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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

Birmingham Wholesale Market occupies a huge site, 28 acres of prime real estate a mere apple’s throw from New Street Station. It seemed inevitable that redevelopment and the commercial imperative would catch up with the vast 1970s concrete warehouses and that time has finally arrived; the traders have moved out, the bulldozers are on the horizon and squeezed in between, to conduct the last rites, are Friction Arts with their performance event Everything Must Go. Continue reading “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” »

This

Friday, April 13th, 2018

This – a new performance from Tate n Lyle on Vimeo.

One privilege I have is that people often invite me to art stuff and occasionally I am able to attend. Yesterday at DanceXchange a duo called Timber and Battery shared a work they have in progress called This. Avid followers of this blog will know that I have reservations about the ‘WiP’ concept but this was fun and very much resembled a finished performance.

This is currently a 30-40 minutes long structured improvisation in which two performers explore the fabric and function of two fold-away tables. A time-lapse video (posted above) gives you some sense of what happens but also completely misrepresents the piece.

As audience members we are free to explore, to watch from a distance or come close and inspect how the mass produced objects have gained individuality through use. The performers help us study each table’s detail, the rivets, the hinges, the caps, coated metal and polymer. We have demonstrated to us each table’s geometry, its balance points, movements, squeaks and judders. We watch with concern as the material limits of each table are tested in ways the designers and manufacturers can never have imagined them being tested.

This stripped-down, performance style with its limited vocabulary of isolated words “this”, “that”, “here” is direct and engaging, bringing to mind the playful work of one of my performance heroes Gary Stevens. With the occasional lull I enjoyed This very much.

Afterwards there was a bit of a chat with the artist for which four of us audience stayed to contribute our observations. If This comes near you I’d urge you to see it and tell me what you think.

Black Men Walking in Coventry + Choke

Monday, February 19th, 2018

Coventry is already reaping a dividend from its forthcoming City of Culture status: it’s become a Stan’s Cafe theatrical destination of choice. Last week we were there to see Graeme surfing Chris O’Connell’s script in the Theatre Absolute production Choke and the week before two trips went to the Belgrade Studio to see Tyrone Huggins in Black Men Walking presented by Eclipse Theatre. Both trips reminded me how much I like going to the theatre. Continue reading “Black Men Walking in Coventry + Choke” »

Rock Hard

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

There’s a gem of a museum embedded in Birmingham University and now this fact has been acknowledged nationally. The Lapworth Museum of Geology has just been shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year award. Roisin and I went there this afternoon to learn about what all the fuss is about and it turns out the fuss is about a beautifully designed, beautifully laid out museum full of amazing objects. Continue reading “Rock Hard” »

Recommends

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

So here are a few things I like all together in the same place. James Richardson, Constantin Brancusi and the film Arrival.

Richardson for a long time did arch punditry on Italian football for British TV whilst drinking coffee and riffling through the Italian sports press outside cafes in Italy. Now we hosts a twice weekly football punditry podcast from a recording studio in The Guardian offices and runs his own film review series Jimbo Vision hosted on YouTube. Though it’s probably possible to overdose on the urbane shtick I think he is fantastic, the way he references Constantin Brancusi’s Bird in Space in this review of Arrival makes my heart sing. It’s possible to be erudite, cultured, witty, speak two languages fluenty and know a lot about football, this man is the living proof.

He’s not massively keen on Arrival. I was taken to see it over the weekend and thought it was fantastic. It plays to loads of the things I love in art, including spending a good amount of time not quite knowing what’s going on. How many films are there in which a woman saves the world by being very clever?

Good Things

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Sometimes it happens, rarely, but sometimes it does; you get to see a whole run of shows you enjoy, one after the other. I’m privileged to currently be on one of those runs. Continue reading “Good Things” »

Love and Loss at BE Festival

Friday, June 24th, 2016

teaser – Vacuum from Philippe Saire on Vimeo.

What a piquancy of timing. BE Festival on 23rd June 2016. Theatre shows from Spain, Switzerland, UK and Italy. Nothing more can be done. The future is unknown. Us, swilling together in this heterotoic space, acting out in microcosm the broader drama. Continue reading “Love and Loss at BE Festival” »

Corali Dance

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Corali Sadlers Wells – Trailer FINAL from corali dance company on Vimeo.

Sometimes things would be a lot easier if we lived in London: like keeping up with the work of Corali. This trailer shows a recent piece which looks beautiful and reminds me how shamefully long it has been since I last saw their work live. Please give it a view, it will brighten up your day.

Repertoire

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Ava's Wedding Scene 3 pic

So, finally the great tour of The Cardinals is over. The team have dispersed in various directions, the set is in a shipping container wending its way home and a friend on Facebook asks “is that the last ever performance?” The answer is “who knows – we hope not” because now days we regularly get the chance to see shows we had once imagined where gone, never to be seen again. Continue reading “Repertoire” »

Pif-Paf Whoosh

Monday, August 18th, 2014

pifpaf2

I have just spent a somewhat ill-judged couple of days in a field. Fortunately, just as I was starting to drown in the mire Pif-Paf sailed to my rescue. The company had spent a few days @ A E Harris way back in November 2011 working on a show which I am sure was going to be called something else but must have eventually became Something To Hold.

The show was perfectly judged for this family festival environment. The children were instantly enchanted by two sprite-like beings who evoked the wonder of stardust. Then the music kicked in and the running and spinning started and I couldn’t help but be enchanted.

Performed without words around a large gyroscopic contraption part telescope, astrolabe and ship the piece is has a great spinning energy. The narrative is tight enough to give a dynamic sense of direction and lose enough to accommodate interpretations and diversion. As I read it a ship’s captain / navigator is charting the stars and his route, is swept around and lost in a storm, haunted by sirens / sea spirits who he wrestles. He is subsumed and beaten. He is rescued and abandoned – something like that, but it doesn’t matter. The piece is performed with verve and focus, the music drives it on and takes it places. There is a fantastic sequence with ropes becoming a bull’s head on the sailor. The piece is choreographed by Motionhouse‘s Kevin Finnan and the teaming of him and Pif-Paf seems to work extremely well. It was twenty glorious minutes in weekend mild aesthetic torment.


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