A Smile Masks A Thousand Words In The Arts

Make a cup of tea, start your day and then it starts…the smile. The smile that masks a thousand words, that are unsaid. The smile that everyone thinks you are so lucky to be wearing. Why wouldn’t you be? You do a job you love, you aren’t constricted by one with set hours, life is a peach..isn’t it?

It’s when that giant crane digs up the earth, it finds underneath the foundations of that smile we all us on tap as performers, writers, creatives. We use it as a mechanism, to keep us going and keeping up appearances, a sort of Hyacinth Bucket surburbia style. We will say we don’t do this, but ultimately we all do it.

We need to be open with each other, that we all don’t have the perfect life we seem to so often radiate, not by a mile, not even close. It is almost as if it we feel weak or a failure, to admit when things aren’t tickety boo. In the Arts, let’s be open and listen to others, make us realise we are all in this together, for better or worse and need to help each other out.

Why don’t we tell each other how we are feeling…deal?

Summer Nights In Space Reveal Cast And Crew!

Summer Nights in Space 
February 15th – February 19th 2017, 

VAULT Festival 

Press Night: February 15th 2017, 6pm

Hannah Elsy Productions is proud to announce the cast and crew of new science fiction musical Summer Nights in Space, coming to the VAULT Festival in February 2017. 

Summer Nights in Space is a glam space rock musical from composer Henry Carpenter (The Quentin Dentin Show), rooted in classic science fiction, using the bizarre setting of musical theatre to combine the song and dance of entertainment with the really big questions.
“This rock musical is a winner” The Upcoming on The Quentin Dentin Show
Matthew Jacobs Morgan (Love, Nina and Cuffs, BBC1 and Wasted, E4) plays John Spartan, a dedicated professional astronaut, who has worked all his life to achieve his dream of going into space. 

Morgan’s theatre credits also include Our Town, Almeida Theatre and The Hive, Jackson’s Lane. He is joined by Candice Palladino (4 Fit Girls Hit London, Fish Overboard Pictures and Everybody Dies, Edible Brains Productions – Nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role at the Planet Connections Theater Festival) as the ferocious and sexy Alien, and Benjamin Victor as Lethal Space Bizzle (brash, effortless and sleeping with your wife) and the Computer (stuck on board the spaceship and leading an unexpressed inner life).

The show will be directed by Sinead O’Callaghan (Peter and the Starcatcher, Arena Theatre and Gentle Tim, VAULT Festival 2016), who is also working on The Lock In for Over The Limit Theatre at VAULT Festival 2017. Returning from Hannah Elsy Productions’ The Quentin Dentin Show are Lara Davidson (Design and Lighting Design) and Caldonia Walton (Movement).

 “High voltage mayhem (…) absolutely unmissable” Grump Gay Critic on The Quentin Dentin Show

Summer Nights in Space, a sequel to The Quentin Dentin Show, continues writer Henry Carpenter’s breakdown of a “broken future”. 

This production is part of VAULT Festival’s “Proxima V” programming strand of science fiction/ futuristic work for 2017.

Golden Age Theatre Presents: Boy Stroke Girl At Etcetra Theatre 

ETCETRA THEATRE, Camden – London NW1

Preview: 20th Feb 2017
28th Feb – 12th March 2017

Can you fall in love with someone if you don’t know their gender? 

Peter finds out when he falls for the sexually ambiguous ‘Blue’.
Their relationship poses a challenge to Peter’s identity, forcing him to face some difficult questions: To what extent are we all encouraged to conform to narrow culturally defined stereotypes, to label and to pigeon-hole ourselves?
Are these labels a form of straight jacket and by adapting to them do we compromise our true nature?

Casting caution to the wind, Peter’s passion for ‘Blue’ provokes prejudice and hostility from friends and family in a tale of sexual liberation and shattered taboos.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter
Performed by Ilaria Ciardelli, Thomasin Lockwood, Gianbruno Spena and Duncan Mason

Reviews of BOY STROKE GIRL:

“Perfectly written” “Simple yet beautiful”
★★★★★ LondonTheatre1

“Makes the audience question their own assumptions and judgements”
★★★★ West End Wilma

 “A truly stimulating piece of theatre” “Complicates and liberates ideas of human behaviour” “Powerful and unique”
Scatter of Opinion

The Doppel Gang Are The Coolest Set In Town- At Tristan Bates Theatre 

The Doppel Gang

Tristan Bates Theatre, 1a Tower Street, London WC2H 9NP 

Tuesday 17th January– Saturday 11th February 2017
 

Press Night: Wednesday 18th January 2017, 7.30pm

The Doppel Gang, a new comedy by Dominic Hedges, explores the wild wit of iconic comedy giants The Marx Brothers. Presented by Just Some Theatre Company, The Doppel Gang has generous helpings of British humour and humility.

As the Blitz ravages London, a hopeless theatre manager persuades a desperate double act and a not-so-convincing male impersonator to join him in an audacious stunt – impersonating The Marx Brothers. With one last roll of the dice, this group of entertainers battle to save the theatre from closure. The curtain is about to rise but so are the stakes as an unprecedented series of revelations leads to an exhilarating chain of events. Will anyone believe they are the real Marx Brothers?

The Doppel Gang fuses classic British comedy with the endless energy of the Marx Brothers, who at the time the play is set were dominating the comedy scene in the US. With its precision timing and authentic 40s soundtrack, the audience are transported to wartime London and the antics used to boost morale.
Playwright Dominic Hedges comments, 

There are so many similarities between our comedy and that of our American cousins. We both think we’re hilarious and we both think we’re smarter than one another. Groucho Marx’s lightning wit versus Eric Morecambe’s wry asides for instance. I guess I’ve tried to pit us up against them, all the while hiding ourselves from the horrible reality of our Second World War surroundings. It’s as though the faster we talk, the less real life is.

Jake Urry and Peter Stone of Just Some Theatre comment, 

We are thrilled to be bringing The Doppel Gang to London. The show is packed with energy, featuring a cast of lovable rogues and their badly devised scheme to impersonate the Marx Brothers in pursuit of a quick buck. The Doppel Gang appeals to lovers of classic comedy, old theatre tradition and good old sarcastic British humour – and of course The Marx Brothers!

Yes…Even More Theatre Picks Of 2016

Fringe is what I am about (well that and the brussel sprout and cheese bake I am eating right now). Giving new voices a voice and new work a platform. I confess due to my own personal creative endeavours, I have not seen as much theatre as I did in 2015. This means accordingly, I only feel it is fair to have a top 5 Fringe shows of 2016, rather than 10 ( as I did last year) to put in this post.

BU21 at Theatre503

Transferring to Trafalgar Studios in January 2017, after its triumph in 2016 at Theatre503, the play BU21 was the ultimate for me, a masterpiece. Stuart Slade has really created something really quite unique, soul stirring and heartbreaking, as well humourous in equal measure. Set around the aftermath of a fictious terrorist attack on six Londoners, the writing and performances were impeccable, with a dryly funny stand out performance from Alex Forsyth, who was also nominated for an Offie for Best Male. Thalissa Teixeira also shone as a greiving PR Executive.

Underexposed Old Red Lion Theatre 

I saw this evening of new writing in April and was very impressed by the theatrical works showcased. It was a real pleasure to see new works of such a high standard, varying from definitive drama to comedy, all in one production. The themes of the plays were underexposed stereotypes and these were certainly exposed brilliantly. Underexposed Theatre are a Theatre Company to keep an eye out for in 2017!

HERSTORY Festival at Theatre N16

Founded by the tour de force Nastazja Somers, the first HERSTORY Festival, that I was priveliged to attend back in August, has a big place on this list. An evening of honest theatre that transcends genre and boundaries, telling stories that need to be told, I was hooked. With an array of established and upcoming writers, it was a wonderful night of solidarity.



This Is Living Trafalgar Studios 

OK, perhaps not technically fringe, but the debut play of Liam Borrett was an absolute revelation. With it’s two leads Tamla Kari and Michael Socha playing a couple torn apart by death, I was spellbound from beginning to end. This really is a masterclasses in finding the human element in tragedy, without being over sentimental and being well, just real. Tamla Kari was just sensational, she literally broke your heart in her role.

Big Brother Blitzkreig at King’s Head Theatre

Controversial, thought provoking and laugh out loud this comedy-drama play has it all. Written and directed by Hew Rous Eyre and Max Elton, this look at the past never being too far separated with the present, has Adolf Hitler finding himself transported to Big Brother. Both Hitler and housemates are oblivious to who the other actually are. Intelligent, witty and fantastic performances, especially by Stephen Chance as Hitler.






​New Year, New You? Appreciate Who You Are 

As the end of another year approaches, the whole concept of a new year’s resolution, is something that we put upon ourselves. Especially in the Arts industry, we want to acheive so much, which is great for morale, but we can lose sight of all wethe have achieved already and who we are. This of course can be said for everyone, every year we say we will make that change, but do we? No. This really is because of self-imposed pressure, that is so unnecessary. Let’s stop, starting right now.

Here are some tips for alternative New Years resolutions, that will hopefully make you feel so much more content with yourself (and that is the main priority).

1. Look back at the last year, think of five things that you have achieved that have made you proud of yourself. Even just thinking of one, will bring a smile to your face. This will encourage you to build on this triumph in the year ahead.

2. Start thinking about what you want. What do YOU want from your life? Rather than worrying what others want from you, make sure you are getting what you want from life.

3. Enjoy the results of your years triumphs, if you got that role, then look forward to it. Work hard and revel in it, you deserve it!

4. Stop focusing on the negative, of course learn from mistakes but do not dwell. Dwelling never helps any situation.

5. Be kind. Always. This is to others as well as yourself. We are all in the Arts together and we need to support each other.

Silver Lining & Jacksons Lane: Throwback

Silver Lining & Jacksons Lane: Throwback 

Part of Jacksons Lane Spring Season

Jacksons Lane, 269a Archway Road, London N6 5AA 

Wednesday 1st – Saturday 4th February 2017

Following huge success at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, Throwback returns to Jacksons Lane as part of the London International Mime Festival. With awe-inspiring aerial and acrobatic work, one of the UK’s most exciting young troupes teams up with West End director Paulette Randall and director Simon Pollard to tell stories that are honest, emotional and absorbing. 

With world-class hand-balancing, tension straps (a brand new circus skill invented by LJ Marles), Chinese pole, hula hooping, foot juggling and a fantastic hoop-diving sequence, the artists in Throwback balance, hang, sing, fly, catch, spin and throw their way through this fast-paced, feel- good explosion of physical skills and fun. The performers’ rapport as friends is evident from the start and the show relays honest stories about their own memories told with infectious energy.

Founding company member Thomas Ball, comments 

The main thing I’d like an audience member to come out of the show with is a feeling of happiness, of having seen something that actually made them feel good. So I look at what I can offer an audience and it’s a smile. In the uncertain times we live in maybe that is exactly what we all need. 

With #ThrowbackThursday now a weekly social media posting trend, memories are part of our zeitgeist. People love to get nostalgic about their childhood, old friends, relationships, pop culture, past trends and happy memories and this is exactly what Silver Lining love too and have harnessed here. 

…if there’s a warm heart to be found, it’s sitting right in the middle of Throwback. This gem of a show created at Jacksons Lane in London touches you in all the right places (The Scotsman).

A Christmas Carol-The Musical, At LOST Theatre

A Christmas Carol –The Musical

December 19th – 31st, 7.30pm

Press Night: December 21st 2016, 7.30pm

​Charles Dickens’ timeless classic gets the full Broadway treatment in LOST Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol – The Musical, by the Broadway team of Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid), Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical) and Mike Ockrent (Crazy For You, Me and My Girl).

“innovative, entertaining and packed full of vibrant melodies” The Stage on A Christmas Carol – The Musical

Follow Scrooge on his journey with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as he searches for the true meaning of Christmas in this classic transfixing journey. Suitable for all the family, this energetic and fun musical is the perfect feel good theatre show.

“It is done fluidly and — an Ockrent trademark — with considerable humor” Variety on A Christmas Carol – The Musical

This production is co-directed by Mark Magill & Martin John Bristow, and musical direction is by Randy Smartnick. Mark has worked on the London Fringe for 30 years, and during that time has run his own award winning company and worked for over twenty others in a variety of capacities. Since 1989 he has been running LOST, initially as its administrator, then from 2006 as its Artistic Director.

Martin studied at both the RSAMD in Glasgow & the Actors Studio Drama School in New York, and has worked on UK tours as company stage manager, stage manager, lighting designer and technician. Randy has directed & produced shows in London & Edinburgh, including Martin Pippin and the Apple Orchard (Edinburgh Fringe and Leicester Square Theatre), It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s Superman (Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre and Leicester Square Theatre transfer) and the award-winning Flora the Red Menace (Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre and Landor Theatre transfer).

“a wonderful performance that will fill you with jolly Christmas cheer” Everything Theatre on A Christmas Carol – The Musical

RedBellyBlack Theatre Presents A Year From Now At VAULT Festival

A Year From Now 

VAULT Festival, The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN 
Wednesday 25th January – Sunday 29th January 2017 

Press Night: Thursday 26th January, 6.10pm 

14 VOICES. 5 ACTORS. ONE YEAR. 

This new production from RedBellyBlack Theatre is a fascinating combination of verbatim and physical theatre, using movement and audio narrative, that asks 14 people ‘where do you see yourself a year from now?’. 

Children, nonagenarians, new parents and trauma survivors talk to the audience about their perspective on the passing of time. Following a successful run at Tristan Bates Theatre, A Year From Now returns to the stage with new answers to some seemingly simple questions. What do you make time for? What has been the time of your life? Are you where you thought you’d be a year ago? 

From the four year-old who already knows that he is destined to be a racing car driver to the ninety-four year-old who is still driving, every story told in this show is moving, exciting, hilarious and disturbing. Follow the fears of new parents. Be blown away by the fifteen year-old who understands why bullying happens. Fall in love with the comedian who finds joy in all things, even after losing a close family member. Have your eyes opened by a young woman with a life- threatening condition who risks everything to become a mother. 

A Year From Now is about the importance and power of positivity. These raw, real-life stories encourage us to take ownership of our time and savour every minute. Five actors from various creative backgrounds guide us through these answers in a visually stunning verbatim performance.

 …we have been presented with a playful and unfetishized look into the very unexceptional world we so regularly seek to leave behind… This is Alecky Blythe stripped bare, and it is all the more refreshing for it (LondonTheatre1). 

A Year From Now was co-created by RedBellyBlack’s Artistic Director Kate Goodfellow (Winner of Best Female Performer, Brighton Fringe) and Director Vicki Baron. 

The production is in partnership with mental health charity MIND, who are changing the national perspective on mental health. RedBellyBlack will be collecting donations and promoting the incredible work of this charity.

The Understudy Will Make It’s UK Premiere At Canal Cafe Theatre

Canal Café Theatre and Russell Lucas present

The Understudy by Theresa Rebeck

Canal Café Theatre, Delamere Terrace, Little Venice, London W2 6ND

Tuesday 21st February – Saturday 11th March 2017

Press Night: Thursday 23rd February, 7pm

Originally a smash Off-Broadway hit, the UK premiere of Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck’s The Understudy, directed by Russell Lucas, now comes to Canal Café Theatre. For the first time, the theatre will be transformed to the round.

Staged as part of Canal Café’s American Season, The Understudy is a dazzling and humanistic look at people trying to do what they love in the face of never-ending obstacles.Full of laugh-out-loud comedy and vivacious satire, The Understudy dissects the backstage friction of a frenzied understudy rehearsal of a long lost Kafka play about to be staged on Broadway. 

Charged with running the rehearsal, Roxanne finds her professional and personal lives colliding when Harry, a jobbing actor, is cast as understudy to Jake, a mid-level action star yearning for legitimacy. As Harry and Jake find their common ground, Roxanne tries to navigate the rehearsal with a stoned lighting board operator, an omnipresent intercom system, the producers threatening to close the show and her own mixed feelings about both actors and her past. Will the show go on?

Director Russell Lucas, comments 

I am very excited for our second play in The American Season. This is not only an incredible scoop for Canal Cafe Theatre, but for the London theatre scene. This comedic love letter to the theatre is all set in an understudy rehearsal of a Broadway production. Two actors duel; the stage manager referees. 

Rebeck captures the wistful nature of the understudy’s role, waiting in the wings for a shot that will likely never come (The Mercury News).

…deliver[s] a clever indictment of contemporary theatre while making the characters’ personal circumstances ever more Kafkaesque: They are no more in control of the forces of celebrity, art, money and Broadway than they are of their own fates (The New Yorker).

The Understudy is part of Canal Café’s America: Past, Present and Future season which opened with Driving Miss Daisy in autumn 2016. The season will conclude with a brand new commissioned play