Thursday, 29 March 2012

Mastery en masse

Last night I went to see The Master and Margarita, staged by theatre group Complicite. I'd heard whispers about the group's genius and reliably sold out shows, but having read the novel - erratic and insane - I was sceptical about a successful adaptation.

I cannot remember I ever saw more compelling theatre. It felt like a circus full of mad enthusiasm, as surreal and gripping as Michael Bulgakow's 1930s novel.

Russian edition of The Master and Margarita by Michael Bulgakow

The Devil comes to Moscow and wreaks havoc. Heads come off, a cat swears in Cockney, and Jesus meets Pontius Pilate. A love story threads through the chaos.

A complex plot requires courage, and Complicite has it en masse. Stunning video and light projections, contemporary music (Rolling Stones, anyone?), and set changes which defy counting - this is 21st century theatre with balls.

How do you show Margarita flying naked through the skies of Moscow? How do you make three hours feel like a short dance with the Devil?

Margarita clutching Master - and his novel
Copyright Tristram Kenton

Start queueing for return tickets.

At the Barbican, until 7 April.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Golem Heights

So the whole craze around The Artist went over my head, since I fell asleep half-way through the predictable plot. Seeing Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam at Wilton's Music Hall this week restored my faith in the silent film.

The 1920s feature recounts the Jewish legend of the Golem, a precursory Frankenstein created by Rabbi Löw to protect the Jewish community from the wrath of the Christian king in 16th century Prague.

The rather ironic historical context aside (pre-WWII German production), this suppposed horror film is both hilarious and timeless, mixing Judeo-Christian pastiche, Hogwarts-meets-Smerfs settings and surprisingly avantgarde special effects.

Der Golem (1920)
The music was played live, with a grand piano, cello, mini-lute, tuba and trumpet. For free. The "city's hidden stage" and supposedly the the world's last surviving Grand Music Hall runs a montly Cinema Club, eclectic and witout charge.

Wilton's Music Hall
For more events at Wilton's, including the threepenny opera, a ping-pong tournamenet and a new adaptation of The Great Gatsby, check out their website.

For silent Golem, see below. Without charge. Without sleep.

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam : Part 1 of 7

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam : Part 2 of 7

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam : Part 3 of 7

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam : Part 4 of 7

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam : Part 5 of 7

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam : Part 6 of 7

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam : Part 7 of 7