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Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Archive for June 12th, 2009

Polar Ends Of The Arts Spectrum

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On Sunday I went to see For The Best at the Unicorn Theatre. It is an installation produced by the artist-in-residence at the kidney dialysis unit at the Evelina Hospital School. The Guardian gave it five stars:

There is a lot of the dark here – a black-eyed figure stalks the family – but also a heart-breaking and ethereal beauty, not least in the mother who, when medicine fails, will try to keep her child alive through sheer force of will. It is a devastating theatrical journey that throws dazzling light on the idea of illness as metaphor.

Earlier in the year I complained that Down The Rabbit Hole was basically a load of stuff in a building. Well, the conception and execution are far superior here but it still amounts to a load of stuff in a building. The journey through the hidden parts of the Unicorn which the installation takes is skillful but you can’t shake the feeling that the producers have thought, for example, “hmm, this is a tall space, we could stick a bit of rope-work in here.” I was moved in parts but I was craving a unity that wasn’t there.

On Thursday I went to see Britney Spears at the O2. She’s been the American (wet) dream since she was seventeen. The Guardian gave her three stars:

The audience can’t possibly have turned up in order to hear her greatest hits sung live, given that everyone seems to accept that Spears isn’t singing live – certainly there are moments when Spears could no more obviously be miming were she wearing white face make-up and pretending to walk against the wind.

Britters takes the stage dressed as a ringmaster but she in the shades and faux-military clobber bears more than a passing resemblance to Michael Jackson (there are also nods to Rhythmn Nation-era Janet Jackson later on). It is appropriate; this is a damaged pop icon trading on former glories. She is slow, tired and quite possibly drunk. It is two thirds of the way through the concert before she even speaks, let alone sings. Straight afterwards she does actually pick up the mic for a rendition of Everytime (sitting on a giant floating umbrella, natch) and it brings the loudest cheering of the night. It is all too brief though. For the rest of the time she fulfills the role of the magician’s assistant, required to do nothing more than walk around in a sequined bra. But still: it’s Britney, bitch.

Written by Martin

12 June 2009 at 10:17