….there's a crazy little show by the name of Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens - this year it's 20yrs old, a fact which dates me as I saw it "way back when…" and it's definitely not child-friendly!!
Anyway, last friday I popped by the Kings Head Theatre in Islington to make some images of this fabulous 20th anniversary cast, on the eve of their closing night.
These were grabbed in the stairwell as people ran past prepping for the show, with just a silver reflector as a suitably spacey backdrop, the light from the window - I could make a ridiculously geeky reference to another cult show at this point but no…. - a couple of shutter presses for each character and nothing more.
So, with no further ado, I give you Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens.
These lovely people are....
Zoe Nicholls, Jamie Birkett, Lorna Clare Hall
Ashton Charge, Hugh Stubbins, Sophie Cordwell Jones
Caspar Cordwell Jones, Tom Whalley & Kristopher Bosch.
All Fuji and Snapseed. Sometimes photos need to be a little more mobile.
Photographing Toxic Avenger at Southwark Playhouse has been some of the most fun I've had in a very long while. This show is bonkers... in the same vein as Rocky Horror and Little Shop of Horrors, both of which I love.
The music by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan is funny, touching and at times just plain silly and this exceptional cast of 5 raise the roof every night.
It's only running til saturday night, I wish Toxie was staying a bit longer.
The producers for this European premiere are Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Guy James and Szpiezak Productions.
Toxic Avenger is directed by Benji Sperring with musical direction by Alex Beetschen and choreography by Lucie Pankhurst. This totally gorgeous design is courtesy of Nic Farman and Mike Lees.
And last, but most definitely not least, the cast is Mark Anderson, Hannah Grover, Lizzii Hills, Marc Pickering and Ashley Samuels.
There's not much that needs to be said about these images, beyond that we had so much fun seeing how many crazy different looks we could create in one afternoon. Evie and Sarah-Jane created something gorgeous for me to photograph and we laughed lots..... "i look so totally pinterest"
Just a few shots of my friend Martin, for the sole sake of making photos. All on fuji & 35mm f1.4. Mucking around a bit with the cactus flash triggers as well.
It was kind of all about symmetry yesterday, my brain was scattered and the sheer activity of focusing on images made me calm down. It was playing into my need for balance though.
New year = newJamie. x
Fuji xt10 - 35mm f1.4 - no flash - silly high iso.
Here follows a slight diversion from my usual style of blog-post, this one will have a few more words....
In the early hours of January 25th 1996, after returning home from the final dress run of Rent at New York Theatre Workshop, Jonathan Larson collapsed and died.
Later that day, his cast and creative team gathered to sing through what was meant to be the 1st preview of Jonathan's new work - the show he had fought and struggled and wished into existence. They didn't even get to the interval before they were up on their feet and performing the show in full.
The rest, as they say, goes down in Broadway history... that production at NYTW sold out and was extended again and again and just 3 short months later the show opened at The Nederlander Theatre on Broadway where it ran for over 12years. It made stars of it's original cast and won pretty much every award going. It has played round the world, opening in London in the May of 1998...
.....and that's where I come in, I discovered Rent in October of 1998. I was new to London and didn't have many friends, so I took myself to the theatre to see a young actor I'd admired in a previous show. I was under the misapprehension that I'd probably see this show once, how wrong can one girl be?!!
Within 10minutes I was hooked, by the end of the show I had tears dripping off my face and I was on my feet cheering... this was it, this was the "thing" I needed, I felt like I had come home.
I have seen Rent 100s (I am not exagerating) of times, across 3 different continents. Every time I went to New York it was always my first evening's entertainment.
So, when my friends Katy Lipson & Guy James (two producers I've worked with many times in the last few years) decided to stage a concert in London to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Jonathan's death and to celebrate his life, there was only one place I was going to be on Monday 25th January 2016.....
Season of Larson starred (from left to right!) Damien Flood, Krysten Cummings, Noel Sullivan, Debbie Kurup & Anton Stephans, with special guest appearances from MiG Ayesa and Scarlett Silver. Directed by Grant Murphy and Gareth Bretherton it showcased Jonathan's work from the big hitters of Rent and Tick, Tick...Boom! to lesser known works that are rarely performed.
These are some of my favourite people... I met Anton 4yrs ago when we spent more time talking than taking the photo I'd been tasked to find for Children of Eden, I've known Damien & Debbie for the best part of 15yrs since they, and my best friend, toured with Rent and Krysten, well Krysten was the person who had me hooked from 10minutes into that first performance in Oct' '98, she is "my" Mimi and has performed the role around the world.
Noel was the newcomer to this bunch and I can't imagine anyone filling the shoes better, but more on that after a couple more pictures....
I could write about the whole show, but that would descend into pages and pages.... So just a few highlights...
Noel's rendition of One of These Days was masterful and should be recorded, it's a lesser-known one of Jonathan's compositions but it's instantly recognisable as his work. It's clever and funny and full of emotion, as was Noel's performance.
Hearing Debbie & Damien's version of Without You, after so long away from it, was gorgeous, I'd forgotten how much I love these two performing together.
Anton's version of I'll Cover You Reprise was a joy to behold and I'm not sure how the audience held itself together, on stage they were barely holding back the tears as well. This song is Jonathan's memorial, it says everything.
Debbie & Krysten tearing up the stage as star-crossed lovers in both Take Me Or Leave Me and Therapy was a delight and hillarious from start to finish.
And then when Krysten flung herself heart and soul into Out Tonight, the song that for me will always be hers, you couldn't have paid me to be anywhere else!!
But, oh yeah there's a but, the person who brought the house down was Damien's daughter, Scarlett, and her performance of Destination Sky, a simple song that Jonathan wrote for a children's television show.
The evening was a fitting tribute to one of the finest songwriters there is, a man who changed musical theatre in the 90s even though he never got to see it. A man who changed the lives of anyone who's ever been touched by his music and definitely the lives of this little team.
I owe huge swathes of my life to that music, if I hadn't taken that chance nearly 18yrs ago my life would be VERY different. The people I love most in this world, well they love this music as much as I do.
Thank you Jonathan Larson. Even though I never met you, you're always in my heart.
The very last note of the concert, before the audience leapt to their feet and cheered.
Hanging out with Ed in Abney Park cemetery in North London. It's been a while since we made photos together, but I wanted to try a new lens out and Ed lets me play. Also the curls and beard from 2015's job will be going sometime soon for the next project, thought we'd take some pics before everything changes again.
Half of these are canon and half are fuji, both 50mm f1.4 (or equivalent!) - not sure how I feel about that I can still see the difference, or whether anyone else cares. Mucked around with a bit of off camera flash also. It was chilly and a little damp, but nice to be taking photos.
For the last 10 weeks these people have created a brand new musical every day at the Apollo Theatre in the West End. Yes, a completely improvised 2 hr show with songs and dances and harmonies and emotion and love and disaster and everything in between.
These people are the team behind Showstopper! The improvised musical and I think they're a bit good. It's one thing to make up a comedy song, or even improvise a whole show, but to do it every day (sometimes twice) for 10 weeks, in front of an audience who chose to see this instead of Thriller or Les Mis or Wicked or any of the many other (completely brilliant) west end shows out there, is kind of impressive.
I've been photographing these faces for several years now, as part of this show and in the wider improv community and I love to watch them work, it never gets dull. Hence why I went in for two 2-show saturdays and just photographed whatever was happening - in warm-up, in the dressing rooms & in the wings.
These people make me feel included and appreciated and not weird! I love how they take me into their "family".
Thanks guys. x
^ My two favourite shots. Sean & Dylan, the men who steer the ship that is Showstopper by conversing with their audience and creating the scene. ^
On a thoroughly techie note, the following block is half canon 5d mk2 shots and half fuji xt10 shots - I love that whilst I know the difference it doesn't matter which was shot on which....
Showstopper are Adam Meggido, Dylan Emery, Sean McCann, Ruth Bratt, Lucy Trodd, Pippa Evans, Sarah-Louise Young, Andrew Pugsley, Phil Pellew, Justin Brett, Susan Harrison & Oliver Senton. Their amazing band are Duncan Walsh Atkins, Chris Ash, Alex Atty, Craig Apps & Yshani Perinpanayagam.
And because there should always be a photo with a story….. I wish I could remember what Ruth was rushing back from under the stage, but it had been stupidly funny and I love this shot even though there's movement and a hell of a lot of noise. In my defence, it was shot at 6400 and probably under-exposed a little too much. :-)
"Charlie and Amy were married for twenty-three years and darlings of the children’s literature circle. But, when Amy developed Alzheimer’s disease, their former lives existed only in the story Charlie told her every day.
Starting from the present and unravelling back to when they first met, this new play highlights the importance of precious memories shared with the ones we love, and how devotion and heroism are often the same thing. The tumultuous shifting world of Alzheimer's disease is brought to life with sharp authenticity drawn from the personal experiences of playwright R J Wilkinson."
I was very happy to help these guys out with some images to promote their week's run of this beautiful play. I very much hope it has more chance of life than one week as part of a fringe festival.
It's very real and raw, I cried twice.
Photo-geek note : more 50mm show photos.
My friends in red & black have spent the last 8 weeks making up a different musical every single day at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Ave. It's amazing. And one of my favourite places to watch it from is the stage left wing.
"I don't photograph weddings"..... unless you ask really nicely and/or I really like you. 😜
i really don't put myself out there as a wedding photographer. But this summer I photographed 3, all gorgeous and completely different in their own ways.
So, Tash & James, Chris & Matt and Anke & Noel.... here's wishing you a wonderful "...happily ever after". x
I don't have the right words to explain how much I enjoyed being part of this team. As a lifelong fan of The Who this could have been very different, but this production was just wonderful... Michael Strassen, Mark Smith, Nik Corrall & the entire team created something really special...
Ashley Birchall as Tommy
John Barr as Uncle Ernie
Carly Burns as Acid Queen
James Sinclair as Captain Walker
Giovanni Spanó as Cousin Kevin
Carrie Sutton as Sally Simpson
Miranda Wilford as Mrs Walker.
Danny Becker, Scott Sutcliffe and Alice Mogg.
Before I finally blog the Pinocchio show shots I realise I never posted any of the promotional portraits we made.
This is my favourite. ....
Christian James as Pinocchio in Pollocks Toy Shop, Covent Garden.