The lovely removal guys could unload the furniture and we had it spread all over the place for days as we slowly got the place straight. Chloe was in a cattery and we stayed at my sister-in-law’s father’s empty house in Cambridge and came here every day. May 20th we finally moved in and drew a big deep breath. It has been, hands down, the happiest year of my life and I love this house so much, here’s to many more years.


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