Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes Review

Park Theatre 23 March – 23 April.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Based on Daniel Everett’s book, Don’t Sleep There are Snakes is a wonderful voyage of discovery. Dan (Mark Arends – playing the fish out of water with a deft and light touch) is an earnest missionary and linguist sent to the Brazilian Amazon to convert the Piraha tribe and translate the bible into their language. He is told before he leaves that “you need to make them feel lost before they can feel found”, but instead of influencing the Piraha’s lives, he finds himself becoming more and more uncertain of his faith and values.

Christopher Doyle, Rachel Handshaw, Yuriri Naka, Emily Pennant-Rea and Clifford Samuel play various characters throughout the play, but their portrayal of the Piraha is delightful. The innocence and delight in life shines through, and their lack of inhibitions about sex provides great comedic moments. Arends’ face when Chris offers to tug his penis in the same way a British man would say “Pub?” to his upset friend is fantastic. The running joke about people disappearing doesn’t lose its shine, and when the reason for the words is explained, it makes you love the Piraha even more. The harshness of life in the jungle is brought home during one shocking scene involving a sick baby, and the pragmatic approach of the tribe challenges Dan’s more sentimental values.

Writers Sebastian Armmesto, Dudley Hinton and simple8 have Dan presenting his story in the same way that the Piraha relate their tales, with time “scrunched up” and using simple terms whenever possible. This works brilliantly, both to highlight the linguistic research Dan carries out as he tries and fails to convert the Piraha, and to show the way tribes are patronisingly viewed and treated. As Dan realises that the Piraha’s language is based solely on their experience, with no words for colour or tenses, Arends shows his turmoil and growing self-doubt, and he can only explain his theory by talking about what he has seen, leading to a frustratingly long winded and repetitive section set in a lecture hall, but I can see why this needed to be included.

The Piraha find the idea of suicide hysterical, and they have no word for “worry” (charmingly demonstrated when Dan tries to translate the song “Don’t worry, be happy”); so the horror of their culture and language being lost that Dan feels when the government takes control of the tribe, seen alongside their delight – “we have a television!”- provides a stark reminder of the vast cultural differences that will soon be lost.

The bare set grated at first, but as the beliefs of the Piraha become clearer, believing in only what they see, and living in the here and now, this was obviously a better choice than some hokey jungle set. The scenes where the cast provided vocal sound effects for the jungle were a triumph too, especially Dan’s noisy passage through the undergrowth on a hunt.

Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes tackles cultural diversity, faith and belief in an uplifting but bittersweet play that keeps you giggling and smiling all night. A must see production.

Darlington Civic Theatre – Flare Path

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300RATTIGAN CLASSIC BEATING A PATH TO DARLINGTON

Graham Seed heads the cast of the Terence Rattigan war-time classic Flare Path which comes to Darlington Civic Theatre in April

The highly acclaimed national tour of Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path, directed by Justin Audibert, comes to Darlington Civic Theatre from Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 April.

The cast will be led by Graham Seed (The Archers, Yes, Prime Minister) as Squadron Leader Swanson, Lynden

Edwards as Peter Kyle and Hedydd Dylan as Patricia Graham. They will be joined by Claire Andreadis as Countess Skriczevinsky, William Reay as Flying Officer Count Skriczevinsky and Corporal Jones, Jamie Hogarth as Sergeant Miller, Charlie G Hawkins as Percy, Polly Hughes as Mrs Miller and Emma Carter as Betty.

Based on Rattigan’s experiences as a tail gunner during World War II, Flare Path paints an evocative portrait of life in wartime Britain for the life-and-death existence of the RAF bomber crews, and their wives and sweethearts who were left waiting their return.

Set in 1942 against a backdrop of heartache and quiet bravery, Flare Path tells the story of former actress Patricia, the wife of RAF pilot Teddy, whose marriage is tested to the limits by the surprise arrival of Patricia’s ex‐lover and Hollywood idol Peter Kyle. An unexpected and dangerous mission over Germany puts Patricia at the centre of an emotional conflict as unpredictable as the war in the skies.

Flare Path combines highly charged drama with a truly authentic taste of the fear, camaraderie and passion experienced by the men and women who fought to save their country, their families and each other.

Flare Path runs at Darlington Civic Theatre from Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 April. Recommended age 12+.

Tickets* are £17 to £25.50.

For tickets and more information visit darlingtoncivic.co.uk or call 01325 486555.

There will be a free post show talk on Wednesday 13 April

*All prices include a £1 restoration levy

Darlington Civic Theatre – The Wizard of Oz

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE PANTO

Bobby Davro and Dani Harmer star in The Wizard of Oz at Darlington Civic Theatre on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 April.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Darlington Civic Theatre for a fantastic Easter pantomime version of The Wizard of Oz, starring comedy legend Bobby Davro as Scarecrow and Dani Harmer (CBBC’s Tracy Beaker, Strictly Come Dancing) as Dorothy.

Join Kansas farm-girl Dorothy and her pet dog Toto on this magical adventure suitable for all ages. Watch in amazement as they are picked up by a tornado and carried off to the magical land of Oz. With help from their new friends the Munchkins, they travel to the Emerald City where the great Wizard of Oz lives.

On their way they meet a Scarecrow who needs a brain, a Tin Man who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who desperately needs courage. Will the wonderful Wizard of Oz be able to help them before the Wicked Witch of the West captures them in her dungeon?

Come and join in the fun over the rainbow as Enchanted Entertainment presents a wonderful Easter pantomime version of L. Frank Baum’s much-loved fairy-tale. Packed with well-known pop songs, brilliant dance routines, lots of audience participation and plenty of laughter for all the family!

There’s no place like Darlington Civic Theatre for family entertainment, so click those heels together and book your Easter panto tickets now.

The Wizard of Oz is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Friday 8 & Saturday 9 April.

Tickets* are £20 & £18 for adults, £18 & £16 for children, Family Ticket £69, Groups 10+ £1 off, 20+ £2 off.

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

*Includes a £1 restoration levy

Darlington Civic Theatre – The Searchers

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300SEARCHING FOR A GOOD NIGHT OUT?

The Searchers bring their musical classics to Darlington Civic Theatre on Thursday 7 April.

The Searchers’ remarkable career continues. With such classic hits as Sweets For My Sweet;

Needles and Pins, Don’t Throw Your Love Away, Sugar and Spice and When You Walk In The Room, they have contributed enormously to establishing the UK as the world’s leading nation in the music industry.

There is no doubt that the decade that gave us The Beatles as well as The Searchers and many others was very special and will go down in history as being the most imaginative period of music creativity and expression.

The Searchers in Concert is a highly entertaining show that has been enthusiastically and warmly received throughout the world. Combined with anecdotes and reminiscences, this fully self-contained concert includes all their famous hits, plus many album recordings, B-sides and a selection of other well-known favourites.

The Searchers In Concert is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Thursday 7 April at 7.30pm. Tickets* are £19 & £21.

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

*Includes a £1 restoration levy

Darlington Civic Theatre – The Good Old Days

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300WELCOME TO THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Anita Harris heads the line-up in The Good Old Days of Variety at Darlington Civic Theatre on Wednesday April 6.

And now, for your delectation and amusement, a fantastical foray into the magical world of Music Hall and Variety…

The Good Old Days of Variety returns to Darlington Civic Theatre with a fabulous new show suitable for all ages, taking you back to the great days of entertainment and starring legendary entertainer, singer, stage and film star Anita Harris.

Her wonderful career includes appearing in Las Vegas, two years in London’s West End as the star of Cats, Carry On films, seven Royal Variety shows, and she is a pantomime legend. She has worked alongside Morecambe and Wise, Kenneth Williams and Tommy Cooper, to name a few.

She will be joined by very special guests, the UK’s best-loved comedy act, The Grumbleweeds. With a full supporting company, hilarious comedy, live musicians and lots of songs to sing along to this is the perfect family entertainment show.

The Good Old Days of Variety is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Wednesday 6 April at 2pm. Tickets* are £15.50 with discounts available. U16s £11, groups 10+ get 1 free.

Get yourself in the show!

There is also an all-day children’s workshop on Tuesday 5 April working on a song and dance routine to be included in the Wednesday show. Tickets for the workshop are £15 (ArtsSpark Youth Theatre and Dance members £10). Call the box office to book your space.

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

*Includes a £1 restoration levy

Darlington Civic Theatre – The ELO Experience

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IS STILL KING

The ELO Experience – a sensational tribute to The Electric Light Orchestra, come to Darlington Civic Theatre on Tuesday 5 April

The legacy left by Jeff Lynne & The Electric Light Orchestra barely needs any introduction – suffice to say that between 1972 and 1986 they achieved more combined UK and US Top 40 hits than any other band on the planet!

10538 Overture, Evil Woman, Living Thing, Don’t Bring me Down and of course Mr Blue Sky went on to become the soundtrack of our lives. With a sensational string section, a stunning light show and large screen projection to further enhance the experience, this incredible show accurately reproduces the songs and sounds and takes you on a magical musical journey through time.

The ELO Experience is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Tuesday 5 April.

Tickets* are priced £21 & £23.

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

*Includes a £1 restoration levy

Darlington Civic Theatre – Pasha Kovalev

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300STRICTLY SPEAKING, IT’S ALL ABOUT PASHA

Strictly Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev brings his new stage show to Darlington Civic Theatre on Monday 4 April

Following his visit to Darlington Civic Theatre last year with his successful UK tour, Life Through Dance, Pasha Kovalev, the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2014, welcomes you to his new and exciting dance spectacular – It’s All About You.

With his slick moves and brooding good looks Pasha has become a sensation as a popular dancer. On his fifth UK tour you can expect another evening of your favourite music, spectacular dancing, energy, lights and sparkling costumes, it’s great entertainment for the entire family.

Anya Garnis from Strictly Come Dancing BBC1 and So You Think You Can Dance USA, will be joining Pasha on stage as a special guest star.

After the performance, Pasha will meet and greet audience members to sign souvenir programmes and take selfies with his fans.

Pasha – It’s All About You is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Monday 4 April.

Tickets* are priced £25 & £27.

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

*Includes a £1 restoration levy

Miss-Leading Ladies is Touring!

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After a critically acclaimed and sell-out run in London last year, Miss-Leading Ladies now goes on a small UK Tour.

A spectacular musical revue of the illustrious leading ladies of a bygone golden era.

Starring | Ria Jones & Ceri Dupree
Musical Director | Edward Court

Ria Jones and Ceri Dupree star in this stunning celebration of some of the greatest grande dames of stage and screen, adding their own unique family twist. From Ethel Merman to Doris Day, Marlene Dietrich to Danny La Rue, to name a few. This gene pool of rip roaring talent will lead you astray in their dazzling revue of these illustrious leading ladies.  Between them these ingenious siblings lay claim to 60 years of showbiz. Featuring the richest array of costumes scarcely seen since the heyday of La Rue, and over 20 show stopping songs and vocals that have ripped the roof off the Royal Albert Hall on more than one occasion.

Miss-Leading Ladies is a whirlpool of illusion, captivating chemistry and a delightful homage to those revered leading ladies of a bygone golden era.

Singularly sensational, both performers are a tour de force when they combine their talents into a unique theatrical experience. After all, what other actress can lay claim to having played both Evita and Mrs Overall in her career, and what other actor can lay claim to having walked in the shoes of every legendary leading lady. A celebratory evening that will long remain in the memory of those quick enough to have secured tickets.

“Miss Leading Ladies is an expertly crafted tribute to the (mainly Broadway) female musical theatre stars of the last century.”

-Jonathan Baz 5*

 

“Ria Jones is a master class in Musical Theatre.”

– London Theatre 5*

 

“Ceri Dupree is undoubtably the finest female impersonator treading the boards today.”

– Gscene – James Ledward

 

Promotional Video | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CEm5RutmpY 

Twitter – @MsLeadingLadies
LISTINGS

Fri 20th May @ 8:00pm – Stourbridge Town Hall – Dudley (www.dudley.co.uk/entertainment)

Sat 21st May @ 7:30pm – Gorleston Pavilion – Norfolk (www.gorlestonpavilion.co.uk)

Fri 27th May @ 8:00pm – Fairfield Halls, Arnhem Gallery – Croydon (www.fairfield.co.uk)

Sat 4th June @ 7:30pm – Corn Exchange – Wallingford (www.cornexchange.org.uk)

Sat 11th June @ 7:30pm – Redgrave TheatreBristol (www.redgravetheatre.com)

ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST CELEBRATED DANCE COMPANIES RETURNS TO NEWCASTLE THEATRE ROYAL

A vibrant and varied programme of dance is set to be staged in Newcastle next week when one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary dance companies, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 performs at the Theatre Royal from Tue 26 – Wed 27 Apr 16 as part of a country-wide tour with Dance Consortium UK.

 

Last seen in the UK in 2012, NDT2 brings vibrant mixed bills to the UK in performances complemented by visual art, music composition, innovative lighting, set and costume designs.

 

NDT2 will perform I New Then, by Swedish choreographer Johan Inger, which sees four girls and five boys taken to great heights on songs by Van Morrison. Not a group in unison, but sprouting individuals who rebel against it. Inger’s work breathes humour: it’s fresh and optimistic, ranging from comic and theatrical to earthy and organic. Inger made his breakthrough as a choreographer in 1995 after a successful dancing career with NDT. His choreographies have won numerous prestigious awards. Inger, who was an associate choreographer with NDT between 2009 and 2015, created I New Then in 2012.

 

A UK Premiere of Romanian choreographer Edward Clug’s mutual comfort marks his NDT2 debut. The choreography is detailed, sharply defined and at times features a twitchiness where the bodies flick and jerk so extremely and frequently that it can be interpreted as punctuation; a certain acknowledgment of the beat. Clug is interested in highlighting the dancers’ individual stories in his work. mutual comfort emphasizes personal experience that arises from the process of creation that is led by illuminating human contradictions and imparting surprising moments of beauty and spontaneous irony.

 

Award-winning choreographer Hans van Manen created Solo for NDT2 in 1997. This seven minute, fast-paced ballet is set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s violin partita. Solo is an athletic tour-de-force for three male dancers who portray a single man re-examining his place in the world. Since the choreography is exceptionally fast requiring extraordinary timing, the ballet can only be performed by the dancers taking turns. Van Manen, NDT’s resident choreographer from 1988 – 2003, has created more than 120 ballets (62 of which for NDT), all bearing his unmistakable signature.

 

In 2010 Swedish-born choreographer Alexander Ekman created the international hit Cacti for NDT2. Ekman calls himself a ‘rhythm freak’ as one of his trademarks is designing contemporary soundscapes. Cacti, for which Ekman uses classical music, resulted in a new arrangement of Schubert’s Der Tod und das Mädchen, created with Het Balletorkest (formerly known as Holland Symphonia). In Cacti sixteen dancers become the instruments of the orchestra as Ekman challenges the audience to reflect on the way in which art is perceived. Cacti was nominated for a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award (Best Modern Choreography) and an Olivier Award (Best New Dance Production) in 2012.

 

Under the artistic directorship of British-born Paul Lightfoot, Nederlands Dans Theater is headquartered at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague. Since its foundation in 1959, this pioneering company has built a rich repertoire of more than 600 ballets by master choreographers Jiří Kylián and Hans van Manen, renowned house choreographers Sol León & Paul Lightfoot, associate choreographers Crystal Pite and Marco Goecke and high-profiled guests such as Gabriela Carrizo, Hofesh Shechter, Johan Inger, Alexander Ekman and Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar.

 

In 1978, NDT founded NDT2, its junior division specifically focussing on talent development for dancers aged 18 – 23. Over a three year period NDT2 prepares 16 classically trained dancers (plus two apprentice dancers for the UK tour) from around the world for NDT2. One of the objectives of NDT2 is to acquaint the dancers with a lexicon of dance languages. Working with young and more established choreographers, the dancers perfect a range of styles and genres in which technique is a means to achieving their artistic core as world class performers.

 

NDT2 comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 26 – Wednesday 27 April. Tickets are from £16 and can be purchased atwww.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).

GREEN LIGHT GIVEN FOR SECOND YEAR OF THEATRE’S ACTOR TRAINING PROGRAMME

Newcastle Theatre Royal has announced it will be continuing its dedicated actor training programme, Project A, following a successful inaugural year.

 

The first programme of its kind in the North East of England, Project A is a course dedicated to actor training, offering practical and theoretical instruction to young aspiring actors aged 18-25 years old who are looking to make a serious career as an actor.

 

The course runs over three terms in an academic year and includes vocal, physical and performance skills training as well as specialist training including Meisner technique, improvisation, acting for screen and stage combat.

 

A number of industry professionals were engaged with the course in the first year and have been so impressed that they have committed to return. They include: Professor Ros Steen, a voice coach and former head of the Centre for Voice in Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; Michael Corbidge, an esteemed voice associate with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Adam Stadius, an acting coach and Meisner technique specialist. Students on the course will also have the chance to meet with professionals from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and the RSC.

 

Kim Hoffmann, Head of Learning at Newcastle Theatre Royal, who said: “Our aim was to offer first class actor training right here in the North East in a way that hadn’t been done before and the first year of the course has been a real success with those students taking part having all grown so much in both confidence and their skill sets.

We are so grateful to all of the specialists who worked with us this year and delighted that next year we will be welcoming back some of the biggest names in the actor training industry to share their skills with the next intake of students.”

 

Student Christopher Rushmere-York said: “Coming into Project A I was nervous and full of doubt about myself, however within a couple of weeks of the course I found my confidence skills getting better and my personality shining through.”

 

Kim added: “Places on the Project A course cost students just £1500 for the year. We have tried to keep costs as low as possible in order to ensure that the top quality training we provide is accessible to as many young people as possible. The real cost of the course to us is over £7,000 per student and we are only able to offer this heavily subsidised fee thanks to the generosity of The Barber Foundation and support of the Board of Trustees of the Theatre Royal, for which we are extremely grateful.”

 

Applications for Project A are now being from students who must be aged 18-25 with acting experience. Details and a downloadable application pack can be found at www.theatreroyal.co.uk/taking-part/project-a