Tag Archives: Northern Stage

Assistant Director – Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

A Royal and Derngate, Royal Exchange and Northern Stage co-production.

Directed by James Dacre

Designed by Mike Britton

Cast: Charles Aitken, Kim Criswell, Matthew Douglas, Victoria Elliott, Mariah Gale, Kieron Jecchinis, Sean Murray and Daragh O’Malley (understudy Terence Wilton)

Rehearsal blog here

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Secret Theatre: Show 5

*Deep breath*

I want to talk about Secret Theatre Show 5, or A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts. Trouble is, I can’t really do so without talking a bit about myself, because my experience of the show has been so bound up with the last three months of my life. So forgive me.

I feel like, for a number of reasons, it’s only through the prism of my own experience that I can discuss this extraordinary piece of work with any honesty. I’ve seen it three times now, but each time I’ve had a totally different reaction which, on reflection, has totally responded to how I was feeling at the time. It’s key strength lies in the fact that it morphs and changes with your own experience, and in doing so proves that all theatre is subjective and can be interpreted in any number of different ways. Show 5 is ‘about’ whatever you want it to be about. Continue reading Secret Theatre: Show 5

“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller

at Richmond Theatre, Tuesday 24th June 2014

*Originally written for Exeunt*

The last lines of Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel Catch-22 form one of those famous closing passages: “Yossarian jumped.  Nately’s whore was hiding just outside the door.  The knife came down, missing him by inches and he took off.” It’s a beautifully ambiguous ending, with the phrase “took off” having a whole plethora of different meanings, and contains within it all the contradictions of the novel itself.

In this stage version of the novel, however – which Heller adapted himself – some of that ambiguity and contradiction of this classic World War II story is unfortunately lost in its transition to a different medium. Continue reading “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller

“Confirmation” by Chris Thorpe

at Warwick Arts Centre, Wednesday 21st March 2014

“Be hard on your beliefs; take them out onto the veranda and hit them with a cricket bat” – Tim Minchin

I’ve just finished reading Kathryn Schultz’s Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error which, for someone as frequently dogmatic as myself was both a painful and illuminating read. In it, Schultz discusses how our belief in our own rightness can hinder genuine dialogue and education, citing research which shows that we frequently stop listening when faced with an oppositional argument, which Schultz cites in order to demonstrate our lack of openness when faced with differing viewpoints. She suggests, rather, that being open to being ‘wrong’ in any scenario is both liberating and invigorating, with the potential to teach us more than righteous belief. Continue reading “Confirmation” by Chris Thorpe

“The Noise”

by Clare Duffy, Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe

at Northern Stage, Friday 11th October 2013

Unlimited Theatre’s The Noise makes a good companion piece to Fine Chisel’s Dumbstruck. Well, I say “makes a good companion piece”, but what I really mean is “ends up doing pretty much exactly the same things as”. Extraordinarily, the two companies have hit on pretty much exactly the same ideas about sound, control and the human spirit without (as far as I’m aware) ever crossing paths during the making process. Sure, the shows have slightly different aesthetics and tell their stories in different ways, but ultimately but Unlimited and Fine Chisel delve into similar territory. Both pieces are set in a remote location, consider the relationship between sound and space, place underwater sounds at the heart of their narratives and seek to open up discussion about how we ‘hear’ the world.

Directed by Jon Spooner, The Noise is a multi-authored “sci-conspiracy thriller” set on the Island of Whitley, Continue reading “The Noise”

“The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project” – A Conversation

*Originally written with Catherine Love for Exeunt*

Dan: In the opening address to audiences of The Bloody Great Border Ballad ProjectLorne Campbell attempts to convey his own internal struggle when considering the question of the referendum of Scottish independence next year. He initially began as leaning towards being anti-independence, but after talking to other artists and friends, he realised it wasn’t as simple as he thought, causing him to enter a state of confusion about the whole thing. Now, a few months down the line, as this massive, knotty, crazy idea gains traction, he realises he is just as confused. But it’s “a higher quality of confusion”.

And, to me, this is what makes The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project so special, inhabiting a position far more interesting and exciting than Tim Price’s I’m With the Band. Continue reading “The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project” – A Conversation

Stars in My Eyes

This Twitter conversation happened on 12th August 2013 (I can’t work out how to embed the whole thing, so this is a link to it): https://twitter.com/MarcusRomer/status/367028584818671616

Now, I didn’t directly take part in this conversation, but seeing as the brilliant Eleanor Turney was my editor for my time in Edinburgh and I was pounding out reviews for A Younger Theatre, Romer’s thoughts certainly hit a bit of a nerve.

The tweet which really rankled me was this one:

Now, I didn’t give any show five stars when writing for A Younger Theatre this Fringe. This wasn’t due to timidity or being scared to nail my ideas to the mast – Christ knows I do that often enough anyway. Continue reading Stars in My Eyes