FILM REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Ben Whishaw & Julie Walters

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHEN?: Released in cinemas in the UK 21/12/18

We’re killing time between a Q&A and performance at Sloane Square’s Royal Court Theatre when we chance upon the 50 Smith Street home in Chelsea where Mary Poppins‘ author P.L.Travers lived and used as inspiration for the Cherry Tree Lane home of the Banks family in this.

  • Read on for reasons including why we shed a tear more than once during the film

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GIG REVIEW: Cardigans at the Eventim Apollo

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

WHERE? Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith

WHEN?: 7/12, last night of the current tour

SETLIST: Paralyzed; Erase/Rewind; Explode; Starter; Hanging Around; Higher; Marvel Hill; My Favourite Game; Do You Believe; Junk Of The Hearts; Nil; Live And Learn; For What It’s Worth; And Then You Kissed Me; Don’t Blame Your Daughter (Diamonds); You’re The Storm; I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need To Be Nicer; Communication; Iron Man; Carnival; Lovefool; 03.45: No Sleep

We last saw Sweden’s The Cardigans in Bristol in 1996 as Lovefool hit number 2 after featuring in Baz Luhrmann’s film Romeo + Juliet and years before the Gran Turismo album, which is played in its entirety here.

  • Read on for reasons including how the set twice included moments that had never affected the band before

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GIG REVIEW: Claire Richards at the Union Chapel

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE? Union Chapel

WHEN?: 6/12/18, last night of current tour

SETLIST: 7 Billion; End Before We Start; My Wildest Dreams; One For Sorrow; These Wings; All Out Of Love; Ruins; Deep Water; I’ll Never Love Again; Brave; Deeper Shade Of Blue; Liar; In My Blood; Don’t Leave Me In This Love Alone; Shame On Your; River Deep Mountain High; On My Own

While Steps bandmate Faye Tozer is kicking up a storm on Strictly Come Dancing, Claire Richards has completed a 4-date UK taster tour for a debut album that appears to be (almost) strictly power ballads.

  • Read on for reasons including which cover started it all for Claire in her Steps audition over 20 years ago

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GIG REVIEW: Florence And The Machine at The O2

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

SETLIST: June; Hunger; Between Two Lungs; Only If For A Night; Queen Of Peace; South London Forever; Patricia; Dog Days Are Over; 100 Years; Ship To Wreck; The End Of Love; Cosmic Love; Delilah: What Kind Of Man; Big God; Shake It Out

WHEN?: 21/11/18, tour runs to 29/6/19

Florence namechecks Greenwich, New Cross, Peckham and Camberwell as places she grew up ahead of new song South London Forever during this emotional hometown gig.

  • Read on for reasons including how a sky full of pink ticker tape fell on the audience throughout the encore

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GIG REVIEW: Christine And The Queens at Eventim Apollo

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

SETLIST: Comme Si; Girlfriend; Le G; Science Fiction; Make Some Sense; Les Paradis Perdus; iT; Feel So Good; Tilted; 5 Dollars; What’s Her Face; Here; the Stranger; Goya! Soda!; Damn; Nuit 17 a 52; Doesn’t Matter; The Walker; Saint Claude; Intranquillite

WHEN?: 20/11/18, tour runs until 10/3/19

The most striking thing about Christine And The Queens in the flesh is how Héloïse Letissier sings and moves so in sync with her half dozen-strong troupe of athletic dancers.

  • Read on for reasons including why they’re a band we think we should love more than we actually do

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GIG REVIEW: Culture Club, Belinda Carlisle, Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey at the SSE Arena

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

TTTB SETLIST: We Are Detective; Love On Your Side; Science Fiction: You Take Me Up; Lies; Lay Your Hands On Me; Doctor! Doctor!; Hold Me Now

WHEN?: 14/11/18, tour runs to 8/12/18

He may have been 3rd on the bill but Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey won a deserved acapella audience singalong of the chorus to 1983 classic Hold Me Now after his all-women band had finished it.

  • Read on for reasons including reviews of Belinda Carlisle and Culture Club

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GIG REVIEW: Sigrid at the O2 Brixton Academy

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

SETLIST: Sucker Punch; In Vain; Schedules; Plot Twist; Raw; High Five; Dynamite; I Don’t Want To Know; Fake Friends; Haunted; I Don’t Buy It; Savage In Our Blood; Go To War; Don’t Kill My Vibe; Focus; Credit; Strangers

WHEN?: 12/11/18

WHERE: O2 Brixton Academy

‘We need to hear that debut album – now’ we wrote when we last saw Sigrid in March at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and it is a sentiment that is much underscored tonight.

  • Read on for reasons including which arenas to see her in next year

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GIG REVIEW: Suede at the Eventim Apollo

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE?: Eventim Apollo

WHEN?: 12/10, tour runs until 14/10/18 (more dates likely, see link below)

SETLIST: As One; Wastelands; Outsiders; We Are The Pigs; So Young; Heroine; The Drowners; He Is Dead; Tides; Roadkill; Sabotage; Dolly; It Starts And Ends With You; Filmstar; Metal Mickey; Trash; Animal Nitrate; Pantomime Horse; The 2 Of Us; The Invisibles; Flytipping; Beautiful Ones; Life Is Golden

Ask us what our favourite ever gig is and we’d probably say Suede at Portsmouth Pyramids in 1993 because it was the 1st time we felt we had ever found our tribe.

  • Read on for reasons including which song Suede played for the 1st time in 26 years

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THEATRE REVIEW: The Height Of The Storm starring Dame Eileen Atkins & Jonathan Pryce

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

WHERE?: Wyndhams Theatre RUN TIME: 80 minutes (no interval)

WHEN?: 6/10, press night 9/10, runs to 1/12/18

French playwright Florian Zeller is interviewed in the programme and declares: ‘For me, theatre is above all the place for questions and not answers – for doubt more than certainty and conviction.’

  • Read on for reasons including how Dame Eileen Atkins is terrific in the role of the protective wife

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