Mims' Musings

Trapped in a box: Leo (MimeLondon) at the Southbank Centre

Thursday 19th January 2013

Viva Whatever: Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre

Thursday 13th December 2012

Women seize the day: Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse

Thursday 6th December 2012

Romance among the bombs: The Promise at the Trafalgar Studios

Tuesday 20th November 2012

For the full reviews and to keep up with newly published ones click here: Mims Reilly.

Viva Whatever: Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre

There has been an inescapable buzz around Viva Forever. Based on music by the Spice Girls, it was easy to visualise how the things which made the Spice Girls great (bold, brassy, brazen fun) could have been a story about ‘girl power’, peppered with their chart-toppers. However, this wasn’t the case: what I really, really, really wanted was something, but it was too much of nothing. At the Piccadilly Theatre.

For full review click here:

Viva Whatever: Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre | One Stop Arts.

Women seize the day: Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse

Innovative, energetic, and electrifying: an all-female production of Julius Caesar shows men how it’s done at the Donmar Warehouse.

For full review click here: Women seize the day: Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse | One Stop Arts.

Romance among the bombs: The Promise at the Trafalgar Studios

Set during the siege of Leningrad during the winter of 1942, The Promise opens the Donmar’s final season of residency at the Trafalgar Studios. Staging a play about a love triangle, set against a backdrop of ‘cold, hunger, shelling and fires’ presents a series of challenges which this production tackles successfully in some places, but misses the mark in others.

For full review click here:

Romance among the bombs: The Promise at the Trafalgar Studios | One Stop Arts.

Anne Hathaway revealed  last night ITV’s Les Miserables Film Special, that the secret to her tears in the scene where Fantine’s hair is chopped off, apart from her hair being cut for real, was that this song was being played into her ear at the time to get her into the zone! She warns that it’s a good song, but “weepy”.

So now you know, give it a listen and put on the Les Mis soundtrack, the tears will come quickly!

My latest review for One Stop Arts

Trapped in a box: Leo (MimeLondon) at the Southbank Centre

One man, three walls, a floor, a door and a screen. Leo demonstrates how technology can enhance the art of mime, but has it really moved on from the old chestnut of a man being trapped in a box? At the Southbank Centre.

Mims Reilly 19th January 2013

Find full review here:

Trapped in a box: Leo (MimeLondon) at the Southbank Centre | One Stop Arts.

Argo Review

Posted on: 15/11/2012

Argo Concept Art by Jack Kirby

I am completely guilty of pre-judging films. When I read the synopsis of Argo it took me a good 5 minutes to disassociate it with catalogues. My next thoughts were that it sounded so unbelievable there’s no way it could work. I’m glad to say that the film has nothing to do with catalogues, and that it does indeed work, very well in fact.

The latest directorial offering from Ben Affleck (which he also stars in), sees him branching out into unfamiliar territory. In a literal sense Argo moves across the states (Washington to Hollywood) and continents to Tehran. The subject matter also spans what could be perceived as more challenging for the actor/director. To tackle a period piece about the difficult relationship between the US and Iran is no easy feat, but Affleck pulls it off with great style.

The film is set during the Iran Hostage Crisis, which took place in 1979. Anger amongst revolutionaries outside the US Embassy in Tehran bubbles over and 52 hostages are taken. Six American diplomats escape and take refuge in the Canadian Embassy. The CIA need to extract them, so they implement their ‘best bad idea’. Tony Mendez (Affleck), flies to Iran with fake IDs, with the intention of convincing the Iranians that the six are a Canadian film crew who are in Iran to find locations for Argo, a space opera based on Star Wars.

I knew I was going to like this film within the first minute. A useful history of the political relationship between the US and Iran is told through a series of storyboards (drawn by Anthony Liberatore and Julie Liggins), interspersed with what looks like genuine news footage of the angry revolutionaries (but turns out to be re-enactments.) The continuity and attention to detail setting this film in 1979 is flawless, giving it a truly authentic feel.

The high quality look is matched by the pacing. The early scenes of the revolutionaries give a good sense of anger coming to a head, and boiling over into the embassy. Throughout the events that follow, the tension peaks in all the right places. It takes some skill to produce a film where the climactic scene is an encounter with airport customs — I held my breath throughout!

Despite the dramatic content and seriousness of the situation the characters are in, Argo manages to be funny at the same time. There are brilliant one-liners that are organically funny rather than forced. A catchphrase is successfully implemented without seeming clunky (“Ar-go fuck yourself!”), and the film industry is playfully satirised:

“John Chambers: Let me get this straight, you want to come to Hollywood, make a fake movie, and do nothing?
Tony Mendez: That’s right.
John Chambers: [Smiles] You’ll fit right in!”

During the credits I gained a whole extra depth of respect for the Casting Director, Lora Kennedy as well as the stylists, hair and makeup teams. Pictures and video footage of the actual six diplomats that were part of what became known as the “Canadian Caper”, and the resemblance the actors pay to them is unbelievable. They also showed pictures from news footage at the time of the Iran Hostage Crisis compared to shots from the film, and I soon was unable to tell the difference between the two.

A thriller that makes you laugh, doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does but it works! Affleck successfully takes the raw material that was the real story, layers the genres and subplots over each other to create a captivating hostage drama peppered with razor-sharp one-liners.

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