Thursday, June 17, 2010

Robin Hood (2010 Film)

Robin Hood is an amazing story. It has romance, adventure and fantastic politics - which is why it is reincarnated so pften. The latest incarnation was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Russell Crowe. It is supposed to tell the story of how the legend was born. In fact the plot was really, really bad especially as EVEN if it was a shit premise overall, it didn't EVEN make sense within itself so the writing/script/principle of the film was completley rubbish.

However, it looked very nice and you know what I have realised: the Russell Crowe is hot! Ok, bear with me here. Humprey Bogart to look at isn't all that gorgeous, but in character and on screen his charisma oozes into the cinema. This is the same with Mr. Crowe. As I was internally bitching about the film, he as Robin was completely mesmerising and wonderful and ensured I actually enjoyed the film. This guy is a fantastic actor! If he had been given a proper script and story to tell the film would have been absolutely awesome and would go down in history as a classic. As it is. People will remember it as well acted but insubstantial. I mean, the merry men adventuring in the forest is the best bit and it was non-existent. To compound the injustice of this there were other fine performances from Cate Blanchett, Matthew MacFadyen, Friar Tuck actor-man and the evil bald guy. With the right vehicle, this could have been a wonderful movie. Instead it was mildly enjoyable to watch the performances.

And so the moral of the story wasn't 'equality for all' and 'stealing from the rich to give to the poor', it was DON'T MESS WITH A STORY THAT EXISTS AND IS ALREADY GOOD! YOU JUST END UP SCREWING OVER BOTH YOUR ACTORS AND YOUR AUDIENCE. And on that note, I suggest you wait for the dvd.

Retro Review: Aladdin at the Theatre Royal, Windsor

Aladdin at the Theatre Royal, in Windsor (Dec 2009)

This was the second pantomime I have had the pleasure of seeing, and the first traditional incarnation. (The first was Beauty and the Beast at the Lyric, Hammersmith and was fabulous but v. modern). So there were sparkly costumes and songs randomly selected from various popular culture sources and there was choreography that was pretty good and smoke effects and an Aladdin who was truly atrocious.

Sorry, I realise that it is convention to have a lass playing the male lead and I have no problem with cross-dressing (go for it, if it is your thing). BUT... even if it is a tongue in cheek casting for the audience to know that the male-youth is female it should still be well enough performed that the chemistry and workings of the play itself should make sense. Having a sexed-up girl in tights and heels (!) of all things does NOT work. The actress was clearly too busy trying to be herself playing a boy, rather than playing a boy. It showed considerable lack of respect for the character, audience and the panto itself. In contrast the actor who played the dame role was fabulous, he clearly knew how to tow the lines between gender roles on the stage.

There is also the trend for 'celebrities' to be in pantos. This I think is what ultimately informed the lead to be so unconvincing. She was busy upholding her status as runner-up-in-a-random-television-talent-show rather than playing a part. People who were 'theatre people' were much better. For instance, the actor playing Aladdin's brother was very impressive.

The whole thing was a motely concoction of random elements, story? what story? If it wasn't so much fun it could have been seriously bad! The best bit was a comedic take on 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' which was side-splittingly hilarious! The props were getting thrown, the singing was all over the place and the actors and the characters and the audience were having tremendous fun. The wierdest bit was when it finished with a song from High School Musical (We're all in this Together) and cheerleaders and pom-poms were prancing around the stage.

So great experience, over all. Any show that facilitates the audience boo-ing is alright in my book! (Even if sometimes you wish you had license to boo the hero)!

Theatre Listings

So I am going to start with a list of every piece of theatre that I have seen since I started this blog... the order might be a bit random.

Note: these first few were in England!
1) Aladdin Theatre Royal, Windsor
2) The Habit of Art, National Theatre, London
3) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Novello Theatre, London
4) Ordeal by Innocence, Theatre Royal, Windsor
5) Legally Blonde - the Musical!, Savoy Theatre, London

Back to Melbourne now! (these next ones are student shows)
6) The Blue Room, Guild Theatre
7) Rotate 270, Union Theatre
8) Much Ado About Nothing, Guild Theatre
9) The Wedding Singer, Union Theatre
10) 2010 A Space Oddity, Union Theatre
11) The Pitchfork Disney, Guild Theatre
12) 12 Angry Men, Guild Theatre
13) Trans-Mute, Guild Theatre
14) 24 Hour Play Project 2010, Guild Theatre

Now for wider so-called-professional shows (in Melbourne, again)
15) Ngurrumilmarrmiriyu [Wrong Skin], Malthouse Theatre
16) Elizabeth - Almost By Chance a Woman, Malthouse Theatre
17) The Three Penny Opera, Malthouse Theatre
18) The Warsaw Ghetto, La Mama
19) Mamma Mia!, Her Majesty's Theatre
20) 1989, St. Martin's Youth Theatre
21) Between Us, Cromwell Road Theatre
22) Waiting for Godot, Comedy Theatre
23) The Ugly One, MTC

So, at this stage, there is a list... I think that is everything... so far, it may change - it certainly feels like I have seen more than 22 shows, but you never know! Maybe I just become too involved in each one and thus more drained? Anyways. There will hopefully be more retrospective reviews - even short ones coming along soon!

Theatre Reviews

When I first set up this blog, I had the best of intentions to write a full review of every show that I see. Ha. Very funny! Writing reviews is actually rather time consuming, and whilst I have managed perhaps 4 this year, that doesn't reallyr reflect just how much theatre I have been seeing. So.... I am going to do some Micro Reviewing (which is a term nicked from a certain student paper - back when it was more awesome) and summarize just what I have had the dis/pleasure of enjoying on the stage! The format might change a bit as we go but it will all be there!

(Deep Breath)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crowded House

I am not what one might call a 'music buff' or someone 'into music' per seh. I love it certainly but don't tend to broadcast my wonderful taste over the world/ my outfits/ the internet. Except when it comes to Crowded House. I will shout and yell and sing for them because they are ultimately the most wonderful band ever.

Boy I love these Boys.

All the previous albums (including bestofs) and a new one shny and waiting and I AM EXCITED! My EARS are excited. It almost makes me want to done a whimsical outfit with fat headphones and sway on the spot with my eyes closed whilst standing on public transport. Almost.

So treat yourself and listen to them because they are intelligent, amazing, deep and meaningful, funny, musically gifted, sound fabulous, are cute and artistic all at the same time. They are in fact the soundtrack of my life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ANFSCD: Antiques Roadshow

Antiques Roadshow is an institution. It is also a show that I covet and love to pieces. In fact I am ending my rapture now, to go and catch the last 15mins of it on the telly.

Such A-Find!
Such Interest!
Such Intrigue!
Such Greed!
Such History!
Such Eyes-sparkling-in-anticipation!
Such Sentimental-Value!

"Well yes, my grandfather twice removed did in fact find this object in a skip about 300 years ago whereupon he tried to sell it for 5pence and was turned away by a peddlar who then realised 2 years later it was genuine artifact and so tried to buy it through my grandmother's lady-in-waiting who upheld the family honour in refusing to co-operate and told her master who got it revalued at about 5pounds. From there it has stayed in the family of a reminder of what is important to life..."

"Well yes, of course, you cannot buy that sort of family history. Do you know anything more about it?"

"No. Not really. Just what my Aunt says. She thought that perhaps it had sentimental value for our family."

"Well, it seems that your Aunt may have underestimated it's historical value because this, my dear fellow is A GENUINE PART OF A TARDIS found in the late 17th century!"

etc. wonderful stuff.

Why I Love Terry Pratchett (1)

Well, I don't really know why, exactly. Like the world that he creates he is a bit elusive to define and pin down. A postructuralist at heart => clearly!!* His writing is infectious and wonderful and full of the sort of energy that grabs you and takes you for a rollicking ride all the way through the book. Following the advice of a friend I have read them according to character stories, rather than the published order of the Discworld Series. This advice proved invaluable as I was never all convinced that Rincewind was worth a book on his own (even with the Luggage) - let alone the first three in the series.

Anyways having plowed through all of the Witches Ones; The Guard Ones (favourites!!); The Gods Ones; Most of the Death Ones; I am resorting to the Rincewind Ones. And they are Good! You see the world is so fabulous and amazing and wonderfully realised that you forget that you might once upon a time disliked the main character. Seriously. So the moral of this story is. Read Terry Pratchett. It will change your life. That you can feel poignancy as well as laughing is very hard to achieve but I can honestly say that until his writing I had never appreciated nor enjoyed such satire of our world.

My Advice: Start with 'Going Postal' and then work your way through the Guards books. (It is such a shame Commander Samual Vimes is married! He's fantastic - and yes, fictional, I do realise!) Then play around. It's such fun. By this stage you will want more and more and won't get confusion burnout by reading from the first book onwards.

So anyways, having wandered around the reasons, and musings I do know one reason why I love Terry Pratchett: because he creates a world so crazy-wonderful that works just fine and it makes ours here feel that it can work just fine too! Stay tuned for more reasons- I have a stack of them beside my bed.

* You know it is getting bad when your essays start creeping into normal writing and conversation... this happens ALL THE TIME with postructuralism. It is everywhere (and nowhere, of course!)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Photos in the Sculpture Park

In an attempt to redress the male/female imbalance of tasteful-classical-sculptural nudity on this blog so far I give to you another wonder that is:

By the same Artist no less! He was on an island in the middle of an ornamental lake in such a fantastic pose I think - there is such energy to the pain - which you can't really see from the front as his hands obscure the arching of his back and his face.


The side view is better though. You get the throw back of despair and the kinetic feeling that he is about to fall to his knees. In the first of the profile shots he could be smoking the branch and having a relaxing and reflective drag, however I love sillouettes. Isn't it wonderful to have Art exhibited in such an environment. It's magical.

With the second profile perspective, you get more of the Scultpure Park, which I think contextualises it all too much away from mythology- nevertheless I like it.

In regards to the subject, apparently he was a phrophet of som description so perhaps I have misread his posture of agony. Perhaps it is rapture?!