Thursday, 30 January 2014

Coriolanus ntlive - having a front row seat from all angles!

I just got back from seeing Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus via National Theatre Live (ntlive) and all I can say is wow, just wow! For those of you who don't know what ntlive is, it's where a production of a play is broadcast live to cinemas. We went to the local Cineworld and after that experience, we're seriously considering booking for a rerun of The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nighttime (it's not live, but it was filmed live).

I wouldn't have missed going to see Coriolanus in the Donmar Warehouse, because there's an atmosphere in a theatre that cannot be recreated remotely, but I have to say, for being able to see and understand every nuance of the entire cast's performances, there is nothing to beat ntlive. It was like I was sitting in the front row, in every front row seat at just the right time to catch every gesture, every tear, and it was magnificent!

When I saw Coriolanus in the threatre, I came away thinking the best three performances by far were from Tom as Coriolanus, Mark Gatiss as Menenius and Deborah Findlay as Volumnia. I still came away from ntlive with that impression, they each have their own unique charisma that carries every scene they are in. None more so than the final scenes where, first Menenius, and then Volumnia and the rest of Coriolanus' family try to convince him to spare Rome from his revenge. However, ntlive also gave me a new appreciation of not only the other members of the cast, but also for all the subtle expressions and interactions that are not clear from the last row of the circle.

Virgilia, Coriolanus' wife has very few lines, and, at a distance in the theatre, I found her rather wooden. However, with the right close ups in ntlive, the veil was lifted and I saw how nuanced her performance, her reactions and expressions were and, I have to say, especially in the first half, she was fantastic. She doesn't have the long speeches that Volumnia has, nor the wit of Menenius, but the love she has for Coriolanus, in many cases a silent love shown only in gestures, is immense.

The tribunes too, who we could not see from our seats for much of the theatre performance, took on new dimensions - dimensions I wanted to thump (which I rather think was Shakespeare's point). I had found them bit parts, a means to an end when I could not see them properly, but, again, with the cameras right 'there', the art in their faces made me laugh one moment and gnash my teeth the next.

The cameras took me on a different journey to the one I had in the theatre. I was up high, observing in the theatre (although I will never forget the moment Tom stared right up into the middle distance right at where we were sat as he fell apart to his mother's words). With the cameras, I was there in every moment of the play, I saw the battle-rage in Coriolanus when taking an entire city by himself; I wanted to smack the tribunes as they plotted and schemed to rid themselves of the ungracious war hero; I so needed to hug Menenius as his world falls apart at Coriolanus' rejection and I wept as Coriolanus wept at his mother's pleas.

SPOILERS follow so here's a rather captivating piccie of Tom if you don't want to read any further :)

He knew damn well he had come too far, that he was going to die when he relented his revenge and spoke those words, 'Mother, oh mother, what have you done?'

And I'll stop there, because I could gush all day. If you get a chance to see this production in an ntlive rerun, DO IT - even if you've seen the play at the Donmar itself!

Monday, 27 January 2014

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2014 - are you in?

Sooo, it's that time of year again, the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge participant's list is now open for folks to join and, guess what I just did! o.O 

26 days in April, each day a blog post inspired by a different letter of the alphabet. 

Well, signing up was the easy bit - now I have to decide what to write about for 26 (almost) consecutive days.  I could pick a theme, if I can think of one, or I could go random like I did last year. I'm tempted by the theme idea, but I'll have to plan that carefully, since I do not want to bore for England on one narrow topic for 26 days ;P.  

We'll be doing Drabblerotic over on Fantasy Boys XXX again too - that should be spicy fun :).

I met some really interesting folks last year by wandering around the participants' list, so I'm looking forward to the blog hopping aspect of this event as well. 

The A to Z is hard work, but rewarding, so who's signing up then?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

So this is a blog post about writing blog posts...I think I'm going slightly nuts!

Ooff! I am preparing a collection of six blog posts for a blog tour to promote my new book, Rage - The Vampire's Concubine #2. The tour is set for 10th to 15th Feb 2014, and for the last week, I'm been frittering my time away, writing a note here and laying down an idea there. And, of course, now deadlines are approaching, some self-imposed, some requested by my lovely hosts, all sense has abandoned me!

It's like I've forgotten how to actually sound lucid and consistent! ;P

I've managed 2 out of 6 posts at the moment, one on the book, Rage, itself, and why I wrote it, for April Margeson. That one came quite easily and lulled me into a false sense of security! But when I started work on the next, an interview for Ashlynne Laynne, I found myself babbling incoherently and having to rewrite my answers to some fun and challenging questions several times. I'm now a third of the way through a post about power dynamics in erotic fiction for Kia Zi Shiru and my thoughts are flitting hither and thither and making stringing a cohesive post together rather difficult.

So, I just had to share and sigh and mop my brow and hmm and lalala and just plain procrastinate for a bit.

BUT - now I have to get back to work! Once more unto the breach, dear friends...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

BBC The Musketeers - My First Opinions

So, episode one is now over and we have been introduced to The Musketeers 'for the 21st Century'. And, I have to say, I rather enjoyed it. Not as dark as I had feared it would be, in fact, it's tone is very similar to the 1973/4 films: humour, action and some dastardly deeds by Richelieu, and boy! was he dastardly. The body count due to his machinations was almost in double figures.

So, the other characters, what of them?

D'Artagnan, or should I call him Inigo Montoya, because he did almost utter the immortal phrase, 'You killed my father, prepare to die' - almost, it was so close - is hot headed, to the point of producing some of the laughs in the piece by rushing headlong into things - you can see it coming a mile away, but it's still funny :).

Athos is dark and moody with a mysterious back story involving a murderous woman - ooo, I like him already! ;P

Aramis is a dandy who follows his nether regions around and that is going to get him into so much trouble, but I won't say why, you have to watch the show to find out.

And Porthos - hmm - I'm not sure about Porthos yet - he's a cheat, but I haven't got my head around him yet. He was a bit of a leader in this ep due to Athos being indisposed, and he's a damn good musketeer, but he has me wondering.

Milady disappointed me a little, she was all calm and collected, but not quite the seductress the plot had her be (for me, this is a personal opinion), however then pow, at the end, we see what lies under that beautiful surface and it's fiery and nuts!

And finally, Constance, I love Constance! She's sweet and caring and is willing to tell her favourite three musketeers what for when she has to. She's a great character and I hope she carries on in the same vein for the rest of the series.

I wouldn't call the show subtle, but the cast is good, the characters have started out well and I am looking forward to some more buckling of swashes next week. So Richelieu, bring it on, the musketeers can handle you!

BBC - The (Three) Musketeers 2014 - new for the 21st Century - really?

I've warily looking forward to this new version of The (Three) Musketeers (they've dropped the Three), 'warily' being because of the insistence on it 'being for a 21st century audience' - because, sometimes, shows try too hard to be different. There's certainly plenty of eye candy in this show, with all the main cast easy on the eye. However, what piqued my interest was Peter Capaldi's face popping up in the trailer. I can't wait to see Capaldi's Richelieu, because I've loved him as an actor since Lair of The White Worm and later Neverwhere (I wonder if they'll have to replace him in Season 2 if it's renewed, or if the shooting schedule for DW and Musketeers will work out - if the show's any good, I'm hoping for the latter).

Interesting that the production is claiming it's going to be darker than other adaptations, I think they mean 'angsty' ;P - I'm only going on the trailer here. 1974 's The Four Musketeers was pretty dark in places, just because it has lots of humour doesn't mean it doesn't handle the tough stuff, esp around Constance and M'lady. I hope there'll be some lifts in this new version as well, because 'dark and gritty' is all very well, but I don't want to come out the other end more depressed than I went in - if I wanted to do that, I could go watch a soap opera.

Ah well, it starts tonight (19th Jan) on BBC 1 at 9pm, so I'm going to give it a try.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

It's Appreciate A Dragon Day - so why not celebrate with a FREE roaring read, Bonds of Fire

Today, it's Appreciate A Dragon Day, and so I thought I'd take the opportunity to remind folks about my free fantasy romance eBook all about dragons and their bonded humans,

Bonds of Fire 

Drekken is a dragon warrior. Bonded to his dragon, Miri, together they lead a squadron of fliers. His fliers respect him, his enemies fear him, his reputation precedes him. Yet, nothing in his life could have prepared Drekken for his greatest challenge: babysitting.

Stranded after a deadly battle, separated from his squadron and Miri, Drekken finds himself the only hope for two young empaths and their nursery group of hatchlings. He must lead them all to safety and, along the way, discover some truths about himself.

Bonds of Fire is a fantasy novella that contains an m/m romance.

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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Thank You to Everyone Who Joined in the Wittegen Press Advent Giveaway 2013!

A big thank you and a Happy New Year to everyone who joined in the 
Wittegen Press Advent Giveaway 2013.

All the winners have been contacted and given their prizes, so if you think it's you who is displayed on the rafflecopter widget on each day, and you haven't been contacted, let us know by commenting here and we'll resend the winning details.

Wittegen Press has had a great 2013, and we're looking forward to 2014, so all the best to everyone and we'll soon be announcing more book releases from our authors.