Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Marvel Us: All The Marvel Movies. Kind Of




MARVELUS


Written & performed by The Just Us League (Gary Tro & Javier Javier)

The Waterside, Sale

Touring

Reviewed 11th May 2018


Review by Brian Gorman


'Every Marvel movie in an hour. Kind Of.' Well, if this doesn't sell, nothing will. Marvel seem to have conquered the movie world over the last decade, and with the recent release of the hugely successful 'Avengers: Infinity War' (which has smashed records all over the world, in no time at all), this is perfect timing.
This is theatre stripped to the bone; just two guys in onesies, on a tiny, empty stage (save for a hand-written A3 notepad, handily displaying each film's title in multi-coloured felt tip). A pretty mixed audience ranged from fifty-somethings to teen-agers, with a near equal mix of male and female, which is surely something every producer dreams of. Black Sabbath's classic 'Iron Man' created a suitably tense and dramatic atmosphere, as the lights dimmed, and we waited for our heroes to take the stage. To lighten things up a little, we also had the contrast of Guardians of The Galaxy's breezy, feelgood number, 'Hooked On A Feeling' to get us in the right mood. The 'Just Us League' are composed of New Zealander Javier Javier, and Bristolian Gary Tro; two stand-up comedians (and self-confessed nerds). They make a great team, and like all good double acts, present very different stage personas – Javier is dressed in blue, and is the shorter, more sardonic one. Gary, in red, is the tall, bald, and slighty goofier one. A good natured preamble had the guys bondng with their audience as fellow nerds, and explaining just how they'd decided which Marvel movies to cover, and which to ignore. Taking on the guise of a P.E. teacher, Javier divided the movies into teams A and B. Unsurprisingly (at least to us afficiandos), Team A comprised of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor:Ragnarok, etc. Whilst Team B had Elektra, Blade, and Thor: The Dark World. Special mention was given to the execrable Fantastic Four movies, who Javier neglected to include in either team.
Only 2 people in the audience hadn't seen 'Avengers: Infinity War', which resulted in a short, spoiler-free, sketch “to get it out of the way”, depicting a frustrated Hawkeye sitting at home and desperately trying to imagine his team-mates managing to save the universe without him. Then, on to the show proper, with 2008's Iron Man. I had expected a potted version of each movie, but instead we were presented with self-contained, often seemingly improvised on the spot, sketches that attempted to sum up each film's plot. This threw up some surprising choices (at least to me), focussing on many characters' often unexplored motives and emotions. Iron Man had Tony Stark's best buddy Jim Rhodes/War Machine obsessing over why his calls were not being returned, and WW2's Captain America's Steve Rogers awakening in modern day New York, with all the non PC attitudes that character would likely retain. Each sketch was played with energy and obvious enthusiasm, with many audience members reacting with undisguised delight at many subtle (and some not-so-subtle) comics in-jokes. Javier and Gary seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, bringing their heroes and villains to life, and high-fiving one front row punter who was the only one to get an obscure joke about Thor!
The God of Thunder sketch was absolutely inspired, with Asgard's favourite son played as a cocky, rich boy describing his 'gap year' on Earth (whilst slying commenting on the movie's shaky plotting). Gary's impression of Chris Hemsworth's cod Shakespearean delivery was hilarious. The popular Hulk/Loki scene in 2012's Avengers had an angry, bellowing Gary throwing around a spare blue onesie, followed by the guys arguing over the cost of this extra costume/prop only being used for one sketch. There followed a comically tearful description of the life of poverty-stricken actors on tour, having to manage with a near zero budget, and the fact that they couldn't even afford to stay over in Sale that night (and were, instead, a taxi drive away in a downbeat area of nearby Altrincham).
The flow of Marvel movies was interrupted by Gary revealing that he never really wanted to do this show, and would much rather be performing a version of Disney's Beauty and The Beast, while Javier looked on, aghast at his friend's love of such obviously unworthy material. The payoff to this sketch came right at the end of the show, when an offstage Gary, on microphone, did a simply beautiful impression of Marvel head honcho Stan Lee, enlightening Javier to the fact that Disney now owned Marvel, and he was lucky they weren't “sueing the ass off you guys!”

This was full-bloodied, breathless, and infectious stuff. Two guys, and their audience, having a simply 'Marvel Us' time!




Wednesday, May 09, 2018

In Conversation: Christopher Eccleston




In Conversation: Christopher Eccleston

Home, Manchester Sunday 6th May 2018

Review by Brian Gorman


It's Manchester; I thought it was gonna be raining!” says Christopher Eccleston, in that famous, gruff, Salfordian accent. On one of the hottest days of the year, the star of some of TV's grittiest, uncompromising, and groundbreaking drama (Cracker, Hillsborough, and Our Friends In The North among them) took a seat, and effortlessly entertained his attentive and appreciative audience. In conversation with Dr Kirsty Fairclough of The University of Salford, the 54 year old actor was in town as a guest of The Pilot Light TV Festival, and fresh from a highly-acclaimed RSC production of MacBeth currently running in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Looking every inch Shakespeare's sinewy, coiled spring of a warrior, Eccleston was a pretty fearsome presence, with that famous chiselled profile, boxer's physique, and awesome Roman nose. Admitting he had always been a bundle of restless energy, you could certainly imagine him in the great classical roles, and it was good to hear that he wants to do more live theatre, following a hugely successful career in television and film.


In conversation with Kirsty Fairclough   (photo: HOME)

Eccleston is very proud of his roots, and credited his family with providing him with a secure upbringing, and a solid set of values. Raised on a poor housing estate, the youngest of three children, he remembered the huge impact that television had on him. His parents regarded the box as an educational tool, and watched many a quality drama, and documentary. Soaps were ignored, as were the everyday lowest-common-denominator fodder. Though not particularly academic, Eccleston was always curious, and determined to question the world around him. Reflecting on his drama school years, he was obviously very concerned that he would probably have never had the opportunity of an acting career if he was starting out today. After graduating from the Central School of Speech and Drama, he initially struggled to find acting work for some years, until his big break came as Derek Bentley in the 1991 film 'Let Him Have It'. He remembered being inspired by fellow cast member Tom Bell, who was impressed at the young man's levels of concentration. Eccleston went on to star in Danny Boyle's low budget thriller 'Shallow Grave', and a regular role in TV's 'Cracker' raised his profile even further. Eccleston credits writer Jimmy McGovern for much of his success, and felt very strongly that an actor should seek to do good work, and not just go after the money. The actor was very candid about some of his more recent roles, and regretted going against his instincts to star in 'G.I. Joe' and 'Thor: The Dark World'. He jokingly blamed his agent for persuading him to do the high-paying, blockbuster films, and enjoying their percentage of his fee, while he would always know that the DVDs were out there.
Asked by an audience member about working with the notoriously volatile Nicholas Cage, Eccleston was very complimentary about his co-star of 'Gone In Sixty Seconds'. He told of one instance when Cage turned up on a hugely expensive motorbike, having bought it on the spur of the moment on his way to the set.



Signing for a young fan   (photo: Simon Ibison)

There were a number of obvious Doctor Who fans in the audience (judging from the TARDIS dresses, Tom Baker t-shirts, etc.), and he seemed happy and relaxed to talk about his time on the show (which he left, after only one series, back in 2005). Never having been a fan, he'd been intrigued to hear that the show was coming back, and was to be written by Russell T Davies, whom he admired after they'd worked together on the epic religious TV fantasy 'The Second Coming'. Trying to get a handle on the character, he'd been out running when he realised that The Doctor would be a pretty lonely character after becoming the last of his race (The Time Lords). With a huge grin on his face, Eccleston proudly stated “And, I can do lonely!”. He regretted his overall performance, though, admitting that he never felt comfortable with the comedy elements, and that he'd played the part “too broad”. No mention was made of the circumstances under which he left the show, but he did remark that he considered every actor to play The Doctor as having been stronger in their second season (apart from the great Tom Baker, who hit the ground running). He'd taken the role as he felt he needed to broaden his range, and prove that an actor should be able to play all kinds of characters. Taking his life in his hands, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, he said “We all know Doctor Who is for kids, don't we?” Following a low murmur of good-natured discontent, he pushed his luck further by saying “Come on, it is, isn't it?”

Eccleston wears his heart on his sleeve, and has often been criticised for being outspoken, prickly, and rather straight-laced. However, he was on excellent form here, and genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself. He indulged one young fan (Richard Lloyd), when demonstrating a laser engraved portrait of himself as The Doctor, by shining the light from his mobile phone through the piece, and delighting the audience when his face appeared on the white surface of his chair.


The Doctor appears!   (photo: Matthew Rimmer)




Eccleston as MacBeth    (photo: RSC)

 A discussion about his current role as MacBeth saw the actor energetically striding about the stage to describe the RSC set, and the fact that a huge clock, counting down to zero (and the end of his character's life), was visible at all times. This necessitated the actors getting their timing spot on, but Eccleston said he was never aware of the countdown during the performance, and it was up to MacDuff to kill him either slowly or quickly at the end.

This was a passionate, charismatic, yet relaxed and immensely good humoured Christopher Eccleston. A man with his feet firmly on the ground, and an undiminished energy and desire to do good work. “I don't want to do rubbish. But, sometimes, I've ended up doing rubbish when I've gone against my instincts”. He insisted that an actor should look for good writing, and that it would always show them in a good light. His nightmare, he joked, would be for him to be forced to watch a DVD double bill of 'Thor: The Dark World' and 'G.I. Joe'!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

AUNTIE & ME

Theatre review



Written by Morris Panych

Directed by Brainne Edge

The King's Arms, Salford

Reviewed 27th July


Review by Brian Gorman

Rating: 4.5 stars


The dark, claustrophobic, and (on the occasion of this summer's evening) sweltering atmosphere of the upstairs theatre, at The King's Arms in Salford, is perfect for this gloriously gothic and peculiar little piece (which runs at around 75 minutes, without an interval). Imagine, if you will, Alan Bennett and Samuel Beckett having a good old evening in, downing the grape juice, and getting off their heads on crack cocaine. Well, maybe that's pushing it, but I'd guess that 'Auntie & Me' is what they'd come up with. Especially if they'd had the cheese, too.
Kemp (Sean Mason) is a sad, pretty pathetic, and morose middle-aged sadsack, who receives a letter from an aged aunt on her last legs, and promptly heads off to see out her last days, and plan for the funeral. Except, she doesn't appear that pleased to see him, and manages to hang on, for what seems to Kemp, like an eternity. 


Here we have two actors on stage (Mason, and a suitably grumpy, and almost mute, Siobhan Edge), but 'Auntie And Me' is essentially a one man show. Sean Mason excells in the part of Kemp; a hybrid of Fawlty-era John Cleese, and Allo Allo's Gorden Kaye. He's a dishevelled, somewhat effeminate, well-educated, yet hapless fellow, scarcely able to deal with his own everyday life, nevermind having to look after a bed-ridden relative. With barely a flicker of response from Auntie, Kemp rambles on at length, and we eventually begin to sympathise with his sad, lonely existence. It soon becomes apparent, though, that Kemp needs Auntie, as much as she now depends upon him.

Photo: Shay Rowan

This is classic British tv sit-com, reminiscent of the much-loved Steptoe and Son, Rising Damp, and Porridge. Mis-matched characters, seemingly unable to barely tolerate each other, yet harnessed together by fate; with a grudging empathy and respect slowly developing. The youthful Mason has a puppyish demeanor, but expertly portrays the aging Kemp, and his world-weary outlook. The struggles with his 'black dog' of depression, and aching need for love and acceptance are conveyed beautifully. We feel for this guy, and his pain is all too obvious. Edge's granite-faced, almost comatose Auntie, is a perfect foil; her moments of stage business all the more effective following the long periods of sitting in bed, listening to her reluctant carer's woes.
Director Brainne Edge keeps a tight rein on the emotions, and allows the characters space to develop gradually. There are no frills, and they aren't needed, as this is a strongly-written piece which concentrates on character and atmosphere. The amiable, yet impotent Kemp does have his more serious moments, particularly when the inner emotions break through, and Mason explodes in terrifying fashion.
Auntie and Me has two perfectly-controlled performances, and works superbly well. Old-fashioned on the surface, but with depth, pathos, and even a little bit of Orton-esque farce. This production deserves a much wider audience.



Tags: Auntie and Me, Morris Panych, Sean Mason, Siobhan Edge, Brianne Edge, King's Arms, Salford

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

THE DEAD, LIVE

Carly Tarett & Howard Whittock


Theatre Review

Written by Daniel Thackeray
Directed by Alex Shepley

The Met, Bury

Reviewed on 13th July

Review by Brian Gorman

4 stars


Lawrence Dodds is a run-of-the mill stage medium, a mix of Peter Falk's crumpled detective Columbo, and Ken Stott's down-at-heel Inspector Rebus. Dodds seems to be a dead man walking, a guy at the fag end of his career, and lacking the starry charisma (shallow though it is) of a Derek Acorah. In a perfectly-pitched opening scene, we find Dodds downing more than his fair share of cheap whiskey, whilst schooling nervous new assistant Rachael Connor (Carly Tarett) in the dark arts of audience exploitation. We are told everything we need to know about this amoral charlatan. He's a complete fraud; and he appears to have no shame about it. Using simple word play, Trump-esque self confidence, and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) – owing a debt of gratitude to the likes of Derren Brown, Penn & Teller, et al, he elicits crucial snippets of personal information from audience members, and makes them believe he is actually channelling deceased relatives. Rachael duly plays her part, pretending to be an innocent punter, but the evening takes a very dark turn when an unexpected (and, as we discover, rather unwelcome) guest threatens to humiliate Dodds, and uncover the spiritual shennanigans. 

Lawrence Dodds  (Howard Whittock)

With only two actors on stage, this is a tight, atmospheric, and unsettling piece, which utilises the minimum of props and stage set to maximum effect. As the story takes place in a theatre (on this occasion, the lovely new 'Box' studio at The Met, in Bury), and part of the action has Dodds inter-acting with members of the (real) audience, we are sucked gently, and efectively, into the unquiet world of writer Daniel Thackeray. Chilling sound effects, effective use of complete blackouts in the confined space, and a quite terrifying, yet simple, onstage ghost effect makes for a nervy evening for those of a delicate disposition. Howard Whittock plays Dodds with the distracted air of a man barely conscious of the physical world around him. He is disturbingly placid, and distinctly unmoved by the emotional and spiritual wounds he is delicately fingering. Carly Tarett grounds the piece, with a realistic and wholly sympathetic performance as the callow young Rachael, who grows a backbone when things begin to fall apart. Anne Baron plays a third, rather chilling and unsettling, character in the play, but I won't spoil anything by saying any more!

Writer Daniel Thackeray with actor Howard Whittock


Thackeray channels the great Nigel Kneale (creator of tv's 'Quatermass', and cult classics 'The Stone Tape' and 'The Year Of The Sex Olympics') in his sparse, unshowy script. The dialogue is lean, crisp, on the nose, and sharply effective. Alex Shepley's directing avoids the pitfalls of trying too hard to scare her audience, and wisely allows the actors to inhabit their respective characters, and let the story gradually unwind to its chilling conclusion. The scares are subtle, and the atmosphere grows naturally, rather than being delivered fully-formed. This is a hugely enjoyable piece, which certainly leaves the audience hungry for more. My main quibble with the production is the short running time (just under an hour), and the fact that things end rather abruptly. However, one shouldn't really complain too much, as there are far too many shows that shamelessly outstay their welcome. Scytheplays' 'The Dead, Live' is short and sweet, but delivers a heck of a sting. 

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Faces At The Window: The Bandwiths of Balderdash



Theatre review

Written by the company

Directed by Ross Kelly

Gullivers, and various Greater Manchester venues throughout July to Nov


Review by Brian Gorman

Rating: 5 bright shining stars!


'Manchester's answer to the legendary Monty Python team' isn't too far off a legit description of this brand new comedy troupe; at least on the evidence of this (somewhat awkwardly titled) first outing, 'The Bandwiths of Balderdash'. Six local writer/actor/musicians make up The Faces At The Window (a wonderful team moniker, evoking the darkly humorous inspiration of The League Of Gentlemen). This was a superbly staged production, played in the style of a live radio show, taking full advantage of the atmospheric, and beautifully gothic environs of the upstairs of Gullivers pub on Oldham Street.

Any team needs a diversity of individuals who come together to create a formidable fighting force; think of The X-men. The Faces have their Wolverine, in the form of fruity-voiced leading man, Edward Barry. Then there's Professor X (eccentric Cleese-esque Daniel Thackeray), Phoenix (steely-eyed Victoria May), and The Beast is scary/cuddly Steve Cain. There's also musician Richard Barry (The Thing? I can't think of an appropriate X Man, but here's another Marvel super hero – big, a bit scary, but hilariously entertaining!), and director Ross Kelly (Quicksilver – you don't see him, but his fingerprints are on everything).
Any show that uses the classic theme from 70s tv series, Follyfoot, as an opener, is surely on to a winner. There's also snippets from classic radio shows, obscure sound effects, and even a funky version of the 1970s Sweeney film! But what about the meat? The sketches? Well, there was something for all tastes this evening (as long as your taste is for intelligent, surreal, often dark, and genuinely unsettling humour). A cracking spoof of those terrible 'Epic!! tv ads showcased Daniel Thackeray's range as he evolved from OTT voice-over artiste into terrifying psychotic mass murderer. The actor looks like your favourite, slightly bonkers uncle, but can turn on his inner Ronnie Kray to startling effect. Steve Cain had us in fits with every syllable he uttered, every glassy-eyed stare, and his Welsh Norman Bates desperately seeking to impress Victoria May's Janet Leigh, was a delicious highlight.
A band of inept super villains, with cringe worthy names including 'Puce Princess' (Victoria May playing her as a mix of Bonnie Langford and Miranda Hart, but with smouldering allure), were a real hoot. The team also had Richard Barry's testosterone-fuelled Russian character onboard, losing his cool when obsessing over the destruction of all tea related paraphernalia. More psychotic hilarity came from Edward Barry as a cocky, super slick salesman, demonstrating the prowess of his new electronic printer; failing spectacularly when the machine achieves consciousness, and proceeds to reduce him to a quivering wreck.
A sketch featuring a bereaved football comentator, desperately keeping his grief at bay by resorting to an endless array of warmed-up cliches was simply sublime. Daniel Thackeray was pitch perfect as the buttoned-up wretch, avoiding subcuumbing to his emotions, whilst Victoria May's gentle everywoman tried vainly to elicit a human response. The two actors were superb in this supremely affecting, unsettling, and very human interchange. This was quality stuff indeed.

Faces At The Window: The Bandwiths of Balderdash is a Lilaloka Production, with Hat Hair Productions and Scytheplays Ltd. The next performance will be at The King's Arms Theatre, Salford on Monday 17th July, followed by more dates later in the year.

A (slightly) edited version of this review was originally published at www.thereviewshub.com


Monday, June 05, 2017

THE BEGGAR'S OPERA

Macheath (Alex Mugnaioni) in action.


Review

Storyhouse, Chester

Writer: John Gay
(Adapted by Glyn Maxwell)

Composer & Musical Director: Harry Blake

Director: Alex Clifton

Until 19th August (25 performances)



5 Stars

This is a perfect opening production for Chester's new £37m multi-purpose 'Storyhouse'; a brand new cultural centre for the city, incorporating a professional theatre company, public library, and cinema, contained within an impressive 1930s Art Deco building (previously, the Odeon Cinema). Artistic director Alex Clifton is a graduate of the old Chester Gateway's Youth Theatre, and understands just how important it is to hit the ground running. A hugely appreciative, capacity audience were treated to a truly glorious confection of perfectly crafted theatre, from a 15 strong, multi-talented cast.
John Gay's 18th century 'anti-opera' has been adapted by Glyn Maxwell, and is (appropriately enough) set in Chester; providing ample opportunity to tickle the audience with a wide range of local references. The story follows the adventures of notorious bad boy Macheath (of 'Mac The Knife' fame), and his dandy highwayman antics. Wooing the ladies, staying one step ahead of the law (and the hangman's noose), and having a right gay old time of it. On a spacious thrust stage, illuminated by opulent chandeliers, and bedecked with a full size harpsichord, the multitude of larger-than-life characters whizzed on and off stage, through the auditorium, across mini connecting bridges, with some popping up in the upper circle to mingle with bemused and often delighted members of the audience – one chap seemed especially pleased to be touched up by a 'lady of the night'.



Alex Mugnaioni plays the irrepressible Macheath with just the right mix of Errol Flynn charm, and Liam Gallagher swagger, and certainly looks the part in fetish-inspired black leather, knee length boots, and metrosexual eyeliner. His regular asides to the audience, with a permanent Peter Kay twinkle in the eye, make for an almost lovable anti-hero (if one can overlook his murderous tendencies, throat-slitting, dubious personal hygiene, thieving, and general immorality, of course). Caolan McCarthy is a hoot as The Beggar, and makes a fabulous entrance, crashing through the auditorium doors to interrupt the harpsichord player on stage, whilst being castigated by flustered ushers. With his cheeky chappie manner, and lovable roguish attitude, he provides the ideal guide for the evening. Daniel Goode's Peachum oozes virtual slime, as an odious moral vacuum of a wretch, whilst Charlotte Gorton provides a perfect contrast as the vivacious, razor-tongued Mrs Peachum. As their much used and casually abused daughter, Charlotte Miranda-Smith breaks hearts as the porcelain doll-like Polly Peachum, and forms a rather touching double act with Nancy Sullivan's Lucy Lockit. Harry Blake's musical direction has cast members rocking out with electric guitars, drums, trumpets (and the harpsichord), with Jennifer Fletcher's choreography harnessing, and enhancing, the infectious energy of the ensemble cast. 



Alex Clifton directs with gusto, and an obvious love and determination to deliver the best possible package of thrills, spills, and value for money entertainment. This is the perfect start for Storyhouse, and a standing ovation from an ecstatic audience ushered in a whole new era for Chester and its theatre-loving citizens.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

CITY OF GLASS

Theatre review:

Chris New as Daniel Quinn. Photo: Jonathan Keenan


Written by Paul Auster (adapted for the stage by Duncan MacMillan)

Directed by Leo Warner

HOME, Manchester

Until 18th March 2017


Review by Brian Gorman
Additional material by SM Worsey

Rating: 5 stars


Well, this is eye-opening (and mind-expanding) stuff! Adapted (by Duncan MacMillan) from the first book of American novelist Paul Auster's 1980s trilogy, the 59 Theatre Company have a world premiere to be proud of.
This is an intense, beautiful, visually-glorious experience that kicks off with depressed thriller writer Daniel Quinn's urge to take on the persona of his private eye protagonist, resulting in a series of alternative realities spinning around each other, and creating a fascinating, horrifying, and mind-boggling web of intrigue. Setting aside his personal material reality, our hero becomes consumed in his own script, following a middle-of-the-night phone call to a seemingly wrong number, that he had subconsciously longed for. A beautiful woman needs his help when her disturbed husband is threatened by his domineering and terrifying father. But, the woman thinks she has called a private detective called 'Paul Auster', and Quinn elects to play along. Yes, folks, it's all a touch meta-textual.

Jack Tarlton as Stillman. Photo: Jonathan Keenan.

Creating his own reality, based on his literary vision, Quinn (played by two actors, Mark Edel-Hunt and Chris New) is soon embroiled in a series of nightmare, film noir inspired scenarios involving femme fatales, eccentric wealthy oddballs, and acid-tongued alter-egos. When things don't go according to script, Quinn becomes obsessed with finding the 'truth'. He clings to the memory of a kiss, like a crazed drug addict desperate for the next hit, and we have no choice but to accompany him.
Eventually coming up against a physical, mental, and emotional brick wall, with every other character either presumed dead or missing, Quinn sacrifices everything. The finale is grand, disturbing, evocative, exotic, and genuinely inspiring. The special effects are truly amazing.
59 Productions have really gone to town in delivering Auster's vision, with incredibly intricate lighting and visual effects by Matt Daw, terrifying and nightmarish sound design by Gareth Fry, and an evocative score from Nick Powell. A small cast of six have plenty to do, especially Edel-Hunt and New, who allow the energetic Quinn to be in several places at the same time. New also doubles as 'Paul Auster', when all apparent logic goes out the window and we have a writer pretending to be his own P.I. Protagonist meeting another writer with the same name as the real-life novelist, but has seemingly been mistaken for another fictional private eye (who is a real life private eye in the context of the play we are watching). Confused? You will be, but you won't mind.
Jack Tarlton is mesmerising as the ghostly Peter Stillman, the son who has been experimented on for years by his deranged father. Evoking Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty from Blade Runner, he moves like a stop motion mannequin, and speaks like a man possessed by competing demons. Tarlton also plays the elder Stillman as a soft-spoken psychopath, clearly distinguishing him from his wretched son. Vivienne Acheampong is suitably sultry and enigmatic as Mrs Stillman, and equally effective as contrasting supporting characters. 
 
Vivienne Acheampong in 'City of Glass'. Photo: Jonathan Keenan.

In City Of Glass, there is no objective reality. There are reflections, there are ghosts, there are visions, dreams, and promises. As 1980s chart-toppers T'Pau once said “Don't push too hard; your dreams are china in your hand”, and it's pretty dangerous to push hard against glass. The late philosopher and science-fiction writer, Robert Anton Wilson created the term 'reality tunnels'. He once opined “I don't know what anything 'is'. I only know how it seems to me at this moment”. We all write our own script. It is only by abandoning the script, that we can truly be gods. We have to abandon the ego.

Illustration by BG.


Tags: City Of Glass, HOME, Manchester, Paul Auster, 59 Productions, Duncan MacMillan, Leo Warner, Nick Powell, Mark Edel-Hunt, Chris New, Jack Tarlton, Vivienne Acheampong

Originally published at www.thereviewshub.com