Monday, 18 April 2011

Pencil sculpture

Yet another chapter in my 'book of obsessions' (see moustaches, matryoshkas et al) relates to pencils. more specifically pencils with rubbers on the end, which i steal on a regular basis from swish hotels and with which I write all the time. but when i was sent a link to this post on Sharon Montrose's blog i sort of felt put in my place. writing with pencils with rubbers on the end is clearly too damn fricking obvious when you could, you know, be sculpting their lead into letters of the alphabet, figurines, hearts or shoes...  A big woop for Brazilian born, Connecticut based artist Dalton Ghetti

Thursday, 14 April 2011


I came out of Wastwater, a series of three short, tangentially linked plays (an elliptical triptych is what the Royal Court call it), having very much enjoyed them, but really quite foggy about what their point was. which was a bit strange. for some reason beforehand i though they had an eco link. but while watching, nothing of that nature particularly struck a cord. Each story takes place in the immediate environs of Heathrow airport - were the plays about the intimate, minor dramas lost in the roar of international activity? or the flightpath as metaphor for something - emotional journeys? the noise and fear and fright and excitement of takeoff and landing as one chapter closes and another opens? who knows. i'm still wondering. still, all of the above said, it was strangely compelling... 

I am fan of both Simon Stephens (playwright) and Katie Mitchell (Director), and I loved the claustrophobic intensity of each of the two-handers - the dialogue is pacey and has no pre-amble;  thrown into scenes dripping with drama from the get-go you must work to catch on to what's happening in them: who are the characters? where are they? what's their connection to one another? how well do they know each other?

Within each section, one of the characters is pushed to (and beyond) a significant, and potentially life-changing point by the other,  in a situation that is (one presumes) all too familiar to the latter. is it a good  thing? or darkly sinister? the tension is almost unbearable at points (in the best way, as oppose to a boring way) - the mystery being unravelled is teasingly, tantalisingly drawn out even as the dialogue races along.
weird. but in a good way.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Rocket to the Moon

At last, a play at the National Theatre that I've actually enjoyed this year. Huzzah. Clifford Odette's play, set in New York, in the sweltering summer of 1938, in a dentist's waiting room to be precise, is a hothouse of anaesthetised emotion... trapped in a stuffy, humid, small, soulless room the atmosphere is claustrophobic, constrained, stale, uncomfortable - much like the life of dentist Ben Stark, a man pushed one way by his haranguing wife (Keeley Hawes), and pulled another by her exuberant father, with whom she is at loggerheads.It's tiring to watch, let alone experience.

Everyone is bursting with opinions and passion but Stark himself. In sweeps the beautiful Cleo Singer, a pert, zingy, smiling breath of fresh air oozing energetic, excited youthfulness. The men go crazy, the women - ach, less so. The waiting room is the perfect setting for the waiting game that subsequently unfolds - what we're waiting for is less certain... is this an office romance or something altogether bigger, grander, more interesting...? They both must escape the claustrophobia, but what's the best way? with each other? or through some kind of self revelation?

It's cleverly played out - sinewy with emotion and  beautifully acted - Jessica Raine as Cleo is all  fidgety nubile sexuality,Joseph Millson Stark all twisted, manipulated confusion, Keely Hawes as his wife, strident, pose striking, looking-down-her-nose posturing while her father is a bouncing ball of rebellion and wit. I also especially loved the rather down-on-his-luck second dentist played by Peter Sullivan (so excellent in the Donmar's the Late Middle Classes with Helen McRory last year), who brought out the tragi-comic direness of his lacklustre life with glorious brio.

A tad long, but otherwise A1.


After Antichrist, dare we watch Lars von Trier's latest offering? I think yes....though we'll have to wait until July 1st.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The world beard and moustache championships

Yes people, this is really happening - the world beard and moustache championships. Trondhjem. Norway. May 15th. words ESCAPE me. well, except for: Huzzah!

Russian doll obsession in motion

LOVE LOVE LOVE. about 2 years old. but better late than never, je pense.