Blakeson - Writer

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Beneath The Streets" / "As You Like It"

My most recent reviewing assignments for British Theatre Guide have both involved Hijinx, the Cardiff-based company whose remit is to create work which is inclusive of performers who have learning difficulties or hearing impairments. Their Academy students were amongst the cast of “Beneath The Streets” - a collaboration with Punchdrunk Enrichment, specialists in immersive theatre – mostly taking place beneath the shops and cafes of the Castle Arcade in central Cardiff; a spooky, surreal exploration of lostness and regret. And some members of the Academy formed part of the ensemble in a production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”, taking place in Thompson’s Park in Canton; not a  play with which I was intimately familiar, but enjoyable nonetheless. This was from Taking Flight, who integrate performers with and without physical disabilities in a way which makes sense narratively, without necessarily either making a big deal of or ignoring the differences. A stimulating couple of days.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Untitled No. 76"

A few months ago, performance art duo Good Cop Bad Cop, in their guise as producers/presenters of the arts-themed show “Pitch” on Radio Cardiff, put out a call for proposals for projects to be broadcast as part of their programme. Called “Pitch To The Power Of Three”, it would consist of twelve three-minute pieces, either plays, monologues, or poetry readings. I put in a proposal for a three-character drama with an “art” theme and happily, it was accepted.

Thus, this week, my play “Untitled No. 76” was broadcast, and is now archived on the Culture Colony website (about 21 minutes into the podcast). Set in a painter’s studio in New York in around 1951, it was inspired by the news story which emerged some years ago that at the beginning of the Cold War, the C.I.A. attempted to enlist abstract expressionism in the propaganda war against the Soviet Union.

Produced and directed by the Pitch team, it features Holly Davies, Steven Elliot and Richard Mitchley. And since it was supported with funding from Arts Council Wales, everyone got paid, which was nice. 

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Sunday, June 01, 2014

"Rock Pool" / "Tender Napalm"

Two theatre reviewing assignments in two days – both two-handers, but aimed at very different audiences.

First up, at Sherman Cymru, was “Rock Pool” by China Plate/Inspector Sands – a play for families (children of three and upwards), in which a crab and a prawn get stranded in a shallow rock pool, and become friends, despite the former’s inclination to eat the latter. The next day at Chapter, I saw “Tender Napalm”, a decidedly adult drama about a couple who create a profanely violent fantasy world as a means of coping with loss; the second of two controversy-baiting Philip Ridley plays being given their Welsh premieres by Company Of Sirens.

Both with a theme of uneasy co-existence in difficult circumstances; both highly accomplished productions.

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