A good week for culture.
Berberian Sound Studio
My first trip to the Donmar, and I was surprised at how small it is for such an influential theatre. I made the mistake of booking a front row stalls seat, which I will never do again, as the experience of sitting with my knees practically on the stage wasn’t brilliant. Also, quite a bit of the action of this play takes place inside a sound booth at the rear of the stage. From my seat I couldn’t see much of what was happening in the booth. The play itself was excellent. Tom Brooke’s portrayal of Gilderoy, the nature-documentary geek somehow drawn into the world of “Giallo” film was very natural, and there were one or two instances of truly visceral horror as Gilderoy tries to recreate the sounds of torture. There were also comedy sequences featuring a couple of foley artists slapsticking about, which took the edge off the horror just enough. I enjoyed the play, and it was good to try a new venue.
The Monstrous Child
Another new (ish) venue; the revamped Linbury theatre at the Royal Opera House. And a brand new opera. This was very interesting, with some excellent technical theatre arts employed. I particularly liked the use of ice, and projection, and there was some innovative puppetry, particularly that portraying the births of Loki’s children. There was a lot of teenage angst, and a lot of humour, and it was a shame that there weren’t more young people in the theatre on the night I went, as this is definitely aimed at the YA demographic.
A Fortnight of Tears
I like Tracey Emin’s work more and more as I get older. This exhibition at the White Cube encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture (some wonderful large bronzes), video, photography and one of her excellent neon poems. The overarching theme was loss, manifesting in depression and insomnia, and it was incredibly moving. I really recommend seeing this
My calendar reading for March is a standalone short story. I suppose I should have waited for the 15th to read it, but never mind. It is a silly tale about an attempt to cheat fate, which of course, as in all such tales, fails. Not great writing. I probably won’t go looking for anything else by Bill Bernico.
I decided to read Francesca Simon’s book in advance of seeing the opera she adapted from it. It was worth doing, as I wasn’t as familiar with Hel’s story as I was with some of the other Norse Gods’ tales. This was a YA story, told in first-person by Hel, and employing teen humour and modern vernacular well. Not my usual genre, but as an extra to the opera, useful.