Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pinteresque (adj): characterised by silences and use of inaction

The script for The Dumb Waiter gives detailed instructions for minutiae of performance but leaves interpretation of the final moment open. Cross Cut Theatre chose the valid route that Ben didn't know he'd kill his partner  ~ sorry if this comes as a spoiler but I'm guessing if you didn't know the ending to Harold Pinter's 1960 script by now then you probably don't really care ~ and  Jonny Collis as Ben is superb, bringing controlled tension and convincing ownership of the character and evoking the hidden desperation of these dissatisfied, brutal, lives. This production puts a big emphasis on "finding the funny bone" of Pinter in a 'menacing, hilarious' play but for me the inherent humour is absurd and macabre: Gus's OCD quirks are fine but seeking out moments for hilarity slightly undermines the menace. Nevertheless a compelling production of a thought-provoking play which has been called "Pinter distilled - the very essence of a writer who tapped into our desire to seek out meaning, confront injustice, and assert our individuality." Good to see Merlin Theatre so well attended too.

This being Frome, drama wasn't the only option on Wednesday evening, and even after Q&A with the actors there was time to call in at Cheese&Grain for a blast of the weekly Roots Session: Phil Cooper (his ironic WWI song Home by Christmas here) and Blue Midnight, who describe themselves as 'loosely a spacey folk dub brass fiesta band but in fact unclassifiable" ~ they could have added wickedly danceable. And at Old Bath Arms there's lyrical late night jazz in the Retro bar from Keith Harrison-Broninski with alto-saxist Kevin Figes at Frome Jazz Club  ~ honestly, talk about a plethora of talent!  Why would anyone ever leave this town for a moment?
But I do of course, especially these sunny autumn days. This week's trip was to Lacock, to learn stuff I never knew about Fox Talbot and his family (did you know his youngest daughter took herself off to France to nurse lame soldiers & came back to co-found the Wrens?) and to see for myself, through the same lattice window, the first view ever photographed. I'll leave you with an existentialist question posed to me that day which I thought at first unanswerable, then realised with a bit of mind-awareness we can all find at least one reply every day: What was the last time you did something for the first time?

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