Film Review: On Chesil Beach (2017)

On Chesil Beach proves a most painful watch indeed

“Minor seventh might be better”

Dominic Cooke’s theatrical résumé includes such triumphs as Follies and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom so a measure of anticipation about his feature film debut was surely not unexpected. But I should have remembered he was also responsible for the challenges of The Low Road and In The Republic of Happiness and for me, it was to this end of the scale that On Chesil Beach tips.

An adaptation of Ian McEwan’s 2007 novella by the man himself, we’re in the world of classic 1960s English sexual repression. New graduates Edward and Florence come together in a theoretically perfect courtship but when they come together disastrously in marriage, their sexual inexperience on their Dorset honeymoon proves utterly and completely life-changing. Continue reading “Film Review: On Chesil Beach (2017)”

Review: Much Ado About Nothing, Gray’s Inn Hall

Antic Disposition move Much Ado About Nothing to 1940s France with much success, and play it in the austere surroundings of Gray’s Inn Hall

“There was a star danced, and under that was I born”

Bienvenue à la Place de Messina pour Beaucoup de bruit pour rien. For Antic Disposition’s take on Much Ado About Nothing relocates Shakespeare’s evergreen comedy in the summer of 1945 in a village in rural France. War is over, the checked tablecloths are out, the vin rosé (or Orangina si tu veux) is flowing and with an Anglo-French company, a hugely characterful take on the play emerges.

Drawing on the influence of Jacques Tati to deliver a unique blend of physical comedy and neatly observed verse-reading, co-directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero transport the play effortlessly into this new milieu. Louis Bernard’s Dogberry is a complete revelation in this respect, a constant presence since he’s the manager of the village bar and to be honest, I could watch a whole play of him just bumbling about with his comic shenanigans.  Continue reading “Review: Much Ado About Nothing, Gray’s Inn Hall”