Sunday, April 26, 2020

All the world's a screen... (with sunshine breaks)

And once again National Theatre Live has shown why lockdown may actually provide some of the highlights of 2020. Twelfth Night, that often tedious Shakespeare comedy about a girl and her brother looking identical enough to cause fights and fury, turns out to be not merely doable but timeless, funny, and moving. Imaginative casting helps: Sir Toby is an aging hippy, Sir Andrew a pretentious hipster and the Fool a faded flower child, with the other gender switch making Malvolio a lusty lesbian - Tamsen Greig in this role is unforgettable.  Soutra Gilmour's rotating stage brilliantly evokes every scenic shift, from manor to clubland, enhancing the essential theatricality of the story: scene changes in an ongoing drama of ascending and descending statuses, in a world where rank is all. Director Simon Goodwin, you can watch it online until April 30.

Spoken word now: and Clare Reddaway, Bath's talented writer & creative supporter of other writers, has taken her monthly live 'Story Friday' event online, combining with Kilter Theatre to ensure some great readings for their premier event on 26th on the theme Dark Clouds, Silver Linings. Seven ultra-short tales took the theme in wide-ranging ways, including two charming everyday stories of local folk:  Jonathan Evans The Pillars of the Earth read by Ollie Langdon, and My Dad the Superhero by Judith Adam, read by Eve. Clare will continue to select and post stories, so do follow A Word In Your Ear, and contribute if you feel inspired.

Last week online saw more music than may blossom in the hedgerows - you probably found plenty, but among those I've appreciated are  Flash Harry, and Al O'Kane who hosted a fundraiser on Friday for a Bristol NHS Charity. Frome's individual musicians are doing lock-in solo spots too, on their personal pages: guitarist-singer Steve Loudoun has made his public - here's a great Tom Waits track -
and Pete Gage has posted a moving guitar version of St James Infirmary Blues as well as some terrific keyboard-accompanied songs - these aren't public but I'm sure he won't mind me sharing the screenshot of I need your love so bad. -
Sofar Sounds gave us a free session from Jade Bird - donations optional - and overall there's been no shortage of music as a backdrop to this sensationally sunny week - including the intriguing Bookshop Band, who exclusively sing their own songs about book recommendations, an impressive specialism that originated in Mr B's in Bath and has brought them followers all over the UK and to America, including BBC radio.  Here they are with their regular Lockdown show - you can see them live on Fridays at 8.30.

Poetry, like mercy, drops everywhere like the gentle rain, - various online sites will pipe it to you daily -but  April 25th was a day of special dousing: this is the day of the Universe in Verse celebrates 'the splendour and mystery of the natural world', as featured in Brainpickings. Liv Torc is still collecting haiku for her Haiflu project - you could send her one of your own or post any longer poems on the Frome Poetry page if you're missing our meetings.

Ending with another image from a walk: out of over 20 miles of happy traipsing, this one is close to home - right in the centre of Frome: wild garlic, looks beautiful, smells sensuous, tastes great...

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