Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Clifton's charming little Redgrave Theatre has a new production of The Importance of Being Earnest with Floor to Ceiling, a new venture by two Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Graduates. It's hard to bring a new take to Oscar Wilde's well-known words - and who would want to, with such outrageous wit and social parody. Monty Till's production wisely didn't try, concentrating instead on nuances of physical exchange between the characters. There were some nice details but overall the pace didn't seem to flow as urbanely as it should, the clunky set & oddly accessorised costumes not helping, to say the least. Nevertheless an entertaining evening out, and an interesting extension from previous productions.

How social manners change... from ladies to ladettes in Life and Soul by Ian McGlynn at the Rondo, where Katie, Chloe and Amy get drunk a lot and have an increasingly crap time. Provocation is committed to 'tackling social issues with a razor-sharp sense of humour and a barely-controlled simmering rage at the state we're in today' and this one tackles binge-drinking. The two-minute mime at the start - applying make-up, drinking, puking - as Black Eyed Peas sing I got a feeling summed up this morality play about what happens if you don't get good A levels. Katy Rachel Moore was outstanding as Amy, bitchiest and also most poignant of the three.

Bristol Old Vic offered another of their excellent script-writing workshops this week, this time led by Sarah Dickenson. The focus was on style, what it is and how to achieve it, with Sarah leading discussions and exercises aimed at understanding how drama needs to "trust its own tempo, trust the audience, understand what directors and actors can do, knowing that theatre can do more than words do.”
We had to create our own Wikipedia entry too - here's mine:
Crysse led the movement that became known as ‘Provocative Elder’ and in keeping with her tag she defines her style in perversely different terms when interviewed. Her ‘transgressional’ themes and disturbingly visible subtexts have split opinions among the critics. See also meta-theatrical and neo-realism. This entry needs verification.
So what does Sarah look for in her role as Soho Theatre's senior reader? "Freshness in story telling. A play written about something. Work that has immediacy, that says something about the world we live in. Plays that make me laugh and cry and think. Just good plays, basically.”

And as this amazingly unexpected week of late summer ends, let's give thanks for glorious sunshine days of cycling and fabulous parties & meetings with family and friends...

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