Saturday, October 04, 2014

Different strokes

 Frome's literati were off to Bath in droves, or maybe even murmurations, on Wednesday for the launch of a new pamphlet with Poetry Salzburg from Rosie JacksonWhat the Ground Holds. This very successful event was hosted by Knucklebone Poets and included a moving tribute from Lindsay Clarke, novelist and long-time friend, but the high point was Rosie's reading from her collection. Her poems are exquisite, delicate strength created through precise wording and profound feeling. Classic myths glimmer through contemporary experiences, and the ordinary becomes unfamiliar and scarred with legend. And the attention to detail, in lichen or wild rhubarb, reminds me of Blake's words: to see a world in a grain of sand.. hold infinity in the palm of your hand. Beautiful.

Told by an Idiot  arrived at Bristol's Tobacco Factory last week with their Young Vic production My Perfect Mind, "a comic tale of a man not doing King Lear." As you might guess from the tagline, it's about as meta-theatrical as a piece of theatre can get without dissolving into ~ in the words of Edward Petheridge ~ "slapdash and pretentious at the same time, like something at the Tate Modern." Using the actor's (true) experience of travelling to New Zealand to play King Lear but suffering a stroke instead, the action plays around with Shakespeare's lines and the notion of kingly folly and thespian ambition in an amiably absurd way. Much of the show is very funny ~ and Paul Hunter, playing everyone from Lear's psychiatrist to Laurence Olivier, is sublime ~ but a lot of the audience laughter is inevitably that half-smug, half-relieved mirth that comes from being able to recognise the reference and 'get' the gag. But if you know your Lear and enjoy in-jokes, it's a great show.

Looking ahead in Frome: Rosie Jackson is one of the guests at the next Poetry Cafe on Monday 13th, along with Stephen Boyce who recently featured in the Winchester Poetry Festival, while CROSSED WIRES ~ the double bill of play by Rosie Finnegan and me ~ will be at the Cornerhouse on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th. (Phone 01373 472042 to save your seat, the list is filling up fast!)
But before that, we're off to Salisbury tomorrow to open the show at the Fringe Festival... more laters. 

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