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The male gaze: Turning the screw

It's been a while since trips to the theatre. I've been busy. But it's nice to see that it's the creative process that is at the heart of Kevin Kelly's Turning the Screw. And what gives rise to it. It's a dramatisation of the creative process leading up to composer Benjamin Britten's premiere of his opera, The Turning of the Screw. With deadlines approaching, Britten seems stuck over melodies and unsure about completing the piece for its summer premiere. But the selection of twelve-year-old choirboy David Hemmings in the leading role of Miles within the opera is the spark that motivates him to complete the piece. And his presence may stir other feelings, too. It's currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre .  Britten's fascination with young boys has been the subject of a detailed book, Britten's Children. The book suggests that Britten saw himself as a young boy of 13. It's almost as if he saw himself as Peter Pan, albeit if Peter Pan was a

Theatre: Nation

About half an hour into Nation, the new "exhilarating" production at the National Theatre at the Olivier Theatre, I hear whispered in my ear the words that you always wish you didn't hear on a night out: "This is a bit boring..." Alas it was the truth. The acting seemed one note, the direction flat, the music painful and there was also the return of the pointless revolve. As for the plot, it kept getting thicker every two minutes. It was as if the creative team decided to shove as much as possible of Terry Pratchett's book on stage and to hell with the consequences. Well the consequences were an awful lot of fidgeting in the audience as if they had fleas, a lot of watch staring and some fairly muted applause at intermission.

Bearing all this in mind, I would have suffered the second half, but I took the advice of some wise theatre peeps who suggested that life is too short to sit through bad plays when you could be enjoying your life at the pub. I did substitute pub for Ben & Jerry's ice cream at home but it had the same effect. Of course it is still in preview until later this month so no doubt it will improve... Having not read the book I never did find out what happened to the two leading characters Mau and Daphne. While it all seemed a bit Blue Lagoon at times, but I dare suspect few people who weren't devotees of the book would give a shit.

One element of drama which happened before the show started was a woman spilling wine spritzer over us. This is becoming a trend at the National. At Mother Courage I was kicked by somebody. Of course National Theatre audiences are so polite they apologise profusely... If only they weren't so clumsy...

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