Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunshine/Boy Genius

Went to see Danny Boyle’s new film Sunshine this week – highly impressive on a cinematographic level, and with an extremely well constructed and cleverly-pitched (not too techie, but not insultingly obvious) screenplay by Alex Garland, but somehow hard to entirely warm to (no pun intended), despite the excellent, committed performances. Maybe I was too busy trying to discern what was going on, given the intentionally confusing visual style, to get deeply involved with the story. The suicide-bombing sub-text is fascinating, though:– the clash between those who sacrifice themselves for the good of mankind, and those who sacrifice themselves because it’s God’s will that mankind should die.

Playing at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre this week, for one night only, was Louise Osborn’s play Boy Genius, normally presented as part of a day-long event funded by the Wellcome Trust during which sixth-formers are prompted to confront the ramifications of genetic research. The plot involves a troubled teenage boy who trawls through the history of eugenics, euthanasia, etc, in order to try and glean clues about his identity, as the son of a single mother who happens to be a noted geneticist (with ready access to sperm-filled test-tubes), and the grandson of a Holocaust survivor. The focal point was a highly engaging performance from young Jolyon Westhorpe, although the cast (variously playing aspects of the boy’s consciousness, members of his family, and characters in historical re-enactments) was uniformly admirable, as was every other aspect of the piece – vivid writing, sensitive music score, kinetic direction, etc. Given that the point of the play is to provoke discussion, rather than to function as a stand-alone piece, I felt I sensed a little confusion amongst the audience at the end when a massive question was left unanswered. An absorbing, stimulating, oddly trippy experience, though.

I am now officially a PhD - I picked up my hardbound thesis (in crimson) a couple of weeks ago - and officially looking for a job. Luckily, a recent Tracy Beaker repeat-fee, and the receipt of an overdue payment from BBC Comedy mean that I’m able to stave off bankruptcy for a few more months.

So, 15 British sailors are kidnapped and held captive by a hostile, repressive, sexist, anti-Semitic, government; some of them sell their story to the tabloids - and the media succeed in making the story all about the media. Furthermore, they seem desperate to hand the propaganda victory to Iran. Am I the only person to whom this doesn’t make sense?


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