Sunday, 29 April 2012

Review: Film

Albert Nobbs dir Rodrigo Garcia, Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Brendan Gleeson, Pauline Collins

Slow-burn……In years to come, Albert Nobbs will be judged a little masterpiece. Now it is too close (no pun intended). Close’s beloved project, fifteen years in the making, has given us a great cinema moment: two women, dressed as women who’ve spent their lives living as men, walking free for the first time along the strand, yet with all the awkwardness of the unfamiliar as they trip and clod-heel in dresses…..Marvellous……Allbert Nobbs has worked his way as a waiter in a shabby-genteel Dublin hotel, Morrisons, in the late 19th century. He carries with him a picture of his mother, an account book, and hides under the floorboards his accumulating savings; yet he is really a she. When Mr Herbert Page, painter and decorator, comes to work at the hotel and is billeted with Nobbs, Page is revealed as a woman also. Yet a typhoid epidemic strikes the city and threatens to unravel both their lives….There are touching and poignant scenes between the two, and devoid of any sexual overtones these are all the more moving for the characters’ individual, yet shared experience….The film, taken from George Moore’s novella, shows an intriguing array of Dublin-rich characters both upstairs and downstairs – the wastrel doctor, Brendan Gleeson, and the lady concierge, Pauline Collins - a precursor to James Joyce. Yet it is the two central performances by Close and McTeer which are memorable…..….. 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Review: Film

Salmon Fishing in Yemen dir Lasse Hallstrom, Sceenplay Simon Beaufoy with Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked and Kristin Scott Thomas

Fun. A fisheries' expert is brought in to realise a Sheik’s vision to bring fly-fishing to the Yemini dessert. Plenty of fun, fish and faith…described as a Bill Nighy comedy without BN – filming commitments in India - its whimsy is beguiling. Good pace…Stunning Scottish backdrops contrast to the exotic Middle East. Characters lose everything and gain much as they dare to swim against the tide…..Performances are finely balanced, though Kirstin Scott Thomas steals it in presence and hutzpah, as press secretary to No 10 in search of a good British/Arab news story. Yet Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt work comfortably within the film's style, while Amr Waked brings a finely tuned dignity and wisdom.....  A restorative experience, more than a diversion, despite the mawkish love plots with direction and edits reminiscent of Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther series - with split screens, the interplay between emails/widgets and the throwaway line……..Stylish

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Review: Theatre

Spamalot, Bonnie Langford, Todd Carty, Steven Pacey, Eric Idle, dir Christopher Luscombe, Richmond Theatre

Spam, spam, spam, spam….Yet the real deal…The Python's music and best-loved sketches are there: the black death, the Knights of Ni, brave Sir Robin, Sir Belvedere as Arthur and the boys go in search of the holy grail, led by the Lady-Diva of the lake. Bonnie Langford as the watery goil is fabulous. She is the all-singing, all-dancing original and has ‘special’ written through her like Brighton Rock…….The production is silly, fun and very, very British with a penchant for dressing up. Even God as Eric Idle makes an appearance via a touch screen! Such is the Python's following……….There are ridiculous songs - the fish-slapping, Finnish song; and outrageous, glorious dance numbers, with singing nuns and bible-head-hitting monks. The whole thing is a hoot. And its audience: a respectable mix of old, new and very new…..Spamalot goes as billed: ‘lovingly ripped off’….from the grail, Brian but you might want to add panto, end-of-pier and sea-side postcards as well...So for those looking for a bit of nostalgia or cult enjoyment, it works. It's a balance that Chrisopher Luscombe understands.…..There’s even a nod to Morecombe and Wise….oh, and that song: something about bright, look, right, side, life....