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Entr'acte Jac

Notes from the Auditorium

REVIEW: Only The Brave

Company: Wales Millennium Centre, Soho Theatre, Daniel Sparrow Productions & Birdsong Productions
Venue: Wales Millennium Centre    Date & Time: Saturday 2nd April, 2.30pm Writer: Rachel Wagstaff      Composer: Matthew Brind     Director: Steve Marmion

**CONTAINS SOME MILD SPOILERS**

1940s Britain seeps into the soul upon entrance into Wales Millennium Centre. A band plays some swinging music, while dancers dressed in pretty floral dresses and dapper suits twirl around in time to the beat. Some hustlers sidle over and try to flog some wares. This is all part of an immersive build up, putting ones mindset very much in the era, ready to experience the musical based on the day D-Day landings.
  

Continue reading “REVIEW: Only The Brave”

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Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Company: Theatr Clwyd

Venue: Swansea Grand Theatre
Date & Time: Thursday 17th March, 7.30pm

Writer: Tennessee Williams
Director: Robert Hastie

 

Tennessee Williams once said “Words are a net to catch beauty” – I know this because I’ve been on a bit of an information kick since watching the play, which is testament in itself. The man himself is quite an interesting character.

If words are the net to catch beauty, then ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ covers the whole pond. So many words.  Words can reveal and illuminate, or they can obscure and distort, burying issues beneath lies or mundanity – sometimes we say so much, yet say nothing all.

Continue reading “Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”

Breaking Down the Wall

I haven’t been here in a while. It seems cold and deserted, especially after the mad daily rush of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival… 6 months ago now?! how that flew eh?

 

I’ve been focussing on my new blog, Jabber Jac – a place for features and writing work. That doesn’t mean I’ve been neglecting theatre as much as it would seem from this blog. I contacted my local newspaper and I’ve been reviewing locally for them. I also signed up to be a south-west regional reviewer for the Reviews Hub (formerly Public Reviews). They were the website I reviewed for during the fringe festival and it seemed silly not to continue in home territory. Continue reading “Breaking Down the Wall”

A Rebel With A Clause: NaNoWriMo 2015

Normally November is all about Abbey Players. This year isn’t normal. This year November is all about NaNoWriMo.
For those who are wondering “what the flippertygibbit is a NaNoWriMo?”, it simply stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is, basically, to get started on that novel you’ve been mulling over an hit a word count of 50,000 by the end of November.
Me, I’m using this time to work on a play script instead. I’m part of the super-cool group they call the ‘Nano Rebels’. Don’t cross us, we’ve got pens and word-processors and we’re not afraid to use them. I imagine us as the Sharks to their Jets.

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Edfest Review: Best of the Fest

It’s been a few days since the festival ended and, predictably, I have a cold. It’s been threatening for a while, but I totally believe in mentally pushing it off until a more appropriate time. 



The travel back was a bit of a nightmare. I’m normally a pretty good traveller and unfazed by lenghty bus journeys – I would even go so far as to say I like long journeys; it gives me time to just sit and do things I normally put off in favour of more pressing tasks. On this occasion a lack of communication and a poor attitude from staff made it quite an uncomfortable experience.


But I’m home and have an actual PC which works. This means I can format my blog properly and add pictures. This makes me unreasonably happy. 


I thought I would take a bit of a look back at my month at the fringe and work out some stats. First of all though – my WINNERS…


The Final Countdown – My Overall Top 5

5. Spillikin
4. The Ted Bundy Project
3. Molly
2. 64 Squares

and my ultimate favourite ……

[*Drumroll**Drumroll**Drumroll*Bated Breath*Drumroll**Drumroll**Drumroll*Bated Breath*Drumroll**Drumroll**Drumroll*Checks Watch*Drumroll**Drumroll*]
1. CELL

Of course it was CELL. I knew from the moment I saw it that I’d found my winner… which was a little awkward considering it was waaaay back at the end of week one. I just loved everything about it – the movement, the storytelling, the puppetry, the music – it was a perfect amalgamation of many elements and I could see it had been lovingly crafted. It moved me a lot. It missed out on a few 5 stars from the big publications, regularly getting 4 stars, which mystifies me. To me this is everything a 5 star show should be. I’ll be following these guys on twitter to find out what’s next for them @cellshow @dogfishtheatre


Some facts and stats:

I saw 51 shows across a broad range of genres.

My top 2 were both performed at Underbelly Cowgate.

My most visited venue (not including forest fringe) was :- Pleasance Courtyard (8 shows)

followed closely by :- Pleasance Dome (6 shows)

This is a total of 14 shows seen at Pleasance venues. This is not surprising in the least. Pleasance has had a pleasantly consistent good standard of shows.

Underbelly and Assembly were my next favourite venue choices with a total of 7 visits each across all their venues. 

Most disappointing shows :- TheSpace

Venue I wish I’d visited more :- Summerhall 


Well, that’s it. The Fringe blog is officially over. For this year atleast. Who knows where I’ll be, or what I’ll be doing next year. As terrifying as that is, it’s also incredibly exciting. So here’s to the next stage…. 

Edfest Day 26: And now, the end is near; And so I face the final curtain

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Connection. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about. When a connection comes loose on a computer, it simply won’t work. When a connection comes loose in life, it may take a while to notice.  Things still move along until one day you realise you’re in a bubble and you can see out but can’t touch anything. 

Today’s Forest Fringe show was about connection. A show that found me. Literally.  The guy in charge had some no-shows and the nature of the show is dependent on participants. You can’t connect if nobody’s there.

I’m glad it found me. The show is called “Landline” and connects you with a counterpart in Reykjavik through Skype.  A show about connection that requires an Internet connection.

You are given an Ipod and a map and sent off to wander wherever you want in your local area. The participant in Reykjavik is also listening to the same recording, pressing play at the same moment.  We’re wandering on different roads but taking the same journey.

The physical distance and relative anonymity gives us the freedom to be completely open with each other. We are prompted to find places that remind us of certain things and then to share that story with our partner.

It does require some quick thinking and an open approach but the gentle voice and the freedom to say exactly what you want… anything. .. makes it so worthwhile and I got a lot out of this experience.

The same cannot be said for the show I saw after my shift, again at zoo venues. Regrets, I’ve had a few, and one of them was seeing this show. I don’t want to waste any more energy on it than I already have, so I’ll simply say – stop when you get to the Pleasance courtyard for physical theatre performance featuring superheroes. Avoid the zoo venue just up the road. Although, given that the festival is wrapping up, I suppose that advice is redundant.

There’s definitely a sense of finality in the air on this crisp and clear night. The crowds have thinned, the sound of drills can be heard in the distance as get-outs commence. Greenside has disappeared completely, while the BBC is skeletal.
The city and the remaining people in it are sleepy and looking forward to a long, well deserved rest.

I will probably try to fit in a few more shows tomorrow daytime, but doubt there will be a blog post as I’ll be getting to bed early to be up at 5am on Tuesday for the bus home… Have I mentioned I’m not a morning person?

I’m pretty happy with how this daily blog went and glad I decided to do it. It’s added an extra dimension to this experience. It’s going to be weird not ending my day this way… Time to start a journal? 

Edfest Day 24 & 25: Little Show of Horrors

Tonight’s evening meal – subway.  Why? Because if you’re a solo diner in busy places at peak food time,  you’re not getting in. Fast food places though?  Hell, that shizzle’s for everyone to enjoy.  Whatever,  I saved about £8 for it… In money.  I’m probably paying that 8 pounds in calorie content instead.
 
Finally saw a show at zoo venues this evening, where I bumped into a girl who is clearly my soul mate,  if I were gay and such a thing existed. She was horrified to see I had the same bag as her (which is a pretty unique bag), we chose seats right by each other at the same show. A light hearted choice – “The Ted Bundy Project”. I felt the need for something dark and challenging before my musical theatre frivolity this evening.  Plus it comes with the Lyn Gardner seal of approval.

Continue reading “Edfest Day 24 & 25: Little Show of Horrors”

Edfest Day 23: Jesus, a Robot and an Internationally Ignored Transgender Rockstar

Oh that horrifying moment when you see your bus at your stop on the horizon and no matter how much running and arm flailing is done, you just know you’re not going to catch it. Sinking heart moment… not half as much as getting to the stop and seeing this: N16 : 58 mins. Noooooo. It was already 12.30am. I was in for a long wait and my phone died a good few hours ago. 
 
Oh well, a good time to make progress on that big, hardback book I carry around with me for such occasions … well, not a good time – it was 12.30am after all, and it meant squinting in what little light the street lights eminated. But one must make the best of a bad situation. 
 

Continue reading “Edfest Day 23: Jesus, a Robot and an Internationally Ignored Transgender Rockstar”

What’s Hot Wednesday – Week Three

This is it, the final What’s Hot Wednesday. Feels like it only just begun………. Probably because it only begun 2 weeks ago.



As the Fringe Festival finishes on Monday, I’ll instead do an overall Top 5, probably on the Tuesday – Top 5 Tuesday, yeah that works.


Back to the present. This week I saw 14 shows, a respectable amount considering I’ve been trying to volunteer as much as I can with Forest Fringe, but could have been better. Of those 14 shows, here are my top 5:


5. Blind Cinema (Edinburgh International Festival Filmhouse)
4. Oog (Dancebase)
3. Felicity Ward: What If There’s No Toilet (Pleasance Courtyard)
2. Cleansed (C Nova)

AND NUMBER ONE…………………..
…………………………….
………………..
………

1. 64 Squares (Underbelly Cowgate) 

I knew as I was watching 64 Squares that it had to take that top spot. It was just so perfectly constructed and executed while simultaneously being completely engrossing and entertaining. It was something special. 

Spring Awakening just missed out. I gave it to Blind Cinema for its innovation.

I said this post would be short. The time for bed is imminent as it’s another (subjectively) early shift for me tomorrow. 

G’night. 

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