116 posts categorized "Coming soon" Feed

Theatre in 5 questions: Mark Down & Ben Keaton, co-writers/directors, The Sex Lives of Puppets, Southwark Playhouse

Ben Keaton Mark Down interview screenshot
What inspired theatre co-writers/directors Mark Down and Ben Keaton to create The Sex Lives of Puppets? I sat down with Mark and Ben ahead of the opening night at the Southwark Playhouse to find out more about Blind Summit's latest production and their theatre work.

Here's what they had to say (edited), and you can watch the full interview on YouTube by clicking here.

1. What inspired you to write The Sex Lives of Puppets? And why puppets?

Mark Down: We were messing around, and we loved them (the puppets) doing interview-style sort of backstage interviews, and they were very good when they talked about sex. 

Ben Keaton: You had a great title for a start.

Mark: I think it was a good title. And once we had it, it was sort of irresistible.

Ben: Mark brought me in, and I've said it many times, we just have to create a show around a great title. 

2. You are co-writers and co-directors. How does the collaboration work?

Mark: It's a f*cking nightmare.

Ben: I've made sure it's difficult. It's been my job to do this.

Mark: It came about because Ben auditioned, and he said, 'I know nothing about puppets'. And I was blown away by his voice.

I looked at who'd auditioned and said to my co-director, I want Ben, and if he really can't do puppets, I will do something else. And so that's how we got together, and then the arguments started.

Ben: Mark has an immense experience. He's incredibly passionate about what he does; he has a thing in his mind that he wants. And I come from a different world.

So the combination of our two skills come together in this, but not without bumping heads, that's for darn sure. What I love is we have one agenda, which is to make a great show, and everything clears its way for that.

Continue reading "Theatre in 5 questions: Mark Down & Ben Keaton, co-writers/directors, The Sex Lives of Puppets, Southwark Playhouse" »


Coming soon: Isolation story The Machine Stops becomes the latest live Zoom production by Big Telly Theatre

A short story written by E. M. Forster in 1909 about people living in isolation will get the Big Telly Theatre live performance in lockdown treatment next month.

The Machine Stops

Eerily pertinent to now, the story is about people living underground on their own in cells and illustrates the Victorian era's culture, thinking and fears just as the western world was beginning its accelerated journey into modernity.

Big Telly describes the piece as an escapist adventure into a steampunk world of curious Victoriana - flowers with secret messages, dining in the dark, tea-duelling, crystal gazing, parlour games and more and that audiences should expect to be surprised, charmed and possibly slightly unnerved.

“A story written over 100 years ago about lockdown about the impact of isolation, what we stand to gain from technology and what we stand to lose from the absence of human contact.

Continue reading "Coming soon: Isolation story The Machine Stops becomes the latest live Zoom production by Big Telly Theatre " »


Theatre creatives respond to rise in Covid-related anti-Asian hate crime with We R Not Virus event

Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, reports of anti-Asian hate crime have tripled, in response, a collective of UK creatives of East and South East Asian heritage have put together an online event We R Not Virus.

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Live-streamed on two days - 13 & 14 June - via Zoom the free event will feature 10 newly commissioned monologues delivered using a variety of art forms including film, poetry, dance and song.

The themes explore race, identity, representation, perspective and economics through the lens of East and South East Asian artists and their communities.

Directed by award-winning Young Vic New Genesis fellow and associate director Jennifer Tang (Young Vic, RSC, The Royal Exchange, Hampstead Theatre) and Anthony Lau (National Theatre, Royal Court, Nuffield Southampton, Ink - West End, Almeida), each day will conclude with a panel discussion.

The line-up of writers includes award-winning writer, actor and film-maker Daniel York Loh (The Good Immigrant, Royal Court, National Theatre, RSC), poet Will Harris (ES magazine’s 'new guard’ of London poets, poetry fellowship - Arts Foundation 2019) and Amber Hsu currently working with the RSC (BBC, Royal CourtOrange TreeNational Theatre Studio).

We R Not Virus is on 13 June at 7pm and 14 June at 3pm and the running time is 65 minutes (5 monologues each day) plus the panel discussion.

For more details and to book a place head to: www.omnibus-clapham.org

If you are looking for more theatre and performance to watch during lockdown check out my list of what is on.


When that moment of exciting theatre casting news gets dashed

It happened with Jake Gyllenhaal earlier this year and now it's Theo James' turn to get my hopes up and then dash them.

Theo James
I'm talking about a casting announcement of an actor I really like only to realise it's a musical.

James first appeared on my radar properly in the Divergent film series - I'm a bit of a young adult fiction/film fan.

Then I got to see him tread the boards at the Hampstead Theatre two years ago in Sex With Strangers and he didn't disappoint.

So when I got an email with his name emblazoned in the subject line I got really excited... for a moment.

Continue reading "When that moment of exciting theatre casting news gets dashed" »


New production photo for next year's Uncle Vanya...what a cast

A new production photo of the principal cast of next year's Uncle Vanya has landed in my inbox. And what a cast:
 
Uncle-Vanya-Ensemble-c-Muse-Creative-Communications-photography-by-Seamus-Ryan
Uncle Vanya – Toby Jones
Astrov – Richard Armitage
Yelena – Rosalind Eleazar
Sonya – Aimee Lou Wood
Nana – Anna Calder-Marshall
Grandmaman – Dearbhla Molloy
Telegin – Peter Wight
Professor Serebryakov – Ciarán Hinds
 
Particularly excited to see Aimee Lou Wood who was brilliant in Downstate at the National Theatre and Sex Education on Netflix.
 
It's a new adaptation by Conor McPherson directed by Ian Rickson and you can see it at the Harold Pinter Theatre from January 14 Jan.
 
 

Interview: "It's a bit like being in an episode of The Thick of It... set in 1979" - Owen Kingston on his new immersive show.

Parabolic Theatre’s immersive theatre show Crisis? What Crisis? cracks open the government machine and gives the audience the chance to get hands-on with the levers of power.

Owen Kingston
Director Owen Kingston

I spoke to director Owen Kingston about the show, what immersive theatre adds to the audience experience, how the company prepare for the unexpected and advice for those who are shy about getting involved?

Crisis? What Crisis? Is an immersive experience - how does it work?

All the events of the show take place in a Government office building in 1979.

The country has just been through the “winter of discontent” where strikes brought the country to its knees, and now Jim Callaghan's government is facing a vote of no confidence.  

In our shows, the audience is firmly in the driving seat narrative-wise.

We don't go as far as giving our audience specific roles, but we do give them a reason to be present in the world of the show.

In “Crisis? What Crisis?” our audience members are special advisors to government ministers, and they have been gathered together to try and solve some of the big problems facing the country while all the MPs are in parliament debating in advance on the no-confidence vote. 

The audience as a whole has to actively engage with these problems and try and solve them.

This can involve negotiating with Union representatives over the phone or in person, persuading MPs to try and vote in a particular manner, or choosing financial policies to enact to try and stabilise the economy.

The whole thing feels like a cross between a theatre performance and a board game, where the decisions taken by the audience affect the direction of the story.

Tackling problems affecting one part of the country might worsen problems in another part, and it is down to the audience to prioritise what to fix and how, and to try and work out what will have the biggest influence on the no-confidence vote, which is the ultimate metric of success or failure.

Continue reading "Interview: "It's a bit like being in an episode of The Thick of It... set in 1979" - Owen Kingston on his new immersive show." »


An 'oooh' London theatre announcement (Clue: It involves Richard Armitage and Toby Jones)

This is something good to look forward to in the dark days of January and February next year, Stan-fav Richard Armitage and Toby Jones are taking to the stage.

Uncle vanya toby jones richard armitage © Muse Creative Communications  photography by Seamus Ryan
Uncle Vanya with Toby Jones and Richard Armitage © Muse Creative Communications. Photo by Seamus Ryan

They will appear in a new adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya by Conor McPherson, directed by Ian Rickson. Jones is taking the titular role while Armitage will play Astrov.

It's not a Chekhov play I've seen many productions of - one in fact back in 2012 starring Ken Stott and Samuel West which I very much enjoyed.

Continue reading "An 'oooh' London theatre announcement (Clue: It involves Richard Armitage and Toby Jones)" »


Booking for James McAvoy's Cyrano de Bergerac - and a warning

Priority booking opened today for James McAvoy's next stage outing and the first of Jamie Lloyd's new season - Cyrano de Bergerac.

Good news is that there are thousands of tickets for first-time theatre visitors, key workers and under 30s.

Bad news if you don't fall into either of those categories, the ticket prices are particularly steep.

I ended up booking restricted view in the upper circle for £32 because anything closer was just too pricey.

The Playhouse has a reputation among regular theatre-goers for bad sightlines which doesn't make the 'cheaper' seats much better value but it is better than nothing and I'm hoping there might be some rush tickets or day seats so I can get a better seat.

Oh and this notice popped up before you buy the tickets, so you have been warned...ahem.

Cyrano de bergerac warning

Cyrano de Bergerac opens for previews at the end of November, for more details on dates and booking head to the ATG website.


James McAvoy is back on stage but it's not 100% good news

Love James McAvoy. It was only yesterday I was reminiscing about his knockout performance during a rehearsed reading.

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So any announcement that he is returning to the stage is exciting. Except that Martin Crimp, writer of two of my least favourite plays, is involved.

The silver lining is that it's an adaptation, not his own play.

I'm still reeling from having endured When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other earlier this year, not least because that will forever be the first (maybe only) play I've seen Cate Blanchett in.

Minimal harm?

The vehicle for McAvoy's next stage outing is Edmond Rostand's classic play, Cyrano de Bergerac. How much harm can Crimp do?

Jamie Lloyd is directing which is definitely a plus. He and McAvoy have worked together a number of times before. 

Continue reading "James McAvoy is back on stage but it's not 100% good news" »


Three ways to see Fleabag in the West End (and beyond) for less than £20

If you weren't lucky enough to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge's play Fleabag before it became a TV series and really famous then there is another chance.

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Fleabag: Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Photo: Jason Hetherington

Tickets for the West End run at the Wyndhams in the Autumn are going like hot cakes but there are other ways to get tickets - and at a more palatable price.

1. Online lottery - 50 seats at £15 will be available for every performance via TodayTix
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2. Standing tickets - A limited number of £10 standing tickets will be available from the Wyndham’s Theatre box office on the day of each performance

3 Live broadcast - Fleabag will be broadcast live to cinemas around the UK and internationally on 12 September with National Theatre Live.  


Fleabag is at the Wyndhams Theatre from 20 August to 14 September.

And yes, I can smuggly say, I did see Fleabag before it was famous. Not at the Edinburgh Fringe but upstairs at the Soho Theatre when it transferred and I remember it vividly and fondly.

My thoughts on it can be found here.