Tess of the D’Urbervilles – lush, melodramatic, rich, gothic
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
I really loved this book. It’s a tall tale about two boys growing up, one of whom believes that he is God’s instrument. It’s funny, the characters are vivid and the story is gripping and moving.
The bit that slowed the story down were the flash forwards to the narrator as an older man – when he rails against the Reagan administration. I suppose that bit made more sense because that bit was contemporary when the book was first published.
Musical comedy about a man who’s about to commit suicide, with flashbacks explaining how he ended up on the ledge. There’s a pianist, which is fine, but the cast repeatedly play instruments accompanying the piano to no real effect (presumably just because they can). The lead actor even displaces the pianist for some songs when he’s not in a scene, leaving the poor pianist stood there like a lemon. I’m not sure what the point of that was. Did the actor just want to prove he could play the piano? Did he write the music? The pianist didn’t get to join in with the dance routines, so don’t try to muscle in on his job!
I was attracted by the brilliant poster. I didn’t realise until the end that this was Herring’s first ever solo show and he’s revived it ten years later. Maybe he was a bit more earnest about the “what does it all mean?” parts of his show back in the day. He sort of throws them away now. Some good gags, especially when he re-drafts the Ten Commandments.
We picked this on the basis of the excellent poster, which styled Brown, Clegg, Cameron and Obama as the A Team. I didn’t pay attention to the “Revue” bit so was expecting topical satire in the style of Have I got News for You. But it did exactly what it said on the tin and was a full revue – an all-singing, all-dancing case of four performed songs and sketches about the coalition and the BP oil disaster. So a couple of months old but you can’t really expect them to come up with a whole new set of songs and choreography every week I guess. The performances were all very polished, with the performers even handling a puppet version of Nick Clegg.