Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Danny Boyle’

The Olympics Closing Ceremony

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 13th August, 2012

I was so impressed with Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony to the London2012 Olympics that I thought I must watch the Closing Ceremony as well, though alas it did not live up to expectations. I know it was intended to be of a different nature — more of an after-party than a perfomance — and it did look as though most of the Olympians present were enjoying it. But I thought it was rather poorly constructed and there was an awful lot of aimless drivng around by vehicles of all shapes and sizes, the early ones for some inexplicable reason wrapped in newsprint. I thought having an actor impersonate Winston Churchill reading Shakespeare lines that had already featurred in the Opening Ceremony, this time from the opened top of Big Ben, was just plain silly. The best moment came with some, though not all, of the musical acts. The film of John Lennon singing ‘Imgaine’ (supplied by Yoko Ono, I believe) was genuinely moving and it was fun to have a resurrected Freddie Mercury leading a singalong. The Annie Lennox set was cool and Eric Idle was a treat in an example of British bonkers at its best; The Who were in better shape than one might have imagined. But all in all, I felt the evening was something of an anticlimax. But that doesn’t detract from the brilliance of the Games as a whole. Or the anticipation of the fun and riotous colour and music that there will be at Rio 2016, of which we got just a taster at the end of last night’s show.

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Olympics on the Kingston Big Screen

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 28th July, 2012

It was perhaps perverse for someone like myself who lives so near to the London Olympics stadium to go right across town to the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames to watch last night’s opening ceremony, but I’m glad I did. Kingston Liberal Democrats had decided to combine a celebration of their recent win in a local council by-election in Grove ward with the launch of the Rose Theatre’s Big Screen coverage of the Games — and it was a triumph. Local activists gathered in the Circle Bar for drinks and snacks while the theatre filled to capacity with Kingstonians there to enjoy the first of what will be daily screenings of the Olympics events, free of charge. The screen itself was huge and the BBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony was several notches above its relaying of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee earlier this summer. Moreover, a theatre was the ideal setting in which to watch Danny Boyle’s remarkable show, which was (as I said in a tweet at the end) referential rather than reverential, with lots of splendid jokes. The James Bond sequence with the monarch and two corgis was a classic spoof and Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean in the symphony orchestra under the guidance of Simon Rattle was an act of comic genius. Moreover, the atmosphere in the theatre mirrored that in the Olympic Stadium itself. People roared approval of the highlights, stood up for the National Anthem, and few were left dry-eyed. As an overture to the London 2012 Olympics the show was brilliant. And as a way of bringing people into the Rose Theatre, which was conceived and brought to fruition by Kingston’s Liberal Democrat Council, last night’s event was a master-stroke.

Links: www.rosetheatrekingston.org and www.kingstonlibdems.org

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