Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Essential spring theatre

Just a quick heads up on one or two unmissable productions this spring. The Young Vic have Terminus by Mark O'Rowe, performed by the Abbey, which I saw in Edinburgh a few years ago. I remember feeling slightly short-changed when I realised I'd splashed out £17 to see a set of static monologue with no set and seemingly no directions, but that wasn't taking into account the red hot script. The writing is brutal: not a word wasted, as the play wields its savage destruction through words. It's lyrical, poetic, hyper-surreal, intricate, sadistic, very funny and an absolute must-see. The script by O'Rowe - whose films Perrier's Bounty and Intermission are worth watching - sits proudly on my bookshelf. Terminus is the best of the lot though. I hope we see more work from him soon as he's one of the best writers out there at the moment.

Concurrently at the same venue is a joint production with English National Opera of Monteverdi's The Return of Ulysses. Staged Monteverdi is always (another fond Edinburgh memory was Jordi Savall's Orfeo) and I wanted to see this even before I heard my friend, tenor Thomas Hobbs, was in it. It promises to be a winner.

Then in my inbox and Twitter this morning was news that Battered Arts Centre have given in to popular demand and announced another One-on-one Festival. Ontroerend Goed have star billing once again and justifyably so, although it seems they are not bringing any new productions.
Logistics (perhaps the threat of mutiny from the box office staff, in off their feet last time?) have determined that there will be ten set packages of shows, each with three performances to see. The packages are all themes around a mood, so you could opt for "challenging" or "out of body" for example. At £19.50 a pop, once again it'll be frustrating if you feel everyone else around you has seen more stimulating material, but that's part of the fun. Someone pointed out that compared to last summer's festival there are fewer tickets, so that "sneaking in" to unsold performances may be more difficult. Still, once again it promises to be one of the most exciting events if the year.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Blogger Android app - a little review

As if by magic, just a few days after I started using my new phone and implored Google to introduce an official Android app for Blogger, they've done it. The app is free and available on the Market now. But is it any good?

The app loads quickly and has a very simple interface, which is a promising start. Multiple accounts are supported, which is nice, and if you ave several blogs on the same account then these can all be updated. This reveals the first flaw: the default blog is not necessarily the last one posted to, or the most frequently updated. Mine defaults to an old, forgotten blog, which is a shame.

Understandably, formatting options are minimal, but most people wouldn't want to get that fiddle anyhow. Even on my enormous HTC Desire HD, I'll be quite happy with plain text, with the ability to update the post and make it look fancy later.

Photos can be uploaded either from the gallery, or directly from the smartphone camera; this means liveblogging from an event or news situation is easy. It certainly means that photographing directly to Twitpic is no longer the sole option.

Labels (tags) are also enabled, and there's a nice GPS feature, so that the blogger's action can be automatically added: a nice.touch.

All of this is very nice, but the official app doesn't really do anything that Blogger-droid couldn't handle. What is really criminal is that there's so syncing with the Blower account. It seems that a post from a mobile will only appear in the main account once it has been published. This means that it's not.possible to write part of a post on the go and finish it offer home on a computer, or vice versa. As someone who tends to write fairly lengthy pieces over a period of time, this is extremely frustrating - t would be nice to have a piece of work in progress bubbling away, and add to it whenever. Have an idle five minutes. The sooner Blogger sort this out the better. Some sort of spellcheck woulda be welcome, although my HTC has this built in.

All in all, the Blogger Android app does the job well enough, although I will lol forward to improved versions providing further functionality. Incidentally, I wrote this post on my phone!