Norfolk has played the background for many movies but what would those films be like if the Hollywood stars were replaced with local people, and the army-like production teams replaced by one man and a slightly battered camcorder?
Comedian, performer and now film maker Richard DeDomenici has the answer with his Redux Project, which recreates films shot by shot in their original location but with slightly different production values.
As part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, DeDomenici was commissioned by Norwich Arts Centre to reimagine box office smash Avengers: Age of Ultron, part of which was filmed at the University of East Anglia.
In his new version, premiered tonight, the stunning backdrop of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is the same but everything else is different – and much more charming than the slick superhero original.
Delivered alongside another Norwich recreation, this time from Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, and some of his previous work, DeDomenici crafts a geekily entertaining evening which is to film what Adam Buxton’s Bug is to music videos.
It’s strange the things we can get nostalgic about: for Ross Sutherland, it’s the humble videotape.
The central – slightly stretching – conceit of his latest show, Stand-Buy For Tape Back-Up is a tape containing clips recorded by him and his grandad, clips that played backwards, in slow motion, and on repeat form a synchronised visual background to spoken poetry.
This paen to the VCR is beautifully produced, with the hiss and pops of the worn-out tape punctuating Sutherland’s words and some delicious moments of synchronicity as clips from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the Crystal Maze, Ghostbusters and even banking adverts blend in unlikely harmony with his meditations on his childhood, his grandfather’s death and his own struggles with asthma and depression.
Always one of the strongest lyrically of the Aisle 16 poets, Sutherland’s wordplay is extended on to the screen with the antics of Will Smith and hapless gameshow contestants being twisted in to metaphors of his own creation, and the pace of the video matched to the changing metre of his own delivery.
The closing coda around the film Jaws feels a little at odds with the rest of the show, but this is still a work in progress and no doubt that will be fixed as the piece heads to the Edinburgh Fringe. Sutherland is not about to fade away.
Sending someone to review Daniel Kitson is unfair.
No matter how literate they might be, expecting them to compete with a wordsmith of his quality, who can apparently effortlessly stand on stage and tell a warm, emotional, funny and expertly crafted story for ninety minutes and then condense it to a few hundred words is setting the bar too high.
His festival show, The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church, starts as the story of man writing suicide letters. 57 of them. It turns into an action-packed celebratory journey through two decades of a stranger’s life in epistolary form, with Kitson conjuring characters from the pages of more than 30,000 – probably imaginary – letters, merging them with his own life and exploring the need to connect.
Kitson is an unrivalled storyteller and deserved the sold-out crowd at Norwich Arts Centre, a venue perfectly suited to his theme and the tone of his performance which resembles more a conversation (though admittedly a rather one-sided one) than a theatre piece.
He is cerebral without obfuscation, wildly imaginative and believably precise. His narrative ranges deliciously from belly-laughter evoking material to melancholy that almost draws tears.
He is, in short, something well worth living for and his stay was regrettably brief.