Possibly the most curious aspect of this whole debacle is that the press release for Still Waiting for Godot came from the Director of Theatre at the very PR company that deals with the high-profile staging of Waiting for Godot with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. Clearly, these students are not going down without some recognition!
Still Waiting for Godot will be performed in the St. James Public Toilets starring Junior Sixth Formers Jake Alden-Falconer, Daniel Bundred, William Prince and Jonathan Tamas. Performances daily from 25 – 31 August at 6.30pm, lasting 50 minutes each. Fifteen tickets at £5 each are available from the Fringe Box Office for each performance.]]>
Michael Byrne (Coronation St/ Indiana Jones/Braveheart/Z-Cars/Yes Prime Minister) plays the main role based on peace campaigner Brian Haw who has camped outside Parliament for EIGHT years. It is his moving story but also reveals the erosion of civil liberties in the UK over the last ten years.
The play had a reading (with Samuel West and Racquel Cassidy) last year, but this is its first full production and as such is the world premiere at the Fringe.
- Anna Maysey]]>
That’s not to say he’s not come across these pressures before – in 2008 he performed in Saint Joan and To the Cross at the Fringe (Theatre Alba) and was also in the film Lapse, 2009. Not only this, but John has kept is hand in on the writing side of things by penning not one, but four plays, all of which have been or are being performed.
Provided McColl’s ex-colleagues are kind to him, I don’t see any reason why he would have problems in his newly chosen career – unfortunately, journalists and reporters are not best known for their kindness!
www.edtwinge.com uses “real time updates” from various Twitter accounts in order to rank performances based on “noise” (the Twitter rating for how many mentions a show gets) and “karma”- how positive or negative the mentions are. Those shows with the most “good karma” are then put on the top ten of the EdTwinge main page.
Creator Deirdre Bunting said: “It’s the perennial festival dilemma – what to do when faced with so many marvellous, colourful characters to purvey. That’s how EdTwinge was born.”
Rick the A/C man is here again which means, I suppose, that I have come full circle with this blog. He never did manage to fix the air conditioning a month ago and we only ever realize it doesn’t work when we are in the midst of a heat wave- as we are now. Wild fires blaze in Los Angeles, the air is hot, the sky filled with smoke- yes indeed, I am a million miles away from blustery, damp Edinburgh. My last night, after a farewell celebration with actors, actors’ parents, director, producer, assorted assistants and musicians from her other show (at least I think that’s who they were…) I went to see Camille O’Sullivan one last time (that would be three) then got on a plane and headed home. The following morning at 8 am I found myself on a soccer field in Orange County watching my eleven year old’s team get crushed . How quickly life slams you right back down to earth. (My daughter is the tiny one in the middle guarding the giant)
People keep asking “how was it?” and I reply that it was an amazing experience. Perhaps once in a lifetime. If I ever go back to the Fringe, (and I can’t imagine it will be any time soon) it will only be under vastly different circumstances. (See earlier blog for fuller explanation) But I can’t stop thinking about it. I have what I think is a great idea for the perfect “Fringe show”. When I ran it past my husband, he stopped me mid-pitch and said, “See- that’s your problem, you always want to make it ABOUT something. Write something that’s not ABOUT anything.” Okay, I’ll try. But in the meantime I have two children to get off to two different schools and a month’s backload of “stuff” that has to be dealt with.
So what conclusions can I draw? Looking over my initial list of fears I can happily conclude that I did not fall on my face in “a big dramatic TOTAL FAILURE way”. Our play was not the runaway hit we all hoped for, but knowing what I now know, that was never going to happen. (why our producer, having come here for 5 years, didn’t seem to know what we quickly learned in a few short weeks, I still don’t understand) Secondly, the critics did not “eviscerate” us. We had some excellent reviews, some bad reviews and some pretty good reviews.
As for the more mundane worries, apartment living was cramped, too intimate and lots of fun. (Happily there was no mold to contend with) I do not miss the mattress coils jabbing into my hips, the crazed screeching seagulls overhead and the drunks screaming at each other at 4:30 on a Sunday morning. My mother’s visit was actually quite enjoyable and it was fun to get outside of the city and see a little of the countryside, (even if it was in the pouring rain).
I did not, in fact, get a single word written on my current script, (despite my getting a library card). High hopes for this fall… I did meet a lot of really interesting people, made contacts, new friends and have a few leads.
However, what I mainly come away with is renewed energy for the work ahead. I found the festival and the whole “Edinburgh experience” incredibly inspiring. I saw wonderful plays at the Traverse, innovative musical productions in the International Festival and beautiful physical theatre in the Fringe. (And of course, Camille has a life-long fan in me. I would go see her perform anywhere!) What a charge to be in a place where thousands of people have converged to participate in and/or attend live performances. (People lined up at 8 in the morning hoping to get turned-in tickets for “Midsummer”. I know- I was one of them. And it took me three tries to get in!) There is no equivalent in the States. In fact, I can’t even imagine that level of interest for the performing arts anywhere in this country. It was stressful, it was hard work, it was heartwrenching- but god it was fun, invigorating and magical. What an extraordinary experience!
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This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve not been in full time employment and have not had the next job lined up. To have nothing concrete to go to is simultaneously terrifying and exciting. I have absolute freedom to do entirely as I please. I just need to earn enough to feed myself. I keep reminding myself of the Bob Dylan lyrics: “when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose”. And when I listen to them, I know deep down that something good, nay amazing, will turn up.]]>
On our last night, those of us who were left went for a meal at a little tapas bar not far from the Assembly Rooms. Delicious food, real wine surrounded by lovely people, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. As you do, we talked about the highlights of the festival, and as people recounted incidents that had stood out for them, I realised just how much we had experienced together. You can jam a lot into a month, especially in Edinburgh when you’re average sleep time reduces to about 5 hours a night!
Being told “The Origin of Species” had sold out its first show on day 4
Grinning all through the Soweto Gospel Choir
The waterfight with my director at 1am
Seeing Camille O Sullivan and crying all through it
Discovering I do enjoy stand-up comedy after all – I’d just never seen good stuff before
Meeting a million people with a similar outlook on life
Getting 5 star reviews for all 4 of our shows
Hanging out with my company at Brookes bar
Saying goodbye to Edinburgh knowing that it had been a success
Was it madness agreeing to produce 4 shows as my first Edinburgh venture? Yep
Am I glad I did it? Oh yes
Would I do it again? Hell yeah!
We’ve already reported on transfers for Catwalk Confidential to the Arts Theatre, The Stefan Golaszewski Plays to the Bush and a slew of musicals to Jermyn Street. But that’s not all by a long shot. Whatsonstage.com’s Off-West End deputy editor Nancy Groves has scoured the venue listings to round up what else has made the trip south this month.
In contrast, The Bay, which transfers to 503 this week (7-11 September) after playing Edinburgh’s C-Soco, is based on the real events that turned a tranquil cove in County Cork into a murder scene. Hannah Burke’s play charts the mental and literal breakdown of a New Age community in a production from Fragments (Ireland) company, directed by Shane Dempsey.
Later this month, Soho welcomes Bette Bourne’s A Life in Three Acts (21-27 September) and Dennis Kelly’s Orphans (30 September-October 24), both Fringe First-winning successes at the Traverse in August. In the former, pioneering gay performer Bette Bourne reminisces with playwright Mark Ravenhill, recreating moving conversations the two friends have had in real life. Meanwhile, Orphans reunites the team behind the 2005 Traverse production of Kelly’s After the End, led by director Roxana Silbert, for another chilling thriller about family ties and the modern urban existence.
Jermyn St Theatre
Jermyn Street doesn’t just pick up musicals from Edinburgh. After a sell-out Assembly run, Words of Honour: The Mafia Exposed receives its London premiere in Piccadilly (7 September-3 October) en route to a November run in Rome. Lifting the lid on the world’s most infamous criminal organisation, performer Marco Gambino adapted this one-man show from the best-selling book Parole d’Onore by Italian investigative journalist Attilio Bolzoni.
Finally, a new production of Michael John LaChiusa’s First Lady Suite so impressed at George Square that producers Take Note Theatre are backing a Southwark transfer at the end of this month (29 September-17 October). LaChiusa’s show, which premiered Off-Broadway in 2003, takes its audience into the hearts and minds of America’s most famous First Ladies – Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy among them – providing some cracking parts for more mature West End performers in the process.
The Great British Soap Opera and Over the Threshold will each receive a two-week run at the fringe central London venue. The first opens the season this week, running from 8 to 19 September, followed by Over the Threshold from 22 September to 3 October.
The Musical Theatre Matters Awards, the only prize at the Edinburgh Festival specifically dedicated to musicals, were established in 2007 to champion the next generation of musical theatre producers, writer and composers.
This year’s Awards saw Over the Threshold composer Christopher Hamilton take home the trophy fo Best Music for a New Musical for his debut show. Developed by Perfect Pitch, the mischievous four-hander about two neighbouring – possibly philandering couples – features a West End cast including Trevor Jary, a Whatsonstage.com Award winner for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The Great British Soap Opera won a Judges’ Discretionary Award for its composer and co-lyricist Pippa Cleary, who reunited with Jake Brunger to pen this comedy about a much-loved but flailing TV soap. The show has been developed by Take Note Theatre, the team behind the 2008 Edinburgh hit Jet Set Go!, which transferred to Jermyn Street last autumn. Take Note are also co-producing this season at large.
Jermyn Street artistic director Gene David Kirk said: “I am delighted to be welcoming back Take Note Theatre and these fantastic new pieces. Jermyn Street Theatre has a commitment to new writing and always endeavours to give space to young companies.”
The season will also feature showcases of two more musicals seen in Edinburgh last month: Chat! The Internet Musical (10-11 September) and Six Ways (16-18 September).
- Nancy Groves]]>
Watching this adaptation of J.M.Barrie’s classic by New York company Mabou Mines, it seems curious that it has become a childrens’ favourite. Peter Pan brings images of swashbuckling or flying over the streets of London to mind: the Disney cartoons and Christmas pantomimes are probably to blame. But the story is – we find out here – a complex emotional tale concerning the rather more adult issues of early maturity, responsibility and innocence.
This production of Peter and Wendy – based on Barrie’s 1911 novel of the same name – has been in development for two decades. It is immediately clear that great time and thought has been spent in crafting a refreshingly simple and minimalist performance.
Although there are seven veiled puppeteers, a Celtic band of six and a Foley artist creating live sound effects, this is effectively a one woman show. Karen Kandel voices each of the myriad characters: effortlessly switching from the innocent Wendy with Marilyn Monroe vowels to a West Indian Smee and the received drawl of Captain Hook.
Julie Archer’s design seems very low budget, with creased bits of cloth forming the pirate ship. Yet it forces the audience to use their imagination, creating something far more visually captivating than the CGI projections used at a production of the story in Kensington Gardens earlier this summer.
By focussing on themes of parenthood, through the experiences of child-mother Wendy, a heart is revealed in the story; one far stronger than we ever find in the commercial adaptations that have thus-far dominated.
- Joseph Pike]]>