Moonrise Kingdom – this week’s featured film

mini review

A few friends and I were talking the other day about how for our final year of university we wanted to really make the most of our student discounts and indeed our student loans, to try to soak up as much culture as we could before going out into the real world of employment, credit card bills and mortgage payments…

So yesterday, two of us went to the cinema to watch Wes Anderson’s new film, Moonrise Kingdom, a tale of two twelve year olds living on a tiny Island off the coast of New England. Set in the mid-1960s, the film tells the story of Suzy and Sam, two children who plan to escape the authorities and their parents and run away together.

This quirky, eccentric feature tackles the far from simple subject of young love and what it feels like for a child growing up and discovering that you are ‘different.’

Moonrise Kingdom works tirelessly to surprise the audience throughout. Visually it is stunning, very classic and incredibly detailed whilst at the same time not being in any way ‘shiny.’ Age, at both ends of the spectrum is embraced whole heartedly. Children play at being grow ups and grown ups act like children. So, if you want to watch something slightly bizzare but beautifully original, embrace your inner adventurer and go and see this film.


Advertisements

Teddy bears down the back of the bed

When was the last time you looked down the back of your bed? I have two teddy bears that sleep in mine with me; Mary bear, who I have had since I was born, and Steven, named after the little brother that my big brother was hoping for… sadly for him I turned out to be a girl but I think he eventually came round to the idea of having a sister. Mary has no ears, patchy paws, half a nose not a lot of fur left either. Steven is in somewhat better shape but to be honest, you can see why.

About once a month or so, I remember my second favourite bed fellow and have to go digging around down the back of my bed to find him. This is actually the second reincarnation of Steven, the first was also an adventurer and in fact got left behind in Italy when I took him travelling. I had to leave the hostel I was staying at in a bit of a hurry and he must have got tangled up in the bed sheets. I was very sad to see him go and actually moaned about it to the extent that now whenever my boyfriend and I travel together, on leaving every room we stay in he always looks at me somewhat pitifully and says “Have you checked for teddy bears?”

I’m not an obsessive lover of cuddly toys. My bed was never covered with them as a child and I wasn’t ever really a big doll fan either but I have accumulated a number of lost bears over the years. I just can’t bare (pun absolutely intended) to leave them lying there on the pavement or in the middle of an empty car park.  I’m not ashamed that I still sleep with my teddies. They’ve been with me through thick and thin and my boyfriend lives very far away at the moment so I’m more than happy to share my sheets with them. Perhaps when he’s back for good I’ll find a nice shelf for my bears to retire to but for now it’s nice to have some company. So I would encourage you to delve down behind your headboard, beneath your covers, or inbetween your pillows and see if you can’t dig out one or two of your faithful old friends, even if only to put them on the shelf… because no one likes to sleep down behind the bed.

I always love seeing people’s childhood toys. So if you, like me, have a favourite soft someone that you’ve loved almost to bits, why not post a picture below.

Stories of The City

The Speakeasy – Review

The George, Covent Garden, London

Friday night saw the third and final performance of Insignificant Theatre’s fifth reincarnation of The Speakeasy. Nine actors performed sixteen new monologues to a full house in the wonderfully cosy upstairs room at The George on The Strand. The theme of the evening was quite simply ‘The City’ which was broad enough to incorporate a whole host of characters and stories whilst at the same time giving a good reference point for the audience, as with so many short stories in one evening, it would be easy for any onlooker to feel a little overwhelmed. Far from it in the case of The Speakeasy. As each actor stepped on stage a new perspective was given and it was wonderful to see ‘the city’ through so many different eyes. Many pieces chose London as the focus with various familiar characters, such as the drunken ex-husband outside the night club trying to get back to his wife, or the man on the train insisting on telling his life story to the whole carriage, provoking much laughter and knowing nods from the audience.

The vast majority of the monologues presented original, engaging and well-rounded stories and those that fell a little short of the mark were still well received. Feedback forms for both actors and writers were offered at the beginning of the night but this very much lent an open and appreciative atmosphere to the evening as opposed to one of harsh criticism. The intimate setting also helped in this way with just a small, simple stage, only inches away from the audience and a beautifully detailed city-scape back drop which worked well as a reminder of the overall theme.

Notable performances included Camila Fiori in ‘New York City’ by Mike Carter which captured perfectly the awkward futility so often felt at funerals, and in ‘General Catering Staff’ by Michelle Calvert, presenting a refreshingly real depiction of the woman, not climbing the career ladder but standing at the bottom of it, offering drinks and refreshments to others on their way up. Lucy Grey presented real grassroots faith in the beautifully honest and heart-warming story of ‘Foie Gras To The Sound Of Trumpets’ by Sebastian Gillies (which featured an impressively epic but mouthwatering list of lunch options from The Savoy Grill). Phil Cross put forward a nice concept of a two part monologue ‘City (Heart) Break’ which was brought to a moving conclusion by Robert Lyon, and Dan March had the whole audience singing him ‘Happy Birthday’ after a performance that was both intensely annoying and breathtakingly heartfelt in Richard Cunliffe’s ‘I’m On The Train’.

The overall evening was a real joy to be a part of, putting new writing and up and coming talent at its very core. All life is here as actors get to try their hand at anything from the oddly upbeat to the mysteriously macabre and a whole lot more inbetween. Writers can see their creations brought to life on stage and audiences can actively enjoy having an opinion on what they are watching. Insignificant Theatre are currently accepting submissions for the next Speakeasy, and I would strongly encourage anyone looking for a platform for their work to get involved with this innovative and welcoming creative collective.

Insignificant Theatre are on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/insignificanttheatre and Twitter http://www.twitter.com/insignificantuk or you can find them online at http://www.insignificanttheatre.co.uk/

The start of Summer streets

One of the things I love about the arrival of Summer is all of the amazing artists that seem to suddenly appear out of nowhere to deck the streets with an ever growing selection of sights and sounds. A few weeks ago, I featured a picture of a sand sculpture that had been left in the middle of the High Street in Bath (https://wholelotalovely.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/let-sleeping-dogs-lie/). When I was walking past there yesterday the beginnings of a hedgehog were being formed by the very same artist so if you’re ever in Bath on a sunny afternoon, do look out for him.

A little further up however, an old fashioned puppet, apparently mildly abusing the general public, is what caught my attention. While I was watching he kissed a woman’s feet before shimming up her leg and onto her face, tried to reach inside a tourist’s bag and then kicked an audience member as they tried to put money into the performer’s hat. All of this was of course in jest and had drawn quite the crowd by the time I left. The few seconds of film that I took doesn’t quite do justice to this cheeky little character but if you switch it to full screen, you at least you get to see some of his moves…

Head in the clouds

Cloud Man – Review

the egg, Theatre Royal Bath

When was the last time you looked at the clouds for more than just an indication of whether or not you were going to get rained on that day? Cloud Man invites you to do just that. The fascinating sky-scape set and the mysterious, anorak-wearing woman, scribbling intently on stage as you walk into the auditorium, bids the audience’s curiosity from the off. Who is she? Why is she writing and what exactly is a Cloud Man?

Written for ages four and upwards, this charmingly elaborate tale is clearly established at the beginning with a warm and quirky introduction from the piece’s highly engaging and versatile storyteller, Cloudia (Ailie Cohen), who explains that, for her, studying Cloud Men has become a life-long search. The audience are then shown an array of Cloud Man artefacts which, although beautifully put together, perhaps border on the slightly too small; not only for the tiny tots peering over the balcony to catch a glimpse of the miniature constructions but for the host of Grandmas and Grandads trying to explain throughout, to their inquisitive little ones, just exactly what is going on. This is a minor point, however, as the intricate detail of this piece is what makes it quite so magical. The delight of the main character on finding these various items is palpably infectious, prompting gasps and giggles from children throughout. The older generation too are not neglected, with moments such as the cleverly negotiated mini storm that literally happens in a tea cup, inducing a good few knowing chuckles from the more senior members of the audience.

The twist half way through of Cloudia’s choice, adds a nice moral element to the piece and further enhances the mysterious qualities of the illusive Cloud Men. The final routine, as promised, does indeed include some ‘stunning visuals’, that leave the audience with the overwhelming feeling that they alone have been let in on some wonderful secret about what really goes on up in the clouds…

Cloud Man is touring the UK between May and August and the company have also published a book of the same title. Further details about Cloud Man can be found here at http://www.cloud-man.co.uk/index.htm.

Choral swan song…

Today’s Lovely Thing comes courtesy of some of my dear fellow PA students. We have just one more week left before we all disappear off for the Summer and today was our last ever choral singing class as it isn’t part of our timetable for our final year.

Emotions are running high, not just on Performing Arts but all across the campus at the moment, what with finals and dissertations and end of term assessments but for a beautifully heart-felt half hour today, all of that was forgotten.

Here are the final few moments…

Photos from The Sunday Sessions #1

The first ever Sunday Sessions secret gig took place in Bath last night and was, by all accounts, a great success!

An intimate, invited audience all piled into my bedroom with mugs of tea and homemade brownies and flapjacks, to watch as the very lovely Mr Bruce Galliver took to the stage to perform a selection of covers as well as some of his own, original material.

You will shortly be able to watch the official version of the gig, an acoustic six-song session, right here on Lovely Things (although the live audience were invited to stay for a few extra bonus tracks after the camera was switched off!) and there are also a few photos from the evening posted below.

If you would like to be a part of the audience for the next Sunday Sessions secret gig then please email wholeotalovelypost@gmail.com and keep an eye on Lovely Things for updates about when the next of the Sunday Sessions is going to be held.

Thank you again to Bruce and to everyone who came last night for making it such a magical evening. Looking forward to the next one!