Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Who are these, coming to the sacrifice...  dancers, bounding, boundless, beauty and truth. “That piano is a bit annoying.” Green man, green knight, translucent glass drilled and stitched,  bounded, bonded, blind. Dangling man, medieval jouster, patchwork jester, triple shadowed, shifting in space as the piano plays, fusing with the movement of the dancers on the porcelain bowl.  Who is this, coming to the sacrifice, swaying slightly in the warm air, hum of projector, thrum of repeated solo piano note.. Whose is this glinting web, Penelope... Ariadne... ‘You are invited to contribute’ so I do, taking up more knitting needles like the sheep in Alice’s dream, or was it the queen? “I used to knit for my grandson - he’s 18 now.” Memories and myths entangle, nets and snares, and who knits up the sleeve of care? Current show at Black Swan Arts in Frome is SHIFT, a fascinating look at the relationship between craft & fine art ~ worth a look before 16th February especially for writers, as the gallery plans to start a group to respond to their exhibitions in words. There's a long tradition of wordsmiths, especially poets, finding inspiration in visual art so, after indulging in a some freeflow jottings at this show,  I'm looking forward to our pilot events next month ~ watch this space for details.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings is a short story for children by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ~ so short it's hard to see how Little Angel Theatre could manage, even by adding social parody, to stretch it to a full-length show with an interval. Well they do, using a gothic picture-book set where four clever puppeteers manipulate a large cast of villagers to tell the story of this fallen angel who mutely transforms the lives of all around him. Perhaps the cast is a bit too large: while all the figures are charming there's little character-differentiation and not always a chance for the kind of subtly-animated movement that makes skilled puppetry so striking. When this occurs it's superb and the relationship between the old man and the little boy, which is at the heart of the story, is exquisitely shown. And there's jokey fun,  especially with the chickens, but also a lot of wafting about. I loved the surprises at the start but everything gets more predictable as the parable of materialist corruption sets in, and an unscrupulous banker sits uneasily with the magic realism ~ but the very beautiful ending is worth waiting for. (BOV Studio & touring.)

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