Tuesday 12 May 2009

Roast beef and custard

Last night we went to the Norwich Arts Centre to see a performance of a show of words and music called ‘Phrased & Confused’. Unfortunately it was not that well attended (thank goodness they are getting an Arts Council grant). Whether this was down to poor publicity, poor or insufficient reviews or just bad luck I have no idea but it did seem a shame. The arts are going to suffer in this recession of that there is no doubt.

The show was basically made up of four acts:

• Dead Poets, a mash-up of MC-ing and poetry, courtesy of MC Mixy and poet Mark Grist.
• ‘atmospheric’ poet Aoife Mannix and accordionist Janie Armour
Murray Lachlan Young
• Canadian folk collective Woodpigeon

Each act was very different from all of the others, which meant there was essentially something for everyone. I was impressed by the Dead Poets they amused, they pushed at a few boundaries and they provoked a few thoughts in me. I’ve no doubt that it has been done, but I sat thinking that a Shakespeare play executed in the rap style would be interesting to watch. The main reason for going, as far as I was concerned, was to see Murray Lachlan Young, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. His shit-hot alliteration, assonance and good old fashioned repetition, along with diverse subject matter, amusing introductions and very funny poems delivered in a faultless and expressive manner make for a mesmerising performance. The audience loved him and rightly so. The man is a genius. If you get a chance to see this man, do it. You will not regret it, I promise you!

Unfortunately I didn’t go a bundle on the other two acts. That’s not to say that they weren’t any good, it was just that they weren’t to my liking. They simply were not my cup of tea. My only criticism is with whoever produced the show. Shoddy would be putting it mildly. Very little thought seemed to have been given to the flow of the performance, as a result the pace was just so erratic that it reduced the impact, and at times challenged one’s concentration. It had the feeling of being slung together with very little thought which is so unfair to the artists involved. Think of it as a three course meal with its constituent parts served up in big uncomplimentary incompatible dollops. With a holistic approach the result would have most definitely been a show that was far greater than the sum of its parts rather than the pig’s ear that it was!

P.S Murray Lachlan Young was truly the headline act so why wasn’t he put on last?

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