Monthly Archives: April 2016

Shakespeare in Shoreditch Festival ~ Pelican Daughters/This Is Art

The festival runs until Saturday 30th April 2016.

Shakespeare in Shoreditch Festival has given four writers the chance to write a play which is inspired by Shakespeare . There are four in the festival and you can see two at any one time. I reviewed Pelican Daughters and This Is Art, while the other two that unfortunately I won’t have chance to see are The H-Word and Grey Man.

Pelican Daughters is written by Amy Rosenthal, directed by Kay Michael and it features King Lear as a base. Gaby (Katherine Dow Blyton), Rose (Jenna Augen) and Chloe (Gabriella Margulies) are sisters, their father (Linal Haft) is on the cusp of celebrating a big birthday and Gaby has taken it upon herself, as the eldest, to lead the celebrations with a presentation. Nervous about speaking in public and pleasing her father, she is flanked by her wine-swilling, prematurely widowed and rather more flamboyant sister, Rose. Their sister Chloe is only mentioned in passing to begin with, to set the scene of jealousy as the youngest and as yet unseen sister, is their father Leo’s favourite. The story takes interesting turns with inhibited and unleashed passion very much an undercurrent. Each character is strong and necessary, from Gaby’s mild-mannered husband, Andrew (Jacob Krichefski) to old school friend, Eddie (Michael Adams) who is every inch the alpha-male. Linal Haft’s transparently bullish and canny portrayal of Leo tells a tale in itself and Gabriella Margulies succeeded in transferring my sympathy to her character, Chloe, even if it was short-lived.

I loved the innovative transient set, which meant that we as the audience moved location with the actors. Every individual set staged the scene with good continuity and the ‘interaction’ with the actors involved us in the piece which meant that the script worked on several levels. A dream of a play which I feel could work well if lengthened. It left me with questions and a thirst for more of what we’d just been allowed a window into. Beautifully directed, cleverly written and perfectly cast.

This Is Art took its lead from Othello and this piece was as terrifying and exhilarating as a rollercoaster ride. Written by Charlene James, directed by Hannah Banister, this is set in an art gallery called Desdemona’s. Jo (Oya Taniya Doldur) and Elle (Comfort Fabian) are old friends who used to graffiti with their pink trademark. Jo (who struggles in a Council House that she is under threat of eviction from once her ailing mother passes), is right-hand ‘man’ to Elle, for Elle owns Desdemona’s and is not so short of a bob or two. There is already a dangerous level of envy from Jo, but this is intensified when Elle commissions Cassie (Francesca Bailey) to exhibit at the gallery. Jo had been waiting for her big chance to ‘shine’ as an artist and feels that Elle had promised her this chance. The green eyed monster sets in motion a chain of events which take a terminal course downwards to devastation.

The set is static this time, but the action includes some live ‘art’ which includes similar audience interaction to Pelican Daughters. We are made to feel a part of the story, and it’s a dark story which at times was intense to the point of claustrophobic and that enhanced the story. All three actresses embodied their roles and portrayed emotions without speech, frequently. I felt every nuance of the powerful piece and it worked as a short play because of the profound fierceness contained within the words and movement. Kudos to the director for striking a remarkable balance and Charlene James is a writer to watch out for.

Book tickets for Shakespeare in Shoreditch Festival here: http://www.shakespeareinshoreditch.in

 

 

 

 

Wales Comic Con ~ Wrexham

On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th April, Wales Comic Con hosted their first ever weekend, and it rocked!

Wrexham Glyndwr University was the venue and it was perfect, there were various indoor areas to check out, where you purchase merchandise or hanker your dream item! The rooms used for the various panel sessions were well laid out with great capacity and it was a coup to be able to sit on the front row because we were present as press. It makes such a difference when there is no hassle to get a seat in a panel you intend to cover. There was also plenty of activity going on outdoors including the presence of Lightning McQueen, available to sit in at no charge (he was quite something to see!) and owls and reptiles to say hello to.

UK Garrison were present to keep a watchful eye over proceedings, they make a Comic Con for me and Chewbacca never ceases to amaze me, he is spot on. If you want to start a Star Wars costume of your own, see these guys!

Not only was the layout of the event excellent and easy to navigate, but the organisation was also second to none. The team could not be faulted from how they handled queues to get into the event overall, to organising lines to go into the panel sessions.

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Photograph above: actor Mark Ryan (R) with Break A Leg Reviewer (aka my husband) Garry McWilliams (L)

There was a huge number of celebrities available for signings and not many cancellations before or on the day. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones this was certainly the Con for you! Also present were John Challis and Sue Holderness, aka Boycie and Marlene from Only Fools And Horses, Mark Ryan from Transformers and Black Sails, plus Doctor Who Doctors Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison. Star Wars creature actors, Kiran Shah, Arti Shah and Paul Warren were also on hand to sign autographs and have selfies taken with fans.

The two panels that I attended, Star Wars and Doctor Who were both extremely entertaining and informative. I won’t look at the creatures in Star Wars the same way again! Plus any Doctor Who panel session is worth attending that has Sylvester McCoy present, he was the highlight of the con for me, extremely funny guy. The Star Wars panel covered everything from the appearance of Mark Hamill on set, to the process involved when a creature actor is filmed. While the Doctor Who panel consisted of an avoidance of the question about the new companion(!) and a live email to Stephen Moffat  from Peter Davison. Gemma Redgrave was on hand to keep the boys in check and her eyes lit up at the thought of taking on the role of a female Doctor Who!

I attend a number of comic cons and I have to say, Wales, this one takes some beating! I can’t wait for next time. Guest feedback from the signing area was so positive and look out for my interviews with Mark Ryan and Mark Addy (Game of Thrones).

 

 

 

Spotlight On… Emily Valentine (EeVee Cosplay)

Cosplayers are the life blood running through a Comic Con, so as we were due to attend Wales Comic Con on 23rd and 24th April, we thought why not catch up with one of the most popular Cosplayers…. EeVee….

When did you first start cosplaying and what attracted you to it?
 
I started cosplaying back in 2013, I went to MCM Manchester, saw other people cosplaying and it looked like a lot of fun so  wanted to get involved and do it myself, so I did. So the fun aspect is probably what attracted me most
Who is your favourite character to cosplay and is there a character you would like to ‘play’ who you have not yet attempted?
 
All time favourite would be vaporeon, its my favourite eeveelution, I made my design super comfy to wear and its quite adaptable to changes,
There’s a lot of characters I have plans for such as Khaleesi, Stocking, Koneko, Taokaka, there’s too many!
 
Are there any cosplayers you admire particularly and why?
Lannie Possum cosplay- she’s beautiful, a great photographer and cosplayer, and she can literally become anyone. White Rose cosplay- she makes her own cosplays wonderfully, she is a lovely person who works hard at what she does,
Blue Steel cosplay- his cosplay and armour builds are great and he’s someone I really look up to, the Spiderman of Farnborough, he is so dedicated to his costumes and he is admirable as he visits children in hospitals, runs kids parties and is generally an awesome guy.
Which are your favourite events to cosplay at?
MCM and Anime League are the main events I attend, I work weekends so i can’t attend cosplay meet ups other wise I’d attend those events also.
 
Aside from cosplay opportunities, what else do you look for in a comic con? What is important to you?
 
I see cons as an opportunity to work and get page content to keep it running, so photoshoots, taking photos myself of the con. Other than that it’s important to me to catch up with my friends, meet page followers, spend time with my boyfriend and generally have a good time.
 
What is your advice for anyone who would like to cosplay but has not found the courage to do so?
 
Just go for it, even if you just buy a cosplay and wear it around your bedroom before you ever show case it, if you want to cosplay then give it a try, as you might enjoy it once you get over the initial fears and worries, it’s actually a great thing to do.
 
Finally, where can we next see you in your fantastic costumes? Any events coming up soon?
 
MCM London, MCM Manchester, MCM London, EGX, MCM Birmingham.

Updates can be found on my page: https://www.facebook.com/EeveeCosplay789/?fref=ts

Thanks for your time, it’s been a pleasure and we’ll see you in Birmingham!

 

 

Press Release: Sea Life ~ Hope Theatre, London

*** Press Release ***

SEA LIFE

Author: LUCY CATHERINE Director: MATTHEW PARKER  At The Hope Theatre, Islington, N1 1RL  PRESS NIGHT:  7.45pm, Thursday 26 May 2016
The Hope Theatre presents the London premiere of Sea Life: an eccentric exploration of life, death and seaweed.  “We didn’t call him grandad when we were kids. We called him The Hero. That’s what the whole town called him.”  If your grandad tried to swim the English Channel with a plate of sandwiches strapped to his head, you might think your family was a little bizarre. But what if you didn’t know any different?  As their sleepy seaside town slips slowly into the sea, Bob, Bob and Eddie are trying to save their neighbours from ending up at the bottom of the ocean. The only thing is, their neighbours are already six feet under.  Sea Life is a dark comedy set on the crumbling shores of England, where keeping a tight grip on past and present is as hard as holding back the rising tide.   It is written by Pearson Television Writer’s Award winner Lucy Catherine, former writer-in-residence at Bristol Old Vic, and now best known for her work on BBC TV (The Musketeers, Being Human, Frankie), and her Radio 4 plays and adaptations.  “A stunning piece … the humour comes in one colour: funereal black”  – The Independent  Sea Life is the follow-up to The Hope Theatre’s multi award-winning first in-house production Lovesong of the Electric Bear which transferred to the West End in 2015. It is directed by Matthew Parker, Off West End Award nominated Artistic Director of The Hope Theatre.
Praise for Matthew Parker’s work:   ★★★★★ “An exciting, magical, odd and touching show that isn’t easy to forget. Unmissable!” – Everything Theatre  ★★★★★ “Brilliant, absurdist theatre sparkling at every angle… this is intoxicating, mind-blowing theatre” – What’s On London
Creatives: Director   Matthew Parker  Producer  David Ralf Stage Manager  Jo Abrams Casting Director  Gabriella Shimeld-Fenn
Listings Information
SEA LIFE by Lucy Catherine
The Hope Theatre 207 Upper Street London N1 1RL
24 May – 11 June Tuesday – Saturday 7.45pm Tickets £15 & £12 concs
Box Office: 0333 666 3366 http://www.thehopetheatre.com
Social Media Twitter: @TheHopeTheatre Facebook: /thehopetheatre

Spotlight On…Molly Vevers

  • Ross and Rachel is at Battersea Arts Centre then touring. Details of venues, dates and ticket prices can be found here: www.producedbymotor.co.uk 

Actress, Molly Vevers is set to star in Ross and Rachel At Battersea Arts Centre, and I caught up with her to find out all about it.

Hi Molly, thank you for talking to Break A Leg Review, tell me about Ross & Rachel and what the key characteristics are of your role.

Ross & Rachel is a dark and very honest play about a relationship – a man and a woman who have been together for such a long time that they come as a package. It’s a play for one performer, so I play both of the characters, and it looks at our expectations of relationships, and how people struggle to hold onto their own identities whilst at the same time still wanting to be that ‘perfect couple’.

What drew you to the role and the play?
In all honesty, I got the audition and went hoping for the best! But once I started working on it I was really excited by how scary it was – I’d never worked on a one-person show before, and the form of it being one monologue with two characters speaking means there is loads of work to do for an actor – in a good way! It also requires a huge amount of emotional investment, so sussing out how to do that for each and every performance was a huge challenge as well.
 
What inspired you to become an actress?
 
I think probably my family, in some ways. My parents were involved in local amateur dramatic shows, my Mum was a singer as well, so I used to watch them doing shows and then got involved in some myself when I was really young. I think it stemmed from there and then I was a very proactive teen and learnt lots myself about how you could pursue it as a career, which I just sort of chucked myself into quite blindly – I left school early and went to college to do acting.
What job do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t chosen this career path, and why?
 
Well, I really like the idea of being a midwife but anyone who knows me will laugh at that as an idea because I am so embarrassingly queasy about anything medical-related that I recently fainted at the opticians.
Are there any roles that you have an ambition to play?
 
Loads! I can’t say I’ve got a massive hankering to play like Lady Macbeth, or Juliet for example – I mean, I wouldn’t say no – but I really like new writing so I’d say that excites me a bit more. Although I do really want to do a Chekhov play – I really want to be in The Seagull.
What has been the most poignant moment of your career so far?
 
It’s very early days for me but it was lovely doing Ross & Rachel in Edinburgh as family and friends from back home in Scotland got to see the show and were so proud and supportive, which was very nice.
What is your advice for budding young actors?
 
I still feel very much at that stage myself so from my own experience – try and see as much theatre as possible, do lots of your own work in terms of contacting people and I suppose learn how to be patient?!
What would you say to encourage potential audience members to come and see Ross & Rachel?
 
I would say it’s not what you’d usually expect from a monologue. It’s something a bit different – it’s dark, but hopefully funny as well, and says things about relationships that I think loads of people will recognise.
I’d like to thank Molly for chatting to Break A Leg Review and wish her every success with the tour.

Ross and Rachel ~ Press Release

 *** PRESS RELEASE ***

Ross & Rachel by James Fritz

UK Tour: June – July 2016

London run: 21st June – 25th June, Battersea Art Centre

Look at all those couples. Who will leave. Who will cheat. Who will die first. Her. Her. Him.


After an incredible, highly acclaimed sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe 2015, Ross & Rachel by Olivier-nominated James Fritz heads to New York for this year’s Brits Off Broadway Festival before embarking on a UK Tour. During its Edinburgh run, M
olly Vevers was awarded The Stage Award for Acting Excellence (solo performance) recognising her stunning and deeply moving performance.

A dark and uncompromising new play about romance, expectation and mortality, Ross & Rachel tells the mind-bending, heart-breaking story of what happens when a couple that was always meant to be together, gets together. And stays together.  In this disquieting duologue for one performer, Molly Vevers takes an unflinching look at the myths of modern love.

Vevers’ performance … is like an act of spiritual possession: intense and concentrated as she slowly submerges herself in a tub of water lit by a ring of candles, the significance of which slowly and horrifically dawns (The Scotsman).

Ross & Rachel confronts what happens when two people are forced to handle the end of a relationship in the harshest of ways. It explores the idea of ‘happy-ever-after’ – sold to us by rom-coms and sitcoms, whether it’s Ross and Rachel or Romeo and Juliet – and how this affects our real-life relationships. Ross & Rachel leaves audiences feeling bruised and shaken, thinking long and hard about endings of all kinds.

Writer James Fritz comments, It’s a show we’re all thrilled to be doing again – not least because more people can experience Molly’s incredible performance. We had no idea how audiences would respond to the play’s form and subject matter before the first run, so to have had such a positive and visceral reaction was really exciting.

Fritz’s script has a streak of mischief a mile wide … It’s a virtuosic piece of writing, playful, post-modern and devastatingly serious, all at once (Time Out).

 

Ireland’s Call ~ New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

  • Touring Show – finishing in Eastbourne on 5 May 2016

Ireland’s Call tells the story of Sean Dempsey, and how immigration separated him from his true love, the story is shared through dance and song. A romantic story which features tunes such as Irish Rover, Molly Malone and Tell Me Ma. Ged Graham undoubtedly steal the show for me, he’s a magnificent narrator and I felt that his substantial role enhanced the story telling.

Notable were Mike Burr as Sean Dempsey and Shauna Barry as Cora McGowen, which was essential to the success of the show as they played characters who were at the centre of the tale. The plot is a predictable story line reminiscent of a more modern Romeo and Juliet style situation.

The dancing was sensational and a joy to behold, the vocals of the company were also a highlight, their pitch, overall was superb. Some of the original numbers were so intricate and performed with a beautiful connection to the lyrics.

Overall, a very enjoyable evening at the theatre, tap along and sing along songs with a strong cast, appropriate choreography and it’s good to see something different in the world of musicals.

Visit http://www.irelandscallthemusical.com/ for details of forthcoming tour dates, to book tickets and to watch clips of the show. It’s definitely worth a watch!

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Ireland’s Call

Album Review ~ Liza Pulman Sings Hollywood

To coincide with her current tour, Liza Pulman has released an album entitled Liza Pulman Sings Hollywood, and it’s really worth a listen.

Liza Pulman

The Diva from trio Fascinating Aida, has included a selection of classic Hollywood movie tracks on the list and none of them disappoint. So spot on is the quality of this album that it’s difficult to pick favourites to give you an idea of what to expect. However, the most notable songs for me, personally are:

Alfie – it’s one of Liza’s favourite songs and it shows, her vocals are beautiful and delicate on this number as she connects with the lyrics on a high plain. Even though this is one of the late Cilla Black’s classics, Ms Pulman makes this her own.

Evergreen – when I saw Liza sing this live I thought she gave Ms Streisand a run for her money. Listening to it on audio, she definitely gives Ms Streisand a run for her money!! A stunning piece which bring to memory clips from the movie as the number progresses.

Diamond’s Are A Girls Best Friend – this song epitomises our Diva’s character, glamorous, glitzy and full of pizazz! It’s a great indication of what a treat you’re in for at her concert.

Moon River – a jazzy version which I have taken to my heart. It demonstrates her vocal ability, beautifully and has the making of an excellent single release.

You’ve Got A Friend In MeDisney films are among my favourites, and this hit from Toy Story is a perfect addition to the album. I think the pitch of the number lends itself well to female vocals and it’s one of Liza’s best. Love it!

For details of how and where to purchase this superb album, visit http://www.lizapulman.com – it is certainly worth a listen.

 

 

 

Book Review ~ Hunt for the Enemy, Rob Sinclair

Rob Sinclair’s trilogy of novels about the enigmatic agent, Carl Logan have literally been flying off the shelves, with over 150,000 copies sold. The first book, Dance with the Enemy, kick-started the popularity of Logan and his adventures, this was followed by Rise of the Enemy, and now Sinclair has completed the story with Hunt for the Enemy.

Logan was one of the best Intelligence Agents that the JIA had, however this story sees Logan at a low ebb, far from the untouchable professional he once was. Left out in the cold because he is considered a traitor and has been linked to the murders of fellow JIA agents and other officials. The question is, who is pointing the finger at Logan for these crimes?

Angela Grainger (with whom Logan has a past), is on hand when he needs someone to turn to, he is on a mission to find out who is putting him in the frame for murder him and why. Meanwhile the new Head of the JIA is trying desperately to piece together this ceaseless jigsaw puzzle with the CIA intervening.

This final novel in the series is quick, slick and gripping, Sinclair’s characterisation remains top-notch and as always, I can picture every individual in the story. The ending is pretty close to perfect, it makes sense and is not altogether predictable. A triumph for an excellent author whom I hope we will see much more from in the future.

Be sure to visit http://www.robsinclairauthor.com/ for information about the author and his thrilling trilogy.

 

Liza Sings…The Songs of Hollywood ~ Stafford Gatehouse Theatre

*** Touring show – dates, ticket booking information and other details are here: http://www.lizapulman.com/ ***

Glitz and glamour of –Hollywood arrived in Stafford at the Gatehouse Theatre last night, in the form of glorious singer, Liza Pulman. Best known as a member of the trio, Fascinating Aida, Pulman is currently going it alone in her show: Liza Sings The Songs of Hollywood.

When I interviewed Liza she said that there would be a couple of stonking frocks from her, and she wasn’t kidding, either! The Diva looked resplendent in all three frocks, even if they did hinder her progress when she attempted to take a seat on a nearby stool! Not only is Pulman a magnificently talented singer, she is also a marvellously quick-witted comedienne (hence why she is a member of the hilarious Fascinating Aida).

Among the wide selection of songs from the movies that we were treated to were: Evergreen which Pulman’s vocals lent themselves to exceedingly well, Que Sera Sera, a jazzy version of Moon River and my personal favourites, there Disney numbers. Two of the Disney choices included popular hits from the Toy Story franchise; You’ve Got a Friend in Me and When Somebody Loved Me, the latter was a heart breaking number to listen to, largely due to Pulman’s beautiful connection with the lyrics (she has a knack of connecting perfectly with every song she sings). Cruela De Vil followed, and this upbeat tune, originally from 101 Dalmations certainly had my foot tapping again.

Liza’s knowledge of the movies was a superb accompaniment to the musical extravaganza, she really knows her stuff! To top it all, The Stardust Orchestra who played were a delicious treat for the ears, when they had their opportunity to shine during a costume change, playing the theme from The Artist, it was a real highlight.

A sensational musical feast which must not be missed, beg, borrow or steal a ticket and join Ms Pulman her journey to some classic movies.