Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Poetry going right and panto gone wrong

Possibly lured by that raunchy poster, as well as Claire Crowther as guest poet, so many people arrived for the Frome Poetry Cafe "Love Night" on Monday that the Garden Cafe was totally crowded out, but a fabulous atmosphere and terrific readings hopefully made it all worth while for all those who stood, squatted, or nestled on the steps. Claire read from her upcoming collection On Narrowness, her combination of extraordinary imagination and delicate lyrical crafting finding love poems in unexpected places, like body fat and having a sore throat at a vinegar tasting.
And then we had a fantastic range of poems from 25, yes that's twentyfive, poets from the audience, including several who had written something specially for the event... we ran out of time or I'd have loved to hear more from Rose Flint, Rosie Jackson, Muriel Lavender, and everyone else with more to share. Luckily there's a chance: John Walton from Frome FM has started a new Friday show called Chapter & Verse and invites any local poet to contact him for focus on their words. Here's Claire with some of her avid audience, and me feeling happy at the end of the evening.

"To die would be an awfully big adventure..." Poignantly, the boy-who-never-grew-up flew into popular imagination from a writer whose own brother died while still young.  I loved Peter Pan when I was little (I had a battered 1911 edition) and it always made me cry, though not as much as I wept with laughter watching Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Theatre Royal Bath. Following their success with The Play that Goes Wrong, Mischief Theatre Company have turned their amazing theatrical skills to create the Cornley Drama Society, a company whose artistic and technical ineptitude exceeds even their appalling personality issues. Falling scenery, flailing flying, wardrobe malfunctions... everything that could go wrong does go wrong ~
it's so over-the-top it shouldn't work, but it does: the audience was near-hysterical by the time the off-stage traumas erupted on-stage as the circular set whirled out-of-control to reveal artistic & personal differences exposed in every segment like a manic mini-version of The Norman Conquests.  Clever genre parody and startling stunts from all the cast & technicians, with standout moments when Captain Hook (Laurence Pears) found his inner John Cleese, Alex Bartram's Lord-Flasheart-esque Pan, Naomi Sheldon multi-tasking as every woman who wasn't Wendy, and Robert Booth a scene-stealing hirsuite co-director. Absolutely brilliant, on till March 14.

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