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Monday, 24 May 2010

Gigs - Natalie Merchant - The Lowry, Salford

Star rating 8/10

First a bit of a confession – I adore Natalie Merchant. I’m not sure just how many times I have seen her live now but suffice it to say that for me she has the voice of an angel and she could sing the phone book and I would fall under her spell. So I need to try to be objective about my review here.

This tour, her first in the UK for seven years, is to promote her new epic album ‘Leave Your Sleep’, which is the culmination of a six year project to set children’s poetry from British and American poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to music. And the first chunk of the show (over one and a quarter hours of it) are devoted to performances of some of the poems and a bit of a back story with slide show from Natalie about the writers and their lives. (Be warned she comes on stage at 8pm and stays on for 2 and a quarter hours so don’t arrive late to miss the support act!)There are interesting tales of bigamists and pioneers, of soldiers and businessmen, who were all poets on the sly. Many of them did not actually get their works published in their lifetime – so this has been an obvious labour of love by Ms Merchant.

And some of the songs are lovely, undoubtedly. Many are very dark and bleak – surprisingly so for children’s verses. I have to admit that maybe half an hour of them would have been enough for me. But this is Natalie so I will let her off almost anything.

When she did get to the older songs from her back catalogue she enchanted as ever with her warm and powerful voice, telling tales of sorry, joy, and injustice. She performed songs from Tiger Lily, Ophelia and Motherland – all fabulous albums. She performed her tribute to the late River Phoenix, ‘River’, which is haunting in its sadness. Her version of ‘Motherland’ was tonight peppered with a few references to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the behaviour of BP. ‘Tell Yourself’ raged against the beauty industry brainwashing young girls into feeling dissatisfied with their appearance. Always angry, always fighting for justice, and just a little bit barking mad. And we rightly love her for it.

Her beautiful voice was as usual accompanied by strange and mesmerising dancing and gesticulations on stage. A couple of uplifting moments came in the form of ‘Life is Sweet’, and a grateful finale of ‘Kind and Generous’ - the crowd were grateful for another fabulous performance, and Natalie was grateful to them back. Bit of a love in really. But I did warn you. Just hope she doesn't leave it another seven years before coming back.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Exhibition - High Kicks and Low Life: Toulouse Lautrec - Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Star rating 6/10

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec was born in 1864, and lived for much of his life until his death in 1901 in Paris. This interesting exhibition shows his depictions of the Montmartre district of the city, distinct with its bars, cafes and music halls.

His prints and posters remain popular to this day, with his depiction of prostitutes in everyday rather than erotic poses. His pictures of one woman having her hair combed by another; and one with her breakfast being brought to her in bed by the madame, with her tousled hair showing after a hard nights work, are both very sympathetic images. His ‘Elles – The Seated Clownesse’, is lovely in shades of pink and yellow, whilst she look sad and removed from the people around her.

But my favourites are the vivid scenes of the music halls, with the erotic can can dancers, and glamour of the music hall. Divan Japona’s 1893 picture of a sophisticated woman in black sitting at a cafĂ© amongst an orchestra playing behind here is very evocative. And his wealthy couple in a box at the theatre are lovely. So overall an interesting if not mind blowingly beautiful collection.

Exhibition - Picasso - Peace + Freedom - Tate Liverpool

Star rating – 8/10

This new exhibition featuring hundreds of pieces by Picasso gives a different focus to the great man than perhaps we are used to thinking about – that of the political radical. The obvious elephant in the room here though, is his magnificent Guernica, showing the destruction and massacre of the Basque town by Franco’s forces.

Picasso was quite the radical, as well as the womaniser we are perhaps more familiar with, joining the French Communist Party in 1944, and remaining a member until his death in 1973. This fascinating collection shows just how strong his desire was for peace and freedom. He clearly viewed art as a means of liberation.

The exhibition begins with some tributes by him to the Spanish republicans who died fighting in the French resistance. The shocking ‘Charnel House’ of 1944 represents the murder of Spanish republican families in their own homes, and his mass of tangled bodies remains unfinished. But then he was not particularly worried about that and said that ‘only death finishes something’.

His many still life drawings feature disturbing skulls in amongst everyday objects such as leeks and pitchers. And his iconic and beautifully simple depiction of a dove was taken up as a powerful campaigning symbol by the world peace movement. Apparently the original dove was actually a pigeon, given to Picasso by his friend Matisse. His dove was taken up and used by the first World Congress of the Partisans for World Peace in Paris in 1949 (the second was in Sheffield of all places in 1950 in case you were wondering).

There is also a large selection of drawings from his preparation for his large murals ‘War and Peace’. His depictions of the women of Algiers show his empathy for the nationalist uprising there in 1954. One charcoal drawing in particular of the 22 year old Djamila Boupasha, who was arrested and subjugated to brutality at the hands of the French troops whilst accused of planting a bomb, is particularly moving.

Picasso shows how strongly he felt about all the major works conflicts, from the threat of a nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis, to his variations on the iconic Spanish masterpiece Las Meninas, which show his hatred of Franco’s dictatorship. And this is a very interesting exhibition, but when you have been lucky enough to see his masterpiece of the condemnation of war and brutality in the guise of the Guernica in Madrid, as I have, then anything else is just second best – although Picasso’s second best beats most of the rest hands down.

Books - Britain's Lost Cities:A Chronical of Architectural Destruction by Gavin Stamp

Star rating – 9/10

This beautiful and somewhat depressing book by Gavin Stamp, first published in 2007 but available now in paperback for the first time and will there fore hopefully reach a wider audience, is a love letter to the lost cities of Britain, and a salutary lesson for today planners and developers.

It contains hundreds of photographs of beautiful buildings that have been destroyed either by the German Luftwaffe, or by the misguided dreams of town planners. It is strange to think that successive generations have held a sort of self loathing of their heritage and past, and want to rush headlong into obliterating it with all things shiny and new.

The book takes us through this haunting and sad tale city by city, through streets which I am very familiar with, such as Manchester, Bradford and London; and through all the great cities of the country such as Glasgow, Birmingham and Liverpool. Each photo tells of destruction and a constant craving for modernity.

Of course much of the heritage was lost after the World War II bombings – as in Coventry, Plymouth and Exeter, although Stamp feels that some of the damaged buildings were needlessly pulled down rather than being rebuilt.

But Coventry‘s historic city centre was already doomed before the Luftwaffe dropped their bombs, the new creation a dream of the planners which the war conveniently speeded up. So this is also a tale of modern planners and their dreams of sparkling, new utopian city centres which brushed away the traces of the dingy past.

One of the most famous acts of wanton vandalism was the destruction of the Euston Arch, the great gateway to the railway heading north, which was pulled down in the 1960’s and replaced with the current monstrosity that is Euston station, and predictably undergoing plans for wholesale redevelopment.

Some of the building mourned here are not so great and you can see why they went. And there is no doubt that the slum dwellings which played such a part in the poor health and living conditions of the working people who helped to make our cities so prosperous were truly shocking and needed to go. But most of the demolition does seem to be nothing more than acts of vandalism such as in Bradford, where the 1960’s shopping centre and redeveloped business district that the Victorian splendor was destroyed to make way for, is currently being pulled down as a total disaster that did not work and ruined the heart of the city.

On a personal level I do know that sometimes disaster brings opportunity, such as the 1996 IRA bomb in Manchester which triggered a rejuvenation of this magnificent city which has in the main preserved its fantastic heritage rather than destroying it in the name of regeneration. (if only they had put the bomb a bit nearer to the heart of the dreadful Arndale centre we might have got rid of it altogether…). But maybe I am a bit biased.

This is a great book and a remarkable record of error and misguided judgment. So do we learn the lessons from the past and avoid repeating the mistakes of our ancestors? – sadly I think not in every case.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Theatre - Henry VIII - The Globe

Star rating – 7/10

The Globe have put on a little performed later Shakespearean play as part of their ‘Kings & Rogues’ season, Henry VIII. And it was also my first taste of standing in the courtyard for the three hour performance, so I am sure my enjoyment of the play was tempered by my aching legs by the end of the night.

The story of how Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn, divorced Katherine of Aragon, and was prepared to split from Rome and the Catholic Church to do so is a familiar one of course. But this play also centres on Cardinal Wolsey and his own part in the plotting and subsequent downfall. Indeed it is Wolsey and Katherine, rather than Henry and Anne, who are the central characters here.

There is much conspiracy, corruption and power hungry goings on involved – some of which I confess were a little hard to follow completely. And I do wonder just how much time has to elapse before we can be objective enough about historical events to do them justice in a piece of theatre. After all, Elizabeth I had only died 10 years before this play was first performed at the original Globe in 1613 (the old theatre actually burnt down whilst it was being performed – no such high drama this evening). And it is about her mother, so maybe the bard and his alleged co-author John Fletcher struggled to bring as much perspective as was achieved with acclaimed masterpieces such as Henry V or Julius Caesar (although these were not particularly historically accurate plays either).

But the costumes and general splendour of Henry’s court were magnificent. Ian McNeice was very convincing, if worryingly obese, as Wolsey, and Kate DuchĂȘne was magnificent as the wronged, feisty, yet dignified and loyal Queen Katherine. The whole Globe atmosphere, with the actors freely mingling with the courtyard crowd is great, but I bet Queen Elizabeth didn’t have to stand for three hours to enjoy the original Elizabethan experience.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Theatre - Women Beware Women - National Theatre

Star rating – 8/10

I was not quite sure what to expect from this revival of a Thomas Middleton play from the time of Shakespeare directed by Marainne Elliott. And I got much more than I bargained for - in a very good way. This is play about lust, sin, corruption, revenge and wickedness. So not one for those fence sitters then.

Set in Medici Florence, the set at the Olivier Theatre is magnificent - cleverly portraying the splendour of the Duke’s palace and the poverty of a poor banker’s clerk and his widowed mother at the slight turn of the magnificent stage. The action begins with Leantio, the banker’s clerk in question, returning home to his mother to show off his beautiful new bride Bianca, who has given up her family’s wealth to be with her beloved new husband. But as ever, the course of true love does not run at all smoothly, as Leantio has to go away on business, leaving his young wife pray to the passing fancy of the great Duke.

And meanwhile at the court of the Duke, the pressing task is to find a husband for Isabella, niece of the widow Livia. Guardiano suggests that his stupid, oafish Ward might fit the bill, but Livia has inexplicably other ideas, and deceitfully persuades Isabella that her uncle, who has unnatural designs on her, is not really her uncle, and so she embarks on a passionate affair with him, whilst marrying the hapless Ward.

Harriet Walter is the undoubted star of the show, superb as the ruthless and hard, viper like Livia. She plots to get the naive Bianca into the clutches of the Duke, and proceeds to carefully and cunningly engage Bianca’s mother in law in a game of chess whilst the Duke rapes Bianca. This is one of the best scenes in the play – two women trading moves and innuendo, one so obsessed in the sport that she is totally oblivious to the outrage going on under the same roof.

The staging is superb, the costumes divine, the jazz music perfect for the plot. There is a fantastically sensuous tango between Bianca and her adulterous uncle Hippolito, which totally draws the audience in. There is great comedy between the Ward (played brilliantly for laughs by Harry Melling) and his equally crude and lewd friend Sordido. The evil Livia is herself drawn into a doomed love with the cuckolded Leantio. And the final bloodbath is a fitting climax to a fantastic treat for the senses. A sublime feast of a play.

Theatre - Auden: Truth Out of Time - National Theatre Platforms

Star rating – 8/10

What better way to spend 45 minutes than to listen to some of the finest poetry read by the likes of Damian Lewis, Jeremy Irons and Eileen Atkins? This National Theatre Platform was hosted by Josephine Hart, who is something of an Auden aficionado. (And in the audience we were accompanied by none other than John Major and his faithful wife Norma.)

I confess to not knowing much about Auden save the beautiful poem made famous (infamous for some) by the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. But this was a fascinating introduction to his work. Josephine Hart told how he read natural sciences at Oxford, before converting to literature, and how this scientific perspective informed his verse.

He conveyed perfectly the fear of the 1930’s that something really bad was going to happen in his poem to mark the day that Hitler invaded Poland, ‘September 1, 1939’ (which just also happens to be my birthday). Jeremy Irons read the poem beautifully, and conveyed fully both the chill and the humour of the occasion that Auden sought to convey.

‘The Unknown Citizen’ is a brilliant evocation of the ordinary, the mundane, the unquestioning attitude of much of middle England and the wonderful and gorgeous (biased- moi?) Damian Lewis conveyed these feelings to a tee. Eileen Atkins recited the haunting sad tale ‘Miss Gee’ with more than shades of Eleanor Rigby about her sad, spinster existence.

Auden was gay. He said that he just couldn’t see the attraction of women at all. And his ‘Tell me the Truth about Love’ is a very moving piece indeed. Damian Lewis was again perfect in his recital. But it was inevitably his ‘Funeral Blues’ which moved me the most. Again, the lovely Damian Lewis more than did justice to the haunting lines of loving and losing so memorably and evocatively.

Again I challenge you to spend a more profitable 45 minutes than this doing just about anything. Outstanding and beautiful.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Theatre - Pygmalion - Royal Exchange

Star rating – 7/10

Following on from Posh at the Royal Court on Monday, and the continuing Dave/Nick Con-Lib love in, the theme of the week seems to be the class system. It is very aptly continued then in this revival of George Bernard Shaw’s classic play Pygmalion at the Royal Exchange. Shaw wrote a very funny play, but one that is also a biting social commentary on the class system that he witnessed, that was famously turned into the musical ‘My Fair Lady’.

The story is familiar – Professor Higgins makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can turn Eliza, a cockney flower girl, into a lady. He sets out to transform her and equip her for life in high society – but he does not reckon on her determination and spirit. This version directed by Greg Hersov is well done. The first half of the play is very funny indeed, especially the contribution of Eliza’s father, Alfred Doolittle, played by Ian Bartholomew, the dustman who appeals to Henry Higgins as one of the ‘undeserving poor’ and whose own take on the class system is so accurate that Higgins and Pickering wonder that he isn’t a politician.

Why not a higher rating then? Well, something about the main performances just didn’t sparkle enough for me. Cush Jumbo as Eliza, and Simon Robson as Henry Higgins, are good, but just not outstanding. Eliza’s costumes are beautiful. Gaye Brown is impressive as Henry’s formidable mother Mrs Higgins, who becomes an unlikely refuge for Eliza when she feels neglected by her mentors.

The play is not all a barrel of laughs – there is some serious social commentary here about the position of women and of the middle classes in general. Shaw did write a great play – and this is a good, but not quite great revival of it. Funny but just lacking a bit of sparkle. But then with the images of Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison so vivid in the memory in the musical version, it was always going to be hard to measure up.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Theatre - Posh - Royal Court

Star rating – 9/10

Well I certainly didn’t plan it this way – but I went to see ‘Posh’ on the same day as that famous Bullingdon Club old boy David Cameron finally made it into 10 Downing Street. And of course Laura Wade’s new play is not about the actual Bullingdon Club, the notorious Oxford University toff’s dining club for many of our future rulers, but I bet the drunken revelry and debauchery of her Riot Club comes pretty close to the real thing.

The play opens with young Guy getting a lesson from his Uncle Jeremy, now a Tory MP, about the former exploits of the Riot Club in his day, which seem to make the current incumbents look pretty tame by comparison. But when the current ten Riot Club members get together, the night becomes far from tame.

All the acting is the piece is superb. Most of the actors are young, playing inexperienced undergraduates getting gradually more trashed as the evening, and the drinking, wears on. The carefully observed snobbery, disrespectful behaviour and absolute belief in their own inalienable birth right to rule the country, (at the very least), is outrageously funny. Hugo, the only openly gay Riot Club member, played brilliantly by David Dawson, is particularly outstanding. He makes a great Shakespearean like speech between the ten bird roast and Eton Mess. (Q. How do you make an Eton Mess? A. Tell him he’s got in at Bristol’). Also worth a special mention is Leo Bill playing the particularly odious Alistair.

Harry has ordered a ‘prozzer’ to spice the evening up a tad. The guys are a bit put out however, when she arrives but draws the line at giving them all a blow job under the table in turn. Charlotte Lucas as the escort gives as good as she gets and is not going to let a bunch of spoilt rich boys get the better of her. Which is more than can be said for the poor landlord at whose country pub they have chosen to hold their latest riotous dinner. Chris and his daughter Rachel (who is at university herself but at Newcastle which they call ‘Crapsville’, as indeed they would label anywhere that was not Oxford), become the butt of their jokes, and much more, as the evening lurches inevitably on to its inexorable violent and shocking conclusion.

One criticism I have heard levelled at the play is that none of the Riot Club members seem to have any redeeming features, and Wade has made them without shades of grey. I disagree. Their openly outrageous attitudes towards middle class people rings very true. Guy, for example, has just finished with his girlfriend because after all her family were only newsagents. Their President, James, is derided by them for his application to Deutsche Bank because, after all, Riot Club members do not apply for jobs – they expect employers to come to them. They are sexist, racist snobs and not afraid to admit it.

There is fabulous capella singing by the cast to liven up the proceedings, which cleverly moves the evening on. But on this day when we have a new Conservative Government in power, albeit a coalition with the Lib Dems, this play’s central message is that privilege and money and class can buy you anything you want, and can even buy you out of deep deep trouble should you need it. So no need to worry about David Cameron and Nick Clegg then, just in case you were.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Exhibition - Shaped By War - photos by Don McCullin - Imperial War Museum North

Star rating – 8/10

This powerful and moving exhibition of the 50 years of photo journalism of Don McCullin is a trip through all the significant world conflicts since the 1960s. And he had a very interesting start in life, from his early memories of World War Two, to falling in with notorious London gangsters in his native Finsbury Park. One early memorable photo is of the Guv’nors of the Seven Sisters Road captured posing in a bombed building, which is almost reminiscent of an album cover.

Most of his images are captured in black and white – always so clear and somehow less distracting than colour. Among his early memorable pieces are a lone war protestor sitting in Whitehall towered over by a line of police during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis; and the CND Aldermaston march of 1963. McCullin’s aim was to use his images to change minds. His 1964 image of a Turkish Cypriot woman mourning the death of her husband is typical of his ability to capture the anguish of the moment.

Scenes from Vietnam are particularly harrowing, and McCullin captures both soldiers and civilians with equal force and empathy. His picture of a baby burned by napalm being treated by nurses in a Saigon hospital is particularly harrowing. But just as powerful is his two metre high photo of a US marine suffering sever shellshock during the Vietnamese conflict in 1968.

He worked for the groundbreaking Sunday Times magazine under Harold Evans. And he was always in the thick of the action undertaking dangerous assignments. Some of his pictures do seem too invasive, like the one of the dead Vietnamese soldier whose personal effects McCullin arranges around his corpse for his photo shoot (the only time he did such a thing). But also he wanted to bring the horrors he was experiencing to the attention of the world, such as the truly shocking images of the starving people of Biafra, too weak to even feed their children.

McCullin himself said that he sometimes felt his craft was ‘a terrible way to earn a living’. And the negative impact that all this horror and suffering had on his mental health is hardly surprising. From the wars in Cambodia, Northern Ireland, Lebanon, El Salvador or the Falklands, he was there to capture the images that he felt the world needed to see. Later on his powerful photos helped to expose the horrors of the AIDS epidemic in Africa – a tragedy that he wanted to highlight, and to trigger action to stop.

This is a very impressive body of work that shows the pain, suffering and horror of war. McCullin is obviously a very special sort of man, but one who paid a high personal price for his dedication to exposing the horrors of war.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Theatre - Macbeth - The Globe

Star rating – 9/10

Something wicked has certainly come the way of the Globe this spring. Lucy Bailey last impressed me with her excellent Julius Caesar at Stratford last year, and she has triumphed again with this gory and corpse ridden version of Macbeth.

To be fair the audience are warned before they enter that this is not for the fainthearted. The Globe theatre is transformed into a dark mass of bodies as the standing audience have to poke their heads through a black cloth that shrouds the courtyard. The same cloth serves to reveal bloody soldiers, corpses, and witches alike during the performance. And three hours is a long time to be standing in the unseasonably cold London weather poking your head through a black cloth I would have thought, but as I was in one of the seated areas I didn’t let that concern myself too much.

Elliot Cowan is a great Macbeth. He does seem to suit these major Shakespearean roles, shining here as he did in the Royal Exchange’s excellent ‘Henry V’ a couple of years ago. His ambition and resulting torment are clear to see, and he pays a high price for his treachery. But then he was egged on by those awful witches. And I am very glad that these witches are properly evil creatures, not played by children as in the Royal Exchange’s version last year, something which felt all wrong to me. No, here the witches are corpse devouring creatures from the Underworld.

Lady Macbeth is played with a fragile quality by Laura Rogers. The raunchy passion of the couple is greeted by wolf whistles by some of the younger members of the Globe audience. And the whole design of the set and the way that the action unfolds encourages participation in the tragedy as it unfolds which must have been akin to the feel of its original performances.

In amongst the blood and corpses however, is a wonderfully funny comic turn by Frank Scantori as Porter, who pretends to throw urine at the audience to their shrieks of delight and horror. And that just about sums up how I felt about this production – thoroughly delighted and utterly horrified. Thumb pricking stuff indeed.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Film - Life During Wartime - directed by Todd Solondz

Star rating - 7/10

I felt at a disadvantage having not seen Todd Solondz’s 1998 ‘Happiness’, to which this latest offering is a follow up, albeit with a totally different cast. Without knowing the back story however, it is obvious that the three Jewish sisters featured are more than a little dysfunctional.

Joy (Shirley Henderson) needs a break from her husband Allen (played by Omar from ‘The Wire’ Michael K Williams – last seen getting all his clothes taken in ‘The Road’), who is trying to give up his crack cocaine, gangster way of life but not really succeeding. Trish has told her youngest two children that their father is dead, but really he is alive and well and has newly finished a prison term for paedophilia. She is on the crest of a wave after meeting new man Harvey on a blind date and not minding that he is neither good looking nor rich, as he is Jewish and loves Israel. And making up the triumvirate is the fabulous Ally Sheedy as Trish, the writer having an affair with ‘Keanu’ and feeling desolate after having fallen out with poetry. As you do…

One of the main themes running through all this dysfunction is forgiveness. When to forgive. Whether to forgive and forget. Whether you can just forget and skip the forgiving. It is all a bit complicated.

But there is some wonderful acting here. As well as the sisters there is a superb cameo from Charlotte Rampling playing a very predatory older woman who admits that her children hate her as she is as a monster. Ciaran Hinds plays the paedophile father, whose brief reunion with his eldest son is touching and difficult.

Ghosts from the past haunt Joy. Trish’s young son asks very searching questions of her, and she in turn reveals a little more than is desirable about how Harvey makes her feel. I am not sure what the main message is really, but is there was plenty of food for thought and black humour along the way.

Film - Dogtooth - directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Star rating – 5/10

I am not sure if I have ever seen a Greek film before. What I do know is that I have never seen such a bizarre film of any nationality. To be fair I was not sure it would be my cup of tea, but it has had such rave reviews that I was curious to sample it myself. And it is truly odd.

It takes place in the remote Greek countryside, where a seemingly respectable middle class business man goes off to his factory each day, whilst leaving his submissive wife and three young adult children, who seem to have no names, at home in the villa with no access to the outside world, except through him. The film opens with the parents teaching the children the wrong words for objects, so that ‘motorway’ is a hard floor covering; and ‘zombie’ is a small yellow flower.

With more than a distant echo of the horrific Josef Fritzl case, the children are decidedly and understandably odd. They believe that they have a brother who lives over the fence – although whether or not this brother ever existed is not actually explained by the film maker. They throw cake to him and later on flowers when they are told that he has died.

The trouble starts when the father pays a security guard from his firm, Christina, to come to the villa to have sex with his son. He does not bargain for the effect she has on his children, especially on his daughters. None of the sex in the film is remotely erotic. It is cold and bizarre, even between the husband and wife. This is also a very violent film, and the violence when it comes is quite shocking in its suddenness.

I cannot say that the film is not well acted. All the actors are totally believable in their parts, especially the children played by Aggeliki Papoulia, Mary Tsoni, and Hristos Passalis. It is just that the story is so weird. The children are taught that aeroplanes just fall out of the sky. That cats are a mortal danger to children (beware a nasty scene with a passing cat). And inevitably, unnatural sexual relations form part of the warped web of lies that it spun by the father.

But I can’t say that I enjoyed it. It was amusing in some places – in a very black kind of way. But it was just too bizarre, too abusive, and took me to a world that I would rather not contemplate in that level of detail for entertainment.