Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The last Last Word

The fantastic thing about these monologues has been the way in which each one is so different from the other two. The final one, A bit of Private Business, stars Bob Hoskins as a hitman waiting in a public toilet for his next target. Hoskins is so good at this sort of thing, and his comic timing is pretty much impeccable, making much of this monologue very funny indeed. But, in keeping with the other two, things eventually turn a bit darker...the man finds himself meditating on age, loneliness, and the feeling of a world moving on while some people get left behind, and the end of the piece is so surprising that it takes a little while for you to realise how significant it is - the hitman has outlined for us the black-and-white rules and principles of his world, but ultimately we see that, tragically, the things he believes in cannot be trusted any longer.

In summary, these monologues by Hugo Blick have been really quite excellent. Managing to balance comedy and tragedy is a tricky one, but each piece has done it, brilliantly.

Monday, 1 September 2008

The Last Word...again

I was wrong, it seems - the monologues are about imminent death, but not necessarily the death of the narrator, as in the first one; in the second one, Six days one June, it is the mother of the storyteller who is on the verge of dying. This one is very unsettling, about a forty-year-old farmer called Huw (played by Rhys Ifans, the master-portrayar of tortured souls) narrating what, at first, appears to be a Lonely-Hearts-type advert, but ultimately becomes a sort of confessional video diary as his story turns darker. Ifans manages to make the character both horrific and pathetic in equal measure; it's a very subtle, mesmerising performance that makes Huw's inevitable breakdown horribly enthralling, as he obsessively washes his face and gives way to wracking sobs.

Brrrr...not comfortable viewing! But thoughtprovoking enough to make it worth a watch.