Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ovid's Metamorphoses, according to Pants on Fire , are as relevant to the modern world as to antiquity. Man is still violently destructive and continues to ignore the most elemental of all truths: that everything in the universe is made of the same 'stuff' and to destroy nature is to destroy ourselves. Setting the myths in the 1940s allows this classy production to contrast girly glamour with war-time action as metaphor for brutal destruction. Narcissus is a screen idol besotted with his own image, Echo a smitten usherette, and Theseus a shell-shocked soldier sent to slay a Guernica-like Minotaur made of crutches and gas-masks. Pants On Fire have been touring this slick production for eighteen months and it arrived at the Ustinov this week with a collection of awed reviews from both sides of the Atlantic: not surprising, with six dynamic performers, clever set, stylish costumes, and tales as witty and ingenious as they are poignantly provocative.

FairyMonsterGhost is Tim Crouch's trilogy of monologues ostensibly to clarify Shakespeare's plays for young audiences but the Bristol Old Vic studio was packed with a largely older audience all rapt as children for most of the three hours the triple performances require.
I, Peaseblossom, dressed for a muddy Glastonbury and sounding like Ab Fab's Bubbles, was the least gripping, but I, Caliban and I, Banquo were both fascinating interpretations impressively acted: Jimmy Whiteaker moving - and definitely cast against type - as the monster and Adam Peck powerful as the murdered Scot. Tim Crouch is bringing a fourth play in this series I, Malvolio to the theatre in the autumn - one to watch out for.

Back in Frome it's party time, and the erratic sun chose to shine all afternoon on Rosie Jackson's 60th birthday gathering, a wonderfully convivial event with live music and poetry performances. Rosie had invited me to join poets Rose Flint and Sue Boyle to reflect on this celebratory occasion with cronelike wit and wisdom, so we did our best and it all seemed to go down well.

And the weekend just keeps on going... Monday was a 'Word of Mouth' event at BOV featuring Dub Queen and Punk King aka Jean 'Binta' Breeze and Byron Vincent. Frequent droppers-in on this blog will know that I'd go a long way to hear Byron, who presents his achingly acute and witty life commentaries with a slightly baffled air as if he's got no idea where all these surreal similes came from or are heading, and then while we're still yelping with mirth he can silence us all with a seriously savage satire like Alchemy in Nowhere Town. Jean 'Binta' Breeze has a contrastive style, equally personal but with reggae rhythms and more specific political passion. She writes about soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan with the same sad intensity as she speaks of the plight of Jamaica, yet somehow with a sense of enduring love for humanity. Sometimes I think there's nothing a play can do that poetry can't do better.


gordon said...

"Sometimes i think there's nothing a play can do that poetry can't do better"

I'm loving this, Crysse

Gordon Graft

gordon said...

"Sometimes i think there's nothing a play can do that poetry can't do better"

I'm loving that, Crysse

gordon said...
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Crysse said...

Thanks Gordon xx