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Showing posts from January, 2013

Butchering the Big Fat Irish Butcher

It took me a long time to venture into my small local butchers in Kew. I had the idea that it would be all organic and out of the price range of most normal pocket-books. Like the organic store facing it, where a tin of organic beans can be yours for twice the amount of a tin from the Tesco Express, just a few doors down from the butcher. But, like many supermarkets, the butcher does a brisk(et) trade in the rotisserie chicken at a fiver a pop. The shop is so small that the small rotisserie, a narrow silver cabinet, is perched outside by the door, so that the juicy aroma reaches those commuters who emerge from Kew Gardens station, calling them to abandon their own oven for another day. Why make life more difficult, the waft seems to convey. It was this that finally called me in. And I was comforted, if a little disappointed, to observe the dearth of the organic fancy massaged-cow range in favour of all things butchery normal. Save for the shelf full of homemade liquid stocks at a few …

American Justice at Arts Theatre London

I made it to the opening night of Richard Vergette's tautly written 90-minute play, American Justice last week. It moved to Covent Garden's hip Arts Theatre following a well-received run in Manchester (with a different cast). Seated in the front row we, friend and I, could see the whites of the actors eyes and every minute facial expression, which added to the tension. The talented and versatile David Schaal was, for my money, the anchor of the play. Playing the part of the Republican anti-a-rab Obama prison warden, he guards the young Fenton, played with conviction (pardon the pun) by Ryan Gage. Fenton, illiterate and full of rage, is serving life for the murder of Democrat Congressman Daniels's daughter. Gage excels at facial expression: rage, fear, mistrust deeply etched.

Daniels, it seems, was swept into power because of his highly-publicised forgiveness of his daughter's apparent killer. Yet it's not enough for Daniels. He also takes it upon himself to educate…

Julius Cesar - Donmar Warehouse

Phyllida Law's all-female production of Shakespeare's Julius Cesar made a big impression. From the opening scene, full of potent power as Cesar (Frances Barber) emerges, and followed by her coterie of acolytes. These women, dressed in the garb of the contemporary prisoner - grey joggers and black Reebok Classics - filed onto the stage with the lopsided simian swagger of the street. I made the mistake - or perhaps not - of reading a few reviews beforehand, a few main ones being lukewarm, which readied me with lower expectations. One national declared the all-female cast couldn't compete with the (innate) power of the male performers for whom Shakespeare would have had to write. To which I can now say 'utter bollocks'.

Julius Cesar: power, ambition.

These are not - essentially at least, if not culturally - the exclusive domains of men. This production ripped down the veil of reverence that the overwhelmingly male dominated crews, canons and cultured crowds have hel…