Blakeson - Writer

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

Friday, January 25, 2008


I was lucky enough to be involved in the most recent “Dirty Protest” evening of rehearsed play-readings at the Milgi café-bar in Cardiff’s City Road. A highly enjoyable and varied series of love-oriented pieces, in honour of St Dwynwen’s Day, featuring actors Nia Roberts, Gareth Milton and Aled Pugh. First up was a play by Helen Raynor which riffed on personal ads, before merging into a poignant reminiscence of a schooldays almost-romance; then there was Tracy Harris’s poetic, visually evocative piece about love and death. Mine, “The Naked Major”, was next - in which a burnt-out painter begins to recover some of her humanity by observing the love between her latest model, a soldier, and his wife - it seemed to go down well, getting laughs in all the right places, as well as some odd ones; beautifully acted, too. The “pop-your-cherry” piece was a very witty, medical homicide-themed sketch by Eifion Rees. As a special treat, there was a welcome dose of London trendiness, in the shape of a full performance of Joel Horwood’s “Is Everyone OK”, an excellent two-hander delivered almost stand-up-comedy style by Arthur Darvill and Phoebe Whyte, in which two intertwined stories of personal disaster end on a note of hope. Again, the yurt was packed to the rafters, at least at the performance I attended, and the atmosphere was excellent. It’s good to be involved with something vaguely cool, for once in my life.

I went to see “No Country For Old Men”, a few hours after its multiple Oscar nominations were announced. Beautifully done, as always with the Coen brothers, and with a brilliantly chilling central performance from the Monkee-haired Javier Bardem, but I was left slightly unsatisfied by the lack of a cathartic climax - although this was doubtless entirely intentional, since the aim of the piece is to leave one unsettled by a new kind of unstoppable evil which is stalking the Earth. It is hard not to see this as some kind of oblique comment on Al-Qaeda, what with its alien villain, virtually oblivious to his own welfare, and operating according to some obscure, incomprehensible morality. Maybe metaphor provides the only means for orthodox liberal-left artists to criticise Islamist terrorism without being seen to endorse Bushism.


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