Blakeson - Writer

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

Monday, May 25, 2009

Scott Matthews

It is a truth acknowledged by all right-thinking people that “Elusive” by Scott Matthews is one of the finest songs of the 21st century thus far. So I leapt at the chance to see him when he visited Cardiff’s Glee Club last night, and I was not disappointed. Supporting was James Summerfield, whose accomplished acoustic country-folk stylings went down well, and did his football-related banter. The headliner’s ethereal, multi-textured soulful folk/blues was received ecstatically by the capacity crowd, and the new songs were every bit as compelling as his older material. Scott Matthews (a.k.a. the Wolverhampton Wonder) stands manfully on the shoulders of Jeff Buckley and John Martyn; one only hopes he takes better care of his personal welfare than they did.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the launch party for the new English-language National Theatre of Wales, in Cardiff’s Castle Arcade, last week - I hadn’t been invited, but was very kindly snuck in by younger, more successful writers. It was an intriguing collection of people, of both the arty and moneyed varieties. The new company certainly has some exciting plans - such as a production a month for the first year, starting in Spring 2010 - and a promising on-line forum. Let’s hope the inevitable whingeing doesn’t bring them down too much.

The reviews for the London production of “The Exquisite Corpse” have been less rapturous than those it received in Edinburgh last year, but I’d put that down to the world-weariness of the metropolitan critic. The write-ups have generally been of the kind which would tend to intrigue potential audiences (“this is weird”), rather than put them off entirely (“this is bad”), and the company seem quite pleased with the houses they’ve been getting.

Gary Owen has published the Welsh-language dialogue from his bilingual play “Amgen : Broken” on his website, and it turns out that I understood even less of it that I’d previously thought, to the point of entirely misreading the trajectory of the “Gareth” character; thus his “crisis” is altogether more upbeat than that of his English-only alter-ego; which makes it even more appropriate as a “what it is to be Welsh” play than I originally thought.


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