Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Little Shop of Horrors (Theatr Clwyd, Mold)

Pics: Catherine Ashmore

Staging something as wacky and raucous as Little Shop of Horrors is an ambitious venture for any theatrical company. You need big sets, big costumes, big talents, and bigger and bigger props. It can't be cheap to put on a show like this, and I imagine this production has stretched the Mold theatre's coffers and creativity to the limits, but thankfully they really pull it off.

Little Shop has a chequered history. Most people have seen or heard of the 1986 Hollywood film starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin, and some people might be aware that director Frank Oz based that film on the 1982 stage musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. But there must be very few people who realise that back in 1960, there was a cheap non-musical film version directed by the king of B-flicks, Roger Corman. It starred nobody you've heard of, but did feature a 23-year-old Jack Nicholson in a bit part.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Dirty Dancing (Venue Cymru, Llandudno)

It felt like I was the only person in the audience who hadn't seen the film, but I'm sure that wasn't true because there were other men there too. Sure, the men were outnumbered by the women 10-1, but I bet a fair few of those men had seen the Dirty Dancing film under duress, or had acquired knowledge of it by osmosis.

Because Dirty Dancing is seriously big for women of a certain age. Along with Ghost and Pretty Woman, it's one of those films they completely lose themselves in, just like men do with Star Wars or Rocky or Top Gun. So although I expected to be surrounded by a majority of ladies when I went to see Dirty Dancing ("The Classic Story on Stage"), I wasn't quite prepared for the unadulterated excitement and passion that I witnessed. It was exhilarating!

The lady next to me was reciting whole passages of dialogue, word for word, verbatim, as they were spoken on stage (thankfully, her husband kept shushing her). The row behind me was very excited before the curtain lifted, swapping memories of the classic 1987 movie, and giving their thoughts about Patrick Swayze (I eventually had to tune out as these thoughts were getting a little too racy!).

Friday, October 02, 2015

Interview with artist Sue Williams about Throb

This is an earlier version of a feature first published on October 2nd, 2015 by Arts Scene in Wales

The barriers we put up between ourselves and those we love when it comes to sex are the subject of an ambitious new multi-form work called Throb which has been five years in the making.

But it's not just barriers that visual artist Sue Williams is interested in – she's also fascinated about breaking down those barriers, and examining the communication (or sometimes, lack of) between the genders when it comes to sex.

Sue is teaming up with other creatives to make Throb an innovative, exploratory, challenging project combining her own paintings and drawings with the work of award-winning poet Rhian Edwards, the choreography of Romain Guion and Marta Zollet, and the musicianship of composer Pete Wyer. Also integral to the creation and direction of Throb is cardiologist Dr Nick Ossei-Gerning, whose expertise is the taboo subject of erectile dysfunction.