The Gospel according to Berkoff

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first_imgStephen Berkoff’s Messiah: Scenes from a Crucifixion claims to be outré, obscene and blasphemous, which at times it certainly is. Lines like Jesus’s “Whatever happens, don’t let them break my legs or I’m really fucked” are proof positive that this is a piece of work is aimed at shocking an audience, conditioned, believers and heathens alike, to the conventional ramblings of Christian doctrine. Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ was as controversial as Playdays compared to this reading of history’s most notorious homicide. The gospel according to Berkoff goes as follows: Jesus is a man intent on fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament, but understands that “The Messiah will never come, so we have to create one.” This requires feigning his own gory demise only to “rise” again three days later, thus providing the credulous with a presaged redeemer of mankind. The establishment of a hero-cult is certified when it goes wrong and Jesus dies, but the disciples stick to their conspiratorial story and a religion is born. This is, at times, literary masturbation of the basest variety, more jerk-off than Berkoff. Some of the dialogue is simply dreadful. The man who sees himself as the saviour of British theatre, Berkoff should adopt a mantra: “I am not the Messiah” might be a good place to start. Yet the indulgences of a writer must not be blamed on those attempting to perform, and so Scenes from a Crucifixion is redeemed by the verve of the acting and intelligent use of space, exploiting the full gallery recesses of the OFS. The excellent Kerry Norman as JC is a zealous, Machiavellian politician pre-execution, but struggles a little on “The big ‘x’” (who said being crucified was easy?). His performance is supported by a chorus which has the suppleness to portray Jewish clerics, disciples and Roman soldiers with equal proficiency. Also to savour are the muscular histrionics of a Judas who looks like he spent his thirty pieces of silver on Creatine, and Tom Richards’ appearance as an extraordinary, lascivious Caiaphas. The portrayal of Satan is so hackneyed (red shirt, “menacing” cockney accent, forked stubble) that the only surprises are the absence of attendant familiars and pronged tail. Having said this, Tai Shan Ling, as the dark one, is fabulously energetic and seductively, malevolently lucid, in another arresting performance from one of Oxford’s premier players. I wouldn’t sell my soul to Beelzebub to see this, but if you resist the temptation to see only Berkoff’s mediocrity in Lisa Maule’s production, you should be repaid with a decent enough evening.ARCHIVE: 6th week TT 2004last_img read more

Phil Lesh Reunites ‘The Q’ For Two Amazing Nights At The Cap [A Gallery]

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first_imgOver the last two nights, March 17-18, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh put together some serious star power for a run of shows at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. Lesh celebrated his 76th birthday on March 15th, bringing along Warren Haynes, Rob Barraco, John Molo and Lettuce/Soulive guitarist, Eric Krasno. Krasno held his own as the newcomer to the group (though he has played as a “Friend” before), though fans were quite excited as Jimmy Herring returned to the lineup for the two-night stand. Herring, Haynes, Barraco and Molo are “The Q,” one of Lesh’s longest-standing lineups in the days before Furthur.For those who attended, “The Q” certainly felt reminiscent of old times. Thankfully, photographer Bill Kelly was on the scene to capture some of the moments of this run. Check out his images below, or and you can find videos/audio with full recaps for March 17th and March 18th by following the links. Setlist: Phil Lesh & Friends at the Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY – 3/17/16Set One: Jam > Dear Mr. Fantasy wh > China Cat Sunflower rb > Let It Ride pl rb, Passenger wh rb > Cosmic Charlie pl rb, Cassidy wh rb, Spots Of Time wh rbSet II: Mason’s Children pl wh rb > Mountain Jam jam > Mountains Of the Moon pl, Night Of 1000 Stars wh pl rb > Mountains Of the Moon pl > The Other One rb pl > Cryptical Envelopment pl, St. Stephen pl wh > In The Midnight Hour wh, Donor RapE: Days Between wh Setlist: Phil Lesh & Friends at the Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY – 3/18/16Set One: Jam > Dark Star pl wh rb > Again & Again wh rb, New Speedway Boogie wh pl, Sunshine of Your Love wh > Broken Arrow pl wh, End Of The Line wh > Dark Star v2 pl wh rb > I Know You Rider pl whSet Two: Unbroken Chain pl, Jam > The Wheel pl wh rb > Cumberland Blues pl wh rb, Uncle John’s Band pl wh > No More Do I wh rb > The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys wh > Franklin’s Tower pl wh, Donor RapEncore: Patchwork Quilt wh rbA full gallery of Bill Kelly’s images can be seen below: Load remaining imageslast_img read more

McGuigan rules out summer bout

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first_img It was hoped Belfast fighter Frampton, the IBF super-bantamweight champion, and Bury boxer Quigg, who holds a portion of the WBA title, would meet in July in a huge Battle of Britain showdown. But McGuigan said Quigg’s team would not agree on a 60-40 purse split in favour of Frampton and blamed Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn for the way the talks have collapsed. World champion Carl Frampton will not be fighting Scott Quigg this summer, according to the former’s manager and promoter Barry McGuigan. “It’s sad for the fans because we wanted it to happen,” McGuigan told BBC Sport. “Carl was willing to travel to England to put his title on the line, and when the champion does that he normally gets the majority of the purse. “Carl is a valid champion. Scott Quigg is the WBA’s ‘regular’ champion, not the real champion, which is (Cuba’s) Guillermo Rigondeaux. “Carl has drawn crowds of 16,000 in Belfast. I don’t want to be rude to Scott Quigg, but he’s never headlined a show. “We wanted a minimum of 60-40, not the winner takes 60-40 (as Hearn is on record as offering) because that’s unfair on the fighters.” Hearn appeared on Sky Sports earlier this month brandishing a £1.5million cheque, which he promised Frampton if he took the unification fight. But former featherweight world champion McGuigan said: “It was going along fine and then Eddie Hearn said: ‘We’re going to make you an offer.’ “He did it because he’s bullish, he’s cocky and he thinks he has control of everything, but he hasn’t. “They weren’t willing to play ball. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. We’re well on the way to getting another opponent.” Frampton, 28, is unbeaten in 20 professional fights and stopped the American Chris Avalos to retain his IBF belt in March. Unbeaten Quigg, 26, successfully defended his super-bantamweight title for a fifth time in November with a unanimous points win over Hidenori Otake. Press Associationlast_img read more