Monday, 4 July 2011

Pride London 2011 - Pictures


Another year and another Pride have gone. My 10th Pride in London. Like last year, I was walking with the London Gay Men's Chorus but for some reason it all felt a bit underwhelming. And I am not even sure why as no noticeable difference springs to mind.

My pictures of the day can be found on flickr, here.

Previous sets of pictures:
Pride London 2007
Pride London 2008
Pride London 2009
Pride London 2010

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Review: Park Avenue Cat @ Arts Theatre

As we are steadily reminded throughout the hour and half hour of Park Avenue Cat, the new play by Frank Strausser, which had its "world premiere" this week-end at the Arts Theatre, time is money. Most of the play takes place in the office of a posh LA therapist who charges $200 per hour.

So, having sat through the play, I am wondering why the author spent time writing it, why a production team spent time putting it up and why I and any audience member are asked to spent time (and money) watching it.

The play, said to be "a triangle with four corners" (!), brings together a therapist (Tessa Peake-Jones), who is probably not enjoying her job all that much), Lily (Josefina Gabrielle - the eponymous Parc Avenue cat) as well as Philip (Gray O'Brien - aka Tony Gordon in Coronation Street) and Dorian (Daniel Weyman), Lily's lovers.

In an interview on the play's dedicated website, Strausser (who was in the audience) explains that he thinks comedy comes out of awkward situations. Here the situations (and the plot) are not only awkward, they are also much too convoluted, nonsensical, sometimes contradictory and certainly not "hilarious".

Situation comedy has an established habit of asking us to suspend our disbelief but this is pushing to the point of asking us to perform an execution by hanging.

The only really clever bit of the play is the set design (by Mark Walters), which comprises two revolving sections that allow the creation of the three different sets of the play.

The performances are only marginally more convincing than the hyper-fake American accent that everyone is putting on (even I could spot something was wrong). The worst culprit on both counts (performance and accent) is in my view Tessa Peake-Jones, who simply overacts without giving much feeling to her character (not that the play gives her much room to display any of any depth).

In the aforementioned interview, the author also informs us that the play is not about therapy but about relationships. Sadly at the end we are not at all the wiser as to who the characters are, what their motivations are and what brings them together. Indeed we are not even sure that there are any kinds of relationships going on between them.

Lily in particular remains mostly an enigma though we gather that she is an insecure aging beauty who doesn't know what she wants and possibly (as inferred by the title) not much else than a gold digger. Sadly the play doesn't really take the time to analyse any of these things and what lies behind them.

Therefore, unlike so many people don't waste your time (and money) on this Park Avenue tat.

Park Avenue Cat is at the Arts Theatre until 19 August 2011 (maybe).