July 3rd, 2003

pixelated

(no subject)

Just been to see a production of Webster's The Duchess of Malfi at the Arts Theatre.

Fairly good overall, the staging was particularly good, dark looming sets leaning over the stage. It's a tragedy of despair, madness, treachery and death; but I didn't really feel the evil that was meant to be shown. In particular, Ferdinand and the Cardinal didn't convey the impression of being powerful men. The Duchess was for the most part well played, and managed to carry her complex character. Bosola was sometimes very good, but it was an inconsistent performance. Antonio was solid but unexciting, more passive than noble.

The nadir of the performance was in Act V, when Ferdinand's ham-acted insanity and despair attracted more laughs than shivers from the audience. Fortunately this was followed immediately by a superbly chilling scene in the graveyard ruins, with the echos of the dead Duchess haunting Antonio.

So, mixed but enjoyable, I don't regret going by any means. For an amateur production, the cast were talented, but I feel the play was a little too much for some of them.
pixelated

(no subject)

Last night I decided to try something a bit different before going to the Theatre, so had dinner in the wine-bar "B" in Market Passage, where the old Arts Cinema used to be.

Not overly impressed. I suppose it's OK for the price, but the place gives the overall impression of trying to do classy wine-bar on the cheap. The decor managed to show a lack of any attention to detail, while going for a generic wine-bar style. There was smoking throughout, and dancey pop music played fairly loud, but not offensively so.

Dinner was some heavily spiced but rather dry lamb with a blob of tzakiki, on rather greasy cous-cous mixed with baby spinach, torn lettuce and tomato. It gave the overall impression of being a reasonably good kebab, rather than a decent restaurant meal. Wine was an average Cotes du Rhone. £12.15 for dinner and a 250ml glass of wine wasn't awful value, but there's better available.

Overall, worth trying to reassure myself that it's not the sort of place I like. At that price range, I'd prefer a traditional pub; it seems that "B"'s attempt to do sophistication on the cheap just doesn't work.