Monthly Archives: March 2015

Count Arthur Strong ‘Somebody Up There Licks Me’ Tour ~ Malvern Theatres

Reviewed by Helen McWilliams

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Exceedingly popular on BBC Radio 4, Steve Delaney’s mad-cap character, Count Arthur Strong has made a successful move to BBC television and completed two belly-laugh-inducing series on screen so far. If this current tour proves anything, it’s that the demand for a third series is high, and we can’t wait to see what the Count has in store for us in the future.

Filling the Forum Theatre in Malvern, this latest live show from the one time variety star delighted with subtle yet completely bonkers comedy. It’s not everyone who can hold an audience’s attention while absolutely nothing is happening on the stage, but with facial expressions and the slightest of movements, we were held captive by Arthur while we waited all waited for a ‘technical hitch’ to be fixed. The ‘hitch’ being that ‘Eggy’ (played by the superb Dave Plimmer) had neglected to start the backing track for the Count’s duet!

The Count is a man of many talents, it seems, as he took us on a journey filled with music, ventriloquism and religious instruction, what more can you ask for from an evening’s entertainment?! I don’t think we’ll ever look at an orangatan or a banana in the same way again…  Nor would we have expected to have been in such raptures over a shadow on a projector screen, but Delaney is nothing short of a genius, he’s developed a loveable, rounded character and he’s adapted it for radio, stage and screen. Clever dialogue, technical acting ability and comic timing all go had in hand to make this work.

A few venues on the tour are now sold out, but if ‘Count Arthur Strong’ is coming to a venue near you, then we recommend that you beg, borrow or steal a ticket, for a forgettable…  sorry… unforgettable night at the theatre.

Tour details are here (no refunds!): http://www.countarthurstrong.com/2015-live-shows-announced/

 

Break A Leg Review Interview: Samantha Kent

Interviewed by Helen McWilliams

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Pictures above are of Samantha Kent and are be credited to Liberty Chapeau (Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/craftycosplay)

Since we began attending MCM Expo comic cons on a regular basis, our interest in Cosplay has piqued, and we were curious to find out more about the people who attend the events in costume. We met Samantha at MCM Expo in November 2014 when she very kindly cleared the way for us to enter the theatre for the Q & A session with actor, Tom Felton (not an easy feat when we were negotiating our child’s pushchair at the time!). Thanks for allowing us to interview you, Samantha.

So, how long have you been Cosplaying for and what started the interest?

I have always enjoyed dressing up ever since I can remember.  I’ve got photos of me age 2 in costumes my mum handmade for me. Before that mum had other costumes she’s made for me as did my nan who at one point worked for Disney.  Ever since I was old enough I would make myself costumes from black bags and sellotape, mostly witchy costumes.  I never grew out of costumes and on all my birthdays throughout my teens I asked my guests to come in costumes.

Are there any characters you’ve wanted to Cosplay as that haven’t worked out?

Hmm that’s a tricky one. Every costume has had its issues, the white witch was a pretty awkward one, we tried to add one hoop to my scooter and add material to make it look like a carriage but it got thoroughly battered by big crowds at the convention. Rita Skeeter was hard when  trying to make it suit my figure. As a plus size woman not all characters I want to Cosplay suit my size or figure but thankfully I’ve got a good attitude and confidence towards my body, so if my body is unable to do something I will find a way to do it. I’ve a disability so great friends and doctors are to thank for the attitude I have. I thoroughly believe Cosplay is for everyone regardless of skill, size, ability, ethnic background etc.

Who is your favourite character to Cosplay?

 I really enjoy displaying Harry Potter characters but one of my favourite characters is one I created my self.  I’m a huge fan of Anne Rice and love the romanticism or pre-revolution French fashion. So I mixed both to make a character that had a back story that mixed both. I named her Madame du Barry who was a real woman she was the courtesan to king Louis when Married Antoinette married his Grand son.  However I made a story where as a regular prostitute in the time of the plague she was bitten by a customer who was a vampire but because he hadn’t intended to bite her he gave her eternal life and disappeared.  My plan originally was to make a series of short stories where I would use real life prostitutes who had a big effect on society in history, although I’d make them funny stories but I haven’t got around to it. The costume ended up being a big brilliant costume and even won second place in a Cosplay contest at the vampire ball where it was judged by cast, make up artists and other people who worked in the production of Joss Whedon’s ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ series. So that costume means a lot to me.

Have you a most memorable Comic Con moment you can share with us?

The two that have meant the most to me were both MCM conventions. The earlier of the two was London, Daniel Radcliffe was doing a special promotion for his film “Horns” my best friend who also helps me out at cons as my carer had fallen ill so I had to do it on my on and navigating London alone was a huge adventure for me. I hadn’t realised that on Fridays the convention opened later than the weekend so I had about 12 hours to try entertain myself, booked an early coach to make sure I was first in the queue as the Radcliffe autograph tickets were exceptionally limited. So I spent the day in the museums but it was the same day the science museum had opened a social media exhibit and the Queen had gone to open it and do her ‘first tweet’ I was dragged to the front of the crowd due to the mobility scooter but I was just trying to find the tube station!  All the day’s excitement took its toll on my scooter battery so when I joined the queue for the lottery to get a wrist band the scooter battery died and I  ended up crawling around on my hands and knees four times. I’m not sure if on the last occasion I actually pulled out a winning ticket or if some one took sympathy on me because I had a wrist band slapped on right away.

The other time was when I went to Comic Con in my home town because Tom Felton was there. I had emailed ahead in reply to a tweet he had sent asking super fans to get in contact. To my shock and awe he was interested in talking to me.  Although the footage never made it to the TV show, I was interviewed by him. It was one if the most surreal moments of my life especially as before I fell ill I was studying to be a journalist and was used to being the one asking the questions. My life has certainly taken a run for the better since I got into the Comic Con scene

What would you say to encourage the people who want to Cosplay but can’t get the nerve to do it?

I have all the physical attributes of a person who should have low confidence:  acne, over-weight, disabled, covered in scars and regularly visit counsellors and psychologists. However, one thing in my life I don’t lack is confidence.  It’s not an easy thing or something that comes naturally to everyone and for that I’m afraid I can’t give any advice however, I find when it comes to Cosplay the longer you spend perfecting an outfit and the more you love the character you wish to Cosplay the less you will be scared or nervous.  People always worry about what people say about their costumes but I’ve not come across a bad word even when my costume has been less than perfect.  If you love it, do it, there is nothing to lose if you enjoy it.  When I have bad flare ups of my health following conventions I feel much better about it if I can say it was all worth it.

Favourite things (quick fire questions):

Favourite film?

The Patriot (Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger and Jason Isaacs of course)

Favourite actor/actress?

Jason Issacs

Favourite venue for Comic Con?

London Excel

Favourite television programme?

Hollyoaks…. Shhh I mean ERM Sherlock, Hollyoaks is my guilty pleasure in life I love the ‘who dunnit’ stories.

Favourite quotation?

Adam Ant “I dress funny it’s what I do for a living” and the oh so apt “ridicule is nothing to be scared of”

Break A Leg Review Interview: Ian Blyth

Interviewed by Helen McWilliams

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The pictures above show a couple of examples of Ian’s work and credited to him.

Since we began attending MCM Expo Comic Cons on a regular basis, our interest in cosplay has piqued, and we were curious to find out more about the people who attend the events in costume. Ian Blyth was recommended to us as a favourite cosplayer, so here’s the interview that he kindly agreed to. Thanks Ian!

So, how long have you been Cosplaying for and what started the interest? 

I’ve been costuming for about 4 years now, I started getting into the community solely as a photographer, but it looked so much fun that I decided to throw my hat in and start making costumes myself… I started with a relatively simple 10th Doctor costume, and moved on to more complicated costumes almost immediately.

Are there any characters you’ve wanted to Cosplay as that haven’t worked out?

A few, the main one being Jackie Estacado, it’s a costume I would utterly love to do, but currently the costume is beyond my technical abilities sadly.

Who is your favourite character to Cosplay?

Tough choice, currently I’d say the Goblin King from Labyrinth, villains are so much fun to work with!

Have you a most memorable Comic Con moment you can share with us?

Well I’d say one of my most memorable moments was having my costume posted and talked about by the writers of Doctor Who / Torchwood after an LFCC convention. Though the Twitter posts were more focused on some… ahem, attributes, of Jareth, as I’d forgotten to wear a dance belt under the tight leggings. Quite embarrassing to have some famous writers discussing my ‘junk’ and congratulating me on it publically on Twitter.

What would you say to encourage the people who want to Cosplay but can’t get the nerve to do it?

Just jump into it, honestly, costuming is so much fun, and building the costumes, working around the technical side and design work, and then wearing the finished product and bringing the character to life… there’s nothing else like it!

Favourite Things (quick fire questions):

Favourite film?

Pump up the Volume

Favourite actor/actress?

Yvonne Craig

Favourite venue for Comic Con?

Excel London

Favourite television programme?

The West Wing

Favourite quotation?

“They say I’m disturbed. Well, of course I’m disturbed. I mean, we’re all disturbed. And if we’re not, why not? Doesn’t this blend of blindness and blandness want to make you do something crazy? Then why not do something crazy? It makes a helluva lot more sense than blowing your f*cking brains out.” ~ Mark Hunter (PutV)

MCM Expo Comic Con ~ NEC, Birmingham

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

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MCM Expo presented comic con and memorabilia at its best on 21st and 22nd March at Birmingham’s NEC. Easily our favourite venue for this event, the halls were buzzing and the tills appeared to be ringing as some stalls were more than ten deep at frequent periods during the weekend.

UK Garrison and Rebel Legion had brought along their best storm troopers as usual, with a wide variety of characters from the ‘Star Wars’ franchise available for photo opportunities. Actor, Warwick Davis was also present, with a lengthy queue of fans at his table and it was a fortuitous time for him to be there as UK Garrison celebrated their 15 year anniversary. Congratulations to you from Break A Leg Review.

Funko Pop seems to be one of the ‘must have’ items this year, we saw many dealers with a huge array of the figures and stock appeared to be flying off the shelves. As Disney fans, we can appreciate the draw of them and long may they reign!

Cosplay is always such a key element at comic cons and on this occasion we saw many Disney characters strolling around, there were particularly impressive ‘Sleeping Beauties’, perfect Captain Jack Sparrows and a superb Zarina (the pirate fairy) from the ‘Tinkerbell’ films. We never cease to be amazed by the effort that cosplayers put into their costumes and we have been fortunate enough to interview two regular con-goers who are cosplayers, themselves. Their interviews can be found here: https://breakalegreviewblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/break-a-leg-review-interview-ian-blyth/ and here: https://breakalegreviewblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/break-a-leg-review-interview-samantha-kent/

For the first time, this year we caught the cosplay parade, and we were impressed with the confidence that all of the participants displayed. It’s an inspired way for enthusiasts to showcase their ‘talent’ and we will look out for the parade again at future cons.

The next Birmingham events is 21st to 22nd November and you can buy tickets in advance here when they become available:  http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/birmingham/

The next MCM Expo will be on 22nd to 24th May and the venue is Excel in London, advance tickets can be purchased here: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/