Dundead at Dundee Contemporary Arts

You could say that I’m a bit of a horror fan. Yes, horror movies scare the absolute bejesus out of me, but I still absolutely adore them! But for some reason, the fact that Dundee has its very own horror film festival every year, had completely passed me by until this year! So when I found out that Dundead was taking place at Dundee Contemporary Arts last weekend – I was determined to get along there and make the most of it.

This year’s festival included a number of new film releases along with a Stephen King retrospective which included movies such as Salem’s Lot and Firestarter. Armed with a six pass ticket, I chose my movies somewhat randomly to get a good feel of what the festival was all about. My six were: The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Chamber, The Shining, The Eyes of My Mother, Always Shine and Pet Semetary. All of the movies were good in their own way and I especially enjoyed the insight of the festival organiser Christopher O’Neill, who spoke before each film, explaining the background of the movie and why it had been chosen.

My favourite movie out of the six was predictably The Shining, which looked so amazing on the big screen. The fact that it was the extended edition of the film that was shown, and that it was accompanied by a bacon roll and a cup of tea (something that comes with every Sunday morning screening at the DCA), probably swung it somewhat! It’s a movie I’ve watched about ten times, but I’d never experienced the intensity of seeing it at the cinema before. On the 11th watch, I can confirm that the Grady Twins were even more terrifying than ever.

My second favourite was gruesomely good Autopsy of Jane Doe, starring Dundee’s own Brian Cox, closely followed by Always Shine which is a compelling psychological horror starring Caitlin FitzGerald and Mackenzie Davis. I was worried that after seeing six movies in two days, I might be a bit horrored out, but I’m pleased to report that I definitely wasn’t, although I can’t say that I slept particularly well for a few days! Despite the sleep deprivation, my trip to Dundead was most definitely a success, and I’m already planning a return visit next year.

For further information about the DCA and their upcoming events, visit: www.dca.org.uk

For more information about Dundead, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dundead/

*Disclaimer – I was provided with a six pass ticket for Dundead in exchange for this fair and honest review.



National Theatre Live: Twelfth Night at Dundee Contemporary Arts

I’ve been loving the National Theatre Live’s recent run of broadcasts at DCA. From No Man’s Land starring Ian McKellen to Hedda Gabler starring Ruth Wilson, the live transitions have made the National Theatre’s work so much more accessible and affordable to people all around the globe.

Last week’s broadcast was Shakespeare’s timeless play Twelfth Night, starring the comedic actress Tamsin Greig. I’ve recently become a fan of Shakespeare’s comedies, after thoroughly enjoyed the Dundee Rep’s production of Much Ado About Nothing last year, so I couldn’t wait to see the Twelfth Night brought to life on stage.

The play begins with a ship wreck which separates twins Viola (Tamara Lawrance) and Sebastian (Daniel Ezra). Viola is washed up ashore but Sebastian is missing and presumed dead. Determined to survive on her own, Viola steps out to explore a new land and reconstruct her life in a way that will honour her beloved brother. What follows is a hilarious whirlwind of madness, passion, mistaken identity and unrequited love, taking places within two rich households nearby.

I was surprised by just how fresh and current the play felt – despite it being well over 400 years old. It just goes to show that the best writing, never really ages! This version, directed by Simon Godwin, also has its own modern twist with Tamsin Greig playing the character of Malvolio, the head servant in Olivia’s a household – a part that’s usually reserved for a man. This clever twist worked well and only highlighted how the themes of Shakespeare’s plays are just as relevant today, as they were back then. After all love is love, no matter what form it comes in. This superbly acted production was warm, funny and emotional all at once, and was an absolute pleasure to watch.

The National Theatre Live will be broadcasting more theatre events throughout the spring and summer including Obsession, starring Jude Law, Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf, starring Imelda Staunton and JM Barrie’s boyhood classic, Peter Pan,

For more information about National Theatre Live productions coming to Dundee and to book tickets, please visit: www.dca.org.uk

*Disclaimer – I was provided with a ticket for this showing of the Twelfth Night in exchange for this fair and honest review.


Review: Amadeus, National Theatre Live at DCA, Dundee

Having loved my first National Theatre Live experience, I was really looking forward to returning to Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) to watch the latest NT production Amadeus, last week. The stunning show, starring Lucian Msamati and Adam Gillen, tells the story of Salieri, a celebrated composer who is thriving in the beautiful city of Vienna. But when musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart comes to town, Salieri’s whole world is rocked to the core.

Envious of the attention that the young Mozart is receiving, Salieri gets to know the composer and is stunned by his extraordinary talent. Consumed by jealousy, Salieri starts to plot Mozart’s downfall, ensuring that he will never receive the recognition that he deserves during his short lifetime.

The cast, which included the wonderful Karla Crome as Mozart’s wife Constance, was absolutely magnificent and brought the whole piece to life. Written by the English playwright Peter Shaffer, Amadeus is filled with drama, suspense and outstanding music, provided by a live orchestra who were very much part of the production. The packed audience at the DCA, were all absolutely riveted and on the edge of their seats throughout.

For a second time, the magic of the National Theatre was absolutely transmitted through the screen, making it feel like you really were there! Being able to grab a drink from the lovely Jute Café Bar at half time, also really added to the whole theatre experience.

With more National Theatre Live events due to be screened soon, including the award winning plays Saint Joan and Hedda Gabler, I’m looking forward to returning to the DCA for my next dose of culture!

For more information about National Theatre Live productions coming to Dundee and to book tickets, please visit: www.dca.org.uk

*Disclaimer – I was provided with a ticket for this showing of Amadeus in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Discovery Film Festival at DCA – Review

discovery-film-festivalLast Saturday my family and I headed along to the Discovery Film Festival at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) with my family in tow for a bit of a cultural morning! I’d heard great things about the festival over the years and decided it was high time that we went along to experience it for ourselves!

Scotland’s international film festival for young audiences is aimed at kids of all ages with collections aimed at wee ones, middle ones as well as films chosen for a teenage audience. With my own little audience ranging from 4 to 7, we decided to attend both shorts for wee ones and shorts for middle ones, so that we could pack in as much culture into the morning as possible!

Having sat through both the shorts for wee ones and shorts for middle ones with my own little critics, I can tell you that both collections are just amazing and I’d thoroughly recommend watching them. Some of them had all four of us hooting with laughter while others had us oohing and ahhing in our seats whilst considering the true meaning of love and friendship. My favourite film from the shorts for middle ones collection, Rice Balls, even had this 37 year old critic moved to “happy” tears!

Both collections lasted around an hour and held our attention throughout. For me, the best part of the experience was knowing that my kids had been exposed to new ideas and different cultures from around the world – and you know what – they loved it!

The Discovery Film Festival at DCA runs until the 6th of November. For more information and to book tickets, visit: www.dca.org.uk