Saturday, 27 August 2016

Preview: Aladdin at Whitley Bay Playhouse




100 Days Until Panto!

Blue Genie Entertainment presents
Aladdin
Whitley Bay Playhouse
Monday 5th December 2016Monday 2nd January 2017


Shane Lynch
This Saturday marks 100 days until Aladdin begins its run at the Playhouse…and tickets are selling fat! Playhouse Marketing Executive, Sophie Flanagan, said: “Our Christmas Pantomime keeps breaking records year on year, and with the addition of Boyzone hunk Shane Lynch to Aladdin we can see this will be our most successful Pantomime yet. We are very excited for the winter season and advise customers to book soon to avoid disappointment.”

Charlotte Chinn
Joining Boyzone’s Shane Lynch as Abanazar, Playhouse favourite Steve Walls playing Wishee Washee, and the returning Charlotte Chinn as Princess Jasmine, will be Sam Ebenezer as Aladdin, comedy duo Short & Curly (Rebecca Shorrocks and Paul F Taylor) as the Peking Police, Grant Flanagan as Widow Twankey, and local actress Georgia Nicholson as the Genie!

With stunning sets, glittering costumes, and plenty of audience participation, Aladdin promises to be the most spectacular pantomime ever!

Book now to secure your favourite seats!

Tickets
Steve Walls
Tickets costing from £14 are on sale now.
Tickets are available from the Box Office open Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday 10.30am – 2.30pm plus until show start on event days. Tickets can also be purchased on the booking hotline 0844 248 1588* or online at www.playhousewhitleybay.co.uk.

*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.







Friday, 26 August 2016

Preview: Arts Centre Washington’s Autumn season





Arts Centre Washington’s Autumn season has a delicious assortment of shows to appeal to all tastes!


Including magic time travellers and marvellous  moustaches, reforming bands and extraordinary tales of super-fandom, a sorcerer’s apprentice and a super spy granny!
There is theatre, music, comedy and art for everyone!

Highlights of the theatre programme include: 

Letters to Myself.
A heart-warming and humorous show created from letters written by real people, Letters to Myself is a look at the best advice we never had.
 

Theatre meets gig in Fans by The Six Twenty. Based on people’s love affair with music, Fans fuses together fan confessions (and some not so true stories) with scripted drama. 

 
Unfolding Theatre present Putting the band Back Together, which is part riotous gig, part tender storytelling, featuring Ross Millard (The Futureheads), Maria Crocker (The Letter Room) and Alex Elliott (Northern Stage), the cast reveal the epic emotions within people’s relationships with music.  The show will mark the launch Sunderland Stages 2016.


Through documentary film and eye witness testimony, combined with evocative music and movement, Chernobyl@30 by Théâtre Sans Frontières travels between Ukraine and the UK as the consequences of the accident unfold.

Under the Bed is an adult fairy tale told using performance, music, live animation and film by the 154 Collective. The show is about childhood trauma and what happens when nightmares are indistinguishable from reality.

 
Unlimited Theatre presents Am I Dead Yet? A musical comedy cabaret… about death!  Filled with stories and songs about death and dying and about how we don’t talk about it enough.

 
Fish Eye is a dark comedy about nosiness gone wild.  A nosey neighbour takes things too far when she starts spying on the people on her street!  The show is by Devon based Theatre Alibi who are renowned for creating exciting and imaginative work for all ages.


Key Change, an award winning play based on the real life stories of women in prison.   Written and made in the North East by Open Clasp the show has most recently been performed in New York where it won the prestigious New Your Times Critics Pick!

As ever the centre has a fantastic programme of theatre for children and families, such as:


Penguin! Elephant! by Goblin is a hilarious new children’s show about celebrating differences for anyone who’s ever waddled like a Penguin or stomped like an Elephant. With original songs, hilarious physical comedy and dance the show is suitable for children aged 3+.

 
Featuring an original music score, playful interaction and lots of laughs, Molly’s Marvellous Moustache is a new theatrical adaptation by Fidget Theatre of the original storybook, written by Andrea Heaton and illustrated by Talya Baldwin.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice where a young boy fulfils his dream when he meets a real life wizard!  Blunderbus presents t
his delightful new show which comes to life with an irresistible blend of music, puppetry and storytelling. There’s also an enchanting toy shop setting filled with all sorts of magical surprises!


There is also plenty of comedy, music and magic including time travelling magic duo Morgan and West who present an incredible show chock full of jaw-dropping, brain-bursting, gasp-eliciting feats of magic. Stand Up Comedy is also in plentiful supply with The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club and the return of the highly contentious New York Comic Lewis Schaffer.


Tickets:
For more information on these or any other event visit
www.artscentrewashington.co.uk or call 0191 5613455


Letters to Myself
Thursday 8 September, 7.30pm,
Heart-warming and humorous theatre created from letters written by real people, Letters to Myself is a look at the best advice we never had.
£8.50 / £6 (online) / £9.50 / £7 (box office)


Fans
Thursday 15 + Friday 16 September, 7.30pm,
Theatre meets gig. Based on people’s love affair with music, Fans fuses together fan confessions (and some not so true stories) with scripted drama.
£8.50 / £6 (online) / £9.50 / £7 (box office)
Preview: http://nomorepanicbutton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/preview-fans-on-tour.html

Putting the Band Back Together
Thursday 22 September, 7.30pm,
Part riotous gig, part tender storytelling, Ross Millard (The Futureheads), Maria Crocker (Frantic Assembly) and Alex Elliott (Northern Stage) reveal the epic emotions within people’s relationships with music.
Review: http://nomorepanicbutton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/review-bringing-band-back-together-in.html

Chernobyl @ 30
Thursday 29 September, 7.30pm,
Through documentary film and eye witness testimony, combined with evocative music and movement, Chernobyl@30 travels between
Ukraine and the UK as the consequences of the accident unfold.
£8.50 / £6 (online) / £9.50 / £7 (box office)

 

John Fothergill + Kate Lucas + Dean Moore + MC George Zach
Friday 30 September, Doors 7.30pm, first act 8.30pm
The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club presents some of the best stand up comedians on the circuit
Tickets £10,


Penguin! Elephant!
Saturday 1 October, 11am + 2pm,

With original songs, hilarious physical comedy and dance, Penguin! Elephant! is a magical new children’s show about celebrating differences for anyone who’s ever waddled like a Penguin or stomped like an Elephant. For children aged 3+
Tickets £6.50 / £22 (family, admits 4)


Under the Bed
Thursday 6 October, 7.30pm,
A grown up fairytale told using performance, music, live animation and film. Under the Bed is a compelling new play about childhood trauma and what happens when nightmares are indistinguishable from reality.
£8.50 / £6 (online) / £9.50 / £7 (box office)

Morgan & West – Parlour Tricks
Saturday 15 October, 7.30pm,
Prepare to be amazed!  Time travelling magic duo Morgan and West present an incredible show chock full of jaw-dropping, brain-bursting, gasp-eliciting feats of magic.!
tickets £8.50 / £6 (conc)



Molly’s Marvellous Moustache
Tuesday 18 October, 10.30am + 1.30pm,
Featuring an original music score, playful interaction and lots of laughs, Molly’s Marvellous Moustache is a new theatrical adaptation of the original storybook, written by Andrea Heaton and illustrated by Talya Baldwin. For children aged 3+
Tickets £6.50 / £22 (family, admits 4)

 
Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous
Saturday 22 October, 7.30pm,
The contentious
New York comic returns!
This event is free of charge, a voluntary contribution is asked for at the end.


The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Thursday 27 October, 11am + 2pm,
This delightful new show comes to life with an irresistible blend of music, puppetry and storytelling. There’s also an enchanting toy shop setting filled with all sorts of magical surprises! For children aged 3+
Tickets £6.50 / £22 (family, admits 4)



Am I Dead Yet?
Thursday 10 November, 7.30pm,
A musical comedy cabaret… about death!  Filled with stories and songs about death and dying and about how we don’t talk about it enough.
£8.50 / £6 (online) / £9.50 / £7 (box office)

Fish Eye
Thursday 17 November, 7.30pm,
A dark comedy about nosiness gone wild…  A nosey neighbour takes things too far when she starts spying on the people on her street!
£8.50 / £6 (online) / £9.50 / £7 (box office)


Key Change
Saturday 26 November, 7.30pm
Award winning play based on the real life stories of women in prison
£8.50 / £6 (online) / £9.50 / £7 (box office)

www.artscentrewashington.co.uk / 0191 561 3455








Preview: 99 Problems And The Chips Still Ain’t One - On Tour




 Steffen Peddie
99 Problems And The Chips Still Ain’t One
On Tour

Steffen Peddie is a Stand up comedian from Newcastle upon Tyne. He told his first joke on stage at 13 in his local youth club and has continued doing so since.

Photo: Andy Hollingworth
After minor success on the fledgling comedy circuit and appearing as comedy support with Ross Noble on two different National Kids Saturday Morning TV Shows he took a break from Stand Up and turned his time to becoming a professional wrestler.
 
Ten years of bending bones, wearing lycra in public and various chair shots took its toll on Steffen. After performing at the Café de Paris in London in front of a star studded audience as part of Viz Magazines 25th Anniversary party he decided to call it a day and retire from the world of grappling.  

After a conversation with other comedians he decided to try stand up again “for a few shows” to see if it would be fun. Ten years later he has not stopped and has matured as an act with his time away. 

Success has come his way in the form of a roll in the main cast of Jason Cooks BBC sitcom “Hebburn”. The award winning show ran for two series and a Christmas Special, and is still much loved by the public, both in the UK and with large international success. 

Acting has continued with a number of TV adverts and short films, including Alan Moore’s (writer of Watchmen, The League of Gentlemen, V for Vendetta) first film “His Heavy Heart” as well as hosting Metro Radio and TFMs “NIGHTOWLS” phone in show as the regular guest host when Alan Robson is away. Steffen recetly covered for Alfie Joey on the BBC Radio Newcastle Breakfast Show.

On top of this he is a proud member of The Geordie Rat Pack alongside Jason Cook, Glen Roughead and Neil Grainger. The four perform along with a fifteen piece band and play Swing classics in their own style. After a string of sell out shows at Newcastle City Hall, The Sage Gateshead, Customs House and Stand Newcastle, more are to be announced to a keen audience. 

STEFFEN PEDDIE TOUR SHOW “99 PROBLEMS AND THE CHIPS STILL AINT ONE

Photo: Andy Hollingworth
Last year Steffen Peddie undertook his first tour, with a show that’s a step away from the normal Stand Up shows.

The show was entirely created from the audience’s suggestions and improvised on the night, so it’s a comedy tightrope walk as anything can be asked! 

The shows format is that the audience write the “Problems” and Steffen has to solve them, making it a different show every time.

The show ran twenty two times in 2015 to a great success. So for 2016, a swift title change and fresh advertising and its back on the road! 

With three shows this year so far, he has managed to cover varying topics from “Who picks up guide dog poo” “Why don’t sheep shrink in the Rain” “Why is my partner sleeping with my brother”  - Read the North East Theatre Guide review of one of these shows: http://nomorepanicbutton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/review-99-problems-and-chips-still-aint.html

The tour is entirely self financed and is playing venues large and small, from large regional Theatres to Village Halls as well as Comedy Festivals along the way.

SHOW NUMBER 30
Hilarity Bites at The Keys in Darlington on Tuesday August 30th 2016

SHOW NUMBER 31
Stand Comedy Club Edinburgh on Tuesday September 20th 2016

SHOW NUMBER 32
Stand Comedy Club Glasgow on Wednesday September 21st 2016

SHOW NUMBER 33
Stand Comedy Club Newcastle on  Tuesday September  27th  2016
  
SHOW NUMBER 34
YHA Berwick on  Wednesday September 28th  2016
Call 01629 592 700 to reserve tickets
£5.00 in advance £7.00 on the door




EdFringe Review: People of the Eye ★★★★




People of the Eye ★★★★
Edinburgh Summerhall (Venue 26)
Until Saturday 27th August 2016
Very rarely is there theatre that focuses solely on the experiences of the disabled, so it was wonderfully refreshing to see People of the Eye’s creative exploration of deafness. I went into the theatre having never had to question my own, rather taken for granted, ability to hear. I left with the experiences of deafness, that The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble’s show had so creatively managed to communicate, imprinted very vividly on my mind and emotions. 

On learning that this piece was about a family having a deaf child and becoming accustomed to the challenges that brings, you might assume this play was quite sad. Indeed, there were most definitely poignant and upsetting parts. But Emily Howlett and Erin Siobhan Hutching’s performances are charming and witty to match the varied narrative that examines both the sad and amusing complexities of families having to adapt to a new way of life. And they do communicate the sense of separate worlds. At one point, Erin’s character ponders with a hint of sadness how she was ‘welcomed into [her sister’s] deaf world’, forcing the audience to think about how accommodated deaf people are into a world of sound. Yet their show answers this by asking the audience to put themselves in the shoes of these characters. With only sheets of paper, a few chairs and a video projector, this show induces empathy through creativity at the highest level. 

This was what struck me the most, the imaginativeness of their story telling, and how effectively it made the audience understand. I enjoyed half way through finding myself in a sign language class. It took us a while to realise that Emily wanted to us respond to her sign. But her confident and endearing performance kept the audience engaged and supported through our muddled attempts. It was a practical and delightful way for the audience to confront the challenges that the family had to face.

They used the space to its fullest abilities as well. The audience felt the weight of bureaucratic and overly formal medical treatment, as the doctor revealing the results of the baby’s hearing tests moved like a robot. She walked around the space in right angles and straight lines with a blank face, heightening the mother’s bewildered and isolated expression. This was a moving moment as the parents fear for her child felt unsupported, her loneliness emphasised as the doctor’s words were typed out on the screen at the back; indeed, the formality of the doctor was comparable to receiving such news by a letter.

With their topic and focus, the use of silence was moving and powerful. At one point, the audience were placed in the silent world of a deaf person, as Emily followed her sister around what I presume was a university open day. Her sister talked to person after person, coming from each with papers to pile on top of her sister, who looked growingly agitated. Erin mimed talking, so the focus was solely on Emily’s isolation under the growing information which she felt cut off from. They were great at building the tension, as Emily scrambled to keep a hold of all the papers – synonymous with her scrambling to understand the overwhelmingly silent world around her. She eventually breaks. It was a moving and heart breaking moment in which a young girl didn’t feel in control or in tune with her environment.

What is exciting about devised work with such a fluid narrative is that it always has room to grow. There were points in the beginning that felt they could benefit from more time in the rehearsal room, moments where dialogue is delivered but doesn’t use the space as creatively as the rest of the play. But when watching this show, which moved me with very little words about an experience so far removed from my own, I am only eager to know how they’ll develop it more. I know that if I were to see this again I would only continue to learn from, and feel more for the stories they tell.

Review by Jackie Edwards

Tickets:
Tickets cost £11 (£9 conc) and are available from the usual Edinburgh Fringe outlets and online at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/people-of-the-eye




EdFringe Review: The ME ★★★★




The ME ★★★★

Edinburgh Zoo (Venue 124)
Until Sunday 28th August 2016
In a world where theatre and the media is often dominated by male stories and perspectives, I was excited to see an all-female cast in The ME, especially when they’re dealing with the topic of science which is traditionally handed to the men. Although I don’t want to give the impression that this play was all about them being women. Indeed, The Sun Apparatus Theatre Company performed with such confidence and skill, engulfing me in the surreal world of their play, that I soon forgot the reason I was initially interested in the show.
The play follows four characters, some of which feel more like dreams than people. Melody (Katherine Vince) is a health obsessed, insecure wreck, who Vince plays with a wonderful and vivid desperation. Her long suffering yet endearing maid Lita (Dana Etgar) tends to her every need. At the beginning you would assume Lita will be the sympathetic sad story of the narrative, trapped in job that she only feels apathetic towards. Yet Etgar delivers to us so much more than a sad character; she is the philosopher, the unexpected nightmare, the hero of the play. Etagr’s performance is layered and fabulous. It is on unsuspecting Lita that Melody and her new scientist friend Kristen (Justina Kaminskaitė) trial an immortality drug – the ME itself. It’s title cleverly encapsulates Melody’s, but also humanity’s insecurity over pending death. In this play the ME demonstrates our fear that we would only be whole if we were never going to die and be forgotten. Then the introduction of Peppy (Sarah Kenney) adds another level of absurdity. Claiming to be Lita’s sister, her dreamlike presence and frightening duplicity is like some ghoulish guardian angel come to apparently prevent (but it seems more like profit off) Lita’s abuse. Kenney’s faux smiles are some of the scariest things in the play, and some of the most brilliant.
I don’t usually take to Brechtian theatre because the absurdity undercuts your empathy for the character (to be fair, that is the point). But with this, although there were sections which were not to my taste, I still felt the full effect of the show’s genius. Even at the beginning when the show was at its most naturalistic, you could feel the surrealism creeping in. Their movements were like clockwork, which demonstrates the performers’ talented timing, but also foreshadows the regression into absurdism which is fated for the characters later.
Through a frightening lens, writer Bill Gallagher demonstrates the elitism and classism that taints our society. When Kristen explains the need to test this drug on another human before Melody may take it, the audience can already sense that their next move will be towards vulnerable looking Lita sleeping on the floor. Kaminskaitė’s cold approach encapsulates beautifully what empathy and feeling we can sacrifice in ourselves when taken over by ambition. The way they close in round Lita like animals is a staunch reimagining of how one life can be valued above another.
But Lita counters this violation of her consent and choices, with finding for herself what it means to be alive. The surrealism in the middle of the play is framed with the masquerade of naturalism at the beginning, and then again at the end. The cyclical structure roots the audience in what matters. Lita shows that immortality is insignificant compared to just being alive, as she packs her bag and puts on a bright yellow coat, she is finally ‘going to live’.
I was a little upset they didn’t leave it there. With Lita walking back on stage and assuming her position at the beginning as the maid waiting for her demanding boss’ next command, perhaps the message was that we are doomed to tear ourselves apart with our own mortality and never ‘going to live’. But I think it would have been more powerful and perhaps more useful to see Lita make the realisation her self-obsessed boss never could; that life is more important than one day dying. But despite the ending not being what I would have wanted, I was delighted to come across such creative and thought provoking theatre. Especially when they affected me with techniques and styles that I don’t even like that much. I mean, that must have meant they were pretty darn good.
Review by Jackie Edwards

Tickets:
Tickets cost £10 (£8 conc) and are available from the usual Edinburgh Fringe outlets and online at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/me