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British Election Circuses Set for Digital Revolution

Mayoral, Councillor, Police Commissioners, European and Parliamentary elections are entertaining shows, but will technology improve or ruin them? This article first published on Suite 101, 7 May 2012.   In some ways like the USA, yet in so many others, very different, the British electoral system is an amalgam of how it has been for two hundred years, how it has been done for most political activists’ lifetimes and the odd experiment/concession in modernity, like postal votes virtually on demand. People are interested/care passionately or are indifferent. But often it appears that the only people who get really excited about all the elections are the media. Yet, everybody who thinks about it appreciates how important democratic decisions are in the lives of every single citizen. City/district and council, parish elections occur every year in some … Read entire article »

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Risque Zero

Compagnie Galapiat, Gt Yarmouth Hippodrome part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2013 Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 27 May 2013 While contemporary, edgy, experimental, zany circus knows no boundaries, the French seem to have cornered the market. Risque Zero proved the point. In the great Hippodrome arena this young company of six created a moving, never-the-same, never-static piece of surreal madness with a talented virtuosity that was stunning. This was not traditional circus in any sense, yet it drew on the traditions of commedia dell’Arte, the Circus of Horrors, the Marquis de Sade and a breathtaking agility that chimed perfectly with the needs of pure entertainment. Mouth ping-pong was totally original. It explored exciting, escalating risk, so we had scenes involving axes, sledgehammers, darts, knives, fire, explosions, teeterboard, Chinese pole and ring juggling … Read entire article »

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The Voice Project

Ideas of winged flight taking off The Voice Project at Norwich Cathedral part of Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2013 Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 13 May 2013   Swirls of ideas and flocks of birds taking flight, soaring to emotional and intellectual delights, came together sublimely in the Voice Project’s work in the great Cathedral arena. As darkness fell outside, the sense of bird above was palpable. The one hundred-strong choir, the brilliant Trio Zephyr, cool saxophonist Andy Sheppard, tenor Jeremy Aris, sopranos Rebecca Askew and Sianed Jones used ten poems about birds from all manner of poets to interpret the wings of flight. Music was variously composed by Karen Wimhurst, Orlando Gough and Barbara Thompson, from differing backgrounds and musical streams. The result was eclectic and rivetting, sometimes quirky and humorous, then sombre and dark. Jonathan … Read entire article »

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Oliver Coates

Oliver Coates at Norwich Playhouse part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2013 Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 13 May 2013 Up and coming cellist Oliver Coates treated the audience in the acoustically apt Playhouse to a stunning masterclass. His virtuosity and the variety of works complemented each other perfectly. The cello fairly sang in harmony and jangled in disharmony, in turn. From Britten’s Ciaccona (Suite No.2 Op.80) to a pair of Bach Preludes (in D major, Cello Suite No.6 and in G major Cello Suite No.1), Coates was in flamboyant interpretative form. He then moved to Block’s ‘Prayer’ from ‘Jewish Life’ and three fragments from Kurtag, including a fascinating two-bow ‘Hommage of John Cage’. David Fennessy’s ‘The room is the resonator’ grew from one note to 12 to one, a dialogue of pitches in a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Reviews