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Archive for May, 2009

Hoors – Traverse

Hoors

Hoors

I suppose, we have all been waiting to see what Gregory Burke would do to follow Black Watch, but Black Watch is a once in a couple of decades iconic event which can’t and should not be followed by anything perhaps.    In that case, Hoors might be seen as the play after the successful Gagarin Way.

We are taken deep into Fife where we meet sisters Vikki and Nicki.    Vikki was due to marry her builder fiancee Andy, but he is already onstage in a coffin, the result of a particulary wild stag do involving very dodgy drugs, a visit to hospital and an attempt on a mile high conquest in a budget airline’s loos.    Wedding day becomes funeral date:   “well at least the church was booked”.   The women are well-to do with money to spend, but their attitudes to relationships is transient to say the least.   As the wedding has been approaching, clearly things were not all rosy in the Andy and Vicky depatment – so much so that Vicky can’t be said to be sorry that things have turned out thus.

Two men roll up, Stevie and (fresh in from Dubai) Tony clearly to say cheerio to their friend, but also to see how far they can get with the two sisters.      Drink and drugs are taken, and the evening’s events take their course.    Let’s just say that neither of the men manage what they earlier had imagined they might.    

I was disappointed and not convinced with this.    Some of the writing was very sharp, and indeed very funny, but the characters seemed too shallow, and by the end, nobody had changed or learnt from their experiences.   Maybe that was the whole depressing point of course.   I rather disliked the four characters and nothing in the play made me care about what happened to them.

The set with its light leather sofa on cerise carpet and huge “Ages of Man” picture worked well enough.   A revolve revealed a bedroom with double bed on the same carpet.    I thought that more use of lighting the front and back could have been made instead of the set going round and round and round again interminably to fit in with the split dialogue.

As the play got into the second half, conversations become more disjointed, and I was longing to see a scene with everyone in the same room again, but it just never happened.   All just a bit pointless where much more could have been said.

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On the face of it, Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish film about two 12 year olds shouldn’t work, but it really does.    It is fairly disturbing.

Set in a snowy suberb of Stockholm, it tells the story of  the fragile boy Oskar, brilliantly played by Kåre Hedebrant who becomes friendly with his new neighbour Eli, who appears as a girl.    Eli is a vampire, and has been 12 years old for a while.

Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In

And this film, although very gory in bits, as a vampire movie is, actually focuses on the friendship between the two children, and the bullies at Oskar’s school.      It is a love story in a way, and the ending is left very open.

Lots of attention to detail – apparently the most realistic sound of drinking blood was found by trail and error to be yoghurt, and the sound of the children’s eyelids opening and closing was done with sliced grapes.

Without spoiling this for anyone yet to see it, this film is completely spellbinding, and the while the images will haunt you for a while – the performances by the children, and the whole concept will stay with you for longer.    

Highly recommended – and do go and see the original before a Holywood version, already in production, hits the screens.        Subtitles are not difficult!

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Perth Theatre has a series of ‘in the bar’ entertainment on Monday nights, called simply ‘The Monday Night Thing’.

Well, last Monday, the ‘thing’ was a rather special performance from UK Saxphonist Julian Arguelles playing with the legendary John Abercrombie trio.     Arguelles was a member of the 1980s iconic jazz collective Loose Tubes and now writes and performs with his own band, as well as teaching.     John Abercrombie is a veteran jazz guitarist, and does not play in the UK very often.      In the 1970s he played with the likes of the Brecker Brothers and drummer Billy Cobham, but he has played with a long list of the famous as well as his own band.    

Julian Arguelles

Julian Arguelles

They were backed by Michael Formanek on what looked like a 3/4 size double bass, and Tom Rainey on drums.    I have to say, Tom Rainey was just extraordinary to watch.    He only had a fairly small four piece drumkit, but he was very very creative as he took a fixed stare into space and hit anything and everything with sticks, brushes, mallets and his bare hands.    He rarely did the same thing twice, yet it all worked in with the music.    He hit cymbals from the top, sideways and from underneath.    At one stage he played a glass bottle of water, transforming it into sounding in different pitches by tilting the angle.     Pure and utter genius.

The band played some new Arguelles numbers, an Abercrombie tune and  a few standards were thrown in.   The pieces were well extended, often lasting 20 minutes or so.    The standards were standards with a difference.   Arguelles blew city sounds, and performed immense breath defying runs up and down the instrument.      The sold out audience of around 100 or so gave them warm appreciation, and brought them back for more.

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