Monday, June 11, 2018

Dramatic visits - terror, identity & the power to change

A Monster Calls at Bristol Old Vic now (until 16 June) is such a dramatically theatrical piece of story-telling that it's very difficult to credit that this gripping story started as a book, or even to imagine it as a film, it seems so perfect for a stage production -with live music, scary lighting effects, a mass of ropes symbolising viscerally the constraining emotional tangles, and directed - this is the essential factor - by Sally Cookson. If you saw her productions of Peter Pan and Jane Eyre you will know that she is unsurpassable at finding the complex heart of any story of a lost child, and she has done it again for Connor as he struggles with his feelings as his mother's illness worsens. Sally is supported by a terrific cast, with standout performances from Matthew Tennyson as the troubled teenager and Stuart Goodwin as the monster who haunts and redeems him. Benji Bower composed the emotion-enhancing score - he and brother Will can be seen on stage throughout - and designer Michael Vale's uncluttered set allows both unlimited imagination and unfettered time-shifts. It's really good, do go.

I need to do a bit of time-sliding here as I went directly then to Hull for a writing week-end with long-time friend and previous poetry-performing colleague Hazel Stewart:  Hull is a fantastically creative place so I do want to write about what we saw and did there but as Monster has only another week to run, and also since some followers of this blog are mainly interested in locally accessible arts, I'll press pause on that and leave you with this taster of us at the interactive project at Humber Street Gallery where they are exploring themes of identity, equality, power and social change...
Back now to Frome, where my garden roses have gone bonkers and I have galley-proofs to check (exciting!) and a long list of other must-dos, including preparations for Frome Festival so I'll leave you with a taster of 2 events to look out for... Poets! get musing on Mary Shelley's monster and bring a poem to the Cafe for a chance to win the title Frome Festival 2018 Poet Laureate. Everyone! come and hear the true story of a Frome woman who started the first Human Rights campaign and overthrew a tyrant... presented by Peter Clark in the satirical words of Mark Twain, clearly the Frankie Boyle of his era... it's all happening SOON!

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