Sunday, 29 November 2009

Sunshine (2007)

Event Horizon crossed with The English Patient.
Except the English patient is played by Mark Strong and, boy, is he miffed about something!

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Thick of It (BBC2 Saturday nights)

I could watch it all day.
All five episodes of the current series are on the BBC iplayer so you can watch it all day- the hour long special I found on there a month ago was inspired.
I want to keep a notebook of all my favourite insults, I want to know these horrible disgusting clever bastards, I want to be them.
In the Loop was like a luke warm episode of the Thick of It, I blame the Americans. But Peter Capaldi on his own in a room screaming until the veins pop out on his eyeballs is television gold. Armando Iannucci you are my kind of genius.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Jon Richardson: This Guy at Night (Soho Theatre)

Jon's routine about Home Alone 2 killed me.
He's tightened the show right up since the preview I saw in July, but I was pleased to hear new rambling ad-libs, I always find those the best bits.
He is a seriously funny and clever young man -and very cute.
Listen to his Sunday morning radio show.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Bedroom Farce (The Rose, Kingston)

So last night I went to Kingston which not including waiting for connections only took an hour and forty mins from Cambridge, not bad for a nice theatre! I have had the pleasure of seeing Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn before, possibly the worst production of anything I've ever seen, but I was not dreading it again because I know that under Peter Hall's instruction, in a nice theatre and with a good cast (almost completely made up of famous actors' children, Judie Dench's daughter, Ron Pickup's daughter and Richard Brier's daughter.) that all would be well.
And all was well!
Bedroom farce is very gentle comedy, it is comfortable comedy- maybe it's seeing all those beds... The stage is split into three bedrooms, a nice design from where I was sitting right in the middle of the front stalls, one bed has Tony Gardner in it throughout the whole play, the middle bed, at the house of Finty Williams (who is too cute for words) is full of everyone and all sorts and the final bed contained the heart and soul of the piece, the older couple played by lovely Jane Asher and lovely Nicholas le Prevost.
To be honest the two of them were in a league of their own, it seemed so much more natural than any of the other couples (or the other actors to tell you the truth) even the writing for their parts seemed tighter. I say it's just their masterful delivery, they were both brilliantly funny. And Jane Asher is just gorgeous. Oh, and of course you know how I feel about Nick.
There was a free Q&A afterwards and I cringed throughout all the questions- Lucy Briers got sort of furious a few times and I don't blame her, Q&As should not be allowed when the audiences are toffee nosed twats... The final question was a complete farce, horribly racist, Nick handled it perfectly. "Sometimes a West End theatre can be full of Spaniards or people who don't speak english and so miss the point, is it more rewarding doing a play somewhere like this where the audiences are-" Nick stood up at this point and looked out at the audience "WHITE?!"
PS Nick says 'The Keria Knightley Play' (as it's officially known) is going well.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Bleak Expectations Series Three Episode Three: A Sort of Fine Life De-niced Completely

I have to say that so far I do not think this series of Bleak Expectations is up to it's former standard. But seeing as it's former standard was brilliant I guess it is hard to continue writing a Dickensian spoof with the same eight or nine major characters throughout eighteen half-hour episodes and keep it fresh!
What made each episode for me was the incarnation of Geoffrey Whitehead that was met each week by our heroes Pip Bin (inventor of the bin) and Harry Biscuit (crap inventor and lovable oaf). Of course Mr Gently Benevolent (ironically the most evil man in Britain) played by Anthony Head is wonderful and show-stealing each week, but I've always liked Geoffrey Whitehead's characters the best. He has such brilliant delivery and a fantastic voice for evil. Out of all the Hardthrashers, Sternbeaters and Wackwallops he has played so far (15 now we're on episode 15) I liked the original Mr Hardthrasher, headmaster of St Bastard's School for Boys... What am I talking about!? I was going to say I liked him the best, but that's such a lie! I liked ALL of them!!
My point for this week's offering is that Mr Wackwallop running Pip's Bin factory was a waste of Whitehead!! That character was not good enough! I liked him as the Police Inspector in the first episode and the psychiatrist (De-mentaliser) in the Scrooge/Harvest Festival episode the week before, but I even felt then that they were not nearly stupid nor Dickensian enough!!
-I've just read that back, probably the words "Scrooge/Harvest Festival" coupled with the opinion "not nearly stupid nor Dickensian enough" is a bit rich and I apologise. The programme is still ridiculously funny. It's my favourite radio show and I have mp3s of all of them which I regularly listen to. I can't wait to add the 6 Wackwallops to my epic drawing of the characters.
Listen on the iplayer here and check out my drawing here!

Madmen Season 3 (only in America!)

I managed to watch a couple of episodes of Madmen while I was in America. I couldn't wait, so I watched ALL of season three online- and can you blame me? When they do show it on BBC2 it'll be on at 11 at night -probably on a sunday!
This season is so good, better than the first two- and they were brilliant.
God, Madmen is THE BEST thing on TV, the writing is superb it looks amazing, it sounds amazing, the casting is perfect, holy cow, it's just PERFECT.
A fantastic ending to this season.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

Last night (the day after graduation) we (the original gang) went to see Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox.
Roald Dahl's original story was my favourite book as a child, I had a version illustrated not by Quentin Blake like all the others, but by Tony Ross, my favourite illustrator (see Towser), I expect the coupling of my favourite illustrator with the best children's writer ever made it my favourite.
Wes Anderson's film is really nice. I imagine it would be truly amazing if it wasn't your favourite childhood book! I really liked it and it was exactly as I expected after having seen the mad trailer. All the original story is in there but with more so that the characters sort-of learn morals and grow emotionally (in the book Foxy just stole a load of food and everyone loved him- in the film they were all pretty angry with him at that point!!) Anyway, the script was mad and very Wes Anderson, if you liked the Darjeeling Limited (which I did) you will like this.
It sort of looks like a Cravendale advert. The stop motion animation takes a while to get going- the beginning felt very static- lots of long shots where the only thing moving is the character, not the billions of dollars animation we're now used to. In fact it reminded me of stop motion of my youth, maybe it would look better on the small screen!! It sort of warmed up, I wonder if the animators did each scene in order and so got the hang of it and put in more detail as the film went on.
It's nice, just disconnect the two. It didn't feel like Roald Dahl- even if the plot is sort of similar!

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Grapes of Wrath (ETT- West Yorkshire Playhouse)

John Steinbeck! The Richest Author in the Dust Bowl!
The English Touring Theatre does not disappoint. The Hypochondriac was still a good production just of a slightly embarrassing script- I blame Roger McGough, though really Moliere is to blame, he loved toilet humour. Anyway, I saw the ETT do Uncle Vanya a couple of years ago and that was a wonderful production, it looked beautiful and everyone involved was suibtably beautifully tragic.
Here we have Steinbeck's classic American novel adapted for the stage and played out by a company of English actors... I had American Suzie with me and she loved it- and said everyone did really well with the accent, except some minor characters (Cockney guy in overalls springs to mind) and Pa played by Christopher Timothy. Otherwise Ma (Sorcha Cusack) Tom (Damian O'Hare) and Oliver Cotton were fantastic leads with convincing accents! And as always Oliver Cotton's hair and eyebrows were impressive.
This production was amazingly well done, wonderful set (though extremely minimal a hell of a lot was cleverly done within it!) and staging there was a real sense of the journey in the long first act, and even more sense of the utter hopelessness in the equally long second act! Anyway, it really puts this "depression" into perspective. I mean, we may have just lost our car and mortgage and pensions, but at least we're not all drinking somebody's tit-milk in an old barn.