The Graft

at  Theatre Royal Stratford east NOW.

If you want to see real drama in a theatre production, this is the one. There’s genius lighting, superb acting and acting skills  (slow motion episodes, stage-fights) rationed sets but pointed markers for time and place, (the settee and chandelier, the pub table, ) poetry in the words (the father “I looked around….,I looked around…”), swift scene changes, pacey action , tons of wonderful paraphrased cliches, neat colour coordinations, shocks and surprises, a strong flow, and a bloomin’ strong cast,  outstandingly well directed and produced.

TRSE smashes it again!

Tammy, beautiful  shiny, gloriously tarty Essex woman, begins by telling us that everyone is six yards from someone they know. From that the circle of connections builds and the rapid scenes and revelations add to that truth so that we the spectators are updated and in the know. Sometimes we’re logged into Eastenders but it doesn’t matter. It’s Essex that rules here typified by the stereotypes, the gangsters, the Molls, the get-rich-quick scams, the language, the swearings and still Tammy manages to call others “pond life” as she does her best to quip in the mire and find love in the violence and raw openings of the life she chose. 

Take away all the amateur psychoanalysis, the feeling you’ve been there before and see the play for that: an extreme drama, a fabulous experience, a chance to fall in love with theatre if you hadn’t dated it before. The energy is electric.

Walking Proud in East London

Yes yes yes! There it was loud and proud, a fantastic exhibition from River Cultures showing the diverse appearances and reactions from LGBT members of our communities. Just to get that exhibition up would have been a mammoth task and then to centralise it in the Stratford Cultural Quarter was a great and valuable achievement. If we’re talking tagging, Wapping , Walthamstow and Barking were prominent as preferred places for communities to tolerate, celebrate and recognize differences and similarities. London’s predominantly multi-cultural  make-up is seen as a good place to feel comfortable and that is an historical fact too.  

The exhibition is quietly sitting in the ice-cream foyer at Theatre Royal Stratford east. Cheers TRSE! There’s a great exhibition on too at Hackney Museum with close-up photographs of Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual people coming out and narrating their experiences. Just inspirational!

And cheers Open stage 2012 at TRSE. You buy your tickets to “The Graft”. I’ll not say too much. My thanks to the cast for allowing me a preview of what is a fucking good drama. All great elements happening in that play. Bring ear-plugs if your ears have never heard Essex-speke but never you miss out on a smashing take on the criminal world because of good old fashioned swearing. There is colour, movement, ah, the movement, spangly dresses, fabulous lighting, sets to die for  and a magical screen. It is pure class in Stratford epitomised by the gorgeous chandelier.  Only the interval ice-cream was missing. (I’ve told you about the ginger and honey flavour.)

The production is full of violence in action, words, gestures but who hasn’t watched “Reservoir Dogs”? Every character is memorable which is the essence of the play really. I rate this play highly and be careful because it is selling out fast.

Wind and rehearsals.

122 mph winds recorded in the Orkney Isles. Ah, to breathe that wind again! Orkney is just wind. I used to be picked up by it! My washed bedsheet once travelled from my grounds (much more than a garden) to the island shore despite the storm pegs. It was ripped by the barbed wire fences but good enough still.  Meanwhile Primark on mainland UK had begun the throw-it-away-and-buy-cheap-good-new movement. No Primark on those islands.

On days when the winds were whipping up, first of all the inter-island ferry boat crew  and the fishermen would tell our neighbours at the pier, then the phones would start going as people passed on the warning to batten down the hatches. If it weren’t tied down, it would vanish! Auntie Chrissie lamented the disappearance of her new plastic patio pots from her beautiful house on the hill. They turned up in the village. Sometimes we couldn’t open the front door because of the wind’s strength.

Last night just on midnight, the wind was banging into our houses down the road here. The noise competed with the crowd of police sirens.

I joined the Hermitage Wharf Heritage project, “A Sense Of Place” at 16 Wapping High Street because I wanted to be near the river and the boats and to learn about all the people who populated the area before the eighties. See on www.whatsinwapping.com that there was another successful coffee morning with Ray and the Wapping history group sharing experiences of the docklands as they were.

Photo:-Ray and his compatriots with Patricia who came over from the Caribbean , then in the 1970’s took her kiddies for a bus ride along Wapping and always said she felt the scenery reminded her of the sugar cane fields back home. 

Happy New year!

So here we have a grey cold nasty London Chinese New Year Day. Just come in from a special morning at Theatre Royal Stratford east (what a mouthful eh?). I’d cheekily asked if I as a member of Open Stage 2012 could watch a rehearsal for “The Graft”. I already go to St Luke’s in Old Street to watch London Symphony Orchestra rehearsals for The Barbican. Love a bit of work-in-progress, me. Put off there though as those ‘yummy mummies’ bring in their Tarquins who crawl around the chairs. Fair dos to introduce children to the world of elite white culture but actually they are learning the art of not being aware of other people. Whatever comes out live in Old Street finds its way into Sky Arts anyway. The au pair can enjoy the concerts then as well.

So I was priveleged to watch Ryan and Pat put the actors through their scenes and will say no more except thank you. Play begins Feb 11th based on Martina Cole’s work.

End of the month I’ll be collecting “Half Of A Yellow Sun” to distribute to people I meet in Up Your Street5 haunts all ready for World Book Night on March 5th.  Exciting. Good to give.