An Inspector Calls on Men In Black 3

Again I find myself looking back on my week only to realise I have had been entertained by two very different types of performances.

An Inspector Calls

Front row dress circle seats, you cannot get much better when looking for tickets. I sat looking down at the stage where my great Uncle Jimmy O’Dea so often played in pantomime during the mid-decades of the last century. But this week I was here for a very different reason, An Inspector was Calling. This production of J.B. Priestley adapted by Stephen Daldry (The Reader, Billy Elliot etc.) has won multiple awards and played in many countries since 1992. I was about to find out why.

The curtains open to a street scene, London, 1910, street urchins play on the pavement while a man stands outside a house, a family party from inside one of the houses. You could be forgiven for suddenly thinking you were watching a film, I pinched myself and looked around, no I was still in the Gaiety. This was a play. Then it began to rain on the stage and within minutes we were enveloped in a pea souper. The production values are astonishing.

As for the play itself, the well-connected Birling family happily celebrate an engagement until Inspector Goole arrives with the tragic news of the death of a young woman. It is how this news reverberates around the family that unfolds throughout the play. The Inspector draws out mixed emotional and moral reactions. In the end it is not just the characters who are left to philosophise but the audience is made to reflect think how our own seemingly off hand decisions can make an impact on the world.

The cast and crew act and produce the performance effortlessly. The only thing I might say against it is that there were a few issues with some of the volume or clarity the actors lines, even so they were far and few between.

If you get a chance, run, don’t walk to this production.

Men In Black 3

All that it promises to be and less. I don’t know what it is about sequels these day but I am increasingly coming away from them feeling like I just watched an episode of a television series. Maybe it is because television has seen an up-scaling of production values in the past few decades.

Men In Black 3 is getting a little tired. This is reflected mostly by Tommy Lee Jones’ performance as Agent K. Will Smith’s Agent J, now a Senior Agent, is still playing the rookie card and this too is becoming a little tiresome.

But on the entertainment stakes it still manages to deliver a witty script, some nicely grotesque aliens and through a time travelling plot twist a slick performance by Josh Brolin as the 29 year-old Agent K. The films nemesis is played by a with spiny creepiecrawliness by Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Chonchords). Another new character is Griffin played by Michael Stuhlbarg who has the confusing ability to see all probable outcomes of any given situation.

There are better films to see in the cinema these days, so wait until this one is available to rent or download.

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