Sunday, 30 October 2011

Contagion – Spoiler Alert

A reasonable attempt at a thriller that has a large range of threads and you feel that they are going to draw together in a breathless finale but instead it slowly coughs its way to the end leaving more questions than answers. For instance – what was the punishment for the doctor telling his wife about the contagion, what happens to the village in China, how will Matt Damon cope with his cheating wife’s death, what are the consequences for the girl going out and meeting her boyfriend, will Laurence Fishburne suffer for his decision to give up his antidote and wander the streets when he has no immunity. All in all a bit disjointed and a bit frustrating, a film with promise that does not quite deliver. 


A wedding is an expensive business and when you are spending x thousand pounds you would expect businesses to want your business and have a level of customer service that makes you want to spend your money with them. This however is not always the case. At 1 venue it took over two weeks to provide us with a quote for the wedding. We had popped in for an approximate quote but then spend a lot of time on what meal we would like and then took so long to send it we thought we had been forgotten. In other places we travelled 20 miles to find it was already booked, a fact they couldn’t tell us over the phone. A florist told us there were no blue flowers in spring whilst others have told us there are plenty of options. The photographer we say today kept forgetting what year the wedding was and whilst showing us his work on a HD TV kept worrying about the music he was playing. Maybe think about how you present yourself before your customer arrives. If you want my business present yourself properly.

Things I have leant this week

1.      Wich means place, it can either be associated with dairy farming or salt production

2.      Dunwich used to be the one of the largest settlements in the East and one of the largest ports.

3.      A large storm destroyed most of Dunwich leaving a bay where there had been a town before

4.      Southwold lighthouse has at least 133 steps and is one of the least well organised tours you can go on

5.      The light on the lighthouse can be seen 16 miles away. If the light is white you are safe, if it is red you are in danger

6.      There is an organisation in Suffolk that promote kite making and flying

7.      Kite surfing looks like a lot of fun

8.      Southwold buried its cannons so that the Germans would not have a pre-text to bomb them in the Second World War

9.      The large areas of open space in Southwold were left as fire breaks after the great fire of Southwold.

10.  There are no pubs in Southwold that are not linked to Adnams

11.  In the winter the population of Southwold shrinks to less than a 1000 due to the number of second homes in the area.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy

Well the setting and colour palette of grey and brown was very 70’s. The preponderance of smokers and the hazy of blue in each room looked authentic. The cragginess of the actors and the world weariness of the characters they played seemed to be genuine. The fact that the script was non-linear and was set in a variety of cities with a range of city vistas pulled from the Seventies, the quality of the actors on show and the topic of spying and “moles” should have been right up my alley. The fact I was noticing these things means I was not swept away by the storyline and not gripped. I should have been but I wasn’t and the reasons for that I can’t fathom or comprehend. Maybe it was that there was George Smiley and in a James Bond way you know it can’t be him, can’t die, will find out which makes the plot a little predictable or maybe casting the most famous actor as the baddie which otherwise was a fairly minor part put a massive arrow over his head, I mean it’s Colin Firth playing 6th lead after winning an Oscar or maybe I just didn’t care about the characters of their fate.

The Hollow

This was done by a local dramatic company. It is odd how expectations change with the setting. At one point a character came on stage too early and saw something they shouldn’t have. About two minutes later you find out this was deliberate but at the time I thought it was a mistake by the actress. Maybe the quality of the performance affecting my thinking in this matter. The play was also remarkable for the whistling maid who came on and tidied the set whilst everyone else was changing costume, kind of denoting time passing. She was whistling Elvis with the sight of it causing a little puzzlement and then strange mirth in the audience. As a play it is not one of Agatha Christie’s best. It does not feature any of the great detectives although you feel that she could have turned one of the characters into a long running character if she had not already got a few to write about. In many ways it reminded me of The Seven Dials Mystery and Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent who is my favourite Christie character slightly ahead of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford.

Guys and Dolls

This was a local production and as such was good if a little uneven in tone. The best actors were really good, such as the performance of Sky Masterson, whereas some of the other characters were a little miscast and lacked chemistry with the other actors on stage. The wise cracking hoods made for some of the best lines in the show and some of the stand out characters. AS this is the first time I have seen the show I was not sure if it is intentional that some of the key scenes happen off stage and are referenced by the actors on the stage. Neither the scene where Sky convinces Sister Sarah to go to Havana nor the scene where they get married occurred on stage and as they are two of the key scenes this struck me as slightly odd. In conclusion, it was good for a local production.

Season’s Greetings

Yes – it is about Christmas and I can’t abide talk of Christmas before 1st December but as a comedy goes this one is brilliant. A whole family surviving under one roof for Christmas with all the different generations getting along or sparking off each other. The characters are well drawn from the odd uncle who is perceived to have failed as a doctor who traditional does a puppet play that is dreaded, the older relative causing chaos in someone else’s kitchen, the strange visitor, the allegations of cheating in the board games, the haggard parents trying to deal with excited children and what can happen under the mistletoe after a glass of vino. Very entertaining and even if I did feel a bit humbug it was well worth the trip.

The Madness of King George III

Rarely have I been moved to give a standing ovation and I would have for the performance of David Haig in the lead role. I didn’t as I don’t think it is fair on the people sitting behind me. The quality of his performance was outstanding both in vocal tone, facial and body expression and mannerisms. The difference between the pain free king with his confident manner, air of command and the addition of wot wot and hey hey to the end of each sentence was in direct contrast to the tortured soul that was being bled and blistered, restrained and gagged with a whining tone, pleading body language and self-pitying tone. The acting to portray those two roles was as I have already stated outstanding and it was difficult to take your eyes of the performance.
I was also interested in the way that government interacted with royalty. The king had got to a position where the prime minister depending on whom the king was. George III favoured Pitt the Younger, his son and potential regent favoured Fox as he shared his values of partying. Without the lack of love between the two the Royal Pavilion in Brighton would not have been built.
With a lot of dramas the comedy is the element that really drives the show. At one point Mr King commenting on his painful stomach tells Mrs King (the Queen) that he will attempt a fart and when one of the footmen is sacked it is suggested he help out at a grocery store but as he comments who ever heard of Fortnum and Papendiek.