A second instalment for Tupaq Felber’s Expectation Management, seeing Jon Foster’s Owen remaining unlucky in love and dating, not least because of the efforts of his friends. It’s not quite as funny as the first but still rather good fun. Continue reading “Short Film Review #46”
“Art has to be created, no matter the cost”
What price art? How far and fearlessly should one be allowed to pursue artistic ambition? The arguments may recall the more recent debates to try and protect the arts in the never-ending rounds of funding cuts in the name of austerity but they also form the basis of Neil LaBute’s 2001 play The Shape of Things, first seen at the Almeida before making it to Hollywood and revived here by Samuel Miller in the gloom of the Arcola’s basement Studio 2.
It’s a play to see unspoiled if you can, the plot hinging excellently on its grand reveal. Suffice to say that there’s more than meets the eye to this tale of Adam and Eve – this Adam is a scruffily nerdish art gallery, this Eve(lyn) is a modish art student who picks him up in the middle of a protest against a sculpture he’s meant to be watching, and their Garden of Eden the relationship that thus blossoms and sees him transform almost beyond recognition. Continue reading “Review: The Shape of Things, Arcola”
“A lot of folks say they like what I did but they don’t like the way I did it”
There’s much to admire about the Old Vic’s lavish production of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth, but ultimately I found little to really love as its three hours meander their way through its uneventful beginnings to a far-from-revelatory conclusion. Its big selling point is the return of Kim Cattrall to our stage, playing fading Hollywood star Alexandra Del Lago who is in hiding in a Florida hotel after a disastrous movie premiere which was designed to be a grand comeback. Helping her over her trauma is a handsome gigolo named Chance who fancies himself as an actor but finding himself in his hometown, has to deal with the demons of his past.
The play feels scuppered from the start by the lengthy two-hander which dominates the opening. Cattrall is excellent, if a little too luminous to really convince as a past-it star, as Del Lago rails against the movie system that has made her who she is and can yet still spit her out at the merest hint of failure. The problem lies with the character of Chance, Williams’ predilection for martyrish tendencies not backed up with anywhere near enough depth of character to make us care for someone intended to be a tragic hero. Seth Numrich does well in layering in as much nuance as he can but never really convinces as far as the chemistry between the pair goes, a near-fatal mis-step for me and one from which the play never recovered.