Blakeson - Writer

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Ghost Stories" / "Sirens" / "Tremor"

I didn’t get to see the acclaimed stage production of Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s “Ghost Stories”, but reports were that it combined elements of their excellent other work (“The League Of Gentlemen”, Derren Brown) to satisfyingly chilling effect. The film adaptation is perhaps less successful, since the kind of scares which are thrillingly rare on-stage are commonplace in the cinema. The plot sees Nyman’s professional debunker of psychic phenomena challenged to investigate three inexplicable spooky events, giving it a “Dead Of Night”-style portmanteau structure. The acting (Nyman, Marin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther) is impeccable, and the visuals are highly atmospheric; but the whole thing is rather slow, and the thinness of the individual plot-lines sets us up for a denouement which is somewhat predictable. Still, it’s more than scary enough to deter night-time viewings.
I attended “Sirens”, one of the events in the Performances For The Curious season at the Wales Millennium Centre. This was a presentation, by Leeway Productions, of new songs developed with participants in their “10-Minute Musicals” scheme, as well as through a recent song-writing workshop with Amy Wadge. Working with a broadly female-positive theme, the songwriters, most of whom also performed, were a varied bunch (e.g. actor Huw Blainey, hip-hop performance poet Rufus Mufasa, 14 year-old Myah Freeman, Elis Walker from the band Mellt), the material ranging from the heartfelt to the humorous; an entertaining and heartening 90 minutes or so.
"Tremor" (photo: Mark Douet)

My latest theatre reviewing assignment was Brad Birch’s “Tremor” at the Sherman – about a former couple interrogating the implications of a traumatic incident in their shared past. Well performed, but perhaps not entirely successful in its attempts to drag contemporary politics into a relationship drama.

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