Saturday, July 01, 2017

Ecumenical matters and why bingo was cancelled

David Haig is so good in the role of gentle, jaded vicar in Racing Demon currently at Theatre Royal Bath perhaps he should have his own TV series, a kind of 'Yes Reverend Minister' showing the ungodly rivalries that writhe beyond the rectory. David Hare wrote this play in 1990 as part of a trilogy taking a deep and critical look at the three central pillars of public life: church, law and politics.
Inevitably each of the posse of South London clerics has to represent some aspect of the problems that beset the Church of England in 1980s: Rev Lionel is jaundiced by realism, Rev Tony (Paapa Essiedu mesmeric) is terrifyingly evangelical, Rev Harry (Ian Gelder) has tendencies making him open to blackmail, while Rev 'Streaky' Bacon (Sam Alexander ~ my favourite actually, with touch of Teddish Dougal) just loves margueritas...
What with all their shenanigans and a couple of Bishops too there's not much role for women, who have a token presence to represent sidelining and abuse but only Tony's discarded girlfriend has much to say: Rebecca Night looks lovely but doesn't seem to have discerned a real character within her lines. Admirably focused direction by Jonathan Church, and Simon Higlett's design is excellent, creating multiple locations each identifiable from minimalist set change and clever lighting (Tim Mitchell) This is a solid and entertaining production, no twists but a plangent reminder why church attendance continues to dwindle, and there are some very funny lines. And if you google that title, it's a card game where the aim is to find the hidden demon in the pack... clever, eh.  Images Nobby Clark

Back in Frome after a few days visiting my northern brother (and btw Virgin Cross-Country trains go about the speed fingernails grow) into a busy week as Festival approaches.
Frome Open Studios art trail launch party at the WHY Gallery had samples of some of the impressive work that will be showing at 29 venues around the town and outlying villages. Pictured with the mayor are Kate Cochrane and Amanda Bee, and Rosie Hart (R) is also one of the organising team, with nearly 80 participating artists working in a wide variety of media ~ there's an interactive brochure here.
Also anticipating the festival, Ann Harrison-Broninski is showing her sketches at the Grain Bar and David Goodwin has an impressive exhibition of portraits of musicians at La Strada.
Quote of the week comes from ex-manager of Cheese & Grain Martin Dimery, on the last night of his role there, walking into a massive surprise farewell party: "Did you cancel the Bingo?" The surprise was especially successful as it included a performance from brilliant Bad Sounds ~ their drummer is Martin's daughter ~  soon to be playing at Truck Fest Main Stage along with Franz Ferdinand: here's Martin joining them in a number from his own (ex)group Sergeant Pepper's Only Dart Board Band, appropriately Come Together.
And then the week went a bit Demsters Diary with a party every night & two on Saturday.
There were jigs and reels at the Bennett Centre on Friday, and for me a catch-up with Rosie Jackson who recently won first prize in the prestigious Cookham Festival Poetry Competition, then on Saturday the sun shone on the all-day Party in the Park organised by Frome FM with brilliant live music on the bandstand ~ I especially enjoyed Magic Tractor's garage rock, ending with Nick Lowe's song: What's so funny about peace, love & understanding...
On, then, to the extensive garden party organised by Andrew Ziminski, anthropologist & author, with optional swimming in the pool. It's beginning to feel a bit like summer!

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