In its exploration of the human stories around the nuclear accident, Craig Mazin’s mini-series Chernobyl is simply superb
“You are dealing with something that has never happened on the planet before”
Yeesh! TV dramas surely don’t have the right to be as good as Chernobyl, particularly when they’re ostensibly about such grimly horrific a topic as this, But as creator, writer, and executive producer Craig Mazin has adroitly identified, the 1986 nuclear disaster – and the human impact it had on those closest to it – is relatively under-explored, in mainstream Western culture at least.
Chernobyl seeks to explain what happened on that fateful day, and its terrible aftermath, on two distinct levels. Focusing in on the microlevel, we follow stories such as those of the power station workers, the first responders, the people who watched the fire burn up close. But it also takes a strategic look at the Soviet system at large, tracing the institutional problems that allowed it to happen.
Continue reading “TV Review: Chernobyl”
“We don’t want to know what’s going on”
Wise people in Skid Row once counselled “don’t feed the plants”, but the threat there was clear in the shape of Audrey 2. But over in the undefined anonymity of fiji land, three men are under orders to do just that – when the siren sounds, they’ve to feed and water the plants under their charge. But they’ve not to question why, they’re not allowed to know each other’s names, and when the orders start to darken in an ominous manner, it foreshadows the deterioration of their own situation.
Even with the best will in the world, one couldn’t really begin to explain what happens in Nick Gill’s play and why, and I think he’d be exactly fine with that. His writing is allusively thick and his approach to convention somewhat offbeat – to criticise fiji land for not having enough narrative development seems to be flying in the face of the playwright’s intentions. But sat in the smaller space of the Southwark Playhouse, it is also a little difficult to adjudge just what those aims are. Continue reading “Review: fiji land, Southwark Playhouse”
“Dat’s de stuff! Let her have it! All togedder now! Sling it into her! Let her ride! Shoot de piece now! Call de toin on her! Drive her into it! Feel her move! Watch her smoke!”
I loved Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie at the Donmar last year and thought his Long Day’s Journey Into Night was truly exceptional when I caught it earlier this year, so the prospect of one of his lesser known works – The Hairy Ape – at the ever-inventive Southwark Playhouse was one that intrigued and so I let myself be talked into catching it just before it closed. It is definitely closer to the former of the above-mentioned plays in its primal expressionism, tales of the sea and the search for belonging.
In the engine room of a transatlantic liner, Yank is the king of his world, leading his team of workers as they shovel away. His certainties are stripped away when a young upper class lady makes her way below-deck, leaving shocked and horrified at what she sees but opening Yank’s eyes to life beyond what he knows. His reaction is to try to find out what disgusts her but he soon discovers that she represents a whole world that doesn’t or won’t accept him. Continue reading “Review: The Hairy Ape, Southwark Playhouse”