This torrent was uploaded from www.TheBox.bz (signup is open and free) - the home of all British TV
Northern Ballet Theatre 'A Simple Man'
Christopher Gable, Moira Shearer
Choreographer: Gillian Lynne
Music: Carl Davis
BBC/Opus Arte DVD, 2005
by Simonetta Dixon
The BBC commissioned Gillian Lynne and Carl Davis to create a ballet based on the life and works of L.S. Lowry in 1987, to celebrate the centenary of his birth. The piece was created especially for TV, and includes an interesting introduction by Albert Finney, one of Salford’s other famous sons. ‘A Simple Man’ is how Lowry once referred to himself, but as with all simple men, he was complicated.
The thread going through this ‘dance drama’ or ‘dramatic ballet’ is the relationship between Lowry and his mother. As in Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’ and MacMillan’s ‘Mayerling’, here is a needy son desperate for his mother’s love and attention, but getting neither. The sad thing is that in this case it is true, not invented. Lowry lived with his parents until they died, never gaining his mother’s respect for his art or for himself. She loved her piano more than her husband or her son, it is said. However, this did not deter Lowry from adoring her and giving of himself all the time. His love was unrequited, and this is made very clear by Moira Shearer’s dramatic portrayal of the mother…essentially cold and indifferent towards her son, but still keeping him to her bosom until her dying day. It is not a large role, but it was good enough to coax her out of retirement this once. Likewise Christopher Gable, who has a bit more to do dancewise but uses his acting abilities much more than his dancing, especially in his mother’s death scene. He is convincing as a man confused by his mother’s attitude towards him, confused by women, confused by life in general. It is a pity that in one piece he has to lurch around like Frankenstein’s monster when in the presence of a young woman. However, he conveys desire, wonder and shyness in the same pas de deux very effectively.
Lynne created a piece that reflects the essence of Lowry’s work…industrial landscape of the Victorian North, the sense of Man being isolated from his surroundings, the majesty of the sea (depicted by a very clever wave sequence), mysterious women, the joyous side of life, such as watching an organ grinder, buying balloons for the children, walking through the snowy countryside and doing a clog dance. She, together with David Wilson’s designs and Tim Goodchild’s costumes, makes the paintings come alive, and succeeds in getting the dancers to capture the funny, forward-slanting walk of many of Lowry’s characters. It did take me a while to get used to all the men looking like Pete Doherty with their pale faces, dark, haunted eyes, hats and dark clothes!
The dancers of Northern Ballet Theatre dance with joy, wit and a real understanding of what lies behind Lowry’s works. His characters are realistically brought to life through their interpretation of Lynne’s pleasant if unchallenging choreography, accompanied by Davis’ vibrant music; its gentle flow hits just the right note for Lowry’s work and Lynne’s vision.
‘A Simple Man’ has great potential as a stage piece, and this DVD has made me wish that NBT would adapt it accordingly and perform it live. Let us hope they will do so; in the meantime I highly recommend this DVD to brighten up your day. This might sound strange considering its subject matter…but it is a testament to Lynne, Davis, NBT, Wilson, Goodchild, The BBC Philarmonic and everyone else involved in this production, as well as Lowry himself, that the dark satanic mills of the industrial North can be turned into life-affirming art.
File Name ..........: A simple Man - The Making of.avi
Total Size (Bytes) .: 109,417,366 Bytes
Total Size (KB) ....: 106,853 KB
Total Size (MB) ....: 104.35 MB
Total Streams ......: 2 Stream(s)
File Size Correct ..: Yes
Video Size (Bytes) .: 98,976,544 Bytes
Video Size (KB) ....: 96,657 KB
Video Size (MB) ....: 94.39 MB
Video Length .......: 00:10:52
Video Codec Code ...: DIVX
Video Codec Name ...: OpenDivX (DivX 4.0 and later)
Video Bitrate ......: 1214 KB/s
Resolution .........: 720 x 480
Aspect Ratio .......: 1.50:1
Total Frames .......: 46740 Frames
Framerate ..........: 29.970 FPS
Color Depth ........: 24 Bits
Quality Factor .....: 4.901 B/px
Packed Bitstream ...: No
Some of the other rather spiffing shows available now and always if you signup free @ www.TheBox.bz:
Comedy: The Office, Peep Show, Coupling, Chef, Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, The IT Crowd, Brass Eye, Nathan Barley, Young Ones, Monty Python, Blackadder, Alan Partridge, Father Ted, Coupling, Little Britain, Mr Bean, Extras, Green Wing, Mighty Boosh
Drama: Casualty, Holby City, The Bill, Hustle, Skins, Shameless, Ashes To Ashes
Game/Quiz Shows: Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Have I Got News For You, Deal Or No Deal (UK), Q.I.
Education/Documentary: Planet Earth, Horizon, Panorama, Mark Thomas (Comedy) Product
Food: Hell's Kitchen, Jamie Oliver, The F Word, Kitchen Nightmares, Masterchef, Great British Menu, Gordon Ramsay's Cookalong
Home/Property/Garden: Property Ladder, How Clean Is Your House?, Changing Rooms, Grand Designs, Homes Under The Hammer, To Buy Or Not To Buy
Motoring: Top Gear, Fifth Gear
Music: Top Of The Pops, Jools Holland, Glastonbury
Reality: Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here!, Any Dream Will Do, Grease, Pop Idol, Wife Swap, X Factor, Badger Or Bust, Apprentice UK, Dragons' Den, Britain's Got Talent
Sci-Fi: Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Torchwood, Primeval
Sport: Football (Soccer), Cricket, Rugby, Snooker, Darts, Formula One (F1GP)