The EVER HOPEFUL Rep Season at the So & So Club

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Although strictly speaking the So & So Arts Club in London is out of our jurisdiction we are including their Ever Hopeful Rep Season because, firstly, we like rep and secondly, because the club is open to all artists and actors and makes a great base/focal point for actors visiting London from the provinces. Last night Graham Wyles saw Mercy by Clare Whitehead. This short, delicate and sensitively acted, interior play is perfectly suited to the congenial atmosphere of the So and So’s premises in Fredericks Place and is a welcome piece of new writing for an often neglected part of society.

MY THEATRE MATTERS – Vote for your favourite theatre!

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The My Theatre Matters! campaign in association with Smooth Radio are searching for the UK Theatres that make their audiences feel most at home. The UK Theatre Awards are the only awards to honour outstanding achievement in Regional and National theatre and this year, for the first time, UK Theatre will be announcing 12 Regional and National My Theatre Matters! Most Welcoming Theatre Award winners in the run-up to the UK Theatre Awards ceremony at London’s historic Guildhall, on Thursday 18 October.

4 x 4 Ephemeral Architectures at Oxford Playhouse

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There were some really lovely moments. In one scene, the jugglers were working with clubs, rolling them in circles on the floor. They became waves, and the ballet dancers leant on the jugglers backs, as if they were floating. In another scene, the jugglers were working with hoops, and the ballet dancers flowed among them effortlessly, somehow never bringing the whole display crashing down . . . Maybe ballet, and juggling, and living, do share something. Each requires precision. Each has a pattern, and if everyone understands the pattern then you don’t end up crashing into one another.

ANNIE at the Bristol Hippodrome

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The director, Nikolai Foster, has give us a spirited little girl, winsome in all the right places, yet streetwise enough to make her way on the mean streets amongst the other industrial waste from a heartless economic system, yet with enough innocent brass to give ‘Mr President’ a pointer or two on how to solve the world’s economic problems. Last night’s Annie, Sophia Pettit, was everything the director could have wanted: with a bright, attractive singing voice and a confidence that belied her years she radiated the optimism that forms the cornerstone of this show’s message and is summed up in the anthemic “Tomorrow”.

BRISTOL FESTIVAL OF PUPPETRY 2015

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WUNDERKAMMER on 31st August at the Tobacco Factory – There were some delightful uses of simple materials for maximum effect. In one scene a little man rode upon a cloud of white tissue paper. The cloud suddenly took on a figurative form and began a ghostly pas-de-deux before finally collapsing as a cloud of confetti. You begin to get the idea. There is wit here, perhaps also a sense of longing or loss amongst these devices. As the light went down after each weird interlude you began to wonder what might be next. The audience seemed quite hypnotised.

Mrs Henderson Presents at the Theatre Royal, Bath

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This is a play about age, fortitude, life, sex and much else, with a nod to the indignities of censorship. If I was at times a little lost as to where the play was taking me it didn’t really matter since, like the revue it documents and dramatises it is a gallimaufry of cameos, not least Graham Hoadly’s, Lord Cromer whose Lord Chamberlain’s song is a clever blend of Gilbert and Sullivan, Monty Python with a dash of Benny Hill.

ALICE in the gardens of St Hugh’s College, Oxford

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When the White Rabbit comes bounding over from the far end of the garden in the first scene you know you’re in for a treat. . . when dusk comes on apace and the fairy lights shine more brightly, we go to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. I overheard one little girl in the audience ask if the dormouse (a puppet) was real. I think it’s this that makes Creation productions such a joy to watch. They weave a spell over the audience so that it’s easy to get swept up in the moment, and forget the mechanics of what you’re watching.

THE MOUSETRAP at Oxford Playhouse

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This production has all the elements of a classic Agatha Christie whodunnit – set in Monkswell Manor, a sumptuous country house, plenty of suspicious characters with dubious pasts are thrown together cut-off and unable to leave as a snow storm ensues, whilst murder is committed in their midst. . . there are reasons it is still drawing in the crowds 60 years on and it might just be worth your while to take a peak and along the way become a part of theatrical history!