Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Beasts and Beauties at Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal: Review
12:10pm Thursday 15th December 2011 in News
By Adrian Mullen »
BEASTS And Beauties was a magical and rich blend of finely-tuned storytelling and acting.
Staged at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre, there was no real slapstick but enough knockabout comedy and ‘it’s behind you’ moments to make it feel like festive family entertainment.
Because it’s not a traditional pantomime, I daresay it might have its detractors – but not I.
Put together by professional outfit Spike Theatre, I was totally enchanted and seduced by the company’s fairy tale world and loved the way the sharp script included an engaging narrative to ferry you through each yarn.
From the original writings of Carol Ann Duffy, the highly inventive production was dramatised by Melly Still and Tim Supple.
Each of the eight European tales is told with a visual economy that gets right to the essence of the fable – fabulously.
There was Bluebeard, the grisly tale of a nobleman with a ‘blue rinse’ stubble and an unpleasant habit of cutting off the heads of his wives.
Beauty And The Beast was beautifully recreated with a romantic simplicity that was captivating to watch, and In The Emperor’s New Clothes Spike’s Lee McPherson and Graham Geoffrey Hicks rose to the royal occasion as the ‘two geezers’ who comically duped the king and his household into believing they were the weavers of a noble amount of invisible finery.
Spike also did a grand job at making what is essentially a grim and gruesome story of The Juniper Tree into a fantastic and funny fable with some incredibly clever puppetry, which really was top notch.
And The Girl AndThe North Wind was another tale making amazing use of the minimal but extremely imaginative props. It also starred the excellent Bekah Sloan as the spirited girl who battles to survive the harsh Norwegian winter and outwit an unscrupulous Troll inn keeper.
The cast were all quality performers, including locals Sam Moorhouse and Hannah Plant, both young talents who have risen through the Brewery youth arts programme.
* Daytime performances run until December 31; 7pm shows are on December 23/27/29.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Will we all get there safely?
Will we make it without breaking down?
I could go on, but frankly my worries are my own and are pretty mundane, I want to talk about the good stuff, the fun that a road trip brings, tiny memories that make a journey special. Two particular highlights of our trip were getting a shout out on Steve Wright’s Radio 2 show and flyering a National express coach.
eople you care about, creating memories that will last forever.
This post was originally posted on Creative times http://www.creativetimes.co.uk/news/spike-theatre-–-the-games-blog-1-–-road-trip-to-edinburgh-–-dreams-memories-and-radio-2
Saturday, 9 July 2011
Sunday, 3 July 2011
It has been a long and inspiring week and my head is a flutter with thoughts about an event 'Stronger together' organised by Northern Stage, Pilot theatre and Arts council North East. The event was about how the arts can collaborate, the mechanisms to enable this and the benefits. The event was broadcast online with viewers from across the world with additional satellite venues in Bristol, Manchester and London. As Marcus Romer, Artistic Director of Pilot theatre noted towards the end of the day, over a million people will have seen the hash-tag #artstogether in their twitter feed and that it had been the top trending event in London.
I imagine 'Stronger together' started as a concern (to protect the ecology of the arts?), someone proposed an idea, that idea was shared, a consensus was found by all and the idea became a reality. A seemingly, simple set of steps, but as any collaboration will testify it takes a great deal of time, honesty and respect to achieve and this was certainly a great example of collaboration. The event has resonated with me and I felt compelled to share my thoughts and offer my version of the day as it unfolded, as you will discover each delegate will have a different story and this one is mine.
The event itself was beautifully managed, stepping into the space you were greeted by hundreds of individual chairs of every imaginable design spread across the theatre, instantly raising a smile and making you relax. This simple staging gave you something to talk to your neighbour about, breaking down barriers and delicately creating a dialogue before the event had even started.
The event, unlike so many I attended, allowed you to pick and choose your journey through it, ensuring a bespoke experience for you, this is a format I would encourage other events to follow, as too often they are dry and seldom encourage dialogue and interaction, other than a quick hello whilst trying to grab a coffee, to put it simply the bar has been set. The other great plus, was the event was free, enabling small organisations like Spike to attend, the recent 'State of the art conference' was beyond our pocket, although we really wanted to be there and finally if you could not be there in person you could interact via text, twitter or simply watch online.
My afternoon started with 6 inspiring provocations, each with valuable insights into collaboration, followed by open space. I love open space a great way of generating thoughts from many different view points, I always leave those conversations the richer. I dived into the soup, a speed dating of sorts but a lot less slower than was intended, the fact that we did not follow the rules was lovely and I spoke with some insightful and inspiring folk. The coffee break normally the chance when everyone runs to check messages or e mails, but really is to avoid looking like you don't know anyone, was opened out on to the grass, where ideas were being freely exchanged, I learnt about new monies available, which I will be applying for.
Spike create theatre in a collaborative manner, it is part of our DNA, Stronger Together proposed some awkward questions for individuals and organisations to consider. I can see why it may hold fears for some, but the benefits of working with another artist, organisations or venue are vast. Collaboration can be demanding, it asks questions of your organisation, Are we good enough? How do we deal with something if it goes wrong? Will it work? These are all questions I turn on myself every time I step into a new project. I have an idea, a group of people and in 4 weeks time we will show a paying audience what we have created, pretty scary huh? In a word 'No' you must trust, respect, be prepared to take your time and all importantly have fun, each project will be bespoke, each experience unique to that time, group of people you shared it with, and you will always learning something for good or bad.
I have at times consciously worked with folk who will cause friction, this is not some kind sado maschocism on my behalf but a considered decision to provoke 'from friction comes fire' this was something that was not touched upon at the event, but as long as everyone works with respect and honesty then a little bit of friction can take you to places you never imagined and for the better. I think my colours are nailed to the mast about the joys, benefits and excitement of collaboration, so dive in and have fun.
PS. for those folk who saw Alexander Kelly from Third Angel perform you were lucky, for me it was like watching myself but better.
PPS. A big thank you to Marcus Romer, Erica Whyman and ACE North East
Saturday, 25 June 2011
Saturday, 11 June 2011
Spike recently held a night of Variety to raise funds to support our adventures in Edinburgh, our lovely friends agreed to create and in turn support us with their talent on stage and off. The night was a fantastic success financially, artistically and in addition made a lot of people laugh. I felt incredibly proud to know such talent and have the privilege to call them a friend, a night were I was scared and running on adrenaline (for some reason I decided to sing). I figured that if I was to ask others then I needed to step up and have a go. I sang with Colin, our designer for 'The Games', a beautiful song written by Neil Hannon, "Can you stand upon one leg" and performed a bloody shaving sketch.
The night was best described by one audience member as, "fantastic, it felt anarchic, like anything could go wrong at any moment but it didn't" I echo those words, it may have just been me, but it was one of those nights where there was a synergy in the air, each act stepping on stage laying down a marker for the next and no one failing to deliver. There was a tangible sense of nerves, excitement and support for each other, this evening will live long in my memory as will the brave new work that people tried out.
The night has inspired me to do more such bespoke events, real unique moments in time shared with a group of people for one night only, you miss it, you miss out. This of course will be a side project to our normal touring work, but we have already got some plans underway. The night also reinforced for me everything that Spike is about, friendly, funny and a little bit bonkers and in addition we know how to have a bloody good time.
I think with all the recent events (Not becoming an NPO with ACE and numerous other disappointing news) I had lost clarity of what made us in the first place and I am pleased to say whatever happens in the future this will be our new mission statement and that has to be a good thing. So all in all this night opened my eyes to the future and provided a welcome reminder of the past and if you were there you will know what I am talking about, if you were not then keep an eye out for future events, because the future is what we make it and with friends like this nothing scares me.
Below are some of the pictures taken from the day and night by the very talented John Roberts. A big thank you to all those who came and took part.
To those who donated there talent and time and I can never thank you enough.
Graham Geoffrey Hicks
Ed and Tom Croft - Jollyboat