Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tuesday night was press night for Cockpit at the Lyceum, of which more later.

Last night, Scottish Ballet dancing to Stravinsky at the Festival Theatre. I now have fantastically high expectations of anything they do where people might be clad in a leotard rather than a tutu following their most wonderful EIF outing last year. So my hopes were brimming over when I arrived. 

In fact, they did one daft wee piece about a fairy who bumped off a mother, kissed a baby and reclaimed him a decent interval later from his then fiancée as they were about to wed. A female Harvey Weinstein with wings and a sparkly hat. It was beautifully danced and Kenneth MacMillan had choreographed some surprising moves (our young man grasped the fairy by her foot and swung her over his head which must be phenomenally difficult to do though he made it look unusually easy). But beyond feeling a mild sorrow for the thwarted young lovers and wondering why the boy demon fairies had such bad hair (long, white, straggly: you'd think demons would take better care), I was emotionally unmoved.

The second piece came from the mind of Mr Christopher Hampson who popped onto the stage before the dancing began to tell us how much effort went into creating it. Disruption, he claimed, was the theme of the night's work. His version was set to The Rite of Spring.
(I should mention that there was a full orchestra in the pit who did a stunning job. To the point where I sometimes carelessly found myself watching them rather than the dancers.)

His work featured two men wearing long black skirts dancing about on a curvy white horseshoe shaped structure. The mistake I made here was reading the programme notes which described two brothers going about their usual routines until they were interrupted by Faith in the form of woman in a little white dress who poked her head up above the white horseshoe. I'll just mention that their daily routines were nothing like any I've ever seen brothers or indeed men in general terms adopt. 

In the second portion, one brother had changed into a vest and combat trousers and was being very bad to the other brother who was now in his pants. Then the woman poked her head up, this time in black, this time apparently representing death. The pants brother rolled around on the floor for a while. Then it finished. 

BS liked their "jerky movements" and thought they matched the music very well. I suppose it was pretty much inevitable then that I would dislike it!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Through the dear SCDA, someone wants a copy of my little one act, #likes. This must be what Pedro Almodovar feels like all the time.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Poor silent blog. So September has passed in what felt like a bit of a whirlwind. Travelling with work and busy weekends and time has just eaten itself up. Last night, I finally opened a birthday present that I was given four months ago. Four months and a few days actually as I was given it the night we went to see A Band Called Quinn in the slightly weird Music Is Torture at the Traverse. And that was approx 27 May. Anyway, it was worth the wait. 

But I had a whole day yesterday of not very much. Awfully, by tea time, I was teen-style bored. But I did have the pleasure of reading the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I knew John Tiffany was involved and I knew JK was involved but I haven't been quite sure that I wanted to spend the necessary great deal of money to buy a ticket for it. Particularly as it's in two parts and it's in London. (And shortly Broadway, I gather.)

I went to the library in quest of a couple of vaguely shameful books that I also don't think I should buy. They had neither but they did have the Cursed Child so I snatched it up and read it this weekend. And I hadn't realised that Jack Thorne, he of Let The Right One In (theatre adaptation) fame, had written the script. Part One left me a little underwhelmed beyond all the beautiful shock of who had paired off with who. But Part Two made up for it. A story with soul and heart. Just what you want on a September / October weekend full of rain. (I'm still quite glad I saved the ticket money though!)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Poor #edfringe. Mr Butterworth (and a bit of effort from Sam Mandes) took your riotous cacophonous glory of inventiveness and aced you. Resoundingly. 

Unfair given the budgets / set up time involved for the respective offerings. But life isn't fair.

It would be worth putting yourself out for this.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 15, 2017

(I should have published this two weeks ago but somehow forgot!)

One month on from our closing night and it feels like about a hundred years. 

I think I saw at least one show most days, with many thanks to the Wee Review and some smaller portion of my own money! On favourite weekend days, I'd see four or five. So no wonder time bends and enters a parallel track where a good day is so full to bursting with good and interesting and beautiful thoughts that it could be a month in real time.

I haven't really written anything of my show itself. Beyond feverishly sharing any old (most old) reviews of it. Which isn't anything to do with how little or how much I loved it (much) and all to do with how many words I was pouring into reviewing. 

But I did love it. 

I was certainly spoilt with an abundance of marvellous shows. I'm most grateful to Mark Gorman for pointing me towards Border Tales at Summerhall. I'm most grateful to Mr Peacock for having One Step Before The Fall on his hitlist. Without that, I wouldn't have seen Fagin's Twist which was apparently the best (Fringe?) show that Miriam had ever seen and was certainly brilliant and inventive and executed with perfect energy and panache. 

I did like Last Resort, the sort of parody of Guantanamo Bay by 2Magpies Theatre. I did like The Sky Is Safe by Dogstar. A lot. I loved (can't spell them) Oetroerund Goed's LIES. I loved Jess and Joe Forever. Admired Adam at the Traverse more than I liked it. And The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk was a piece of colourful and metaphorically sparkly magic.
I mainly regret not being organised enough to get tickets for the kids to see Circa's Humans but someone darkly said it was "quite an adult show" so maybe it's for the best. And it meant that instead I lurked fuming inside outside the EICC for too long, waiting for child incompetence to join me in the queue for Cirkopolis. It was more or less entirely worth it for the visual spectacle (and the tricks) though when the house stunk of teenage perfume Charlie for the ensuing two days, I did sometimes briefly wonder if it really had.

I veer between thinking my early shows were my favourites but then I worry that this is only a reflection of 'hooray for the Fringe being back'. The late ones linger longer in my memory (crazy Monkey See Monkey Do, wonderful kind Jamie O, self indulgent Jarvis Cocker, THE NARRATOR). 

I think my favourite (most enjoyed, most admired, most different) show, aside from mine own, was Ellie Dubois' No Show at Summerhall. That was a little bit audacious, a lot thrilling, quasi political and thus eminently, Of The Fringe. I hope she / they come back next year with something new.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A girl stands dressed in a black dress and black brogues staring sternly at the audience. The stage is dark. The only light is on her. Suddenly she smiles.

She counts the number of pieces of brick on the stage. There is a stack of bricks and some pieces to her right. She counts the number of latecomers to the show (one). She counts the number of ladies in the audience and gives up after ten (there are many more). She counts the number of French people in the audience and miraculously concludes that there is only one - her.

She picks up two pieces of brick and holds them with her arms stretched out, one in each hand. She counts and tells the audience to tell her when to stop. Someone compassionate (I wonder if it's the director who showed us in) tells her to stop when she gets to four. She puts the bricks down.

She dances a bit. It's not tap but that's the closest description that I know. She sort of stamps her feet in a variety of compelling rhythms. She takes a mallet and she smashes some of the bricks.

She counts a variety of other things including the number of her unborn children (three). She does this in both English and French. (Maybe she somehow knows she is the only French person in the room.) She says the names of my unborn children are unknown even by God. She says the names of various other things are unknown even by God. She says this in both English and French.

She dances a bit. She smashes some more bricks. She screams into a nearby microphone. She sweeps the bricks into a large box attached to one side of the stage. The stage is square and raised and on two sides of it (the audience sides as it's diagonally placed) are many large boxes jutting out from the stage. An extension of it. One contains gravel. One seems to contain rubble. (And then more rubble when she puts the bricks into it.)

We're half an hour in now. This is all accompanied by live music that is sometimes guitar, drums, electronic or all of the above. And it's beautifully lit.

She climbs into one of the large boxes which is mostly filled with water. She lies in the water and sings (beautifully, I might add) into another conveniently placed microphone. Then she clambers out and gets into another box that seems to contain sand and wriggles around so it covers her.

Then she starts lifting up pieces of wood on the stage and re-organising them. Sh stacks a bunch of planks so they conceal one of two stacks of lights placed to the left (her left) of the stage. She lifts some more boards and they are mirrored on the reverse and she stacks them, mirrors towards the audience.

She dances a bit more.

The lights go out.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blowing everything I've seen so far out of the water for sheer audacious nuts-ness and brilliance is Seagulls. I loved this show so much, I wished it was mine. The venue is far and away the hero but clearly that was entirely down to the brilliant imagination of whomsoever is behind it. I would urge you to rush and see it but I think it's sold out. Do try, by whatever means you can find, to lay your hands on a ticket if you don't have one already. 

This guy warms your heart amidst glorious ridiculousness. My review is yet to be published for those that hang on my valuable words (?!). 

One Step BeforeThe Fall was completely and utterly glorious, to the point where I ran out of this show and bought a ticket for their companion show, The Narrator. Cari, if you're reading this and can possibly cheat your way out of work for 5pm on Thursday - their very last show - go go go. It's stunning. 

I thought this was a bit daft but it's very well done and no doubt very meaningful so who's to argue with that?