Friday, November 20, 2009

Cultural highlights: Shooglenifty and The Caucasian Chalk Circle

After a ropey few weeks, and inspired by the dark delights of Doctor Who at the weekend, it's been quite a culturally active week.

Firstly we had Shooglenifty at Nottingham's Lakeside venue. After a typically hesitant audience start, the band soon persuaded the audience to dance with abandon and it was a delight to see such a mixed age audience respond so vibrantly. That Angus R Grant though is a bit of a card though: strutting and posing on the stage with his fiddle as a hirsute lothario.

Then last night I finally got to see the Shared Experience production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, currently on at Nottingham Playhouse. Neil and I had been scheduled to attend the opening night a few weeks ago, but ill health meant Neil went on his own. Determined I should see this excellent production, he booked for us to go again and this time I was well enough. I was so glad not to have missed it, as the show is a real treat: moving, funny, scathing and wonderfully staged. In particular, reviewers are fully justified in giving praise to the wonderful Matti Houghton in the central role of Grusha. But this ensemble piece should not be underestimated: everything about it - the staging, the music and all the performances - are really superb. If the first half is stark then the second is increasingly humorous, albeit in a typically scabrous Brechtian manner. And by including local people in the chorus for each different run of the play, there is a real sense of community involvement to the production.

(And a note too that it took me til the second act to process why I kept getting a fleeting recognition buzz from the woman playing the Governor's wife. Eventually I suddenly heard her voice in my head in a different context and I realised she'd played the role of Leah in Lawless Heart. She's also very good.)

If you get chance to see it in London next week (Unicorn Theatre 24-29 Nov), then do go as it is well worth seeing.

1 comment:

rashbre said...

Can't help but smile when I hear the banjo. Sounds like an enjoyable gig.

And Brecht in the same week. Excellent.