Saturday, 29 October 2011

Macbeth, by SUDS: Review

SUDS ‘Macbeth’, hyped as Shakespeare meets Guy Ritchie, actually had very little Ritchie but plenty of what you would expect from one of Britain’s literary greats. Straight from the off, it was the pure brilliance of acting and recital of ludicrously long pros that drove the play forward. Dressed in modern attire, but still conversing in the archaic nature true to that of old Bill’s original script, the actor’s ability to portray the sense of chaos surrounding Mr and Mrs Macbeth was extremely impressive. Macbeth, played by Adam Welsh, was exceedingly good at convincing the audience of the increasing psychological problems haunting his soon to end life. The intensity and madness in his eyes was simply menacing. As they say, behind every great man there is a great woman; Macbeth was no exception. Along with Ross Middleton and John Bruce, Katrina Allen playing Lady Macbeth stole the show as she showcased her talents and persuaded Macbeth into her plans of regicide. Like Welsh, Allen succeeded in luring the audience into her increasingly guilt smothered psyche, to the point where the audience were taken to the core themes of the Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish play’. Director Halon’s creative touches to the play added much in places and the stand out scene was that of Banquo’s (Middleton) return to haunt Macbeth at a banquet; his makeup horrifying. However, whilst the acting on average was extremely high, the lack of props and the minimal mise-en-scene maybe lacked a little originality to accompany the high standards set by the performers. It really was the acting and direction of the play that made it so gripping and one of marvellous art showcasing some terrific talent along the way.

Tracks of 2011 so far: Playlist

He's a 10 track playlist of some of the best songs released this year - feel free to comment or create your own in response!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: A Review

Anyone that was slightly disappointed with Liam Gallagher’s attempts to prove he was the brain behind Oasis will probably be more than uplifted with Noel’s response. Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds would mostly definitely be one of Oasis’ finest releases since the release of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory were they still together today.Such highly anticipated albums by artists such as Noel Gallagher, one of Britain’s most successful singer songwriters over the past two decades, have in the past had a habit of not living up to their hype. Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds is an exception. It seems this album is where he’s been storing a back catalogue of songs for a number of years.

The long awaited release starts with “Everybodys on the Run”, an epic opening anthem with a beautiful mix of strings and female vocals accompanying an irresistibly catchy chorus, which bleeds emotion.

However, like most of Oasis’ albums since 1996, only half the tracks are of an outstanding quality, but when it shines, it shines like the sun, to use Noel’s lyrics. Three tracks in and you’ll find ‘If I Had A Gun’, one of the most beautiful songs he may have written. Its delicacy shows maturity in Gallagher’s songwriting. Whilst in the past Oasis wrote anthems, this is a ballad that has the perfect blend of sentimental emotion and raucous guitar backing his impressive vocal range, fully showcased for the first time.

Any doubters of Oasis in the past may want to reconsider their stance on Noel. One of the main criticisms of his former work was the inflexibility of his songwriting and an inability to produce anything other than generic guitar based anthems. His latest single from the album, AKA What A Life, demonstrates he’s catching up with contemporary ‘popular’ music with a track more based on the melody of the piano rather than that of his guitar. It is a track he confesses is the first song he’s ever written which “you can dance to”.

And it is AKA What A Life, along with Everybody’s on the Run and If I Had a Gun that standout on an album people can genuinely get excited about. Upon the release of the first single from the album (‘The Death of You and I’), Noel noted the fact it was the only single in the 40 by a) someone over the age of 45 and b) a guitar based track. It has already proven a hit, beating the debut album of last year’s XFactor winner Matt Cardle to the top spot in the album charts in its first week, something Noel might consider a small victory for music. It appears one of the true greats from a hazy period of great music, which formed the soundtrack to many people’s golden days, still has it.
4/5 Stars.