Three nights and three very ill people. Monday I wrote about Last Easter, a play about a woman with terminal cancer. Tuesday I watched The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a very disturbed and mentally ill man. Tonight, Gareth Nicolls played a catapletic man petrified about the prospect of being prematurely trapped six feet under in Little Earthquake’s play Premature Burial. Watching a hamster and two humans being buried alive on stage is a perfect way to spend Halloween. The writer, Philip Holyman, taking inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe, created an entertaining, surprisingly humorous, frightening, yet moving play.
Just got back from the Rep where The Door was hosting Bryony Lavery’s (a famous female playwright) new play Last Easter. They’d gone to town on the studio theatre so that instead of facing the audience, they were in the middle. Although the story was about a woman dying of breast cancer, it was funny, but also very moving. The best out-and-out play I’ve seen for a long time.
Way back in September this year I went to the start of the Collide festival for black and asian arts in Birmingham. Well, to outdo Edinburgh, it’s still going on over six weeks later. You could call it a ‘low intensity’ festival. On Thursday night we went to the Drum to the “Out of Africa” event which was previewed at the opening. I’m pleased to say that the music was even better. Steve and Tim, the drummers played their complex African rhythms and were complemented this time by a saxophonist and a guitarist. Actually the guitarist also played bass and kora. Very exciting and uplifting.
The food was great, too. I managed to have three curries from three different continents during the day. Lunch was the weekly works canteen curry (£1.90!). Dinner was Thai at the fantastic Barton Arms, and at the Collide event, I sampled some of the West African food on offer.
We spent Friday night in the master suite of Hotel du Vin in Bristol. Katie managed to blag it for the price of a normal room after complaining of fleas in our room last time. The huge room didn’t have fleas, however it did have a mezzanine level bathroom with two baths and a shower like Victoria Falls. All in all, the room was about the same size as our entire house.
We also went to Cafe Maitreya, voted the best vegetarian restaurant in the country by the Observer. It had quite a hippy vibe which I quite liked, but which surprised Katie. The food was surprisingly dressy given the low-fi kitchen and tasted fresh and unusual.
The more things you do in a weekend the longer it feels, so we arrived from Bristol with our stuff to see a funk band at The Yardbird. They were called The Grits and were really very good.
Last night, we went to the newly reopened Town Hall to see one of the first gigs there, three local, experimental bands. Shady Bard were the only band we knew, and played an excellent set. My friend wants to do a video for them, and conveniently enough had an idea for it while watching them. Modified Toy Orchestra were true to their name. I liked the Speak ‘n Spell vocals which took me right back. Pram had one exceptional song and lots of others of varying quality. Most impressive for an electronica band was the array of instruments which they deployed, everything from a Theremin to a Marimba.