miss_s_b: (Mood: Brain Hurts)
The film of this came out in December 1995. I left school in September 95 and got my GCSEs in 93. The thing is I am dead set certain that Dr Liddle showed us this on video when we were doing GCSE English. Now, I know that the film is based on a stage production, and that sometimes films of stage productions are made available for use in schools - does anyone know if that happened with this? Because there are two other explanations:

1, I've gone nuts
2, Dr Liddle is/was/will be a time traveller

ETA: googling for my old English teacher's name turns up no English teacher, but a professor of theoretical astrophysics who looks sort of a bit like Doctor Liddle but many years younger. God DAMN him, he IS a time traveller!
miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Sci-fi: Janeway)
So last night [personal profile] matgb and I took Hol to see Little Shop of Horrors. She was totally unfamiliar with the story, although she'd heard me singing the odd song from it, and we've always called carnivourous plants Audreys in this house.

She loved it. She really loved it. She loved it so much she spent the interval doing this, which to say it was done with a finger on an iPhone I think is pretty impressive.

The lady who played Audrey was awesome, better than Ellen Greene in the 86 film, I'd say. She had the vocal inflection without going full-fingernails-down-blackboard, and she could sing beautifully. Also excellent were my dear friend John Murphy as Seymour - he was especially brilliant in bits where he wasn't the focus of attention, but still reacting and inhabiting his Seymourness. The gent who played Mr Mushnik, and the three chorus girls who were the literal Greek chorus and were barely off stage the entire play were also very good indeed.

The chap who played Orin the Dentist was suitably over the top and shouty, although his hair was very Paul Weller, which kept jabbing at my suspension of disbelief. And there were some techinical issues - the sound esp balance has been a problem in every production I have seen at the civic hall, so I think it's built in, but at times it was difficult to hear the vocal performers (despite them all having good enunciation and being amplified) over the musicians. It was sometimes difficult to see Two-ey over the very enthusiastic conductress of the musicians too. And whoever was operating the clock kept making little errors, but that only added to the comedy.

Those small niggles aside, it was a pretty professional production, and definitely worth the ticket price. It's still got a couple of days to run, and comes with the Jennie seal of approval, so if you're in the Calderdale area, why not make your way to Brighouse and enjoy it for yourself?
miss_s_b: leela (feminist heroes: leela)
Please note: this review doesn't contain any spoilers for the who the murderer is, but does contain one spoiler for who the murderer isn't. If you want to remain totally unspoiled, probably best to click away now.

Those of you who follow me on Goodreads will have noticed that I have been going through a bit of a rereading Agatha Christie phase of late. One of either [personal profile] matgb or I noticed Louise Jameson tweeting that she was going to be in a touring production of The Mousetrap and as neither of us had seen it we clicked links and discovered that it would be in York the week after our anniversary, and one thing led to another, and we ended up with tickets.

I'm still feeling pretty rough with cold now, and Wednesday I was awful, but I wasn't going to miss this so on Wednesday morning we got on the TPE and headed towards the capital of our nation. We got there early enough to have a pub lunch at the Blue Boar. The food was pretty good value for capital prices, and the barman was pretty, which always helps. We then had a wander round a few shops before going to the theatre.

The theatre itself reminded me very much of the City Varieties in Leeds - all red plush and gold frogging on the seats, and gold angel heads on the boxes. It was smaller than I expected from the name, but still had all the features one would expect of something called The Grand - elaborate boxes and dress circles and a chandelier - although no boxes had their curtains shut, and the chandelier didn't drop down behind us at the end of act 1. It was cold enough for me to keep my coat on, although I don't know how much of that was the theatre, and how much of it was my actually having a cold.

Anyway, as good old Bill said, the play's the thing, so what did I think of the play?

Well, plotwise it was classic Christie, albeit a little simpler than some of her books, having been adapted from a 30 minute radio play initially. Despite womanfully managing not to spoiler myself, I had worked it out before the end of act one, although I doubted my conclusions a couple of times. I loved the structure of it, starting out mostly farcicial and then getting gradually darker and darker. The murder which occurs before the play being announced on the radio as having been committed by a person of average height wearing a dark coat, a light scarf and a dark felt hat as every single character arrives wearing those things amused me no end.

the slight spoiler mentioned in the intro is under this cut )

Other things which deserve comment: Amy Downham was very convincing as Miss Casewell, and I'd be more specific about why but that'd be spoilery too. The conversation her character has with Mollie about whether one should walk away from or face up to one's past was beautifully done by both of them. I suspect she'll have a long and fruitful career. Gregory Cox, meanwhile, as The Mysterious ForeignerTM was utterly fabulous; really great physical acting, especially with his hands. He played his outrageous character outrageously, and to great effect.

The set was perfectly designed for all the entrances and exits, although I suspect that's a result of being honed over decades; similarly the lighting and costumes. You all know how much attention I pay to costumes; they were all very well done, especially Miss Casewell's early fifties power dressing, to contrast with Mollie's Vogue pattern house dresses, and Christopher Wren's awful-yet-so-appropriate mustard yellow cords.

All in all I very much enjoyed it. Lots of laughs; some gasps; some smug feels when the person behind us went "Ohhhhh!" as they worked out what I had worked out half an hour before... I'm very glad we went.

9/10

See this if:
- you like a good murder
- you live in one of the towns the tour is coming to - I'd especially recommend Torquay, for it's local connections to the author
- there's an actor you admire in it


Don't see this if:
- you're likely to be triggered by reports of child abuse (NB: reported only, not shown)
- you think Agatha Christie is not of merit as an author, as this is pretty typical of her oeuvre


The only other thing I'd like to mention about the day is that if you're in York train station, the lady on the fancy organic coffee stand with the chalkboards just up from platform 4 was really lovely, so that's a good place to get a hot drink.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Miserable Brian :()
Was very faithful to the book, apart from in one important aspect which I will get to shortly. Had beautiful set design, and amazing, AMAZING make-up. Had stunningly good performances from all concerned, even the little lad who played William. And having seen it, I feel sick to my stomach.

You see, nobody told me that the one major change they made, after being very faithful to the spirit and letter of the book throughout, is that before the Creature kills Elizabeth he brutally rapes her and screams "Now I am a MAN!"

If this had been a film, there would have been a warning about strong sexual violence and I wouldn't have gone to see it, because I know my triggers well enough. I have no desire to ban this sort of thing, or any sort of artistic expression, but I would like to make an informed choice about what I hand over money to see. But it wasn't a film, it was a filmed theatre production, so there were no warnings. I would have really appreciated a warning. If I had had a warning, I would not have gone, because the performances were really very good, and I won't sleep tonight they were so convincing.

So next time I am planning to go see a national theatre production I will be waiting until someone I know and trust has seen it, and then I can ask them about it. And then they can tell me Oh yes, it's very faithful to the source material, well, aside from the fact that they inserted a completely gratuitous and unnecessary brutal rape scene which adds nothing to the plot and will traumatise you. But apart from that it's very good.

I'm going to shout at Question Time for a bit now. Hopefully that will work as brain bleach.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Terrified)
This evening's entertainment has been a theatrical adaptation of of several of Roald Dahl's macabre short stories for the stage by Jeremy Dyson. The set design was brilliant; using simple props to convey everything from a pawn shop to a science lab to a West Country Guest house (they eat their young down there, you know) and the cast were versatile and talented, taking several parts each, sometimes of multiple genders. I particularly enjoyed Nick Fletcher's gleeful licking of his meat cleaver, and Selina Griffiths' mad Devon B&B owner, but the whole thing was gloriously well-performed throughout.

The story selection was mostly excellent, although the starkly realistic portrayal of The Flying Foxley struck a somewhat sour note amid the arch black humour of the rest of the show; the boy playing young Perkins was chillingly real in his suffering. But I loved that William and Mary was in there, and the tale of the mink fur coat was beautifully done.

Coming in at 1 hour 20, some might say that this Amicus Anthology style play is a teensy bit short for the ticket price, but it certainly felt like money's worth from where I was sitting.

8/10

About This Blog

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.







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