The DCH Blog
Next Goal Wins - a pre-screening review - Tuesday 25th November 2014
American Samoa, a tiny group of islands in the South Pacific, managed to consolidate their reputation as the world’s worst footballing nation in 2001, by losing to Australia 31-0, a disaster from which the team we meet is still reeling. Far from being a sniggering poke at failure, however, Mike Brett and Steve Jamison secured the right to film by promising a celebration of hope over expectation, and have delivered a marvellous testament to the human spirit.
Next Goal Wins tells a story that could only work in documentary form. It’s a tale so improbable, so packed with unique characters, and so deeply satisfying in its conclusion, that told any other way you simply wouldn't believe it. With unobtrusive respect for the people and culture of American Samoa, the film simply bears witness as Thomas Rongen, a querulous, foul mouthed Dutchman, tries to hammer skills into a team trying to do their best. In the process, it changes Rongen as much as the team.
Come prepared to laugh, and then cry, and then punch the air in exultation. This movie is not about winning, but about taking part, with grace and with passion. You certainly don’t need to be a football fan to enjoy this beautiful film about the beautiful game.
By David Vass
Luke Wright's Stand-Up Poetry Club - A review - Sunday 23rd November 2014
Some of the finest performance poets in the country come to Luke Wright’s Poetry Club, and Friday night was no exception. Yorkshire woman Jemima Foxtrot and Norwich based Martin Figura joined Bungay’s adopted Essex man for another night of verbal gymnastics. Luke Wright was in a usually melancholic mood the Corn Hall’s Stand-Up Poetry Night, at least if his choice of poems is anything to go by. But then, as Luke explained, if it’s miserable, it must be art. Always quick with the self-depreciating quip, he nonetheless had a point. His First World War accounts of the home front in Essex were particularly moving, while his sweetly subversive Christmas poem was clever, poignant, and just the right side of sentimental.
The improbably named Jemima Foxtrot was an elfin force of nature. Using a mix of performance poetry and song, she riffed off her twenty-something lifestyle with a style and precision rarely seen at a poetry night. Whether it was 3am binges, catching the sun come up the next morning, or the perils of internet dating, she spoke with a truly original voice.
Martin Figura commands attention with the ease of an old pro. Positioned somewhere on the continuum between John Hegley and Mark Watson, he offered up an eclectic mix of found words, homages and straightforward silliness. While I enjoyed hearing his inner Cooper Clarke talk about washing machines, it was his thoughts about his daughter that gave the true measure of the man.
By David Vass
Julius Caesar - a review - Friday 21st November 2014
Shakespeare’s essay on political expediency and the fragility of power is notoriously difficult to get right. With an early exit for its eponymous lead, and the closing scenes largely taken up by folk shouting and pointing at hills, it can be a real challenge. It was all the more impressive, then, that Roughcast’s version of this prescient play was so illuminating and compelling.
Credit must be due to director Mark Burridge, who really seems to understand how to present Shakespeare with clarity and precision, drawing from his cast consistent and harmonious performances. As Anthony he struck just the right imperious tone, while Peter Long and Paul Baker were as reliable as ever in the lead roles.
Notwithstanding her minor roles, Cathy Gill commanded the audience’s attention whenever on stage, but the star turn had to be Simon Evans, as a sly, unctuous Cassius - turning this slight man into the Malcolm Tucker of his day.
This production zipped along, making light work of even the play’s tricky second half and its inevitable loss of momentum. Roughcast consistently punches above its weight, and has done so here again, presenting a solid interpretation of this contrary play, with imagination, confidence and verve.
By David Vass