Sunday, August 30, 2009

Yesterday for I was not just a day of culture but a day of international culture, no less.

Proceedings kicked off with a giant latte and The Last Witch, the sellout theatre production of the EIF. It's been much publicised so you kind of knew what you were getting before it started. Janet Horne, last woman burnt for witchcraft in Scotland in 17something&something. Although Rona added a bit of a cheeky twist to her version of events with a little question mark over whether it was in fact the daughter that was woo-ing the Dark Lord and not the mother at all. Along with a big dollop of victimised woman backed into a corner by vengeful (cowardly) and overbearing men.

It was very impressive as a production. Set was gorgeous. It was beautifully lit. There were some really nice effects. The Dark Lord appearing suddenly atop the imposing set was my high point (geddit?). They had a mighty powerful projector of which I was predictably jealous.

But as a storyline, it left me curiously unmoved. Yes, the women were victimised by a male-dominated society. Tell me something I don't know. Mother said I wasn't old enough to appreciate the poignancy of the story which is perhaps true. Though I'm more inclined to agree with Joyce's verdict.

Then again, I was also curiously unmoved by The Yalta Game. A Brian Friel adaptation of a Chekhov play. This at the King's. This again looked beautiful. Rather more cheerful than the dreary witchy play. A simple set of nine or ten chairs and a white panel across the stage on which they cast various pretty colourful tones by the art of lighting throughout.

Wayward husband was very good. A nice laconic delivery (though I didn't get the urgency that his female counterpart attributed to his character. But what a pedant I'm becoming). Girl was heartfelt, cute although slightly unrealistic interplay with the imaginary Pomeranian, melodramatic when she was meant to be, tragic when she wasn't.

It didn't help that I was expecting a modern-day tale as I hadn't read the blurb beforehand so was slightly perturbed by this not quite comedy of manners. But then Ross loved it so maybe I was just having an unmoved day. I did at least manage to stay awake for this which was more than I managed for Witchy.

But the day was rounded off with some considerable panache with Michael Clark at the Playhouse. The first piece was, to my could-write-what-I-know-about-dance-on-the-back-of-something-small mind, a little bit unexceptional. They wore very nice sleek shiny blue leotards. But although titled Swamp, I didn't see anything much swampy about it. It felt rather flung together - and slackly lit - though I see they've done it before so maybe I'm doing his art a great injustice.

But the second piece was all you could hope for. Stunning costumes. Delightfully gorgeous lighting. Strutting dancers. Quirky movement. A thumping soundtrack of a little Velvey Underground and a lot of David Bowie. A title of which I eminently approve: come, been and gone. It was absolute magic. I'm almost tempted to go see it again. I have til tomorrow at 8 to make my decision.


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