The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Review

Grand Theatre, Leeds – 25 August 2015

Simon Stephen’s stunning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s much loved book has arrived in Leeds and it’s a phenomenal feat of acting, fully deserving of five the Tony Awards, seven Olivier Awards and numerous others

The show manages to be theatrical while remaining entirely true to the spirit of the book. The story is simple in that Christopher’s Special Needs teacher, Siobhan, reads the book he has written about his attempts to solve the mystery of Wellington, a dog that was brutally killed in a neighbour’s garden. They decide to stage it as a play.  As the first-person narrative unwraps, it’s impossible not to become enthralled by Christopher’s quest, and the things it reveals along the way

There are dramatic moments in the play that are almost too painful to watch, not least when Christopher tries to block out his discoveries by playing manically with his model train set. But there is also humour, in fact there were many moments in the play when the audience was laughing.

The production, directed by Marianne Elliott, was funny, clever, gripping and emotional, really drawing on the actors’ skills.

Joshua Jenkins was sensational in the role, managing to reflect Christopher’s sometimes lonely and stressful world and his thought processes while adding humour throughout.  He is unbearably poignant in moments of distress when he lies with his face on the ground and moans, but also movingly captures the character’s courage, his brilliance at mathematics, and his startling perspectives on the world. Christopher can’t bear to be touched – he only allows the most fleeting physical contact with his parents, in which upraised palms briefly connect – and he has a host of other quirks, enthusiasm and dislikes. Jenkins mannerisms and twitches just help to make this a totally believable character

The play is staged in a versatile black box with clever use of projections to create different locations and key images. Christopher uses number patterns to help him feel calmer and these are flashed all over the screen and when a crowded tube station almost paralyses him, he tells himself to imagine a red dotted line on the floor and just follow it, which of course appears on the stage floor.

The set makes use of hidden cupboards and doors and also makes use of the cast themselves as props ranging from a microwave to a very sensual cash dispenser.  Movement Directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett from Frantic Assembly ramp up the movement, while designers turn up the sound and churn up the projections to give us a glimpse of the sensory overload that besets Christopher.

But by the end, thanks to Jenkins pained honesty and twitchy awkwardness, as well as his moments of exultant joy, Christopher Boone feels like both a hero and a friend, and the happy ending is rightly justified.

There are a host of excellent and often comic supporting performances, with especially fine work from Stuart Lang  as the anguished father who loves his son but hurts him terribly, and Geraldine Alexander as teacher Siobhan. And some fabulous animal antics from a puppy and Toby the rat

A tale that begins with a dog viciously stabbed with a garden fork can hardly be called sentimental. But Haddon’s novel has a streak of sentimentality running through it.  This is an honest, at times brutally honest, play that shows that Curious is not just a story about a teenager suspected of killing a dog, but a moving tale about emotion, families and coping with life.  Its beautiful and enchanting and must see for everyone (although parental advisory is advised for the generous amount of swearing that takes place)

In Leeds until Saturday 29th August – just make sure you stay to the very end for an amazing  feat of mathematical excellence par excellence

0Shares

To Do. To Be – Tim Prottey Jones

tim-prottey-jones-to-do-to-be-cdAn all-star line-up has been announced for a new musical theatre album, due to be released on 7 September.

“To Do. To Be”, which is available to pre-order on iTunes and Dress Circle now, features brand new musical theatre writing from Tim Prottey-Jones (Kinky Boots,Once, Superstar) and co-writers Tori Allen-Martin, Nick Smithers, Angela Prottey-Jones, Martin Meehan, Daragh Carville and best selling author, Ali Harris.

The album will include vocals from Amy Lennox (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde), Emma Hatton (Wicked, We Will Rock You), Alistair Brammer (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables), Declan Bennett (Eastenders, Once), Tyrone Huntley (Memphis, The Book Of Mormon), Zrinka Cvitesic (Once), Evelyn Hoskins (Carrie), Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, Once), Tim Prottey-Jones (Kinky Boots, Once) and Laura Pitt-Pulford (Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, The Sound Of Music)

They are joined by Joe Tracini (Hollyoaks, Spamalot), Jacqueline Hughes (Wicked), Paul Ayres (Kinky Boots), Ambra Caserotti (Rent), Brian Gilligan (The Commitments), Cameron Sharp (Rock Of Ages).

Andrew Bateup (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) completes the line-up having won a nationwide competition to find an up-and-coming artist to perform on the album.

The album will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Dress Circle and at the Theatre Cafe.

 

0Shares

TAKE A LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES AT DARLINGTON CIVIC THEATRE Darlington Civic

Civic Theatre Hi Res Logo (1)Theatre opens its doors for an exciting and informative look behind the scenes with special Heritage Tours on Friday 11 and Sunday 13 September.

Imagine getting a glimpse behind the scenes of your local theatre – the areas you never get to see as a member of the audience. Stand in the wings and imagine your next big entrance in front of a sell-out audience, get the view of the theatre every actor gets when they walk on stage for the first time, see the technical areas and offices. Add to that the history of secret apartments, the dressing rooms (some of which are known to be haunted) and you have an exciting and informative tour of one of Darlington’s most wonderful and historic buildings.

On Friday 11 September local schools have the chance to offer students the opportunity to learn about entertainment in the early twentieth century, increase their knowledge of practical theatre or practice literacy and numeracy skills through special fact-finding worksheets. Schools should contact Chris Wellings – Audience Development and Participation Officer on 01325 405510 to book. All tickets are free but spaces must be booked in advance.

On Sunday 13 September at 11am families have the opportunity to meet the original manager of the theatre Signor Pepi and take an interactive tour of the theatre including a quick change challenge, try your hand at stage lighting and discover the fascinating history of the theatre.

Also on Sunday 13 September at 3pm there will be a comprehensive backstage tour of the theatre and the opportunity to hear from theatre consultant Dr. David Wilmore on the history of Darlington Civic Theatre, the last surviving part of Signor Pepi’s theatrical empire. There will also be the opportunity to look at plans for the theatre’s upcoming restoration.

To book spaces for the Saturday and Sunday tours please call the Box Office on 01325 486555 – all tickets are free but spaces must be booked in advance.

See Darlington Civic Theatre as you have never seen it before.

The Darlington Civic Theatre Heritage Tours will take place from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 September. Tickets are free but spaces must be booked in advance.

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555

0Shares

Funniest joke of the Fringe winner revealed

98724Comedian Darren Walsh has won this year’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, voted for by TV channel Dave.

Walsh’s gag – ‘I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans free.’ – topped a list that also included Stewart Francis, Alun Cochrane and a 12-year-old girl called Grace.

The winner was chosen from a shortlist compiled by a panel of judges, who saw an average of 60 shows each. The winner was then decided by 2,000 members of the public.

Walsh, whose show Punderbolt is his first-ever full length offering, scored an impressive 23% of the public vote.

Grace The Child

Grace The Child is the youngest performer ever to make the list; her show Playground Politics was performed on a bus.

The top 10 funniest jokes of the Fringe:

1. “I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans free.” (Darren Walsh)

2. “Kim Kardashian is saddled with a huge arse… but enough about Kanye West.” (Stewart Francis)

3. “Surely every car is a people carrier?” (Adam Hess)

4. “What’s the difference between a ‘hippo’ and a ‘Zippo’? One is really heavy, the other is a little lighter.” (Masai Graham)

5. “If I could take just one thing to a desert island I probably wouldn’t go.” (Dave Green)

6. “Jesus fed 5,000 people with two fishes and a loaf of bread. That’s not a miracle. That’s tapas.” (Mark Nelson)

7. “Red sky at night. Shepherd’s delight. Blue sky at night. Day.” (Tom Parry)

8. “The first time I met my wife, I knew she was a keeper. She was wearing massive gloves.” (Alun Cochrane)

9. “Clowns divorce. Custardy battle.” (Simon Munnery)

10. “They’re always telling me to live my dreams. But I don’t want to be naked in an exam I haven’t revised for…” (Grace The Child)

And here’s a few that just missed out

“I never lie on my CV… because it creases it.” (Jenny Collier)

“If you don’t know what introspection is you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.” (Ian Smith)

“I usually meet my girlfriend at 12:59 because I like that one-to-one time.” (Tom Ward)

“Whenever I get to Edinburgh, I’m reminded of the definition of a gentleman. It’s someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn’t.” (Gyles Brandreth)

“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.” (Ally Houston)

“Earlier this year I saw The Theory of Everything – loved it. Should’ve been called Look Who’s Hawking, that’s my only criticism.” (James Acaster)

0Shares

CIVIC THEATRE FILLED WITH THE SOUND OF SILENCE

Civic Theatre Hi Res Logo

The music of Simon and Garfunkel comes to the Darlington Civic Theatre on Tuesday 8 September with The Simon and Garfunkel Story – 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Has it really been 50 years since the most successful Folk/Rock Duo of all time recorded their first number one hit single ‘The Sound of Silence’?

Following it’s West End success at the Leicester Square Theatre, London in February 2015, ‘The Simon and Garfunkel Story’ is currently the biggest and the most successful touring theatre show celebrating the lives and career of Folk/Rock sensation Simon and Garfunkel.

Featuring seasoned West End, award-winning leading man Dean Elliott (Buddy Holly in ‘Buddy – The Musical’) and a full cast of talented actor- musicians, ‘The Simon and Garfunkel Story’ takes you back through the ‘Groovy’ times of the 1960s. It tells the story of both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel from their humble beginnings as Rock n Roll duo ‘Tom and Jerry’, right through their massive success, dramatic break-up and finishing with a stunning recreation of the 1981 Central Park reformation concert.

Using a huge projection screen, the show features 1960’s photos and film footage whilst a full live band perform all their hits including ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘Cecilia’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘Sound of Silence’ and many more!

The Simon and Garfunkel Story is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Tuesday 8 September. Tickets* are £20 and £18.

*All ticket prices include a £1 restoration levy.

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit www.darlingtoncivic.co.uk

0Shares

The Simon & Garfunkel Story (Direct from London’s West End)

‘THE SIMON AND GARFUNKEL STORY’

(50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION)

Civic Theatre

Darlington

Tuesday 8th September 

BOX OFFICE – 01325 486555

Has it really been 50 years since the most successful Folk/Rock Duo of all time recorded their first no1 hit single ‘The Sound of Silence’?

Following it’s WEST END success at the ‘Leicester Square Theatre’, London in February 2015, ‘The Simon and Garfunkel Story’ is currently the biggest and the most successful No 1 touring theatre show celebrating the lives and career of Folk/Rock sensation Simon and Garfunkel.

Featuring seasoned West End, award-winning leading man DEAN ELLIOTT (Buddy Holly in ‘Buddy – The Musical’) and a full cast of talented actor- musicians, ‘The Simon and Garfunkel Story’ takes you back through the ‘Groovy’  times of the 1960s. It tells the story of both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel from their humble beginnings as Rock n Roll duo ‘Tom and Jerry’, right through their massive success, dramatic break-up and finishing with a stunning recreation of the 1981 Central Park reformation concert.

Using a huge projection screen, the show features 1960’s photos and film footage whilst a full live band perform all their hits including ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘Cecilia’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘Sound of Silence’ and many more!

With every performance creating a standing ovation, this is an evening not to be missed!

“FANTASTIC” – BBC Radio 2

“AUTHENTIC AND EXCITING” – The Stage

“STORYTELLING AT ITS FINEST – Choice Radio

“WOW! – YOU SOUND UNCANNY!” – Mike Read, Radio 1 DJ

www.thesimonandgarfunkelstory.com

 

0Shares

Full casting announced for Mary Poppins tour

smaller - MARY POPPINS - Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins and Matt Lee as Bert.  Photo credit Dewynters and Katrina TepperFull casting has been announced for Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s forthcoming tour of Mary Poppins, which opens at the Leicester Curve in October.

Joining the previously announced Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins and Matt Lee as Bert will be Milo Twomey (Twelfth Night) as George Banks, Rebecca Lock (Mamma Mia!) as Winifred Banks, Penelope Woodman (Sons of the Desert) as Miss Andrew, Wendy Ferguson (Les Misérables) as Mrs Brill, Grainne Renihan (Cats) as Bird Woman and Blair Anderson (In Lambeth) as Robertson Ay.

The cast will be completed by Yves Adang, Abby Bebbington, Greg Bernstein, Jabari Braham, Matthew Caputo, Sophie Caton, Jennifer Davison, Lisa Dent, Joe Dockree, Maria Garrett, Hannah Grace, Graham Hoadly, Jacqueline Hughes, Thomas-Lee Kidd, Antony Lawrence, Adam Margilewski, Anu Ogunmefun, Ben Oliver, Stephanie Powell, Edwin Ray, Adam Rhys-Charles, Sam Salter, John Stacey, Christine Tucker, Alexandra Waite-Roberts, Wreh-Asha Walton and Scott Waugh.

The stage production of Mary Poppins originally opened in 2004 and ran in the West End for three years. Zizi will be following in the footsteps of her sister Scarlett, who played the title role in the West End and on Broadway.

Mary Poppins has a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and includes the classic songs “Jolly Holiday”, “Step in Time”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Feed the Birds” by the Sherman Brothers.

New songs and additional music and lyrics were added by the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

The award-winning musical is directed by Richard Eyre with co-direction and choreography by Matthew Bourne, co-choreography by Stephen Mear and set and costume design by Bob Crowley.

 

0Shares

ImpFest: The Impermanent Festival of Contemporary Performance

asaCelebrating pop-up theatre in a pop-up arts centre, ImpFest is an impermanent festival of contemporary performance, hosted by Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre in Crouch End throughout September. The Festival will include a wide array of performances, ranging from text-based theatre productions to improvised drama and dance pieces, with the aim of bringing a wide variety of work to local audiences as well as stimulating creative dialogue between artists from a variety of disciplines.

The festival includes work that has toured internationally to critical acclaim, as well as new pieces by some of the capital’s most exciting performance artists – please see page 2 for a programme. The festival will also feature a number of smaller one-off performances, as yet to be confirmed. It is being produced by Jamie Harper of Hobo Theatre and Becka McFadden of the Beautiful Confusion Collective, in association with Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre.

Since the Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre (HTHAC) in Crouch End opened its doors as an interim arts project at the end of 2014 the building has seen a broad range of events, including vintage swing dance balls, international film festivals and charity galas, amongst myriad other happenings. Alex Rochford, Nick Saich and Asa Taulbut (ANA Arts Projects LTD) have been heading up this project, and will soon be announcing their first full season, alongside ImpFest. They will also be throwing open the doors to their Grade II listed, art deco building for artists, producers and other creatives and will actively invite companies to contact them about additional programming.

Programme
IRON M.A.M., Bring Your Own – 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th September, 7.30pm
Caught between a TED-talk and an action thriller, Owl Young explores drone warfare, and why Iron Man might just be the perfect metaphor.

wish i was…, Laura Wyatt O’Keeffe – 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th September, 8pm
wish i was… a journey story that defies convention. If Michael Palin and Sarah Kane were to write a play, this might be it.

Newfoundland, Hobo Theatre – 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 23rd, 24th September, 8.30pm
Newfoundland is an improvised play, full of happiness, sadness, despair and hope, about loneliness, the big city and leaving something behind you after you’ve gone.

BackStories, Beautiful Confusion Collective – 3rd, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th September, 8.30pm
Physical theatre meets contemporary dance in a solo performance viewed from behind. What secrets does the spine whisper, what weight do the shoulders carry?

Late! Night Solos, Seke Chimutengwende and Rebecca Mackenzie – 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th 25th, 26th September, 9.30pm
Watch Seke Chimutengwende and Rebecca Mackenzie encounter worlds, beings and journeys as they riff off the moment in this double bill of pioneering solos.

Considering This, Paper Door – 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 17th, 20th, 26th, 27th September, 8pm Empathy and objects compete with hyper individualism in a disrupted verbatim play.

Performance A, BARK – 6th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 27th September, 9pm
BARK invites you to contribute to the composition of this text/movement mash-up over an eight part live-construction adventure.

Pennyroyal, Asa Misi Nasa – 12th, 13th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th, 27th September, 7.30pm

ImpFest (The Impermanent Festival of Contemporary Performance)
Producers Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre, Beautiful Confusion Collective and Hobo
Performance Dates September 3rd 2015 – September 27th 2015
Various times and dates, please check the programme for more details

Venue Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre, The Broadway, London N8 9JJ
Box Office Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre
hthartscentre.co.uk

0Shares

The Killing of Sister George at London Theatre Workshop

killing-of-sister-georgeFirst produced in 1965, The Killing of Sister George is a controversial, poignant and darkly funny exploration of emotional dependence and the gap between public perception and private reality.

Originally most famous for its undertones of domestic abuse and then-illegal lesbian relationships, Artful Theatre’s 50th Anniversary production now focuses on the ‘behind-the-scenes’ world at the BBC where perception is everything. Recent revelations surrounding Jimmy Saville and national News stories about Jeremy Clarkson’s antics and the sacking of Tom Jones bring this sharply into focus.

Was this iconic play an unwitting glimpse into the tawdry, sordid media world of the 1960s as it really was? – AND – Has anything really changed? They are going to murder me…!

By day, June Buckridge has played the beloved and cheerful district nurse ‘Sister George’ in the popular radio soap Applehurst for six years, but that doesn’t stop BBC executives from killing her off.

By night, overbearing June swills gin, chews on cigars and vents her anger and frustration on her much younger flatmate, Childie. But behind her fearsome exterior is a fragile, insecure woman all too aware of her fading power of attraction and terrified that her life is falling apart.

Life’s been absolute hell… You’ve no idea the things she gets up to… The death of a popular soap character is a regular occurrence in 2015, however way back in 1954 when the character of Grace Archer was killed off in a stable fire in the BBC radio serial The Archers there was a national outcry and a healthy boost in the radio drama’s audience figures. Frank Marcus wrote The Killing of Sister George around a very similar scenario for the stage in 1965, which became his most famous play.

The Killing of Sister George
Playwright Frank Marcus
Producers: Justin and Sarah Savage for Artful Theatre Productions Ltd.
Director Scott le Crass
Cast Janet Amsden (Madame Xenia)
Sioned Jones (‘Sister George’)
Briony Rawle (‘Childie’)
Sarah Shelton (Mrs Mercy Croft)
October 29th 2015 – November 21st 2015
Tuesday – Saturday, 7.45pm
Matinees Saturday and Sunday at 3pm
Running Time 2 hrs
London Theatre Workshop, 65 New Kings Road, London SW6 4SG
Ticket Price £15 (£12 concessions)
Box Office London Theatre Workshop
http://londontheatreworkshop.co.uk/

 

0Shares

Cast Announced for Tipping The Velvet

tipping-the-velvetA Lyric Hammersmith & Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh production

Lyric Hammersmith
Friday 18 September – Saturday 24 October 2015
Press Night: Monday 28 September 2015

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Wednesday 28 October – Saturday 14 November 2015

Kirsty Besterman, David Cardy, Amanda Hadingue, Adelle Leonce and Andy Rush will join the previously announced Sally Messham and Laura Rogers in Laura Wade’s new adaptation of Sarah Waters’ bestselling novel, Tipping the Velvet, directed by Lyndsey Turner.

They will be supported by a young ensemble. Tipping the Velvet will open at the Lyric Hammersmith on 28 September 2015, with previews from 18 September.

It’s 1887 and Nancy Astley (Sally Messham) sits in the audience at her local music hall: she doesn’t know it yet, but the next act on the bill will change her life. Tonight is the night she’ll fall in love… with the thrill of the stage and with Kitty Butler (Laura Rogers), a girl who wears trousers. Giddy with desire and hungry for experience, Nancy follows Kitty to London where unimaginable adventures await.

Full company includes Jared Ashe (Walter), Kirsty Besterman (Diana), Tamara Camacho (Young Ensemble), David Cardy (Chairman), Grace Frogley (Young Ensemble), Amanda Hadingue (General Woman), Ru Hamilton (Sweet Alice), Adelle Leonce (Florence), Georgie Lord (Young Ensemble), Sally Messham (Nancy), Laura Rogers (Kitty), Andy Rush (Ralph), Aasiya Shah (Young Ensemble), Sarah Vezmar (Blake).

Based on the book by Sarah Waters
New adaption by Laura Wade
Directed by Lyndsey Turner
Design by Lizzie Clachan
Choreography by Alistair David
Lighting by Jon Clark
Music by Michael Bruce
Sound by Nick Manning
Illusions by Richard Pinner
Musical Direction by Dan Jackson
Casting by Julia Horan CDG
For more information visit www.lyric.co.uk
Twitter @LyricHammer | Facebook LyricHammersmith

 

0Shares