Category Archives: News

Odds and sods: November 2017

Oh boy, I’ve been spending most of November getting angry over things. One thing that particularly angered me was this business over a student rugby team putting on an event insensitive to locals. I’m not angry with them – their only crime was to do something stupid without thinking, something we were all guilty of at their age – but at the public shaming campaign that was organised in response to this. I won’t be responding to this here – it needs a full article to explain exactly why you should be worried about this kind of stunt. That will come later.

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Warning. Depressing subject material ahead. Here is a cute picture of a kitten.

I’ve also been getting getting increasingly angry with the fallout to the Weinstein saga. After the initial (quite justified) furore over Weinstein himself, the hypocrisy has been getting progressively worse. I’ve heard complaints that people are having careers destroyed over hearsay; I don’t know about that, after Kevin Spacey I lost track of who was being accused of what with what evidence. But what is alarming is that some people who are proven guilty of serious sex offences are getting off with a slap on the wrist, depending on where public outrage is being directed this week. If I ignore all the allegations unrelated to performing arts (and with it some shocking levels of victim-shaming going on across the political spectrum), the two most glaring cases are currently Poman Polanski and James Barbour. This article is a good summary of what kind of child-rape it’s apparently okay to commit if you star in Phantom of the Opera (Barbour has since said he’s leaving the run, but he’s moving on to other shows like nothing’s happened). I’ve already gone on enough about Polanski, so this poem from 2009 sums up the absence of morals quite eloquently. Continue reading

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Odds and sods: October 2017

It’s that time of the month again. A roundup of things that happened last month that are worth a mention. A shorter list this time because fewer things than usual came up on my radar. If you’re looking for all things Harvey Weinstein, you can find my thoughts here, where I started off looking at this calmly but got angrier as more hypocrisy came to light. But apart from that, here’s what else has been going on.

Rotunda is returning to Buxton

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Buxton Fringe registrations aren’t opening for another month, but already we have news from the High Peak. Grist to the Mill Theatre have confirmed they will be returning to the fringe in 2018, and booking have opened already. This news isn’t a big surprise – the mood had always been that the Rotunda had done well enough to to  make Buxton a regular occurrence – but it’s been confirmed sooner than we expected. Continue reading

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Odds and sods: September 2017

Been a while since I’ve done an odds and sods, what with Edinburgh and Brighton coverage keeping me busy over most of the summer. Last one was June, which now seems to be a distant memory. As usual, not a lot happens in September, with most of the performing arts world in hibernation at the Edinburgh Fringe. But a few things have been happening, and there’s also some post-fringe fallout from some of the more, ahem, “interesting” discussions.

Things that happened in September:

Ladybirdgate Mark II

Greedy lawyers. Relevance to story unknown.

This is actually an event that happened in the run-up to the Edinburgh Fringe rather than after that I somehow missed in spite of it registering on Fringepig’s radar. But it’s on the subject of corporate censorship, a close third of the things I loathe in the arts, after religious censorship and political censorship. According to Fringepig (and proper websites too). One play showing at Edinburgh was Four Go Off on One, a Famous Five parody, and if you’re wondering why they didn’t use the less confusing title of Five Go Off on One, it’s because they got legal threats from Hachette Book Group. Amarous Prawn offered a compromise to rename themselves to The Reasonably Well Known Five: An Unofficial, Unlicensed and Unrestrained Parody. Hachette wouldn’t have it because, to borrow the observation of Fringepig, they seem to think they have exclusive worldwide rights to the number five. Continue reading

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Odds and sods: June 2017

Welcome to another odds and sods. It’s been an eventful month and- … what’s that I hear you say? “You didn’t do an odds and sods for April like you’re supposed to?” All right, fine. That was my plan, but at the end of April I was busy preparing for a holiday, and then my Brighton Fringe coverage started, and by the time I had a moment to catch up it was already halfway through May and getting a bit pointless. There, happy now?

Anyway, I’d better do a June update because quite a lot’s happened this month that needs talking about. Continue reading

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Odds and sods: March 2017

It’s been quite a busy March in terms of interesting developments, mostly as the build-up to the fringes continues. So here’s a catchup on things that grabbed my interest.

Stuff that happened in March

Paddy Campbell

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Before I go looking at the fringes, a quick bit of local news. Paddy Campbell, hot on the heels of his success with Leaving, has now got himself on this BBC New Talent Hotlist. Before you get too excited, it’s not clear exactly what this entails. He’s one of 200 people in various fields earmarked “as ones to watch.” This is the full press release if anyone can make any more sense of it, but it’s meant to be something good, anyway.

What it does suggest, however, is that out of all the new writers to appear on the scene in the last few years, Paddy Campbell is possibly pulling ahead of the others. With his first two plays getting extra runs to meet demand, and early signs that his third will be getting the same treatment, if the BBC are rating him as the top bet for a writer in the north-east, it looks to good bet to make. Continue reading

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Odds and sods: February 2017

Okay, we’re quite a bit into March now, so I’d better hurry up with this. Sorry this is late, but I didn’t want to delay the Vault Festival reviews any further as I had a couple of press ticket reviews waiting on that. But now that’s out of the way, let’s turn attention to what else happened in February.

Beyond the End of the Road

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You may recall that last September I reviewed a scratch performance from The November Club, a theatre company heavily based in rural Northumberland. Beyond the End of the Road is set in such a small community, a fictitious village based on interviews with people in similar real villages. As well as the research to get the community feel right, there’s lots of live music in the story, with guitars and other instruments cleverly used to represent all sorts of props. The most promising bit, however, was the story of two outsiders returning to their home village for different reasons. And then, just when things got interesting – it finished. Continue reading

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Underground overground: what happens next?

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Womble jokes: coming soon to Buxton.

So Underground Venues lives on. After much speculation (well, much speculation from me), they have moved from their extremely popular site in the basement under the Old Hall Hotel to The Old Clubhouse, a pub just up the road outside the Opera House. This was always one of the hot favourites: plenty of venues work this way in Brighton, I gather Tom and Yaz used to run events at the Old Clubhouse prior to Underground Venues, and this option was seriously explored three years earlier when it looked like 2013 would be the final year.

Applications for Underground Venues were supposed to open two days ago, and from this I was supposed to glean more information from what this might entail. However, due to some gremlins in the system the old Pauper’s Pit information was still showing and applications had to be delayed a few days. However, from this blog post we can already work out quite a bit about what’s in store, and from this ask some questions of what happens from here. Continue reading

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