April 25, 2017 The Editor

As Catherine Love and Andrew Haydon continue their good cop, bad cop relationship with the critic prodigies, they have furnished us with yet another slew of guidelines and things to take into account. Although, this time I have to say I was completely enamoured with the Charles Spencer’s piece on why it’s not a critic’s job to be nice. Having read the piece, which I reproduce in its entirety below, I felt that it was something that resonated with my own approach. For my sins (which must be grievous) and purely as a result of Buggins’ turn currently find myself the…

April 25, 2017 The Editor

Taking your seat to the latest offering from Sh!t Theatre, Letters from Windsor House, you are immediately hurled into the show. Main players, Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit, are already on stage, adorned with requisite trademark greasepaint, sat on a sofa, drink in hand, listening to 80s synth rock cheese classic ‘Alone’ by Heart. An award winning offering that triumphed at the Edinburgh Fringe. The set is atypically spartan, save from a sofa and some cardboard boxes. The show itself is a compendium of DIY visuals, sketches, musical interludes, observational comedy with a heavy dose of social commentary. Letters to…

April 24, 2017 The Editor

Taking your seat to the latest offering from Sh!t Theatre, Letters from Windsor House, immediately prepares you for what is about to transpire. Main players, Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit, are already on stage, adorned with requisite trademark greasepaint, sat on a sofa, drink in hand, listening to 80s synth rock cheese classic ‘Alone’ by Heart. This informality is pretty much the spirit of what our senses will be subjected to for the rest of the show. In some ways it is what you’d expect from an award winning offering that triumphed at the Edinburgh Fringe. The set is atypically…

April 16, 2017 The Editor

There was a moment during the evening performance of Anne Bronte’s classic ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre that the facade was finally lifted before my very eyes. Watching what can only be described as a less than enthralling adaptation of 19th century literature, it did not go unnoticed that the aisles were not packed to the rafters, and those that were in the aisles were those that naturally conform to the stereotypes of the average theatre goer for a production such as this.   If theatre is to broaden its appeal and to attract an audience…

April 11, 2017 The Editor

Why does the barbarism of war inspire so many to seek comfort in song? Writer Lizzie Nunnery explores this in her tale of the ravages of war, seen through the eyes of a little girl. Part of the British Council’s World Stages project, Nunnery has teamed up with Ukrainian director Tamara Trunova and it premiered at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.   Cora Kirk is cast in the central role as Irina, the child, and brings a notable physicality in her performance. The scenery is used well to demonstrate her abilities, but when needed, a singular spotlight, a pause for effect,…

April 10, 2017 The Editor

Why does the barbarism of war inspire so many to seek comfort in song? This is the central thread that writer Lizzie Nunnery uses to weave her tale of the ravages of war, seen through the eyes of a little girl. Based on the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, it is part fantasy, part reality. Developed  as part of the British Council’s World Stages project, Nunnery has teamed up with Ukrainian director Tamara Trunova, in order to give a voice to those in countries whose work is silenced or censored. Such was Nunnery’s conviction, that she travelled to Kiev and met people, who…

April 5, 2017 The Editor

This is a riposte to the earlier guide of theatre criticism – The Seven Deadly Sins – which it seems is just about breaking every rule we were told not to break. Who’d be a critic eh? The seven virtues were as follows: A crisp start. You have to remember that you are in competition for readers. Start with something that interests them. Try writing the first paragraph and removing it. Try putting the last paragraph first. An indication of what the play is like. Somehow, you have to get your reader to understand what it was like to be…

April 4, 2017 The Editor

If I thought this critiquing lark was just a lot of hacks pretending they liked the sound of their own voice (on paper at least) then one of our mentors, Andrew Haydon, decided to dispel my preconceived notions. It would transpire that there are rules to writing a review. Rules which I seem to have broken. Rules that I actually want to break, I hasten to add. Andrew came across these during something he attended in the 1990s, which was conducted by some notorious reviewer from the Times or some other broadsheet who take these things far too seriously. Robert…

April 2, 2017 The Editor

I remember saying “I don’t do classics”. It was somewhat indignant of me. In a room full of strangers, I laid out my stall. No ordinary strangers it has to be said. Assembled for their prowess of all things theatrical, including classics no doubt. Yet, here I was, with the same set of strangers only a few days later, watching a bona fide classic of the greek variety no less. How did I end up like this? The classic in question is The Suppliant Women by that “well known” Greek tragedian Aeschylus. It was written over 2500 years and is…

April 1, 2017 The Editor

The paper clip. The humble paper clip is perhaps the ultimate in design. I’d go as far as saying it is the ultimate in art. Functional. Simplistic. Futuristic. The clean lines in design. The way it has the ability to bring things together. Instantly recognisable. I’d go as far and say it is a thing of beauty. The humble paper clip. If you are reeling from the absurdity of what you have just read, then think on. For I’d say that it encapsulates those that try to view anything that is considered to be artistic and to add gravitas by…