Thursday, 3 January 2008


Most of the papers seem to be doing a pretty good job of offering Things To Look Forward To features at the moment. Never one not to follow a journalistic fad, Postcards humbly commends the following to your attention...


Much of the most interesting sounding work opening this month falls under the auspices of two festivals: the reasonably well publicised London International Mime Festival, and the virtually invisible Lithuanian Festival at the Southwark Playhouse - which, judging by the reviews of that venue's recent production of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, will at least be suitably freezing. That said, this latter looks like it deserves a good deal more attention than it's getting...

At the Court, there’s the first British production of David Hare’s latest - The Vertical Hour. About which I shan’t leap to conclusions. More excitingly (whoops), is the second Rough Cuts season Upstairs. Discussions about scratch culture and the helpfulness of such events notwithstanding, I’m looking forward to seeing the new stuff from last year’s success stories Alexander Wood, Polly Stenham, DC Moore and Mike Bartlett. There’s also a pile of verbatim stuff - which I’ll no doubt to try to see too.

Young people!

Away from the producing houses, there seems to be a lot of work opening by up and coming young things (most of whom I seem to know to some extent). At the Camden People’s Theatre, there’s How It Ended, while at the Trafalgar Studios, MahWaff are reviving Ben Woolf’s ’05 Fringe hit Angry Young Man (which I certainly liked a lot when I last saw it) in a double bill with Woolf’s new play.

There’s also The British Ambassador’s Belly Dancer at the Arcola. Apparently a pretty much first-person account of Craig Murray’s time in Uzbekistan delivered by the woman he met there, with whom he now lives. Will it be theatre or “an audience with...”? Who knows? Although, given Murray’s track-record as a tireless campaigner against human rights abuses, the piece may offer something significantly less airy than the title suggests.

Slightly further off, is the National’s next “experimental” work, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other - “twenty-seven actors, 450 characters and no dialogue: a play without words by the great experimental figure of European theatre, Peter Handke.”

Beyond theatre, I should probably plug the next gig by loveable pop-punk funsters the Official Secrets Act, who are playing Camden’s Koko on Friday under the banner of some NME event. Oh, and The Kite Runner again, obviously.

Further reading

In my rush to get everything back up and running yesterday, I neglected to offer my usual round-up of what’s going on on other blogs.

Andrew Field’s look ahead to the coming year in theatre is extremely funny - although Postcards detects a hint of world-weary cynicism.

On an entirely different tack, Ott Karulin’s most recent musings on writing about theatre tackle the question of why one would write about indifferent plays if not compelled to.

Chris Goode’s immense Furtive Fifty is a continual pleasure - although perhaps one best dealt with by dipping in and out rather than trying to read and process all in one go (silly me). Among other things, it contains possibly the most thrillingly intelligent analysis of a Britney Spears album you are ever likely to read.

Mark Shenton’s stuff over at the Stage has been particularly interesting of late. While over at the Guardian, apart from Lyn Gardner’s acute harrying of the Arts Council, things have been pretty quiet really (although I was rather pleased with the responses to my piece on being squeamish - a subject that I’m not sure I’ve quite got a handle on yet).

1 comment:

Sean said...

Yes, some interesting stuff indeed.
The Lithuanian Festival was very worthwhile. The three plays (7.30-11.15pm!) are interesting (they are not all done every night), but for me Goodbye Mr Love by Marius Macevicius stood out. Beautifully directed by Simon Usher in the huge railway arch that is the SP, with a very austere set and utilitarian costumes. I have to say that the acting throughout the evening was excellent, but in this play it really shone, just so interested and intense, but without bathos. The other two plays confront issues of identity and acceptance (in almost a retro way it they were British, but it is interesting to see what Lithuanian society is focused on, and how it is changing), whereas Goodbye Mr Love, naturally also discusses identity and acceptance, shows some modern familial alienation set against slavish immigration to the UK and the distant dream of money without tied up with love (do we really only love the idea of getting rich? Is that more important than home and family? Than identity?).
Was bloody cold though, I keep my coat, scarf and gloves on. At least at Petra Von Kant we got blankets. Audiences on both occasions have been dire (11 and 15), so get buying your tickets people, at £7 (upwards) they are a bargain. Saw good houses for Reverence and another play there in the past, and the old Playhouse was always packed out, so the audience must be there.
The British Ambassador’s Belly Dancer was a singular experience. Why is stripping in London (Spearmint Rhinos) bad and in Tashkent (where Mr Ambassador spotted her) ok? Was it perhaps because she was by then his fiancée! The play is as airy as the title suggests, if not more so. The West End transfer, arranged pre any performance, says everything you need to know abut the West End.
I remember stumbling onto MahWaff’s Western at an Ed Fest some years ago totally by chance, it was near where my last show ended and I bought a ticket (I’m a tens shows a day man, or I was then). An absolute joy, not harmed by the fact they the guys were rather nice looking. Angry Young Man is pretty good too.
Sorry, I’ll shut up now, I’m in an extremely verbose state for some reason, but need my sleep.