January 25th, 2012

Raks New Profile Pic Square

Mark Thomas: Extreme Rambling (Walking The Wall), Tricycle Theatre

Photo credit: http://rhruk.co.uk/?tag=west-bank

I have just returned from experiencing this (not just seeing it) at the Tricycle. I really wanted to see it when it was on at the National (for one day only!), but I could not do the date. I am really glad that I got to catch it over at the Tricycle.

Cut and pasted from the Tricycle website:

Never one to take the easy option, Mark decided to go rambling in the Middle East and walked the entire length of the Israeli Separation Barrier, crossing between the Israeli and the Palestinian side.

This is the story of 300,000 settlers; a 750km wall; six arrests, one stoning; too much hummus and a simple question … “Can you ever get away from it all with a good walk?”

Follow the link for all the details:

Raks's Review

This was just brilliant - truly excellent - I loved it! I would definitely describe it more as an "experience" than as a piece of theatre which I just "saw". It was gripping from start to finish.

Mark told a series of anecdotes from his time rambling the entire length of the Israeli Separation Barrier. Mark is a master storyteller and it is a joy to see him in action. His stories were funny and entertaining, but they were also very informative. Mark manages to convey a lot of historical and political context through just talking about his walking trip and I learnt a lot. He covered the story from both perspectives - Palestinian and Israeli. There was also a lot of literature supporting the theatre event outside in the cafe area where you could learn more about the issue, a lot of it free.

This is theatre that makes you use your brain - you are learning and thinking the whole way through. And walking with other audience members to the tube, people were talking about what they had heard and the issue in question. This is community terrorism and big society in action.

One gem which I will carry with me always was Mark described how you literally cannot go anywhere without being "mugged by a tea trolley"; something he described as a "Palestinian roadbloc" - being offered tea, coffee, and cake, and you are, under no circumstances, allowed to leave until you have been fed and watered. I have travelled extensively in the Middle East and I can confirm that YES this is 100% true. Arab hospitality is world renowned and I think Mark captured it beautifully.

To sum up, highly highly highly recommended - community terrorism in action!

You can buy Mark's book about his walking adventure here:
Raks New Profile Pic Square

The Critics' Circle Theatre Awards 2011: Winners declared


Benedict as the Creature, Olivier, National Theatre
Photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/8343655/Frankenstein-in-pictures.html

Cut and pasted from The Critics' Circle website:

The National Theatre was the big winner at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2011, which were announced on Tuesday 24 January.

The list of National Theatre winners included:
Richard Bean for 'One Man, Two Guvnors', now playing in the West End (hooray!);
Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork for 'London Road' (hooray!);
Mike Leigh for his production (and creation) of 'Grief' (how did that happen?!);
Benedict Cumberbatch for his performances in 'Frankenstein' (no sharing with Jonny Lee Miller this time) (hooray! hooray! hooray!); and
Mark Tildesley for the spectacular design of 'Frankenstein' (hooray!).

Many of these recipients made a point of praising the National for the skill and encouragement of all its staff under the leadership of the two Nicks, Hytner and Starr.

Follow the link for the full story and a list of all the winners:

Raks's Reaction

This is just brilliant news. I have consistently championed both One Man, Two Guvnors and London Road, because they are both excellent; very different but both excellent. London Road is a serious play; One Man, Two Guvnors is just the best night out you can have at the theatre as it is a truly exceptional comedy with an excellent band thrown in for good measure!

As for Benedict and Frankenstein, it just confirms what I said all along. Benedict was better as both the Creature and Victor. Jonny was good but Benedict was way better!

What I will say is, if there was any justice in the world, Emperor and Galilean would have won some awards too, and Andrew Scott would have taken home the Best Actor accolade!
Raks New Profile Pic Square

National Television Awards: Congratulations Matt Smith and Karen Gillan!

Photo credit: http://primetime.unrealitytv.co.uk/doctor-who-matt-smith-is-terribly-fond-of-karen-gillan/

It was the NTAs tonight and, as usual, a lot of quality programmes did not win through. However, the acting awards were the exception where we had a great double act winning through - Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, for their performances in Doctor Who. Congratulations Matt and Karen!

Best Drama Performance Male: Matt Smith, the Doctor, Doctor Who
Best Drama Performance Female: Karen Gillan, Amy Pond, Doctor Who

Matt collecting his NTA award
Photo credit: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/blog/tubetalk/

Other than that, the only others I wanted to give a shout out to were:

Best Sit Com: Outnumbered
Best Entertainment Presenter: Ant and Dec

The rest? Not at all bothered!

If you are interested, follow the link to the full list of winners: