New writing specialists Out of Joint, already touring Shopping and Fucking, present the world premiere of a double-bill by Caryl Churchill. Heart's Desire concerns a family waiting for a daughter to return from Australia; Blue Kettle is about a man who cons women into believing he is their long-lost son. The cast includes Valerie Lilley, Mary Macleod, Bernard Gallagher, Jason Watkins and Anna Wing. Julian McGowan designs and Max Stafford-Clark directs.
David Benedict hailed "an exceedingly rare theatrical coup ... bursting with delights and surprises, doubts and terrors, hopes and dreams ... extraordinarily emotional." "Churchill has a major hit on her hands ... an unsettling mixture of wild laughter and profound unease," cheered the Telegraph. "A stylish though sometimes over-emphatic demonstration of theatrical virtuosity," smiled The Observer. "Furiously witty ... the distorting effect of a poltergeist loose in the house, laying bare the chaos lurking beneath ... exquisitely acted," nodded The Guardian. "Entertaining and intriguing and cries out to be described in Edinburgh short-hand as `off-beat'," approved the FT. "Form for form's sake simply won't do any more ... the sight and sound of former glory boys missing the mark entirely," bleated The Times.
Final performance tonight at the Traverse, Edinburgh (0131-228 1404). At the Royal Court Downstairs from 17 Sept (0171-565 5000) then touring.
A riveting production of a strikingly theatrical, cunning and powerfully compassionate work. Watching Blue Heart is a captivating, heady pleasure.
The play of the year.
Robert Carlyle abandons his Hamish Macbeth cutes and Trainspotting terrors to play an unemployed steelworker who teams up with his mates to become Sheffield's answer to The Chippendales. Written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Peter Cattaneo, this British film also stars Mark Addy, Tom Wilkinson (as the choreographer) and the British film staple Lesley Sharp.
Adam Mars-Jones enjoyed "an often entertaining" comedy but "for all the emphasised Englishness of the setting and its people, a lot of American- style growth has gone on". "It's hard not to cheer for the ill-assorted hoofers ... You leave the cinema on a wave of good-will," applauded the FT. "Painfully funny ... at such moments movies become a treat again," praised the Standard. "Some supposedly feel-good films are so bent on their goal they back-fire and make you feel ill. The Full Monty does not," grinned The Times. "Will be this summer's smash hit," predicted the Mail. "Exposes the parts that other films dare not reach," yelped The Sun. "Bloody funny. Frankly, I can't remember a preview of a British movie where the audience had a better time," beamed Time Out.
Cert 15, 91 minutes, on general release.
A surprise runaway hit in America, presumably seen as an antidote to Merchant-Ivory and Hugh Grant styles of Englishness, it looks set to storm Britain. And why not?
Late on Thursday night, the judges awarded the sixth pounds 25,000 Mercury music prize to the Bristol-based drum'n'bass collective Roni Size with Reprazent for their album New Form. The favourites had been Radiohead. The other nominees were Suede, Beth Orton, the Chemical Brothers, The Spice Girls, Radiohead, The Prodigy, Primal Scream and two classical composers, Mark-Anthony Turnage and John Tavener. The betting on Roni Size was 16/1.
Phil Johnson was certain. "Dirty great slabs of bass make your heart leap in its cage like a stun-gunned canary; skittering snare rhythms drill deep into the central nervous system." "An album of inspirational brilliance ... music that transcends the limitations of the genre," crowed The Times. "The fusion's novelty palls over the full 134 minutes, but at times the effect is mesmerising," admitted the Telegraph. "Refreshingly spring-heeled ... drum'n'bass has been running a bit low on evolutionary momentum lately, and it's good to see someone doing their bit to cut the deficit," affirmed the Independent on Sunday. "Great music, irrespective of the form ... it deserves to reach at least some of the as-yet-unconverted ... stands as a benchmark album for the genre," declared The Sunday Times.
A double CD on Talkin' Loud 534 933. Shop around for a bargain price.
A surprise win for a prize often regarded as a stitch up between the record companies. But why bother to include classical titles when they never win?
The Full Monty
THE MERCURY PRIZE WINNERS
Roni Size / Reprazent