Theatre2015

Our review of

Theatre in Leicester

for the year 2015

We look back over the articles published in Arts in Leicester magazine and add other items of interest

January

February

The Woman in Black.

A tense thriller at Curve starred Malclm James and Matt Connor.

John Shuttleworth.

Comedian John Shuttleworth was at The Little Theatre for his show A Wee Ken to Remember.

March

Adrian Mole – The Musical.

April

Shiv.

We were at Curve to see the European premiere of Shiv by Aditi Brennan Kapil.

May

Beautiful Thing.

A touching and evocative play about young love.

Bromance.

Amazing combintions of athletics, gymnastic and acrobatics brought together in a dance-like spectacular.

June

The Car Man.

Reginald D. Hunter.

Comedian Reginald D. Hunter was at the De Montfort Hall for his one man show.

July

29th – Shakespeare’s Richard III opened at Curve in a production directed by Nikolai Foster. For a review see British Theatre Guide. Our reaction:  we didn’t like it.

August

September

Urban Young Actors.

Young actors created suspense with an unusual drama in Leicester.

October

A Streetcar Named Desire.

Curve provided the stage for this iconic drama set in America’s deep south.

Aakash Odedra – Echoes and I Image.

20th – A Streetcar Named Desire opens at Curve. We gave it ***

November

Tetrad’s Us And Them number 4.

Tetrad’s company were back at the Attenborough centre for another in their series Us And Them.

Tennesse Williams

9th October 2015

A Streetcar Named Desire

 

 

Archive article

New! A Streetcar Named Desire will be screened on 25th November at Phoenix.

Screening in association with the University of the Third Age. Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.

USA 1951, 120mins

This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama was one of the most influential plays of the twentieth century. Exploring the beauty, fragility and loneliness of the human experience, this production is set to be a highlight of our Autumn season.

The production will be at Curve from Friday 16th October to Saturday 7th November. Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece is brought to life in a new production directed by Curve Artistic Director, Nikolai Foster.

Tennessee Williams (1911 – 1983) was an American playwright and author who was among the most celebrated dramatists of the 20th century. His play A Street Car Named desire is regarded as one of the most acclaimed plays of the last century. Published in 1947, the play was awarded The Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1948. In 1951 a film version was released starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh alongside Kim Hunter and Karl Malden from the original Broadway production. This film adaptation of the play, directed by Elia Kazan,has been broadcast on UK television. It launched Brando’s career as a major film actor. Brando played the lead male role of Stanley Kowalski in a performance that has been hailed as one of the most influential of all time, for its gripping realism; he was nominated for an Academy Award for it.

The plot

New Orleans. 1930s. Blanche DuBois arrives at her sister’s tiny apartment in the lively French Quarter of New Orleans, her world falling apart and haunted by the loss of the family’s luxurious Southern mansion in Laurel, Mississippi. With broken dreams and a desperate desire to cling on to her freedom, Blanche seeks comfort from her younger, married, sister, Stella. But as tensions – and passions – rise, Blanche finds herself thrown into a catastrophic confrontation with Stella’s husband Stanley Kowalski. The penniless Blanche is trapped – she has nowhere else to go. Blanche suffers from nerves but continued to affect the airs and graces of her Southern upbringing, much to the dislike of the rough and common Stanley.

When Blanche was very young she married but her husband died, something that continues to distress her. Stanley is troubled by the family’s past history, believing that he and Stella might have been cheated out of their inheritance. Stanley demands that Blanche reveals what really happened to the house at Laurel and its large plantation. Blanche hands over a collection of documents, in which Stanley finds a bundle of love letters.

The night after Blanche arrives at her sister’s flat, Stanley holds a poker party. It is at this that Blanche meets Mitch, one of the poker players. Blanche finds him courteous and friendly and begins to flirt with him as he falls under her charms. The brutal and drunken Stanley becomes enraged at Blanche’s constant interruptions and strikes her. Blanche and Stella take refuge upstairs in the apartment of Eunice. Stanley sobers up somewhat, realising what he has done, and stands in the courtyard below calling for Stella to come down – in a scene that has become one of the most cited performances of the newly emergent method school of acting.

Despite having carried Blanche off to bed, Stanley continues to treat her appallingly and the tensions begin to rise between them. Stanley has been studying the documents Blanche gave him and discovers a history of mental instability and sexual promiscuity. Stanley’s harsh and bullying treatment of Stella ends with him raping her. Having a complete mental breakdown, Blanche is committed to a mental asylum. When a doctor and nurse arrive to take Blanche away, she fails to recognise them for who they really are; she takes the doctors arm and says her famous line: “Whoever you are — I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” With Blanche’s departure, Stella retreats to Eunice’s flat upstairs and says she is never coming back.

The film adaptation of then Tennessee Williams play is regarded as one of the finest productions in the history of cinema.

The Curve production

Directed by Nikolai Foster with stage designs by Michael Taylor, the company comprises Charlie Brooks as Blanche DuBois, Stewart Clarke as Stanley Kowalski, Dakota Blue Richards as Stella Kowalski, Sandy Foster as Eunice Hubbel, Mark Peachey as Steve Hubbel, Patrick Knowles as Mitch, Charlie De Melo as Pablo Gonzales, Nicholas Alexander as the Young Collector/Doctor and Natasha Magigi as the Nurse/Neighbour.

Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama was one of the most influential plays of the twentieth century. Exploring the beauty, fragility and loneliness of the human experience, this production is set to be a highlight of our Autumn season. Suitable for ages 12+.

There is also a theatre day for the play, on Wed 28 Oct 10.30am – 1pm. This provides a chance to meet the cast and creatives over a cup of tea, and participate in a backstage tour and on-stage workshop before seeing the show.

See also:

Our review of the Ridley Scott film The Martian.

Black History in 2015.

Young actors in Leicester drama.

BrightonRock

Crime and Candyfloss

Brighton Rock

This review was first published in Arts in Leicestershire magazine, on 22nd February 2011. The film was screened at Phoenix in February 2011.

The 2010 film Brighton Rock, is loosely based on Graham Greene’s 1938 novel of the same name. Rowan Joffé wrote the screenplay and directed the film, which stars Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Andy Serkis, John Hurt, Sean Harris and Helen Mirren.

Scene from the 2010 film Brighton Rock
Scene from the 2010 film Brighton Rock

Our review

In a dark, edgy thriller with convincing characters and settings and sumptuous camera work,  Joffé has done a superb job in updating the Boulting Brother’s classic of 1947, which starred Richard Attenborough.

Set in the Brighton of 1964, Director Rowan Joffé has adapted the plot of Greene’s novel and reworked it. The opening sequence tells you that it is not going to follow the story of the novel in precise detail. The film brings into sharp contrast the rock and candy-floss seaside holiday resort with the low-life brutality of gangland criminals and pulls in the infamous teenage riots of the 60s between the mods and the rockers. Certainly the location shots make it look like the Brighton I knew in 1964, as far as I can remember, but then I was only 17 at the time.

“The Boy”, Pinkie Brown (Sam Riley) is portrayed as a cold, heartless, calculating hoodlum, who would stop at nothing to further his criminal career in protection rackets and extortion. His humourless face rarely smiles, locked into a steely-eyed stare as his mind concentrates fanatically on the chess board moves of gangland business. Pinkie is pursuing gangster Fred Hale and kills him under the pier. Rose (Andrea Riseborough), a vulnerable though strong-witted young waitress at Snows teahouse, briefly met Fred on the Pier, before the murder. The two of them were photographed together, on the Palace pier.

Anxious to recover the incriminating photo, Pinkie goes to Snows and is served by Rose. The actor who plays Pinkie (Sam Riley, 31) captures Greene’s character (except that he has dark brown eyes whereas, in the book, they are significantly described as a sinister “slatey gray”). In the book Pinkie is 17; Sam Riley looks older (by modern standards) but could pass as 17 in even 1964 and certainly so in the 1930s days of the book, when men matured and looked older at a much earlier age.

Pinkie wants to take over the mob from gang leader Spicer. Hale was a friend of Ida Arnold (played by Dame Helen Mirran) who runs Snows. Mob leader Colleoni (played by Andy Serkis of Gollum fame) tells Ida that “Brighton is on the move”, a reference to its growing popularity with the holiday seeking public as well as with the teenagers who are terrorising south coast towns.

Pinkie is taken in the by the Police,who question him about Hale’s murder but as they have no evidence, they let him go. The police know that Spicer is now running Kite’s gang.

The love tryst between Rose and Pinkie is kept deliberately ambiguous. Whereas some scenes suggest that Pinkie really does, deep down, have some affection for the girl, in others we see him as merely using her in a cynical effort to further his plans and devices in the small-town crime world. The anthem of doomed love plays out against the backing of grimly violent evil and the rioting that engulfs the happy-go-lucky seaside resort.

Pinkie takes Rose (on his stolen scooter) to some high cliffs. He questions Rose about Hale and the mob, trying to find out how much she knows. He takes her to the edge of the cliff; he asks her if she is scared. She replied “not when I am with you”, they kiss and the scene ends its portrayal of the developing and ambiguous relationship between the young gang leader and the somewhat innocent waitress.

Spicer asks Pinkie to buy him out of the gang so he can leave Brighton, allowing Pinkie to take over the gang. In an acutely worked scene, Pinkie goes to see mob boss Colleoni, to offer a joint operation but his real plan is to get Spicer removed. The scene at the Palace pier shows Colleoni’s men attacking Spicer but they also turn on Pinkie in a disturbing act of subterfuge.

The mob’s battles are set against the backcloth of riots between the mods and the rockers. Pinkie puts Spicer on the back of his stolen scooter and rides to the pier; on the way he gets into the middle of a huge group of mods on scooters. Crowds line the street to cheer them on while the rockers jeer and curse at them. The gangs fight it out under the pier as the mods and rockers battle it out on the beach.

Pinkie uses the chaos caused by the  rioting teenagers to make his escape from the mob. The good thing about this film is that it tells a story in the ‘present’, no flashbacks, it has one continuous time line. Pinkie kills Spicer by thrusting a stick of rock into his throat but unconvincingly tries to make it look like a suicide.

Pinkie marries Rose at a registry office, knowing that a wife cannot be compelled to testify against her husband. After the marriage ceremony, we see Pinkie and Rose on the pier, where she asks him to go into a booth a make a record of his voice. As Rose stands outside the booth, unable to hear what Pinkie is saying, she imagines that he is putting his love for her on record. In fact, he is saying that he does not love her, that, in fact, he hates and despises her but he prefaces his rant with the words, “You asked me to say, I love you “.

Ida confronts Rose, interrogating her about what she knows. Ida goes to see Colleoni in an effort to protect Rose from Pinkie. In an attempt to end the girl’s life and remove the risk of her ‘squealing’ on the gang, Pinkie takes Rose back to the cliff tops and asks her to commit suicide by shooting herself.

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to know how it ends, look away now.

The scene jumps from the cliff top drama to Ida finding one of the gang members and making him drive her to the spot where Pinkie said he would take Rose. In a nail-biting climax, the two of them arrive at the cliff top, almost as Rose is about to pull the trigger of the gun she is holding to her ear. The gang member fights with Pinkie, who tries to get hold of the gun to kill him, but, as they wrestle on the ground, Pinkie pulls out of his coat pocket the bottle of Sulphuric Acid that he used to frighten Rose, earlier in the film. Struggling to get the top off the acid bottle, it shatters in his hand and the acid sprays over his face and eyes. In his agony, Pinkie falls over the edge of the cliff to his death. We see Pinkie’s corpse, his face burnt off by the acid, dead on the beach below.

In the closing scenes, Rose has retired, heavily pregnant with Pinkie’s child, to a convent. The Abbess, like Ida, tries to convince her that Pinkie never really loved her and she should try to forget him.

In the final scene, she plays the record they made on the pier, for the first time and hears Pinkie’s voice saying “I love you” but the tracks are damaged and she lays there listening to the words being repeated over and over, never getting to hear the rest of the message.

The casting is good, the acting superb and the camera work sharp and evocative. It is a totally different version from the original classic production of 1947and Riley’s character is played very differently from Attenborough’s performance. Transposing out of the 30s into the 60s achieved very little, as the mods and rockers aspect occupies only one scene and is just a montage against which the plot is played out.

Whilst I thought the camera work was superb, the monastery music was decidedly odd, linking back into the religious motif that runs through the film but it’s still only a backdrop. It suggests that even in the midst of the evils of gang crime, people can still believe in Heaven and Hell and make a pretense of faith. Like the mods and the rockers, the scenes in the church, Pinkie praying to God during his flight from the mob, the religious elements are just for decoration, rather than having anything approaching the depth that we find in Greene’s work. They salute Greene’s preoccupation with Catholicism but there is no deeper layer behind the narrative of the story line in this film.

Joffé’s film is an exciting and visually stimulating piece of film noir; well casted and acted, very different from the earlier version and a good two hours of cinema. Worth seeing, whether you have read the book and seen John Boulting’s version, or not.

Good things about the film: sharp camera work and top class acting from Sam Riley, Helen Mirren, Andrea Riseborough and John Hurt. Keeping to the language of the 1930s in the dialogue even though it would have been an anachronism in the mid 60s.

Bad things: lack of attention to contemporary details in the mods and rockers scene and the rather irrelevant migration of the setting to the 1960s.

Trevor Locke

Re-published on 9th August 2015 to mark the broadcast of the film on BBC2 television.

Leicester Writes

Sunday 28th June 2015

Literary finale

The Leicester Writes festival reached its resounding conclusion tonight with a showcase finale held at The Exchange. In the streets of the cultural quarter, the Indian Summer festival was in full swing. Large number of people were enjoying the warmth of a sunny afternoon the music, food and arts activities that were on offer.

As you would expect of the literati, they had put pen to paper and come up a compelling description of this event:

Join us for a spectacular finale as Leicester’s hottest literary talent takes over the floor per perform their latest work

Well that was enough to get me into the cool, shade of the Exchange’s cellar. Opening the show poet Lydia Towsey began with her poem ‘Baby’, a lively and amusing work that drew enthusiastic acclaim from the audience. When she described Nigel Farage as ‘toad of toad hall, the audience chortled and clapped; another absorbing work, this time about politics. The curiously named ‘Night Fishing’ was a reference to the said UKIP leader’s favourite hobby.

Truti Chauhan’s opening work was about experiences with online dating. A beautifully composed piece that was full of surprising witticisms and sharp metaphors.

Jenny Hibbert delivered her work from memory, enabling her to enhance her delivery with a variety of gestures and actions. She gave us a vibrant set complemented with a plentiful supply of imagery.

Tim Grayson is someone I have known for several years; a Leicester artist who had given us some ground-breaking work as a poetry and playwright. As the founder of the ‘Brothellian movement‘ he made a notable impact on our local literary scene.  Tim’s lyrical poems were ripe with verbal fruits. Reciting from memory, he also was able to enhance his performance with gesturing. A remarkable talent who delivered an engaging set.

Our next performing probably needs no introduction.  Carol Leeming was born in Jamaica but raised in Leicester. Her magnus opus  Choreopoem has been widely acclaimed, making her one of Leicester’s most celebrated literary figures. Having opened with her piece storm  Carol went to recite a couple of short works that focused on Leicester.

Comedian Ishi Khan-Jackson  appeared at Dave’s Leicester Comedy festival in 2012. She was dressed in her trade-mark colourful sari and enchanted the audience with her mad cap humour.

The line-up also included a number of open-mic artists some of whom proved to be discoveries.
A very enjoyable afternoon,  made this unusual event a successful and rewarding conclusion to the new literary festival.

Friday 26th June

Top Leicester author at launch event

Leicester Writes Festival got off to a flying start with a presentation by Jamie Mollart.

Author of The Zoo, Jamie Mollart read three extracts from his book and talked to the audience about how he wrote it.

Author Jamie Mollart at the launch event of Leicester Writes
Author Jamie Mollart at the launch event of Leicester Writes

The Leicester author answered questions from the audience.  Jamie talked about the nuts and bolts of writing and gave some insights into the world of literary agents and publishing.

In answer to a question from the audience, Jamie said his novel had been written in the present tense, in order to give a sense of immediacy.

You can find out more about Jamie Mollart on his website

23rd June 2015

Celebrate Writing

A new literary event will celebrate regional and diverse writing.

Leicester Writes will take place across three days on the last weekend of June in Leicester’s cultural Quarter. (26-28 June)

The festival of new writing, organised by small press Dahlia Publishing hopes to give home grown talent a platform to showcase their writing and connect writers living in the region.

The festival launch takes place at Phoenix Square with a Q&A with Amazon rising star, Jamie Mollart. Other highlights across the weekend include An audience event with Bali Rai, Nikesh Shukla’s home truths about being a contemporary novelist and Rod Duncan and Kerry Young sharing their invaluable insights about writing.

Festival organiser, Farhana Shaikh said: ‘The city’s literary scene is awash with talent but not everyone’s plugged in. This festival gives everyone an opportunity to find out more about the great writers we have living and working in Leicestershire.”

Leicester has a long history of producing successful writers, including Joe Orton, Sue Townsend, and Graham Joyce. A new wave of emerging talent is following in their footsteps. Writers Mark Newman and Rebecca Burns will perform at the festival finale while Mahsuda Snaith will share her secrets to writing success in a fun-filled interactive session.

The full programme is now available and tickets can be purchased online via the festival website.

See also:

Top comedian comes to Leicester

Our review of The Car Man at Curve

Find out about the spoken word

Arts Centres

15th May 2015

Leicester’s arts centres

A look at the buildings that form part of where the arts are presented and exhibited in Leicester and Leicestershire.

I – The City
II – The County (scroll down)

Firstly, the City

Curve

Curve designed by Raphael Vignoly
Curve designed by Raphael Vignoly

Leicester’s internationally renown theatre. Paintings and other art works are often exhibited in the pubic area in the foyer.

See the Curve website

Sixty8 Humberstone Gate

Sixty8 Arts Centre
Sixty8 Arts Centre

Formerly Fabrika Arts Centre the building has been taken over by new owners. The venue is now run as a social enterprise.

68-70 Humberstone Gate, Leicester, LE1 3PL

The Leicester Creative Business Depot

The exhibition area and gallery at The LCD Depot
The exhibition area and gallery at The LCD Depot

The LCD Depot has a separate art gallery which is available for exhibitions. Exhibitions and other types of arts events are sometimes mounted in the Depot’s cafe area.

The LCB Depot website

Embrace Arts at The Richard Attenborough Centre

An important centre for the arts, located close to Leicester University. The venue houses exhibitions of arts and has a hall that is used for performances.

Visit the website for Embrace Arts

The Guildhall

Leicester's medieval Guild Hall
Leicester’s medieval Guild Hall

Dating back 600 years, Leicester’s Guildhall is one of the oldest timber-framed buildings in the country. Built in around 1390 for the Guild of Corpus Christi, the building was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1926. Today, the Hall serves as a performance centre for the arts, music and plays.

Visit the website for Leicester Guidhall

The New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

Leicester’s leading Arts Gallery and Museum houses many important and fascinating collections.

See the website for the New Walk Museum

The Peoples Photographic Gallery

Situated at 2 Wellington Street, the building that now houses the Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery used the serve as the city’s main lending library.

Visit the website for the gallery

Phoenix

Phoenix, cinema and arts centre
Phoenix, cinema and arts centre

Phoenix serves as a cinema and arts centre and is situated in Morledge Street in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. Phoenix is Leicester’s centre for independent cinema, art and digital culture. The centre’s address is given as 4 Midland Street, LE1 1TG

Find out what is on at Phoenix

Botanic Garden

University of Leicester Botanic Garden
University of Leicester Botanic Garden

Leicester University’s Botanic Gardens are home to a collection of Sculptures.

Stoughton Drive South, Oadby, Leicester LE2 2N

Visit website

Secondly – the County

For a listing of art galleries, museums and other places of interest, see Leicestershire County Council’s website

See the website for Charnwood Arts

See the website for Hinckley’s Ten2 gallery

The Atkins Gallery in Hinckley

See also

Our page listing What’s on in Leicester

Read our feature article about the Cultural Quarter

Victorian Arts Gallery reopens

BlackSwan

The Black Swan

Reviewed by Trevor Locke

Original published in Arts in Leicestershire magazine in April 2011.

Republished here as part of our archiving project.

Darren Aronofsky’s darkly disturbing story about classical ballet is a taut and often shocking portrayal of the rigours of perfection and professional pressure. Brilliant camera work and casting makes it a gripping film that is heading for the Oscars and Bafta awards.

The Black Swan (film) From April 2011
The Black Swan (film)
From April 2011

Rightly so, because Natalie Portman in the lead role of Nina, the psychotically troubled ballerina is convincingly realistic. The role of Thomas, the Artistic Director (Vincent Cassel) is well played but by no means as solid.

The film endlessly slips between the real world and the bleak nightmares and paranoid hallucinations of the ballerina. The camera follows the action in a hand held way, using the technique of real life news journalism and documentaries, first developed in the Blair Witch Project.

It’s fast moving scenes follow the progress of aspiring dancer Nina whose ambition is to be cast in the role of the Swan Queen. Having secured the role, she becomes obsessed that other dancers are trying to take it away from her. Tchaikovsky’s great classic ballet is often regarded as having the sweetness and candy flossed chocolate box of a beautiful romance; in fact it has a dark side, a grim underside of evil and Aronofsky follows this in his film.

From the stunning opening sequence, the film is constantly backed by the luscious music of Swan Lake, either in full orchestration or on the piano. Set in New York, the cast are rehearsing for a “…stripped down, visceral and real …” interpretation of the Russian masterpiece. The challenge to the lead role is to deliver a convincing portrayal of the White Swan and then transform into an equally convincing evocation of the Black Swan, moving from white to black, from good to evil, in the same character.

Various scenes vividly portray the bone cracking, joint crunching rigours of ballet. The ballerina is meant to float effortlessly across the stage, gliding with almost super-natural grace. To achieve this, ballet dancers have to train like Olympic athletes, having even more agility, combined with considerably more strength than weight-lifters and more tenacity than rugby players. They have to punish their tiny, skinny bodies remorselessly in the pursuit of perfection of effortless movement. Nina has spent years, relentlessly pursuing control of her body and her movements but in so doing has sacrificed her emotional life.

The film portrays professional dance, at this level, as shot through with sexual passions and pressures, dancers mortifying themselves emotionally and physically in the pursuit of discipline and perfection. The Artistic Director, Thomas, asks Nina to “loose herself in the role”, to become the character she is portraying on stage and to make the White Swan as equally convincing as the Black Swan.

Nina, however, lives at home with her cloying mother, a dancer who gave up her career to give birth to her. The tension between the two women boils and creaks and ends in (imaged) violence. The mother treats her little princess like a child; in order to get into the black role, Nina scoops up the profusion of white, cuddly, soft toys in her bedroom and stuffs them into the garbage chute.

She goes out to a night club with another dancer, takes drugs, gets drunk and gets laid in the men’s toilets, the night before her first performance. She (actually or in fantasy) brings the other dancer back to her flat for a night of hot girl on girl action through which she looses her inhibitions and develops her dark side. Did she really do this or was it one of her fantasies? The film adeptly confuses the real story of the plot with Nina’s fantasies and dreams and we are left wondering whether it actually happened or was just part of her mounting psychotic delusions.

This is where Aronofsky handles the story line with brilliant precision. After all, the story of Swan Lake is a theatrical fantasy, a tale of light and dark, good versus evil, spinning out a monumental tale on stage. It’s why Swan Lake is so widely acclaimed as the world’s most famous and celebrated Ballet, beloved of dressy lovers of high art and dance school students alike and the least understood.

The film, like the ballet, peels off the sequins and feathers to reveal the naked passions, the bodily agonies and intense mental pressures that are said to lie underneath. The Black Swan graduates from being a ‘dramamentary’ about ballet into a horror movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat, makes you jump (like all good horror flicks do) and has a surprise ending that you were least expecting. It finishes with a monumental finale of high drama. Just like Turandot or Madam Butterfly’s suicide, Tosca flinging herself off the wall to her death or Brunnhilde riding into Siegfried’s funeral pyre … in that regard the finale of the film is in keeping with high art.

The film noir’s dark and disturbing scenes are counterpoised with those of the corps de ballet in their glistening white tutus gliding across the stage in the light of the moon. But that’s after you have seen moments of sexual abuse, scenes of lesbian love-making and gut wrenching moments of extreme violence laced with plenty of sweat and gore.

This tense and gripping drama ends with some digitally enhanced special effects where you see the skin of the ballerina morphing into the skin of a bird, which then mystically sprouts black feathers as she reaches the climax of the dance and becomes the Black Swan, her body taking on the persona that has been growing in her mind. Two hours of spell-binding story-telling keeps you on the edge of your seat and blasts you with scenes you would not associate with classical ballet.

Beneath the polish and glitter of all great art (it would have us believe), there lurks a dark underbelly that the audience never sees. Aronofsky lays it bare and in so doing creates a masterpiece equal to that of Tchaikovsky. I can hear choruses of professional dancers hooting with laughter about this; but then, thousands of people love Phantom of the Opera and Hamlet. All that Aronofsky has done is to tell a story. It’s a tale of the Brothers Grim, proving that even in the twenty-first century, an audience can enjoy a dramatic plot whose roots reach back thousands of year into the rise of ancient Greek theatre. It’s just the technology that has changed. It deserves an Oscar.
See also:

Review of The Woman in Black (play)

Review of Abigail’s Party (play)

Review of Finding Richard (Film)

ArtsAwareness

27th November 2014

Current awareness

Leicester arts, culture and heritage

A selection of topics that are current in Leicester’s arts scene.

Leicester Means Business

An event was held on Wednesday 26th November that brought together musicians and people from the music community, to lay down ideas, concerns, issues and thoughts about music.

Organised by Jed Spittle of Manic Music Productions, the event provided an opportunity for those present to flag up their thoughts and ideas about the contemporary music scene in Leicester.

Jed Spittle secured a contract to organise a networking series of events, the first of which was tonight’s theme of Leicester as a place to make music. Held at Curve theatre, the event attracted a range of people who were currently involved in music in some way or other.

The networking events are linked to the LLEP’s initiative that will provide a consultant to look at the Creative Industries. Result from these events will feed into what the consultant will be doing, when in post.

Find out more about Manic Music Productions.

Find out more about the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.

Affective Digital Histories

A project was launched tonight at the LCB Depot. Affective Digital Histories: recreating De-industrialised Place, from the 1970s to the Present includes Hidden Stories and Sounds of the Cultural Quarter, two new Apps that reveal the fascinating hidden stories of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter.

These Apps use the latest locative technology to deliver immersive experience for visitors to the Cultural Quarter. Location-specific content – sounds from the past and present, poetry, plays and narrative – is revealed as visitors explore the area, helping to re-imagine urban history.

Those attending this event were also invited to experiment with traditional print processes and cutting edge technology to create their own original art work at the New Incunable Print Shop, which is located at The LCB Depot.

The apps are products of a University of Leicester research project, ‘Affective Digital Histories: Re-creating de-industrial places, 1970s to the present’ which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Following the welcome speeches from Dr Ming Lim from the University of Leicester’s School of Management , John Rance of Phoenix and Professor Andrew Prescott from the University of Glasgow, poet and playwright Carol Leeming read and performed a piece from her Choreopoem.

Find out more about Affective Digital Histories.

Find out more about the Hidden Stories Apps.

More

See the website for Creative Leicestershire

Also  on Arts in Leicester

Curve’s 2015 season

Chicago – the musical – we look back

Water Babies – the musical – we look back

What’s New on Arts in Leicester

Editorial

Comedy at Curve

 

 

 

NewFilms

New Films

Page last edited:  17th November 2015

Phoenix:

The Lady in the Van – 12A

Fri 20 Nov – Thu 3 Dec

This wonderful new comedy drama, starring Maggie Smith, tells the tale of a man who forms an unexpected bond with a transient woman living in her van parked in his driveway.

See the trailer and book tickets

The Flickering Darkness

Celebrate the launch of The Flickering Darkness (Revisited) by Juan del Gado, a Phoenix offsite exhibition at the LCB Depot’s Lightbox gallery.

The evening will include drinks and a preview of the exhibition, followed by an artist’s talk by Juan about the making of The Flickering Darkness (Revisited) and his time spent researching and filming in Colombia.

The Flickering Darkness (Revisited) is a film installation exploring the journey that food produce takes from its arrival before dawn at the Corabastos market in Bogotà, Colombia to its consumption across the social spectrum.

In this film, artist Juan delGado attempts to create sense out of the market’s chaos and order, while inviting wider reflections on society’s strata and how they interact.

The Flickering Darkness (Revisited) is supported by Unlimited; celebrating the work of disabled artists, using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Spirit of 2012. Through this support the work is accompanied by an audio description (available through headsets at any time) and screened with captions at regular intervals.

Juan delGado works across a range of media including video installation and photography. His practice explores themes of trauma, landscape, disability, dislocation and gender. His work has been exhibited internationally including at the Budapest and Istanbul Biennales.

The exhibition runs at the LCB Depot, Rutland St, Leicester, from 12 – 27 Nov (not inc weekends).

Polish Films

The national UK tour for the national UK tour for Martin Scorsese’s Masterpieces of Polish Cinema, presented by Filmhouse Edinburgh, Kinoteka Polish Film Festival and the British Film Institute this is the first celebration of fully restored Polish cinema classics on such a large scale, screening in cities across the UK and Ireland, including screenings at the Leicester Phoenix Cinema from June -September.

The Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema series brings together 24 masterpieces chosen by Scorsese himself, including many undiscovered gems, all brilliantly restored and digitally remastered.

The season includes classic works from some of Poland’s most accomplished and lauded filmmakers such as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Andrzej Munk, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Wojciech J Has, Roman Polański, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Agnieszka Holland and others. Masterpieces of Polish Cinema, presented by Filmhouse Edinburgh, Kinoteka Polish Film Festival and the British Film Institute this is the first celebration of fully restored Polish cinema classics on such a large scale, screening in cities across the UK and Ireland, including screenings at the Leicester Phoenix Cinema from June -September. The Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema series brings together 24 masterpieces chosen by Scorsese himself, including many undiscovered gems, all brilliantly restored and digitally remastered. The season includes classic works from some of Poland’s most accomplished and lauded filmmakers such as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Andrzej Munk, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Wojciech J Has, Roman Polański, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Agnieszka Holland and others.

Details of local screenings

Phoenix Cinema, Leicester Mother Joan of the Angels (Matka Joanna od aniolów) 06 June 2015
Knights of the Black Cross (Krzyzacy) 28 June 2015
Pharaoh (Faraon) 05 July 2015
Eroica 14 July 2015
Walkover (Walkower) 18 July 2015
Provincial Actors (Aktorzy prowincjonalni) 30 July 2015
Ashes and Diamonds (Popiól i diament) 06 August 2015
A Short Film About Killing (Krótki film o zabijaniu) 11 August 2015
The Saragossa Manuscript (Rekopis znaleziony w Saragossie) 15 August 2015
The Hourglass Sanatorium (Sanatorium pod klepsydra) 23 August 2015
Blind Chance (Przypadek) 05 September 2015
The Illumination (Iluminacja) 08 September 2015
Knife in the Water (Nóz w wodzie) 17 September 2015
The Promised Land (Ziemia obiecana) 20 September 2015

For more information see the website

23rd October 2014

A Dozen Summers

Written and directed by Kenton Hall
Monkey Basket Films, the Leicester-based film production company are just beginning our promotion of the indie children’s comedy A Dozen Summers,  a comedy – from writer/director Kenton Hall.  A film for children of all ages (including adults who haven’t completely lost their way yet) it follows the lives of 12-year-old twins, Maisie and Daisy McCormack, who have just hijacked a children’s film in order to tell their own story.

Check the trailer out  and visit the movie’s website.

See also:

Finding Richard – Hive Films

Film Company Launch

Films at Phoenix