Review written for Theatre Bath.
Situated in Prior Park, getting to ‘The Darkling Society’ was quite an adventure in itself. That’s the point. Kilter Theatre Company are a bunch of passionate people it shows in the attention to detail. The setting that they have picked to perform in has obviously been agonised over and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We arrived into the picnic area to sounds of champagne popping, the glug of wine pouring and picnics being shared before the performance.
Image by Simon Annand, with thanks
Review written for http://www.westonsupermum.com/
‘The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young,
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.’
King Lear – Shakespeare
The last line of King Lear is more poignant now than ever in these politically turbulent times. I have nothing but high praise for this production and urge lovers and haters of Shakespeare to come and indulge or be won over.
From the moment of arriving into the new backstage bar area until the end of the production, I had a strong feeling that Bristol Old Vic had ‘stepped up’ and raised the standard both in how they welcome the audience into the building an in the passion and devotion they give to the performances.
4th June 2016
‘Pinky and Quirky’ – Bath Fringe Festival – Rondo Theatre.
The Rondo theatre is a small but perfectly formed theatre in Larkhall, in the backstreets of Bath. The front of house and bar is run by a team of volunteers and has been for years. It’s an intimate venue, perfect for ‘Pinky and Quirky’. The majority of the audience wore glasses and had a high proportion of white hair, with comedian and poet John Wood selling poetry books entitled ‘Ageing Gracefully’ it’s easy to see why.
Six men appear in floral shirts on stage, each one looking like someone’s dad, six microphones acquire a partner in crime and ‘Kettle of Fish’ begin tonight’s entertainment. The night was quite simply described by Wood’s as ‘a night of poetry readings and a choir’. However, the breadth and depth of the harmonies and rhythm delivered by this male A Cappella choir, or band of merry men keeps the audience laughing singing and clapping along all evening. The arrangements of Adam Barber and David Yapp are definitely quirky. We hit heady heights with a rendition of ‘Re:Your Brains’ by Jonathon Coulton with zombie audience participation. As Neil Bett from ‘Kettle of Fish’ noted we were ‘as wild as Bath gets on a Friday night’!
Underlying humour throughout both poetry and songs kept the energy and atmosphere light, playful and charming. Material is delivered with wicked glints in the eyes of the performers and there is a particular laid back Bath vibe in the air – be that heavily influenced by radio four, heart issues and Imodium. The perfect stage for Wood’s serious limericks that packed a punch after reams of light humour. Music hall or cabaret style rather than a multi-pronged art house performance. All in all a jolly evening out.
Imagine a young Dame Edna Everage paint her orange, now put a blonde Side-Show Bob (from the Simpsons) wig on her. Breathe. It’s ok. Next give her the brightest pink tights you could imagine and the wickedest gleam in her eye. Right. You now have Deirdre. Deirdre comperes Nincompoop, a comedy open mic night hosted by the ‘Wardrobe Theatre’.
She describes the night as a place to come and poop on stage. If performers want to come and try out their new and sometimes poopy ideas in front of an audience this is the night for them. Nincompoop attracts brave new performers who want to strut their stuff, alongside seasoned performers who want to flex their muscles. Whoever brings you the four acts of the night you are guaranteed unexpected hilarity and passion. Acts have included naked angels chased by suicide bombers, silent clowns tempting women with chocolate, men dressed as zebras, female comedians, chaotic poetry and a huge cacophony of glittery chaos.
Spymonkey have been working together for eighteen years – impressive stuff. They certainly draw a crowd and Bristol Old Vic was completely sold out, with people being turned away at the door, when I arrived. I’d been really looking forward to The Complete Deaths; I love clowning and jump at the chance to watch a show with multi-media in it. In the words of Toby Park, artistic director of Spymonkey, “The Complete Deaths is the result of a massive Spymonkey and Tim Crouch jam-out. Theatre jazz. Hopefully not too much rubbish scat though.”