Archive for the ‘theare’ Category

I honestly do not know where to begin. I did not think it was possible to ruin a production of The Tempest but somehow I ended up sitting through a mangled version of it. There was an odd dichotomy to the production. The set, and stagecraft were strong but the direction and acting poor. So poor in fact that I almost walked out because going home to watch Rambo with Alex seemed like the better option but I stayed because I thought it might get better. It didn’t. The direction was incredibly confusing. It was really very odd how they wove it all together, and at one point Ariel change into a dress and then later he had Icarus-style wings thrust on him. WTF?

None of the cast stood out. There was not a compelling perforamce amongst them, and they all acted as if they were on horse tranquilizers. Prospero (Stephen Dillane) was limp, castrated, and with no rage.  Ariel (Christian Camargo) was an odd combination of Data (from Star Trek) and the vampire dude from Twilight: insipid and emotionless. Ariel and Prospero wafted about the stage without any real presence, and that made me really angry as they are such strong characters. Do not get me started on Caliban (Ron Cephas Jones) who pretty much channeled Beetlejuice throughout (even down to the make-up). I did like the set. The back part was flooded to represent the sea, and the front had a large sand circle as the island. The majority of the action took place in the circle, and those not in the circle sat in randomly distributed chairs in the “sea”. Visually it worked, and you felt like it was a ship wreck of discombobulated people.

I was really disappointed as this is a high profile production (after BAM it goes to the Old Vic in London) and it should have been better.

I birthed a 2,000 word essay on neighbourhoods in Pompeii yesterday. I know that is a regular sized essay but there was a lot of reading and throw in some traveling and a cold, and it turned into my Moby Dick. Whilst I’ve had it hanging over head I haven’t felt at liberty to really blog about anything other than quick updates so my mum knows that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. Though given that we email through out the day, IM, Skype and she follows me on Twiter there is little chance of that.

So, I went to London a few weeks ago for some much needed respite and I saw three great plays. The first of which was a revival of Six Degrees of Separation at The Old Vic.  Now Six Degrees is a quintessential New York play based on the real life account of a con man who tricked people in NYC into believing that he was the son of Sidney Poitier. I was a bit worried about its reception – would it still be relevant? But, from the conning of wealthy New Yorkers (hello Maddoff) to references to Catcher in the Rye to the children of the conned rolling their eyes at the stupidity of their parents, and the issue of race it hit the button every time.

It is an excellent production (loved the Rothko inspired set) with an outstanding ensemble cast and I have a weakness for when the fourth wall is broken.  I just wish our audience had been a little livelier, and got a few more of the jokes (Dean and Deluca is a store full of condiments for the wealthy to gift to each other!). The male lead is Anthony Head (of Buffy fame), and I thought it funny that in the program blurb that runs through all the accomplishments of the cast for Head, Buffy is separated from the rest of his TV credits with this qualifier ‘Anthony appeared as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a critically acclaimed US series’.  I am guessing that either Head is super proud of Buffy, or he was worried that London theatre goers would not have clue what Buffy was and worry that he had fallen on hard times in the 90s (after his run as the Gold Blend man).

If you are in London it is definitely worth catching it during its run, and thanks to Kevin Spacey’s direction The Old Vic is one of the nicest theatres in London. Though I might be bias because our cheap seats in the gods were upgraded to the stalls. They must have known that I am huge Buffy fan!

The last week and a bit have been a complete social whirl. So much so that for my birthday I have requested that we stay in and Alex’s cooks. Alex cooking for me is a HUGE treat and almost worthy of being my actual birthday present. The thought of coming home on Wednesday to Nigella’s Rudolph pie bubbling away in the oven is too much. Let’s hope he tweets as he chops so I can follow along!

Things kicked off a week Saturday when we went out to Barbuto with a group of friends for Alex’s birthday. We had reserved the chef’s table in the kitchen and it was amazing. You got to eat family style and pretty much tasted everything from their fresh and seasonal menu (the gnocchi and pumpkin was out of this world). Jonathan Waxman was lurking in the kitchen, and it was so much better than anything on Food Network. The kitchen ran seamlessy and I kept thinking there must be a second kitchen hidden in the basement because without so much as a raised voice food was pouring out of the kitchen to the hungry dinners. Sunday was Alex’s last commute to Atlanta in ’09 and I of course decided to celebrate that by taking myself off to see the Globe theatre’s touring production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.  It’s one of Shakespeare’s comedies that I am less familiar with, and it was bawdy production.  According to the play bill Lizzy I ordered a comedy for Christmas and this was what she got (Elizabethan style pay-per-view telly).  Even though it’s subject matter wasn’t festive it got me in the mood for Christmas hols.

Last week was a blur of yoga classes, work holiday parties and a free lunch. Yes – a free lunch from my friends at Cosi. Apparently, when you drop your business card into their ‘Win lunch for your office’ there is totally the possibility that you might actually win lunch for your office because that’s what happened to me! It was so cool to be able to treat my peeps in the office to kick-ass sandwiches and salads (and chips and cookies). And now we get to Saturday where for a pre-birthday treat I once again took myself off to the theatre. This time to see A Streetcar Named Desire at BAM. The cast did an excellent job, and Cate Blanchett, Joel Edgerton and Robin McLeavy worked hard to throw off the shadows of Leigh, Brando and Hunter.  Then after that I met up with Alex to go see Avatar (review to come).

Phew! I have 2 1/2 days left in the office and the Christmas break cannot come fast enough.

Loved it and Neil Labute rocks.
The cast is awesome.
The staging and set is v Ian Schrager.
Faith restored in the medium of the theatre…..a flutter of air kisses and luvees all round.

Book-ending my trip north was some memorable nights out – the theatre trips were disappointing so the winner by a mile was the woman in her fifties belting out songs whilst prancing around in a thong:)

It feels as if Cher has been doing her farewell tour for years but apparently this is it and what a show – Britney and Christina take note. Acrobats, dancers, sequins and an elephant….. I love that Cher answers to no-one and doesn’t give a fig. At one point she dons a costume very similar to the one she was ridiculed for wearing on the ‘Turn Back Time’ video – the only difference is the nylon is a slightly higher denier this decade.

Two things drew me to David Mamet’s Oleanna – his wordsmith and the eye candy that is Aaron Eckhart. I enjoyed the themes raised in the play (is higher education this centuries greatest swindle) and the performances were fine. Strangely, Eckhart came across as more conformable in his role as the professor (though a little young) than Julie Stile’s portrayal as a student – go figure as she is studying at university in real life. The thing that bugged me was that it was rather short, 90 minutes including the interval, and it deserved a third act. There is a power struggle through out – first with the lecturer having the knowledge the student desperately wants, then it flips and the lecturer doesn’t understand the charges of sexual harassment and finally snaps. I thought it would be more interesting if the power flipped again and violence wasn’t the result.

The Globe’s production of Romeo and Juliet was so poor that I was nearly pushed to an act of violence myself. They played the first half for laughs – which undermined the gentle comedic relief that the Nurse brings. Apart from the Friar, nobody else seemed comfortable with the prose and their presentation made it ackward. I felt is a lazy production relying on the awesome setting of the Globe and the jewel coloured costumes.

I have a sore throat and the start of a cold, which I am putting down to all the talking I have had to do over the past when when registering with temping agencies and I am sure the germs came from – shock horror mixing with people. See, when I am left to my own solitary devices in the flat I don’t get sick!!!! Go, isolation!!!!

Sunday, saw the Aquila Theatre company’s version of ‘Agamemnon’. The staging and costumes were fab. But, I felt that the 3 leads (Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon and Cassandra) hammed it up so much that it was more of a comedy than tragedy. Cassandra came across as a distant cousin of Bubble from Ab Fab. The translation used was rather flat and simple, the poetry and imagery in the text was lost.

I felt the translation they used ‘dumb’ down the poetry and xxxxx.

Last night Alex and I saw John Williams conduct the NY Philharmonic in ‘The Art of Score’. It was truly magical – hearing and watching a live orchestra was such a treat. I am still bowled over by all the bows moving in sync 🙂

Off to feel sorry for myself and gargle with the left over Christmas sherry….