Thursday, 12 July 2007

Thoughts: Cape Wrath; Dutch Portraits, The Age of Rembrandt and Frans Hals; Simon Munnery’s EGM

Cape Wrath

Talking of David Lynch, Channel 4’s new drama Cape Wrath (Tuesday nights C4 & E4), looks a bit Lynch lite. I saw quite a few bits and pieces lifted from the great mans oeuvre (creepy motel anyone?). Unfortunately it’s not half as good as anything Lynch has made, but it was entertaining enough. I watched the first two episodes and enjoyed the unrestrained sex, violence, angst, longing and slight mystery, pus David Morrissey is always very watchable. Here he plays a father on a witness protection programme; the family are moved to the eerie Meadowlands, when they discover that this is an invisible town, everyone there is also on witness protection. From then on we get a wonderful array of slightly weird and sinister characters.

Tom Hardy also makes an appearance in the first episode as a brutish handyman, but his sadistic rapist character doesn’t last too long… My favourite line was Hardy calling a woman on the phone to come to his flat for sex: ‘your gums, my plums’. Well, what can you say to that?

Dutch Portraits: The Age of Rembrandt and Frans Hals

To the National Gallery for their latest show, Dutch Portraits: The Age of Rembrandt and Frans Hals. I left asking, why? There were some brilliant paintings there (particularly a pair of Rembrandt’s depicting a couple, mercilessly aged), but the theme was hardly exciting or particularly coherent. I am also depressed to trudge down to the Sainsbury Wing basement galleries again, the last two exhibitions (a so-so Renoir and extraordinary Velazquez) were held in sunny rooms in the main gallery. I would strongly recommend that the NG put some of their more sepulchre suited permanent collection into the Sainsbury Gallery and free up some lighter space for temporary exhibitions upstairs permanently.

Simon Munnery’s EGM

I went to see some stand up comedy last night, Simon Munnery’s EGM at the Soho Theatre to be precise. Whilst I like Munnery and some of his comedy, I am invariably left disappointed and dissatisfied by stand up. I generally only go during the Edinburgh Festival these days, finishing off a day of intellect testing theatre with some comedy seems right. But in London, sacrificing theatre time for comedy seems foolish, and so it proves. Comedy is so personal, and stand up so hit and miss that I yearn for a good play when seeing an indifferent comic perform. Of course drama is also personal and hit and miss, but the structure and depth seems to satisfy me more (not all the time mind, plus you have to be judicious in what you see. Choosing comedy can often be more difficult than a play, such a stab in the dark).

As for Simon Munnery and his EGM, I went because I have enjoyed his work previously (and also his last Edinburgh show got great reviews and personal recommendations), and couldn’t fit him in when I’m in Edinburgh this year. My friend and I were both agreed that his material was hit and miss, tending towards the latter (though to be fair, I mostly had a smile on my face). His observational comedy was pretty banal, of pub standard I thought. His character comedy can be much better (Alan Parker, Urban Warrior always makes me laugh. I just have to laugh at that type of person, the idiot ultra lefty who’d abolish everything twice), and his poems and songs can be very good indeed. I particularly liked a poem about London that he performed at the end, showing what a vibrant, infinite and aggressive city we live in. Overall a mixed bag of whimsy and lovely moments of character comedy.

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