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tamaranth ([personal profile] tamaranth) wrote2017-06-11 12:31 pm

Monthly culture: May 2017

06MAY17: Their Finest, Greenwich Picturehouse
WW2 comedy/drama/romance set in propaganda film industry.
I laughed; I cried; I goggled at 'Southend', which seemed to have contour lines and stone cottages. I initially also goggled at the figure of 30 million cinema visits a week during WW2: but yes, apparently so.
Remarkably enjoyable: both Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy are great. Also, there is a canon lesbian. Especially impressed that the film doesn't romanticise the Blitz, or paste happy endings over everything. I have bought the book.

18MAY17: Tchaikovsky, excerpts from Swan Lake; Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto #2; Shosyakovich, Symphony #6, Cadogan Hall. Moscow Philharmonic cond. Yuri Simonov; Freddy Klempf, piano
The Moscow Philharmonic displayed fearsome restraint (esp. during the Tchaikovsky), and played in perfect unison -- the first violins sounded like a single instrument. Simonov managed to look majestic even during the Little Swans. Piano Concerto #2 sublime as ever, and Klempf is a joy.
But I should have left at the interval, as (a) I don't like Shostakovich much -- though I admit the massed cellos were impressive -- and (b) Simonov gave us (with great enjoyment) not one encore, not two, not three ... actually we left during the fourth encore, which was Tchaikovsky: the rest had been Shostakovich, and one rather bland Rachmaninoff Prelude.

19MAY17: Here She Comes, By Jove, Gallery on the Corner
A feminist take on Bacchae in the form of an epic poem, written and performed by SJ Brady: it gives a voice to Pentheus' wife Agave, who has got drunk and done terrible things and is now reclaiming her self and her sanity, somewhere by the sea.
She goes into the woods, seeking solitude. Pentheus went into the woods, 'assuming he'll survive'.
Brady has real presence, and her monologue's accompanied by ethereal guitar (Vivienne Youel). The Gallery on the Corner -- which is not on a corner, in this incarnation: like Theatre N16 just up the road, it's changed location but kept its name -- is a small space and was transformed to 'the forest floor' with earth, tree trunks and branches. Also a mantelpiece with books (including Plath's Ariel; Lord of the Flies; Bring up the Bodies; East of Eden) : I enquired if they were chosen specifically, and yes, they had.
The party poppers after 'io Dionysus!' (we raised our teacups of wine) were an excellent touch.
"she's left alone with her freedom
and blood on her hands"

20MAY17: Snatched, Greenwich Picturehouse
"Putting the 'fun' back into 'non-refundable'." Oh, if only ... Could have been so much better than it was. Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn play daughter and mother who are abducted during a holiday in South America. This film is based on the premises that murder is funny, especially if accidental; men are untrustworthy; agoraphobia is hilarious; accidental nudity / exposure is hysterical; clumsiness ...
You get the picture. Everyone is mocked. There are no likeable or sympathetic characters here, with the possible exception of the villain -- ably played by Oscar Janaeda, who I admired very much in The Losers.

23MAY17: Full Circle, Theatre N16
Clytemnestra, Queen of the Damned, is in hell: so are Phaedra, Medea and Helen. The latter should be (but is not) the most interesting character, as there are multiple versions of her in classical drama.
There are no men here, but all the women were brought low by their male lovers. And all resist the label of 'monster', except Clytemnestra. And all are embittered: Clytemnestra cries 'the play is still called Agamemnon!' Phaedra grumbles about being cursed, and says 'Hippolytus wasn't as beautiful as Euripides told'. Medea -- who is treated as a barbarian by the others -- argues that 'women are acquitted for crimes like this now'. And Helen, who gets to go out into the world and return screaming (at the beginning and at the end of the play) ... Helen is depicted as not that bright,
Less than the sum of its parts, but there were some interesting observations.

28MAY17: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge, Odeon, Greenwich
Not nearly as bad as feared: quite a bit better than the previous two films. Jack Sparrow is consciously played as a caricature, past his sell-by date (though there is a marvellous flashback to a youthful Jack: more of that sort of thing, please). There is a determined young woman, a hapless young fellow, some floaty hair (Salazar), the death of a recurring character :( :( :( and jumping zombie sharks. I repeat,JUMPING. ZOMBIE. SHARKS.

28MAY17: Iron Maiden / Shinedown, O2, Greenwich
I'm glad we made it in time for Shinedown. they were very good, and really engaged the crowd -- not bad for a support band. Iron Maiden good too, though they did not do my favourites: excellent stage effects. In related news I am happy to report that the O2 provides free earplugs, and they are a massive help. Without them, both Shinedown and Maiden were simply too loud for me to hear.
I had not realised, back in the 80s / 90s, just how racist some of Maiden's stuff was. And now I do. Is it just the staging, or are the lyrics equally problematic?

31MAY17: KISS, O2, Greenwich
More fun than Iron Maiden :) (possibly due to fewer songs in minor keys?) and don't take themselves at all seriously. Also, inoffensive. And very accessible for those who aren't familiar with the band's extensive back catalogue. Like me.
dalmeny: (Default)

[personal profile] dalmeny 2017-06-12 07:27 am (UTC)(link)
I regret not seeing Their Finest then. The trailer I saw did not convey much of what you report.