Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Royal Ballet’s worldwide cinema broadcast of the mesmerizing Sleeping Beauty showcases a spellbinding performance between Steve McRae and Sarah Lamb which captivates a wistful audience *****

By Mary Grace Nguyen

The Royal Ballet broadcasted a live performance of this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty, with Boston born Sarah Lamb as Princess Aurora and Aussie born Steven McRae as Prince Florimund, for our starry romantic duo. In 1,400 cinemas in over 32 countries, thousands came to see Dame Monica Mason’s and Christopher Newton’s production that has continued the legacy of Dame Ninette de Valois - a revival production at Covent Garden previously known as the Sadler’s Well Ballet in 1946.

    (Morgot Fonteyn played Aurora in 1946 at the Sadler's Well Ballet)

Sleeping Beauty is a classically mesmerizing ballet piece and a reminder of childhood nostalgia through a world-renowned fairy tale. The ballet is a story of hope and love conquering over evil which Tchaikovsky’s magical music score of harps and strings recreated, combining grandeur and fairy dust into a wonderful masterpiece. Marius Petipa’s choreography is astounding, following the music precisely from every hand gesture to every turn, allowing the dancers to show off their true brilliance to a wistful audience. In addition, every detail is significant from all storyland characters, dancers and non-dancers, from King Florestan XXIV, acted by Christopher Saunders, to Cattalabutte (Alastair Marriott) whose miming adds to a cleverly thought out ensemble creating what we see at the Royal Ballet today. With the choreography and musical changes made by Frederick Ashton, Antony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon over time, it has managed to retain its world-class status as one of the greatest ballets in history.

                                                Cattalabutte performed by Alastair Marriott 

The Royal Ballet manages to implement a timeless quality to the ballet and it was originally Oliver Messel who designed the 1946 production to which the charming décor, flamboyant costumes and mesmerizing staging owes its credit. The Royal Ballet has left the production relatively unchanged in this sense, to keep the tradition as part of their signature heritage.

Darcell Bussel, one of the Royal Ballet’s own ballerinas, hosted the live presentation that followed a host of historical footage of the production and interviews with the ballet dancers and production directors including Kevin O’ Hare, and Alexander Agadhanov, one of the principal coaches.

The prologue is an opulent gathering with elaborate pastel costumes introducing the individual personalities of the adorable six fairies. Canari qui chante was perfectly handled by Francesca Hayward who showed us an impish canary who hovered and vibrated her hands from behind her back to the twittering of piccolo and flute. Violente, or the tempestuous fairy, danced by Elizabeth Harrod presented a fiery passion through darted pliés, finger variations and alternating her arms from one side to the other. Laura McCulloch, as the Lilac Fairy, flowed amiably across the stage, whilst Carrabossa, re-lived through Kristen McNally, showed a prettier evil fairy that prior productions would have portrayed as more grotesque. Nevertheless McNally managed to achieve a malificent performance with exaggerated gestures with the help of her devilish rats.
(Elizabeth Harrod in the Nut Cracker)
 (Francesca Hayward in the Nut Cracker)

The corps de ballet during the Garland Waltz in Act 1 is an idyllic scene where our principal ballerina, Lamb, makes her debut. During an interview, Agadzhanov said how technically challenging Lamb’s part is as it is technically artistic and repetitive at the same time. She has to retain an ‘effervescent’ quality when she employs her moves but at this performance it was a rather shaky start as she found difficulty finding her balance with the four princes twirling her slowly in full circle. However, she still captivated the audience through a violin solo as part of the famous Rose Adagio. Not only does Lamb look like a young and vulnerable Princess Aurora, who is 16 years old in the fairytale, her 90-degree arabesques, series of spirals and accurately timed moments of arrival were engaging. Her leaps and steps backwards presenting a state of delirium when her finger is pricked by a spindle are sweet yet terrifying at the same time.
   Sarah Lamb

The handsome red haired McRae enters in Act 2 playing a charming prince who pines and longs for something new and mysterious. Yet, it is in Act 3 where he is at his prime and shows us a ferocious and electrifying performance during the solo adagio. He confidently makes classically difficult ballet moves look effortless including the low sauts de basque. It is a thrill to watch him as he spins ravishingly faster and faster which won him the loudest applause for the night.

                                                     McRae had the loudest applause for the night

The Sumptuous Wedding in Act 3 showcases the skills of all storyland characters. Florestan and his two sisters, performed by James Hay, Elizabeth Harrod and Beatriz Stix-Brunell were exemplary and Yuhui Choe, as the Princess Florine was a smiling diamond. A change of tone was delivered by the playful, paw scratching and hip swaying Sabina Westcombe and Ryoichi Hirano who performed as the entertaining Puss-in-boots and White Cat. The final act ended with the energy and harmony between McRae and Lamb that was replicated in their swopping fish dives at the Grand Pas De Deux that proved to be a spellbinding partnership. 

                                                          Yuhui Choe - Smiling Diamond

Throughout the night, an excited audience was tweeting from across the world from as far as Portugal, France, Milan and Madrid. ‘Spectacular’ and ‘Belissimo’ were the mentioned key words on twitter followed by McRae’s and Lamb’s names. A special mention should be given to Mark Jonathan and Christopher Carr who managed to convey the Panorama scene in Act 2 by cleverly coordinating the stage and successfully executing a gentle, thick and smoke-like mist to recreate the ‘cloud of unknowing.’ Unfortunately for us at the Vue Piccadilly, we lost 2 minutes' footage of the final Apotheosis but irrespective of that, it was pure mystical genius we were listening to while we waited to see the grand finale. 

(Swopping fish dives at the Grand Pas De Deux)

300: The Rise of an Empire - SPOILER ALERT: Carnage, valiant speeches, breasts, rampant sex and blood, which is thrown on the screen for unneeded impact

The excessive hype of the release of 300: The Rise of an Empire last week was unnecessary given the recognition of the first 300 movie in 2006. Zack Synder's original movie combined Greek mythology, 480 B.C history, Frank Miller's comic illustrations and 21st century green-screen special effects which was an epic success. It also received attention from Men's Health magazine readers for obvious reasons - muscles, abs and a lot of it.

 (Synder's 2006 movie - 300 with Gerald Butler)

However, this sequel is a visually hazy movie that blurs faces and illuminates its backdrop scenery by its special effect bravado which is slightly off putting. Throughout the movie there are tiny dots that look like gold dust or fluffs of barley that distract viewers from the actual goings on in the scene. Perhaps the audience is meant to be reminded that this movie is set in an quasi imaginary time and place, and is relentlessly unreal. But doesn't this negates the purpose of sfx in the first place? 

Another disappointment is that viewers won't get the shredded abs and muscular gloss and shine achieved in the first movie. There is no replacement for the hunky Gerald Butler or Michael Fassbender to please our eyes but there are some hard Athenian torsos that may make some slup or raise an brow or two. Our main hero Themistocles, casted by Sullivan Stapleton who is actually from Australia plays a strong and charismatic leader that sadly doesn't have the same testosterone fueled Scottish command as Leonidas (Butler.) Stapleton is his own leader and despite not being within the same league as the mighty Spartan King, he comes across most convincing in the second half of the film after butchering hundreds of Persians and cutting a captain's head in two just like a water melon.

 (Stapleton as Themistocles)

The real tables have turned in this film as it is Artemisia (Eva Green,) who is famous for her Bond girl title in Casino Royale, that is the object of causation for the entire 300 saga who supposedly manipulated the golden jewellery King, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) in the first place. She encouraged him to storm and conquer the world and rid it of anything and anyone unwilling to submit to Persia and his cheesy "divine and unpenetrable power" The film portrays Artemisia's sword fighting and cut throat action in the Persian crusade and more importantly, her sex, her sexiness and domineering le femme warrior attributes. Her goth-like stoicism for war and fetish fabulous couture is somewhat attractive not forgetting her breasts too which the director, Noam Murro, notably magnified to impress a frustrated audience.

                                                                 (Eva Green is Artemisia)

 Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro)

Much like the first, there is a lot of killing, dead bodies, valiant speeches that echo  Mel Gibson's epic speech in 'BraveHeart', rampant sex, swearing and blood, which is thicker and thrown on the screen for unneeded impact. The movie acts a tiny bit as a prequel and only goes as far as Leonidas' and his 300 spartas martydon so it's not much of a sequel to talk about. Yet his spartan queen (Lena Headey) is back and plays a loyal and confidant wife just as influential as the first movie.

 (Athenians in action)

Like any sequel, this film does not live up to the critical acclaim as the first but what is most worrying is that it does not even match the graft or filmography employed in the 2006 epic. The spartans were tenacious, die hard warriors, ready to sacrifice their lives in spartan style, while these Greeks depicted here were average humans trying to triumph. It is a great disappointment for the audience that got so much the first time round to see hardly any resemblance in the second. Even the Immortals with their oriental silver masks appeared somewhat afraid and unsure of their dwindling abilities in this film. This isn't the gun-ho movie you were expected I am afraid. I suggest you save your cash and wait for the DVD version if you can.

Ben Falk - Entertainment journalist and visiting lecturer at Birkbeck University on his passion for Hollywood movies and the moment he almost spilled a drink on Natalie Portman

Why did you decide to get into entertainment journalism? 
I fell into entertainment journalism mainly because my dad was actually a film critic and I remember quite early on going to film previews like going for my 10th or 11th birthday to Howard the Duck preview screening. I seemed to love movies and it transformed from there and that’s where I got into the whole showbiz spiel.

Why did you write the books you wrote such ‘The Rise and Fall of Robert Downing JR’ or your most recent book, ‘The Wonders of Brian Cox?’
It is a good test for a journalist to write a book because we are used to writing 400 or 1200 word pieces. This gave me an excuse to delve into something deeper and try to write something well thought which I think is a real skill.

Did you get to meet Brian Cox or Robert Downing Jr.?
Oh no! They were unauthorised biographies. You don’t need to have permission to do them as such. Brian Cox, I interviewed before I did the book. I was actually commissioned to write the Brian Cox book. As for Robert Downing Jr., he is such an interesting guy and I love his movies. I thought it would be a great story to tell.

You’ve covered the Oscars, Emmy’s and Golden Globes at Hollywood. How glamorous is it really?
Yeah it is. I wish I can say otherwise but there are elements of it that aren’t like the fact that the Oscars’ red carpet starts around 3 or 4pm in the afternoon Hollywood time. So you have to be there at midday and sit out in the sun for quite a long time in a tuxedo…it’s quite hot and there’s a lot of waiting around. Seeing all these people walk past is incredible however, especially when you get to go backstage and experience it from the auditorium.

And would you go back?
Yeah, I would love to do it again. Blagging your way into a party is always fun. I remember almost spilling a drink on Natalie Portman once and going to… what was it called? Oh, Elton John’s Oscar party. Free champagne obviously and I did some work for the red carpet so we got to see Elton John and John Legend sing ‘Rocket Man’ duet and I think Prince and Pamela Anderson. So it is glamorous in that way but obviously you have worked the whole day so by 10 o’clock that night you’re absolutely exhausted in a really good way, on a high.

You’ve also produced for the likes of Channel 4 and Sky. Is this something separate to your journalism career or have you used producing shows and pod casts as another form of entertainment journalism?
Producers are journalists or at least they should be. I was doing segments for TV shows and working on breakfast shows choosing content, editorialising the content, making it feel journalistic, compelling and executing it. So I was writing scripts, reviews and raddling talent. It is absolutely journalistic.

We tend to have negative pre-conceptions of working at a newspaper as stressful and chaotic. Was this the case when you were at the Sun newspaper?
I was actually a freelancer there. Hmm, not really, however, when I worked at the press association office, it is hard work and now it seems harder since I left. The turn over of content is huge.

What made you decide to take on teaching? And why, Birkbeck University?
When I started out in Journalism I was aware of how important it was to have someone giving you shots. I learnt on the job really and I would practice on my own but no one particularly other than my dad, I suppose, helped me. Someone taking you under their wing is important. So every journalist needs someone to say, ‘this is how you do it,’ but everyone is busy these days and it happens less and less. You need to be in multi-media. You need to be able to shoot and edit, work with different mediums and be a positive force in some way to make people think that journalism is an enjoyable thing to be part of.

In terms of Birkbeck, I like the flexibility in that it is during the night and there are good, nice people. There is no particular reason as when you are a freelancer, you take any job and that’s how you treat it as.

So you write books, produce, have a television pod casts, write articles for big media names and teach - how do you manage your time? 
I write fast so I write quickly as I get going. I decompartmentalize a lot and figure out what I am doing. Be prepared to work weekends and nights that’s why it is important to enjoy and be passionate about what you want to do.

Do you have a diary or check list?
No. I write lists, lots and lots of lists that I tick off on that yellow ‘things to do’ pad.

What is your greatest and most memorable moment in your career so far?
(Laughs) That is a really hard question. The greatest moment is writing a book. Writing a book, finishing a book, having it in your hands and seeing it there in a shop is pretty amazing. The Robert Downing Jr. one was by myself and it was really hard work.

Some of the people I have met are fun that’s part of memorable things. Like going on a junket to New York to meet Julia Roberts. One of the great things about journalism is the comradery. There will be a group of us going to the junket and we would do stuff together. I remember my friend, Colin, and I flew first class to New York and it was totally awesome. We went to a junket in Athens and it was someone’s birthday out there. We went out there for work but we were by the pool and Vinnie Jones was learning his lines for his next film in the hot tub. We also went out for someone’s birthday and visited the Acropolis. And was thinking what a great job this is. I mean I love talking about films and talking to movie stars like Angelina Jolie, who I also interviewed there. It’s running to the Oscars and covering it. I had to get to a party but because it’s Oscars night Hollywood is blocked and there are so many limos around that you can’t get anywhere. It is gridlock and I had to file my copy from the back stage still in a tuxedo. I sent my copy back home and then I ran down to try and find a cab to get to this party. It is things like that that is a weird thing to do for a job but it is cool.

Where do you think Journalism is going?
I am comparatively old. I am 37 and there is a whole raft of people that are two generations of journalists below me that are doing things that are really innovative but I think that ultimately there are still readers that still want to read papers and magazines. So I think print is not going anywhere but how we treat print maybe different and more like a luxury item. I know a lot of magazines and media conglomerates are spending money on tablet journalism so soon we will read our paper on tablet. But journalism is not going to change. We still need to find stories, hold people to account, review records, or whatever you want. The things journalists do on a day to day won’t change but new journalists will be able to do a lot more. I think the journalists coming through now will, hopefully or certainly the people I teach.

Any advice for amateur journalists who want to make a mark in the world?
Remember that journalism is a craft and you can’t get good at it straight away. Writing my opinions is not what journalism is. It is not just about saying what you think. Realising that quickly is already important. You have to practice and it takes people a long time to get really good at it. You have to love the media and you have to love reading. You have to cover yourself with media until you become part of the media you want to be in. You have to love reading the papers and be part of the magazine. Just be a part of it and just enjoy reading, watching and also understanding what you are good at and what you are not good at. Also finding a niche quite early on and I don’t mean something that you can only do but having a focus from the get go is really useful.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Reeps One - Debut art exhibition of the Beatboxing Champ

A.D.O (Attention, Deficit and Order) is Reeps One aka Harry Yeff debut art exhibition that brings his musical talent - beat boxing - into the visual art world. Winner of the numerous beatbox championships and described by NME as a “vocal percussion on another level”, Yeff managed to impress spectators last night through his cleverly fresh exhibition that was categorized into four aspects: ‘visual art, sonic musical performance, the union of the audio and visual and the theoretical, neurological and anatomical insight.’ The exhibition may sound like a mouth full, but turned back cap Yeff spoke to everyone and anyone about his art, bringing clarity and order to what appeared disorderly.

Yeff is original, as a performance artist and visual artist that can talk articulately about why and how he creates what he does. The force behind the exhibition derives from Yeff’s past where he was initially diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and dyslexia at a very young age. However, by human error, he was told later on that it was a misdiagnosis.  Through this experience, he expresses how irrelevant labels and names are in people’s mental processes, which society says otherwise. 

As you enter the exhibition, you see a flawless girl’s face photographed by Ben Hopper, with thick pen marks and trails prescribed by Yeff called ‘Slant Array#3.’  Then, enter the first room with a chess board in the centre surrounded by a mass of what looks like graffiti art through over indulgent black felt tip pen marks and cartoon drawings on large white pieces of paper. However, on closer inspection, it’s actually logical. Yeff’s piece, ‘Beatbox Theory’ presents his thought processes and musical sequences when producing sounds with his mouth. Through ‘Marks and Thought Process,’ a collection of 12 paper drawings, Yeff explained how the chessboard and its players go through a paradox when strategizing which pieces to move that suddenly transform into a spontaneous reaction which represents his thinking process as he draws.



In one room, viewers can watch videos of Yeff producing art, beat boxing in the studio and performing at the Elgar Rooms at the Royal Albert Hall. In another room, there was an opportunity for people to attempt beat boxing on the mike and watch their vocal cords produce symmetrical cymatic patterns. 


The highlight of the night was his live audio and visual performance where he beatboxed a combination of deep funky house, jungle and dub step tunes. Behind him was a backdrop of a live view of a speaker with white power and liquid bouncing, fluttering and shaking to the vibrations of his beatboxing bass sounds with the support of Linden Jay and Zach Walker.

Some may think Yeff’s art conveniently sits with Banksy and Shepard Fairey but since he is an established music artist as well, his work won't need to fit in. He has set a new trend, which he has clearly conveyed. The exhibition runs until the 27th but this Saturday 22nd he shall be drawing live and beatboxing in the dark. 

Jeff Rawle on living life on the edge, not forgetting your glasses and the challenge of playing 10 prominent characters that influenced Margaret Thatcher.

Jeff Rawle, famous for his sinister role as Silias Blissett from Channel 4’s ‘Hollyoaks’ and Amos Diggory from blockbuster movie ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, talked to me from a small room with a bowl of soup in front of him. It was his lunch break and the soup was kindly offered by the stage management team of the West End theatre where the play, ‘Handbagged’, will be shown this April since its move from the original Tri-cycle stage
(Rawle as Amos Diggory, father of Cedric played by Robert Pattinson from the Harry Potter movie) 
Rawle explained how excited he was to be back with the cast members from last year’s production directed by the Tri-cycle theatre’s own Indhu Rubasingham. ‘It’s the fourth day from a four-month break. It’s lovely! It’s a chance to have another go and revisit the proof reads. We have Moira Boffini, the writer, with us at rehearsals and tweaking things.’
Last year, the play sold out immediately due to its interesting nature, which looks at Thatcher’s historical and political reign. Rawle has the challenging task of playing 10 characters for ‘Handbagged’ which he described as ‘a funny, engaging and witty 80s play about Thatcher’s remarkable right into power and her relationship with the Queen and others like Ronald Reagan.’
Having had a fair share of playing multiple characters at the National Theatre’s Cocktail Sticks’ and The Power of Yes’, Rawle thrives on playing characters of different ranges and in this case that includes Jerry Adams, Geoffrey Howe, Ronald Regan, Dennis Thatcher, Prince Philip, Michael Heseltine, Neil Kinnock and Peter Carrington. “It is  almost impossible especially when you’re coming off and on stage in a fast speed. Sometimes you literally have three lines to change from one character onto the next. It’s fraught with disaster, especially coming on with the wrong hat or forgetting your glasses. Apart from Neil Kinnock, that is.’  Nonetheless, the hassle of grabbing his characters’ props on time hasn’t stopped him from loving them. He acknowledges Reagan’s talents with the camera and microphone as a former actor himself, but saw that Howe was closely aligned to his range physically and vocally. ‘I never voted Conservative but I thought he was sensible, erudite and a bit of a dark horse. He was the one who brought Thatcher down and spoke sense when he made that remarkable speech.’ Rawle even had the pleasure of working with Kinnock whilst filming Channel 4’s comedy show, ‘Drop the Dead Donkey.’ 
Rawle told me how he loves cooking and reading in his spare time. ‘Doing nothing is quite an art for me as I am always doing something.’ He described the trials and tribulations he experienced in his 40-year acting career where he learnt to follow good plays and writers, guessed where his next role was coming from and ‘live life on the edge,’ but not in the cool and wild sense. Yet, he is looking out for his next role, ideally something classic like Shakespeare. 
(Rawle as Silias Blissett from ‘Hollyoaks’)
As we ended our conversation, he gave me a personal account on how ‘Handbagged’ compared to Britain during the 80s. He said: “It makes you feel empowered after watching ‘Handbagged’ especially when you are old like me and had lived through it and on a day-to-day basis. I didn’t realise what was happening around me in a dangerous way and to sit back and watch it played out -10 years - in front of you is amazing. The Tri-cycle play is all razzle-dazzle and we deserve to be at the West End because we sold out quick last year.’ Be sure to get your ticket now. 
‘Handbagged’ will showcase at the Vaudeville Theatre from the 3rd April to the 2nd August 2014.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

‘The Big Debate: Should we contract our sex lives’ - Royal Court Theatre - Big Ideas Debate - March 2014

‘The Big Debate: Should we contract our sex lives,’ was a discussion amongst academics and play writers and their particular views of sexualizing partnership which took place at the Royal Court Theatre. This lively debate was organized following the theatre’s opening of the play, ‘The Mistress Contract’ by Abi Morgan. Libby Purves, presenter of BBC Radio 4 and columnist for The Times chaired the event and gave some interesting commentary to keep the debate’s juices flowing.

Alecky Blythe, the playwright for ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ drew on her interviews over the course of 18 months with self-made prostitutes from Eatbourne Brothel.  ‘Often these working girls felt they were relieving tensions through sex which was something absent at their client’s home’ and ‘keeping their marriages on track.’ As providers of conversation, hugs, sex and personality, Blythe also spoke of them as having distraught feelings and ‘broken cracks’ that came in cycles which was as hurtful as ‘splitting someone in half.’ Contracted sexual lives are evident here, but it was all a false hope based on how desirable they were to men, which they misconstrued as sexual empowerment. 

Professor Sophie Day, anthropologist at Goldsmiths (University of London) speaks from her ethnographic study during the 1980s. Much of the sex workers she had spoken to were realists and had a pragmatic approach towards their line of work which led some to believe, ‘when you say I do, it’s more of a promise… like a fairy tale romance of what might happen.’ When Day was asked about the debate, however she replied, ‘should we contract’ – I don’t know.’

Lynne Segal, Birkbeck University’s anniversary professor and academic in feminist theory and politics, had a slightly more aggressive take on the debate but gave an honest answer - ‘no.’ With much reference to Abi Morgan’s play and feminist philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir, she felt the mistress contract was an ‘illusion’ as she said, ‘ we, women are not here to titillate.’ She even spoke of female students today who become escorts to finance their education as a ‘worrying’ and ‘perilous’ act that should not be an option. 

(Left to Right: Purves, Day, Blythe, Segal and Tatchall)

Peter Tatchell, activist for LGBT, human rights and global justice based his judgments on his research in Thailand with male gay escorts who at their own free will prefer contracting their sex lives for earning potential compared to work at the rice fields. He suggests we abolish western practices and consider ‘flexible,’  ‘democratic’ and customized contracts that suit peoples’ circumstances extending to beneficiaries and next of kin which contracts them to certain ‘rights and responsibilities.’

There was a slightly rushed Q & A session that dealt with interesting topics including sex and the media, war and monogamy. A general consensus was not concluded on the debate, but from Blythe and Tatchell, they seemed fairly positive. To end the debate, Purves asked the audience a show of hands to those who ‘believe in monogamy… and to those who didn’t,’ and it was only a few wary hands that were left hanging at this point.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Response to Alain de Botton ‏@alaindebotton Dating sites pretend to want to unite people, but in essence, they break them apart: http://www.philosophersmail.com/180314-relationships-match.php

Match.com has got it right and this fact is justified through the evidence. A high number of people, as much as 30% in 2010, who subscribed to the site found their marital partner yet how they came to finding them is not as clear cut as it would seem.

Match.com appears to put all your preferences through a filtering system that designates your profile with others, which matches yours. However, this is not the only way that members on the site have operated and used this. Match.com gives you the option to chose and search what to look for and there is much flexibility to be as ruthless or as lenient about the person you would like to meet.

Admittedly, as convenient it might be to meet someone who is your 'match', who likes to watch the same movies, read the same books or drink the same beers as you, these similarities are not enough to hold down a worthwhile relationship. Interests and hobbies work well in the short term as a temporary measure for a pleasant honey mood period, but it does not compensate for when it gets serious and house bills need to be paid, personal dramas develop and arranging child minders to look after the kids, for example.

It is an ideal to have someone who can match all your preferences whether it be personality, intellectual equivalent or simply interests alone. Compatibility is entirely separate thing and means more than associated interests. Compatibility is when one can structure a life around someone else who they genuinely care about and can see a future with. You can look at various examples in literature. Refer to Shakespeare's sonnets as he had much to say about love being blind (I am sure.) There is the prominent ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and what a mess considering the feud between their families. Another great example is the couple in Ian McEwan's 'Enduring Love' where the protagonist is an atheist scientist while is wife is his antithesis, an English literary academic that spends her time studying books of love and poetry by Keats. You may shake your head in disagreement and tell me that love stories are not true representations of reality, but one thing is certain and that is we do not chose who to love. Our emotions decide that (or chemical reactions, not pheromones, for the modern day scientist.)
There is a lot of value to be had from dating websites and match.com is just one option. Unfortunately, we also have to deal with the useless fakers on these sites but, there are obvious clues and alarm bells of those who take advantage looking for a fling or mere company. If one is head strong, they will see through the smoke screens and get out of the date fast. It is simple - if you don't think the person in front of you is compatible with you and even if it is your gut instinct, just walk away. You cannot rationalise a relationship nor can you calculate who you will be your perfect match. 

Perhaps, we should have a www.compatibility.com instead...