Friday, July 31, 2009

Words@ Frome Festival goes into recess for the rest of the summer once the bunting is down for another year. Mega congratulations to all involved in the hugely successful literary events - you can see the reviews, compiled by Wendy, on the festival website. The debrief meeting is traditionally a bit of a knees-up too and this year Alison, who hosted, created a unique Plinth Cake: that's me on the top, complete with icing-sugar mic. Ahhh...

Somerset lacks focus in terms of cities, learning institutions, and cultural centres. Discuss.
The theatre practitioners' meeting at The Academy Theatre in Shepton Mallet did just that, with varied opinions as to whether decentralisation is a weakness or a strength. Either way Take Art, who convened the meeting, is doing a grand job to thread our isolated pearls onto some sort of circlet of reciprocal awareness. Coffee, cakes, and networking opportunities supplemented the discussion, concluding with a flurry of post-it notes & hopes for continued contact.

Writer/performer Rob Benson brought Borderline, billed as 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for the ecstasy generation', to Bristol, giving Alma Tavern audiences a chance to see why this one-man show collected rave reviews at the Edinburgh festival.
His character is a Stone Roses fan who pops pills like Pringles ("once you start, you can't stop") until he lands in Mental Health Ward 206, off his head now on medicinal instead of recreational stuff. It's not just drugs to blame, he says. He's borderline schizophrenic, borderline victim, borderline recovered. Maybe his life will always ricochet in and out of paranoia, even though he longs for the normality of 'Ikea and Dixons' - and love.
Black comedy, physicality, raw emotionalism, and Streets-style poetry, all disturbingly enhanced by the extreme lighting design of director Jennifer Lunn, took this piece beyond era case-study to essential integrity. Next stop New York, but Rob will be back in the spring with a new play developed for the Ustinov's 'Script Factory'.

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