Having very much enjoyed Surtra – the Sidi Larbi/ Shaolin monk/Antony Gormley kung-fu/dance-fest at the Hippodrome last week I’m on the lookout for a bit more contemporary dance. With Pilot Night on Thursday night at our place and Friday nights domestically in demand I may struggle to get to Dan Canham’s Ours Was The Fen Country which is a shame as it sounds like an intriguing idea and worth checking out.
Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category
The guy I sat next to on the first leg of the flight out spoke of flying as a limbo zone that makes people emotionally vulnerable. He was a nice chap but on this I’m not sure I agreed with him, anyway he recommended the film Searching For Sugarman which he had just watched and we parted. Dutifully I watched it on the return journey and – never mind limbo zone – it’s a really moving film. I’m sure being on a plane STOPPED me blubbingI A member of cabin crew was approaching to tidy away trays, one has to retain some measure of decorum. (more…)
I have been very much enjoying running a workshop for theatre makers here at the Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo. A significant pleasure, beyond the great bunch of people on the workshop, is working with a translator. I am learning miniscule pieces of Japanese but decided to start today with a very short English lesson.
Last night a conversation confirmed that the true richness of the word PLAY does not translate simply into Japanese. As the multiple readings of this word are key to Stan’s Cafe’s approach to theatre it seemed worth explaining how we stage a PLAY, how children PLAY (and adults can also be PLAYFUL) and how there can be a PLAY back and forth between two things. (more…)
Last night Fred, a brand new theatew company staged a preview of The Merchant of Venice @ A E Harris. There were strong performances and good, restrained use of three different playing spaces in the venue. My only other experience of the play was as a teenager, when I recall being shocked and dispirited that the play didn’t end when the whole – Shylock / Pound of Flesh – situation is resolved and that there was still another act to sit through. Here the action zips along and the comic elements of the play are to the fore, making it an enjoyable evening.
The 2012 Fierce Festival program seems to have something for everyone this year. On Saturday we started off a classic site-specific orienteering adventure in which you’ve had a good time before you even find the art. A trail of yellow fierce balloons guided us in off the Lichfield onto a canal tow path, under cavernous bridges to Graeme Miller’s Track. (more…)
As an earnest sixteen year old, a mentor of mine recommended a film “you’d like it James, it’s four hours long and nothing happens, it’s just people walking through the woods, no one says anything”. That turned out to be a factually inaccurate description of what turned out to be, not just a film I like, but perhaps a film I like more than any other: Stalker. (more…)
I was given the Steve Jobs Biography for Christmas. It is a quick and diverting read if you are interested in computers/technology/big business. There are some good anecdotes and some startling stories. Initially there seemed little that can be learned from the book and applied to Stan’s Cafe but my opinion is changing on that. Most valuable for me at the moment is some back up for my response to the questions that are starting to come in from undergraduates about our relationship with audiences. (more…)
It was tempting to relax in the warm evening air with friends beside the lake drinking a long cool German beer or two, but when you have a show on in a festival it is often tough to get to see other people’s shows in that festival. Here was a chance, I took it and glad I was.
Daniel Abreu is a Spanish Dancer/Choreographer, his solo dance piece Perro is riveting, witty, flirtatious, charged with life. His limbs appear to be those of different people, he transforms into a stag, gravity shifts, his limbs blur, he is a horse perhaps, he is a hundred different people for an instant. The piece is stripped down and minimal for passages until he presses the accelerator and whirls into overdrive. There is poise and flare and acting. The lighting is simple, bold and effective; the music distant and seductive and not always in charge.
I loved it.
It turns out that for over two decades I have been endowing People Show with a definite article they do not wish to claim! That must be infuriating for them, worse than my ire when an accent creeps onto the Cafe in Stan’s Cafe. Anyway, in a pathetic rearguard action to claw back some ground on this year’s Theatre Pledge I’m going to review People Show 121: The Detective Show as seen in THE Door at THE Rep. this Saturday.
On leaving the auditorium I overheard lots of comments about how ‘weird’ this show was. I was please because the show was well liked, but a little disheartened that is was regarded as strange. THIS SHOULD BE THE MAINSTREAM!
The Detective Show is great fun. It zips along as a murder mystery unfolds, jumping back and forth through time from interrogation room to narrative and back, occasionally pausing to extend a self-reflexive narrative about the performance of the show. The piece is tight and well structured, there are lots of good jokes, smart ideas and pleasing details. The three performances are strong, Gareth Brierley is smoothly engaging and amusing as Suspect and Trenchcoat clad Detective. People Show co-founder (in 1966!!) Mark Long, is hilarious, menacing and always charismatic in a host of roles. Both performers also play ‘themselves’ with Brierley lauding it over Long until the play’s final moments. This relationship adds a great extra fizz to the show but as a consequence rather muscles out Fiona Creese (also a significant proportion of Slot Machine). This is an observation more then a criticism, Creese plays the murder victim, a ruthlessly efficient detective and an enigmatic M. Poirot with skill and precision but has little room to work in.
The Detective Show isn’t about anything beyond itself and doesn’t need to be, it is a thoroughly engaging diversion. It unwraps itself steadily towards its conclusion and ends full exposed. It should be the mainstream and it’s a tragedy for People Show and for us all that it isn’t.
Years of packing vans for touring became mere training for yesterday’s great challenge, packing Apollo Steps (the vinyl cutter etc) and It’s Your Film INSIDE The Black Maze. Highly developed spatial reasoning and a modicum of brute strength did the trick in the end, so that lot is ready for Graeme to drive down to Montpellier once he gets back from Tokyo.
Meanwhile Jon, in his ever evolving quest to perfect sound arrangements for Of All The People In All The World, has delivered a beautiful box of tricks and chips too complicated to explain, which, in one bespoke silver unit delivers atmospherics, music, real-time time chimes and a ‘tannoy’. I’m taking it to Tokyo in my hand luggage and will post a photograph of its exterior in situ.
Jon was up to see The Modified Toy Orchestra. Last night’s gig was fantastic, beautifully structured, performed and played. It looked great, the sound was good – if a little genteel volume-wise and the music stunning. I’m never sure what the driving ambition of the MTO is, but if it is popular global acclaim then surely they have the package here to deliver that for them. I saw lots of familiar faces in the crowd, what did you think?