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- 101 Poems: An Anthology | Lee James Broadwood
This mesmerising anthology is divided into four categories, each demonstrating the versatility and art of the poet: LOVE AND ROMANCE, MELANCHOLIA, FANTASY AND INTRIGUE, and DARK. MORE INFO VIEW EXTRACTS PREORDER NOW Only £15.99 - Paperback and ebooks available! - Coming Late March 2023 About Book ABOUT THE BOOK The works included in this collection provide the reader with powerful and visceral vignettes to celebrate the beauty of life and of imagination, and to appreciate our fragile safety from ubiquitous dangers and pains. Some poems are commemorations of the serene and the romantic, whose magic is often overlooked in our fast-paced and sterile world; others sensationalise the horrors so commonplace to our homes and streets that their alienation reveals their truly harrowing and insidious existence. Fictional in nature, these poems are presented alongside ten special poems dedicated to the poet’s beloveds. PARTIAL EXTRACTS Extracts ‘I No Longer Love You’ Sunset heart. I used to love you, but now you're my eclipse. I prise my soul from your spirit, and my kisses from your lips. Once bewitched by the glints within your eyes and homesick from your chest, I remove your impression from my pillow and, from my heart, the rest. 'Lauren Taylor' Violet blush, and open lips, brunette hair, eyes opaline, hollow skin, and fading gaze, sapphires where carmine had been. Lauren Taylor, aged fourteen, found Bradley Flynn and in deep love fell, warmed by the passion in his words, soothed by his voice of caramel. 'Riverboat Island' Bobbing on a riverboat, hand in hand, heart in heart, for an island far from here, the brave lovebirds depart. Written in the ripples thin, vows eternal, vows of love. Constellations spell their names in the moonlit clouds above. 'Firefly' I know you hear me whilst I cry. Hush, my twinkling firefly. I am here, and all is fine, my gentle shimmer, my nightly shine. I know you watch me whilst I pray. Worry not your wings away, for I am here, and all is fine; no need to fear, my butterfly. Extract: ‘Goblins’ vigour snigger Goblin smile jiggermonsters in its bile Goblin gorge and ire conspire Goblin smell like burning fire Goblin raw and Goblin crude Goblin fiesty Goblin rude little buntrods in its hat Goblin sneeze and Goblin shat Extract: ‘Nectar’ Thawing nectar on my lips, let this not be our last kiss. Hold me tightly, close to you. Feel one rhythm beat from two. Lay my wandering head to rest upon your homely, faithful chest. Sink your teeth into my eye and blind me from temptation sly. 'Pain' Bleach-white walls, and freezing room. They gather around my bed. Electric shock. Jolt. Convulse. No life within it yet. Regulated ventilation. Coffin made of glass. Death-kissed body crimson. And the wait’s over at last.
- Lee James Broadwood | Interdisciplinary Artist
LEE JAMES BROADWOOD Interdisciplinary Artist What are you looking for? About Me Writing Film Theatre Photography Podcasts Artwork Blog YouTube Store Website Highlights Poetry Anthology now available for pre-order! more info
- PP: Animals | Lee James Broadwood
Professional photography Animals Please note that the following gallery is new and is still being edited. For full saturation, see the images in gallery mode by clicking on them. To hire me, please refer to this webpage . RETURN TO MENU
- [Review:] POTTED PANTO, Apollo Theatre, London.
I will start by stating that this pantomime has distinctly little appeal for children, despite welcoming so many into the house. From "oui oui hole", "Dick's huge Whittington", "Prince Charming's Balls" and other such double-entendre-based jokes to political quips, ironic feminist teachings and other sexual innuendoes, its material is distinctly mature. The chariot race, I would say, alongside the general existence of puppets, colourful costumes and projectile sweeties, are the only elements that show true consideration of the children in the audience. Of course, a pantomime must appeal to both adults and children and such adult content is not inherently problematic; this performance, however, fails to balance its adult content with that suitable for and enjoyable to children. Comedic content is also somewhat repetitive throughout: common social profiles, late entrances and missed cues, interrupted skits, or, most significantly, the constant deconstruction of pantomime. This latter works entirely against the creatives: having explained the context of the skit, then interrupting the skit to start all over again, then moving swiftly on to the next thing…all comedic potential is entirely thwarted in this manner. The main costumes are particularly irksome in this performance. It is beyond all reason that the two hosts should be dressed in sports uniforms, both pedestrian enough to feel out of place in their performance context yet obnoxious enough to clash with the costume pieces lain overtop. A few other costumes are simply undercooked, and not in a hilarious way: Other costumes, however, are most humorous and transportive: Cinderella, Prince Charming, and sleeping beauty's evil fairy. This performance aims to be eclectic, to offer great variety and yet lacks the framework necessary to refine, shape, structure and give identity to it. As it stands, it is merely chaotic and voiceless. Of course, the intention is to present a series of various pantomimes in quick succession, but the stories are simply skimmed over, replaced by completely unrelated skits that could be attributed to any pantomime at all or, worse, by a mere summarising narration. I would recommend far more attention be given to the stories presented; after all, this is the only objective of the show: to portray several pantomimes in one sitting. In terms of performance style, Daniel Clarkson is certainly far more expressive than Jefferson Turner, and this is jarring to watch at times. Especially with Clarkson performing longer solo skits – Prince Charming's monologues, his one-man reenactment of the King Rat and Cat's fight or his huge offstage monologue during the Cinderella story, to name a few – the comedic content is emphatically delivered by Clarkson over Turner, and this is a huge issue for a performance presenting two entirely equal hosts. Not only is Clarkson more expressive, having intenser physicality, but Turner rather underplays his characters. This sense of underplaying is most notable in the ambit of his gaze: Clarkson performs to the entire house, looking up to the circle, across the stalls, etc.; Turner merely performs outwardly, just above the stalls and just below the circle, in a comfort zone where no audience member should actually reside. All of this is unaided by his propensity to stumble over his lines. I would pay close attention to this discrepancy in the duo's performativity and to this lack of eye contact on Turner's part. As voiced by the hosts in the performance, it is, ironically, most peculiar that Charlotte Payne and Jacob Jackson should appear as unmarkedly as they do. Their appearances are also serious, not comedic or self-referential: Payne performs and sings beautifully as the fairy, and Jackson plays his roles with little metatheatrical self-reflection. In this manner, these two performers are most ill-incorporated into this show, despite how well they perform. I will say, however, that comedic timing is impeccable and that one-liners are well conceived, congruous and well delivered. Clarkson is a most energised and captivating performer, committing to the ludicrousness of his roles wonderfully. The duo do have a good chemistry, but I would work on allowing this to feel less artificial in places. Puppets are wonderfully crafted, and the majority of costumes are equally well designed. The set design is notably lacking, however, which is slightly made up for with the abundance of props, but this emphasises any moments where physicality and expressivity are lacking. “Chaotic, ill-considered and underplayed.”
- [Review:] HEARTBREAK HOTEL, Etcetera Theatre, London.
This performance, written and directed by Lydia Vie, has a wonderful and exciting premise and presents an excellent range of engaging character types. Aesthetically, for the most part, it is also coherent and equally engaging in its eclectic and flamboyant design. A true feast for the eyes at times. However, I am afraid, the superficiality of the written text for this play restricts its potential from achieving much beyond visual appeal. I shall start with acting. We are presented with a great range of abilities, but repetitive characterisations – derived, of course, from the caricatural and unnuanced characters in the text itself – allow for monotonous and shallow profiles. This is particularly the case for those less focalised by the text, such as Anna Oggero (playing Violet) and Christiana Maycea (playing Silver): Oggero's constant hugging herself or fiddling with her hands is, of course, effective in quickly communicating nervousness but very soon becomes far too shallow and unyielding. Maycea is perhaps the most unenergised of the performers, and I would have liked to have seen far greater intensity, vigour and presence in her performance. A great intensity, however, from Sevi Filippidou (playing Eden) who remains bold, confident and self-aware throughout, but, again, her repetitive repertoire of movements weakens our reading of her character. Characterisation in performances like this, presenting scenelets in quick succession and lingering predominantly only on a few characters – in this case, Amber (Chryssi Janetou) – is most importantly achieved in silent scenes and in choreography. Unfortunately, wherever these actors are silent, they remain either frozen or perform extremely vague and indecipherable actions in slow motion. This is not effective in developing refined, precise and demonstrable characterisations. Indeed, choreography is very poor throughout the entirety of the performance, either repetitive or completely illegible. An example of illegibility is in the last sequence wherein Eden paints her hands in red lipstick to smear over Violet's hands in stealing her heart – a very symbolic and pretty depiction. As Filippidou does this, we see Oggero pulling at each of her fingertips, slowly, with fluid motions. What this represents is most unclear. To provide an example of repetitiveness, I would turn to Alexis Danan's (playing Felix) daisy chain dance or Oggero's rather unenergised attempt to get out of the web of caution tape, seeing her stumble vaguely back and forth, in and out of the various taped-off sections. Oggero, for example, spends the vast majority of the performance, especially in early parts, simply filing her nails, which is a most pedestrian and unrevealing activity, eliminating any poignant reading of her character. Audience perspective is not considered in choreography, either, particularly in what I shall refer to as the window-cleaning and the red-carpet sequences. Those not sitting in the centre of the house would be unable to see any of the action whatsoever. With choreography being so intrinsic to this performance, that it should be so repetitive and so vague is a huge issue. However, this is not to say that choreography shows no promise whatsoever. Indeed, the concept of Jasper's (Ilias Alexeas) window-cleaning sequence is endearing and humorous in its quirkiness and variety. That Felix should use the daisy chain, which his lover had used to hang herself, in a quick, passion-filled tango of sorts is equally enchanting. Indeed, there is a definite creativity lurking behind the choreography, but the creatives, on this occasion, were simply unable to pull it off in practice, presenting unvaried routines and repetitive repertoires in each choreographed sequence. In fact, each sequence could easily have been halved in time and would still have communicated the same content. I shall now move on to the text itself. Really, this play can be broken down into four parts. The first two, which constitute the majority of the performance's content, consist of the characters detailing their respective stories of heartbreak and of the characters playing games to pass the endless time they must spend in this liminal realm. The third part, in its brevity, consists of the characters breaking free from the hotel and moving on into the afterlife, and the fourth, even briefer, consists of Eden revealing her true intentions and trapping Violet forever. That such focus and attention should be given to these two former parts – and, most surprisingly, to the second I have mentioned – and that these latter two should be so rushed and inconsequential is most peculiar. Currently, this performance feels incredibly undercooked, presenting various, superficial vignettes which, in their thematic similitude, give the impression that the overall plot is coherent, well-established and profound but which, in truth, reveal very little about the characters, their stories and their current shared context. Far less time should be given to such unnecessary incidents as the characters playing charades, truth or dare and spin the bottle, and given, instead, to progressing the actual plot of the play. As it stands, it feels as though we are rushing through the meaningful elements of the performance – through the development of the characters and their inter-/relationships – and giving an unnecessary abundance of time to inferior, insignificant material. If the plot were far better developed, its significant and pivotal events would seem far less incoherent and haphazard: that Silver and Felix should fall in love, that Eden is, in fact, evil and conniving, etc. – both of which examples seem to come out of nowhere. One recommendation might be to present the characters' stories in quick succession upon Amber's entrance, so that we may understand the characters in their entirety from as early on in the play as possible, and then we can spend the rest of the play developing these characters, seeing what roles their traumas and heartbreaks play in their lives now, how character relationships develop because of these, etc. At least one game sequence should be permitted at the very most, for respite from heavy content or to trigger another development – that Amber should start to crush on Felix, for example. Personally, though, I would remove these game sequences altogether, as they currently only subtract from the performance's profundity and consume valuable stage time. The text seems to obsess over asking questions that are never answered, either when the characters are in game or with Jasper's catchphrase 'Have you ever felt so lonely you could die?' – indeed, that it should be Jasper's catchphrase and not Eden's is most peculiar. With so many questions being asked [and, again, never answered], bearing no relevance to the performance content whatsoever, these ought to be reduced or entirely deleted as well so that better focus may be given to more valuable story developments. I mentioned Jasper's catchphrase, and I would recommend far more context-related elements like this. That the four 'chambers' of the heart should be translated into the four chambers of the hotel and that Elvis Presley's song of the same name should be played again and again add a great sense of context in their symbolism and familiarity. However, these are the only elements beyond the luggage and luggage trolley and Eden's phone conversations with guests that actually draw us into the context of a hotel. Indeed, the significance of a hotel as opposed to any other liminal spiritual realm is left uncommunicated. Once again, an undercooked reference which, whilst being aesthetically appealing, bears little fruit in the bigger picture of the performance. We need to see what it is exactly about a hotel setting that should affect these characters. What are the relationships between the hotelier and guests? This question, in particular, is definitely something to better consider if we are to be at all shocked by Eden's final intentions. Even the performance's tagline, 'we hope you have an unpleasant stay', communicates a relationship between hotelier and guest, a dingy context of suffering and pain, but we do not actually see any of this in the text itself, only in our summations and personal imaginings. It seems as though the creatives have a great budding concept but have run away with it too quickly before it can be materialised in its final, more coherent form. A few final notes. One could argue that not only this performance's aesthetic but its overall storytelling style rely heavily upon an abundance of theatrical properties, from the severed horse's head to the bubble bottle. Such properties are ubiquitous and highly significant. In this way, any pretence of an action where props are not used, such as Eden's leafing through the hotel's reservations book and Amber's presentation of a dagger, becomes intensified and extreme, drawing excessive attention to the inferior presentation of mime and relying upon the audience's imagination that is elsewhere not called into action. I would recommend removing all mime from this performance and replacing imagined properties with physical, material ones. Otherwise, an emphatic stylistic inconsistency arises. There are a few, almost missable moments of audience interaction that are unnecessary and entirely distractive, and the vast, vast majority of these come from Oggero. This is a self-contained performance, never addressing its audience, not even in its various monologues. Thus, that Oggero should go so far as to scrub an audience member’s foot as though shining their shoe, look them in the eye, and roll away, has no purpose; it merely takes the audience member out of the performance and into an awareness of the audience-performer contract, the codes and mechanicality of the space and of the art form in general, and into an awareness of themselves and their own bodies. This self-consciousness is not in any way facilitatory in a performance like this. “A performance with great promise and intrigue but rushed, incoherent and incomplete.”
- Star Ratings: The Performance Critic
For the foreseeable future, star ratings will no longer appear in the critical analyses published via The Performance Critic. Star ratings do not coincide with the nature of the reviews that are published here. Although I have always intended for them to be considered more of a rating of efficacy, integrity and originality, I am aware that they are taken as mere abstractions of my personal opinion. I do not feel it is beneficial to communicate my personal relationship with the work to which I am exposed; personal reactions and psychological results vary too greatly from audience member to audience member to be awarded any merit. Therefore, I am removing them from the end of my reviews, as I wish only to critique the performances as objectively as I am able to. Whilst available to the public, these reviews are not intended uniquely for the public as commercial reviews are; instead, they are intended for the theatremakers and live artists who request them and are published publicly for free for those who cannot afford private reviews. So, I feel that star ratings are of little use in comparison with the content of the reviews themselves. Star ratings may still be requested, should this be deemed important to the theatremakers requesting a review for some reason. It should be noted, however, that these star ratings will reflect, as I have said, the efficacy, integrity and originality of the performance(s) in question. Quotations will still be included to encapsulate the unique content of the review and my critical response to the performance(s) in question.