Parenthood.

Last week was one of those difficult life-changing weeks for my children. Understanding that your role as a parent changes throughout their life. This takes time and learning that when they are scared or hurt that you can no longer bundle them up and make everything instantly alright again, as the chances are you are not going to be there.

While at school both my younger two were witness to a serious incident. Which resulted in being removed away from the school. Full bag searches and a number of police and dog units involved. The full details of what took place have not yet been released if they ever do.

The school have done a great job and prove to have a practical and fully working safety procedure in place. This has unnerved them slightly about going back to school but it’s been a learning experience for them at the same time.

They both returned home unhurt and full of what they had seen and experienced. I am not sure how much they realise the gift they have in being able to just offload and tell me everything.

Sadly these threats and events are happening on a daily basis and to experience them and know what takes place is actually a pretty good life lesson that I believe everyone should go through.

My eldest needed me for the first time in ages to talk to. It’s such a shock to know the pain they are going through but also a compliment that I am still needed and for nothing else than just to listen is an honour. This isn’t about who has done what this is just about support and truly connecting with your child and reassuring them.

My immediate response was how to get to him with over 200 miles between us this isn’t a half an hour trip. If he had wanted me to be there I would have found a way. The instincts of a protective parent were as strong yesterday as the day he was born 20 plus years ago.

I am not a helicopter parent or panic about empty nest syndrome. I enjoy my new found life and making a new way forward personally and career-wise. However, to be needed at certain times in their lives has shown we do have a bond and they love and trust me enough to talk to me.

There may be people who treat you badly, use and hurt each other because they can. None of that actually matters if you can still connect to your loved ones and just be there.

Perspective and self-respect is the key to life I hold onto and to realise what is truly important. As long as I am here I won’t stop wanting to protect them. I hope they all know how extremely proud I am of all of them. Just for being true to themselves.

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The Luncheon by Kacy Monney and Luis Amália

As the two men begin their lengthy exploration into the darker side of casting rooms and casting directors they luncheon their way through an array of food items from chicory, bread, a rice dish and various other items laid out on the table placed centre stage.

The newest fad diet takes the form of raw egg, flour, lemons, lime and other strange ingredients are mixed in front of you as both men pretend to enjoy their mugs of the concoction which promise them either weight loss or a new body. As Monney and Amália browse through the glossy men’s magazines promoting better ways to live.

Liberal use of cocaine and sexual deviances are used throughout as they go from audition to audition. Eagerly awaiting a callback but too often hearing “next”. Leaving them to prep for the next job.

There are no pauses during this roughly 60-minute performance for anyone to gather their thoughts or try to make sense of some of the information being hurled at the audience.

The entire performance is a cleverly scripted fast-paced social commentary on a side of the theatre and film industry that is hidden from the glare of the public. Which highlights the fragility and unglamourous price of being famous and trying to make it in a cut-throat industry.

However brilliantly cast, written and directed The Luncheon has been. I do think it is one of those plays that will be misunderstood by a wider audience as it’s closed writing and in-house references will get lost. As an avid theatre-goer and studying queer theory and postmodernism, this play was staunchly placed using those two theories as to the backbone.

Cast

Kacy Monney

Luis Amália

Photo credit-Max Herridge

Twitter @TheLuncheonPlay

Performed on

June 15th 2019 at 8 pm at

Tristan Bates Theatre

1A Tower Street

Covent Garden

WC2H 9HP.

Tel 020 38411 6611

boxoffice@actorscentre.co.uk

Hedgehog by Alexander Knott

Coming of age plays very often travel through similar storylines and themes. Hedgehog takes a raw approach to this epiphany and journey through the narrative of Manda’s home life set in Barwell, Leicester takes a different path. Throw in some Spice girls, dodgy dress sense and rogue curling irons for a bittersweet trip down memory lane.

Manda’s monologue style play begins and ends in 1999 at the turn of the Millennium where myths on the digital age were rife and the future uncertain. Thrown into the mix is her encounter with a live/dead Hedgehog.

In a desperate attempt to fit in with her so called friends the desire to enjoy herself is paramount. Surrounding herself with fake friends and encountering a lot of disappointing life events, she takes on the journey to discover her inner self and find her own path in an uncertain world of hurt and inaccessibility.

Mum and Dad are just her parents or are they? Waking up to see your parents for who they are can be quite a shock and in Manda’s case, they are far from the happy couple she believed them to be.

Zöe Grains performance of Manda is energetic and passionate. Leading you to believe she is reliving the monolgue from memory.

The Them characters played by Lucy Annable and Emily Costello bring to life the outside world Manda encounters, from her fake friends to the conversations with her unfashionably dressed Mother.

Alexander Knott has caught the very essence of the trials and tribulations of being a coming of age teen. With the bitchiness of fake friends and the deep desire of Manda to enjoy being part of a scene she is obviously worlds apart from.

Four stars

Cast

Manda-Zöe Grain

Them-Emily Costello

Them-Lucy Annable

Creative

Director-Georgia Richardson

Writer-Alexander Knott.

Music-Sam Heron and James Demaine

Playing from 12th-22nd June 2019.

Produced by Boxless Theatre

http://www.boxlesstheatre.co.uk

@BoxLessTheatre

#edgeofthedancefloor

At Lion and Unicorn Pub Theatre

42-44 Gaisford Street

Kentish Town

London

NW5 2ED.

@LandUTheatre

http://www.thelionandunicorntheatre.com

The Tempest by William Shakespeare a Blue Apple Production.

Watching this company of actors performing is an awe-inspiring experience. Their energy and sense of enjoyment is one thing you take away with you each time you watch the Blue Apple. This group of almost 40 actors with various degrees of learning disabilities produce some challenging pieces of theatre. This production of The Tempest is no exception.

Tommy Jessop as photographed below leads this production in the role of Prospero. On the whole, he is a strong lead and delivers his part with conviction. You can see the other cast members look up to him as they all work closely together on stage.

Katie Francis as ever is incredible. This young lady is a natural leading lady. Each time I see her she commands the stage and despite being under 5ft she has an enormous presence and a strong delivery in this wordy Shakespeare play as she plays the role of Miranda.

Ariel looked fantastic dressed in blue with long flowing wings to add grace to the character’s performance as the spirit. The characters that play the sea are adorned in blue netting around their neck with blue rubber gloves that have seaweed attached to them, which is extremely effective. Costume designer Polly Perry has created a fantastic array of outfits for this wonderful production.

Shakespeare’s humour runs throughout this play. The scenes between Trinculo and Stephano are hilarious and my friend commented: “that’s the best production of that scene I have ever watched”. Tom Hatchett and Sam Dace have a fantastic working rapport and certainly bring out the best in each other.

The stage set is one centrepiece that rotates 360 degrees. One section is Prospero’s home and the other is the Island. Every attention to detail has been taken into consideration from the books to seaweed and shells. This could very easily be a set one could imagine being in a West End production.

There are additional scenes and parts added to this production to encompass more of the company with the crew from the ship performing too. If it was your first encounter with The Tempest you would not know they were not on the original text.

This production has three performances taking place at the Theatre Royal Winchester with future plans to take it on tour to the Baltics. I wish them every success with this and I have no doubt they will thoroughly enjoy it.

When Jane Jessop had the vision to set up this theatre company in 2005 for her son Tommy to follow his passion, who could have foreseen the incredible path it has now taken. She has now set the stage for so many with similar challenges to him to follow their dreams and be who they want to be. A truly incredible achievement.

If you get the opportunity please go and see Blue Apple in action on stage.

Playing on Thursday 13th, Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June 2019.

Theatre Royal Winchester

Jewry Street

Winchester

SO23 8SB.

Blue Apple Theatre

Faculty of Arts

University of Winchester

Sparkford Road

Winchester

SO22 4NR.

http://www.blueappletheatre.com

Facebook blueappletheatre

Twitter BlueApplePlays

Pictures of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Adapted by Lucy Shaw.

Upon arriving at the impressive 70 seater Jermyn Street Theatre you are met by a fantastic array of production photographs and the extremely enigmatic designed poster of Pictures of Dorian Gray.

The gothic horror is bought to life in this new production of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The cast of four in turn during different performance nights advertised as a,b,c and d take on each of the roles of all the main characters.

Tonight’s performance was led by the two female cast members Helen Rueben and Augustina Seymour as the roles of Dorian Gray and Henry Wotton. As pictured below in the D production cast photograph of this play, the whole cast schedule can be seen at the bottom of the review. Both ladies gave an extremely strong and fascinating performance.

Their role cast changes didn’t detract from the storyline in any way. The suspension of disbelief was ever present with few gender change references made throughout the performance. Which allows you to concentrate on the depth and intrigue of the storyline.

The dramatic black costumes were extremely well designed for each character. The rich black velvet dress and bolero style jacket adorning Dorian Gray were befitting of the status and wealth of the character. Emily Stuart’s eye for detail with the costume designs is very impressive and adds another depth to this production visually. I am not surprised she has twice won the Offwestend award for best costume.

The stage is dressed by two large weathered mirrors. One reflecting water where the famous portrait is housed of Dorian Gray. However, this takes the form of the reflection of the character as they sit and look at themselves. An interesting twist on art imitating life, in this case, the real actor in performance D.

The stage itself is lit by a selection of hanging lights with are controlled individually and light up each character one at a time as they are the main focus on the stage. Adding another well placed dramatic effect visually.

The highly accomplished ensemble of four all showed a great ability in working together around the stage with ease. Each one I can imagine being able to take each of the four roles and make it their own without any hesitation and be word perfect.

Tom Littler has taken one of literature’s most flamboyant and controversial writers of his generation and added his own twist. The production runs smoothly and I would be as bold to say Oscar Wilde would have enjoyed this version of his novel too.

Four Stars.

The production is running from 6th June to 5th July 2019.

Jermyn Street Theatre

16b Jermyn Street

St James’s

London

SW1Y 6ST.

http://www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk

Cast

Richard Keightley

Helen Reuben

Augustina Seymour

Stanton Wright

Production Team

Director- Tom Littler

Set and lighting Designer-William Reynolds

Sound Designer-Matt Eaton

Costume Designer-Emily Stuart

Movement/Assistant Director-Julia Cave

Production Manager-Philip Geller

Stage Manager-Emily Lawes

Assistant Costume Designer-Eleanor Tipler

Production Photography-Samuel Taylor

Set Construction-Top Show

Rehearsal Photographer & Trailer-Anna Urik

Film Trailer-Ricky J Payne.

Lucy Shaw would like to dedicate this play to the memory of Stephen Jeffreys.

River in the Sky by Peter Taylor.

Approaching a topic such as grief after the loss of a baby and multiple miscarriages is a difficult and triggering subject to write about and put on stage. As director Peter Taylor likes to tackle difficult and ambitious subjects this is a piece I would expect from him. For as a young writer/director he certainly pushes himself and this play is no exception.

As the couple played by Howard Horner and Lindsay Cross grieve the loss of their long-awaited baby. Neither can find comfort in one another and bounce off one another verbally each time they meet after she moves out of their home and retreats to her families owned place by the sea to try and come to terms with her loss.

The “bittersweet escapism from their mourning” manifests into storytelling, some of the stories are surreal in places and can be unnecessary. I understand their importance from the character’s perspective. However, they lose the dramatic effect with the quantity that has been packed into the play.

In one scene when the couple is writhing on the floor fighting an imaginary monster. It felt as if the play descended into a student practice production piece as appose to a professional off west end theatre production.

The role played by Cross as a grieving Mother did not altogether come over that convincingly. There felt to be something missing through her performance. Grief is an extremely personal experience and there are no rules on how someone should behave while going through the process. However, with the right actor, you can feel every emotion with them and for me, that part was missing.

Upon reading the press release and knowing how talented the director, Taylor is. I was expecting something very good but sadly this isn’t one of his best pieces on the stage. With some redrafting and some careful editing, this has great potential to be a very powerful play.

Three Stars.

Cast

Lindsay Cross

Howard Horner.

Technician- Rose Hockaday

Assistant Director-Tess Angus

Company Manager- Caroline Arundel

Written and Directed by Peter Taylor.

#riverinthesky

@T_P_Theatre

Instagram TURNPOINTTHEATRE

Photo credit Charlie Arundel

Playing from 28th May-1st June 2019.

At Lion and Unicorn Pub Theatre

42-44 Gaisford Street

Kentish Town

London

NW5 2ED.

@LandUTheatre

http://www.thelionandunicorntheatre.com

The production is supporting the following charity. Please check it out through the link below.

Mama G’s Story Time Roadshow by Robert Pearce.

Welcome to the stage Mama G the fantastic Pantomime Dame one person show, all the glitz and glamour that encompasses the character are here in the fabulous storytelling show. One of the most entertaining and extremely funny performances I have seen in a while.

Mama G takes centre stage in a solo storytelling show to entertain audiences of all ages. That certainly lives up to the claim made on her flyer and adverts.

The main theme running through the entire 90-minute show is to be who you want to be and to encourage those around you to be themselves too. Anything that promotes self-belief and positivity has my full support.

The funny to date flossing and “twerking” dance competition with an endearing puppet show about Eunice the Horse/Unicorn are extremely funny.

Each of the five stories told during the show is based on the main characters learning to become who they want to be in life and each ends with a moral.

The tribute song by the eccentric fabulous singer and actor Paloma Faith sung by Mama G encouraged the audience to join in with the song. Bringing the auditorium together.

An exceptionally well written and directed feel-good show that leaves you feeling uplifted.

When a 14-year-old who isn’t a theatre fan tells you they are really enjoying themselves, that’s incredibly high praise indeed.

Five Stars.

Written by Robert Pearce

Directed by Amèe Smith

Photo credit to SJKnight Photography

http://www.petitepantos.com

2019
May 30th – The Suffolk Show. 11 am and 12 pm.
May 30th – Stowmarket Library. 2.30pm.
May 31st – Haverhill Library. 11 am.
June 8th – Palatine Library. 10 am. (Blackpool Pride)
June 8th – Blackpool Central Library. 1 pm. (Blackpool Pride)
June 9th – ParentFolk Weekender. TBC.
June 11th – St Helen’s Libraries. Times TBC.
June 15th – Lowestoft Library. 11 am.
June 15th – Great Yarmouth Library. 1,30pm.
June 15th – Gorleston Library. 3 pm.
June 22nd – Suffolk Pride.
July 7th – ZSL London Zoo. Times TBC.
July 24th – Llangollen Library. 10.30am.
July 24th – Denbigh Library. 1 pm
July 24th – Rhyl Library. 3.30pm
July 25th – West Kirby Library. 10.30am.
July 25th – Bebington Library. 1 pm.
July 25th – Birkenhead Library. 3.30pm.
July 26th – Weymouth Library. 2.30pm. (Weymouth and Portland Pride)
July 27th – Willesden Green Library. 12 pm.
July 27th – Wembley Library. 2.30pm.
July 28th – Museum of Liverpool. Times TBC. (Liverpool Pride)
August 2nd – Greenwich Libraries. Times TBC.
August 4th – Leeds Pride. Times TBC.
August 5th – Middlesbrough Libraries. Times TBC
August 6th – Greenwich Libraries. Times TBC.
August 7th – Barnstaple Library. 2 pm
August 8th – Bideford Library. Time TBC.
August 12th – Greenwich Libraries. Times TBC.
August 14th – Oldham Library. 2 pm.
August 16th – Swindon Libraries. Times TBC.
August 21st – Newmarket Library. 10.30am.
August 22nd – Greenwich Libraries. Times TBC.
September 7th – Eastleigh Pride. 11am – 5pm.
October 2nd to 4th Redbridge Libraries. Various times.
October 5th – Neston and Frodsham Libraries. Times TBC.
October 7th & 8th Redbridge Libraries. Various times.
November 1st Halton Libraries. Various Times.
November 2nd – Museum of Liverpool. Times TBC.

Story Time with Mama G is also available as a CD or a book. Buy it on our website.

May 21st to 26th –
Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Kentish Town – Various Times.
June 1st – Station Hall, Herne Hill – 2 pm
June 29th & July 6th – Pickled Pepper Books, Crouch End – 10.30am
July 13th to 14th – King’s Arms, Salford. 4 pm. (Part of the Greater Manchester Fringe.)
July 29th to 31st – Exeter Phoenix. 2 pm (Part of the Exeter Fringe Festival.)