Archive for April, 2009

Interview with Roy Sargeant, Director of Careful. One of the world Premieres in the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

April 23, 2009

The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival hits Dublin this May offering a variety of gay themed drama, ranging from the camp theatrics of “Wonder Woman the Musical” to the far darker side of gay culture in “I love You Bro”, inspired by the true story of a boy who conspires to murder himself. Many of the plays in the festival have already wowed audiences across the globe, however Careful, written by South African playwright Fiona Coyne is a world premiere.

In Careful, we meet actress Jean Baxter, who is getting frustrated with the lack of roles in the new South Africa. When she is offered the role as a lesbian in a production that will allow her to travel, she contacts theatre critic Leila Russell who is an actual lesbian to guide her in the interpretation of the role. The two spend an evening of debate and exploration of sexual identity together and form an unexpected bond. We spoke to director Roy Sargeant on why Careful stands out from the other plays in the festival.





Q: Careful is a world premiere, so people will not have seen any reviews on it yet, can you tell us a bit on the background of the play?


A: It’s so fresh you won’t find anything about Careful on the Internet. It is written by Fiona Coyne, a South African playwright who has six plays under her belt. Although she has a talent for writing drama, her particular niche is comedy, I have directed 3 of her 6 plays so in terms of connection between director and writer we have a special bond. She’s also renowned in our country for being the “bitch in black” as the presenter of the Weakest Link. She is a very distinguished writer who will be coming with us to Ireland for the festival. This is the first time however Fiona has written about gay culture.





Q: The theatre festival is the biggest of its kind in the world, why do you think people should go to Careful above other plays in the festival?



I think Lesbian themed plays have always been a major minority in gay theatre programmes. This is the first lesbian themed play written by a South African, so it has a unique element to it. I know that Brian Merriman (director of submissions for the festival) has always been under pressure from the lesbian quarter to up the anti on including more lesbian themed plays at festivals and even this year there is far more emphasis on gay men in theatre, which is why Careful stands out.  The whole play really deals with sexual orientation. One character Jean is an actress who has been cast in a lesbian role, so she contacts a local theatre critic Leila who is a lesbian to get some tips.  A very interesting evening commences when these two women debate with each other, quarrel with each other, grow to like and even love each other as they explore the whole area of the gay/straight debate. There is a freshness about this rather delicate situation and it has some very interesting references to the actual theatre festival in Dublin. There is a wonderful line at one point where the actress is making quite a lot of headway and Leila says “I think I’d better warn the chicks in Dublin that your on your way”.





Q. And is the main character Jean swayed or allured at all to the lesbian lifestyle?


A. No, not at all, as she says to Leila at one point, “you don’t have to be murderous to play one”. Her character is highly neurotic. After 1994 when South Africa gained it democratic freedom in adjusting the balance of opportunity for theatre practitioners, a lot of senior white actors found less and less work. This is an issue that is also dealt with in the play. As the balance was so rightly corrected to bring black people into the profession, and that is progressing now with certain vigor, which is great. But at the same time some older white actors find it difficult to get roles, particularly from the great European tradition, of the Irish/American/British plays which are very seldom played now in South Africa.




Q. Do you think Careful would appeal to a straight audience as well as a gay one?


A. Without a doubt, Coyne has a very keen eye for encouraging audiences to come and see her work. She has a talent for being very even keyed, in setting up both sides of the argument with great skill. In that respect a straight audience will understand how Jean may find it exotic to learn about such a foreign lifestyle, while a gay audience will see it from Leila’s perspective in dealing with inquisitive straight folk.




Q. You directed The Boy Who Fell From The Roof two years ago at the same festival, how does Careful compare to it?


A. The two plays are polar opposites; The Boy Who Fell From The Roof is a coming of age tale about a young chap coming out. It surrounds lack of parental acceptance and is a sad story with an unhappy ending. Careful is about two adults, two women who have a debate about issues to do with sexual orientation-lifestyle and the basic process of living.



Q. Is there an underlining message that the audience will leave with?


A. I hope that the audience will come away with a new understanding with the gay/straight debate, and that people are just people, sexuality has little importance at the end of the day.



Teachers Club

Time: 21:30


11th May-16th May










Hannah Montana film Review (no number…cuz it’d just be unfair)

April 23, 2009



What if aul’Britters hadn’t married K. Fed, shaved her head, and become the slightly creepy caricature of her former “Hit Me Baby One More Time” self? What if, instead of endorsing her, her family had protected her from the poison chalice that is fame? Hannah Montana the Movie could almost be that “what if” scenario, as the parallels with Ms Spear’s younger self are uncanny.


For those of you unaware of the Hannah Montana phenomenon, the premise is; wholesome southern brunette becomes world’s biggest pop star but wears a blonde wig on stage to keep her identity clandestine to retain a normal life (AKA not going the way of Britney/Lindsey/Paris etc). The Peter Parker to Hannah’s Spiderman is Miley Stewert and the film sees Miley forced to spend 2 weeks away from the glitz of L.A. in her grandmother’s farm in Tennessee. It’s unfair to really give this film a normal review. The Hannah Montana army will lap up her attempts at living it “rough” but it offers zilch to anyone not already on the bubble and squeak bandwagon. With so many quality kid movies being churned out of Disney, the High School Musical generation baffles parents who would far prefer to take their offspring to the likes of WALL-E or Kung Fu Panda. Hannah Montana is what the kids want to see however, and Time magazine’s recent placement of Miley Cyrus as the 148th most influential person on the planet speaks volumes on just how popular this little girl is.

The movie though, is defiantly just for little kids, in fact scrap that, its just for little girls and its doubtful anyone over the age of 14 will be able to stomach Hannah’s Sugary franchise. Still, the moral is worthy and with so many teeny celebrities delving in sex drugs and bubble gum pop, perhaps Hannah isn’t such a bad thing. It’s just a pity Miley Cyrus doesn’t take some of her lead role’s advice.

Album Review, Super Furry Animals-Dark Days/Light Years 5/10

April 14, 2009




Whether it be donning Power Ranger costumes on stage or christening their debut album after a 58-lettered Welsh village, the Super Furry Animals have earned a status for crafting Psychedelic Rock, whilst never seeming anxious of seeming a bit daft at the same time. They have their niche and they seem happy sticking to it. Why should they modify? On their 9th album in 13 years; their formula remains fresh and whilst it’s unlikely to earn them any new fans, it will certainly keep old faithfuls happy.


In keeping with their back catalogue; Dark Days/Light Years feels like it was concocted in a cauldron rather than in a recording studio. Opener Crazy Naked Girls is a dawdling start with six minutes of the same three words repeated to the same three notes. However, as soon as Mountain pops on; all is exonerated, as they revert into the happy and vaguely sleepy compositions they do best. Inaugural Trams is the highlight track and while it does still suffer from repetition, Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy offers a delightfully camp German monologue as a bridge that saves the day. The Very Best of Neil Diamond and Lliwiau Llachar both offer bizarre gratification and don’t extend their welcome but too many of the songs believe they are bigger then they are. Did Cardiff in the Sun really need to be Eight Minutes Long? This irritating need for non-epical epics stains the album’s stream and listening becomes a needless chore. This is a pity, as a less indulgent approach to production would have lead to the Super Furry Animals most electrifying body of work to date.


Like a pair of converse or a winning Eurovision song, the album ticks all the boxes on the first few rounds however repeated listening offers no support and leaves you cramping up. Not to worry though, they are sure to release another album in a matter of minutes…






See also

Gorillaz-Demon Days

Supergrass-Road to Rouen



Album Review, Bat for Lashes-Two Suns 8/10

April 8, 2009





I really wanted to like Bat for Lashes with the release of her 2006 debut Fur and Gold.

She stood out from her peers with her unpretentious originality and her ghostly voice, however Fur and Gold was only a good album, not a great one. An onslaught of sailing notes with no real destination gave the album an unfinished feel and although her talent was evident, the album didn’t show it off enough. With Two Suns however BFL (aka Natasha Khan) has created somewhat of a masterpiece and all is forgiven.


Dancing with the theme of duality, BFL explores two worlds, two lovers  and two personalities- introducing us to her alter ego Pearl. Such a strong concept can appear hammy and runs the risk of taking focus off the music itself, but instead Pearl allows BFL to sing songs that would otherwise seem uncharacteristic. There are definite Bjork and PJ Harvey elements to the album, but Khan deserves her own recognition as an influencer and surprises us more then once. Peace of Mind is fantastic renaissance style gospel that could be sung by no one else. Tribal and cosmic elements litter the opener Glass and Sleep Alone has a touch of Roisin Murphy.

If there are any faults to mention perhaps the album slumps slightly towards the end, however even Two Sun’s duller moments shine well above the best material of her peers. The final track The Big Sleep is a rare duet with Scott Walker. His phantom like voice dances with Khan’s beautifully and is the perfect ending to the album. There have been many singers looking to inherit Kate Bush’s crown of a chanteuse to the wonderfully weird. Until now none have come close, Bat for Lashes however may be that girl.



See Also- Kate Bush -Aerial

                 Siobhan Donaghy-Ghosts