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Rehearsal Reveals ‘Bizarre And Spectacular’ Opening Ceremonies For London Olympics

Noah Kidron-Style /


Wednesday’s rehearsal of the July 27 opening ceremony,

“Isles of Wonder” for the London 2012 Olympics


By Noah Kidron-Style
Senior Reporter
LONDON – Following the wettest
British summer in memory, the start of the London Olympics has, in a moment of
real life pathetic fallacy, coincided with the sun finally coming up.

It has not been the easiest ride,
with security cock-ups, athletes getting lost and even the North Korean
football team storming off the pitch after the South Korean flag was displayed,
but tomorrow night the problems of organization will be forgotten as the world
tunes in with an expected global audience of up to 4 billion.

Last night was the final dress
rehearsal where 30,000 people, many of them Olympic volunteers, were given the
privilege of being the first few to witness the spectacle.
To avoid too many details leaking,
Director Danny Boyle has created a twitter campaign #savethesuprise,
so to avoid the inevitable wrath of the twitterati I cannot reveal all of the
details but I would say to those wishing to avoid any spoilers, look away now!
The ‘Isles of Wonder’ ceremony is
bizarre and spectacular in equal measure.
The show opens with a homage to the
poet William Blake as a rural idyll – complete with real livestock – and is
brought crashing down by a gang of cartoonish Victorian capitalists who bring
about the Industrial Revolution to the tune of the hymn “Jerusalem.”
A set of flying pyrotechnic Olympic
rings brings the first act to a close in stunning fashion.
From then on the show just gets
There is a film involving James Bond
and the Queen that I have yet to see, though rumor has it that she has a
speaking part. Then the surreal moment when hundreds of nurses team up with
Mary Poppins lookalikes to battle against a giant puppet Voldemort in Disneyesque
tribute to the National Health Service.
One thing that surprised me about
the show was the huge number of British historical and pop culture references
throughout. Perhaps our international readership can tell us whether Chariots
of Fire
, the Jarrow March and Fawlty Towers hold the same significance to
them, given that the ceremony will be watched from Cairo to Caracas.  One
hopes that they will embrace the madness regardless.
And madness it is. The musicians in
the London Philharmonic Orchestra who were so upset at being made to mime over
a recorded performance that they have refused to go to rehearsals, the national
anthem being sung by a deaf and hearing impaired choir and the 10-minute hit
parade of song clips and TV shows including an entirely appropriate performance
of Bonkers by UK hip hop artist Dizzee Rascal – all projected
onto an inflatable house.
Noah Kidron-Style /


Rehearsing the opening of the London 2012 Olympics

The organizers have claimed not to
be competing with China’s opening ceremony but it is inevitable that
comparisons will be made.
Whereas China impressed though
incredible synchronicity, London focuses on individuals each acting out their
own little scene as part of a larger performance. In any case with our top
hatted Victorian industrialists, we have proved that in the post-credit crunch
world, we, too, can do anti-capitalist propaganda. 
It seems that we are not so
different after all, and isn’t that the Olympic spirit?