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The Fiona MacCarthy

What pleases and annoys

Instinctive, impulsive, and logical but always passionate and reflective of what I feel here and now.

Individual blogs are in most recent, first sequence and are also grouped in various "categories" which are just to the right & down a bit should you prefer to search that way. Please feel free to add a comment.

Blog restarted June 2018

From Nov 4th

Week that was Posted on Sun, November 04, 2018 13:25:32

Point incredibly well made (to me that is; as wiser heads know better) about the importance of Mental Health to us all by “Clear White Light” at Live Theatre (last night), as it weaved a tale of a single frightening first night-shift for a psychiatric nurse on a ward in an ageing neglected hospital (gothic / nhs angle) interspersed frequently with the music of Lindisfarne and based on a poem by Edgar Poe who might feel neglected by the business of everything else that was part of the show. No harm in that (poe angle, that is) me thinks as it was very well acted and played with clever staging and great relevant music. The “point well made” is that a mental health issue can occur in any one of us, at any time probably triggered by some event outside our control. More understanding and concern required as would happen with a physical injury. A personal co-incidence that my next work contract starting Monday is with Mental Health Concern and show ticket bought well before the work contract appeared.

Next week via “Northern Stage” I am off (non-literally) to the Welsh village of Llareggub for a play “Under Milk wood” that was originally written as a radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and later made into a film starring Richard Burton with Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O’Toole. Is described as a contemporary, technological twist on a classic text and the village name as above has been spelt backwards to protect the simple. But you saw through that ruse?.

On the reading scene (mine) “R.U.R.” by the Czech writer Karel Capek some 95 years ago is intriguingly relevant to the current day in terms of how we interact with robots, those with AI (artificial intelligence) rather than the more simplistic. For Karel, it must have been some amazing science fiction details but his analysis of the ethical issues arising from more intelligent robots was very prescient. (Imagine your best friend spending a weekend with a sex-robot or Don’t!!). Also part of the same book was “the Insect play” where Karel writes with his brother Josef who was himself to die in Belsen later. It is beautifully imaginative story about the interaction of various caterpillars butterflies etc with a tramp. Timeless tale of quality.

Nine great Greek lives by Plutarch (nearly 2000 years ago) is generally long on battles treachery spontaneity of actions with inherent non mentioned “luck” as otherwise some of the nine might not have become so well known. The story of Alexander of Macedon who in his short 33 year life conquered Persia from Turkey across to North West India is delivered with a more human touch than the other 8 in terms of eg his adopting of local customs and how this created opposition from his conservative followers before returning us to the battles and plundering.

From Oct 28th

Week that was Posted on Sun, November 04, 2018 13:24:49

Sex murder violence, glorious singing and fab music. Night at home? Of course not. “Tosca” by Puccini at Theatre Royal was a delight in timelessness of what appeals to the emotions and senses. Singing voices of the various leads was out of this world and proof to humble me that its not just London that can be tops.

Earlier in week also enjoyed “Merry Widow” also by Opera North with great and funny singing-script. That’s my Opera for 2018 as Opera North only return in March.

Reading enjoyed this week has been “Irish revolution: 1912-23: Waterford” and gutted (not quite literally) to see that neither my catholic nor protestant ancestors feature. This confirms my atheistic journey as an alternative to their religious anonymity. The book itself was a great analysis of family political and most interestingly for me the struggles of the working people for a decent wage.
“Property” by Valerie Martin was an intriguing portrayal of s slave owning self justification of their property owning rights. Inside the skin of the slave owners (told from the views of the wife of the owner) and repulsed by the attitudes reflected. Cannot reconcile bible handlers-cradlers-huggers with mistreating humans. A worse version of Irish labourers in the other book.

Next week’s play is “Clear white light” at what is my favourite Tyneside theatre “Live theatre”. Gothic tale in austerity setting with music.

From Oct 21st

Week that was Posted on Sun, November 04, 2018 13:22:32

Good night out at “3 Musketeers” by Northern Ballet at Theatre Royal. Some beautiful and excellent dancing, fast paced action and romance story, stunningly beautiful costumes and great sets. Orchestra was great too and truly complemented the choreography.
Next week’s plan is Puccini’s Tosca.

Recent reading has been a biography on the first female cabinet minister of a European (excluding russia) country: Constance Markievicz of Ireland who played a big part in the Easter uprising and in subsequent events. A wonderful colourful dynamic rebel personally and politically.
Also enjoyed was “Ramayana” by Daljit Nagra. a delightful warm story from ancient India and “Secret Scriptures” by Sebastian Barry which is a magical woven tale from ireland over several generations of past lives being remembered: rare for me to find a book that refuses to be put down.

From Oct 14th

Week that was Posted on Sun, November 04, 2018 13:21:31

Laughed quite a bit, smiled a lot but “Vulcan 7” was not “hilarious”: that is (for me) when tears of laughter roll. Starring Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer very well supported by Lois Chimimba (thats the cast) waiting for filming to start on set of a movie (hint in name) on edge of an Icelandic volcano. Their “movie parts” are small and they reflect with competitive sometimes dark humour on their respective careers which have not been stellar in comparison with their youthful dreams. Great acting and delivery however the script could have been sharper, more content rich and less in swearing most of which did not add to the performance (some did). Next Saturday for me is “3 Musketeers” at same venue by Northern Ballet.

From Sept 23rd

Week that was Posted on Sun, November 04, 2018 13:20:40

Four movies and a Play
“American Animals” features a bird and some bird pictures and is wonderful movie on how not to rob some very valuable books about birds and animals. Its based very much on factual idiots (american in this case) delivered in a much better movie than any synopsis might convey of this robber crime genre but might be worth waiting for on the telly some day. The ending allows an opportunity for the actual crooks to open up alternative and insightful views of the roles of the 4 protaginists played by younger men in this most inept intermittently comic actual robbery. 3 stars from 5.

“Lucky” features a wonderful animal called Roosevelt whose liberation antics (he was lucky) are very much an analogy for the challenges in life facing an ageing human star of this movie who is surprisingly called Lucky as has not been for quite some time. Human kindness helps transform the quality of his life. I see many traits of Lucky common to those who might read this. Script, Music, and Camera work are excellent. No other Roosevelts appear. 4.5 stars from 5. PS smokers will enjoy this movie.

“The Rider” is a wonderful movie featuring several horses who are much better looking than the human stars, the main one of whom has to come to term with impact of an accident on his ambitions working with horses. He adapts and all ends….. will not spoil. The script is realistic, camera work excellent, music good. 4 stars from 5.

“Cold wars” is for the linguists (4 european languages at least) or those who okay with subtitles ie can read. Shot in black and white it is very well done looking at love between a Polish couple post WW2. It does not get into the minds of the lovers which is in my opinion a weakness. 3 stars from 5.

The Play this week was “War of the Worlds” at Northern Stage coming soon to a NE regional theatre including Exchange at NS. An excellent cast of 4 with a minimalistic stage deliver a clever north east adaptation of the original WotW. you dont know the story? eeekkksss. 4 stars from 5.