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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Fruits of Greed...


Colchester Mercury Theatre's stunning production of Steinbeck's classic 'Grapes of Wrath' could not be better timed as a counterfoil to today's spending review. I was completely blown away by this production, even having read the book. Of course, readers will know the story is dark and yet redemptive through the sacrifices of some of the key characters.

I confess I am not a regular theatre goer, however this sensitive and highly creative interpretation really hooked me in. In fact I remember failing to watch the movie version all the way through as it seemed to contradict the images my imagination had drawn in my mind's eye. The combination of the physical boundaries of the theatre and the gentle pace meant this play still allowed me to both keep intact those images and to add to them. In fact that conclusion made me realise why film versions of previously read books don't come up to the mark with their literal, photo realistic interpretations which tend to restrict our own imagination so much as we are, actually, watching someone else's imagination instead.

I cannot stress enough if you are in the area do make the effort to go, it is so fantastic in every respect. Brilliant acting, production and staging plus special mention of the musicians who doubled up as actors too. The music was totally live featuring a brilliant fiddle player, multi instrumentalist guitar / banjo / mandolin / slide guitar player, double bass and some occasional percussion. The style was quoted as Bluegrass yet also included a vibrant Hoe Down sequence and incredibly haunting and moving instrumentals.

The closing sequence was breathtaking - simple, redemptive, challenging - not a dry eye in the house! It's on until the 30th October, make the time!

P

3 comments:

sharpies said...

Thanks for your great review, Peter, you didn't exaggerate! I don't know this book but love the theatre, so went to the matinee yesterday (after a tasty Mersea rarebit at the Artcafe!). It was amazing, quite harrowing, but a brilliant, vivid portrayal of what it must be like for those who have nowhere to turn, but courageously try. I loved the way they used the stage, especially the 'river', and created the car; great use of a double bass and a washboard!
At risk of sounding pious, how I pray watching things like this motivates me to take more action for people in a similar situation...

BanksyBoy said...

And you didn't call in?! Shame on you ;-)

Seriously, so pleased you made it to 'Grapes', well done and thanks for the excellent comment, a great review in itself.

Realistically I think there will be many opportunities to help needy folk in this country over the next couple of years...

sharpies said...

Still waiting for that cup of tea ;-) It's a wonder I'm not still driving in circles trying to escape from Colchester and get to Rob's gig!