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Archive for February 15th, 2007

Babel

Enjoyed this film about a random shooting in Morocco, children being taken to a wedding in Mexico, and a deaf-mute Japanese girl trying to make sense of her life after her mother’s death.    It was all compelling, although somewhat contrived.   

There were some teriffic performances though, particularly from the Moroccan ‘terrorists’, and the Japenese girl.    Actually, for me the Japanese story was the most interesting, as it left quite a few questions unanswered.    And what did that note say?

The film was shortlisted for several  BAFTA awards, and secured one for its music, which I felt was mixed too loud in the soundtrack.    Sometimes less is more, and this was not a ‘big’ cinema.   Perhaps the cinema had it turned up to drown the popcorn-fest going on behind me.

Certainly well worth going to see, but I’m not completely raving about it.

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All My Sons

All My Sons at the Lyceum in Edinburgh last week is certainly going to be one of the ‘must-see’ productions of 2007.   

There was a wonderful team of actors giving everything to this sad story of the pressures and economies of wartime.    It is set in the garden of a clapboard house in an unnamed American town in 1947, complete with real grass (and moths).    Stuart Milligan and Kathryn Howden  played oldsters Joe and Kate Keller fantastically well, but it fell to Richard Conlon as the surviving son to take us on the journey from optimistic hopeful lover to a wrecked soul.    The other parts are very important too, and were all so well played.      Not often you go to the theatre and hear a wall of applause and cheeering at the end.

If there was a criticism, I felt that the dialogue was taken slightly too fast at times, a problem I have noticed with other productions at the Lyceum.    When Dundee Rep did this a few years ago (also excellently, and also with Richard Conlon) it was taken at a slower speed, and there was more use of silence.    Different directors, I suppose, but I felt that the pace taken was too fast for the audience to fully absorb what was being said at times.

But what a good play.    It is 60 years old and still fresh.    We were able to take two people in our party who had never seen an Arthur Miller play before.    They, like us,  loved it.

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