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Malef­i­cent (PG)

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - REVIEWS -

IT’S only at the very end of this lat­est Hol­ly­wood reimag­in­ing that nar­ra­tor Janet McTeer in­tones “the story is not quite as you were told”.

In­deed it’s not. For this is a fairy tale tinged with el­e­ments of Tolkien, al­beit Tolkien as en­vis­aged on screen by Peter Jack­son. And with war­ring king­doms, walk­ing trees that fight the good fight and a pure-hearted fairy who be­comes a war­rior queen so the essence of the story of Sleep­ing Beauty is thor­oughly cor­rupted. Or aug­mented. Take your choice.

Malef­i­cent is a strange and beau­ti­ful ex­pan­sion of what should be a most sim­plis­tic fa­ble. Like it or not the good ver­sus evil qual­ity of this story is what’s en­thralled chil­dren for years. Much of that sim­plic­ity is lost as An­gelina Jolie un­der­goes a trans­for­ma­tion borne not so much of in­her­ent evil but in­stead ha­tred and re­venge.

The root cause is clear: she was be­trayed by one she loved. And love turned to fury. But love re­mains at the heart of this loud and oc­ca­sion­ally dis­turb­ing drama. The vi­o­lence may be of the lite va­ri­ety but still it packs a wal­lop. It is bal­anced by the truest of loves – that of a mother for a child.

Elle Fan­ning is the teenaged Princess Aurora, the child cursed by the evil fairy at her chris­ten­ing. Kenneth Cranham the king locked in com­bat with Mal­i­f­i­cent. Sharlto Co­p­ley the loyal son who as­sumes his crown and king­dom.

But the movie be­longs to Jolie as a stat­uesque and mis­un­der­stood icon of fairy­land who brings a new di­rec­tion to one of our most beloved sa­gas. “TONIGHT’S the night and ev­ery­thing’s gonna be al­right” sings rock and pop leg­end Rod Ste­wart. He’s spot on when it comes to the for­mer West End mu­si­cal based on his plethora of hits. It’s now tour­ing the UK and at Sh­effield’s Lyceum Theatre the au­di­ence was up for a night of nos­tal­gia as fa­mil­iar tune af­ter tune was per­formed by the young en­er­getic cast.

It per­haps doesn’t have the “joie de vivre” of Mamma Mia, or the spec­ta­cle of that other Ben El­ton-penned West End hit We Will Rock You but Rod fans won’t be dis­ap­pointed.The story? Boy meets girl etc, with it all wo­ven to­gether by the Scot­tish su­per­star’s big­gest hits. We’re not talk­ing plot twists and big re­veals here. You have the com­fort of know­ing that ev­ery few min­utes an­other clas­sic will come along to keep the au­di­ence happy.

Two stand out per­for­mances for me. Great to see Jade Ewan in the role of Dee Dee show­ing why she was the out­stand­ing UK en­try for Euro­vi­sion in the last decade. She came fifth in 2009.

Also, Ricky Ro­jas steals the show as the hugely en­ter­tain­ing Stoner. The char­ac­ter’s ti­tle hints at how he in­ter­prets the role.

Some of the au­di­ence needed a lit­tle en­cour­age­ment to get to their feet and don their paper sailor’s hat for the big fi­nale of Sail­ing. Did I wear mine ? I don’t want to talk about it.

To May 31. SOME­TIMES it’s dif­fi­cult to see the rea­son for a pro­duc­tion to be staged in a par­tic­u­lar time and place.

While Boe­ing Boe­ing is un­doubt­edly a suc­cess­ful piece of work – the most suc­cess­ful French farce in his­tory no less – watch­ing this pro­duc­tion feels like be­ing trapped in a time­warp. In look and feel it is very rem­i­nis­cent of a scene from an Austin Pow­ers movie, al­though it lacks the in­sight and in­ci­sive­ness of the work of Mike My­ers.

The “com­edy” ac­cents, par­tic­u­larly the French and Ger­man ones on dis­play are clearly meant to be grotesques, but there needs to be some sense of weight to them too if they are to have any sort of ap­peal be­yond that. Marc Can­no­letti’s 1960s farce re­ceives lit­tle up­dat­ing in this pro­duc­tion.

Di­rec­tor Jonathan Humphreys tells the story of Bernard, whose life is worked out to per­fec­tion with the help of a flight sched­ule – his three “fi­ancees” are air hostesses on dif­fer­ent air­lines. As long as he keeps his trusty sched­ule to hand, ev­ery­thing runs smoothly. Things go, pre­dictably awry in the air, which has the in­evitable im­pact on the ground.

Bernard finds him­self on a col­li­sion course with des­tiny as all three women come to­gether in his Paris apart­ment at the same time.

Joseph Kloska as Bernard’s friend Robert mugs his way through the en­tire piece. There re­ally should be a rule that the a per­former shouldn’t YORK­SHIRE artist John Mid­dle­ton, who is now 74, is hold­ing his first pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion since 1972 – when he ex­hib­ited work at what was then Leeds Play­house.

For many years Mid­dle­ton was a lec­turer at Har­ro­gate Col­lege of Art and he still paints ev­ery day in his stu­dio in Har­ro­gate. His work – which treads the lines be­tween the ab­stract and the fig­u­ra­tive – will be shown at the Con­ingsby Gallery in Lon­don from June 9-13. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.con­ings­by­gallery.com THE West York­shire Play­house is bril­liant at be­ing in­clu­sive and ac­ces­si­ble and their lat­est ini­tia­tive is to stage a De­men­tia Friendly per­for­mance dur­ing the run of their sea­sonal pro­duc­tion of Irv­ing Berlin’s White Christ­mas. The per­for­mance, which will take place at 2pm on Tues­day De­cem­ber 16, will be spe­cially adapted IT’S 10 o’clock on a damp Wed­nes­day night in Leeds.

But close your eyes and lis­ten to the band and you can imag­ine you’re back in the late 60s and Ja­nis Jo­plin and Jimi Hen­drix are still alive.

The band evok­ing these spir­its is No Sin­ner, a fourpiece band from Van­cou­ver, who’ve been get­ting glow­ing re­views from the likes of Bob Har­ris, who re­cently had them in to do a ses­sion for his BBC Ra­dio 2 show. No Sin­ner are unapolo­get­i­cally rock and roll and while they might not be break­ing new ground here, what sep­a­rates them from most oth­ers who fol­low this well-worn road is their mu­si­cal prow­ess.

Sul­try lead singer Colleen Rennison has a voice that bears favourable com­par­i­son with the likes of Jo­plin and Imelda May, while lead gui­tarist Eric Camp­bell is vir­tu­oso bril­liance per­son­i­fied. All of which is lapped up by an ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ence.

The band are ob­vi­ously en­joy­ing them­selves as they plough through an en­er­getic set fea­tur­ing songs from their im­pres­sive de­but al­bum Boo Hoo Hoo, in­clud­ing rous­ing ver­sions of Rise Up and Devil On My Back. They might look like they’ve just stepped straight out of Haight-Ash­bury circa 1969, but if they can light up a lit­tle cor­ner of West York­shire, then who cares? THE Brontë So­ci­ety have just an­nounced the win­ners of the 2014 Brontë Cre­ative Com­pe­ti­tion. There were en­tries from all over the world in three cat­e­gories – short story, po­etry and il­lus­tra­tion. The win­ners were, re­spec­tively Dr Tracy Rosen­berg, Diane Pacitti and Nicki McNaney who each re­ceive £500. En­tries were judged by nov­el­ist and scholar Dame Mar­garet Drab­ble, award-win­ning poet Si­mon Ar­mitage and York­shire artist Vic­to­ria Brook­land.

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