1. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Future Cinema presents Shawshank Redemption

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/film/what-weve-been-up-to-future-cinema-presents-shawshank-redemption/

    What we’ve been up to… Future Cinema presents Shawshank Redemption

    I’ve seen some great films in my 31 years, but few compare to the cinematic genius that is Shawshank Redemption. Nominated for seven Oscars, its intelligent narrative,  beautiful score and “that twist” makes it one of those timeless films you can watch over and over again  - so I was intrigued when I heard it had been given the Secret/Future Cinema treatment last year. For starters, how do you pull off a “live cinema” version of a film like Shawshank?  Who’s playing Morgan? And since participants are invited to be inmates in this theatrical production, would there reeaaaaaally be any fun in that?

    Sort of.  In case you can’t remember, Shawshank Redemption tells the story of a man thrown in jail, accused of murdering his wife and her lover. He pleads innocent but gets on with doing his time until he discovers evidence which could set him free. His initial years locked up are pretty harrowing to say the least – and inside the world of Future Cinema, we get a taste of this prison life that at times is almost too authentic for entertainment.  During the first part of the production, a few participants are shouted at and humiliated, while I witnessed  a few disturbing moments that I imagine was particularly uncomfortable for my fellow ladies in the mix.

    That said, there’s no denying that Future Cinema are brilliant at what they do as the production values are incredibly high (I’d go so far as to say mind-blowing) – and any questionable factors of the spectacle are soon overcome by the convincing actors, activities and the eventual screening of a film that’s deserving of the homage.  But playing make-believe incarceration may falter in comparison to more light-hearted FC productions like Grease, Bugsy Malone  - and in a few weeks Casablanca – which you probably wouldn’t mind paying 45 quid for. Still, if you’re brave enough, want to play along and oddly fancy the kicks, this could be the ticket. Just don’t take a date if you’re a fella – and ladies, you might want to leave the girlyness (and heels) at home. On until February 24th.

    For more info, visit http://www.futurecinema.co.uk

     

  2. New Post: Something you should see… Feast at the Young Vic

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/recommendations/something-you-should-see/something-you-should-see-feast-at-the-young-vic/

    Something you should see… Feast at the Young Vic

    The month of January can be quite depressing after all the Christmas excess. Money is tight, daylight is still short, it’s cold (!), resolutions are made (and broken)… need I go on?
    Well a new production at London’s Young Vic theatre is offering a bit of winter cheer. Directed by Rufus Norris, Feast celebrates Yoruba culture and religion in a journey from West Africa via the Americas to contemporary London through the adventures of three sisters. With choreography from George Cespedes of Contemporanea de Cuba fame and live music, this ambitious production promises something quite spectacular for audiences.

    Pic: Richard Hubert Smith

    Pic: Richard Hubert Smith

    Actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith returns to the Young Vic for the production – playing the trickster god Esu and is joined by Olivier Award-winning actress Noma Dumezweni.
    For this co-production with the Royal Court, Rufus Norris worked with playwrights from five countries where Yoruba traditions have influenced contemporary life. Included in this collaborative effort are Brazilian Marcos Barbosa, American Tanya Barfield, Rotimi Babatunde of Nigeria, Cuban Yunior Garcia Aguilera and Brit Gbolahan Obisesan. Norris is no stranger to the African continent, having spent quite a few childhood years in Nigeria when his civil servant father was posted to Africa.

    Pic: Richard Hubert Smith

    Pic: Richard Hubert Smith

    Anyone familiar with the work of Norris will know he has directed a host of critically acclaimed shows including Cabaret, London Road and an adaptation of DBC Pierre’s novel Vernon God Little. So, here’s a theatre director with some versatility who’s spoken of taking the audience on a journey with Feast. The show’s promotional tagline is Feed your spirit, Free yourself – and that sounds quite good for January. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Feast is showing at the Young Vic from 25 January – 23 February. For more info, visit www.youngvic.org

     

  3. New Post: Something you should see… Feast at the Young Vic

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/recommendations/something-you-should-see/something-you-should-see-feast-at-the-young-vic/

    Something you should see… Feast at the Young Vic

    The month of January can be quite depressing after all the Christmas excess. Money is tight, daylight is still short, it’s cold (!), resolutions are made (and broken)… need I go on?
    Well a new production at London’s Young Vic theatre is offering a bit of winter cheer. Directed by Rufus Norris, Feast celebrates Yoruba culture and religion in a journey from West Africa via the Americas to contemporary London through the adventures of three sisters. With choreography from George Cespedes of Contemporanea de Cuba fame and live music, this ambitious production promises something quite spectacular for audiences.

    Pic: Richard Hubert Smith

    Pic: Richard Hubert Smith

    Actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith returns to the Young Vic for the production – playing the trickster god Esu and is joined by Olivier Award-winning actress Noma Dumezweni.
    For this co-production with the Royal Court, Rufus Norris worked with playwrights from five countries where Yoruba traditions have influenced contemporary life. Included in this collaborative effort are Brazilian Marcos Barbosa, American Tanya Barfield, Rotimi Babatunde of Nigeria, Cuban Yunior Garcia Aguilera and Brit Gbolahan Obisesan. Norris is no stranger to the African continent, having spent quite a few childhood years in Nigeria when his civil servant father was posted to Africa.

    Pic: Richard Hubert Smith

    Pic: Richard Hubert Smith

    Anyone familiar with the work of Norris will know he has directed a host of critically acclaimed shows including Cabaret, London Road and an adaptation of DBC Pierre’s novel Vernon God Little. So, here’s a theatre director with some versatility who’s spoken of taking the audience on a journey with Feast. The show’s promotional tagline is Feed your spirit, Free yourself – and that sounds quite good for January. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Feast is showing at the Young Vic from 25 January – 23 February. For more info, visit www.youngvic.org

     

  4. New Post: Something you should see… In The Beginning was the End at Somerset House

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/arts-culture/something-you-should-see-in-the-beginning-was-the-end/

    Something you should see… In The Beginning was the End at Somerset House

    Depending on what you’ve read or what translation you consult, come the eve of December 21st we may be reaching for our nearest and dearest and preparing ourselves for the afterlife. Yes, the longest day creeps ever closer and with it the end of the Mayan calendar (yet some people have the audacity to plan for 2013. Are they mad?).  In any case, the more optimistic reading of this arcane calendar is that the date in question marks the end of an era, and rather than a total wipe-out, it may be a brave new world come the 22nd. This sticky subject is tackled by Dreamthinkspeak – – the much lauded site-responsive theatre company – who’ll be returning  to Somerset House in the New Year for  In the Beginning was the End, a special blend of film, installation and live performance that explores a world either on the verge of collapse – or the brink of rebirth. Let’s hope we’re still here to enjoy this cultural discussion.

    Dreamthinkspeak

    If you’re not familiar with Dreamthinkspeak, they have been around since 1999 mesmerising audiences with their site specific performances. This ensemble of actors, technicians and assorted creatives meld different mediums to create an all immersive journey for the audience, making them winners of the Peter Brook Empty Space Equity Ensemble Award in 2010. With their new gargantuan production, inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci and The Book of Revelation and utilising some avant-garde stage production, Dreamthinkspeak promise a journey through underground passages, the undiscovered nooks and crannies of Somerset House and require you take your life into your hand.
    The superlatives flowed last time for their 2004 production Don’t Look Back, described variously as ‘beautiful’, ‘intricate’, ‘terrifying’ and ‘involving’ – and anyone that enjoyed the sold-out You Me Bum Bum Train will love this.  The action doesn’t unfold until January, but shows like these don’t go on sale early for nothing, so grab a ticket while (and if) you can.  (Words: Ed Spencer) 

    In The Beginning Was The End runs from January 28 – March 30 2013.For more info, visit http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/performance/in-the-beginning-was-the-end

     

  5. New Post: Something you should see… Chewing Gum Dreams (Radar Festival 2012)

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/arts-culture/chewing-gun-dreams-radar-festival/

    Something you should see… Chewing Gum Dreams (Radar Festival 2012)

    Madani Younis, the new artistic director of the Bush theatre, opened the Radar Festival last week with a cheeky paean to the Shepherd Bush area and its eponymous theatre. Over the next three weeks, he explained, the Bush will host discussions about the shape and possibilities of contemporary theatre, along with a myriad of guest performances and works in progress by the artists who are defining these changes. Talks will focus on theatrical concepts and processes, whilst play performances are an opportunity to celebrate and encourage new talent, such as Chewing Gum Dreams, directed by Che Walker, proves.

    Chewing Gum Dreams

    Performer and playwright Michaela Coel gives us Tracey, a 14-year-old girl, initially all vicious, hilarious put-downs and sly detachment, which she gradually strips away (literally, in one scene – Tracey’s first sexual experience) to lay bare the emotions of growing up. The language is sharp, fresh, confident, and rises effortlessly into poetry. As for Coel, she has a gift for capturing a character in a slouch, a swagger or a smile. The openness and ease of her performance immediately sets up a relationship of trust with the audience, and with her, we are safe to venture more difficult or sensitive areas – male violence, teenage sexuality. One only hopes that the Bush’s new artistic outlook will persuade artists such as Coel to stay in theatre a while longer before disappearing off into film and TV stardom.

    If the opening evening is anything to go by, there’ll be plenty of reasons to keep coming back to the Bush Theatre’s Radar Festival over the next three weeks. With people like these shaping contemporary theatre, it’s in safe hands. (Words: Ben Hadley) 

    Radar Festival runs from November 7th – November 22nd at the Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road,
London,
W12 8LJ. For more info, visit www.bushtheatre.co.uk

     

  6. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Afrovibes Festival 2012

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/arts-culture/somewhere-you-should-go-afrovibes-festival-2012/

    Somewhere you should go… Afrovibes Festival 2012

    October seems to be rivalling the summer months for arts festivals this year, with what seems like a dozen film festivals, a restaurant festival and photography festival taking place this month –  but if you want to get all of your culture fixes in one place, there’s only one place to go – the Afrovibes festival in South and East London.

     photo

    This Dutch festival celebrating all things South African, comes to  London, before touring around the rest of the UK – and it seems fitting that the migratory event is happening during Black History Month. Taking place at Stratford Circus and The Albany in Deptford, the aim is to show something of contemporary SA beyond a reputation for crime and a predilection for vuvuzelas. The centre of the action will be at the Township Café, where you’ll find an eclectic and thought-provoking roster of activities. There’ll be new music from Soweto Kinch and the Sibikwa African Orchestra, several South African plays showing fresh from the Edinburgh festival (plus the opportunity to meet the cast and crew afterwards), as well as a photography exhibition focusing on the legacy of apartheid. Also on offer throughout the week is a smorgasbord in the way of authentic food, short films, poetry, dance, pre-show talks and late night debates. So whatever your cultural bag, you’re sure to find something to take your fancy. (Words: Jane Duru) 

    The Afrovibes Festival runs until October 7th at The Albany, Douglas Way Deptford, SE8 4AG and Stratford Circus, Theatre Square, E15 1BX. For more info, visit  www.afrovibes2012.co.uk

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  7. Something you should see… Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show LIVE!

    If you are the kind of person that knows where their towel is (and we most certainly are) then I won’t need to tell you about whats happening at Hackney Empire this July. This main London date forms part of a wider national tour of a new stage/radio show of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy written and directed by Dirk Maggs. The legendary story started life on the wireless and has since been seen in many other guises from TV series and books to a film in 2005.

    If you are new to Hitchhiker’s, Don’t Panic! You will, of course, be made most welcome. You can expect a blend of quaintly English sci-fi humour such as answers to the ultimate question of life and the demolition of Earth which is  ”almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea”. The actor Simon Jones from the original TV series will be playing Arthur Dent (in his dressing gown once again) and if that’s not enough, Monty Python’s Terry Jones will be playing Voice of the Book. The Guide has developed an amazing cult following mostly for its off-kilter humour and madcap philosophical musings but also because it’s loads of fun. Shall we see you there? (Words: Laura Thornley)

    Tickets at Hackney Empire are soon to sell out  but local performances are available at Woking and Bromley.  For more info, visit www.hitchhikerslive.com

     

  8. Something you should see… The Suit

    Living in London, it’s rare that you feel you’re missing out. Occasionally, you may just wish you were somewhere else, like when your favourite band is on a tour that forgot to include the capital, or when there’s a world-class exhibition happening on the other side of the Atlantic which has no intention of transferring. Thankfully, that feeling is rare;  indeed the mountain comes to Mohammed quite a lot.

    That’s especially true with theatre: case in point – The Suit. After receiving rave reviews for its run in Paris’s Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, acclaimed theatre director Peter Brooks is bringing his highly anticipated musical version of Can Themba’s short story to be performed at Young Vic as part of the World Stages season.

    Set against the backdrop of apartheid in 1950s South Africa, The Suit revolves around the story of a young man who finds his wife in bed with her lover. The lover flees, leaving behind only his suit but instead of inflicting a normal punishment, the husband decides upon an unusual course of revenge; the suit must be treated as if it were an honoured guest - taken for walks, fed at the dinner table, entertained. Its presence serves as a daily reminder of the wife’s betrayal and shame, but the outcome of this treatment is one that will have the audience questioning sacred notions of cruelty and oppression. Definitely one to watch. (Words: Jane Duru)

    The Suit runs at the Young Vic, 26 May – 16 June. For more info: www.youngvic.org/whats-on/the-suit

     

  9. Something you should see… Ethometric Museum

    Seeing as we like the weird and the wonderful things that crop up in town, it took little convincing to spread the word about Etnometric Museum, a unique, immersive experience at Battersea Arts Centre where science meets theatre.  Hailed at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, the performance sees attendees introduced to a peculiar collection of “ethometric” devices  - known for the impact they can have on your physical and psychological state - before the eccentric  ”Professor” Ray Lee (the composer and sound artist behind it all) demonstrates them all to intriguing effect.  So if you’re after an entertaining - albeit peculiar-  break from the norm, the Museum’s at BAC on May 25th and 26th and definitely worth the visit.

    For more info, visit www.bac.org.uk/whats-on/ethometric-museum

     

  10. Something you should see… Babel

    It’s easy to see how the biblical account of Babel can inspire writers,  with its theme of a united humanity that’s bound by a single language, vision, journey - and put in the context of a multicultural city like London, the idea of this utopia can really get you thinking. Many people from all walks of life live in the capital, but what does it take for us to be truly connected with one another? And if, so, what would that look like? This collaborative production with BAC, World Stages London, Young Vic, Wildworks, Lyric and Theatre Royal Stratford East sets out to explore this question and more, with an ambitious and incredible set-up in Caledonian Park.

    There’s a diverse cast of nearly 500 brilliant (and many non-pro) actors and they mix with the audience, whether on the ominous path into the park or within the grounds where you might spot a male Indian dancer delightfully present a folk piece or listen to a laddish security guard pay homage to his town through spoken word. All the while, there’s mysterious bell ringers dressed in Middle Eastern garb  crying “it’s time to build a new city” as the “security” storm around watchfully - but it’s not clear exactly what’s going on until midway into the show and you understand the significance of “The Tower” in bringing the people together once again. It’s just a shame that at times, the storyline is a bit confusing to follow (which could be due to sound issues or the sheer vastness of the park, as where you stand depends on what you pick you up), but for the most part, the visuals, characters and music all make quite an impact. So for an alternative theatre experience where the takeaway will have you appreciating the cultural uniqueness of London that’ll little bit more, Babel’s the ticket (just remember to dress up warm!) (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)  

    On until May 20th.  For more info, visit www.babellondon.com