Sunday, 12 July 2015

85. Attend a Secret Cinema

I did it, I finally did it!

I think I can comfortably say now after a lifetime of being obsessed with film (through from my early disney years, to my sixth form foreign film dabbling and finally my current addiction to the cinema and film news) that I am most certainly a fan of film.
And so like any film fan I've finally completed my pilgrimage to the biggest film experience this country has to offer; secret cinema.

I was dubious I have to admit. Secret cinema is notorious for it's strict no camera policy, and consequently any photo that does emerge is generally a cheeky selfie in a blurry corner, a glimpse of a poorly lit piece of staging or an overly laboured snapshot of the night's momentos - a la Wes Anderson. So I was convinced I was actually about to enter another superficial failing of our post-facebook world. As it turns out it's a poor picture of what's to come.

photo via
Given the fact that the company does go to great lengths to immerse their modern viewers (by taking away their shiny 3G counterparts), I did suspect that perhaps it really did have to be witnessed to be enjoyed and understood. Now having done it myself I can only confirm that like Kanye at Glastonbury or the olympic opening ceremony, secret cinema can never be understood without the firsthand experience of being plummeted (slightly unprepared) into a whole new world of characters, 'stages' and events which take place in the most unlikeliest of places.

The effect is almost like going on holiday to another country. With all the preparation before hand (getting the costumes for your character, building up a story) and interacting with people in this fantasy. And even more brilliantly the commitment evident from the actors, vendors etc. who have truly given their complete all, is commendable, and wonderfully at odds with the apathy of today. Film like star wars mean that the excitement and commitment to the fantasy is probably even more heightened, as it was with the families and young fans around us, but it was great to see the staff still not break character after what's probably days of performances.

I could keep going on and on about the experience (and I might in another post), but I think that's it for now.

Final thing though; Hans Solo is a babe.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Complete! Two resolutions down (see 3 plays and see 4 shows at the west end). I went to see the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time last month.

I agreed to see the play based on two things. The first being that I remembered I loved the book, although I couldn't actually remember why. The second, that the stage looked very similar to the Nether (my favourite play). Turns out the play's just as loveable and the stage is just as magical, although I don't think anything will ever live up fully to the Nether' set design.

Via the wonderful set design

#56 See four shows at the west end; The Nether

A few moths ago I went to see the Nether with a friend.

It turns out writing about something you love is incredibly hard, however, simply put, the Nether is everything I will ever want from a play.

The story itself is incredibly dark, and by now if you've heard of the play you'll probably know why. With such a dark subject matter form the off start (it involves children), I felt completely unsettled and incredibly close to standing up and leaving. The whole subject unnerved me to the core, but perhaps because of that the whole story becomes so pertinent and I really cared for it in every single moment of the play.

The real star though is the production, which follows the example of the engrossing and inventive storyline, and combines traditional staging with futuristic digital projections which merge seamlessly with the crisp staging of dollhouse Americana, poplar trees and the most brilliant use of mirrored walls. The whole effect is otherworldly and a perfect example of when out digital minds entrenched in our cinematic references and cues, actually manage to mould all of this into something new and spectacular.

I enjoyed the speculative nature of the play and I really hope to see something else by the playwright. It really was the best play I've ever seen.

photos via

photo via http://elliottfranks

Monday, 9 March 2015

#Watch 4 Films From Obscure Countries

Well number 1 in my slightly racist resolution will have to be Chico and Rita, which I thoroughly enjoyed last week. (I apologise for the strange resolution title. I think what I meant is from a country non-typical to me. And in this case, that would be Cuba).

I've started reading a lot of comics lately, so the sexy side to cartoons was no new feat, although watching it on a train is probably not a good idea. Or maybe even never. But yes, the nudity and sex is definfelty something to be aware of - no grandparents or children.

Overall though this is a beautiful film, both in story and art, whose sweetness will melt any cold English heart.

Friday, 9 January 2015

#56 Watch 4 West End Shows

"I'm through accepting limits

'Cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!"

Wicked; a musical for musical performers.

I'd heard so much about Wicked beforehand, being an old fan of Glee, and well a human being in the western world, and so I was incredibly happy when my sister presented me with a free ticket. 'Great!', It though 'I finally get to see what all the fuss is about'.

Wicked is a good musical. The music ticks all the boxes Disney has instilled within me when judging any musical drama, and the visuals were rich in tricks and skill. However, there was something particularly "industrial" about it's near perfection, which really undermines any opportunity for real heart, intrigue or even beauty. It is in this meticulous approach to creating a musical however, which lends itself so well to musical performers, and perhaps explains why I associate it so much with young aspiring Idina Mensels. The voices on stage were great, and only show what a good composition can do for a great singers voice, but I'm sorry to say it is only these technicalities which make it good, but not great.

All of that said, as much as I pretend, the story did draw me in with it's; talking animals, a dystopian regime, and an ugly duckling love story, all elements which spoke to my inner nerd, even if they weren't really properly explored.

A very flat production. Photo via wikipedia

Sunday, 30 November 2014

To Make

tomato an aubergine curry in a rustic bowl

Recipe taken from the guardian

Serves 2
onions 2 medium
oil 3 tbsp
coriander 1 tsp, ground
cinnamon 2 tsp, ground
black mustard seeds 2 tsp
turmeric 2 tsp, ground
tomatoes 4, medium to large
ginger 65g
garlic 4 cloves
aubergine 1 large or 2 smaller ones
coriander a handful of leaves
pomegranate seeds of a small one
Peel the onions, roughly chop them, then leave to cook in the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan over a moderate heat. Stir them regularly so they don’t burn, letting them soften and turn pale gold in colour. Add the ground coriander, cinnamon, mustard seeds and turmeric, stir, and then continue cooking.
Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, chopped but unpeeled, into a blender or food processor with the ginger and the peeled cloves of garlic. Process to a thick purée then pour into the onions, stir and continue to simmer gently.
Slice the aubergine in half lengthways, then in half again and then into short lengths. Warm a griddle pan and let the aubergine pieces cook until they are soft and lightly charred in neat lines on all sides. Gently fold the aubergines into the tomato and onion and continue to cook for a few minutes, correcting the seasoning with salt.
Spoon into bowls or on to plates and serve with coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

#56 See 4 Shows at the West End

Number 2; Made in Dagenham. 

I really hadn't expected much. I really hadn't expected anything to be honest other than Gemma Arterton singing trills about feminism (It is so much more than that). So I was really happy when instead I found myself in a very British musical which made me laugh audibly (yep I'm one of those) and had me tapping my foot away at the motown inspired tunes, not to mention gazing admiringly at the incredibly intelligent set design.

A musical to like, maybe love, but probably not see or listen to any time soon again.