Entertainment Views Interviews: Matthew Gould, Director of The Gulf

The European Premiere of The Gulf by Audrey Cefaly coming to Tristan Bates Theatre from

17th April – 5th May

Book tickets here: The Gulf Tickets 

This honest play looks at two women on a small fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico and what makes their relationship tick.

Kendra, played by Louisa Lytton (Eastenders, BBC1; Strictly Come Dancing, BBC1; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the British Shakespeare Company), and Betty, played by Anna Acton (Doctors, BBC; Casualty, BBC; Eastenders, BBC; The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Gillotts Theatre) are stranded on a boat together and forced to confront their differences.

The Gulf is a rare scenario yet it doesn’t home in on what you expect.  It is unusual in its lack of social commentary and its focus on the everyday problems they face.


Director, Matthew Gould chatted to Entertainment Views about the production:

Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Matthew. First of all, I’d love to know when you’re working on a two-hander, how does your directional approach differ to working with a larger cast?

I think my approach becomes less focused you have fewer balls in the air. When I say less focused I don’t mean on the script but with two actors it can be about exploration and tangents and trying ideas because you have the time. With a larger cast you still encourage and have all of the above but you have less time to really look at them.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

The Tristan Bates Theatre is very intimate and is usually played end on. Having said that the current artistic team is encouraging companies to try different things and when we decided to do The Gulf in the round the idea was enthusiastically welcomed by the theatre. In the round itself can be an intimate experience for all involved. In certain therapeutic circles during training the practice of ‘The Gold Fish Bowl’ is used having a ‘client’ sit on a seat and the trainee therapists sit in a circle round the room listening to the session. This creates the idea of eves dropping on a moment in time which is what the audience are doing as they watch The Gulf.

What do you feel the strengths of the script are?

The strength of the script is that it shows you the ordinariness of Betty and Kendra’s life and the struggles that that brings to them as a couple and as individuals.

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

I believe the audience will see a lot of their own relationships in the conversation and that whatever the sex is of two people in a relationship the life choices and difficulties we all make are very similar to those of Betty and Kendra.

Finally, why should everybody come and see it?

Primarily people should come because seeing two women in a play with no-one else on stage is rare. It’s not a combination that is very common in theatre. However it is a play that finds humour in the everyday, humour in the suffering and sadness in the ordinary.

Huge thanks to Matthew for an informative and insightful interview.

Spotlight On… Star of The Quentin Dentin Show, Shauna Riley

The Quentin Dentin Show which will be playing at Tristan Bates Theatre from 20th June to 29th July.

With a brilliant original soundtrack, live rock band and dazzling choreography, The Quentin Dentin Show, is guaranteed to make you happy or kill you trying.

Book tickets here: Tristan Bates Theatre Box Office

Here’s an exclusive interview with Shauna Riley from the show…

Tell me about The Quentin Dentin Show and your character

The Quentin Dentin Show is a new rock musical with an exciting science fiction vibe. It’s about a couple in their mid-twenties who are stuck in an unsuccessful and unproductive rut who find themselves in the hands of an all singing all dancing therapist who is determined to change their lives -with or without their permission!

I play Nat, a slightly neurotic lady who’s working a dead-end job at a pharmaceuticals company who just really yearns for a change of pace and maybe a change of life altogether!

What was your initial impression of the script?

I got on board the Quentin Dentin train way back in 2015 when it went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and my first thought was, woah, this is weird, but in the best way possible! I had never really read anything like it – it was like a fusion of a science fiction film, a naturalistic play and a full scale musical!

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

The show essentially begs you to release it onto the stage – the pages can’t hold it and there is simply too much energy. It’s tough in the sense of the fact that the pace is relentless and it wants you to be slick and concise, but once you hold onto the reins of it so to speak, then it’s a wild ride for both the actor and the audience!

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

Nat is one of two more naturalistic characters in the show that kinda act like a touch stone for the audience amongst the madness so I wanted her to be relatable so that people could really connect to the idea of all this madness happening to someone so very, well normal!

How does the Tristan Bates Theatre lend itself to the piece?

This show has a desire to make the audience feel as involved as possible so the Tristan Bates is perfect as it lends itself to the intimacy and at times kookily claustrophobic feel to this piece.

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

Come see The Quentin Dentin Show because you have never seen a musical like this before, you’ll be mulling it over in your mind and humming its crazily catchy tunes long after the closing number and also, there’s a live rock band on stage!

Huge thanks for an awesome interview and wishing cast and crew all the best with the run.


Spotlight On… Star of Pete ‘n’ Keely, Katie Kerr

Pete ‘n’ Keely comes to Tristan Bates Theatre from 2 – 20 May – click here, to book tickets: Pete n Keely

This award-winning musical will be led by Katie Kerr (Little Shop of Horrors, Menier Chocolate Factory; Fat Pig, Comedy Theatre; Sweeney Todd, English National Opera) and David Bardsley (Titanic, Charing Cross Theatre; Guys and Dolls, National Theatre; The Fix, Donmar Warehouse).

 It’s 1968. America’s Swingin’ Sweethearts, Pete Bartel and Keely Stevens, are performing live on national television! The only catch? They haven’t spoken to each other in five years. As the inevitable blow-up gets closer, the songs become increasingly double-edged.

Here’s an exclusive interview with one of the stars if the show, Katie Kerr…

Hi Katie, thanks for talking to Break A Leg. Tell me about the piece and your character.

It’s 1968. America’s Swingin’ Sweethearts, Pete Bartel and Keely Stevens, are performing live on national television! They haven’t spoken to each other in five years.

I’m really looking forward to diving into the character of Keely and building an onstage relationship with the brilliant David Bardsley. Obviously I’m sure a lot of character work will be done in the rehearsal room, but from reading off the page, I love Keely’s fire! She really holds her own and is a strong female character who also has moments of vulnerability.

What was your initial impression of the script?

Fast paced, exciting, funny! 

Do you think it will be easy to translate from page to stage?

Yes I do, I’m really looking forward to what our director does with the “on air” and “off air” moments within the piece. 

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

I have some ideas but I always want to go into the rehearsal room with an open mind.

How will the space lend itself to the piece?

Honestly, I have never been to the Tristan Bates before so I am excited to see it. From what I have been told it is a very intimate space and I think that will be brilliant. It will give us as actors the chance to play the truth, with a live television show. 

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

Come along for a fun packed, comedy filled, fiery flash back in time!  

Thanks so much to Katie for her time, the show sounds amazing!

Spotlight On… Writer of CTRL+ALT+DELETE, Emma Packer

Emma Packer’s CTRL+ALT+DELETE will run at the Tristan Bates Theatre this April as part of their FIRST Festival of Solo Performance 2017. Click here to book tickets: CTRL+ALT+DELETE

CTRL+ALT+DELETE explores the harsh realities of life through the character of Amy Jones, an emotionally charged girl from Brixton with a strong political heart.  This highly relevant piece addresses issues including our most recent political upheaval, immigration, the London riots, the war on terrorism and the housing crisis.

Here’s an exclusive interview with Emma Packer, who wrote the piece and performs it too:

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

CTRL+ALT+DELETE is a tale of resilience in the face of adversity.  Amy Jones from Brixton is an emotionally charged girl with a strong political heart.  She challenges the injustices of the world, where war rips communities apart, equality isn’t universal and your biggest enemies are sometimes the very ones who brought you in to the world.

I wanted to explore and draws parallels between control and abuse of power within a domestic setting and in the wider society from the Government, Media and the Police.

 CTRL+ALT+DELETE examines the myth that all mothers are loving and protective of their children which serves to isolate us from the truth and the harsh realities of life.   The show addresses the subject of female violence, and the skewed perception of mother and daughter relationships.  People often suffer mental and/or physical abuse at the hands of a wife, girlfriend or a mother and I hope that CTRL+ALT+DELETE can raise awareness around this very important subject matter.

Was it easy to put it all down on paper?

I never find writing easy but I do find it hugely enjoyable and slightly cathartic.   The different characters within the show require different styles of writing.  Amy is profound and poetic, whereas her mum is quite the opposite.

How did you translate it from page to stage?

Katherine Hayes has directed the paly since it was at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014.   She is an incredible director and is responsible for bringing this narrative to life.

How is the space lending itself to the piece?

The characters tell the story within the show.  Therefore the play lends itself to the space at Tristan Bates Theatre which is a blank canvas so to speak.

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

I am hoping the audience are challenged emotionally and leave the theatre deep in thought and/or discussion.

Finally, any advice for budding writers?

Practice makes perfect!

Thanks to Emma for a superb interview, wishing you every success with the piece.



Area 52 ~ Press Release



 As UFO fans await the arrival of the fabled Planet X this month, what is really out in the Nevada desert?                                                                             

Marc Blake may have the answer in his brilliant new play Area 52, which premieres at the Camden Fringe from August 8 at the Tristan Bates Theatre. 

Area 51 is the US Military site in the Nevada Desert where alien life was ‘discovered.’ And next to it is a hangar manned by two US Army Soldiers: a Corporal and a Captain. Neither knows whom or what they are guarding.

This is a science-fiction play filled with tense drama, suspicion, bluff and double bluff, leading to a nerve-shredding conclusion.

Starring David Patrick Stucky as Milo and JB Newman as Theodore, Area 52 is written and directed by Marc Blake, writer of ITV Drama ‘The Swap’. This is his first stage play.

“Area 52 was inspired by stories about Area 51 and the fabled ‘Nirubu’, plus suggestions that NASA has falsely denied the existence of this ‘Planet X’,” explains Marc.

“Rumour has it amongst UFO fans that this huge planet will orbit just a little too close to us for comfort during August 2016 – so what better time to premiere Area 52?”.

Area 52 runs from August 8 to 13, performances start at 9.15pm. Tickets are £10, £8 concessions.

To book tickets visit: https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/area-52–camden-fringe-2016

Further information is available on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/area52onstage or follow us on Twitter @Area_Fiftytwo

Area 52 Flyer B

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