During the interval, my companion said, "I don't really understand Pinter." Two others said, "I don't think you're supposed to," with one adding, "JusDuring the interval, my companion said, "I don't really understand Pinter." Two others said, "I don't think you're supposed to," with one adding, "Just let it wash over you." We concluded that if you think you've understood it, you almost certainly haven't.
Pinter was in the vanguard of the sixties drive away from linear narrative, and in Old Times the conversation is used not to drive any plot as such but to delve into the nature of Deeley and Kate's relationship. The obvious interpretation is that Kate and Anna had been more than friends, which would have been far more shocking in 1971 than now, but that seems too simplistic. More plausible is the interpretation that Anna isn't actually there: the memory of her is what intrudes into the couple's relationship rather than her physical presence.
But even that might be too literal. The younger Kate comes across as almost autistically shy, and would have been a curious best friend for the outrageously gregarious Anna. There's a clue in their sharing of underwear and in Deeley's assertion that he had known Anna too. Perhaps Anna is actually also Kate: the extrovert part of her personality that was suppressed when she married Deeley.
Despite its impenetrability, obscure dialogue and occasional pretentiousness, Old Times is also funny and poetic and has real dramatic energy. ...more
It doesn't take long to divine Taraborrelli's opinion of himself in this book: it begins with a quote from Miss Ross herself telling him how he knowsIt doesn't take long to divine Taraborrelli's opinion of himself in this book: it begins with a quote from Miss Ross herself telling him how he knows her better than any biographer. Yes, the first words of the biography are about him, not her. And this reviewer found this writer's constant references to "this writer" (rather than simply "I" or "me") to be tiresome and pompously self-serving.
Now, having written two previous biographies of the Motown superstar, he's returning to squeeze the last bit of milk from his cash cow.
To be fair, despite being an unashamed fan, Taraborrelli is even-handed. It's long been alleged that Ross is an uncompromising, career-focused manipulator and, despite his obvious love for her as an artist, he's quite happy to show her in this unflattering light. He even colludes with the consensus that Ross was miscast in The Wiz when a one-eyed fan might have presented it as a triumph. This is by no means a hagiography. Its failings lie elsewhere.
The book is over-long and excessively detailed, with the accumulation of facts valued far above writing style. Taraborrelli is meticulous at the expense of readability and his prose is workmanlike and uninspired, as if he's desperate to collate every scrap of source material rather than tell a story. And yet the opposite is true when it comes to the photos. Nearly all of them are PR shots taken from the glory years 1966-68, giving a frustratingly incomplete picture.
In the end we don't learn much about Ross that we didn't already know. We just know it in more detail. A lot, lot more detail....more
Tongues only works on the stage: it's abstract, poetic and potentially exciting, with a strong percussive element. As such, it should only really be rTongues only works on the stage: it's abstract, poetic and potentially exciting, with a strong percussive element. As such, it should only really be read by someone looking to perform it, so the two stars is strictly for the book version. But I'd recommend it to anyone seeking to put on a short play that's challenging and different. ...more