The fests were Palfest Ireland (pictured) – an incredible volunteer run arts festival organised by Irish Artists in support of Palestine to demonstrate solidarity – my play Bitterenders had a reading in Dublin as part of the festival and I also saw two other pieces and met a wonderful group of passionate and talented artists. It was a very moving experience.
The other fest was London’s Shubbak ‘a window on the Arab world’ – I saw Razor Sharp an evening of Arab women writers which featured my short play Waiting for Barack O, and also Sevan K Greene’s Nahda at the Bush which was a beautiful company piece and atmospheric evening.
It was a month of monologues and excellent performances – first Lampedusa at Soho, an incredibly affecting and relevant piece about migrants, then Love, Bombs and Apples at the Arcola by Hassan Abdulrazzak had me guffawing loudly at Asif Khan’s excellent, versatile performance. Finally Fishamble’s Silent at Soho was Pat Kinevane’s mesmerising portrayal of Tino a homeless Dublin man. I nearly missed it because of complicated life logistics but I’m thrilled I didn’t – if you’re going to Edinburgh you should check out Fishamble’s shows there – another one man offering from Mr Kinevane and also a play called Little Thing Big Thing written by and featuring Palfest Ireland mastermind Donal O’Kelly. These shows alone give me a pang I won’t be at Edinburgh. So I’m glad I caught Luke Toulson’s personal and very funny stand up show Grandpa, Hitler and Me in a preview in London ahead of Edinburgh – a must-see if you’re heading north.
Other things I must mention – A Land Without People which closes tonight at The Courtyard – an impressive historical play exploring the creation of the state of Israel and featuring a tour de force performance from Roy Khalil (yes he’s my brother but honestly he’s bloody good in it – his Churchill great his Ben Gurion sublime). Also two regional pieces – The Head That Wears the Crown at the RSC a brilliant coming together by young people from across the country to give an abridged version of some of Shakespeare’s Henry plays – the performers were bold and brave and impressive; and I Burn, I Pine, I Perish at the Belgrade Coventry which brought together their young and older community groups to tell stories of love from real life and Shakespeare and was like an advert for community theatre in that it felt like it brought generations together and made us forget the age of the actors. Inspiring stuff.
Actually looking at my list for this month it’s probably the least Telly heavy one this year. When I have been at home it’s been brilliant films all the way, The Artist which led me to Little White Lies (Jean Dujardin is amazing), Fletch (anything 80s/early 90s with Chevy Chase is a thumbs up from me), Charade (an Audrey Hepburn I’d not seen thank you MUBI) and – at last – Ken Loach’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley with a stellar performance from Cillian Murphy – roll on season 3 of Peaky Blinders.
Here’s the full list for July:
1 July - THE OUTSIDER 1 July - The Good Wife 2 July - Lampedusa 3 July - Mr Jealousy 4 July - Catastrophe 5 July - Black Work 6 July - My Week with Marilyn 8 July - The Head That wears the Crown 9 July - Bitterenders 9 July - We are Rachel Corrie 9 July - What's Left of the Flag 14 July - HOME FRONT omnibus 15 July - Fletch 16 July - Nahda 17 July - Razor Sharp 18 July - The Artist 19 July - I Burn, I Pine, I Perish 19 July - ALIYAH 21 July - HOME FRONT omnibus 21 July - Love, Bombs and Apples 22 July - Silent 23 July - Charade 23 July - Catastrophe 27 July - Ancient Light 27 July - Little White Lies 28 July - A land without people 29 July - Grandpa, Hitler and Me (Luke Toulson) 31 July - The Wind that shakes the barley
Key: live performances (including music and theatre), telly dramas, books, films, RADIO DRAMA,