Sunday, 19 February 2012

Travelling Light

Fresh from seeing The Artist my latest theatrical adventure was to see this 'tragi-comic love letter to early cinema' at the National. With Anthony Sher in a lead role, it had mixed reviews but I decided to give it a try anyway.

Based around one young mans attempts to turn film into art and his experience of getting sidelined along the way into pleasing audiences, there were lots of sly comparisons with Hollywood which worked very well. I enjoyed the way that his skill was in taking the ideas brought forward by others, and working out how to use them to his advantage (and then pretty much taking the credit). There was a lot of warm humour, and the narration by the older, successful version of the young enthusiast worked well.

Regardless of the good bits, it didn't quite catch fire. The pulling together of the threads at the end was a bit too neat, and it remained far too gentle and steady, even when there were good opportunities to turn up the heat and pace a bit. Towards the end most of the tragedy happened off-stage, and in the the final denoument, without the increased emotional kick that was there for the taking.

The cast though, were good, despite the slightly dodgy east european accents and I was pretty impressed with Damien Molony. The movies that we see being made and produced are very effective, and the set with its back projections worked very well. So a bit of tweaking could really bring it to life I think.

Overall, despite the opportunities for more depth, it all travelled too lightly in the end.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

I love the internets

One in the eye to all those that claim that computers rot the brains of young people and that the internet is the work of the devil. How about this as a counter argument?

How would this have been possible without computers and the internet? Hmmm?

With thanks to Persephone

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Noises Off (and out of sight)

I bought restricted view tickets at the last minute to see Noises Off at The Old Vic, and it was certainly one of my most surreal theatre experiences. Obscured left hand of the stage meant precisely that, with the result that in the second and third acts almost all the main action happened out of our sight.

Strangely, after a while it didn't seem to matter. Each strange noise, thump, gasp, shout, burst of laughter from the audience was a new challenge, and I ended up laughing more than ever. Part radio play, part live performance, it should have been awful, but somehow I had a great time! Thing is, I daren't go back and see it properly in case it isn't as good as I imagined.

Here is one of the scenes I didn't see...

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Monumental Engineering

We took an afternoon out on the first day of 2012, and here are a couple of photos.

What I love about this is that this could be a church pretty much anywhere, but it isn't. This is the engine hall at the Kew Waterworks, now a museum, where the largest working engine of its type is still put through its paces a few times a year. What I particularly like is that it has been built with such love (my sons say 'over-engineered') with fluting on the columns and the 40 ton weight, together with bright, polished finishing which makes the steam pipes and levers look like a church organ. There might have been lots wrong with the Victorian way of doing things, but they built things beautifully.