Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunshine on Sunday made this the perfect day for a scamper round the Open Studios trail and marvel at the dazzling inventiveness and skill of Frome's artists. Two which stood out were the vibrant collective work at Circus stands out ~ I specially enjoyed the wall poem written in wire ~ and the theatrical pieces of John M Robinson, who creates narratives drawn from fact and fantasy for his characters: here's the corrupt tarot-reader but I was also fascinated by the notion of Albrecht Dürer's portal to the future leaving him trapped in 2011...

Music has been stonkingly high standard too: mindblowing two-hour sets from fantastic headliners like The Critters at Olive Tree and Pete Gage Band at the Cornerhouse... wow. I wish I could think of more superlatives but wow, wow, wow says it all really.

Against all odds we had a balmy night for The Importance of Being Earnest in the beautiful Merlin amphitheatre. Miracle Theatre have a great reputation for over-the-top open-air performances of well-loved classics, but I remain unconvinced that Oscar Wilde's wit needs any enhancement, or that playing sophisticated Jack Worthing as a buffoon and giving suave Algy's lines to his manservant are valid adornments to social satire. Ben Dyson, though brilliant as a neurotic butler, failed to create a formidable Aunt Augusta despite vicious umbrella-jabbing. Certainly not vintage Miracle ~ but the audience laughed and the weather was perfect.
Overall verdict on Frome festival: a fantastic, if exhausting, week crammed with brilliant experiences and performances. Especially the music.

And with all that going on I nearly missed The Hollow Crown: Richard II on BBC iplayer, which would have been a pity as it was visually beautiful with some superb filmic moments. This version played much with homo-erotic and quasi-religious overtones, even to the extent of rewriting Richard's murder to evoke a Judas-style betrayal and a crucifixion image. Ben Wishaw was compelling as the King raised to believe himself omnipotently above the rivalries and intrigues that swirled around his realm, and all the rest of the cast were excellent too though Bolingbroke did sometimes look disturbingly like Corrie's Tyrone.

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