Tweets this Week (2009-11-29)

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Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Michael, Vit, Jay, Barrie and I went to to see Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves last night, by ADC/Footlights. It was a long panto: three hours, and would have been better with 30 mins lopped off (from the second half). It was ambitious—flying camels, forty thieves (yes really, well almost), lots of smoke and, a cross-dressing genie called Jeanie (well-played by Ben Kavanagh), and a fabulous baddie (James Walker). Vit got a hard stare from the baddie because of his loud heckling, which was funnny. The start of the second half, with chorus rap, and odd interlinked sketches, didn’t really work, but the chorus all had some lines, which was good. Really enjoyed Josh Higgot, who was in the chorus, and appeared as Gandalf, and Mustafa the Genie. He’s got a great natural comic talent and timing.

From the ADC web site:

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In their 126th year, the Footlights team up once again with the ADC for a return to traditional pantomime…ish. Join Ali and his street-wise chum Cassim, as they struggle against the nasty Chief Nalu (boooooooo!!!) in a bid to free the beautiful (and remarkably physically and emotionally strong) Morgiana. Also, meet Jeanie, the genie, as he tries his best to be a Genie, Jamiel and Amara, the loveable misfits, and no less than forty whole thieves!!! And some real Camels…ish.

The ADC/Footlights Pantomime has been playing to sell-out crowds for loads of years, and with a traditional script by Daran Johnson, Abi Tedder, and Liam Williams, an original score by Richard Bates, and direction from Matt Bulmer, this year will be no different. Although it will be a little different. The script will be different. Better still, perhaps? Judge for yourselves. And as usual this year boasts performances from Cambridge’s bestest comic actors all ready to Panto your mime.

Tweets this Week (2009-11-22)

  • Finishing the last of the 2008 Menghai "Five Coloured Peacock" Bu Lang raw Puh Er. Really enjoyed it. #
  • Good to relax with Jools Holland and a glass of powerful shiraz (Kangarilla Road). Waiting for Annie Lennox! #
  • Enjoyed an impressive meal last night at the new Chemistry Centre in Burlington House. Successful whole-table talk http://flic.kr/p/7gPecj #
  • @Willz so you talked—traditional media! 🙂 in reply to Willz #
  • At the Birmingham Metropole Hitel, getting ready for the RSC General Assembly. 800 rooms and very busy. http://schmap.me/b25rz3 #
  • Michael was picking champagne foil out of his shoe before he headed off to work. Getting ready for another day in the wine trade! #
  • @dml29 well that's sorted for next years party in reply to dml29 #
  • Mesmerised by Maddy Prior singing the Song of Hiawatha in Part 2 of Mike Oldfield's Incantations—so beautiful and hypnotic. #

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Tweets this Week (2009-11-15)

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What’s Wrong With Angry?

Great night out at the ADC to see the late night production of What’s Wrong With Angry?  by Patrick Wilde,

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produced by the CU Amateur Dramatic Club. The audience was buzzing and the main cast were fantastic! Top of the bill were James Frecknell (Steven) and Lowri Amies (Linda)—both carried of their parts with ease and were perfect for the roles. I enjoyed Adam Lawrence as Hutton, the schoolteacher. He was interesting in the role, and really grabbed my attention.

For the first time in all the plays I’ve seen at the ADC there was an encore for the cast. Well deserved for giving such as a passionate production. The late night slot can be hit and miss—this was wonderful.

From the ADC web site:

“Of course I…want to, but I don’t want to want to.”

It is 1992, Section 28 prohibits the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools, and the age of consent for gay men is twenty-one. Sixteen year old Steven Carter, who is just fine with being “dodgy”, falls in love with John Westhead, head boy and popular sporty type. His love is returned until societal expectations force John back into “the closet”. As Steven comes up against pressure at home and at school, Hutton, his teacher, longs to give him some support, but finds that the law is not on his side.

Patrick Wilde wrote the play to challenge the assertion that it’s “easier to be gay now”. The issues that the play wrestles with are as applicable to 2009 as they are to the recent past and it remains a poignant, beautiful and honest tale.”

Tweets this Week (2009-11-08)

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Chekhov: The Bear and The Anniversary

Last night Michael and I went to see two short plays by Anton Chekhov at the late-night slot at the ADC Theatre: The Bear and The Anniversary, produced by the  CU Amateur Dramatic Club.

The slapstick farce in both plays was good—quite difficult to pull of well, and this was reasonably good. Okey Nzelu had a great delivery as The Bear, in the first play, moving well from enraged creditor wanting his money, to swooning suitor. His rants and monologues were amusing, but physically (tall, very slim and handsome) he was quite the opposite of what I would imagine as a Bear! However, there are other interpretations of what the Bear of the title refers to.

The Anniversary was a bit too slap-stick for me: Alice Malin was really funny as Nastasya Fyodorovna Merchutkina—a batty old woman trying to get her husband’s army sick pay from someone (and succeeding).

There were a lot of similarities in plot, characterisation and style with the stories in “Diary of a madman and other stories” by Nikolaĭ Vasilʹevich Gogol.

From the ADC web site:

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‘You may have buried yourself alive, but you haven’t forgotten to powder your face!’

In these two bitingly witty short farces, Chekhov exposes the ridiculous consequences of human pretensions in all their glorious hilarity. A widow’s self-righteously exaggerated mourning for an unworthy husband is disrupted by a belligerent creditor. A smug, pompous Chairman congratulates himself on the anniversary of his bank, only to have his carefully orchestrated celebrations collapse into mayhem. The comedy that ensues when the mask we present to the world slips to reveal our true motives is played out in this fast-paced, furiously funny and fabulously farcical double bill.

The House of Bernarda Alba

Another good production last night from the CU Amateur Dramatic Club (and we’re seeing another one tomorrow too—wow they are busy!). Went to see The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca. The cast of about 12 women really pulled off the tense, sexually repressed atmosphere well. Ellie Massie made a great Bernarda—she was a powerful presence on the stage. I also really liked the dancing by Aurelie Hulse, who played Prudencia. Eve Rosato was a great Poncia. She was much better cast in this than in As You Like It earlier this year (I think it was her!)

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The stage lighting was great: lots of silk screens with wallpaper patterns painted on, back lit and front lit, with panels dropping up and down. Worked well. The final scene was excellent. Mourners softly lit at the back of stage, with smoke pumped in, with Bernarda standing on her own at the front of stage, silhouetted in black, spanish mourning dress. She was slowly and warmly front-lit from a low spotlight on the stage as the light on the mourners at the rear of the stage faded… very good ending. The opening was good as well, with choreography and hymn singing.

The sound track was less successful—there was lots of deliberate static, that was too loud, and speakers that were left on so that you could hear the amplification sound, and although some of it worked well, overall the music was over the top and intruded.

Enjoyed comparing The House of Bernarda Alba with Yerma, that Michael and I saw in St Ives a couple of years ago. These plays form part of Lorca’s Rural trilogy, and have similar themes, tension and atmosphere. So next, I must look for an opportunity to see Blood Wedding.

From the ADC web site:

“There are eight years of mourning ahead of us. While it lasts not even the wind will get into this house.

When Bernarda Alba’s husband dies, she locks all the doors and windows. She tells her grown-up daughters to sew and be silent. But not even the tyranny of Bernarda’s repressive rule can cool the passion and desire that smoulder darkly within the household. With the arrival of Pepé el Romano, an attractive young man from the village comes a tantalizing breeze of cool air which plays amongst the reeds, away from the house.

This production re-imagines Lorca’s masterpiece, to the mid 70’s with the demise of Spanish Fascism and Spain’s liberation. Redolent with Lorca’s sensual poetry, blending, dance, music and stirring visuals this production breathe’s new life into this haunting narrative of oppression, rebellion and fragile beauty.


Tweets this Week (2009-11-01)

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