Sean Hughes – Mumbo Jumbo

Sean_Hughes_foto_London-Calling-part-2-715x834Bridport Arts Centre
Thursday 10 September 2015
BR Rating ***

By Caitlin Appleton-Scott

A 49-year-old Irishman with a mind led to mischief by mumbo jumbo, a faltering libido and a talent for lip-syncing to Morrissey.

For a teenager, it was all too easy to feel left out by the middle-aged in-jokes, such as having a 10- minute after-dribble of urine whenever you’ve been to the toilet.

But by the second half, once most of the audience had spent a penny and begun to season their underwear, and expectations of back-spasming laughter had been lowered, it was a pleasure to simply enjoy the charm of this weirdly endearing man, sharing the most intimate aspects of his life with complete strangers.

We saw various glimpses of the embarrassments and regrets which the mumbo-jumbo side of his brain has lead him to; an interpretation of what it’s like to go dancing when you’re not as young as you used to be; and heard snippets from his book, My Struggle to be Decent, which were as funny as they were despairing.

Most impressive, though, for this young reviewer, was the discovery that we were in the same room as a man who had once been serenaded at sunrise by Robert Smith.

By |September 11th, 2015|Bridport Arts Centre, Caitlin Appleton-Scott, Comedy|0 Comments

We Are Many

We are manyBridport Arts Centre 18 June 2015

BR Rating ****

By Caitlin Appleton-Scott

 

“How?”

My first utterance on leaving the Bridport Arts Centre.

We Are Many is a documentary film about the largest protest event in human history, when people from 789 cities, in 72 different countries, protested that the choice to go to war in Iraq would not be in their names.

One of the most upsetting but powerful moments was when George W Bush banters with a delighted and laughing audience, about not finding weapons of mass destruction. Throughout the clip, the film cuts to videos of the injured, the dead, and the children; some of whom are likely to be among 1.25 million who were made orphans.

At first I was in awe…refreshed…willing to have confidence in humankind’s ability to act humanely. Watching footage of the crowds, you can’t help but feel delighted; one-and-a-half million people marched in London, three million in Spain; there were protests in France, South Korea, Italy, Russia, Japan, even Antarctica; it seemed impossible that so many voices could be ignored.

So I repeat, “How?” How did they choose to go to war? And why wasn’t the entire population of Britain on the streets?

Now we hit the second stage: hopelessness, self-pity, pity for everyone (although not pity for Blair and Bush.) We call ourselves a democracy, and yet with so many people protesting, we still went to war in Iraq.

Fortunately, I felt slightly more motivated by the end. Although slightly annoyed that the documentary finished with ocean-polluting, turtle-killing balloons being let go, I left feeling slightly more hopeful than devastated. For the first time in 231 years, the government chose not to pass a policy to go to war (in Syria). Maybe we are capable of learning from the past, and not prioritising monetary gains, although that seems unlikely.

As many people as possible should see this film, whatever their purpose – for self-development or for the marvellous Mark Rylance, as long as they are reminded of the fact that “ye are many – they are few”.

By |June 19th, 2015|Caitlin Appleton-Scott, Film, Review|0 Comments

La Bohème

La BohemeRoyal Opera House live screening
Bridport Arts Centre 16 June 2015
BR Rating ****

By Caitlin Appleton-Scott

I’m not sure I’ve experienced true happiness, but I perhaps come closest as part of a fully involved audience, be it at live music or a rugby match. Now that I’ve seen La Bohème, thereby losing my opera virginity, it made it all the more obvious that being one of a group, all experiencing the same emotions, is hard to trump.

What made the experience all the more emotional was that the broadcast was global. Whether you were in Stockholm, Barcelona, Zurich or Bridport, you could experience Puccini’s masterpiece, live.

The story takes place in 1830s Paris, where a quartet of Bohemians are living together in an attic: Schaunard the musician (Simone Del Savio), Colline the philosopher (Marco Vinco), Marcello the painter (Lucas Meachem), and our hero, Rodolfo the poet (Joseph Calleja). Our Bohemians banter their way through their simple life. They avoid rent by making their landlord drunk enough to confess his infidelity to his skinny headache-inducing wife, upon which they throw him out of the attic. However, their lives change with the arrival of the lonely embroiderer Mimi (Anna Netrebko), who enchants Rodolfo with her beauty and purity. She likes things with a quiet magic, which tell of love and springtime, of dreams and imaginings, things which are poetic. No wonder our poet falls under her spell.

However, the character who stole my heart was the charmingly mischievous Musetta (Jennifer Rowley). Her preoccupations are less honourable and pure, but nonetheless endearing; she adores teasing her previous lover, the secretly-smitten Marcello. Her intelligence, desire to live life as she pleases and kindness, which she demonstrates in the final act, make her profoundly authentic and empathetic.

The performances were all exceptional, and the love that the singers feel for their characters, for the authenticity of the play, and the story itself was made obvious through interviews shown during the intervals.

For me, the curtain call was as tear-inducing and smile-provoking as the play itself. To see people who have spent months dedicating themselves to their role, and watch their faces as they receive such well-deserved praise, is one of the most poignant examples of happiness I have witnessed. Rowley consolidated my love for her character, and my admiration for her as an artist, when she faced the audience for her applause. Her tears and smile were so genuine, and it provided a perfect conclusion to an already unforgettable performance.

By |June 17th, 2015|Caitlin Appleton-Scott, Music, Review|0 Comments

Stewart Lee

Stewart LeeElectric Palace 27 April 2015
BR Rating ****

By Caitlin Appleton-Scott

“No one is equipped to review me,” said Stewart Lee, when the multi-talented, floppy-haired comedian returned to the Electric Palace having deprived the poor people of Bridport of his presence for 10 whole years.

So here goes.

Having watched Lee’s Comedy Vehicle on countless occasions, with his bit on Paul Nuttall from UKIP and immigration permanently engrained in my mind, I arrived shivering with anticipation.

Those of you who haven’t already seen his series, watch it now.

Lee reminded us of the universally-accepted Samoan conventions. The classic Samoan collar compiled of guttering with potato sculptures of Deborah Winger, John Lithgow, and Jack Nicholson floating in a circulating parsley-sauce moat. Ah yes, and the quintessential Samoan trousers with their penis drawbridge, and the typical Samoan tradition of dancing around a burning puffin-filled bin, on which cumin and children’s mittens are sprinkled. Not to forget the unforgettable Samoan music, making use of an Analog Moog synthesizer, a strimmer on a Vauxhall Astra, and a pig being repetitively poked in the back of its neck with a leek.

He ridiculed the audience, comedy, and himself alike. When we weren’t doing what we were supposed to do, he’d fill in for us, spurring the laughter on, and making it obvious that we were in fact doing exactly as he anticipated. His complete control led us to a forced encore, not that anyone was complaining, which provided an on-the-nose perfect analogy for topical events.

Lee held up a mirror up to the hypocrisy of society, using tentatively chosen words which always fulfil his intentions. He’s a latter-day F. Scott Fitzgerald, only with a more magnificent mop of hair.

Although no laughter-induced tears were shed, I was in a constant state of ab-defining giggles. The audience was dazzled by his ability to get it so right. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 10 years.

By |April 29th, 2015|Caitlin Appleton-Scott, Comedy, The Electric Palace|0 Comments