TV Review: The Halcyon Series 1

“Ladies and gentlemen, please remain calm. I’m sure it’s just another false alarm”

Oh The Halcyon – shafted by the overwhelming desire for it to be the new Downton, or maybe the unfriendly Monday evening slot, or maybe the fact that Charlotte Jones’ serial never quite honed in on what it wanted to be. Following the fortunes of a luxury London hotel during the first couple of years of the Second World War, it took all possible opportunities to explore a society on the cusp of major change. But between the aristocrats who owned it, the aristocrats who stayed there, the lower classes who work there, and the multitudes of people affiliated to all these lives, the canvas was far too wide.

The hints were there right from the off in episode 1 which struggled to introduce even just its leading players in its running time, whilst still proving most tantalising, due to its cracking cast and its sumptuous design (those costumes!). At the heart of The Halycon lay the antagonistic relationship between Olivia Williams’ Lady Hamilton and Steven Mackintosh’s Mr Garland, owner versus manager as they butted heads over practicalities in the face of an ensuing Blitz but though their scenes were electric, they were given too little too late together to exploit this to its fullest.  Continue reading “TV Review: The Halcyon Series 1”

Review: Eigengrau, Otherplace at the Basement: The Pit – Brighton Fringe

“I think you need to believe in something”

The metropolitan loneliness epitomised by Penelope Skinner’s Eigengrau seems as appropriate in London-by-the-sea as it does in the London where it is set, indeed one can feel this alone anywhere. Cassie’s passion for her political activism continues to set her apart from others her own age, Mark has got money but is struggling to hold onto his mates, Tim is using his grief for his nan to avoid getting on with life and Rose, well she’s just struggling to reconcile her dream of true love in a world full of bastards and bills.

As their paths variously intersect, they all reach out in the hope of connection, of finding something tangible in a city that never stops moving past them but life is never quite as easy as all that, especially when sex is thrown into the equation. And so begins the whirl of Skinner’s extremely funny play, given a solid production here by Hannah Joss which focuses on just how sharp the writing is as brutal truths follow amorous deceptions, and hopeless fancies turn into desperate actions. Continue reading “Review: Eigengrau, Otherplace at the Basement: The Pit – Brighton Fringe”