Archive for December, 2010

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“Someone I know deserves an FR Award…”

Tuesday, 21 December, 2010

Happy New Year, and in amongst all the feasting, please remember those performers who made 2010 really special for you.

Send in your nominations for this year's Fringe Report Awards. It's a great party too!

It doesn’t take much effort, just an email. And you could help reward the really deserving performers, technicians, writers, comedians, producers and directors who have sent shivers down your back in 2010. The Fringe Report Awards are much more chic and fashionable than the X Factor or the Apprentice, and winning one is nearly as exclusive!

SEND AWARD NOMINATIONS for Fringe Report Awards 2011 to nominations@fringereport.com.  Details at http://www.fringereport.com/nominations.php

And the Fringe Report Awards is the Leicester Square party night that you can attend, and cheer on your nominees at the fringe party of the year!

FRINGE REPORT AWARDS 2011 are on Monday 7 February 2011.  We’ll be sending out invitations early in January.  If you’re not on our mailing list, you can register your interest in receiving an invite by emailing ‘subscribe’ to newsletter@fringereport.com and asking for an invite in your email.  People on the mailing list receive Fringe Report’s monthly newsletter and an invite to the awards; there’s no spam, your details are not passed on, and you can unsubscribe any time.

Please don’t request an invite unless you can come. (Really). We’d love to see you, but if you don’t show up on the night, you’ll be taking a place from someone else, and what we really love is a full theatre and lots of atmosphere.

And finally, if you or a company or charity or some other organisation would like to get involved and help the Awards with money or in some other way, please do get in touch!

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Iran jails director Jafar Panahi and stops him making films for 20 years

Tuesday, 21 December, 2010

From (c) The Guardian, 20 December 2010.  Full article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/20/iran-jails-jafar-panahi-films

Photo: Jafar Panahi - Atta Kenare, from the Guardian (c) AFP/Getty Images

“The acclaimed Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi was sentenced to six years in prison today, and banned from directing and producing films for the next 20 years, his lawyer said.

Panahi, an outspoken supporter of Iran’s opposition green movement, was convicted of colluding in gathering and making propaganda against the regime, Farideh Gheyrat told the Iranian state news agency, ISNA.
“He is therefore sentenced to six years in prison and also he is banned for 20 years from making any films, writing any scripts, travelling abroad and also giving any interviews to the media including foreign and domestic news organisations,” she said. Gheyrat said she would appeal against the conviction.
Panahi won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes film festival in 1995 for his debut feature, The White Balloon, and the Golden Lion at Venice for his 2000 drama, The Circle. His other films include Crimson Gold and Offside. He is highly regarded around the world but his films are banned at home.
Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia University, told the Guardian the sentence showed Iran’s leaders could not tolerate the arts. “This is a catastrophe for Iran’s cinema,” he said. “Panahi is now exactly in the most creative phase of his life and by silencing him at this sensitive time, they are killing his art and talent.
Dabashi said: “What Iran is doing with the artists, is exactly similar to what Taliban did in Afghanistan. This is exactly like bombing Buddha statues by the Taliban, Iran is doing the same with its artists.”
Panahi, 49, was arrested in July 2009 after joining in mourning for protesters killed after the disputed presidential election. He was soon released but denied permission to leave the country. In February 2010, he was arrested with his family and colleagues and taken to Tehran’s Evin prison.”
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Winter Wonderland

Monday, 20 December, 2010

The Intervention Gallery on 18th December. Find the venue on Twitter

Wintervention the show was called, and when the snow fell on Saturday morning, it certainly felt like winter too.

But Londoners are hardy souls and with what looked like much of the population of NW6 in Queens Park building snowmen and sliding around on bin liners, we thought that the event in the middle of Kensal Green Cemetery would be just about right.

We were lucky of course, in that we could walk there, and amazingly the event hadn’t been cancelled. The programme had to amended quite substantially since the people doing ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ hadn’t been able to make it, but the choir was lovely, and did some beautiful but rarely heard Christmas songs. (‘Jesus Christ; the apple tree’ and the ‘Carol of the Bells’ among them).

The mulled wine maker looked as though it was going to explode, and not as many people as should have were there. But it was a real treat for those that did.

The programme included an optional visit to the Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise for a special Christmas showing of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, but for us it was home via something to cheer the spirits in the bar of the William IV pub down the Harrow Road.

(c) Brent Crude, 2010

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Pretty in Pink

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

Three Little Pigs

The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG, 7 – 24 December, Box Office: 020 8692 4446. http://www.thealbany.org.uk

The story of Three Little Pigs has long been a firm favourite with little children and now Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company have brought it to life with the help of some engaging performers and three very charming puppets.

Through a mix of puppetry and acting, Tall Pig, Middle Pig and Tiny Pig are taken on a journey into compulsory independence after being kicked out by Mama Pig for treating their house “like a pig sty!”. They experiment with making houses from everything from straw and sticks, potatoes to goldfish (“No, that definitely won’t work!”) trying to avoid the silver tongued, Ray Ban wearing J. Arthur Wolfington Smythe, otherwise known as the Big Bad Wolf.

Dressed in homage to the 70’s, Laura Mugridge and Tom Frankland handle the puppets with skill, creating three playful characters whilst seamlessly weaving their way in front of and behind the set to guide us through the story. They don a fur coat to create the wolf, played with particular relish by Tom Frankland. Easily distracted from his hunt by a cookie, cabbage and a call from his agent, the wolf succeeds in huffing and puffing his way through the show until the traditional story is turned on its head when the pigs send him skywards attached to Tiny Pig’s kite.

There are loveable touches throughout, including a slapstick sequence with some straw, tiny pig and his digger, the brick house reveal (producing an audible gasp from both parents and children) and a glorious ending in which the big bad wolf finally gets his comeuppance. The set is a fantastic contraption – a cleverly designed 3D jigsaw that enables the various houses to be built (and destroyed) very realistically and shows off the puppetry at its best. The use of music also adds to the fun.

Aimed at 2 to 7 year olds, the young audience were entertained throughout and there were enough wry jokes to keep the grown ups happy. A few children were perhaps a little too young and therefore scared by some of the sound effects but, otherwise, the show has something for everyone.

Performers; Laura Mugridge and Tom Frankland

Director and puppetry – Marc Parrett; Designers – Marc Parrett and Tomasin Cuthbert; Producer – Niki McCretton; Sound design – Gwen Scott

(c) Sian Murray 2010

Reviewed Tuesday, 14 December 2010 / The Albany

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Theatre Writers – Arundel Award

Tuesday, 7 December, 2010

Free to enter – deadline 31 December 2010

Got a great idea for a play? Get it performed at Arundel

The Arundel Festival Theatre Trail, conceived and presented by Drip Action Theatre Company, is now in its eleventh year. It performs at the end of August, on each of the Festival’s eight days, eight short plays at eight different venues all over Arundel – last year, for example, in a living room, a kitchen, an art gallery and a pub.

Writers are invited to submit plays for next year’s Trail.

Plays should be about 30 minutes long, suitable for day-time performance, with practicable casting and props. All entries should be submitted to:

Drip Action Theatre Trail
1 Norfolk House
28 High Street
Arundel
West Sussex
BN18 9AB

Deadline: 31st December 2010.

One play only per entrant, in hard copy (not e-mail). Please enclose SAE if you’d like your play returned.  There is no reading fee.

A reading committee will select the plays that will be performed, with the best submitted script receiving the Joy Goun award of £200 at the Theatre Trail launch in May 2011.

Each successful playwright will receive a £150 writer’s fee.

http://www.dripaction.co.uk/

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Meat, by Matt Harris

Monday, 6 December, 2010

Meat is based on a Tennessee Williams story of prejudice and discrimination

‘Meat’ is a wonderfully courageous and well crafted exploration of prejudice and persecution, inspired by Tennessee Williams’ short story ‘Desire and the Black Masseur’. Paralleling the discomfort of homophobia with that of racism, predominately in the paranoia of an overly PC office, Harris’ story successfully pins down the hypocrisy and harm society exerts in its irrational abhorrence of certain facets of human nature. This play raises pertinent questions with style and intrigue, depicting the continued plight of the discriminated in an eloquent and entertaining way; a true example of what theatre should be.

The piece centres on the character of Ashley Hicks, following him through his past and present, as a Louisianan teenager growing in the age of civil rights disputes and a lowly clerk in the already mentioned modern office environment. His cohort in this veritable liberties wasteland is Lloyd, a black man who is forbidden from playing with this little white boy in the backyard, but proudly allowed to park himself in Ashley’s overly principled workplace. These two characters battle through a world that forces them to hate each other, and eventually themselves, as they realise they live in the same skin; that of the abjured.

There is an almost undecipherable line between fantasy and reality in the piece, which smoothly allows for the link between Williams’ original story and Harris’ retelling. The language is wonderfully varied, at times beautifully poetic, at others relentlessly coarse, weaving in narration, colloquial lingo and apt office jargon.  The writing, and its themes, is seamless, with no gratuitous word or idea gracing the page or stage. The setting for this sordid story mainly scuttles between the office, a cinema and a massage parlour. This seemed to shadow the trinity of mind, body and spirit as did Harris’ choice of events within.

The performances were equally strong, with each actor fully engaging with their role in an exhaustive and impressive way. They successfully drew out the humour from each exchange (of which there is much) and committed to the intensity of the story they had found themselves in. The direction was fluid and utilised the space in a sophisticated way which never distracted from, and always served, the most important part of the experience – the words, and what they had to say.

This sort of play truly is, to me, the reason theatre exists. It was a demonstration of guts, originality and pure critical thinking, presented by a collective of talented individuals who had faith in the work. Artaud once said ‘The purpose of theatre is not to define thought but to provoke it’, a criteria ‘Meat’ meets with fervour. Finally, something to get our teeth into.

Venue: Lion & Unicorn Theatre, Kentish Town.

Performers: Virginia Byron, Nathan Clough, Nicholas Clarke, Marlon G Day, Suzanne Marie, Carola Stewart, Ben Walton.

Writer – Matt Harris; Director – Vernon Douglas: Lighting – Viktor Palfi; Sound – Valentin Hoffman; Design – Moi Tran; Stage management – Julia Blom.

Reviewed: 25/11/2010

(c) Tracy Keeling 2010