NEW ENGLISH BALLET THEATRE at the Cheltenham Everyman

NEBT in ORBITAL MOTION by Valentino Zucchetti photo by Dave Morgan

“. . . I am not a dance aficionado but I can find a night watching a good modern ballet company as satisfying as seeing a great play and wonderful acting. So, it may be just my uninformed imagination, but there seem to be rather a lot of small(ish) independent dance troupes around at the moment . . . New English Ballet Theatre is certainly a company to keep an eye on and one which, when they become fully aware of their strengths, will no doubt become major players.

Owen Sheers’ PINK MIST at the Bristol Old Vic

Pink Mist at Bristol Old Vic. Phil Dunster (Arthur) and company

Originally commissioned and broadcast as part of BBC Radio 4’s More Than Words listening festival in 2012, Owen Sheers’ uncompromising piece about three young men from Bristol who enlist in the army, and the ensuing price they and their partners and relatives pay for that decision explodes onto the Bristol Old Vic stage with a young cast on top of its game. This is a tour-de-force worth catching, and surely the antidote of antidotes to all war games-style army adverts.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol


The cast of the New International Encounter company are clearly out to have some fun with characters and plot and go to it with relish and invention. The on-stage piano, for example, doubles as train and elephant and the various stages in the race, from Suez to New York, are drawn with elegant economy. The balloon stage of the race is a little gem. The international cast (they tell us) are an ensemble and not credited with particular roles (fair enough), take a fairly broad brush approach to the characters.

ERIK SATIE: MEMOIRS OF A PEAR SHAPED LIFE at the Parabola Theatre, Cheltenham


Part of the CHELTENHAM MUSIC FESTIVAL. Satie was a true eccentric who meticulously catalogued his life and thoughts in words and so it was an easy, and maybe obvious, choice to combine the writings with the music. Meurig Bowen who devised and wrote the show took us chronologically through the composer’s life and times and the presentation was itself, befittingly, a little eccentric.



The 2015 BRISTOL FESTIVAL OF PUPPETRY opens on 26th August. StageTalk Magazine’s Graham Wyles went along to the launch to find out all about it . . .
One of the great strengths of contemporary puppetry is its innovation and fearless willingness to take on any kind of subject with an imaginative attack few theatre companies can rival. This year’s festival is a truly international affair and promises to offer some of the most powerful storytelling to be found in any medium.

Mrs Shakespeare at the Alma, Bristol


Kelleher energetically conjures up the many voices that invade the woman’s thoughts as she struggles to rewrite Hamlet. There’s a grandly orotund Polonius, an East End Jack-the-lad Claudius, a cackling skull-tossing gravedigger and the ‘poncey privileged Prince’ himself. She plays these parts in an appropriately crazed, unrestrained manner, though she lowers the volume and conveys a moving vulnerability as Ophelia, ‘weeping in her saturated gown’.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts at the Cheltenham Everyman


“It’s hard to know whether it is the quality of the music or the strength of nostalgia surrounding the early days of rock ‘n’ roll and pop that make the so called juke-box musicals and albums so popular. I suspect it is a combination of both . . . The times they were a’changing and they were delineated by popular music. Different songs marked clear and precise stepping stones through teenage years; they punctuated each month, each year as precisely as a calendar. . . “