Monday, October 22, 2007
Oliver T. – again
As mentioned last month my daughter and I were to see the last show of ”Oliver T.” on October 19. We went and as expected it was a fantastic experience.
We met up with Hanne and some English friends at the Team theatre in Danish town Herning at 7 p.m. and had a good chat before the show started an hour later. Tea had been looking forward to seeing the musical for ages and she wasn’t disappointed, neither was the rest of the audience. As soon as the music started people waiting in line to get into the auditorium began to sway and sing along to “That Was No Lady That Was My Wife”.
I don’t know why, but this evening cast and band outdid themselves. Maybe because it was the last night. Maybe because the audience was brilliant. Or maybe because the original singer Flemming Bang was back, substituting for Allan Mortensen. No matter what, this was “Oliver T.” at its best. It was no longer an ordinary musical but the beautiful bastard child of a political play mated with a rock concert.
I have already told about the story-line, the cast, set designs etc. in my original review of Peter Hugge’s Dickens-inspired play directed by Mikael Helmuth, so here I’ll just concentrate on the music. The 6-piece band was led by the keyboard-playing conductor Soren Graversen and together with Niels Nello Mogensen on bass, Mads Fogt on guitar and Don on drums they rose to new heights as a rock band. Henrik Hjorth Frandsen on oboe and Jon Anderskou on cello joined in beautifully on ballads like How Does It Feel?
Singer Flemming Bang was at his best as well, having us singing, clapping, stomping right from start with Get Down And Get With It. He had us laughing and crying with his multi-facetted acting and charisma and lifted the play to new dimensions in the borderland between rock and social indignation. His little laughs reminded of those of Baron Samedi’s in the Bond-movie “Live And Let Die”, demonic, cynical, but at the same time curiously light and carefree. His touching, light-hearted rendition of Far Far Away at the end of the show left no doubt; this part was made for him.
So far “Oliver T.” has only been staged in Denmark, but could easily translate to other countries. Talking to the English friends after the show, they’d noticed that without understanding the Danish lines of the play they had been laughing at the same things as the Danish audience. The show really has international format and I sure hope it’ll transcend the borders some day – hopefully with a cast, band and staff as brilliant as the ones from the Team theatre in Herning.
After the show Tea and I spent some delightful hours at the afterparty in the company of Don, Hanne, the English friends and all the actors, musicians and staff from the theatre. At 1.30 a.m. we finally said our goodbyes and Tea and I were sure glad that we only had to walk a few steps to get to our hotel! But what a great night we had had. As Tea said, “This was the best night out ever!”
Friday, October 12, 2007
Slade in Skoerping
Saturday the 6th of October Slade played in the town Skoerping, Denmark, a 3 hours train ride away from Odense where I live. I went on my own this time while my daughter Tea stayed with some friends.
I arrived in Skoerping at 5.30 p.m. and with a little help from some fans I managed to find the venue, a sports centre. Don was there and as he had already finished the sound check we had a little time to talk I got rid of my bag and coat in the dressing room and half an hour later Hanne arrived with some friends. Don, Hanne and the crew went to have dinner at the venue whereas the friends went to town to eat. I had already eaten in the train so there was not much for me to do except hang around.
Slowly people started to arrive when the doors opened at 7 p.m. Most of them had been eating at the sports centre where you could get a fantastic meal for £ 7 if you went to the concert. Actually 550 people had been eating there! Anyway, I said hello to hardcore-fans Per and Kirsten and a few others whom I knew. Then the friends came back from town and around 8 o’clock Slade had finished eating. They went to the dressing room to get changed while Sweet went on stage. By then the venue was packed with people.
When Sweet left the stage 1½ hours later Don went on to set up his drums. Mikael Helmuth and most of the cast from the “Oliver T.” musical at the Team theatre had arrived at that time and we talked for a while. Don finished his business with the drums and then hid behind them out of sight of the audience and waited to be introduced.
Slade went on stage at 10 p.m. and the set list was the same as the day before. This time there was a lot more banter from Mal. He was great introducing Mama Weer All Crazee Now, rolling his r’s like Noddy used to do and his mocking “She’s so young” during Gudbuy T’Jane was hilarious.
Dave was funny, too, singing la-la-la-la-la-la like a little schoolboy during ‘Coz I Luv You.
Unfortunately I had to go to the ladies room during My Oh My and out there I met a lady who said, “Slade? I hate Slade! The only song of theirs that I like is My Oh My and now that they are playing it I’m stuck here in the toilet!” It was so funny!
Back at the concert Don was showing off, sticks in the air during Get Down, and when Dave introduced MXE by saying, “We’ve had a lot of great times in Denmark, a lot of good memories,” I don’t think anybody in the audience hated Slade! The applause was enormous and it got even bigger when Dave appreciated the many new young fans who were present that night.
After the concert Don waved me over while leaving the stage and I went with him and Mikael Helmuth backstage. I told Don about the lady at the toilet and he found it so funny. He said it reminded him of one time when a guy had come up to him and asked if he was Don Powell. When Don said yes the guy told him, “I think you’re crap!”
Backstage I talked a bit to Hanne, Don, Robin, Mal, John and Dave. Mal and John had been to the Team theatre Thursday to see the “Oliver T.” musical and they both liked it. Mal furthermore assured me that the English resume that I had been writing for the foreign audience was quite professional. John and I talked hair lengths and John said that he wanted to grow his hair long again. My daughter will be pleased, I’m sure!
My train left at 12.30 a.m. and as I won’t be seeing Slade in concert again until next year I went off with kisses and hugs from all. I hooked up with Per and Kirsten and at the station we met one of Per’s colleagues and her friend. They turned out to be the ones who had helped me find the venue in the afternoon. It’s a small world!
Well, Per works for the Danish rail and that came in handy. We got seats in the first class compartment, which was good, as the rest of the train was really crowded. I wasn’t back in Odense until 4 o’clock that morning, but again it had been nice seeing Slade. Thanks for a good time and thanks too to Per for letting me use some of his photos.