Week 5

Culture

The Lower Depths:Maxim Gorky

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I loved this play. A wonderful cast, a good design, well-matched to the performance space, good direction. I like the Arcola, and this play fitted well, resonating with current events almost scarily at times. This was my first Gorky, but I hope it won’t be my last.

Written on Skin: George Benjamin (music), Martin Crimp (text)

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I really wish I could have seen this opera live at the Royal Opera House, but the only ticket available this final week was way out of my price range. The video does allow for close-ups of the cast and set, and gives some different viewpoints ( e.g. the pages of the book from directly above) which wouldn’t be available to a live audience, but I love the atmosphere of a live opera, and it didn’t feel as good sitting on my own sofa. I wish, I wish I could have seen this live. I loved it.

Books

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Two different types of crime books this week.

King Dido doesn’t have a central case, and having the criminal as the protagonist made a change. I thoroughly disliked the main detective, but thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Six Four takes us to Japan, and the press relations section of a local police force. I like to find out about different cultures and different ways of policing, and this is as different as you can get. The emphasis on “face” and group loyalty is very interesting, and the case plays out nicely if slowly. I’m interested to see how the central character develops.

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