Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One Flew East...

Back to work after the bank holiday weekend and straight back into database rearrangement. Not as bad as it sounds, there’s a soothing quality to the repetition of the task; I can attach myself to my iPod (current listening: Arcade Fire, Pavement, Portishead) and just float.

On Monday night, I trekked (and, oh boy, is it a trek) up to the Arcola in East London to see 15 Minutes, a new play by Christine Harmar-Brown - an intriguing but ultimately flawed production. The main idea, that the truth often gets sacrificed in favour of sensation and ratings when it comes to TV, was hardly an original one. But instead of opting for flimsy satire, the writer has chosen a more straightforward dramatic route. She focuses on the relationship between Toni, a mouthy 17 year old, fresh out of a young offenders institute and the documentary-maker who wants to make a film out of her life.

This central relationship is interesting and layered, they develop an almost mother-daughter bond at times – the filming brings them together but also sets up a barrier between them, the camera always comes first – but the whole thing gets weighted down by needless debate about media ethics

There’s a twist at the end, but it didn’t sit well with went before, it felt forced and awkward. Besides, I found the production overlong and repetitious, and my interest had dwindled somewhat by that point. Still I liked the energy of ex-Eastender Carly Hillman as the volatile Toni.

It was my first trip to the Arcola and though Hackney’s a little out of my comfort bubble, I’m glad I made it up there. It’s a surprising space, a former textiles factory, all bare brick and concrete. The whole place has a (very) rough, unfinished feel but also a buzz of potential, a real sense of excitement and creative passion.

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