Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Good Karma Hospital, Episode 4 ~ Review

The Good Karma Hospital is still not floating my boat, I hope to be more positive about the show each week, but I’m not feeling any more attuned to it. Amrita Acharia is very much the star from my point of view, her performance is subtle and carries the show. Here are a few of my comments:

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Nimmi Harasgama as Mari

Mari’s Moment ~ Mari (Nimmi Harasgama) seemed to have a moment to shine this week when she fan-girled over a patient who was a rather famous performer. Her attempt to gently coax her idol away from the painkillers she had become so dependent on was quite a moving scene. Especially when some of Mari’s own backstory was revealed. I’m keen to see more of Mari’s character, now – my interest is piqued.

Paul’s Piss-Up! ~ “You’re pissed!” said Maggie (Phyllis Logan) when Paul (Philip Jackson) reappeared from his visit to Greg’s (Neil Morrissey) bar. Living in a small hut which I expect is somewhat removed to their residence in Stourbridge, seems to have took its toll. Their short separation does the trick, as does the alcoholic intake for Paul and there’s a rather humorous ‘reunion’ later on. This pair are a driving force in the programme.

Greg? ~ I’m still none the wiser as to Greg’s purpose in the show, with two more episodes to go, will we have some light shone on the reason for his character’s necessity? With Morrissey having been in the top billing for this programme, I had expected he would play a more integral role.

Ruby and Gabriel ~ I enjoy the way their relationship is playing out, it’s still a will they/won’t they which simmers and yet moves in slow motion simultaneously. Gabriel (James Floyd) has pride, amongst other things, to overcome. Ruby most definitely has demons to push past, but I can’t help feeling that they could help each other through. Long may the chemistry continue.

Two Episodes to go ~ The fact that we already know that Phyllis Logan is not going to be in any further series (should there be any more) alarms me. Not just because she adds some credibility to the show, but because it seems far too fast to be wrapping up Maggie’s story in just two episodes, now. I hope it’s not rushed and the audience feel cheated by the way this plays out.

Verdict? ~ I am eager to see how episode six finishes and whether there are unanswered questions, because as it stands I think that four episodes would have been enough. I am also of the humble opinion that there are too many characters who have been thrown into the mix without an introduction. They crop up when the story line suits.

 

 

Casualty ‘Slipping Under’ ~ Episode Review

This week’s Casualty took a slightly sinister turn as Connie (Amanda Mealing) came face to face with Steph (Tonicha Jeronimo) not once, but twice in one day! It’s up to ‘Uncle Charlie’ (Derek Thompson) to offer a shoulder. Elsewhere Charlie’s missus, aka Duffy (Cath Shipton) is also providing an ear. Plus there’s the simmering chemistry between Lily (Crystal Yu) and Iain (Michael Stevenson) – here are the highlights of the episode:

Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 25/02/2017 - Episode: Casualty 30 24 (No. 25) - Picture Shows:  Sam Strachan (TOM CHAMBERS) - (C) BBC  - Photographer: Alistair Heap

Picture Shows: Sam Strachan (TOM CHAMBERS) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Steph’s Suicide Bid ~ Steph (Tonicha Lawrence) made a come-back this episode, we first see her as a prison inmate when Connie (Amanda Mealing) decides to take it upon herself to obtain a visiting order. The exchange between the pair is heated and the Ice Queen Consultant leaves the convict in no doubt as to her feelings on the subject in hand, i.e. Grace! However, whether driven to it by Connie’s bullying or whether it was a plan, regardless, Steph turns from inmate to in-patient as she takes an overdose and finds herself at Connie’s mercy. It’s a 50:50 choice for Beauchamp when faced with an opportunity to finish off the pitiful mother. Harrowing scenes indeed and played fantastically well by Mealing and Lawrence. Plus, there was an opportunity for Sam (Tom Chambers) to show off his swanky skills learned in the States. Cal (Richard Winsor) fan-boys over this, he’s like an eager little puppy, bless!

Gem’s job hunt ~ Gem (Rebecca Ryan) continues to create mayhem as she steals Iain’s (Michael Stevenson) belongings and then later wonders why she can’t get a job! Her criminal record is playing havoc with her prospects and her loyal brother takes the opportunity to plea for her to have an interview with Patsy (Lynne Pearson) who had landed herself in the cr*p quite literally prior to her admission to the ED. Iain’s persistence and judging by the look on Duffy’s face, possibly a nod from her secures the job for the tearaway, so let’s hope she does her brother proud.

Dear Duffy ~ The aforementioned Patsy had more problems than merely the messy and smelly state that she arrived in the ED sporting. Menopausal symptoms were the bane of her life, she confides in Duffy, and she no longer feels sexy. Unbeknownst to her, the symptoms that she is experiencing are the reason that her husband (Bill Fellows) has been feeding her the medicine meant for the dog. Duffy saves the day with her friendly ear and advice, I think that was a great reinforcement of the reasons why it’s so good to have Duffy back. Plus someone needs to look after Charlie boy of course!

Charlie’s Chiding ~ Charlie, ever-sensible and policy-driven is on Connie’s back when she tries to ‘attend’ to Steph. He appears at a moment’s notice when he sees that she is trying to interfere and steps in when Connie has the chance to let her nemesis choke. Luckily for Connie, Charlie is on her side and despite his inward battle with his feelings regarding right vs wrong when it comes to what he has just witnessed, he chooses to say nothing.

Grumpy Grace ~ As if Connie’s day wasn’t difficult enough, her killer instincts being one of the major factors, Grace (Emily Carey) is being discharged. When her parents arrive to take her home Grace is adamant that she wants to get their attention and holds up her ipad, the message she has written informs her mother in no uncertain terms that she blames her for everything. Good luck with that Connie!

Photo credits: BBC

Not Going Out ‘Marriage Guidance’ ~ Episode Review

Marriage guidance, the words that have the ability to strike fear into the hearts of married couples, everywhere! Not least that of Lee (Lee Mack) when Lucy (Sally Bretton) decides that a few counselling sessions are in order to get past, amongst other things, Lee’s dislike of Lucy’s parents (Deborah Grant and Geoffrey Whitehead).

Programme Name: Not Going Out  - TX: n/a - Episode: Marriage Guidance (No. 6) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Geoffery (GEOFFERY WHITEHEAD), Wendy (DEBORAH GRANT), Lucy (SALLY BRETTON), Lee (LEE MACK) - (C) Avalon - Photographer: Screengrab

Geoffery (GEOFFERY WHITEHEAD), Wendy (DEBORAH GRANT), Lucy (SALLY BRETTON), Lee (LEE MACK) – (C) Avalon – Photographer: Screengrab

A conversation with Anna (Abigail Cruttenden) paves the way for the latest hair-brain scheme that Lucy thinks that she and Lee need to pursue. Anna’s admission that she and Toby (Hugh Dennis) have been engaging in marriage guidance sets the cogs whirring. Lee’s relationship with his in-laws has always been hit and miss, mostly miss – and Lucy has her parents’ marriage on a pedestal, especially as they have just celebrated 50 years of wedded ‘bliss’.

Lee is unconvinced that this latest ‘thing’ will be for them, but upon Tony’s admission that he has moved into the spare room from the Premier Inn (good reference to Lenny Henry!), Lee wonders if there might be something in it. Not least when the couple undergo their first session and Lee announces that he wouldn’t have come if he’d thought it would be worthwhile. Needless to say the session itself makes for hilarious viewing and it is obvious that the counsellor (Harvey Virdi) is trying not to giggle, at times.

Programme Name: Not Going Out  - TX: n/a - Episode: Marriage Guidance (No. 6) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Counsellor (HARVEY VIRDI), Lee (LEE MACK), Lucy (SALLY BRETTON) - (C) Avalon - Photographer: Screengrab

(L-R) Counsellor (HARVEY VIRDI), Lee (LEE MACK), Lucy (SALLY BRETTON) – (C) Avalon – Photographer: Screengrab

The fly in the ointment comes with the unexpected news that Lucy’s parents don’t have the perfect marriage, that many years ago (pre-Lucy) they had encountered problems that had required therapeutic input and Lucy’s mum is clearly not over it after all these years. Lee enjoys the revelation immensely, much to Lucy’s annouyance, however it certainly appears that she is no longer insistent on continuing with the costly counselling.

Another well-crafted script which the tight-knit and talented cast pulled off to great effect. Friday nights won’t be the same when the series ends!

 

 

Photo Credits: BBC

 

EastEnders Round-Up ~ Week Commencing 20 February 2017

This week’s EastEnders has given us punch-ups, more trauma for poor Dot (June Brown), Ian (Adam Woodyatt) in a medical dilemma and Rebecca (Jasmine Armfield) in a compromising position with her aunt’s play-thing. Certainly not a boring visit to Albert Square by any stretch of the imagination! Here are a few highlights and some exciting news…

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Bex (Jasmine Armfield) looks like butter wouldn’t melt while she strums her guitar!

Denise in a dust-up ~ Keegan (Zack Morris) gets his come-uppance in the form of post-natal Denise (Diane Parish), this week! The horrid teen winds up the shop worker to the point of no return and she sees red. I’m sure we all pretended we didn’t see that bodily harm, didn’t we? The boy makes my blood boil so it’s no wonder he’s doing the same to one of the Square’s most gutsy ladies. Well done, Denise! Give him another punch for all of us… Plus well done to Zack Morris for having the desired effect, he is a playing a character that we’re supposed to hate, after all.

Dot’s dodgy driving ~ Despite the warnings, Dot goes out driving this week – and with little Matthew in the car, too! It’s an accident waiting to happen and Kim (Tameka Empson) is first to point the finger at the traumatised stalwart. However, mouthy Kim can’t stay angry with her for long, when Dot breaks down in highly emotive scenes it’s enough to melt the hardest of hearts, I’d wager. When will Dot catch a break? 2017 is continuing where 2016 left off for our favourite long-term cast member.

Programme Name: EastEnders - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Ian Beale (ADAM WOODYATT) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Dan Goldsmith

Ian Beale (ADAM WOODYATT) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Dan Goldsmith

Ian’s ignorance ~ Ian Beale has been to have his health check up, despite his initial reluctance, however the concern shown by the professional whom he cagily confided in has put him in a flat spin. The hapless entrepreneur seems to have decided that ignorance is bliss. However, with his own self-check almost interrupted by Jane (Laurie Brett), he is obviously not ignoring the possibilities entirely. Come on, Ian – man up!

Raunchy Rebecca ~ Bex has become quite sexually confident since her virginity was well and truly lost. Therefore she has no qualms about jumping into bed with Auntie Michelle’s (Jenna Russell) American beau, Preston (Martin Anzor). I’m not so sure if that dalliance was the horrifying part or if I was more disgusted by Michelle sleeping with her toy-boy afterwards, and with the knowledge that he had slept with her Niece! Have a word with yourself, Michelle!

Break A Leg Awards 2017 ~ Long-listing has commenced for the 2017 Break A Leg Awards and we are delighted to announce that both Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett have made the long-list for Best Actor on Television and Best Actress on Television respectively! Good luck to them, short-lists will be announced in October 2017.

Neighbours Ramsay Street Round-Up – Week Commencing 20 February 2017

Ramsay Street has taken us on another rollercoaster with the trials, tribulations and sausage-related drama taking centre stage. Here are a few highlights from those naughty Neighbours!

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Steph (Carla Bonner) is on a self-destruct mission!

Steph wants to have her cake… ~ Steph (Carla Bonner) seems to have been stalking around Erinsborough either irritated by Elly (Jodi Anasta) whom she obviously suspects is having relations with Mark (Scott McGregor). Even if they are (which they look like they might, Steph may have a point…) is it Steph’s business anymore? I think not! In the meantime, she’s leading Victoria (Claudia Greenstone) a merry dance as she reels her in and lets her go again. Then there’s the mystery of her motorbike massacre… things aren’t looking too chipper for the emotionally eratic biker. However, it seems that a lip lock with Victoria is the way forward in times of crisis!

Piper’s penalised ~ Piper (Mavournee Hazel) takes matters into her own hands when she decides that a fake ID is the only way she can be with her man. Tyler (Travis Burns) is so busy at the bar and surrounded by a bevy of beauties, of course, that his girlfriend is driven by the green eyed monster and immaturity. However, her scheme is foiled by Elly, who always seems to have it in for the troubled teen, and Piper looks set to be in more than a detention’s worth of trouble with her teacher.

Sausage Surprise! ~ Sausages were very much the theme of last week! They continue to be a running joke this week, with Karl’s (Alan Fletcher) sausage falling flat and Gary (Damien Richardson) was in the lead sausage-wise. However, Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis) declared that he had the sausage to beat all sausages – and played a dirty trick by having Lauren (Kate Kendall) make his entry for him. Sheila (Colette Mann) took great delight in Karl’s misfortune and also revelled in her Son’s triumph as the winner amongst the official competitors!

neighbours

New Kid in School!

Dee’s Demolition Plan ~ Dee (Madeleine West) never fails to play a vital role in almost every episode as the plot thickens. Willow (Mieke Billing-Smith) has a temporary place at Erinsborough High and Dee is putting a spoke in the works any which way she can, even to the point of phoning Toadie (Ryan Moloney) while he is on a date with Sonya (Eve Morey) which Dee knows about! However, Sonya is onto her ‘rival’ or certainly has suspicions when Nell (Scarlett Anderson) reports that Dee has played the scrape scrape game (aka the DNA scrape game). Willow has already played her part in the trick during her appointment with Karl. Sonya’s vocalised horror results in her daughter being threatened with possible danger for her favourite toy. How much lower will Dee or Andrea stoop?

Break A Leg Awards 2017 ~ Long-listing has begun for Break A Leg Awards 2017 https://breakaleg.biz/break-a-leg-awards-2017/ We are delighted to announce that Alan Fletcher has made it to the long-list for Best Actor on Television and Colette Mann has been long-listed for Best Actress on Television. Short-lists are announced in October 2017 – stay tuned!

Credits: http://www.neighbours.com 

 

Spotlight On… Star Of Gaslight, Kara Tointon

Gaslight arrives at Malvern Theatres on Monday 27 February and runs until Saturday 4 March 2017 before continuing its UK tour. To book tickets to see the show in Malvern, follow this link: Malvern Theatres Box Office

Actress, Kara Tointon has recently been seen on-screen in the new ITV drama, The Halcyon. She had previously been known to audiences her roles in Mr Selfridge, The Sound Of Music Live, winning Strictly Come Dancing and of course her appearance in EastEnders. Fans of the star will be delighted to know that she is treading the boards in a thriller by Patrick Hamilton, Gaslight. Kara took time out of her busy schedule to chat with Break A Leg:

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Kara, first of all tell me about Gaslight and your character.

Gaslight is a play written by Patrick Hamilton written in 1938 and I play Bella Manningham who has been married for seven years. She is incredibly optimistic and completely obsessed and in love with her husband, he can do no wrong in her eyes. However her husband is convincing her that she is going mad. I’m in it with Keith Allen and Rupert Young and it’s been really interesting as a piece to rehearse, it’s not your normal whodunit but it’s unravelled itself into a completely different story to what I had thought it would be. It’s different from anything that I have done before, lots of lines to learn and textually rich.

How does working on stage and on screen differ? What are the challenges?

It’s interesting because when it comes to learning scripts for television it’s short term learning and you don’t always get a lot of time to rehearse and it’s a different process whereas on stage you do have a lot to learn but you do have a lovely rehearsal period where you worry that the lines aren’t going to ‘go in’, but slowly and surely they do. Before you know it you’re in front of an audience and you’ve got through it and conquered your fear.

gaslight

Kara Tointon and Rupert Young in Gaslight

Do you suffer from stage fright or nerves at all?

I think before the first night I always have nerves but you have to use them, I like having nerves and I think it would be a bit worrying if you didn’t have any nerves. Slowly they disperse over the duration of the run. I do get nervous but in a good way.

Is there a particular play that you want to do or a part that you would really like to play?

I used to think about roles that I would love to do but in reality in acting it depends on the auditions that come up at the time and it’s best to take each job as it comes. Just playing strong female roles is quite special, for instance this part in Gaslight is a strong female although she is having a tough time.

The Halcyon has just finished on ITV, what were your highlights of playing Betsey in the show?

It was a fantastic project to be a part of, especially with it being set in 1939. Funnily enough my Great Auntie, my Dad’s Aunt was a bit of a cheeky character and when she was younger she had this really infectious cackle of a laugh, so when I was thinking about this character I thought about her a lot. While I was filming I saw a photo of her and she had her hair in exactly the same way as they did my hair for Betsey and she also sang at the pubs. It was such a lovely time in history to do because although it’s before my time it’s still very close to my heart because there were family members who were around at the time. She was such fun to play because she didn’t care what people thought of her.

We’ve been treated to your lovely singing voice in The Halcyon and previously in the live version of The Sound Of Music, would you like to pursue a musical theatre career in the future?

I love singing and I have had a lot of singing lessons while growing up so it’s always been a hobby that I have enjoyed. I’ve got no plans to make it into something but if a job comes up where singing is necessary I would go for those parts. I don’t see myself as a singer, I see myself as an actress who can sing, I’ve noticed that my voice has strengthened over the years because I have a good singing teacher who gives me great vocal exercises. It’s amazing what you can do with the right exercises and techniques. I worked with Maria Friedman not long ago and she taught me that you don’t have to have the best singing voice, as long as you enjoy what you’re singing, that was a good lesson to learn.

Finally, what would you say to encourage people to come along and see Gaslight?

It’s a little bit different, it’s a thriller and melodrama, not really a whodunit and we’ve tried to do it in a new and fresh way. As this was written in 1938 it catered for the audience of its time, so what we’ve tried to achieve is to keep it fresh. If you’re up for a thrill, come along and see what you think, it’s a good play.

Thank you so much to Kara for an insightful interview, it was a pleasure chatting to this talented and very lovely lady and Break A Leg can’t wait to review the production next week.

 

 

 

Spotlight On… Star of Wisdom of a Fool, Jack Lane

Wisdom of a Fool runs at LOST Theatre from 8 – 11 March 2017, click here to book your tickets:   Lost Theatre Box Office

Engine Shed and David Phillips present:

WISDOM OF A FOOL
March 8th – March 11th 2017, LOST Theatre
Norman Wisdom dominated British film and theatre during the 1950s, playing to packed audiences across the country. For more than six decades Norman’s warmth and boundless energy won the hearts of millions. His cloth cap, ill-fitting suit and classic underdog character led Charlie Chaplin to describe him as his ‘favourite clown’. Norman Wisdom now returns to the stage in Jack Lane’s acclaimed emotional roller-coaster one-man play, now on UK tour in 2016-7.

★★★★★ “an incredible performance from this super talented man who you really believe is Wisdom” Leicester Mercury

In Wisdom of a Fool, Jack Lane takes you behind Norman Wisdom’s well-known character to reveal a tough and lonely childhood. After joining the Army, Wisdom discovers a passion for comedy; and the world of post-war Music Hall and Variety embraces Norman’s manic slapstick routine, catapulting him to stardom in the early 1950s. Success on the silver screen, including the hit song, ‘Don’t Laugh at Me’, seals his fame. But fame comes at a price… Jack plays 30 characters throughout this tour de force performance. The Gump costume that features in the play belonged to Norman and has been generously loaned to the production by his son and daughter, Nicholas and Jacqueline Wisdom.

“Lane’s performance is truly incredible as he explores the facets of Wisdom, and it would take a heart of stone not to be moved” British Theatre Guide

norman-wisdom

Jack Lane plays Norman Wisdom

Here’s an exclusive interview with the star of the show, Jack Lane:

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your character(s) / What was your initial impression of the script?

I play Norman Wisdom in a one man play called Wisdom of a Fool, It looks at his early life and career taking you from childhood up until the making of his first feature film, Trouble in Store. Norman’s story had fascinated me for many years, when he passed away I made a promise to myself, that one day I’d write a play on his life. We’ve had three plays on Morecambe & Wise, five on Tommy Cooper, Kenneth Williams, Tony Hancock etc but nothing on Norman. I found it odd, to my mind his story was the most fascinating and troubled of them all. It’s a classic underdog story, which the British public have a love affair with.

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

Knowing I was to perform it whilst writing made a huge difference. You’re able to hear the voices in your head, how you want each character to sound. Norman’s life story is a tricky one as there’s simply so much to tell, the hardest part was deciding what to leave out, If it was simply an anecdote which would do little to advance the plot it had to go. Making sure there’s never a dip in the passion or action was also at the top of my list, especially when dealing which a high-octane character such as Norman, unless you’re playing the emotion the narrative can’t slow to a crawl at any point.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role(s)?

In terms of performance my main concern was finding his soul. What motivated him; his past, the audience, fear of failure, all of these were a consideration. I wanted the audience to feel they’d spent an evening watching Norman and a whole host of characters from his life tell a single story. I wanted his persona to be there but also give the audience a glimpse of the man. I worked tirelessly on his voice to ensure it came across natural when needed. The other 30 characters all have their own personalities and demeanour to set them apart from each other no matter how brief their appearance may be.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

I think anyone who comes to see Wisdom of a Fool can be guaranteed one thing, to be moved and entertained by Norman’s incredible story, fan or not. It’s a story of hope, courage and self belief. What that man achieved in his 95 years is hugely inspirational to anyone at any age, I hope audiences leave with a new found respect for Norman and feel good feeling in their heart.

Thanks to Jack for a great interview, the show sounds like one not to be missed!

Spotlight On… Star of Bunny, Catherine Lamb

Bunny is at White Bear Theatre from 7 – 25 March 2017, to book tickets follow this link: White Bear Theatre Box Office

Bunny by Jack Thorne 

White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4DJ Tuesday 7th – Saturday 25th March 2017 Press Night: Thursday 9th March, 7pm 

I think life can be basically divided into two things: suspense and surprise.  I prefer surprise to suspense.  But that’s basically because I feel suspense all the time.

A summer of love.  A fight.  A car chase.  A siege.  When Katie’s boyfriend is attacked on the streets of Luton, she is propelled outside her borders to the frontier of council estates and concrete jungles.  Amidst the sweltering heat, the baying for blood and longing for love, Katie is forced to decide her future.

A vital tale for our times by multi-award winning playwright Jack Thorne, Bunny is an interrogation into the mind of one young girl struggling to find her place within a modern world lacking intimacy and connection.  This compelling and thought-provoking show explores a powerful youth voice in Britain.

Bunny is a play with a young white woman at its centre – one who loses her underwear in a car on the outskirts of an estate to a bloke she knows nothing about. She doesn’t understand that she needs to escape, that she’s been sucked in.  Now, more than ever, theatre needs to explore stories where women are made to feel powerless, inadequate and submissive.  Now, more than ever, theatre needs to explore stories that help us to identify with the state of our nation.
Catherine Lamb, Lucy Curtis and Sophia Nicholson are a trio of up-and-coming female theatre makers seeking to present an unflinching, honest, intimate, vibrant and relatable story of our times.  It is a compelling insight into what it is to be growing up today and the inevitable struggles, pressures and pitfalls of vulnerable young people.

Lucy Curtis comments: Bunny is about the state of our nation now – we are faced with youth unemployment, problematic political campaigns, factory closures and racial tensions in our communities. We are seeing the re-emergence of 20th century mentalities that, it turns out, were never completely left behind. They have stayed with us, and festered, and have now erupted across Britain, America and the rest of world. We see this through the eyes of Katie: a white, middle-class eighteen year old who wants to be anything but white, middle-class and eighteen. Bunny is about dialogue and about the understanding that can be reached between different people – through empathy.

Here’s an exclusive interview with Catherine Lamb…

Thank you for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about Bunny and your character? 

Bunny is the story of Katie, a young girl struggling to find where she ‘fits’ into the world.  In her own words she is the ‘unfit fitter’.  We follow Katie through one extraordinary evening when her boyfriend is attacked on the street. Circumstances unravel beyond her control and she quickly finds herself on the wrong side of Luton. It is a funny yet challenging piece of theatre which explores the challenges of growing up in a world so full of hatred and divisions.  It is really a story about fear, fear of not being interesting enough or attractive enough amongst your peers and fear of those in society who we don’t understand.  Bunny explores the understanding that can be reached between people on different sides of the street using empathy and simple dialogue.

What was your initial impression of the script?

My initial impression was that it is a bold play with a corrosive humour.  It is a brave piece of work which perfectly captures the youth in Britain today.  It effortlessly captures the fears and desires of a young girl in a way I have not seen before.  I first saw the play when I was 19 and I was bold over by it.  I read it again and again.  It was the first time I had been to the theatre and had that connection with a play.  I just got it.  I understood it and I saw myself and my friends in it.

Have you found it easy to translate from page to stage?

Bunny is a high energy and fast paced piece and has a very specific rhythm to it.  This really informs you as an actor how to take on the piece and shows you what it is supposed to be like.  The writing is so good that it does a lot of the work for you.  Katie is such a relatable character and a real joy to play.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

Katie is not perfect. She is an infinitely flawed character, however, it is vital she is relatable and likeable.  She is very funny and quick witted and hugely entertaining for an audience.  She is bold and outrageous whilst at the same time painfully self-aware and self-deprecating.  She is a complex character and a very real character. For me, the most important thing is that any young girl coming to the theatre will be able to see an aspect, however small, of themselves in her, just like I did when I first saw it.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

The space is perfect for this type of show because it is so intimate as the piece itself is very intimate.  The audience are invited into Katie’s internal monologue and stream of consciousness so it is very important for it to feel like a private and safe space which Katie shares with the audience.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

I think this is a great opportunity to see some of Jack Thorne’s early work. He is now one of our most successful writers and seeing something from the beginning of his career is always fascinating.  The thing about this show is that it can relate to everyone because we have all been young and everyone can remember the excruciating anguish of those teenage years when you are struggling to find your place in the world.  The play also examines and challenges the divisions within our society and sadly this has never been more relevant or relatable as it is to us all today.

Thanks to Catherine for a great interview, break a leg!

Photo credit: Romana Patton

Spotlight On… Actor and Playwright, Matthew Seager

In Other Words run at The Hope Theatre from 2 to 18 March 2017, follow the link to book your tickets: The Hope Theatre Box Office

Tender New Play IN OTHER WORDS Explores the Powerful Effects

of Music on People with Alzheimer’s

Author: MATTHEW SEAGER

Director: PAUL BROTHERSTON


IN OTHER WORDS At The Hope Theatre, Islington, N1 1RL

28th February – 18th March 2017

PRESS NIGHT: Thursday 2nd March at 7.45pm

Running time: approx. 70 minutes

I’d always fancied myself as a bit of a Sinatra.
 And that song, at a moment like that.
 Well, it just doesn’t get much more perfect, does it?

They call it ‘the incident’ now. What happened, when they first met.
 He always said it was part of his romantic plan, but they both know that’s rubbish. Join Arthur and Jane, at the beginning, as they tell us their story.

Fresh from a residency at the Lyric Hammersmith as part of their Emerging Artists Programme, Off the Middle are excited to present Matthew Seager’s debut play IN OTHER WORDS, directed by Paul Brotherston.

This intimate, humorous, and deeply moving love story, explores the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and the incredible power that music has in helping us to remember the past, connect to the present, and hope for the future. Brought to life by two actors, we are led through fifty years of Arthur and Jane’s relationship, jumping in and out of memories and experiencing, for brief moments, a failing mind as it loses its grip on reality.

Matthew (who wrote the play and stars in the role of Arthur) gave an exclusive interview to Break A Leg, here’s what he has to say about this new piece of writing that is set to take The Hope Theatre by storm!

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Matthew. Tell me about In Other Words and your inspiration for it…

Well firstly, I love music! I always have, and consider it so capable of provoking such a wide range of emotions in such a powerful way.

Then, in my last year at University of Leeds, I facilitated ten weeks of sensory stimulation and music based workshops in a dementia care home in Leeds. It was such an incredibly eye opening experience.

We would sing at the end of each session, and experienced residents who were seemingly unable to communicate, or were almost totally unresponsive, stand and sing along to a familiar song from their past. It was an incredible and totally inspirational to see these people come to life in that way.

Was it easy to put it all down on paper?

Yes and no. As a topic, it makes so much sense that it would be told in relation to a love story, and once you realize that, it begins to fall into place. Also, I had personal experience, and there is such a wealth of documentaries out there as well as other research, that it’s not difficult to really saturate yourself with information and emotional material.

Is it translating well from page to stage?

Totally. I’m not even sure it should be read at all! I mean, of course it can be, but this is a love story about music, and disease and it is so reliant on sound and a relationship between the audience and performers. With this in mind, it really is getting it on its feet that completes it.

Also , it’s been through a couple of development periods at The Lyric Hammersmith and The Arches in Glasgow, so we’re aware of what works and what we’re trying to achieve.

How is the space at The Hope Theatre lending itself to the piece?

I think it’s an amazing space. Intimacy is perhaps an overused word in theatre, but the hope has it in such a beautiful way, and to not use it to your advantage would be so damaging. There’s a lot of direct audience address in ‘In Other Words’. Our characters Arthur and Jane are telling you, the audience, their story, and hopefully we’ll feel right in the room and part of this with them.

What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?

Obviously I hope that they leave with some new knowledge, and experience of a new topic. Ultimately though, this is a piece of theatre and we want you to leave feeling something.

Finally, any advice for budding writers?

Umm. Trust your ideas. Try things out, and don’t be scared. I’m not sure… Probably the most reassuring thing I like to be told is remember to enjoy it all. Work with people you like on projects that excite you.

Thanks so much to Matthew for an insightful interview, wishing you all the best with the production.

Spotlight On… Actor, Director and Producer, Nigel Harman

Nigel Harman has become a familiar name and face following his popular appearance in EastEnders as Dennis, the Son of Dirty Den. Since then he has gone on to appear on stage and screen as well as turn his hand to Directing and Producing. He has just finished a short run at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in What’s In A Name and Break A Leg caught up with him to chat about the play, his varied career and what his next ventures are going to be.

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Nigel as Vincent in What’s In A Name

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Nigel, tell me about What’s In A Name and what you think the strengths of the production are.

It’s basically a play about a family getting together and sharing a few too many home truths. We’ve all been at that dinner party where a little bit too much wine is consumed and that thing that you shouldn’t say, you end up saying and it leads to a whole myriad of discoveries. The strengths of it are that is incredibly funny in places, I think most people come along and recognise the characters, they feel like they know them and that they have a friend like them. I also think that the structure of the play is brilliant, so we’re always climbing up a mountain until we reach the end and get to the top.

What sort of audience reaction have you had to the piece?

Really warm, the Birmingham experience has been brilliant. From the moment we started it wasn’t a case of the audience sitting back and judging whether this is funny, they have come to enjoy themselves. Some nights people in the audience are laughing so much that they lose it and we have to wait before we continue. The whole experience at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre itself including the audience themselves has been a warm and supportive experience.

What challenges present themselves when playing a central character like Vincent?

He never leaves the stage, so when you’re on you’re on and you’ve got nowhere to hide if it’s all going wrong.  All of the actors at some point drive the play but Vincent does a lot of driving. You just have a good time and put all that aside once you’re out there. I set the scene for the audience which is quite nerve-wracking if I’m honest. All five of us have responsibility in the play so it doesn’t make it feel like I’m on my own.

Moving to your television career, what are your highlights from your days in EastEnders?

I remember when Les Grantham came back and we did a week of special episodes, there was me, Les, Letitia Dean and Scarlett Johnson who played my sister, that was a highlight because it was an important piece of story telling at the time. I’m proud of the reaction that the show got and my character got at the time, too. Although when I won spectacle wearer of the year and I pointed out that I had never worn spectacles I started to think that things were a little bit weird. It was a mad and crazy time, nothing has come close to that kind of intensity, because you’re there all the time and you’re on the telly all the time. It’s nice that the character is respected and loved, it makes walking down the street a lot easier!

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Nigel as Mr Green in Downton Abbey, not such a loved character as Dennis in EastEnders!

Will there be any more series of Mount Pleasant in the future and was it as much fun to film as it looked?

We are doing a ninety minute special and then I think that will be it. I will be going off to film in two weeks’ time. I think we’re just doing a farewell. Is it as fun as it looks? Yes! hat’s because we all get on so well, we have a laugh and the scripts are really tight. The filming days are really long but we still find time to enjoy ourselves! It works as a show because we all respect and laugh with each other all the time, so when the cameras roll we just carry on doing that.

You’ve turned your hand to directing theatre productions, how does that compare to performing?

It’s a lot less stressful, you make the structure, you make the foundations and you make them as slick and tight as possible but ultimately you then hand over to your actors and say it’s over to you now. I love it, I love being part of the whole process, sometimes with acting I really want to be involved in the conversations that have nothing to do with me. Being a Director is brilliant in that you can shape something from the ground up and have your own vision, work with designers, lighting designers and sound teams to create a piece of work, I find it fascinating, very rewarding and it engages me in a level of conversation I don’t really get from acting. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about acting again as I have been doing more directing than acting the last year or two and I’ve enjoyed acting. I forgot what it was like to stand there before the first preview and think “why am I doing this?”.

What’s next for you after this play finishes?  

Well there will be the special one-off episode of Mount Pleasant which will be ninety minutes long. I might be directing a musical in London in the summer. I know for sure that we will be touring with Shrek again which opens in Edinburgh in the second week of December, it will be on national tour for a year. Taking that show out to people’s home towns is brilliant and when we did it a couple of years ago it went massive. It was so much a part of the local community in every place we visited – I loved it.

Thanks to Nigel for talking to Garry McWilliams (in the absence of Helen!) – we wish him every success with everything that’s coming up in the future. If What’s In A Name has another run, we highly recommend it.  

Photo Credits: Broadway World, ITV, Birmingham Repertory Theatre