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Wild Life

Wild Life at the Norwich Playhpouse as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2016 Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 21 May 2016 Wild Life is both a company and the apt title of a piece that takes the breath away – genre-defying, boundary-busting and the most innovative work I have seen so far this year. The performers should be named as these young local singer-songwriters and actors are going places – Megan Blair, Anna Carter, Lucy Grubb, Noah Horne-Morris, Kate Maguire Buck, Sophie Mahon, Aphra McSherry-Birley, Elliouse Marie Moss, Poppy Rae Read and Hannah Websdale. In a refreshing, amusing and fun concert like no other they present a narrative about making a show about themselves and in so doing perform their reflective, angry, joyful and original songs about their young … Read entire article »

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Nikolai Galen

Nikolai Galen at The Norwich Playhouse as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2016. Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 19 May 2016 When one time frontman for The Shrubs Nikolai Galen (then, Nick Hobbs) became smitten by the songs of the Belgian singer, songwriter and actor Jacques Brel, he looked about for a style and a forum for translating and interpreting some of the huge catalogue. And he found it. Acapella, spoken-sung poetry, free-improvisation, recitation, performance – all in a one-man show alone on stage with a microphone and a commanding presence that touched the heart, that puzzled and reflected life in equal measure. Songs such as ‘If You Go Away’, ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Seasons in the Sun’ may be familiar to British audiences, but Brel’s influence on artists as diverse as David Bowie, Marc Almond, Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield … Read entire article »

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Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones

Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones at Norwich Playhouse as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2016. Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 18 May 2016 When two outstandingly talented, versatile and personable singer-songwriters join forces, the result is spectacular. In Englishman Teddy Thompson, with his folk, country, rock-grounded voice and American Kelly Jones with her unique vocals of many shades, we have a formidable pairing. In that same top league occupied by the Alison Krauss and Robert Plant partnership, this pair presented mainly their own songs in perfect, all-encompassing harmonies affording us an intimate sharing of relationships, heartbreaks and life. Sometimes dueting together, occasionally solo and sometimes backed by a four-piece band of rich musical giftings, Thompson and Jones’ mix of country, folk, rock, alt-country and pleasant personal musings between songs made a rivetting night out. Support came from Sunny Ozell who added yet … Read entire article »

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Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus by the Open Space Theatre Company at the Seagull Theatre Lowestoft Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 9 May 2016 Habeas Corpus – a legal term meaning ‘have the body’ – is a classic farce from the pen of master writer Alan Bennett with a dash of absurdism, clever and witty word plays and some social comment on the 1960s thrown in. Norfolk/Suffolk touring ensemble Open Space bring the formula to life and laughs as the randy, aging doctor (Peter Sowerbutts in fine world-weary, cynical form) attempts to seduce an attractive young patient (Samantha McAtear) while keeping it from his frustrated wife (Yves Green), no slouch herself in the hanky-panky stakes. There is a stage full of absurdist characters – hypochondriac son (Jake Kubala), a pompous, sex obsessed rival doctor (Simon … Read entire article »

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Forgotten

Forgotten by Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company at the Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 23 April 2016 and The Lowestoft Journal, 29 April 2016 Forgotten is a play about Suffolk poet and ‘self-improver’ George Crabbe, who told tales of the East Anglian coast and its people but who’s been neglected by history. His major poem Peter Grimes which runs through Crabbe’s creative mind and the play was reworked by Benjamin Britten in his more famous opera, yet it stands as his legacy of fine story-in-verse of the turbulent 1750s to early 1800s in England and beyond. Stuff of Dreams are a Norfolk-Suffolk based ensemble who offer platforms for new stage writing. Ray Rumsby’s study is a complex, tightly drawn reflection of Crabbe’s style of keenly observing poor people, capturing … Read entire article »

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Love Changes Everything

Review of Love Changes Everything, performed at Lowestoft Community Church, 16 April 2016 and written for LCC members’ newsletter. Published in the Lowestoft Journal, 29 April 2016 The title of this special outreach event was not just a clever use of a great musical theatre number from Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love, but an apt description of how the love of God working through people changes things for the better. West End stage star Tabitha Webb performed a range of musical theatre classics from several shows and some Christian songs along with a couple she wrote herself. Her outstandingly pure voice and professionalism shone through – she is a woman at ease using her God-given talents for the pleasure and benefit of others. The choir from East Point Academy joined with a beautiful … Read entire article »

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Urinetown

Urinetown by Sound Ideas Theatre Company, at the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 8 April 2016 Urinetown is an unlikely, even unfortunate, name for a musical, but this show addresses the price of water after a disastrous drought, state-supported big business raising the cost of going to the toilet and how people finally rebel. It absolutely fizzes throughout, revelling in a postmodern setting with the exuberant company in mixed period costumes. The well-played music is eclectic (jazz and gospel among genres), songs are fiery and punchy and the whole thing is a gigantic parody of musicals, love stories, politics and theatre itself. The inspirational Sound Ideas Company have secured the East Anglian premiere for this wonderfully dark tale with a moral. Jon Bennet is the sinister, leather-clad police officer/narrator; Mark Wells … Read entire article »

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Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors by the Seagull Rep at the Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 7 April 2016 The spoof, B-movie musical Little Shop of Horrors is a joyfully ridiculous tale set in a Skid Row flower shop where a rare flesh-eating plant is nourished. The Seagull Rep excelled themselves with their take on it. Director John Hales and the Seagull team worked talented, top-notch performers from principals to company round the clever set with a first class band rocking above the action. Michelle Long, the romantic-at-heart Audrey, was an outstanding singer and actress, with John Jones playing her nerdy love interest. Jimmy Atkin as the flower shop owner was spot on and the three chorus/do-wap girls (Amanda Wisher, Claire Welham and Alisha Giles) captivating. The evil dentist Daniel Hughes … Read entire article »

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DNA

DNA Norwich Theatre Royal Youth Company This review was commissioned by the Eastern Daily Press, but not used by them for an unexplained reason The intimate, flexible staging at The Garage is ideal for a cracking performance in the round by young actors in a play that stretches the mind and questions identity, friendship and peer relationships. Set on an anonymous patch of waste ground and a field, Amy (Beth Jacklin) has fallen off a high grid after drunkenly larking around and the tomfoolery of the others throwing stones at her. The story shows how the enigmatic Phil (James Bell) leads them into a cover up and framing of an innocent man. The play, specially written for young people asks how far it’s right to do something bad if it’s for a higher purpose … Read entire article »

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Somewhere in England

Somewhere in England by Eastern Angles Theatre at the Hungate Church, Beccles Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 14 March 2016 Eastern Angles Theatre Company have a unique style making drama from history of our region. Their latest is a study of American GIs ‘somewhere in England’ during the war, when they brought Coca Cola, chewing gum and their culture. It’s about their relationship with locals, particularly through a black man from Alabama, grippingly played by Nathanael Campbell with a woman (the excellent Georgia Brown) and a teenager (lively Grace Osborn). Through a doomed love story Polly Wiseman sensitively explores the forgotten battle of the races during the struggle against Nazi tyranny and how the Americans fought for freedom yet enforced legal segregation. Mixed-race Walter White of the organisation to advance ‘coloured people’ had … Read entire article »

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