Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cultural top-up, part 2

Slightly delayed by a stinking cold and general feelings of grimness, now much improved.

The second half of the cultural weekend began with meeting Lianne for dinner at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, a converted factory which is now a gallery, theatre and restaurant. Their Saturday meal deal, a 2 course dinner and a theatre ticket for £28, seems absolutely bargainous compared to usual London theatre prices, and the food was good too.

We were there to see "Dealer's Choice", written by Patrick Marber and directed by Sam West. In the first half, the set was the kitchen and dining room of a restaurant run by Stephen (Malcolm Sinclair), and staffed by Mugsy (Stephen Wight), Sweeney (Ross Boatman) and Frankie (Jay Simpson); in the second half it was the bleak downstairs room where their regular Sunday night poker game take place, where Stephen's son Carl (Samuel Barnett) has invited hardened poker player Ash (Roger Lloyd Pack) to join their game in an attempt to pay off his gambling debts. It's a well-written play, and as much about fathers and sons as it is about compulsive gamblers (because each of them is addicted, no matter how they try to deny it). The cast are all very good, a true ensemble piece. However, I can't say I actually liked the play that much. It reeks of testosterone, and there is too much shouting and yelling for me; I prefer things to be a little more subtle. It's very well done, no doubt about that. But I don't think it's a twoey.

On Sunday night I met up with friends to go to "Music from the Movies" at the Royal Albert Hall, a celebration of the work of Patrick Doyle in aid of Leukaemia Research. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, it was an assembly of the great and the good of British theatre, including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Imelda Staunton, Richard E Grant, Adrian Lester and Greg Wise, all of whom have at some point appeared in a film scored by Patrick Doyle. They introduced music from Much Ado About Nothing (Emma Thompson performing Sigh No More), Sense and Sensibility, Hamlet, Gosford Park, Calendar Girls, Harry Potter, and as a finale, the St Crispin's Day Speech (performed by Kenneth Branagh) and Non Nobis from Henry V, all played by the London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus. It was fabulous, great music and great speeches, with rousing applause for Patrick Doyle himself, who is obviously held in great affection by everyone taking part. He spoke movingly about surviving leukaemia, and the need for more funds for research into blood cancers. Hopefully Sunday night will have raised tons of money for the charity, as well as being a fabulous evening's entertainment.

After that, this week has been pretty quiet, although today was quite exciting in its own way. I've been asked to join the Board of Directors of Hull Film, which oversees Hull Short Film Festival as well as other local film-related things. First board meeting is next Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it - a new and different venture for me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the appointment. Who knows where it might lead. Theatre experiences sound interesting and varied, the last more enjoyable by far.
Hope you soon feel much better.
Love from us

11:20 pm  
Blogger Stacie said...

Yes, congrats on the appointment! :)

3:52 am  
Blogger Nez said...

Sigh no more ladies
Sigh no more
Men were deceivers ever
One foot in sea
And one on shore
To one thing constant never
Then sigh not so
But let them go
And be you blithe and bonny
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey, nonny nonny

The only bit of Shakespeare I can quote from memory. You know why.

Congrats on your appointment! Will be thinking of you on Tuesday.

11:42 pm  

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