The Little Match Girl tale revealed…

Hans Christian Andersen’s most famous tales include The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling, but it is his Little Match Girl story that captivated cabaret star, Meow Meow.  ‘He captures abuse, exile and abandonment as familiar conditions – and food, warmth, love, beauty and spirituality as fundamental human needs, not just wishful hallucinations.’

Illustration by Arthur Rackham

Hans Christian Andersen’s heart-wrenching story of the poor match-seller who freezes to death one New Year’s Eve was first published in 1845. The image of the bare-footed, blonde-haired child, outside on this ‘most terribly cold’ night, trying to warm herself with the matches she is supposed to be selling, resonated with all who read it in those dark, Dickensian days of child labour, cruelty and poverty. Surrounded by the houses of rich merchants, with the snow coming down, the little match girl takes shelter in a nook. She strikes her matches against a brick wall and through the bright flare sees images of a better life: a festive table laid with a roast goose; a magnificent Christmas tree with thousands of lights; a shooting star; and the loving face of her grandmother. But in a chilling finale, by dawn she is dead, frozen stiff still clutching her bundles of matches.

There is a meaningful message to be found beneath Meow Meow’s bizarre cabaret of wildness, wit and glamour. Not only is it a re-telling of Andersen’s story, says the performer, but it is ‘a reminder of the thousands of little match girls and boys sleeping rough every night in Australia’. Between musical vignettes and high-kicking theatrics, Meow Meow shares moments of frailty and incisive social commentary. She doesn’t offer an answer to the problem of homelessness; rather she uses a simple fairy tale to challenge the crowd in a rollicking, rousing performance.

 

Catch Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall from 13 – 30 December. Get tickets and watch trailer here. 

 

Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl opens tomorrow! We interview the woman herself!

Little Match Girl. Photo Magnus Hastings

Little Match Girl. Photo Magnus Hastings

 

Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl opens tomorrow night for the UK premiere of this award-winning show. We caught up with Meow Meow herself and asked her a few questions. The full interview is available in the Little Match Girl programme.

What’s your favourite thing about winter?
‘Glühwein, the miraculousness of snow, the strange, surreal places that the brain takes one when there is very little sunlight …’

How do you prepare for a performance?
‘A little ballet barre, some vocal pyrotechnics, a fabulous outfit and a whiff of martini …’

Is it important to you that audiences are shocked?
‘ I’m passionate about live performance, music and its potential to heal and to incite. One does want to invigorate, even if desperate measures are called for …’

‘As my musical director Lance Horne says, “In a Meow Meow show you may not be moved, but you will be touched!”’

On audience participation:
‘It’s never about making someone look silly – aside from myself. I’m much more into pursuing audience engagement. It’s about getting the message out there. The fact that sometimes it’s my leg that I’m asking to be placed over a shoulder is a boon for some lucky punter, let’s face it.’

On different audiences:
‘I’m lucky enough to have thrown myself at audiences in China, the US, Europe, Australia … even the town of Tanaki in New Zealand has had to bear me (literally). Singing Brecht at a bar in Berlin is quite different to singing it at Lincoln Center in New York.’

Do you think Andersen would be a fan of the show?
‘Well, he did have a passion for a lady in a tutu …’

Catch Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall from 13 – 30 December 2012. Get tickets and watch trailer here.

Watch trailer – Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl

After her starring role Kneehigh Theatre’s West End hit The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, international cabaret sensation Meow Meow comes to Southbank Centre this Christmas with a sizzling show that will defrost even the coldest of hearts.

Catch Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of The Winter Festival from 13 – 30 December 2012. Get tickets here. 

Rolf Harris in a rare performance at Royal Festival Hall

Tickets went on sale this week to An Evening with Rolf Harris – a rare performance from the 82-year-old artist, musician, singer and TV presenter. You’ll get the chance to hear his classic songs accompanied by his seven-piece band, wobble board and possibly the world’s largest didgeridoo. Plus Rolf will be painting a special portrait live on stage.

The nation’s favourite Aussie, who in 2010 made his sixth appearing at Glastonbury before a record breaking 130,000 audience, will appear for one night only in February 2013. Snap up your tickets before they’re gone!

Rolf Harris

Catch Rolf Harris at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Friday 8 February 2013. Get tickets here. 

Trailer from comedy legends, The Horne Section

Catch The Horne Section at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall from 30 October – 2 November. Get tickets here. 

Photos: London International Mime Festival 2013

Circle of Eleven, photo: Andy Phillipson

Wolfe Bowart in Letter's End, photo: David Wyatt

Compagnie 111/ Aurélien Bory , photo: Aglae Bory

My!Laika, photo: Mona

 

Circle of Eleven, photo: Heiko Kalmbach

 

Wolfe Bowart in Letter's End, photo: David Wyatt

 

Compagnie 111/ Aurélien Bory, photo: Aglae Bory

 

Wolfe Bowart in Letter's End, photo: David Wyatt

 

Circle of Eleven, photo: Heiko Kalmbach

 

Southbank Centre is proud to be a venue for the 2013 London International Mime Festival, 12 – 27 January. Get tickets here.

Frisky & Mannish confirmed as guests for The Horne Section

Frisky & Mannish descirbe themselves as ‘popmusicy-seriocomic-mashparodic-stereophonic-LOUD-vaudevillian-sketchcabaret-throwbackcurrent-oldfangled-newfashioned-bapsbotty-infotainment. Or, to be succinct, we tit around with pop songs.’

Frisky and Mannish, photo: Idil Sukan

Next week they join The Horne Section on Friday 2 November as special guests alongside Dave Gorman for a night of spontaneous stand-up, spectacular performance and outlandish musical talent.


Listen to Frisky & Mannish with The Horne Section in their rendition of Rihanna’s Rude Boy in the style of The Bee Gees.

Catch Frisky & Mannish and The Horne Section at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth on Friday 2 November. Get tickets here.