All sorts of bits and pieces to catch up on, as blogging seems to have rather fallen by the wayside recently. Blame not very much happening, combined with when it does, there are always other pressures e.g. having to go to work and earn a living.
Anyway, cultural stuff - V and I went to a fabulous recital at York Uni a couple of weeks ago, given by Peter Donohoe
, the most amazing pianist I've ever seen. His hands were a blur at times, an incredible virtuoso performance. It was the kind of concert where you come out afterwards inspired to start practising piano again, even though you know you will never come within one zillionth of the man's talent. Wonderful, breath-taking, fantastic stuff.
Then, faced with a yawning gap of a Saturday with nothing in the diary, my theatrical mind says "I haven't seen a play for ages
", ages in this context meaning "about two weeks
", so I shot off to Sheffield to see "Pinter and a Pair of Chekhov's Shorts
" by Compass Theatre Company
, in the Studio Theatre. Compass are very good at classics, particularly Chekhov - I enjoyed their "Seagull" a couple of years ago in the Lyceum - but this night was very much a mixed bag. The Chekhov (2 plays) was good, although it rather over-emphasised the prissiness, but the Pinter (Dumb Waiter) was way off - the actor who had been over-acting in the previous Chekhov short was all tics and over-egged East London accent in the Pinter. There was no subtlety at all , so the menace was completely lost. With the play being a two-hander, it ended up feeling terribly unbalanced - one got it, one didn't. Perhaps I'm being unfair but as Compass are on tour with this production, you can go and see for yourself.
Other stuff - quick film round-up - Nina and I have seen "Death at a Funeral" (N thought it was v funny, I thought it was a load of absolute *insert extremely insulting word here* - it was one of those films where one ends up thinking "how the hell did they get as good a cast as this (Matthew McFadyen, Rupert Graves, Keely Hawes etc etc) for a script this bad?"); we also saw "The Last Legion", or was it the Lost Legion? I don't know, so many brain cells were killed off while I was watching it that I can't remember. It was tosh of the highest order, the sort of super-tosh that while watching it you're thinking "bloody hell, Colin Firth's agent really hates him". A load of absolute nonsense, but one of those toshy films where if you're in the mood for mindless nonsense, its actually quite entertaining mindless nonsense, if you see what I mean. And then we saw "Eastern Promises" - hmm, mixed feelings about this one. Very violent, but very well done, if you can ignore the complete non sequiteur that is the ending. As for the "naked Viggo" fight scenes in the bath house, its not so much "ooh naked Viggo" as "ooh that must really
hurt". Of the three, this would be the one to see (but not on your own, if you're called Vivien).
V and I saw "Ten Canoes" at York Uni (hoorah for imaginative University film committees, or whoever it is who decides) - I first saw this and loved it at Cannes 2006, and it was great to see it again, just as good, just as evocative - a fabulous film, the first Australian film to be entirely cast from the indigenous population. It tells the story in an entirely uncompromising way, you either accept it or you don't, and several people at York didn't and walked out - but if you get a chance to see it, go, give it time, let it weave its magic, because it is a wonderful film.
Don't think there's anything else - am in London this week for a conference so will hopefully catch a play as well, then next week its Othello at the Donmar - for which the giddiness is already building.