Blakeson - Writer

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NME Tour 2009 / Woody / "Solitude"

Valentine’s Night saw the arrival of the NME Awards Tour in the Cardiff University Students’ Union, although most of the romance in the air was of the “in love with The Grim Reaper” type. It kicked off very early with Florence And The Machine, who were excellent, with Florence coming across as a “hello flowers, hello birdies” type woman, but with a concealed machete; awesome voice, disturbingly violent lyrics, and a harp – very appropriate. Next up were White Lies, four young men in black singing about doom, who provided the most surreal moment of the evening: “This is our last song – it’s called ‘Death’!” – cue rapturous, drunken, post-rugby cheers. Hints of Joy Division, obviously, but with more light and shade. The penultimate band were Friendly Fires, with their vaguely Latin flavours; the least melodically immediate band on the night, but the most upbeat. Headliners Glasvegas have been getting some poor reviews on this tour, but the Cardiff show was triumphant, despite the muddy sound, their post-punk Spectorism proving highly effective and emotive. A perversely celebratory night.

I rather enjoyed the latest Woody Allen “return to form”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, but then I even liked “Scoop”,which suggests that I’m less than objective. A discursively plotted tale of love and lust amongst well-heeled New Yorkers, as usual, but set during a Catalan summer, it’s sumptuously shot and flawlessly acted. The voice-over seems largely superfluous, though, and there was certainly room for a few more jokes, but overall it was pretty satisfying, as female-oriented fantasies go.

Michael Kelligan’s new “On The Edge” season kicked of at Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre with a world premiere – a script-in-hand reading of “Solitude”, a new play from Dic Edwards, one of Wales most erudite and provocative dramatists. Inspired by the life and work of Alexander Trocchi, it’s a self-consciously writerly tale of sex, drugs and death amongst low-life poets, full of epigrams, allusions and bizarre motifs. Very clever, and well acted – with Carli De’La Hughes, Danny Grehan and Dewi Savage as the protagonists, and Tony Leader as the police officer who is eventually called in to inject a dose of reality – but since one of the central themes is shattered innocence, we are forced to wallow, somewhat, in the self-serving unpleasantness of the deluded amoral artist, which leaves a bit of a bad taste, which is probably the intention.


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