Something you should see…Funk It Up About Nothin’ @ Theatre Royal Stratford East, April 8th-May 7th
The wonderful thing about the arrival of Spring in London is the onslaught of “Shakespeare: Remixed” productions which seek to invariably present the thespian’s work in a new, creative light. So it’s always fun to see Shake’s colourful words given the hip-hop treatment, in the way The Q Brothers have done with their production, Funk It Up About Nothin’.
It arrives in the Capital for the very first time next month, having already established itself in Chicago as a solid production which celebrates the different elements of hip-hop (DJing, b-boyig, you name it), backed up by Much Ado About Nothing’s lol storyline and a great soundtrack as the proverbial icing on the cake. I’m also hearing whispers that there’s audience participation too (hip-hop hooraaaaay! Hooooo!), which makes me think this is one show that fans of hip-hop, theatre and good ol’ Willie S probably wouldn’t wanna miss. (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)
For more info, visit the Theatre Royale Stratford East site.
9:58 am • 25 March 2011 • 1 note
Something you should see…Passenger Side
There’s supposedly more depth to this film’s plot if former reviews are to believed, but it basically follows estranged brothers Michael (Adam Scott) and Tobey (Joel Bissonette) as they go in search for Tobey’s “only reason to go on living” and drug addict ex-girlfriend. It’s a slow one, but along with its realistic aesthetic and killer indie rock soundtrack to boot (Leonard Cohen, Silverjews to drop a few names) the film brings some hilarious moments.
Michael’s exchange with a prostitute as she wanks off in the seat next to him then demands some cash to pay her bills definitely springs to mind. The kooky drunk girl they pick up in the middle of nowhere and almost dump back in the middle of nowhere also springs to mind.
You’ll probably try to find some meaning in the film… but unfortunately, when you take out the interactions with random strangers along the way, all you really have is irritating and obviously scripted dialogue between the brothers that seems to exist just to pass time.
Matthew Bissonette’s third film is visually quite the masterpiece but when you get down to the nitty gritty; i.e. the plot, the resolve; there doesn’t seem to be much of either. I’m still laughing about the hooker and the drunk girl though. (Words: Syriah Bailey)
Out in cinemas April 1st.
10:00 am • 24 March 2011 • 1 note
Something you should see…Ballast
Written and directed by Lance Hammer, this double-prize winner at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival tells the story of 12-year-old James (Jim Myron Ross) – a youngster who finds solace in a gang of streetwise teenagers, while forming a gradual friendship with his deceased father’s twin brother, Lawrence (Michael J. Smith, Sr). When James gets in a spot of trouble and his mother Marlee (Tara Riggs) loses her job, the depressed yet good-willed Lawrence brings the three closer together.
What’s noticeable about this movie is the striking imagery. The lonesome surroundings of the Mississippi terrain and derelict areas set the tone, demonstrating the characters’ daily struggle. Each shot speaks for itself, with short-and-sharp scenes and no music scores, almost giving a documentary-style feeling in some places. For this reason it’s clear to see why Ballast won the Excellence in Cinematography award.
Simplistic dialogue (all of which is improvised) shows a very raw and personal insight into the relationships James, Lawrence and Marlene have with one another – and it’s not as straight-forward as one would hope. Overall, The cast of non-professional actors do very well in portraying the life of emotional and desperate small town natives, and it’s a film that’ll definitely leave you self-reflecting. (Words: Aaron-Spencer Charles)
In cinemas from March 18th.
10:00 am • 17 March 2011 • 6 notes
Something you should see…SHOW, Jerwood Space (16th March – April 21st)
I saw a tweet about this new performance piece – which involves “performers” jiggling one of their legs on display for 5 minutes a time, for ever 15 minutes - and didn’t know whether to LOL or put my name down to volunteer as an excuse to work on my calves. Nevermind the fact that one of my legs might end up looking freakishly swollen, this experiment is all in the name of artistic exploration, examining how performance can connect with visual art in the context of an exhibition. Big up Jack Strange, the man behind this vision, as well as fellow artists Edwin Ashton and Bedwyr Williams who have their own curious offerings on show. For more info, visit the Jerwood Visual Arts website. (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper, Pic: Courtesy of the artist, Jack Strange)
10:00 am • 15 March 2011
Something you should see…Mogadishu @ Lyric Theatre
Battling emotions and controlling others is something that lead character Jason knows all too well in Vivienne Franzmann’s new play, Mogadishu. Winner of the Bruntwood Playwriting Competition and The George Devine Award last year, Mogadishu centres on the 15-year-old pupil - with a notoriously bad reputation - who assaults schoolteacher Ms. Philips after she intervenes in a fight he has with a high-achieving Turkish student.
Jason decides to play on his racial background, fabricating the story of the incident to Headmaster Henderson, claiming Ms. Philips assaulted him, in a racial attack. The lie told by the youngster spirals out of control, as he manipulates close friends and deceives elders, trying to gain control of the situation. Ms. Philips strongly believes in Jason’s potential, so refuses to report the incident herself as a means to save him from permanent exclusion – this causing more harm than good.
Mogadishu looks at the themes of moral judgement (amongst teens), parent-child relationships (Jason and his strict father) and influencing others, with scenes appropriately blending comical moments with serious drama. Undoubtedly, the main theme within the story is racism. There are multiple references to racial issues and use of terms, some of which can be uncomfortable and honestly, seem unnecessary at best. The excessive swearing makes for a realistic portrayal of students, but may also be unsettling for some.
However, it’s the dialogue that makes Mogadishu a winning production. Conversations between characters present the various tensions between people with different ideals, especially parents and children. The misunderstanding and lack of relationship between the generations arise throughout the play’s script. The predominantly young cast are consistent on stage and interact well with each other - and as there’s no big budget props or settings, you’re allowed to focus on the acting and overall, the quality of great play. (Words: Aaron-Spencer Charles)
Showing until April 2nd. For more info, click here.
10:00 am • 14 March 2011 • 9 notes
Something you should see…Life Goes On
Now here’s a warm, hopeful British film on multicultural society inspired by the relationships in Shakespeare’s dramatic story of King Lear and his daughters.
It looks at the old-fashioned views of Sanjay Banarjee (Girish Karnad), a successful Bengali immigrant in London and how he struggles to accept his three daughters’ modern lifestyles after his wife suddenly dies. But in flashbacks, it’s Sanjay’s wife Manju (Sharmila Tagore) who advises him to enjoy life and be accepting otherwise he’ll be left in his old world alone.
Life Goes On is about dealing with the past in order to move forward and is a testament that multicultural British society isn’t failing, it’s thriving. It’s gripping, you feel tense for them, you laugh and cry with them. As the saga unfolds you believe you’re with them as they prepare for the funeral. It pulls you in with a cast of honest characters all dealing with their loss differently.
The soundtrack compliments the film thematically throughout highs and lows and by going from classic Indian music to modern music transcending barriers and the film is successfully realistic and charming in its positive outlook. (Words: Selina Ditta)
Out in cinemas March 11th.
10:00 am • 8 March 2011
Something you should see…Michael De Feo @ Orange Dot Gallery, March 8-15th
If you’re one of those people who just has to stop in awe everytime you see some intricate graffiti, then you might be interested in an exhibition of the illustrious New York street artist Michael De Feo at the Orange Dot Gallery this week.
De Feo’s been going 18 years, and he’s left his mark – such as that iconic image of a simple flower - in many places including France, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. Banksy fans might also know him from the street artist’s film, “Exit Through The Gift Shop”, while he’s been long renowned for producing fun and colourful work which he hopes can share sense of wonder and excitement about life.
‘Coming in from the Outside’ is his first solo London show, so from the looks of his glittering CV, it’s unlikely to be his last.
You can see more of De Feo’s work at the Bloomsbury gallery - and expect a free print if you visit on Saturday, March 12th. (Words: Selina Ditta)
12:30 pm • 7 March 2011
Something you should see…Pens and Needles @ London Miles Gallery
It’s the first UK exhibition of its kind celebrating tattoo art, culture and lifestyle, and now it makes its debut in London for ONE WEEK ONLY!
Highlights of the awesome Pens and Needles include beautifully distressed pieces such as William Zdan’s “Gabby,” Kurt Wiscombe’s bold “Big Apple” and Alex Binnie’s wood cut prints, handprinted on Japanese paper. Throw Estevan Oriol’s set of photographs into the mix - which act as a window into Los Angeles’ melting pot of tattoo culture and street life - and we’re cooking.
Another noteworthy piece is Gustavo Rimada’s acrylic on canvas “Orgullo”, which illustrates the quirky nature of the sugar skull - originally an integral part of the Dia de los Muertos celebration and now an influential part of present-day paintings and tattoos.
The exhibition is rife with a range of art – some mark a moment and are reminders of something great, something once felt, something once seen, and even echo a sense of belonging. But what they all do is confirm that tattoo culture is escalating at a greater scale and represent how poles apart the people that wear them can be. (Words: Syriah Bailey)
On at London Miles until March 7th.
10:00 am • 28 February 2011 • 1 note
Something You Should See…Derren Brown: Paintings @ Rebecca Hossack Gallery, February 24th - March 12th
To many it may come as a surprise that the Mephistophelean-goateed mind trickster Derren Brown paints as a hobby - but more dedicated viewers of Channel 4’s favourite Svengali will have seen his paintings pop up occasionally on his shows. In Mind Control for instance, Derren does an astonishing trick in a gallery, asking a spectator to think of a famous actor who then changes his mind several times before he settles on and names Orson Welles. To the crowd’s delighted bamboozlement, a caricature portrait by Derren, until now covered, is revealed to be of Orson Welles.
Since then, Derren’s painting style has developed and become “more grown up” he says, less caricature and more photo-realistic. In ‘Derren Brown – Paintings’ at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, visitors are treated to much larger (some five feet high) acrylic on canvas portraits and as a result he’s able to portray much more detail to stunning effect. Portraits of his parents steal the show in the first room, his fondness for them evident; his mother’s eyes when seen close up show so much sparkle and life, and his father too has a softness to his friendly-looking face. The artist is not so kind on his own devilishly handsome looks in his self portrait - there’s thinner hair, devoid of the “twigs and poo” of TV make-up, as he wanted a more dramatic result and has certainly achieved it through expert use of colour and tone. Fantastically juxtaposing this is Patrick Hughes’s wonderfully fun ‘reverspective’ portrait of Derren, an amazing 3D illusion, the gaze of which eerily follows you. This was part of a portrait swap and Derren’s beautiful portrait of Patrick is, of course, included too.
In the second room are some of his less recent works including Clint Eastwood and ‘Grand Dame’ Dame Judi Dench which have a slightly softer approach than the newer. In his book, Derren Brown – Portraits, he says, “I dream of packing in the day job, living in a big dirty studio and painting people until I die (preferably of tuberculosis).” With these new paintings it’s easy to see why; he may be working in a different field but the result is extraordinarily magical. (Words: Sabina Lucia)
The exhibition runs at The Rebecca Hossack Gallery, from now until March 12th, free entry.
10:00 am • 25 February 2011 • 2 notes
Something you should see…Side Effects @ Trinity Laban, March 1st
It’s said that the average UK citizen takes as much as 14,000 pills in a lifetime, and Side Effects is a dance-theatre performance that explores the consequences of this modern - and perhaps disturbing - relationship with meds.
Beautifully choreographed, the show is made up of several scenarios – independent, yet interlinked; simple, yet striking. It builds up gradually, as actors move around the floor, engaging in short episodes that reflect a person’s reliance on medicine in order to cope with the likes of insomnia, depression and stress, bronchitis, angina and asthma, heartburn and diarrhea, headaches, appendicitis, amongst other ailments. Nonetheless, as the production develops, the amount of medicine the actors take increases by degrees, but no cure is found. Instead, we witness the characters trapped in a circle of addiction, side effects and despair.
Featuring a small, but multifarious cast of actors ranging in age from the early 20s to the mid 70s, the show takes a diverse look at the contemporary issue - and at the start of the show, attendees receive an individually-prescribed dose of surprise, ensuring they’ll be treated with care for the whole duration of this playful and much recommended show. (Words: Tina Remiz)
Showing at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance on March 1st. Click here for further info.
10:00 am • 23 February 2011 • 1 note