Blakeson - Writer

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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

"A Drinking Song" by W. B. Yeats

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Monday, January 28, 2013

"All Things Can Tempt Me" - by W. B Yeats

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Theatre Critics of Wales Awards 2013

Through my occasional reviews for the British Theatre Guide, I was fortunate enough to be invited to play a small role in the decision-making process in respect of the inaugural Theatre Critics of Wales Awards; thus I was invited to the ceremony on January 26th, at the Sherman Cymru. A pretty starry affair, in Welsh terms, hosted by the BBC’s Nicola Heywood-Thomas, with many familiar faces in attendance. The awards themselves were largely dominated by National Theatre Wales, but beyond this provided a useful insight into the breadth of activity happening in any given year, and the depth of talent we have at our disposal, across different specialisms. And it all wrapped up in less than two hours, so I could get back and watch “Borgen” before retiring. Delightful.


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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Seek, Seek..." (Millions Of Us)

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Much Madness is Divinest Sense..." by Emily Dickinson

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

"The Scarlet Woman" by Fenton Johnson

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Dirty Protest vs Artes Mundi

Having previously blogged about visiting the Artes Mundi Prize exhibition, I seized the opportunity to watch a preview performance of a selection of short Dirty Protest plays allied to it, presented at the National Museum. This was a lunchtime show, prior to the full extravaganza (consisting of seven pieces) taking place later that evening at Porter's Bar, a new venue elsewhere in central Cardiff. It was certainly a clever idea to have the three playlets performed in the rooms in which the artworks which inspired them were situated, and it made for a delightful experience. Miriam Bäckström’s gorgeous crystalline tapestry was a suitably epic backdrop for Katherine Chandler's amusingly sexy anti-rom-com; Tom Wentworth's poignant take on hoarding sat equally well within Sheela Gowda's industrial oil-drum-oriented installation; Teresa Margolles’ prize-winning exhibit, inspired by her experience of the Mexican drug wars provided an effectively clammy context for Lotty Talbutt's chilling tale of hired killers.

There are presumably numerous factors, mostly related to the safety of the items on display, which would render the Museum’s habitual use as a venue for site-specific theatre impractical. I'm sure, though, that most writers would leap at the chance to create work based on and performed in the proximity of pieces from its impressive permanent collection.

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

"The Life Of Pi"

The Life Of Pi” is undeniably a breathtakingly beautiful film. Director Ang Lee is a safe pair of hands (cf “Brokeback Mountain”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) to which to entrust the translation of a reputedly unfilmable novel (I have yet to read Yann Martell’s original) into 3D cinema, and he literally makes the most of its immersive qualities, with luscious seascapes, and heart-stopping sequences of underwater peril as hero Piscine (charmingly played by newcomer Suraj Sharma) battles with unforgiving nature after a ship-wreck. The tiger with whom he is stranded on a lifeboat is rendered in flawless CGI, and the pre-catastrophe Indian story, in which the young Pi experiments with several different religious ideas, is classical in its elegance. Perhaps my slight reservations stem from the simple fact that the framing sequences featuring the older, sadder, wiser Pi (Irfan Khan) telling his story to a blocked author (Rafe Spall) detract from the “jeopardy” element of the story (we know he survives), forcing us to concentrate on the philosophical aspects, which are presumably simplified. If the authors aim to conclude that religion is all about fanciful stories which help make the brutal realities of life bearable, then it’s hardly an original observation. The journey, however, is reward in itself – which is probably the point, now I come to think of it.

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