Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Takings Steps @ Oldham Coliseum Theatre

This was the final play on my current season ticket.  Also the first one to be housed in the theatre's temporary home of The Grange Arts Centre.

I wasn't sure this was going to be a play for me, the word farce had me a little worried.  Some farce tickles my laughter nerve, a lot more leaves me cold.

The temporary theatre has been set up in the round.  The stage isn't very big and had a lot of proppage on it.  I wondered exactly how it was all going to work.  It worked brilliantly.  The stage had 3 separate floors of a house on it.  Never once did you get the floors confused, evern when there were actors on all of them.  A brilliant use of lighting helped but the actions of the cast ascending/descending stairs finished fixing it in your mind.

The cast were all excellent.  This seemed to be very good casting of very good actors in the roles.  Each one was perfectly believable and never dropped a note.  Though not one of them was playing what I'd call a sympathetic role or one which you could respect!  Each character had hilarious moments.  How the cast kept a straight face is beyond me.  Certainly the audience was doubled up.

This is one of the funniest plays I've seen.  In the middle of a hectic, stressful week it was a fabulous distraction.  I'm not one to laugh out loud in a cinema or theatre much.  This had me guffawing with the rest of the people watching.  It took me a little while to get into it.  The first scene had me wondering where it was going but it definitely went to a great place.  From the moment Roland appears I was pretty much chortling until the interval.  The second act I would have described as very, funny.  Very much worth seeing. My favourite parts though were definitely in the second half of the first act.  Some of the laughs you could see coming but, as in all the best farces, this didn't detract at all.

I thoroughly recommend a trip to see this if you're nearby.  Tickets can be bought here -  It is showing until March 10th.

4.5 out of 5 pawprints 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Gone Fishing by Wolf e Boy

Short Story.

Last year, I read From Bangkok to BC, Chasing Sunsets.  The blog post can be found here

Since then I have followed Wolf E Boy's blog with interest.  He writes about his life in a nice style.  There's descriptions of what he experiences and his thoughts about things that crop up.  The blog can be found here.  

He alerted his twitter followers to a story he'd written a while ago.  This story is Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Gone Fishing.  He told me it was a true story.  I have no idea if he's one of the characters, or if he knows the characters well. 

It's a very honest, quite blunt style of writing.  You know exactly what the characters whose story is being told are thinking.  There are good descriptions of the thought processes as the story unfolds.  I think a lot of readers could find the subject matter a little shocking.  There's the rub though.  It is quite shocking but it's far more common than those who may be shocked probably realise.

I found myself thinking after I had read this story.  I couldn't help coming to, and changing, and changing again, judgements about the characters throughout the tale.  They were all characters I recognised.  I could put at least two faces of people I know to each of them.

The story had me gripped until I had finished it.  It is definitely one of the most bizarre reads I have come across.  Bizarre to see it on the page, yet not so unfamiliar in life.

I think on the whole the politics of the main characters are pretty similar to my own on the issues explored in this.  I would lay the blame less at the door of the Police though and more at pathetic, hysteria influenced governments.

One question I would ask is how reliable is the main character's account?  Have we the whole story or have things been missed/misread due to his state of mind.  My mind/memory plays tricks on me under much less strain.

The ending of the tale is the most bizarre part of the whole thing.  I wish we could find an explanation for the way things ended.  Or maybe the mystery adds to the whole thing.

I enjoyed this story.  The tension was kept up, I sympathised and I laughed too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tome Time - Le Dossier, How to Survive the English by Sarah Long

Started December 19th, finished January 3rd.  276 pages

This is described as a guide for French ladies who, against all their better judgement, have to live in England.

My first quibbles would be that this isn't for 'French ladies' but Parisiennes.  Nor is it about living in England so much as London.

I feel I'm lacking in a sense of humour for large parts of this book.  Maybe it's the sneering tone I found in it's author?  There were moments of  'Wow, yes, she's hit the nail with that one.'  It also made you think about how our little island does things.  I quite like the way we do some of the things she scorns.  Others hurt a little more because she was right.

I would like to see her version on the faults of Paris as a home city.  I can't see it though.  In her eyes Paris is civilised, London lags a long way behind.

This is not a book I can find much to recommend in.  It's interesting but irritated me too much to be enjoyed.

2 out of 5 pawprints

Next - The pale Criminal by Philip Kerr

Book 1 of 2012, Page Total 276