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Wednesday, 25 July 2018

I swear that there are cracks that weren’t there before ~ A review of Julia Bolden's Alternate Slices

This is a review of Twisted Willow Theatre in Julia Bolden's Alternate Slices

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


24 July

This is a first-night review of Julia Bolden's Alternate Slices, as performed by Twisted Willow Theatre at Corpus Playroom, St Edward’s Passage, Cambridge, on Tuesday 24 July at 7.45 p.m.


Julia Bolden's play Alternate Slices, which premiered this evening at Cambridge's cosy Corpus Playroom (@corpusplayroom), runs until Saturday 28 July.




Without saying so, Julia Bolden deliberately evokes a tennis-court, and umpire's chair :




Plays are fully as referential as films are expected (or wrongly uniquely imagined ?) to be¹, so Alternate Slices is suitably infused with other works of theatre, such as Michael Frayn’s masterly Copenhagen, Christopher Hampton’s Treats, Stoppard’s Arcadia or The Real Thing, or Ian Rickson's fascinating production(s) of Pinter's Betrayal and Old Times². [Which is to say that, with the last of these, #UCFF had 'to watch both ways'³, i.e. with KST (Kristin Scott Thomas) as Kate and Lia Williams as Anna, then vice versa].



Those predecessor plays are named, in case they help to understand what to expect of the scope and nature of Bolden's prescribed and circumscribed universe, and by no means to daunt, but encourage, the general reader by introducing them as and for company⁴ - since they are not quite bed-fellows (except in that limited sense of ‘Ishmael’ and Queequeg in Moby Dick).


Not precisely off duty, the cast (L to R)
Steven Kitson (Matt), Ashley Harris (Nick), Jenny Scudamore (Finola)


Still, one might ask, why all this cleverness (from #UCFF) ? Well, for one, because the play itself talks about post-graduate life, so that is the other-worldly realm to which Matt, Finola and Nick still partly relate (because drawn to academically), when not having to plan how to go about decorating (filling, rather than painting (or even papering) over, the cracks), or kite-surfing at Hunstanton : do they, as some will claim that the phrase has it, Live in their heads still, and not [in amongst] the physicality of the world... ?

The Happy End of Franz Kafka's 'Amerika' (1994) ~ Martin Kippenberger


And yet, for example, although all three of Matt, Finola and Nick are very and almost equally talkative, superficially covering - when not spikily alluding to - their common hurts and gripes (passing hints of Sartre and Huis clos ?), does Matt riff a little on the more morbid / saturnine parts of Deeley in Old Times, and Nick on his ostensibly more gregarious Pinteresque cover-up for envy, menace, and unacknowledged fear / insecurity ?

The opening-page, in a MS original [the 'Ellesmere' MS], of the tale told by The Knight in Chaucer’s 'The Canterbury Tales' : A story that effectively begins with Palamon and Arcite, who are cousins as well as imprisoned knights, and when Palamon, waking early one day in May, sees Emelye, a princess, from their shared tower-cell…


Pinter's play, of course, is a man and two women³, and vying - as if it is a final battle - for whose relationship with whom is rooted in the least assailable memory, which Alternate Slices arguably may not (or may ?) be found to be... ?




Postlude :

Which is where, to be a first-night review that might be seen by a second-night audience (and the rule of thumb, of course, is that the teething problems of opening night have been [insert whatever continues the analogy / metaphor] and the show is even better, this attempt has to end...

Oh, you'd really like to see that extra bit⁵ that didn't find a place (in time), would you ?



End-notes :

¹ Those whose milieu is as much cinematic as theatrical may not only find possibilities here for a screenplay (as already mentioned, in passing, to Julia Bolden afterwards), but also such film-references useful as - in no particular order – Sliding Doors (1998), About Time (2013) [NB Richard Curtis cannot 'do' time-travel], Lola rennt (Run, Lola, Run) (1998) [the link is to the IMDb web-page for the film]...



² And maybe, momentarily, Beckettt's Play ?

³ Although playing it both ways, where KST was Kate half the time (and even on the throw of a coin, for some performances), brought out both what Lia Williams and she were bringing to each role, and how that made Rufus Sewell, in each of their equivalent Deeleys, necessarily different and so not static either, even at the level of how the stage-business was blocked.



⁴ Thinking as much of Sondheim’s Company, as Bekettt’s late prose masterpiece of the same name.

NB Embedded links (below) are for illustrative purposes only, and not paid or any promotion, endorsement or recommendation of goods and / or services referred to therein or thereby :


You might lay bets, handle cancelled bookings and make them available again, or work as an ethically sourced wedding-planner – but living with uncertainty is part of the territory ~ McLuhan (paraphrasing Barthes)






Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

For Ocean's Eight (2018), four Tweets

For Ocean's Eight (2018), as seen at The Light Cinema, Cambridge, four Tweets

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


18 July


For Ocean's Eight (2018), as seen at The Light Cinema, Cambridge, four Tweets









Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Some notes from a viewing of Almod贸var's Live Flesh (1997)

Some notes from a viewing of Almod贸var's Live Flesh (Carne tr茅mula) (1997)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


14 July

Some notes from a viewing, on DVD, of Almod贸var's Live Flesh (Carne tr茅mula) (1997)



They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow :
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
And husband nature's riches from expense




Christmas Eve 1970 (Franco's Spain / excuses for repression)
Victor - Bus - Centro


A cast that is a close-knit quintet - in adapting Ruth Rendell, Pedro Almod贸var gives us the sort of love-circle of a play by Jean Racine, which (Samuel) Beckettt gently parodied at the start of Murphy, or we may know from (Arthur) Schnitzler and La Ronde... :

David ~ Javier Bardem
Elena ~ Francesca Neri
Victor ~ Liberto Rabal
Clara ~ 脕ngela Molina
Sancho ~ Jos茅 Sancho


'We are two tear-drops
In a song'


Like a musical
Or an old film



David - re-enacting Rear Window (1954), with an immensely more mobile version of James Stewart (as L. B. 'Jeff' Jefferies)

Sancho - married 12yrs - hits wife
Victor - in reading the Book of Genesis, sees Moses referring to him

Bienvenido mat


'You need me more than he does'

'Yes, you're offensively honest'

'I'll keep exploiting your guilt complex'


Ends in 1996 - stopped being shitless




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Cambridge Open Studios 2018 : Visiting Anna Pye (and Pepper)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


14 July

Cambridge Open Studios (July 2018) ~ The Open Studio of Anna Pye (and Pepper)





There are plenty of lino-cuts and mono-prints available to buy, or just to admire - on display, in a portfolio, or in several free-standing browsing-racks :




Upper : Breakfast (mono-print, 1 / 1) ; Lower : Portfolio, open to a puffin with sand-eels


As in previous years, Anna kindly allowed #UCFF to take photos in order to Tweet, etc., about her Open Studio, but cards and numerous items with her designs, from tea-towels to cushions and tote-bags, are on sale :




As Anna says, when purchased, prints can come in a variety of forms - to suit the buyer...




All in all, plenty to inspire in Anna Pye's Open Studio 2018 - including that owl, and Pepper the Cat :





Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

A few second-night Tweets about in situ:'s production of Woyzeck, by Georg B眉chner

A few second-night Tweets about in situ:'s production of Woyzeck, by Georg B眉chner

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


A few second-night Tweets about in situ:'s production of Woyzeck, by Georg B眉chner







Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Pure review-notes : The Sixteen perform in York Minster during York Early Music Festival 2018

Pure review-notes : The Sixteen perform in York Minster during York Early Music Festival

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


For those for whom waiting for a fully written-out account is needless, because the review-notes suffice, here they are for The Sixteen's performance, in York Minster and as part of their Choral Pilgrimage and during York Early Music Festival, on Wednesday 11 July at 7.30 p.m.

The Sixteen

Britten ~ A Hymn
Serious, but not solemn - affecting, praise and celebration

Cornysh ~ My love
Just males
A work that subtly grows, and also through the element of hearing the refrain repeated

Britten ~ Hymn to
I - dramatic touches and harmonies

Use of the more restrained chorus

II - playfulness continues, with lightness of touch

Chorus - with greater gravitas, but transparent and joyous

III - the effect as of rain-drops
With a super solo, the scale and scope of what Britten creates
Fire - deep bass
'With fire' - emphasis

Cornysh ~ Salve Regina
A rich, layered setting, which, at times, seems rooted in plainsong
Full of beauty and gracefulness

II - Virgo mater section - timelessness
Soaring end with 'O pia'

III - Simple 'o dulcis Maria', but decorated
Boost on 'Salve'


* * * * *


Sixteen Part II

Britten ~ Advance Democracy
Paced and vigorous

Cornysh ~ Ave Maria
The melismatic, imitative lines were brought out in a coherent and robust ensemble

Cornysh ~ Woefully Array'd
A multi-entry opening to a piece whose premise reminded of Dietrich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri
High and low - then filling in in-between
Echo of opening with 'woefully'
II alto voice

Cornysh ~ Ah, Robin
At times, a round for three voices
Not complicated, but effective

Britten ~ Sacred and Profane
I - revisiting Sainte Marie x3
II - Interruptions
III - covering ground quickly (as VIII)
IV - Same theme in ll. 1-2
V - still point (Leiermann)
Tortured and painful
For the luve
Meditation
VI - Use of a chorus - chilling
VII - challenge to us

Assembly of the texts
Ending with the grave




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)