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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Review: An American in Paris - Dominion Theatre


An American in Paris, inspired by the 1951 Academy Award winning film, has been on my list since it arrived in the West End, following its critically-acclaimed run on Broadway. Having never seen the film, it wasn't the adaptation as such that intrigued me, but the fact that the Tony Award winning new musical incorporates the music of George and Ira Gershwin.

This rich and playful score is descriptive and full enough to tell a story of its own, and a lot of the time it does, with expansive sections of orchestral music in comprehensive dialogue with just the movement on stage.

Bob Crowley's beautiful set design is as much a work of art as the classic pieces it enticingly evokes, with projections rippling across a combination of static and moving surfaces. What are effectively blank canvases on wheels are spun around the stage by the cast, equal parts choreography and design. Projections of Paris sweep across these surfaces with the fluidity of the stroke of a brush, with one scene bleeding into the next like watercolour into the pores of the page.

The plot, which is somewhat thickened from the MGM film, is a sturdy (if not a little predictable) classic romance, sprinkled with witty remarks and just the right amount of laughter. However, where musical numbers are often an embellishment upon a purposeful narrative, in this case the story is overshadowed by the performance itself, reduced to the foundations of the flourishing palace of music and dance.

Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography is the real star of the show and its execution is impeccable. This is not a show punctuated by sections of dance, but rather one continual current of movement, a stream of consciousness that ebbs and flows through sorrow, triumph, fear and elation.

Saturday evening was Robert Fairchild’s final show as leading man Jerry Mulligan, and what a privilege it was to witness his astounding performance. However, An American in Paris is by no means a one-man show, and the cast is made up of a collection of incredibly talented dancers, who carry their characters with commendable gumption and an ear for song.

While the story itself is a little too unsurprising to pack any real punch, you leave the theatre mesmerised by an enchanting evening of dreamlike sequences, pining for your own Parisian escapade.
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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Review: Me, Myself and Them – Dan Mooney


Denis Murphy is living with monsters. And we are introduced to these monsters from the opening sentence of the novel, as the four watch him eating his smoked salmon and brown bread. These aren’t just demons in Denis’ head, or skeletons in his closet, or monsters under the bed, these are four very real creatures manifested in quite disturbing forms. A gruesome clown, a rotting professor, a nondescript hairy being and a woman that is also a cat.

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Review: Blame – Paul Read


n.b. This image contains a proof copy, not the final cover of the book.
Although Paul Read’s Blame exists in a few narrative spaces, spanning various points in protagonist Lucas’s life, ultimately they all lead to one common denominator: Lucas’s relationship with his father.

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Friday, 21 April 2017

Poetry Journal I – Beginnings


I've touched on my thoughts on poetry before, in a post outlining my goals for this year and during my review of Rupi Kaur’s Milk & Honey, but for the sake of detailing my Poetry Journal process so far, it makes sense to start from the beginning again.
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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Review: The Magician’s Lie – Greer Macallister

n.b. This image contains a proof copy, not the final cover of the book.
In ‘A Conversation with the Author’ at the end of The Magician’s Lie, Greer Macallister suggests that ‘writers are illusionists who work in words’, a ‘kind of magician’. Though illusion forms the premise of the Macallister’s plot, it is her aptitude for truly enchanting storytelling that carries the real magic of this book.

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Monday, 6 March 2017

Review: Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur


I had seen bits of Rupi Kaur’s poetry floating around the internet for a while but hadn’t paid much attention until I saw a few people reference her book, Milk and Honey, and it went straight onto my to-read list.

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Review: The Song of the Stork - Stephan Collishaw

n.b. This image contains a proof copy, not the final cover of the book.

The Song of the Stork is a beautifully written and poignant novel about a young girl in Poland during the Second World War. Yael, a fifteen-year-old Jewish girl, has been separated from her family and is fighting for survival when she comes across the farm of the village outcast and takes refuge in his house. The novel is split between the period she hides with Aleksei, who is unable to speak, and the gentle relationship that ensues, and the time she spends with a Jewish partisan group fighting in the woods.
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