Monday, May 23, 2005

Harold Budd, Brighton Dome, 21 May

What a gong show!
Thank goodness for nice ice cream.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Chungking, Spiegeltent, 19 May 2005

Firle beacon


Edward Street electricians

Jubilee Library

Trio Talisman, Komedia Tues 17 May

These three very accomplished musicians from Russia and the Ukraine played a hybrid of flamenco, tango and gypsy music. Guitarist and singer Vadim Kulitski led the group and with a cheeky grin told the audience the stories behind the songs. There was one about a man who sold his horse to make money for his wedding ("Don't sell your best friend even if you're gonna marry"). Olekxander Klimas, a virtuosic violinist played a range of instruments, and Oleg Nehls played superb accordion.

The three drew upon a very wide range of styles. Most of the pieces were composed and arranged by themselves, with a few traditional pieces. Breaking the mould of what might be expected from a traditional gypsy band, the band were sometimes reminiscent of the queasy French fairground style of Yann Tiersen (composer of the soundtrack to Amelie), and sometimes drew upon eastern influences and traditional Indian music (ragas and talking drums).

Their vocal harmonies were close-knit, strong and loud but also with some sweet moments. The pace was sometimes mournful and sweet, and at other times frenzied and chaotic.

However, after a while there was something rather over-the-top and cabaret style about the group, as they bordered on novelty. Their charm began to wear off somewhat towards the end of the first half, and by the time they returned after the interval it was hard to maintain interest, particularly as the Komedia had set up the space
cabaret style with no dance floor. This was definitely a dancing gig rather than a sit down affair, and the sedentary audience was incongruent with the energetic, percussive, frenzied playing of the three musicians.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mini Rally, Madeira Drive

Embassy Court

Thursday, May 12, 2005


white trainers?

Illuminating spheres

DP told me he used to work with a man who played golf at 5am every morning before work. During the winter he enjoyed playing with his luminous balls.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Changed Priorities, 3hird Wheel Theatre Company,
Platform One, 11 May

Three actors play more than ten characters in an absurd drama through a mixture of fast-paced physical comedy, caricature and musical.

The inhabitants of the small quiet town of ‘Noware’ include a grumpy war veteran, two irate farmers, a landlord-cum-policeman and reverend, gossipy housewives, three kids Beth, Steff and Jeff, a village idiot, and a vain but dim ‘Mayor Har’ and his advisor ‘Mr Who’. When Attacus Hooft, a town planner with visions of grandeur arrives with his pretty daughter Anna, he convinces Mayor Har that Noware needs speed bumps, one-way systems and speed limits to make everyone speak slowly to avoid confusion. Hooft soon realises that you just can’t control human beings as his plans comically come unstuck.

Platform One is an intimate venue and well suited to this production. It was a pity that so few people turned up to the opening night as the actors put so much energy into the performance. The simple stage design was effective in helping the audience use their imaginations; orange poles and red wooden circles became road signs, roundabouts, tables, wheelchairs and bars. Each actor wore simple white shirts with khaki green trousers. The simple prop of a bright green scarf was used to differentiate the characters depending on how it was worn; as headscarf, bar towel, scarf, skirt and handkerchief, or even vomit. The way in which the actors wove themselves around each other and swapped characters, re-wrapping scarves and swooping around the stage was perfectly seamless and convincing: just like a three-man comic dance.

The musical highlight of the show was a rendition of ‘My favourite things’ from The Sound of Music: lines relating to town planning were cleverly matched to the original song. For example, “pelican, puffin and zebra crossings/L-plates to tell us that drivers are learning/these are a few of my favourite things.”

Changed Priorities is worth seeing but a little pricey at £8. However it’s cleverly choreographed and acted, and though a little too long, certainly holds the attention and is original and funny.

Changed Priorities is at Platform One, Polar Central Bar, Queens Road until 15 May.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Easter corner

Wainwright Leg: Martha Wainwright, Komedia, Tues 3 May

You may recall I spoke of my Dufus-leg experience in March at the Islington Academy. Well, Doof's sister Martha was just as difficult on the calf muscles, if not worse. I like the way she sings with total abandon, and there are times when I felt genuinely moved, but she writes songs that suddenly end just as they are about to go somewhere. Yes, you're quite right in thinking it's just like those teenage angsty songs you write when you're like, in your teens! PP expresses it well when he describes the geeky heckle of 'modulate!' as being somewhat appropriate in these circumstances. We left early, in hobbling haste, to the continuing sounds of Martha-blandness.

Another blurry Wainwright photo

Burton Bradstock

Between Burton Bradstock and Loders