Looking at theatre and the arts across North East England, the North East Theatre Guide continues to celebrate culture in our region.
If a link is labelled #Ad: Tickets are now available from one of our affiliate ticket suppliers. The ticket company will also be the official supplier of tickets for the event. This means we receive a small share of the sale. Clicking on these links helps us to cover the costs of producing the NE Theatre Guide free of charge to both our readers and theatres.
Teesdale’s Funny Way To Be Comedy Club have announced details of their 2015 comedy programme in BarnardCastle.
Based at the recently-refurbished Witham arts centre, the new comedy programme runs from January until March and features some of the funniest men and women in the UK, including the big success story of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Best Newcomer winner Alex Edelman.
The new season, programmed by BarnardCastle resident Peter Dixon, officially gets underway on Saturday 10 January, with a headline appearance from award-winning comedian Lucy Beaumont.
Beaumont has a clutch of awards to her name. She’s a 2014 Foster’s Best Newcomer nominee, winner of the BBC New Comedy Award in 2012, and a former Chortle Award winner for Best Newcomer. In 2013, Lucy appeared on series two of Live At The Electric on BBCThree, and has recently been commissioned to produce her own show for BBC Radio 4, To Hull and Back. Rising stars Katie Mulgrew and Hayley Ellis complete the bill in a night featuring three of the most exciting female comics in the UK today.
Next up in Teesdale is the 2014 Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer, USA comedian Alex Edelman. The 25-year-old from Boston is the next big thing in comedy. Fresh, original, and endearing, with each performance Edelman continues to prove himself to be one of the world's most promising upcoming comedians. He joins Australian sensation Felicity Ward, one-liner comedian Peter Brush and Chortle Student Comedian of the Year Jamila Maddix in BarnardCastle on Saturday 7 February.
On Saturday 28 February, we welcomes alternative comedy hero Tony Law to the region. The cheerfully absurd humour that Law knocks around into a jazzy, freeform shape has endeared him to both live and TV audiences in the UK and abroad. Law has made appearances on Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe, Sue Perkins' sitcom Heading Out and Have I Got News For You, and is now a regular on TV panel shows Never Mind The Buzzcocks and 8 Out Of 10 Cats.
Funny Way To Be’s final spring show sees two festival favourites bring their latest shows to the region. Ray Peacock will perform an abridged version of his critically-acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe show, Here Comes Trouble, while Leicester Comedy Festival Best Show winner Ahir Shah is not to be missed. Ray and Ahir are at The Witham on Saturday 28 March.
Peter Dixon, of Funny Way To Be, said: "With the announcement of the new year season we now have ten stand up comedy shows programmed until the end of March 2015.We have continued our commitment to bring the very best comedians, with a programme providing shows to suit all sorts of tastes, to rural BarnardCastle.In this season we have comics from the USA, Australia and Canada providing a real international flavour."
To complement the more high-profile shows in the calendar, the Teesdale comedy club have also announced details of three bargain mid-week shows set to feature the stand-up stars of tomorrow.
With tickets only a fiver, Teesdale comedy fans can see cult comedian Silky (19 November), BBC New Comedy Award winner Steve Bugeja (21 January) and Chris Ramsey tour support Carl Hutchinson (11 March) for less than the cost of a pint in London.
Peter added: “For audiences it's a chance to come along and see a top quality professional show with an intimate friendly setting without spending a fortune. It is ideal for both regular comedy fans as well as people who is thinking about coming along to see a live comedy show for the first time.”
Isn’t science brilliant? Knowing how stuff works is brilliant. Theatre is brilliant too. So what happens when you mix the three? Does it work?
Albert Einstein – Relativitively Speaking is a production in which Albert tries to explain both particle-wave duality and his special theory of relativity. This show was the Junior Edition and so, one assumes, the explanations are kept straightforward however this is without necessarily dumbing down or using bad science. The story also throws in a historic angle as Einstein fled from Nazi persecution and warned the US government of Hitler’s ambition to build the atomic bomb. In return the Nazi’s put a $5000 bounty on his head, sold his boat and burnt his books.
John Hinton wrote and stars in this fun production. His welcoming and engaging manner help keep the younger members of the audience actively taking part. The songs are a fun part of the show and nicely break up the chunks of theoretical physics. Jo Eagle accompanies John as well as playing the various women in Einstein’s life.
Audience participation is central to the show and leads to memorable explanations. Waves and fusion are kinaesthetically demonstrated between some of the worst, or should that be wurst, jokes.John Hinton exhibits a compassionate side when pointing out Einstein’s disappointment at seeing his theory being used for warmongering with a resultant large death toll.
There needs to be more productions which are suitable for children, neither aimed at nursery age and not pantomimes. Albert Einstein – Relativitively Speaking Junior Edition fills that fill role. It is both fun and informative in equal measure.
Shrek takes Ogre Christmas Lights Switch On at intu Eldon Square
Sunday 23 November at 1pm
Dean Chisnall (Shrek) and Faye Brookes (Princess Fiona). Photo: Helen Maybanks.
Beloved swamp-dwelling ogre, Shrek, will be VIP guest at the switch on of intu Eldon Square’s Christmas lights on Sunday 23 November, ahead of his arrival at Newcastle Theatre Royal in March 2015 as part of the first ever SHREK THE MUSICAL® tour of the UK and Ireland.
Coming direct from London, where it was seen live on stage by nearly a million people, the UK and Ireland tour of SHREK THE MUSICAL® stars Dean Chisnall as beloved swamp-dwelling ogre ‘Shrek’, the role he previously played in the West End, Faye Brookes as damsel in distress ‘Princess Fiona’, Idriss Kargbo as Shrek’s wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ and Gerard Carey as pint-sized villain ‘Lord Farquaad’.
Shrek will be flicking the switch on a spectacular new scheme of Christmas lights at intu Eldon Square, featuring over 100,000 pea lights, and in excess of 25,000 baubles and ornaments; more than enough to illuminate Shrek’s Kingdom of Far Far Away and beyond! With twelve months of planning, design and creation, the new display has been developed around the theme of ‘The Gift of Christmas’ and has evolved as a celebration of the joy of giving. Giant gift boxes will be displayed in locations throughout the centre, each providing a setting for a dazzling display of light and colour, heralding the festive season.
Prior to the switch on children can take advantage of a Shrektastic arts and crafts workshop, featuring Shrek, Princess Fiona, and Donkey mask making and face painting.
Entertainment will start at 11.30 am with the Newcastle Temple Salvation Army Band, followed by hugely popular tribute show Re-Take That at 12.15 pm, before SHREK takes to the stage at 1pm for the lights switch on and Christmas sing-a-long, hosted by Steve Walls. Over the course of the event, the Shrek The Musical team will also be handing out Shrek ears to all members of the audience, so they can really immerse themselves in the action!
Joan Taylor, intu Eldon Square’s Marketing Manager, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Shrek has taken time out from performing in his tour of the UK and Ireland in this hit musical to visit us in Newcastle prior to arriving at Newcastle ’s Theatre Royal next year. This year’s Christmas Lights Switch On will be very special indeed, with a brand new scheme of lights waiting for our Shrek-tacular guest to bring them to life. The lights switch on always signals the beginning of our very busy Christmas shopping period, so if Shrek needs some advice on gifts for Princess Fiona – we’re here to help!”
Philip Bernays, Chief Executive of the Theatre Royal, added:“We literally cannot wait to have Shrek The Musical here in March – so much so that we jumped at the chance to bring our favourite ogre himself up early to get acquainted with his fans in the North East. The intu Eldon Square Christmas Lights Switch On is set to be one of the most spectacular light displays in the region and the perfect introduction to Newcastle for Shrek before his extended visit in the spring!”
Shrek said: “I am honoured to be invited to turn the Christmas lights on in intu Eldon Square. I have been told that this is usually a job for soap stars and boy or girl band members so I’m very pleased that the organisers recognise my own musical talent and boyish good looks! I will probably take the opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping while I’m here and also a bit of a recce so I can report back to the Fairytale Misfits about the sights and sounds of the city ahead of our arrival with Shrek The Musical next March.”
intu Eldon Square Christmas Lights Switch On
Sunday 23November 2014
(Outside John Lewis & Boots)
Hosted by Steve Walls
11.30 NewcastleTemple Salvation Army Band
12.15 Re-Take That
1. 00 SHREK, from SHREK THE MUSICAL
1. 30 Ends
SHREK THE MUSICAL – Tickets:
Shrek The Musical® appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Wednesday 11 March until Sunday 29 March 2015. Tickets are available from £16 (a booking fee of 95p - £1.95 will apply to most tickets) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk
Performed in a village hall, an old warehouse, a derelict chapel and the gym of an ex-military barracks, this multi-sensory work uses handheld movable light and contemporary dance to create an intimate meditation on love and loss.
Hosted in a variety of atmospheric, non-traditional spaces across the UK, Sometimes There’s Light [sometimes there’s dark] blends contemporary dance with lyrical text in a sculptural light installation which brings audiences into the heart of the work. Allowing audiences to share space with the five performers and experience dance up close, the work will adapt to each of the spaces across the tour, creating a series of unique, one-off events.
Joe Wild - Photo: Roswitha Chesher
Presented in unusual venues in London and the North East, this cross-artform work draws on the experience of borderlands (between countries and between sea & land) to create a meditation on the fluid boundaries between life and death, and our experience of loss and grieving. Our aim is that engagement with the project will have a lasting effect on people's own encounters with grief, by allowing us more freedom to express our emotional experiences of loss.
Artistic director Kate Sagovsky said, “I spent 6 months on a remote Scottish island where the style and pace of life is very different, and you have left behind many of the assumed norms of the modern world. It seems like life is stripped back to its elemental form: the sea, the sunlight, night and day, good food and the people around you. There was so much laughter, but tears too. It was a place where I could come to terms with lots of pain from loss I had stored up over the years. When I came back to the mainland I wanted to share this experience with other people – to bring them a window of space and a slowing of time to allow reflection on the beauty of life around us, filled as it is both with love and loss, great happiness and great sadness. Most of the text in the show was written on that island and this is my chance to bring a small bit of the island to people around the UK, to allow them to step out of their everyday lives for an hour and engage with something deeper, whatever that might be for them.”
Joe Wild -
Photo: Roswitha Chesher
Moving Dust creates experimental performance with an international pool of long-term collaborators. The company’s work spans theatre, dance, installation and large-scale outdoors work, and has been performed at venues and festivals around the UK, including at The Bush, The Arcola (Create Festival); New Wolsey Theatre (Pulse); The Place (Resolution!); and Pleasance Courtyard (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Moving Dust have performed in festivals across the UK but this is the first chance to catch their work in the North East in an entirely new piece which has been commissioned by Dance City to support exciting new work in the North East.
Kate Sagovsky is the artistic director of Moving Dust. She also works as a director, movement director and education practitioner across a wide range of contexts. She has worked at the RSC, National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Barbican, and the Southbank Centre. She has been invited to lead work in Japan, USA and South Africa, and attended by selection both the National Theatre Studio Directors’ Course and the Lincoln Centre Theater Directors’ Lab. She was nominated in the Off West End Theatre Awards for ‘Best Choreographer’ in 2011.
Performed by Charlie Ashwell, Sarah Calver, Simon Carroll Jones, Marc Saad & Joe Wild
Devised by Kate Sagovsky and Charlie Ashwell, Ida Ballerini, Sarah Calver, Simon Carroll Jones, Sara Green, Vincent Manna, Garth McConaghie, Edmund McKay, JaneMcLean, JindeokPark, Marc Saad, Gabriella Schmidt & Joe Wild
Music Composition & Sound Design by Garth McConaghie
Set & Lighting Design, & Production Management by Edmund McKay
Direction, Choreography & Text by Kate Sagovsky
Assistant Director-Choreographer Sara Green
Associate Creative Producer Ida Ballerini
Tour 2014 Produced by DepArts
Age guidance: 16+
Running time Approx.: 1 hour
Locations: Not performed at a traditional theatre [venue as per location] Venues may be cold so please advise audiences to wrap up warm.
Everyone probably thinks their family is unique as it has dysfunctional characters in it and relationships that don’t always go to plan. The most recent winner ofThe People’s Play is Patrick Robinson’s exploration of family and the strain that relationships are put under.
Adam heads back to the family home for his Father’s funeral with his husband Ben. His mother, Joyce, has devoted her life to learning the Bible and assumes that her daughter Sophie is still praying on a regular basis. Joyce asks Sophie to choose something to read as a eulogy but Sophie is finding greater resonance with the works of Hemingway rather than Holy Scriptures. Adam feels that his mother is still upset about his sexuality and tries to find fault with every statement and action. In the meanwhile Ben tries to smooth over the cracks and see the good in the people he meets. Ben’s calmness is in direct contrast to the angry egocentricity shown by Adam.
Philip Bradley directs this empathetic play in which love and kinship is put to the test. Robin Tudge plays the frequently forthright Adam with as much passion as Penny Lamport plays his grieving mother. Though there are themes of Christian faith, this play runs deeper to the core of emotional ties that make up family life.
Jake Wilson-Craw comes across as a devoted husband whilst being affectionate to Adam’s greater family. He speaks as he finds and that warmth helps make this such a captivating story to watch.
Siblings don’t always get on like a house on fire and Sara Jo Harrison’s portrayal of Adam’s sister Sophie captures the apparent contradiction of feelings for, and fury with, her brother. The illusion of fair treatment between siblings is one of the many points that Adam wants to raise with his supposedly more popular sister.She in turn wants to share their Father’s possessions found in a cardboard box but in doing so she may open up old wounds.
There is a lot to like in this production. The simple set doesn’t get in the way of flow of the story. The complexities of real relationships makes the characterisation believable without overloading the audience with too much exposition. Each solid performance by the talented cast exudes both the loyalty and resentment that can come in a loving relationship. This is a compelling production that should see the writer propel into further great projects.
This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR (www.jowheretogo.com). Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook www.facebook.com/Jowheretogo
BenJake Wilson Craw
In My Father’s House by Patrick Robertson
Date:Tuesday 28 October – Saturday 1 November 2014
Venue:The Studio Upstairs, The People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF