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FILM: MARCH 2005

All the films around at the moment seem to be long, but at least KINSEY (Cert 15 1hr 58mins) is always worth watching. Hopefully, you will be able to see it locally. Written as well as directed by Bill Condon, there is a terrific central performance by Liam Neeson, who always manages to breathe realistic intensity into every part he plays.

Liam Neeson in Kinsey

Many of us will remember Kinsey's "Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male," which was, in fact, published in America in 1948 and changed people's attitudes to sex and how they dealt with the topic. The film shows how Kinsey used his own particular techniques for his famous sex interviews. Besides his work Kinsey had a rather strange marriage and attempted to create his own sexual utopia. Laura Linney as the free-thinking student who becomes Kinsey's wife, gives a genuinely moving performance. There is an emotional cameo at the end of the film from Lynn Redgrave who thanks Kinsey for enabling her to be honest about her sexuality. A film to savour.

Hotel Rwanda

Highly recommended and just out is HOTEL RWANDA (Cert 15 2hrs 23mins). It's a long time since I have been so moved by a film - I spent the whole morning (when I saw it) crying! Telling the true story of real-life hero, Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), a hotel manager in Rwanda who used his courage and cunning to shelter over a thousand refugees from certain death.

I expect that many of you, like me, hardly remember the events of 1994 in a faraway African country; we watched what happened in Rwanda unfold but didn't truly comprehend the horror of the massacre of Tutsis by their neighbours, the Hutus. Paul Rusesabagina began by protecting his immediate family and ended up running a refugee centre, which is what his hotel became. The genocide was made all the more tragic by the fact that most of the world chose to ignore the conflict and the plight of the Rwandan people. An excellent performance by Cheadle is more than amply supported by the British actress, Sophie Okonedo as Paul's wife. In her first major role, she would have been a worthy winner of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Unfortunately, that was not to be. This excellent film is certainly worthy of your attention.


THEATRE TIP

Nicholas Lyndhurst, best known for his numerous TV performances particularly as Rodney in "Only Fools and Horses," is, in fact, a most versatile actor. His portrayal of Norman, the loyal dresser to the actor-manager in THE DRESSER (Duke of York's Theatre) is very well executed. Lyndhurst brings to life the downtrodden servant to a second-rate actor touring in the provinces during World War 11. And Julian Glover gives a competent performance of 'Sir', the actor, who, encouraged by the long-serving actors, spinster stage-manager, his wife and dresser, believes himself to be a true knight of the theatre. Only a new actor mocks his reign. Peter Hall, in the Director's chair, brings to life this somewhat dated play by Ronald Harwood - first performed in 1980. The set is effective, enabling the action to shift from on stage to the dressing room and the scenes backstage ring true. All is fine except that there is something lacking in the chemistry between the two main actors. They would surely be completely attuned to each other and, although Lyndhurst as Norman serves his master (Glover) assiduously, there is no spark of affection between them.


Nicholas Lyndhurst and Julian Glover in
Nicholas Lyndhurst and Julian Glover in "The Dresser"

Plenty of sparkle issues forth from Ruby Wax as the wicked witch in THE WITCHES (Wyndhams Theatre).

Adapted by David Wood from Roald Dahl's book, it tells the story of a seven year old boy and his friend who, helped by the boy's grandmother ( the wonderful Dilys Laye) battle with real-life witches, led by the Grand High Witch (Wax). She and her company of witches are plotting to get rid of all the children in England by poisoning them and then turning them into mice. The acting is consistently good, although I always have difficulty accepting grown men playing children! The background, using film, is creative and there are exciting magical moments thanks to Paul Kieve's illusions.

One of the best scenes shows the two rodents (children turned into mice by Wax) attempting to climb giant stairs. I hope that when today's children are taken to the theatre by their grandparents, they can enjoy this simple play that has no computerised animation or excessive bangs and explosions!


Do try to catch TYNAN (Arts Theatre) before it ends on 26 March. Starring Corin Redgrave giving a really wonderful performance as the former Critic, it is a must for all lovers of good acting. It is just Redgrave sitting in a rocking chair as Tynan looks back at the end of his life and speaks about his sexual perversities and his life as the creator of such shows as "Oh Calcutta" which helped to re-shape the English Theatre as we know it today.


Carlie Newman

   

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