Chris Grady: Always on the move
Exciting plans in Malaysia, a Gorilla, a beautifully crafted play, and a chance to see a musical about a musical with no name. And then a delightful dinner with an ex-colleague from my time at Edinburgh International Festival in the 1980s, away from the rush of the city.
My Tuesday started with a meeting with two Malay theatre producers who are creating a new cabaret space in Kuala Lumpa and a new Musical Theatre venue. They are in town for a couple of days and it is exciting to hear of their plans. I look forward, I hope, to working with them as they develop the audience in KL for their own created productions, and work on tour through Malaysia and into Singapore. Anyone already working in this area (and I know some already) do get in touch.Then I hot footed to the first preview of a new musical entitled Brain Without a Body at Paradise in The Vault. It was an audience of nervous, and proud, family and friends this first day – and they needn't have been worried; the company did a good job.
For me the show needs a lot of work, and the songs need to have more of a dramatic journey. To quote Jeremy Sams on writing, they were all "rooms" (telling you what we know observing where we are) and not "corridors" (taking the audience from here to there). From their leaflet these are experienced writers, they are playing in the right size venue for this chamber work, and it was a treat to see my first Gorilla as a lead in a musical – Alan the gorilla reading the Daily Telegraph was a treat.
Then onward to a very different work – Between at The Space @ Surgeons Hall is a two-hander love-and-lust story for Nicholas Campbell and Oskar Brown, who is also the author, directed by Geoffrey Hayland. It has already had success at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival and was packed this afternoon with a very appreciative audience.
It was a pleasure to see a play which took its time, which allowed the emotions to play between the two characters without words, which was beautifully designed, and which explored Shakespeare's Sonnets as part of an exploration of male "love, lust and everything in between".
From the opening choice of music we were invited to settle into a gentle pace of performance and observation. We explored with the characters what it is to grow up and explore your sexuality, what it is to fall in and out of love, and what it is to hold back from a relationship where it is inappropriate to do so (teacher/pupil) which balanced with Sandel (playing in the same venue) where teacher and pupil go too far from expected reserve.
And then on to [title of show], which is being widely reviewed as part of its British Premiere from the steadily growing reputation of St Andrews-born Patch of Blue Theatre Productions. Review to follow.
Now, run Grady – first show of the day starts across town in 18 minutes...