Sunday, November 04, 2012

It was full house at Tobacco Factory on Friday for The Paper Cinema's Odyssey, a feature-length version of the mythic journey in live animation, and if you wonder what that involves, it's lots of tiny paper cutouts magically manipulated by hand at the front of the stage to create an on-screen graphic novel of fast-moving amazing adventures. There's a brief demo here of the making of these preliminary elements. While the sleight-of-hand duo create these impressive visuals in real time before our eyes, rather wonderful live music and sound effects enhance the story. There's no dialogue, but a few helpful plot notes onscreen when the narrative becomes particularly dense. The audience were vociferously thrilled by it all, and especially enthusiastic when the hero's journey found contemporary references like hitchhiking as Easy Rider bikers drive past. An ambitious concept and an amazing performance, this BAC co-production is touring nationally all November and returns to London in February.

  And now for something completely different: four short plays at Salisbury Studio, a great little theatre space I was unaware of till Saturday when Ripped Script presented An Evening with David Ives. Like Christopher Durang's dramas combining wit with psychological bite, these Pythonesque pieces twisted logic and timescale to delirious extremes, drawing us into a world where monkeys struggle with writers' block while typing Hamlet, a casual cafe chat-up is a work in progress, and Leon Trotsky with an axe in his head reads of his death in the Encyclopaedia Britannica but remains unconvinced... all hugely entertaining, but carrying too a kernel of the real world, with its absurd but painful vanities. Directors Jon Nash & Laura Jasper and their team of four lively performers did a brilliant job with these comic gems from a contemporary American playwright who, I see from the New York Times is currently working with Stephen Sondheim on a new show - how great will that be!

Next posting will be from La Gomera... where? Here. We discovered it last winter, and heading back now for long walks through ancient forests and 20-plus temperatures... Enjoy the snow, southwest UK, we'll be thinking of you.

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