Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Vertical Hour subverted

"We'll pay you to be quiet" said an employee of the Royal Court last night upon witnessing my depression drinking in the theatre bar after last night's performance of David Hare's 'The Vertical Hour'. But like a barracuda is to shiny objects a blogger is to threats of silence. So forgive me a few (pre press night) words on the 'The Vertical Hour': the most pretentious play to come out of the Royal Court since the last play they defecated in the name of upholding middle-class values. And I haven't even got to what I really think.

The main plotline is a posing of the personal versus the political, of how you relate your private life to what is going on around you. (Yawn, gaze at navel). The basic plot is of an American war reporter turned academic who travels to Wales with her boyfriend to visit his father. She doesn’t love Bush but supported the war, the father despises Bush and opposed it; she gets louder, he gets the good lines. You expect this tête-à-tête from Hare, who likes to keep abreast of the news and isn’t exactly shy about his lefty politics. But the casting is rubbish and the chemistry is missing. In fact, the leading woman (pictured here) is so ineffectual it’s hard to know what Hare or the director really think of the character or how she’s supposed to relate to the other people onstage.

Hare defines the 'vertical hour' as "the moment at which you are able to recognise the truth about yourself." It's just a shame the play never enjoys one of its own. Notwithstanding, my vertical hour came in the bar afterwards when I realised how pretentious and decadent theatre makes me feel uncomfortable and phoney. As if I was posing to enjoy theatre because I thought it was the right thing to do and not because I really loved it. So that's it for me and the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. But I still enjoy the honest, authentic new writing put on Upstairs.

I wonder if Dominic Cooke sees the irony in the Royal Court's subversion of the Upstairs/Downstairs motif?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Positive thinking

Here is a hilarious clip to cheer us up on Blue turned Black Monday, or at least give us a better reason to be in tears. If we had any left. I don't know about you, but I am keeping hope alive today. For the first time in seven years when looking at the light at the end of the tunnel, I don't see a train.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Big girls don't cry

I don't know about you but I have spent a better part of this week watching the U.S. election results and drinking: the latter mainly to deal with the former. Following campaign coverage can be trying. Especially when the talking heads seem hell-bent on relying on racist and sexist sound-bites in lieu of substantive commentary.

Even The New York Times, the so-called 'newspaper of record' has jumped on the bandwagon with a headline which apparently thinks women are just "perceiving" sexism. No, you media muppets, we're seeing it. Everywhere.

But enough feministing for today. To get us through such hard times, I can't resist sharing an email exchange I had earlier today:

Sarah, friend from NYC: Since I signed up on the Obama site I've received 2 emails from him. The first was titled 'We knew it would be hard' and the second was titled 'Something Big.' I am hesitant to open these at work.

Me: I'm so posting that.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's been a while. I apologise and wish I had a good excuse. It's not because I have been somewhere exotic - I haven't left Central London (unless a walk through Rotherhithe counts) in weeks. I have avoided the sales unless a £3 CD spree in Fopp on Boxing Day qualifies. Okay, so I did contract that bugger of a bug that spread across town faster than Russell Brand's STDs. Bet I am now free from the Lemsip/Benylin chains. See you here tomorrow. Normal service to resume.