Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fiesta Major...

Sitges is only a small place but boy they like their fireworks! Fiesta Major goes off with a bang!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Barcelona...

Stuart and I popped into Barcelona for the day to have some fun up a funicular, swing on a cable car and peer at some gaudy Gaudi. Great fun.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Sitges...

Stuart and I arrived in Sitges safe and sound. We're staying in Parrots Hotel - yes, I know! - but actually it's pleasant enough. We're on the roof in the 'penthouse' and it is high above all the noise from the street. In fact the room is clean, bright and perfectly comfortable. We got a bottle of cava on arrival, a large bottle of water each day, beach towels, two Parrots VIP cards (whatever the hell they are), free sun umbrellas and breakfast too. So not bad.

Andy and Kev are in the same hotel. Tim and Mindy, Richard and Andre are staying in an apartment just round the corner. 

Yesterday we had a few hours on the beach - the sea was lovely and warm, the beers lovely and cold.

Evenings have been spent in Parrots Bar followed by dinner and a trip to El Horno.  Not much changes here.




The Train to Spain...

On Friday night Stuart and I took the train to Spain. Eurostar to Paris, TGV to Barcelona and then shorty hop to Sitges. We actually decided to stop overnight in Paris, staying at a hotel near Gare de Lyon. 

It made a really pleasant change to take the train rather than fly and it was cheaper too. Well, it would have been if we hadn't upgraded to first glad on the TGV!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Threepenny Opera...

Last night Jane, Sara, Stuart and I went to see Rufus Norris's raucous, rollicking reimagining of The Threepenny Opera at the Olivier Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.

Based on Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's work this fresh adaptation by Simon Stephens is rather rude, fairly crude and deliciously lewd. We were warned at the door, "contains filthy language and immoral behaviour" and they weren't wrong!

Rory Kinnear plays Mack the Knife - maybe not quite as menacingly as he could do for my taste - as a bounder, a cad, and a pan-sexual murdering thief. You get the drift. A wrong'en.

The musical is set as London scrubs up for the coronation. The thieves are on the make, the whores on the pull, the police cutting deals to keep it all out of sight. Mr and Mrs Peachum are looking forward to a bumper day in their beggary business, but their daughter didn’t come home last night and Mack has a tale to tell.

It's a sleazy, good fun revival but lots of bawdy songs, social comment and fine performances.

My only minor carp might be that there is perhaps a little too much scenery for my taste. But it all whirled around, spun about, swung down and slotted in very nicely.

Oh and Le Gateau Chocolat is in it. And he's very good.

Recommended.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host...

"Half of you probably know who I am, the other half, you were dragged along by your partners, well, you first half, you'd better be giving your partners' sex tonight as a thank you, because it’s a Tuesday night for God's sake..."

Last night Stuart and I went to see This American Life radio host Ira Glass and dancers Monica Bill and Anna Bass perform a weird and wonderful show called Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host at the Royal Festival Hall on London's glitzy South Bank, and it was disjointed, but conjoined, and weird, and wonderful, and did exactly what it said on the tin, on a fairly bare stage, but for a couple of mobile theatrical curtains, in front of which Ira played us some of his radio interviews whilst talking about such diverse topics as Riverdance, focus groups in marriages, aging dancers and poetic death, and Monica and Anna danced, and the anecdotes were very funny, and the dancing beautiful, oh and there was some audience participation too, and bubble machines, and confetti guns, and balloons, lots and lots of balloons, and it was great, and weird, and wonderful. With lots of commas.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Groundhog Day...

Last Friday night Stuart and I along with Roger and Kevin went to see a preview of new musical Groundhog Day at the Old Vic in London's glitzy Waterloo.

Yes Tim Minchin, the guy behind the rip-roaring success that is Matilda, has turned his attention to making a musical out of the much-loved time-loop film from 1993 Groundhog Day - and he has mostly succeeded. Mostly.

Groundhog Day is the story of Phil Connors, a cynical Pittsburgh TV weatherman who is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in the isolated small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, when he finds himself caught in a time loop, forced to repeat the same day again and again… and again. As each day plays out exactly the same as before Phil becomes increasingly despondent.

So is it any good? Meh.

Basically it's too long, too 'theatre'. I really wanted to love it - but I ended up sort of just liking it.

Naturally Tim Minchin proves to be a genius on the lyric front. I've always been a big fan of his and three or four of his songs do deliver in spades. His song on alternative therapies is a delight, his drinking song very funny and the fourth wall-busting heart-felt Being Nancy especially shines.

But overall the production disappoints. There is a fantastic cast and crew but after the wow that is Matilda this just doesn't hit the sweet spot. One act would have been enough, but it just carries on and on. That's not to criticise the inherent repeating within the plot-line of the book - it's just there is no development within the production - just repetition. And it becomes boring quite quickly, despite the effort of the hard working cast.

So, good try, it will no doubt run for a while, and it is quite good, but it could have been great.

Now if Mr Minchin came up with an original story lampooning alternative therapies... I'm in!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Deep Blue Sea...

Last Thursday night Stuart and I went to see Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea at the Lyttelton Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.

The play is a devastating masterpiece which contains one of the greatest female parts in contemporary drama. Helen McCrory takes on this role and her Hester Collyer simply blazes. From start to finish she exudes through every pore what Shakespeare called “the very wrath of love.”

I was in floods of tears as Hester is dumped by Freddie the man she loves. It is just too painful to see her pleading for one last look at him. For Freddie is no cad. He loves her too. But just not as much as she loves him. And it is this imbalance that causes their love boat to sink beneath the waves of despair.

It is Terence Rattigan’s best play by a long chalk - basing the story and characters in part on his own secret relationship with Kenny Morgan, and the aftermath following the end of their relationship. The first draft of the play was between two men but he transposed it to a straight couple with great effect.

Throughout the play Rattigan builds up a portrait of a society; the young married couple upstairs embody middle-class orthodoxy, the struck-off doctor who comes to the suicidal Hester’s aid is a sexual outlaw, and the gossipy landlady represents working-class tolerance. When you add in Hester’s high court judge husband, you have a composite picture of England.

This production is masterfully done and contains the powerful sense of ruin that both the play and the role of Hester warrant.

Highly recommended.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Neighbours...

My downstairs neighbour has listened to "Barbie Girl" by Aqua for almost seven hours now... because that's what I've been playing.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Girl at Work...

Girl at work:  I hate my arse of a boyfriend.
Me: Why don't you break up with him?
Girl at work:  Fuck you. I love him.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

EuroPride: The Review...

We had a great Pride weekend away in Amsterdam for EuroPride. Lots of rainbow flags, men in tight trunks and copious plastic cups of beer. What's not to like? (Well, one thing not to like is the 1 euro charge to use the bathrooms!)

The Drag Olympics was a sellout and almost every area of the town held its own street party with music, street food, drinking and smiling faces.

The Canal Parade was great fun and very impressively staged although it seemed a little devoid of the silliness, politics-lite, social comment and downright fun that Brighton Pride parade enjoys.






Monday, August 08, 2016

Friday, August 05, 2016

EuroPride: It Starts...

Off to Amsterdam for EuroPride for the weekend with Stu, Darren, Vince, Liam, Jason, Nicky, Claude, Hash and Craig. Should be fun!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Sarf...

My driving instructor told me to pull over somewhere safe.
Two minutes later he said, "Why haven't you pulled over yet?"
I said, "Because we're still south of the river."

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Family Gathering...

Back at the end of June my sister Joanna and I organised a large family get-together in Chipperfield Parish Hall. There were about 56 of us - all sharing the food and cooking duties.

Mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, first cousins once removed...

It was so fantastic to see everyone. My cousin Peter gave a wonderfully moving speech, we had a bottle raffle for Macmillan Cancer Support raising £228 and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We left promising to do it all again in a few years time.

To be brutally frank the reason I wanted to organise the do was because I was fed up with meeting the extended family only at funerals. I used to see them at weddings all the time but as you get older...

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Young Chevhov Plays...

Last Saturday Stuart and I went to see three early Anton Chekhov plays in one day at the Olivier Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.

So that's eight hours of Russian navel-gazing where not much happens, right? Wrong! It was a riot.

Starting with the hysterically funny play Platonov, then moving on to the moodiness that is Ivanov and finally ending with the tragedy that is The Seagull the disposition of the day started with high farce before descending into deep depression. And we simply loved it. Masterfully adapted by David Hare and skilfully directed by Jonathan Kent the ensemble cast took on each play deftly mixing and matching the roles with aplomb. A gardener in one play might be a lord in the next. The juxtaposition of the casting was as clever as it was rewarding.

The set evolved too. Throughout the day the tempo of the plays mutated gradually - almost Darwinianly. Subtle changes to the positions of the stage trees as if by chance lead to a tightening in the focus of the drama ever inwards. The lighting slithered and constricted as it encircled the players into one claustrophobic space. Even the way water was used heightened the feeling of closeness - at first it was passive as the lake taking up half the stage until it was raised up and used as rain in the later play actively attacking our heroine as she sought redemption. In fact water acted as a beautiful metaphor for the three plays. As first playful and still and then vengeful, destructive and drenchingly deadly.

Platonov @ 11:45am
Schoolteacher Mikhail Platonov has a problem – he’s irresistible to women. Set in the blazing heat of a rural Russian summer, this freewheeling comedy is a cry of youthful defiance against the compromises of middle age. Scots actor James McArdle is superb as the Don Juan-type schoolmaster at whose feet women throw themselves like lemmings. Platonov as a play perhaps deserves better recognition that it currently enjoys. It's a scream. And Hare's adaptation is high farce - even Jonathan Harvey would have been proud of it. Gimme Gimme Chekhov, anyone?

Ivanov @ 4pm
Nikolai Ivanov is only 35, a radical and a romantic, but already he’s feeling that he’s thrown his life away. He's miserable, moody and full of self-loathing. Determined not to become a small-town Hamlet, he hopes one last desperate romance may save him from a society rotten with anti-Semitism and drink. This electric play is powered both by hilarious satire and passionate self-disgust.

The Seagull @ 8pm
The most famous of the trilogy The Seagull takes place on a warm summer’s day in a makeshift theatre by a lake. Konstantin is a playwright and son of an over-bearing fading actress Irina who he is desperate to impress. His cutting-edge new play is being performed by the love of his life ingénue Nina. What could go wrong? Quite a lot as it as it turns out. Chekhov’s masterly meditation on how the old take wicked revenge on the young is both comic and tragic, and marks the birth of the modern stage. A treat to watch. Anna Chancellor as Irina is simply scene-stealing.

If you get the chance to go to see any or all of these plays, do.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Unreachable...

Last week Stuart and I went to see Anthony Neilson's Unreachable at the Royal Court in London's glitzy Sloane Square.

Some have called Unreachable "Unwatchable" which I think is a bit unfair. A bit. Most critics have given it 5 star reviews. Most critics are idiots.

Starring your own, your very own, Matt Smith as the director looking for the perfect light to shoot his next film the piece has much to admire about it and much that is frankly frustrating.

Firstly the good stuff. All the female leads are excellent. Amanda Drew as Anastasia the fictitious film’s producer is outstanding and almost holds the show together as a character and an actor. Tamara Lawrance as Natastia the fictitious film's female lead creates a character who is proud of having no empathy and who 'just acts' sad or happy or whatever - which is a genius swipe at method acting.

But now the not so good stuff. The play is a bit of a mess. The idea behind the structure is sure-footed enough - each scene in the play is acted out as if it were a scene in a film ( "Act One, Scene One" etc. is announced loudly before each scene) - but it's all just too sloppily realised. The action (and the actors) constantly trip over themselves exiting and entering stage left / right / front / back or wherever they are meant to be - but rarely pick themselves up again.

Matt Smith as the lead is rather weak too. We don't really believe in his character - or indeed care much whether his film gets made or not. And then towards the end of the first half a ridiculous character played by Jojo O'Neill arrives who all but capsizes the whole fictitious film production (and indeed the play). He shouts and protests and breaks the fourth wall and tries (out of character) to get the other actors to laugh. It all comes across like an overbearing actors' improv class - and a rather self-indulgent one at that.

And as if to confirm that the production has lost its self-confidence in its own conceit the last five minutes make you mouth three times in close succession… What?... What?!... WHAT?!

As I say, not without its merits but a frustrating waste of some good ideas.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Big Gay Picnic...

Last Sunday at noon a bunch of us attended Tim and Andy's annual Big Gay Picnic in St. John's Lodge Gardens, part of Regent's Park Inner Circle in glitzy London Town.

The weather held and there was a good turn out. There was some munching, some mooching and much mincing. Afterwards some of us headed off to first The Edinboro Castle, then The Constitution, and finally The Hen and Chickens to finish the night (and us) off.

Great fun.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Appetite For Risk...

Seeing my financial advisor again today. He doesn't mess about with his financial questions:
  1. What are your current assets / liabilities?
  2. How long do you think you'll live?
  3. Are your parents still alive?
  4. Do you smoke?
  5. What is your appetite for risk?
  6. Have you thought about getting married?
(I'm assuming these last two are the same trick question though!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Clapham South Deep Level Tunnels...

Last Saturday Stuart and I went deep underground to the Clapham South Deep Level Tunnels.

Planned and dug by hand in just eighteen months in early 1940s the tunnels were originally meant as a refuge from the Blitz. It was envisaged that there would be ten sets of tunnels all along the Northern Line and some of the Central Line but only eight were completed. Each set of tunnels could house 8,000 people with extensive sleeping, canteen, recreational, toilet and medical facilities. Rationing was temporarily suspended for visitors to the tunnels so the place was quite attractive for war-torn Londoners. The only complaint was that a cup of tea cost 2d rather than 1d as it did at ground level - but no-one wanted to head back up top for the tea-run.

In fact the tunnels actually didn't get used for the Blitz as that had ended just before they were completed in 1942 but by 1943 the new threat of V1 and V2 bombs meant that the tunnels became fresh sanctuaries for thousands. And whereas the Blitz happened at night meaning locals came down just at night time the fresh threat of flying bombs was constant - they landed day and night - which put fresh strain on running the underground city.

By mid-1945 they had lost their use as the war was over and people wanted to rebuild their ground-level city rather than live under a rubbled one.

The plan even early on was that post-war the tunnels were all going to be joined up to be used a high-speed underground service much like the imminent Elizabeth Line. As London Underground usage in the late 1940s fell away though plans for this were scrapped.

The tunnels found a fresh lease of life though and were used as cheap accommodation for years afterwards.

In 1948 almost 500 West Indian immigrants arrived in London on MV Empire Windrush docking at Tilbury. About 200 were taken to the Clapham South Deep Level Tunnels for processing and temporary housing. They were charged 6d a night for the privilege. Less than a mile away was the Coldharbour Lane Employment Exchange in Brixton, where some of the arrivals sought work. Many only intended to stay for a few years, and although a number returned to Kingston Jamaica the majority remained to settle permanently forming what was to become the core of the British African-Caribbean community in that area.

In 1951 punters could get a room in the tunnels during the Festival of Britain when it was rebranded the Festival Hotel and in the following year soldiers were billeted there for King George's funeral. The tunnels even got used as cheap hotels for conferences in London but after the Goodge Street fire the tunnels were closed to the public.

Now get leased out for storage, the odd hydroponics farm and for visitors to have a bit of a nose.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Plough and the Stars...

Last Thursday night Stuart and I went to see Sean O'Casey masterful pacifist drama The Plough and the Stars at the Lyttelton Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.

Set at the times of the 1916 Easter Uprising the story tells of the residents of a Dublin tenement block; their lives, their loves and their brush with history.

The play is very funny while keeping a firm eye on the events going on just off stage. As the tension builds throughout the four acts of the piece we get transported from the domestic and social upheaval taking place one hundred years ago to the political unrest against British. Indoors the rebellion against the old rules is kicking in, outside on the street the rebellion against the old rulers is kicking off.

The play's staging was very efficient and effective giving as it did a fixed lens approach. We simply watched everyone go about their daily lives.

The acting was top notch and as the drama unfolded and tragedy struck this wizen old cynic was wiping away a few tears.

Recommended.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cake Making...

The other Sunday Stuart, Bryn and I attended a cake making course at Jenius Social in London's 'glitzy' Holloway.

We learned how to make and bake a lemon drizzle cake, a chocolate fudge cake and a carrot and walnut cake.

It was lots of fun and the tattooed chef, Andrew, was full of tips and tricks to get a better bake.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Pet Shop Boys...

Last night Stuart and I (and the world and his husband) went to the Royal Opera House in London's glitzy Covent Garden to see The Pet Shop Boys tear the old place a new one.

Wow! What a show! People were on their feet from the opening note and stayed dancing for the next two hours.

Expectations were pretty high, but boy did the Boys deliver. It was if a giant herd of rainbow flag-draped disco dancing musical unicorns pranced onto the stage of the Royal Opera House and rubbing their silver sparkling horns together spunked out torrents of shiny disco balls of pure pop loveliness that then exploded into the ears of the delighted crowd.

The background visuals were so stunning and the laser light show so joyously bright that when it splattered its love-light across the smiling faces of each and everyone in the auditorium it was like some multi-coloured glowing rainbow luminous bukaki.

As you might have guessed. I liked the show.

The Boys were simply in magnificent form - interacting with the crowd between the songs (well, Neil anyway) - in fine voice (well, Neil anyway) - dancing around the stage (well, Neil anyway) - and wearing stupid hats (OK, they BOTH did that!) It was everything you expected from a Pet Shop Boys show and more.

It was like their Imperial phase was back all over again. They owned the place!

And after all this time they know how to put a show together - they work with the best. The set design, the background visuals, the sound design were all amazeballs and hung together magnificently. The show had a real feel of being integrated. Something you don't always see in a gig. But here it all had a single vision and it all came together perfectly. And this vision was DISCO.

The Boys managed to pull off that difficult trick of getting the set list right too. With such a large back catalogue to choose from and with new work to promote you're never going to please everyone. But they seemed to give the occasional fan plenty of hits, promote their two most recent two albums quite well and keep the hard-core Pethead on-board too.

And you don't always know what is going to work live. Even on paper you think something might work better than it did on the night. For example one of my personal favourite songs from the new Super album is The Dictator Decides. But this didn't really work live - the vocal got rather lost - whereas The Sodom and Gomorrah Show (an album track from ten years ago) went down as an epic sing-a-long storm.

Let's hope that when the third of the triplet of Stuart Price produced albums appears in the next couple of years the Boys promote it in a similar way with a really big arena show. Because this was a super Super show and we deserve an encore on an even bigger stage.

We love the Pet Shop Boys.

(Oh wait, I forgot mention the stage flooding with dancers wearing brightly coloured inflatable fat suits... Next time!)

High point: Vocal
Higher point: Burn
Highest point: New version of Left to My Own Devices

Set List:-
Inner Sanctum (Live debut)
West End Girls
The Pop Kids
In the Night (Live debut)
Burn (Live debut)
Love Is a Bourgeois Construct
New York City Boy
Se A Vida É (That's The Way Life Is)
Twenty-something (Live debut)
Love Comes Quickly (First time since 2010)
Love Etc.
The Dictator Decides (Live debut)
Inside a Dream (Live debut)
Winner (First time since 2012)
Home and Dry (First time since 2007)
Vocal
The Sodom and Gomorrah Show (First time since 2007)
It's a Sin
Left to My Own Devices (New version)
Go West (Village People cover)

Encore:
Domino Dancing
Always on My Mind (Brenda Lee cover)
The Pop Kids (Reprise)






Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jesus Christ Superstar...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Open Air Theatre in London's glitzy Regents Park.

It was a great production.

Celebrating 45 years since the rock opera, concept album and stage show were first created Tim Rice's and Andrew Lloyd Webber's (who was in the crowd) story is loosely based on the Gospels' accounts of the last week of Jesus's life.

It starts with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ends with the crucifixion. It strays somewhat from conventional telling however in that it highlights political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus. In fact Judas looms large in the show, who is depicted as a tragic figure dissatisfied with the direction in which Jesus steers his disciples.

Singer-songwriter Declan Bennett, once a member of Brit Award nominated band Point Break, and more recently the lead in the musical Once, takes the role of Jesus. He plays him as a hipster rock star slightly caught up in events as they snowball out of his control.

Timothy Sheader's production is a very powerful one using dance, smoke, flashing lights, ropes, Kensington gore and gold glitter - lots and lots of gold glitter.

Huge steel orange-rusty girders back the stage supporting not only the action but also the excellent band - with musical direction by Tom Deering. The sound was really great.

The choreography by Olivier Award-winner Drew McOnie was a real wow too - helped in no small part by the cast who are all played by very attractive, lean, muscled, talented and (let's not forget) scantily clad singers and dancers!

All the hits were there:- I Don’t Know How to Love Him, Gethsemane and the amazing Bond -thematic Superstar.

Coolest bit: The Last Supper
Silliest bit: The Temple
Campest bit: King Herod's Song (Try It And See)
Best bit: Gethesemane (I Only Want to Say)
Saddest bit: Judas's Death
Most violent bit: Trial Before Pilate, (inc. The Thirty-Nine Lashes)

Recommended.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker...

WTF! I'm no quite sure what Stuart and I went to see at the Barbican the other Saturday night. We had 25 Japanese people dancing and screaming songs at us, they threw 50 buckets of water in our faces, chucked seaweed and tofu at us and then dumped all manner of tinsel and streamers on us for 45 minutes non-stop. Ladies and gentlemen I give you... Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker! Probably the most fun we've had in the theatre. Ever. My ears are still ringing.

video

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Richard III...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see Richard III at the Almeida Theatre just off London's glitzy Upper Street.

A country divided, political chaos, opportunist politicians... the play seems almost too relevant to the current machinations in Westminster.

Ralph Fiennes is simply brilliant as Shakespeare’s notorious villain as is Vanessa Redgrave as batty old Queen Margaret.

Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold starts by showing us modern day Leicester as Richard III hunchback skeleton is exhumed. Next we see Ralph Fiennes's very much alive Richard III talking directly to the audience inviting us into his world. The unreliable narrator starts by telling us that even though on the face of it things are all 'glorious summer' now that his family have taken over the throne things aren't so good for him personally. He's not a very popular guy (sad face)... he has few friends (sad face)... he's not very good with the ladies (wry grin)... so he might as well be bad (big grin and wink at the audience).

This wonderful complicity is delightfully maintained throughout as our roguish anti-hero plots his way to the top. One by one those that stand between him and throne are bumped off and the skulls on the back wall increase like delightfully gruesome shining trophies. We are almost willing him on - to succeed in his dastardly plan in a manner reminiscent of the film Kind Hearts and Coronets.

Only then we, the audience, are cruelly betrayed. Richard has been wickedly deceiving us as well as them. With a vicious twist of the knife Richard finally shows us his true vile colours. First he turns brutal rapist and then brings about a double child murder. And it is a genuinely shocking moment. It is a moment both masterful and devastating. Turns out he was a wrong 'un after all and more fool us for believing otherwise.

Full marks to both Goold and Fiennes for pulling this coup de grâce off. The three hours running time simply flew by.

Highly recommended.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Broadstreet Market and Netil House Netil360...

The other Saturday Stuart, Bryn and I went to Broadstreet Market for a nose around, some lunch and then on a search for a roof-top bar for an afternoon Pimms.

Proof, our initial destination, was closed but we did happen upon Netil House next to Netil Market with it's roof-top Netil360 bar, hipster vibe and comfy floor cushions. Lovely.



Friday, July 15, 2016

Faith Healer...

Last Thursday night Stuart and I went to see Brian Friel’s marvelous play Faith Healer at the Donmar Warehouse in London's glitzy West End.

The Frank Hardy is a faith healer but with unreliable gifts. His wife Grace and manager Teddy are supportive but concerned. All Frank seems to seek is certainty - but at what cost?

Lyndsey Turner faces a production challenge here as it's a stark play for just three voices - each on stage by themselves one after the other. And not much happens; other than a lot of talking. But therein lies the point. It is only after each voice has told us a different version, a different linear dimension of the same story that we then get to see all three dimensions at once. The true story appears like a pop-up book.

Stephen Dillane as Frank, Gina McKee as Grace and Ron Cook as Teddy are all excellent; holding our attention with the confidence that comes with knowing the material is exceptional.

And how does Ms Turner meet the challenge to combat the starkness? Why a curtain of falling water encircling the stage.

Recommended.