Culture Bound – December

Culture Bound – December

Managed to squeeze a few things in between directing a play and Christmas. A round up of the year is to follow

Theatre

Rules For Living by Sam Holcroft (Tower Theatre, Stoke Newington) My own production so not going to post any thoughts on it. But there’s some nice comments here, here, here, here and here

A Kind Of People by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti (Royal Court Theatre) A timely play about the disintegration of modern society *** Full review here

Blood Orange by Tania Amsel (Old Red Lion, Islington) Christmas past and present mingle in a monologue from a junior doctor working the festive shift in Swansea. Very simply presented and staged with just the right amount of bittersweet incident and anecdote. This would have made a good radio play but despite the /writer performer’s undoubted energy it became a bit soporific presented on stage. Its heart was in the right place ***

The Signalman by Charles Dickens, adapted by Martin Malcolm (Old Red Lion, Islington) A somewhat disappointing take on Dickens’ classic Victorian ghost story. Unfortunately, there were not many chills in a simply presented version which was essentially a monologue. A second (silent) character was present but I’m not sure that added much; it would have worked just as well as a direct address to the audience. Lighting added some sense of atmosphere. Annoying detail – don’t leave a modern day label on what is supposed to be period costume **

Books

Cockroach by Ian McEwan A slight piece which was good fun but not McEwan at his best *** Full review here

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan Back on good form, an intriguing novel set in an alternative reality. **** Full review here

Sex And Other Changes by David NoNobbs This writer has not lost his talent to amuse but also has written quite touchingly about a difficult subject **** Full review here

Sita: A retelling of The Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik An interesting but not particularly easy read of one of the key Indian epics *** Full review here

Jaya: A retelling of The Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik An interesting but not particularly easy read of the other key Indian epic*** Full review here

BEST OF THE BUNCH

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. It’s been a long time getting to this but glad to have read it while in India. A great way to finish the reading decade ***** Full review here

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