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A week of the unexpected

May 11, 2010

First the good news. No, not that… not until the Cob pact has been signed for however long it lasts…

Two other bits of good news in fact. Waterstone’s in the O2 Centre, Finchley Road, London, were as good as their word and gave “Theatremonkey: A Guide To London’s West End” a prominent position in their “London” section. I expected that to mean the London section half way down the store. In fact, they very kindly gave it an eye-level position in the smart “London for Tourists” display just to the right of the main entrance. Proving that in retail the rule is, “location, location, location” in the two trading days they’ve had copies in stock, they’ve sold two thirds of them. OK, so they only ordered three to start with, but it’s impressive, I think.

Second bit of good news (or is that third?): the local library copy of the book has been returned. Don’t know if it was in ‘mysterious circumstances’ or not, but either way it is back – and now out on official loan to somebody. Mr P has called off the retired Chinese monks he hired to chisel a new paving stone edition. If anyone would like the first half page in 500kg concrete format, feel free to email him with reasonable offers (postage and packing from Beijing  not included).

And so to the events of the weekend “Over The Rainbow.” Turning monkey predictions upside down, its two J’s have flown… and probably rightly. Sadly, Jenny proved she needed more time to work on her acting, while Jessica I just felt let me down. Why? Not her performance – though Tazmin Outhwaite set a new standard in stage song-and-dance routines that Jessica recognises she would need years of work to achieve. No, it was her rather unthinking remark about her ‘fan base’ keeping her in, and her rather desperate manipulation of the dog task that did it for me. I’ve no doubt Jessica will become a musical comedy star once she has trained, but I think I was right in saying she has a way to go and stuff to learn – about herself as much as anything. In the “X Factor” 2008, I spotted Diana Vickers as the real star to watch – and feel I was proved right. Hopefully, my instinct on Jessica will be as accurate.

For the rest, I thought Danielle, Jenny and Lauren all suffered from a fast orchestra and lousy orchestrations of their songs. Lauren in particular had to fight a dreadful lyric change. That said, while I’d love Danielle to win, her “On My Own” wasn’t anywhere near the standard to convince me, alas.

So, this competition is wide open still. Lauren or Steph would be a very safe choice, Sophie looks the part but isn’t “it” for me, and Danielle just may be too young – but would be dynamite and handle Toto with ease.

Also interestingly, ticket sales and information enquiries on the theatremonkey website about the show over the first weekend tickets went on sale to the general public (other than newspaper readers) have told their own tale. So far, more “Oliver” mild interest than double site-crashing “Sound Of Music.” The real ‘tell’ though, will be the Monday lunchtime after the final. Watch this space for that popularity poll…

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