Sunday, January 08, 2012

Bristol-based theatre company Travelling Light has a big name for their devised productions, so I was keen to see their version of Cinderella despite the fact the promo image looked like a cover shot for a Pia Jewellery catalogue. Happily their Ella was more like a traveller from the woods of Jerusalem, sprinting to the ball with leaves in her old bowler hat and glitter on her Doc Martins, and the show was an absolute delight. Director Sally Cookson used the good-fairy birds and the toe-butchering eye-pecking savagery of the Grimm Brothers version, but wove in panto-style comedy too: the prince is an asthmatic bird-watcher with a striking resemblance to Austin Powers, and there's oodles of saucy cross-dressing. Music is a big part of the magic, Benji Bower and brother Will creating a vivid and exquisite soundscape to match every mood.
Unsurprisingly, this imaginative and cleverly-executed show is sold out till the end of the run but I managed to slip in at a schools performance and enjoyed the add-on pleasure of seeing the children's engrossed enchanted faces and hearing their frank reactions ("Yeah!" as streamers of blood flow from the wicked stepmother's gouged eyeballs, and "Yucch!" for the lovers' smoochy kiss.) Their responses on the blackboard in the foyer said it all: ‘amazing’, ‘brilliant’, ‘loveley but scary', 'I like the lights’ and ‘its great its only 5 people and the music is great’.

Another nearly-missed treat, this time in Bath: The Holburne Museum garden this winter has been filled with thousands of colour-changing fibre-optic lights, creating a Field of Light that comes to life as dusk deepens into night. The installation closes today but I heard about it just in time to experience this amazing artwork.

And there will now be a short intermission. I'm not taking my laptop to Cambodia, where I'll be offering guidance on finding way of processing through writing what looks like an amazing adventure holiday... full report to follow after 18th January, when I'm home again.

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