"Exquisite Corpse" / "Deep Cut" / "The Dark Knight"
The next night was something of a contrast – a preview performance of “Deep Cut” by Philip Ralph, at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff; a verbatim play (or journalistic drama) based on the story of Army recruit Cheryl James who died at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in 1995, which is on its way to the Traverse. A highly impressive production, with excellent performances and clever visual touches (courtesy of director Mick Gordon and designer Igor Vasiliev), and all the more moving for focusing on the question of forensic evidence at least as much as the family’s anguish.
There’s obviously little new that can be said about the current Number 1 film in the world, Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”, other than I found it completely enthralling, though not exactly enjoyable, because of its general grimness. Some of the violence seems excessive for a film which 12 year-olds will be flocking to, but if the newspapers are to be believed, they’ve all seen a lot worse on the streets. Heath Ledger’s performance is utterly unhinged and, of course, Oscar-worthy. There’s some nice work too in small roles from an array of top character actors (e.g. William Fichtner, Tiny Lister, Colin MacFarlane), not to mention Gary Oldman; and Aaron Eckhart portrays the tragedy of Harvey Dent beautifully. The political resonances are obvious – unilateral, undemocratic and not entirely legal action being taken against an irrational villain whose main motivation is the desire to “watch the world burn”; but then that’s what superhero movies have always been about.