Alan Hulme of the Manchester Evening News has been very kind to The Ground Beneath Her Feet, a Manchester International Festival commission inspired by Sir Salmon Rushdie’s novel, but people we bumped into there and have met since left with mixed feelings.
Not having read the novel, which I’m told is a little long, I wonder if it simply hasn’t survived this ninety minute treatment; Katharine thought the story was ‘pants’. It is rather juvenile and clichéd.
But the narration was superb (even if you sometimes felt sorry for Alan Rickman, having to read some silly lines: ‘I was her spare prick’) as was the music. The Hallé swept the audience off its feet and carried us on a wave for the duration. Mike Figgis’s short films were a bit rubbish, adding nothing to proceedings.
Nevertheless it’s exciting to see such adventurous, high profile arts events (like this and the more successful Monkey) happening in Manchester, the world’s original modern city. We’ve not finished yet, but we’re already looking forward to 2009.