Friday, December 30, 2011

Bravo! A Magnificent Production

The last performance of Noah's Ark, (20/12/2011) was nothing less than a resounding success. A spontaneous eruption of applause greeted the actors at the end, as they formed a straight line in front of the cheering audience. With an uninhibited display of youth and energy with each of the various animal characters displaying an uncanny ability to emulate the idiosyncrasies peculiar to the hyena, sheep and goat for instance, such that one was totally convinced that the actors had indeed transmogrified into the particular beast.

This outstanding production - the director's grasp of the play for instance shone through from start to finish - also included some wonderful and eminently hummable music which only added to the sense that this was a play for everyone. This production deserves to live, and should quite rightly be staged again, and again, and everyone in yesterday's full house would I'm sure agree.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Last Night at the Blue Elephant Theatre

On 20th December at 7.30 pm, the final performance of The Blue Elephant Theatre's wonderful adaptation of my father's Noah's Ark, will be staged. With total abandon and unrestrained enthusiasm the whole cast enters the spirit of the piece with a child-like joie de vivre, while both the youthful zest inherent in the play and the underlying philosophical observations of the nature of man, remain.

Following the performance I will answer questions from the audience, which if anything like the probing and incisive nature of those I received earlier in the run are to go by, will keep me on my toes. I cannot be any more partisan than I am about this outstanding homage to my father and his love of the theatre. Come and put me through my paces at the end of one of London's greatest gestures to Mervyn Peake FRSL.

Here's the latest review, from In-Spire LS Magazine.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Collectors' editions

The David le Page Trio at the Deal Festival

Following a performance of David le Page's The Hall of Bright Carvings at the Deal Festival of Arts & Music on 1st December, the audience rose as one in an outpouring of sustained vocal enthusiasm. This poignant, profound, and very powerful musical homage to the life and work of both Mervyn Peake, and his wife Maeve Gilmore, touched hearts and minds. To such an extent that apart from the intellectual impact the words and music had on those at the concert, numerous moist eyes attested to the emotional impact the sixteen short pieces had provoked. In short, a tour de force in which the composer lured the listener into his world, one which through his music, convinced us conclusively that he knew his subject through and through.

Having achieved great success earlier this year, performing the same work before an audience of over 350 at St James's Church, St Peter Port, Guernsey, and repeated in mid-summer in front of an even large public, le Page has now added a coda, Maeve Gilmore's conclusion to the Titus books having now been published. In her denouement to the sequence of books, the eponymous character, Titus Groan, arrives back on Sark, where in a scene unprecedented in all literature, both originator and character meet to become one.

Paintings and Drawings on Show

An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Mervyn Peake and Maeve Gilmore, at the Astor Theatre, Deal, shows for the first time a range of fifteen works from different periods of their life together. The show, which will remain up until Christmas 2011 has several paintings produced on Sark during their stay in the mid to late 1940's.

Earlier water colours, produced when Mervyn Peake lived on the island during the mid 1930's, evoke the idyll of the inter-war years, with his view of the Sark church for instance set against a pastoral scene of hay fields.

A pierrot-like figure in oil dominates however with its strong colour, but other works display the eclecticism for which the artist is known. Influenced by the weather-beaten trees and hedgerows of the wind-blown lanes, Maeve Gilmore's own tableaux brings to life the vulnerability of the isolated island surrounded by the often raging seas for which the area is known.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Noah's Ark - excellent reviews

More praise from The Stage for the new production at the Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell. The play runs until 20th December 2011 and Sebastian will be giving a talk on Saturday 10th December.

And in A Younger Theatre.

And now a review from Carolin Kopplin in UK Theatre.

Also in The British Theatre Guide.

And you can listen to views on London Live. It's about 2 hrs 40 mins in.

More reviews of the new books

'Titus Awakes is a treasure salvaged from the ruins' New Statesman

'Peake does not, as some have said, defy classification; rather, he is beyond classification in any single genre, and therein perhaps lies his genius. In his centenary year it is to be hoped that the latest surge of interest in his enormous range of work will finally help to place him in his rightful position as one of Britain's most brilliant, original and creative figures' Times Literary Supplement

'A century after his birth, the gothic surrealism of Peake's fantasy world still attracts new fans. With more than 100 of his drawings, this splendid anniversary edition will entice even more into the towers, cellars and corridors of his blackly comic castle.'

'Gormenghast's unreality in terms of an outside world is beside the point. For the reader, as for Peake himself, its reality is in the imagination and as the story gathers speed and force, as the author grows more confident in his audacious set-piece inventions--... the reader too becomes an entranced inhabitant of Gormenghast... The energy and relish of the telling, the excitement of the passages of action, the developing imagination and expressive power of the storyteller make it, like The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a spellbinder.' John Spurling in The Spectator.

A tour de force that ranks as one of the twentieth century's most remarkable feats of imaginative writing.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Peake's Progress audio review

This excellent review is from Australia's Good Reading Magazine.

Sark Life reviews

Sebastian writes reviews of The Illustrated Gormenghast and Titus Awakes for the Sark News magazine. Click on the image to read them.