Blakeson - Writer

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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Mother Courage" / "Iphigenia In Splott"

Two very different but noteworthy theatre reviewing assignments this week.

First up was the latest from National Theatre Wales (in the week that supremo John McGrath announced his imminent). Ed Thomas’ adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage And Her Children”, staged at Merthyr Labour Club. A remarkable all-female cast, and obviously a classic text, but the need to stage it unconventionally meant that some crucial plot points were unclear. But at least the tunes were written by Dafydd James, which meant that they were less forbiddingly “Brechtian” than one might have feared.

The next night at Sherman Cymru I saw Gary Owen’s “Iphigenia In Splott”; the link with ancient Greek myth being the concept of sacrifice. Sophie Melville gave a beautiful solo performance as the young Cardiff “skank” who explains to her fellow citizens why we should be grateful to her. Powerful stuff - cleverly staged, elegantly written and painfully relevant.

"Iphigenia In Splott" - photo by Mark Douet

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Monday, May 04, 2015

"A Good Clean Heart" / "Punk Rock..."

My most recent theatre reviewing assignment was for the third play in the first season at The Other Room – “A Good Clean Heart”, the debut full-length play from actor Alun Saunders. A bilingual piece focussing on an eventful night in the lives of two long-separated half-brothers who meet up in London, it manages to have a positive take on familial love and sacrifice without being mawkish; an excellent pair of performances, too, from actors which whom I was previously unfamiliar.

A Good Clean Heart (Pallasca Photography)

Meanwhile, I discovered an archive of readings by the late American beat poet Allen Ginsberg, and couldn’t resist the temptation to make a mashup film of this short poem, in which, speaking in 1978, he suggests that the punk rock movement was insufficiently punk rock.

"Punk Rock, You're My Big Crybaby" by Allen Ginsberg from OTHNIEL SMITH on Vimeo.

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