So It Goes – Review

The premise to So It Goes seems unpromising. A sixty minute show about a woman coming to terms with the loss of her father. There are a great number of shows that are taken to the EdinburghSo It Goes Production Photos Fringe Festival with similar sounding descriptions, rather less come back down again with glowing reviews and a full touring schedule.

So It Goes manages to achieve something that is quite rare in British theatre. It engages genuinely with the nature of grief, the paralytic hold that it can have over us, and the way it warps our memories of those we loved and those that are left behind.

We are often not comfortable talking about death so seeing people on stage talk openly about their feelings can seem a little artificial, and the emotion false. Whilst we recognise that theatre is not a complete reflection of reality it still can be hard to reconcile stage reactions to death with the numbness that is felt when you hear a loved one is dead.

Hannah Moss has utilised a high-risk strategy to tell the story. Rather than use words, the whole play is described through the use of tablet whiteboards to write out dialogue. Even writing it down sounds cloyingly pretentious but as soon as Hannah simply writes “I’m not speaking, it’s easier” the purpose of it becomes clear.continues at www.everything-theatre.co.uk

<<You can read the full review on Everything Theatre)

Gods and Monsters – Review

Gods and Monsters (originally a 1998 film starring Ian McKellen), based on Christopher Bram’s novel Father of Frankenstein, considers the career and fate of James Whale, monumental director, WHALEFRANKENSTEINmost famous for his adaptation of Frankenstein. The play explores Whale’s life and career and his slow dissolution into obscurity.Once he was known throughout the world, yet if it wasn’t for  it’s likely that today only the cine-literate would remember his name. It’s a fate that many in Hollywood must one day endure, and Gods and Monsters examines Whale’s singular experience and reaction. At the play’s outset, we join Whale in the eve of his life, living in semi-obscurity, tired with Hollywood and frustrated, having been pigeon-holed by this one film.

Ian Gelder is fantastic in the central role. He is required to display two very different sides to Whale. There is the side he shows to his guests, which has become a rather grotesque caricature of a slightly lurid and predatory Hollywood homosexual. Gelder gives the sense that Whale has fallen into this role and has now played it for so long it feels like a second skin. Here Gelder captures the sharpness, the hint of danger to Whale’s interactions that gives the play a much needed tension…continues at www.everything-theatre.co.uk

<<You can read the full review on Everything Theatre)

Interview with Teatro Vivo

Back in September I had the pleasure of catching Mother Courage and Her Children –  a colloborative piece between GLYPT and Teatro Vivo. They staged Mother Courage, Brecht’s famously anti-war parable, as a promenade piece through the Royal Woolwich Dockyards. Afterwards I caught up with Kas Darley and Mark Stevenson of Teatro Vivo.

You can read my interview with them on the Everything Theatre website by clicking here.

Around the web

As usual the gigantic world of the blogosphere is putting me to shame in terms of creative output. Whilst I summon up the mental fortitude to begin writing a review of Emperor and Galilean, Ibsen’s monumental effort that deserves to be ranked alongside Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate in terms of auterial epic fail, here are some of the more interesting things that are going on elsewhere:

1) For those who like their blogging hi-tech then you should head over to theatreVOICE (because capitalisation is so 19th century). I have recently discovered this impressive site but just a quick delve into the archives reveals a rich back catalogue of debate and analysis that dips into all area’s of theatre.

2) Whilst I fully intend to dedicate a full post to the wonderful Digital Theatre in due course, in the meantime you should most definitely visit their homepage. There is a long way to go but it finally seems as if their might be a decent way of watching expensive and sold-out shows in the comfort of your own home. Having downloaded the Open Air Theatre’s production of Into the Woods, I can confirm there is still work to do but it is definitely worth checking out.

3) Lyn Gardner talks to Felix Barrett, director of The Crash of the Elysium, and it makes me wish I was a child.

4) I went to see Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and it is somewhere on the ‘to be written’ pile; there could be some sub-Stoppardian conceit in that but as it is you can read an even-handed assessment at Everything Theatre

5) A pithy review of A Women Killed With Kindness which opens on July 19th at the National.

6) And falling neatly into ‘And in other news…’ we can all learn about the fascinating history of a well-travelled suitcase over at the fabulous London Particulars.