Thursday, 24 February 2011

King Lear, Clint Eastwood And Waugh Stories

I stayed in writing camp until Wednesday. It was a wrench to come home in one respect but it's great to be back home in the bosom of the old family etc. Were it not for the small matter of her job I would gladly whisk Sharon off her feet and take us both back to Anglesey. It's probably the land-locked Brummie in me but there is something invigorating about sitting to work with the sea in view. Much less distracting than the sports channels as well.

King Lear on Tuesday night was really rather wonderful in most respects. The very fact of a substantial piece of that London culture coming to Llandudno was a nice start. I got there good and early - free parking on the Promenade within yards of the theatre. You couldn't come close to matching that in Brum much less in that London. I got a comfy seat in the bar and had a passable glass of pinot grigio while pretending to read but really doing some people watching. Judging by the accents the audience was as much English as Welsh, either second homers or Chester was empty for the night. Venue Cymru is a nice modern auditorium built on an old model but with good sight lines. I was in a good position to judge this because I was on the extreme right of the front row stalls. I even had a small view of the wings which could I suppose be off-putting, but which rather intrigued me. The actors were all total pros and kept in character until out of even my sight. Nor was I ever aware of anyone loitering for an entrance. The London cast is still in place (heading to New York after a short UK tour) and there was no sense of anyone being on holiday.

Derk Jacobi was immense but the two performances that caught my eye were Kent and Goneril. Michael Hadley as Kent did the best stage Midlands accent I can remember for the passages when Kent goes in disguise and he was competently subservient to the principal. Gine McKee was physically brilliant as Goneril even if she was suffering with a sore throat. She made her first entrance diagonally opposite me and my immediate thought was, bloody hell I hope she's not staring at me. Chilling and alluring both at once.

One minor gripe, I know the play had been cut to accomodate a cast of sixteen but the reappearance of France as a menial can be a tad confusing. Major plus, the best value programme in the history of theatricals. One hundred and forty-two pages with not an advert in sight and incorporating a full performance text. £4!  

Delayed only by my own confused detour down the alleyways of Llandudno I got bact to Anglesey and opened another bottle of Good Ordinary Claret and decided to continue the culture fest. Eastwood's companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima. This is the better of the two films and taken together they make a moving account of a desperate conflict. The two films cleverly interlink without the undestanding of one being in any way dependent on the other.

I continued my inefficient dramatising of Vile Bodies but details of those travails belong on the other blog.

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