I can strongly recommend God of Carnage, the new play by Yasmina Reza, which tracks the descent into madness of a meeting between two couples to discuss an altercation between their respective sons. All starts with impeccable manners, stilted conversation and discussion of recipes. And then, in a sort of Moulinex blend of Abigail’s Party and Lord of the Flies, bedlam breaks out. The cast, led by Ralph Fiennes, is flawless, and, while the philosophical points are well made, it is the belly laughs you remember.
Plenty to see at the movies right now. For those who like classy ghost films, The Orphanage, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, is a superior effort, with some genuinely terrifying editing. I finally got to see the new print of Bertolucci’s The Conformist, and what a stunning, psychologically troubling experience it is: truly, one of the great films of all time. Brian de Palma’s Redacted is still being shown here and there and is a raw and harrowing study of brutalisation in the Iraq War. Garage is an almost unwatchably acute account of loneliness, set in the forecourt of a dilapidated Irish petrol station, with a remarkable performance by Pat Shortt as the village idiot, Josie.
For light relief, the DVD of Planet Terror – the Robert Rodriguez half of the Tarantino Grindhouse debacle – has just been released, and, for those with the stomach to sit through its cartoon horror, it is very funny indeed. I have also just finished watching the first season of Skins which made me feel about 1,000 years old but is much the most interesting piece of programming I’ve seen in a while.
On the iPod: Antidotes is a fine debut by Foals, the Oxford indie band, sharp and sarcastic, with much promise for the future. And I’m looking forward enormously to the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s The Minotaur at the Royal Opera later this month.
I am baffled by the bad reviews of Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence, which I found lushly magnificent: more by me about him and it in the magazine shortly.