Bit Of Sunshine ~ Theatre 503 ~ PRESS RELEASE

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

Theatre503 presents a Bloody Deeds Production in association with KILTER

Bit of Sunshine

by Nicole Zweiback

Directed by Katie Coull and Ed Theakston

 

25th & 26th Sept 20:00

£10/£8

Follow the link to book tickets: https://theatre503.com/whats-on/

‘I don’t even know what reality tastes like anymore…’

 

Kira is the perfect teenager. Kira wants to go to Oxford. But her eating disorder shatters everything in her path. In this poignant, raw and honest new play a young girl explores what it’s like growing up with mental illness and the lifelong struggle of addiction. A story about coming of age in a world obsessed with the struggle for perfection.

 

✮✮✮✮“Explosive & truly harrowing…a brave piece of theatre.” Broadway Baby

✮✮✮✮“A full-bodied, intense and penetrating performance.” London Theatre1

✮✮✮✮“Moments of sheer brilliance.” EdFringe Review

✮✮✮✮“An astounding piece of work with a very compelling story to tell.” Young Perspective

 

About the Writer and Actress

Nicole trained at east 15 acting school and is a writer and actor, and founder of Bloody Deeds Productions which premiered its first production at Take Courage Theatre in 2014. She also trained on the Foundation in Acting at RADA, and prior to this held a two year directing internship at Vanguard Rep Company in Los Angeles.

 

About the Directors

Katie Coull trained at East 15 Acting School. Katie is co-founder of Dead Leaf Theatre Company and Kilter Theatre. She recently worked with Emma Licia on a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dreamat the Ellen Terry in Kent, playing Puck. Katie is currently co-directing Bit of Sunshine by Nicole Zweiback, and Endgame: Ariel at the Camden Fringe 2016.

 

Ed Theakston trained at East 15 Acting School. Ed is an actor and theatre-maker, and is co-founder of Kilter Theatre. Recently Ed worked as Tony Bell’s Assistant Director on The Winter’s Tale and played Francis in an R&D workshop production of The Secret History. Ed is also Managing Director of Parallel Productions.

 

About the company

Bloody Deeds Productions was created by Nicole Zweiback along with a group of young women who felt a need for a collaboration that defied the (still) heavily male dominated profession. KILTER is a collaborative theatre company that aims to make confronting theatre that responds to & seeks to change the world around us.

 

This production features an original score by Dylan Allcock.

 

Company

Writer – Nicole Zweiback

Director – Katie Coull and Ed Theakston

 

Cast

Nicole Zweiback

 

#BitofSunshine

@wearekilter

@bloodydeedsprod

http://www.wearekilter.co.uk

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The Rivals ~ Bristol Old Vic

The Rivals stays at Bristol Old Vic until 1 October 2016 – then embarks upon a brief tour.  Click this link for more information and to book tickets: http://www.bristololdvic.org.uk/shows.html

Star Rating: *****

First performed in 1775, The Rivals is still standing the test of time, it seems, and never more evident than with this production at the glorious Bristol Old Vic. The eloquent dialogue (written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan) mingled with a few cheeky modern slants, made for an extremely entertaining and wondrous evening at the theatre.

A fairly stripped back set, which still provided a fine element of grandeur, (especially combined with the most marvellously over the top costumes and wigs), framed the piece beautifully. Add to that, the idea that the audience were permitted to have a glimpse at backstage shenanigans before the action began, which fully engaged me in the hope of watching something wonderful.

I was not disappointed, as the story of Mrs Malaprop’s (Julie Legrand) match-making for her whining niece, Lydia Languish (Lucy Briggs-Owen) and the various mad-cap sub-plots unfolded. Lucy Briggs-Owen was the epitome of rich and spoiled brat and it was a delight to endure her tantrums and meltdowns in the wake of her aunt’s endeavours. Julie Legrand was perfect casting for Mrs Malaprop, I feel sure that this role was tailor made for her. Her splendid use of comic facial expressions and gestures tease out the eccentricities of the ridiculous characters and the timing of the various misused words that the Mrs Malaprop is so renowned for was a joy. Add to the mix, Captain Jack Absolute (Rhys Rusbatch) who is going by the alias of Ensign Beverley in order to elope with Lydia. Rusbatch plays the role with concerted smugness and a stiff upper lip, much like that of his father, Sir Anthony (Desmond Barritt) who is determined that his son should marry Lydia, and has no clue that his wayward son has been wooing her under another name.

The Rivals A Bristol Old Vic, Citizens Theatre & Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse co-production 8th September 2016 Writer Richard Brinsley Sheridan Director Dominic Hill Designer Tom Rogers Lighting Designer Howard Hudson Composer Dan Jones Assistant Director Ed Madden Cast Desmond Barrit, Nicholas Bishop, Lucy Briggs-Owen, Lily Donovan, Keith Dunphy, Henry Everett, Jessica Hardwick, Julie Legrand, Lee Mengo, Shaun Miller, Rhys Rusbatch
Lydia (Lucy Briggs-Owen)

Throw the lovelorn Faulkland into the mix, played broodingly by Nicholas Bishop, and it’s a real hot-bed of misunderstandings and broken hearts. Faulkland is engaged to Lydia’s cousin, Julia (Jessica Hardwick) whom he appears to mistrust and behaves erratically with. His mistrust is encouraged by Bob Acres (Lee Mengo) who is, himself, looking for love, and has set his sights on Lydia! Mengo is flamboyance personified as Acres and provided some real laugh out loud moments. The confusion is enhanced further by the scheming ladies maid, Lucy (Lily Donovan), she works for Lydia and has been leading on Sir Lucius O’Trigger (Keith Dunphy) with love letters that she claims to be from her mistress. The letters are written by the hand of Mrs Malaprop who has taken a shine to Sir Lucius, and the one-eyed would-be Romeo is in for quite a shock when the truth is uncovered. Dunphy played the role to its full comic potential and his scenes were a real highlight for me.

This production was made all the more enjoyable and unique due to its use of an on-stage musician and utilising modern props which were subtle in their appearance yet made the right impact. Included in the line-up was a typewriter, a polaroid camera and shades!

Overall, a superb revival of a timeless piece which centres around love and its intricacies and dilemmas. A strong cast made the most of every opportunity to make the audience laugh and to interact with us, too, which was another ‘gimmick’ which worked well. I’d be keen to see this again, and again….

Photo Credits: Jack Offord

Spotlight On… Writer of Skin A Cat, Isley Lynn

Semi-autobiographical, Skin a Cat is a personal and ambitious story of sexual discovery and dysfunction, exploring the challenges and consequences of not having a ‘normal’ sex life. Alana’s journey is unique and yet Skin a Cat speaks to our shared experiences with joy, candour and levity making a difficult subject more accessible. It will run from 12 October to 5 November 2016 and you can follow this link for more information and to book tickets: https://www.bunkertheatre.com/

I interviewed Isley about the piece, here’s what she had to say:

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg. Tell me about the piece and the inspiration for it.

I’m basically fixated on new stories and fresh perspectives – I wrote Skin a Cat because I didn’t see my experiences of sex reflected in the media around me. It felt important to put a story out there that was honest and unflinching and not the same old representation of female sexuality as a binary of repressed vs rampantly promiscuous. Alana, like most of us, is somewhere in the middle and it’s complicated.

Was it an easy play to write and how has it translated from page to stage?

It was easy to write and easy to stage – it was just getting the right team to do it with that took a long time. I’m picky about who I work with but once Blythe Stewart took hold of the text and we found three fantastic actors to bring it to life it took off in ways that surprised everyone – but that’s definitely because we took our time finding the right people to work on it in every aspect. And when everyone wants to achieve the same thing and we all have clarity about what that is then the work is straightforward and intuitive.

What were your main considerations when casting it?

When casting (and choosing directors) I always look for people who have the same ideas about the text as I do, who are likeminded in what they see in the script and have the same motivations for doing the play. That way everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet from the beginning and rehearsals are a collaboration where everyone’s creatively contributing. For Skin a Cat we looked for actors who were talented, adventurous, playful, and hard-working – and we got them!

skin-a-cat-1

How does the venue lend itself to the piece?

The Bunker is very hip and cool so I guess that means the play is very hip and cool and for someone who has spent their whole life being very unhip and very uncool that’s pretty nice. Apart from the space itself being ideal for large audiences without sacrificing on intimacy, The Bunker are also great allies and are actively involved in the mounting of the show, very supportive and responsive to our needs and keenly interested in hosting an event that expands the experience of the show beyond its running time. It’s very exciting to be the first show there, we all feel like rock stars.

What do you feel the main theme might evoke in audience members?

I remember watching an audience member’s reaction to the penultimate scene at one of the Vault shows – they were bent forward, eyes fixed on Lydia Larson (who plays Alana), nodding and grinning almost furiously, physically willing her to make an important realisation in the play’s final moments. It was so inspiring to see because it meant the play had taken them on a journey that they were totally immersed and invested in. And they weren’t the only one. I can’t wait to see those reactions again.

What would you say to encourage audience members to come?

It’s very very funny. Lydia is hilarious and heart breaking, Jassa (Ahluwalia) is silly and sexy in equal measure and Jessica (Clark) is totally endearing and compelling in whatever role she inhabits – those who saw her in Jon Brittain’s Rotterdam will know what I mean. Plus there’s plenty of willy jokes. And there’s the added prestige of being at the first show of what is set to become the coolest theatre for adventurous new work – definitely “I was there” material.

Thanks so much Isley, wishing you all the best with the production.

Spotlight On…. Director of Can You See Me Running, Steve Grihault

Can You Hear Me Running? which will be playing at the Pleasance as part of their Autumn season. It will open on 4 October and run until 23 October 2016: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/can-you-hear-me-running#overview

I chatted to Steve Grihault who directed the piece, here’s what he had to say:

Thank you for chatting to Break A Leg. Tell me about the piece and your vision for it…

The show explores the real life experiences of Louise Breckon-Richards – a performer who lost her voice to a rare condition and decided to overcome it by running the London Marathon. My interest in the piece stemmed from the fact this was Louise’s actual story and more importantly she would be the one on stage sharing it. This blurs the line between real truth and theatrical fiction and brings a greater authenticity and intimacy to the piece, making it more immediate. Jo Harper developed a powerful script that reflected Louise’s story and we looked for further ways to theatricalise this.

The two dominant strands running through the piece are both the voice and running and how they became interconnected. I wanted the audience to experience moments of what it may have been like on her journey through these events and connect their own experiences to hers. I worked with Dan Glover our Musical Director who composed and created an emotive and lively score for the show, playing this live on stage every night. The music coupled with video projection and bold physicality helps create a visually inventive, entertaining show that never loses the authenticity of Louise’s story at its heart.

Did you have initial ideas about casting and what you wanted Louise to bring to the piece?

There was never any doubt, it had to be Louise in this piece not only because it’s her story but because she is a really versatile talented actress who brings truth, comedy and openness which is so important in a solo show. I want her to be playful and respond in the moment to what is really happening to her in front of the audience as she tells her own story.

What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?

I hope the audience will identify with moments in the show – be inspired, informed, moved and entertained. I think the story is ultimately a very hopeful and uplifting one about never giving up.

can-you-hear-me-running
Can You Hear Me Running

Have rehearsals altered your initial thoughts, at all?

Absolutely, the piece was continually developing and changing for the better. I think that’s what rehearsals are about, to collaborate and develop ideas and practices; approaching it from different disciplines but all working toward a common goal. One big change has been how the show developed into something far more universal in theme than I had initially envisaged.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

This is the world premiere of this funny, moving and powerful story. Louise is a fantastic performer who quickly draws you into a world for seventy minutes, sharing her story in a visually inventive, imaginatively engaging and entertaining way.

Finally, any advice for budding directors?

Make your own work; no experience is a wasted one and you will always develop. Never let anyone say you can’t do something – human beings love stories so go find one, collaborate and be creative in the telling of it.

Thanks to Steve for this interview, much appreciated!

Spotlight On… Star of Derby Theatre’s Sweeney Todd, Sophie-Louise Dann

Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street moves into the Derby Theatre from Friday 30 September 2016 and finishes on Saturday 22 October 2016. For tickets and more details, visit the website: https://www.derbytheatre.co.uk/sweeney-todd-demon-barber-fleet-street-musical-thriller

This is a co-production with the Mercury Theatre, directed by Daniel Buckroyd and will also run at Mercury Theatre in Colchester from 26 October until 14 November 2016: https://www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/event/sweeney-todd-the-demon-barber-of-fleet-street/

Sophie-Louise Dann is a name that was already familiar to me, indeed as I’m a theatre blogger, it should be tripping off my tongue. However, this incredibly talented lady was also known to me as she was at Arts Educational Schools, Chiswick at the same time as my very own husband! It’s a privilege to include an interview on the site, with Sophie and without further ado….

Thank you so much for talking to Break A Leg. How does it feel to be taking on an iconic role in Sweeney Todd?

Mrs Lovett has always been a role I would love to inhabit. I like to think I can pay homage to the great Dame Angela Lansbury within my version.

Had you any preconceived ideas about the way you wanted to play her and has that changed now that you’re in rehearsals?

I always think character development is part of the collaborative process in rehearsal; of course, as an actress, one has a clear idea of how you want to play the role and a good director will tweak that interpretation where needed.

Have you got a favourite musical number or scene from the show, yet?

The score is a masterpiece! But I love A little Priest and Worst Pies in London – they have echoes of the great Music Hall numbers which is a genre I love – though rarely performed these days.

sweeney
Sophie-Louise Dann with Hugh Maynard who is playing Sweeney Todd

What do you feel the strengths of this production are?

The cast. The design. The team. All marvellous.

Have you played the Derby theatre before and how do you feel that the space will lend itself to the piece?

This is my third contract in Derby. Previously here with Stepping Out and Broken Hearted. We are using the revolve which helps move the action along seamlessly …

What do you hope the audience will take away with them from this piece?

Much like the trend for TV Victorian gothic horror such as Penny Dreadful and Ripper Street – the audience can expect to have a musical experience of an iconic fable from this period.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket to come and see the show?

Support your local theatre! I’m delighted that it now has Arts Council funding again – giving back great theatre to the Community.

Finally, just for fun, what would be the worst possible pie filling for you?

Mrs Mooney allegedly fills her pies with the neighbourhood pussycats – I couldn’t think of anything worse… Eek!

Huge thanks to Sophie, I know she has a hectic schedule so I am grateful for her time.

 

 

Spotlight On… Writer of The We Plays, Andrew Maddock

The We Plays will start at The Hope Theatre http://www.thehopetheatre.com/ on 27 September and stays there until 15 October 2016.

I chatted to Andrew Maddock who wrote The We Plays, to find out what the audience can expect.

Hi Andrew, thank you for talking to Break A Leg. Tell me about The We Plays, how the production came about and what the audience can expect.

The We Plays are a continuation of a series of Monologues I wrote in 2014 titled ‘The Me Plays’. Those plays ‘Junkie’ & ‘Hi Life, I Win” were semi autobiographical in nature and framed into a character of ‘Me’. Which I wrote and performed. Very Meta. After they were finished, I realised that I still had a lot of stories left to write in the style which I wrote them so set to work on what was going to be ‘Even More Me Plays’. Through my process, I realised that I wanted to explore more themes outside of the character of me and I wanted to do another pair of plays, but focus on a Male and a Female Character, as such the We was born.

The We Plays are again two monologues, the first ‘Cyprus Sunsets’ this piece which is performed by John Seaward focuses on a guy who is travelling to the island of Cyprus in order to recapture some of the happier moments of his life, while I don’t want to give away a lot about the piece, it essentially is about depression and especially depression in our society where men are expected to be men and not connect with their feelings or talk about what makes them sad. It’s also in a way a celebration of one person looking back nostalgically on happier times, which is a theme that always flows into my work, what was special about the original Me Plays were the moments where the room would connect with the pop culture references that we look back on fondly, it’s a real way to connect with an audience and a conversation starter at the bar afterwards!

After that 45 mins and a short interval, you can expect Irn Pru. Pru is special as it’s the first one of these plays I’ve written in a female voice, and not only that, but it’s a scottish voice, set in scotland, played by a Scottish actress named Jennifer O’Neill. Pru is a real fireball and you will follow her over the course of a day as she tries to get herself a new job. It’s based on members of my family, and about the things I’ve noticed about Scotland, they are fiercely proud of where they are from and with good reason, it’s a beautiful part of the United Kingdom, but a place I feel is criminally overlooked.

When I was up there two years ago, there was a super Waitrose opening up in a suburb just outside of the city centre and as most of these places do, as I’ve gone back over that time, they were targeting and shutting down the local business, peoples livelihoods and the way they potentially feed their families. But people weren’t complaining, they were pulling up their bootstraps and getting on with it, I wanted to write something that celebrated that. At the same time, Pru is a person who while she can be outwardly strong, is still human, and much like the character of ‘Me’ in Cyprus Sunsets, might not always talk through their problems and let them build up. I really hope people can get across and see it!

What are the main themes that are explored?

Without giving too much away, one is about Loss while the other is about Life. They are two stories but when you watch them as a whole, hopefully you will see what I was attempting, it touches on stuff like Depression & Austerity but I’m not trying to absolutely hammer these home, I want you to come and get what you want out of them.

What was your original vision for the production and has that altered?

The original idea was another set of plays I would write and perform called ‘Even More More Plays’ as a follow up to the Off-West End nominated shows I performed in 2014. I realised into the process that I wanted to work with some brand new actors and write a pair of shows from two new perspectives and I wanted to honour strong women who have battled adversity, like my sisters.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

The space is perfect for the piece, intimate, not in your face, but close enough where it becomes a dialogue with the audience, and there’s a great bar downstairs, which is always a must. Since it’s two separate pieces, it was important to find a space that would allow us to create these worlds, which I think we’ve managed to do,

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

We’ve produced a show which pays it’s cast and crew, it’s a completely 50/50 gender balance in terms of our cast and creative. We’ve selected the best actors for the role. It’s two subjects which I think are extremely relevant to things happening right now and it’s been produced with a whole lot of love, it’s funny, it’s sad, it might make you hold a random strangers hand.

Thanks to Andrew for a great interview, all the details are below if you want to know more about The We Plays.

Critically Acclaimed Writer Andrew Maddock Brings his Double Bill of Sharp and Entertaining Monologues to The Hope Theatre, London in September

 THE WE PLAYS | 27th September – 15th October 2016.

Written by Andrew Maddock

Cyprus Sunsets is Directed by Phillip Croft

Irn Pru is Directed by Ashley Winter

PRESS NIGHT: 7.45pm, THURSDAY 29th SEPTEMBER 2016 | The Hope Theatre, Islington, N1 1RL

Following the critical success for IN/OUT (A Feeling) including an Off-West End Award nomination of 2016’s best new play, writer Andrew Maddock returns to the Hope Theatre for the second time in 2016 with a double bill of monologues and a further stand-alone instalment of the Off-West End Award nominated The Me Plays with The We Plays [Cyprus Sunsets and Irn Pru].

Cyprus Sunsets: The blistering heat of the island of Cyprus is the backdrop into the psyche of a man retreating to the island after a bitter breakup. Package holiday woes, screaming children, Keo Beer & Madonna all factor into his challenge to witness just one perfect sunset, before we discover all is not what it seems. Cyprus Sunsets is performed by John Seaward

Irn Pru: With another local business closed because of a new Waitrose in nearby Bearsden. Drumchapel native Pru desperately needs a job, she also needs tae stop swearing. And why is she wearing a viking helmet? Irn Pru is a love letter to the city of Glasgow as our heroine follows the mantra of Michelle Mone, plays us some Salt-N-Pepa and battles the elements, herself and the prejudice of other people in order to come out on top. Irn Pru is performed by Jennifer O’Neill.

The We Plays are a celebration of love, life, loss and the daily struggles we all face, no matter where we come from..

Running time: 95 Minutes (Includes 15 minute interval)

Phillip Croft will direct Cyprus Sunsets starring John Seaward (The BFG, Phillip Pullman’s Grimm Tales, The Inbetweeners)

Ashley Winter will direct Irn Pru starring Glaswegian actress Jennifer O’Neill (The Kitchen, Alice).

Casualty ‘Pride Comes Before A Fall’ ~ Episode Review

Rather a teasing episode if ever there was one, if you ask me! Ethan (George Rainsford) and Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) are thrown together in yet another hazardous situation when a medical academic is trapped. The interesting element of the interaction with this particular ‘patient’ is that her medical research currently involves investigations which look into Huntington’s among other conditions. Therefore it was ironic that it should be Ethan who was in charge of her case in this instalment. Not entirely coincidental, I’d wager!

Ethan has to be the strong and calm presence for Alicia as the de ja vu of their ‘underground adventure’ is almost too much for her. Their close proximity in a risky setting is the catalyst for their potential post-shift tryst, it’s just a pity that Alicia has had one too many Tequilas, topped up with French red wine!

Meanwhile, Connie (Amanda Mealing) and Jacob (Charles Venn) are still struggling to find an even keel while Grace’s (Emily Carey) fate is still rather dicey. Jacob is determined to be there for Connie and tries to help her to settle in back at home, but this is not going to be an easy feat and it looks like their rocky road is not set to improve any time soon. Amanda Mealing is still giving this storyline 110% and every scene is award-worthy at the moment.

To complete the carrot dangling on the relationship front? Charlie (Derek Thompson) has been invited to a school reunion which he is extremely reluctant to attend, but Duffy (Cath Shipton) is close at hand to give him a much needed ego boost. Just get together, already, you two! Flirting from Duffy and a broad smile from Charlie indicates that this story line is only just getting going.

louise
Louise is on a mission to make a better relative’s room

Then there’s Louise (Azuka Oforka) who is determined to do her best with the relative’s room which she made her mark on in last week’s episode. Enlisting help from her colleagues, she’s setting about improving the facility. Louise is also continuing to collect small tokens of praise here and there which are designed to show her that she is a good nurse as well. It’s a positive turn for the easily demotivated character.

The verdict? I am enjoying the back-seat that the guest stars are taking right now, because it’s giving an opportunity for the main cast themselves to demonstrate what a talented ensemble they are. More of the same, please!

Spotlight On… Writer of Now Is The Winter, Kate Saffin

I chatted to Kate Saffin, who has written a piece as part of Rewriting Richard for The RSC – here are the links to the listing information and to book tickets: http://alarumtheatre.8ch.co.uk/ and https://www.rsc.org.uk/tickets/rewriting-Richard

Here’s what she had to say about the project…

Thank you for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and the inspiration for it.

It’s a reworking of Shakespeare’s Richard III. I was thinking about the fact that men get all the best speeches. Even where women have played those parts and bring a different perspective on it one could argue that they are still playing a male part.

I started thinking about the ‘Now is the winter…’ speech and wondering how it would sound spoken by a woman. Not a woman playing Richard but a woman being a woman in that world and who that woman might be. I found the answer was firstly that it made perfect sense in terms of commenting on the state of the nation and Edward IV’s return to the throne and secondly, that the woman was a servant. Someone moving freely about the castle, observing but almost invisible. Bess is a fictional servant, devoted to Richard – in my mind she is sister to the nurse who is referred to. In reality, of course, she could never have existed as few women were servants in the 15th century and those that were limited to the nursery or the laundry, they certainly wouldn’t have had had the freedom that Bess does to observe and take part in castle life.

Was it an easy piece to put down on paper?

In one sense, very easy – I had Shakespeare’s text to work on. In another, very difficult because there were choices to be made at every stage about what to include, what to leave out, how to create a 55 minute narrative from three hours of text. Ultimately it was shaped by Bess’s devotion to Richard. He is her focus, the events that affect him, affect her. She gossips her way through the story as she chops vegetables, sorts the laundry and kneads bread.

How has it translated from page to stage?

One of the fascinating aspects of the process was the way that, in the translation to the stage, we began to see how this new text turned Shakespeare’s version of Richard as evil on its head. Whilst using Shakespeare’s own words.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

It’s a very simple, unfussy space which allows us to create the images of the world that Bess inhabits. At the same time it is a piece that could be set in many different spaces – we would love to perform it in the kitchen of a castle!

What do you hope the audience will take away with them?

The notion that you can play with Shakespeare’s text and create something new that provides a different perspective on his original work and the context that it was written in. A smile at Bess’s waspish observations of those she observes and gossips about. And perhaps a new sense of the wonderful language that he gave us – the rhythms, cadences and shapes of the text.

Finally, do you have a personal favourite Shakespeare play and why is it your favourite?

It probably has to be Richard III, partly because I have now spent so long immersed in the text that it is the play I know best and partly because it has been one of the most powerful and effective examples of propaganda through the arts in history. It shaped hundreds of years of thinking about Richard in a way that almost no other play has done.

I’d like to extend my thanks to Kate for chatting to me and wish her every success with the play.

Two Short Plays About Gays: The Diva Drag ~ Hope Theatre, London

Two Short Plays About Gays stays at Hope Theatre, Islington until Saturday 24 September: http://www.thehopetheatre.com/productions/two-short-plays-gays/

Star Rating: *****

More fablas than I can say, more ‘mazing than ‘lympics! This piece is an absolute triumph and the two-hander cast which comprises of Gregory Ashton and the ever amazing Louise Jameson as son and mother. Written by Lesley Ross and directed by Nigel Fairs, it’s a tale of a Shelley Winters obsessed Drag Queen called Darren/Gladys who has been disowned his mother. The short play cleverly explores Mum’s motives for throwing her gay son out and in turn examines that son’s retaliation which involves dressing up and performing as his estranged mother.

Not only are there some absolutely corking lines in there such as “more ‘mazing than ‘lympics” and a cracking welsh accent from the glorious Louise Jameson, but this piece shows an in-depth view of the history that turned the mother into a ‘monster’. The result being that her son performs as this ‘monster’. Ashton and Jameson are a duo de force, believable as the two flawed characters who have never been able to confront their demons and repair their relationship until its too late. Ashton also treated us to his superb singing voice during this piece and it was a great showcase for his versatility as well as a fantastic platform for Jameson to demonstrate another side to her abilities.

This production was also performed with minimal props and it allowed the writing and the performances to shine. I thought that the costumes also added an extra dimension to the two larger than life characters and I enjoyed the way that one particular item of clothing was used to connect the two of them. It was a moving slant given that Darren/Gladys’ mother had passed away.

Another joyous piece of theatre which surely has the potential to be a longer play, in the future.

 

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