Review: The Red Chair, Canada Water Culture Space

“Once upon a dark time, someplace in the glum north o’ the warld…” 

Grimmer than Grimm, brusquer than Burns, as challenging as Chaucer, there’s something quite extraordinary about Sarah Cameron’s utter possession of the language of The Red Chair, the Clod Ensemble show she has written and co-adapted. Dancing from her mouth in ribbons of musically-inflected Scots brogue, words are imbued with a near-mystic energy that flows through the room and wraps an indescribable feeling around the listeners who have gathered to hear her on this tour which stretches from Brighton to Newcastle. 

As a reviewer, I’m probably not meant to use words like ‘indescribable’ but in all honesty, there’s magic going on here that defies clear rationalisation. A seemingly everyday list of foodstuffs becomes something extraordinary, full of texture, feeling and even taste as Cameron offers such delights as “fridgecake mud cake fudge cake fishcake” with a gently insistent rhythmical pull that is probably akin to hynoptism, but also conveying a deeply held conviction that ensures we never mistake this for randomly selected wordplay.  Continue reading “Review: The Red Chair, Canada Water Culture Space”

DVD Review: Charles II The Power and the Passion

“It’s amazing what Parliament will do when they feel guilty”

Charles II: The Power and the Passion was a 2003 BBC miniseries the likes of which I doubt we’ll see again in these times of austerity as it was a sprawlingly lavish costume drama, directed by a young Joe Wright. Covering the life and reign of Charles II, it starts just before his restoration to the throne after the death of Oliver Cromwell and runs right through to his death. Thus as 27 years of history are condensed into 4 hours, liberties and dramatic license is freely taken and this isn’t really the place to be too pernickety about this kind of things.

We follow Charles from his libidinous time in exile on the continent to arriving back in London to be crowned King and to lock horns with Parliament. Charles still believed strongly in the absolute power of the monarchy but the politicians of the day were determined not to surrender any of their new-gained influence and so much struggles ensued as members of his court both grew in influence and fell from favour as everyone jockeys for power and to make sure they’re on the winning side. There is also the matter of the succession as Charles has no legitimate heir, though plenty of illegitimate offspring, and wants his brother named but he is a Catholic. Continue reading “DVD Review: Charles II The Power and the Passion”