Thursday, June 30, 2011

A last look at the magic island, before a different genre of reality claims me and I have to move on from posting photos on facebook and revelling in comments like "OMG - I'm definitely booking now", "What is an Atsitsa and how do I sign up?" and "owwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" So here we are, or were, when all you needed was love and a guitar at sunset...

Meg Whelan's new play Lost Luggage at the Alma puts the focus on holiday travel too, contrasting the journey of an intrepid Victorian with that of a contemporary hen-party-goer, as both women meet in a surreal and slightly Kafkaesque Lost Property Office. Gently entertaining social observations, with more than a few droll digs at changing values.
There's deeper digging in Bunny, as you'd expect from Skins writer Jack Thorne in a production by nabakov whose mission statement promises 'an antagonistic response to contemporary agendas'.
Rosie Wyatt takes the gruelling role of Katie, relating events of one late afternoon when a trivial street confrontation escalated mesmerically through ugly urban power-struggle to coming-of-age crisis. Katie's an average Luton girl with an older black boyfriend and identity issues: she plays clarinet in the school orchestra and wants a tattoo saying Will Lick For Money – in tiny writing – on her wrist. Her sexuality, and the fine line between thrill and contempt, is one of the values up for shock re-evaluation when she's involved in a car chase with a brutal agenda. "I don’t know how to bring up the whole racist thing – it’s a conundrum," Katie declares, but when you live on streets of smoldering conflict, difficult decisions are unavoidable. A gripping and unpredictable script made Katie compellingly likable despite her flaws as she struggles to articulate things she doesn't like thinking, summed up eventually "I’m not a bunny, I’m a scared little girl." Rosie Wyatt is brilliant in this one-hour emotionally-exhausting monologue against an effectively simplistic scribbled backdrop designed by Hannah Clark, pacily directed by Joe Murphy.

Meanwhile in Bristol, it's TO ME TO YOU time again: writers from across the southwest convened on a sultry evening in a vault-like chamber in the Arnolfini to discuss the question how can the region's network best serve its members in the next three years? Seth Honnor, ex-Theatre Bristol director, facilitated this session modelled on a three-hour coffee break, during which clusters of writers, actors, and producers discussed key questions of collaboration, working relationships, promotion, and... funding. Good to hear a range of views, great to meet the makers and shakers, and as ever, the (real) coffee-breaks were the most useful bits.

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