The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Early Closing - Peter Pan, the opening production at the Troubadour White City Theatre in west London, will close nearly two months earlier than planned, producers have announced. Sally Cookson’s devised adaptation of the JM Barrie novel began performances at the theatre in July and will have played for just six of the scheduled 14 weeks when it closes on 1 September.
A statement from the producers said: “The production received acclaim from critics and a hugely positive reaction from audiences, however due to ticket sales, we have reluctantly taken the decision to close in September. We’d like to thank our wonderfully talented cast and creative team for all of their hard work, as well as the audiences who have enjoyed the production.”
The production is the first show to play at Troubadour White City, one of two new theatres that were launched last month by the team behind the King’s Cross Theatre. The White City venue is situated on part of the former BBC Media Village, while the second theatre, Troubadour Wembley Park, is located in the former Fountain television studios.
Last Christmas - An unreleased, six-minute song from the late George Michael will feature in a new movie loosely based on his music. Last Christmas, released later this year, is set to star Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding and Emma Thompson. Its director Paul Feig told BBC News: "[George Michael] was putting together his new album when he passed. And one of our tracks is one of those songs, and it's just an absolutely amazing song that I'm so excited the world is going to get to hear now."
Last Christmas focuses on a young aspiring singer (played by Clarke), whose hero is George Michael. Feig explains the singer's music "sort of travels with her as she goes through her life" in the storyline. Speaking about the new track, he continued: "It's a very celebratory song, I would dare say. And we were able to play the entire song, which is almost six minutes long, in the film.”
Crowd Pleaser - Ariana Grande dazzled fans and critics alike during her first full UK gig since the Manchester attack, at London's O2 Arena on Saturday night. The US singer performed a 24-song set complete with a neon limousine and a re-creation of The Last Supper.
The Guardian gave the show three stars out of five, saying the evolving singer delivered "crowd-pleasing anthems of female resilience", while her fans brought the "high-pitched hysteria". The Telegraph gave Grande a five-star review, describing her show as "a night of magic and melancholy from the most exciting young star in pop".
Farewell - Freddy Bannister, the organiser of the Knebworth and Bath Festivals, has died aged 85. Bannister passed away on 11 August, 40 years to the day after Led Zeppelin performed their second show at the 1979 Knebworth Festival.
A message from daughter Henrietta and wife Wendy says: “We are obviously devastated. Beyond his achievements as one of the leading promoters of the ‘60s and ‘70s, he was a hugely loyal and devoted father and husband, who would have celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary to Wendy next year. We can’t currently imagine a world without him in it.
“On behalf of Freddy, we want to say thanks to everyone for your support across the years – he always loved hearing about people’s experiences from the festivals and was delighted whenever anyone got in touch to say how much they enjoyed reading his book. Let the memories live on…”
Bannister started promoting music acts in 1959 in local dance halls. From 1963 to 1969 he promoted numerous shows at the Pavilion in Bath, including Gene Vincent, The Rolling Stones, Cream, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Pink Floyd and The Yardbirds.
His first festival event was the Bath Festival of Blues which was held on the Rec Ground in the city centre in 1969; the following year, the festival was moved to the much larger Bath and West Showground, attracting an audience of between 150,000-200,000.
Following his departure from Bath, Bannister founded the Knebworth Festival in 1974 and ran what would be the first of seven consecutive festivals there; these festivals were headlined by The Allman Brothers in 1974, Pink Floyd in 1975, The Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1976, Genesis in June 1978, Frank Zappa and Peter Gabriel in September 1978, and Led Zeppelin in 1979. Bannister's concert promotion company, Tredoar, was forced into liquidation in the early 1980s following a financial dispute with the management of Led Zeppelin over the 1979 festival.
Bannister was noted for his philosophy of "always giving the very best value for money" by keeping festival tickets at a reasonable cost, whilst also attempting to book the strongest programme possible. In 2003 he released his autobiography, entitled There Must Be a Better Way. RIP Freddy.
(Jim Evans)
20 August 2019

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