Monday, 30 November 2009

'Worth seeing for the Estate Agent scene alone!'

I've just sat through the first dress rehearsal for Mary Theresa's Cupboard, and I have to tell you... it looks fantastic! They are still ironing out a few creases but it will be ready to rumble for Wednesday night.

I urge you all to come and spend the evening with us. If you've never been to the Bradon Forest Theatre before, make this your first experience and get yourself in the Christmas spirit at the same time! It is December 1st tomorrow after all!

If you like Alice in Wonderland or A Christmas Carol, then you will LOVE this show. The students have worked so hard on it and you won't believe that they've created it themselves. We have a talented bunch here! Bring your friends and family with you... they'll only feel bad if you go home raving about this amazing show, and you wouldn't want that so close to Christmas now, would you?

Mary Theresa's Cupboard
Wednesday 2 - Friday 4 December
Tickets: £4 adults, £3 students

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Mary Theresa's Cupboard trailer

Well, it took me a little while, but I've managed to create a short animation as the trailer for our show next week! It's not the smoothest of sequences as this is still all pretty new to me, but I think it's a little better than my last attempt!

I had to create it in Keynote (Apple's version of powerpoint) and then export as a movie file. The video quality is poor because of youtube restrictions, but you get the idea!

Hopefully it will persuade you to come and watch this fantastic show! You know what to do if you want a ticket... email me or call 01793 773981.

UPDATE: I'd actually really like to be able to do stuff like this. Tamsin, you're my new hero. I love your stuff :O)

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Dacoits Rock!

I've uploaded some photos from Friday's gig on to our Flickr page, but here's the slideshow for your enjoyment. The show went really well and The Dacoits and Jo Stroud were amazing! A review will be coming this way shortly from one of the audience members who kindly volunteered as a guest blogger. Watch this space..

We had some really good feedback from the audience which we're taking into account. I can't reveal anything yet but there are a few small changes coming to enhance your experience at the theatre. Oooh! As always, I'll post on here first!

That's the last gig of the year for The Dacoits, but if you missed Friday, make sure you check out Jo at the Underage Festival at 12 Bar on the 13th December.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Live music this Friday!

We're hoping that you'll join us for a spot of live music in the theatre on Friday! It's our first professional music gig of the season and we are proud to present The Dacoits, with support from the talented singer/songwriter, Jo Stroud.

Show starts at 7pm and tickets are just £2! It should be finished by 9pm, so you'll have plenty of time to head to the pub/get back to your couch/have an early night!

Here's a message from The Dacoits:

"Due to the wonders of the modern age you can now buy The Dacoits album online. If you go to then you can find magical ways to buy physical and computery versions of our debut record. I realise that 'computery' isn't the right terminology, but all this downloading may well be taking the romance out of the fine art of CD buying. I've heard you can download the album from amazon for only £3.99 which sounds to me like we're being ripped off. Guess we'll need to sell a lot of copies before I can realise my dream of travelling everywhere by servant-drawn-rickshaw.

So, one more gig to go before we call it a day until 2010, it's gonna be a special hard rocking farewell to 2009 at Bradon Forest Theatre in Purton, and we're to be supported by a very talented young lady by the name of Jo Stroud.

Thanks for all your support this year, and we'll see you in 2010.

the Dacoits

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Review: Insane in the Brain

Looking back over my notes from last nights show, it's funny to see I obviously had some prejudgements regarding Insane in the Brain, a 'street dance version of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest' by Bounce. The show opens with a stage full of dancers dressed in incredibly baggy grey tracksuits wearing white masks. It soon becomes apparent that they also have masks on the back of their heads, as they bust moves that are clearly only possible for the double jointed. An impressive start which then leads to my first note: 'Acting?'

Now, I've read One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest so i knew the story. Randall Patrick McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson in the 1975 film) is a lively gentlemen who agrees to be committed to a mental institution rather than being sent to a work camp. He then proceeds to inject life and energy in to the ward which had previously doomed it's inhabitants to a miserable existence. McMurphy teaches them how to break free from the binds of their illnesses to prove that life is worth living. The scene where we first meet the patients is an awkward exchange of dialogue between the performers, who are clearly more at home with dancing than acting. Thankfully, this was short, and the story is then told through the dancing that we were itching to see after the opening scene. At times the performers 'danced' childish and simple sign language to indicate to the audience what was happening, but I don't think this worked we are smart enough to work out the plot without any of the sign language.

Next we saw the patients humiliated by the guards as they slept. I felt that the music and lighting was weak and could have been better used to enhance the scene. However, after watching the whole show, I see that Bounce were just building the audience up... teasing them with hints of genius before unleashing the climax of the action.

My next note simply says 'worth watching for the bed scene alone!' If I had any reservations over what I was watching, they were instantly blown away by this very slick and perfectly timed sequence where the patients were dancing in and out of bed as individual lights flicked on and off (see pic above). This was seriously impressive! From this point on Insane in the Brain just got better and better. From the yard scene, where a 10 foot fence stood between the cast and audience while McMurphy taught his fellow patients how to dance, to the ward party, where they indulged a little too much on drugs and alcohol, the performers were outstanding. At times they were all doing the same dance routine, but effortlessly in character (with their own quirky mannerisms)... and then add to the mix dancing the same routine, as different characters, and then that character drunk and hallucinating... it was impressive!

I'm loathed to give too much away as I urge you all to catch this show tonight, but it's really tempting to describe every scene (the patient torture, beautiful love scene, the cinema film dance off... are just a few of my favourites)! What I will say is that when there is a dance off in place of a physical fight, you know you're in for a entertaining evening.

Insane in the Brain is a high energy, stylishly executed and very moving piece of dance theatre. I admit I was suprised I enjoyed it so much, but if you get the chance to see the show you won't regret it.

NB: Thank you to the Wyvern Theatre for their hospitality and a splendid night out. Make sure you check out What's On as they have some interesting shows booked in this season. Also, just to add, I haven't been since the reopening, but the seats are supremely more comfortable than the Theatre Royal. ;o)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's

I took my mother to the theatre on Saturday to see Breakfast at Tiffany's, at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a delightful tale, originally by Truman Capote, which tells the tale of Holly Golightly, an intensely popular socialite who winds up in a spot of trouble. The part is played superbly by Anna Friel, who is a more boisterous and playful interpretation of the character that was so infamously portrayed by Audrey Hepburn, but I think, much closer to Capote's Holly. She makes a valient effort at being as stylish as Hepburn, but the sadness of Holly is delightfully subtle compared to the film version.

The cast obviously know the play inside and out and I have to admit to taking about 15 minutes to adapt to their verbal efficiency. But once my ears had adjusted I was able to sink in to the wonderful characters and their highs and tribulations.

The stage was set with a reverse window frame through which you could see the bustle of the streets outside the famous jewellery store. As the curtain lifted, so did the frame and we were treated to a very stylish set. There were two traditional 'New York' fire exit staircases on wheels, a platform mid way up the back of the set (which was used for various scenes throughout) and a New York skyline which alternated between silhouette and projected image.

The whole play was very stylish and slick and the scene changes were flawless. It payed homage to the orginal film, but still had it's own identity and I liked that. Capote has a real flair for fleshing out his characters and I've always enjoyed his books, but this stage adaptation transported me into Holly's world just like the first time I read Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I'd never been to the Theatre Royal before and I have to say it is a delightful venue with great views of the stage, even from near the back of the stalls. I must add though that they could do with some extra leg space - my Mum and I are always thankful for the intervals!

I'd highly recommend a trip to London for this one, and I know it's all down to advertising, but I have a real penchant for some diamond earrings now...

Guest Review - Rebecca watches 'Limelight & Lunacy'

We have had a guest review in from one of the audience members, Rebecca Brett-Harris. Thanks for taking the time Rebecca!

"Mary Lou provided an entertaining insight into the underlying themes of the well known fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood and into the social complications faced in the late 1900s.
Better Red than Dead explored the Character of Red Riding Hood through contemporary dance, physical theatre and ballet, transforming her from a scared child into a wolf murdering vixen. Set against the back drop of atmospheric and jovial music, the audience could not help but watch Red’s near fatal encounter with the hungry wolf. The flawless mixture of contemporary and balletic moves allowed the characters to reveal their darker animal emotions as the power shifted between them as effortlessly as their balances and bodily entwining.  
It was the Wolf’s character that perturbed, yet entertained me the most. From his strong powerful balletic technique to the animalistic motifs incorporated into his movements, the comedic singing to the now dead Grandmother as she was being digested; all were tinted with a macabre side of the beast who hunts his prey. The playful wolf had a sinister side and echoes of vampirism as he toyed with eating Red during an earlier meeting.
The balance of humor and tension matched the themes of this fairy tale as the audience willed Red’s success but couldn’t help buying in to the Wolf’s more gentlemanly and charming side. 
Limelight and Lunacy- the second half to this performance offered a mix of cabaret, dance and theatre as the 4 characters explored and discovered the true side to their existence. Another fitting musical score accentuated the themes and relationships between these characters as they explored their darker and natural human desires.  
Unlike Better Red than Dead, the narrative became the main focal point of this piece as we witnessed the characters demise into madness which at times overshadowed the choreography. The use of props and set were incorporated seamlessly into the piece to provide interesting levels, power shifts and areas of concealment for more madness to appear from. The beauty of this piece was its chaos which was mirrored through the piece in various ways but all tying together to show the suppression and sometimes oppression of living in that time. 
Both pieces were a joy to watch, although some things were lost on the younger members of the audience, they still allowed the chance to view a fine piece of physical dance performed by a highly skilled and talented cast- let’s hope there are more fine things to come in the future."

[Original review post here.]

Friday, 13 November 2009

Promoting Local Events

This is going to be a regular feature so if you are organising any local events, give me a shout and I'll promote them on here. Comps are always welcome too if you'd like a review ;o)

If you like Flight of the Conchords, you might like this: 
Mitch Benn and The Distractions
Thursday 19 November | 8pm | The Arts Centre 
Tickets £12

Mitch Benn brings his unique brand of musical satire to the Swindon Arts Centre this November with his ‘Where Next?’ tour... From BBC Radio 4’s Sony nominated ‘Now Show’, BBC1’s ‘One Show’ and BBC Radio 7’s ‘Mitch Benn Music Show’, multi-award winner Mitch Benn and his band take to the road in a two hour show packed with new songs and old favourites. Described by The Times as ‘the country’s leading musical satirist’, for music and comedy fans of all ages this is an evening not to be missed.

If you like Dizzy Rascal you might like this:
Bounce presents Insane in the Brain 
17, 18 November | 7.30pm | Wyvern Theatre
Tickets £10 - £17

The classic story of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is injected with a large dose of hip hop energy by Bounce. This exciting company is known for creating high energy, imaginative street-dance theatre, enjoying hit runs at both London’s Peacock Theatre and the Roundhouse. In the confines of a psychiatric hospital, breakdance becomes a way of expressing freedom and rebelling against the iron rule of Nurse Ratched – who happens to be a ballet fan. A fantastic soundtrack including hits from stars like Missy Elliot, Dizzie Rascal, Gotan Project, David Holmes and Cypress Hill creates this fastpaced show that is at times funny, moving and always packed to the rafters with high octane dance moves.
Contains adult themes and some violence. Parental discretion advised.

If you like loose limbed physical comedy, you might like this:
Terry Alderton
Saturday 21 November | 8pm | The Arts Centre
Tickets £12

Until now, ex-Southend goalkeeper and former holiday camp entertainer was comedy's best-kept secret. This amazing act is a riot of enthusiastic, loose-limbed physical comedy, extraordinary caricatures and stunningly acute impressions. Combining a fearless on-stage presence, unshakable confidence and streetwise hyperactive delivery, Terry leaves his audience exhilarated and exhausted with laughter.

Peek inside the Technicolor mind of one of Britain’s finest comic talents and, find him desperately doing battle with all the strange and hilariously unpredictable demons, that have decided to set up home there.

Terry is a popular choice in the world of comedy, and regularly treads the boards all over the globe. Leading him to perform along side some of comedies biggest international stars. Recently working with Joan Rivers and Eddie Izzard who proclaimed him to be a ‘very funny comic with a ‘fantastic comedy mind’, but someone who really ought to seek some sort of professional help.

A most unforgettable evening of laughter!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Marie-Lou Review

Yesterday's show was different to anything that I've seen in our theatre before, but not any less interesting because of it. We have a guest review coming in a couple of days, but in the mean time, I thought it only polite to leave you with a few of my thoughts.

Better Red Than Dead: the evening started with the tantilising tale of Little Red Riding Hood and her flirtacious relationship with a highly charged wolf. Although the opening scene with the mother left me a little bemused, once Red had entered the forest I was easily swallowed in to the well known fairytale. The performance used little or no props and the 'set' was created purely by lighting and music which was executed to perfection. I really liked the use of the soundtrack as the backdrop to the physical theatre, as the actors movements told the story - there was almost no need for any dialogue at all... except of course then you wouldn't have had the lines:

Red: I will not sleep with with him on the first date, or I will be left alone and very afraid.
Wolf: I will not eat her on the first date, or I will be left alone and very afraid.
You could almost smell the testosterone of the wolf once he pranced on stage. The 'courting' followed by the very dramatic flirting built up nicely with the choice of music, and the wolf's slow motion plunge for the neck sent a chill down my spine. Although, as I've said, the piece worked really well on our stage, you could imagine the whole story working on a larger scale with huge dramatic sets and costumes. I'm glad we got to see it as it was last night. It was a real treat to experience an unsual and high class performance.

[Update: review from audience member here.]

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Free Theatre Tickets? Surely not!

Now here's something you don't see every day - a night out at the theatre for free!

If you’re under 26 and want to try something different, then you can get free tickets to some of the best shows around. Follow this link to search for participating theatre.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Marie-Lou presents...

Ever wondered what a contemporary dance drama interpretation of the sexual tension between Little Red Riding Hood & the wolf would be like? Then don't miss Better Red than Dead this Wednesday in the theatre!

Marie-Louise presents a double bill of high-class physical theatre & dance.

"A guaranteed ‘good night out’ that will appeal to a wide audience of theatre-goers, film-buffs, book-lovers and culture-vultures alike."
A macabre and hilarious piece of physical theatre ‘Limelight and Lunacy’ explores the attitudes and standards of late 19th century society, when desires were forced into hiding, beneath a facade of etiquette and decorum. This group piece centres around the relationships between four hapless vaudeville performers, who gradually lose the plot in a world of music hall madness

‘Better Red Than Dead’ uncovers the themes and metaphors within the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood. We reveal the sexual tension between Red and Wolf as both fall prey to animal instinct and we revel in the fear of both the unknown and the inevitable. Prepare those peepers for a feasting in this piece of highly inventive dance theatre.

Wednesday 11th November
Tickets: £5 students, £4 adults

Call 01793 773981 to reserve yours today!

Friday, 6 November 2009

28th Annual Purton Artists Exhibition

The Purton Arts Society have their annual exhibition in Purton Village Hall this weekend. The talented group have once again invited Bradon Forest students to submit artwork for this prestigious event and our GCSE artists haven't let us down with their amazing variety of pieces.

Tonight is the private viewing, but if you're passing through the village on Saturday or Sunday then make sure you pop in to take a look. As well as some amazing paintings, drawings and pastel work there are some lovely ceramics and wood work on display, most of which are for sale! (Christmas is coming up you know!)

Our students work is on the stage and looks amazing. You won't regret making the effort!

Council Office
Village Hall
Tel. 01793 771066

Thursday, 5 November 2009

If you've never heard any post modern pirate rock...

The Shudders are playing an album launch gig on Friday 18th December at 12 Bar... see you there.

Twitter this

I've succumbed to the whole Twitter thing... Check out the link on the left and follow us! I'll try not to tweet about what I had for lunch ;o)

RSS Feed Update

Just to let you all know you may want to update your RSS feed to this site. Google has taken over Feedburner so I've updated the link to the left. You can also click here to renew the link and choose how you receive the feed!

Monday, 2 November 2009

"A macabre and hilarious piece of physical theatre"

Phew! That was close... I almost didn't make it make after the half term break! I had a slight altercation with Jaws and well... I know it's just been Halloween, but I'll just assume you don't want to hear the gory details! Needless to say I just about survived and am back safe and sound... which is good news, otherwise I'd miss all of the great shows we have coming up!

Talking of which, the next show is only just over a week away!

Marie-Louise presents a double bill of high-class physical theatre & dance:

"A guaranteed 'good night out' that will appeal to a wide audience of theatre-goers, film-buffs, book lovers and culture-vultures alike."
A macabre and hilarious piece of physical theatre, 'Limelight & Lunacy' explores the attitudes and standards of late 19th century society, when desires were forced into hiding, beneath and fa├žade of etiquette and decorum. This group piece centres around the relationships between four hapless vaudeville performers, who gradually lose the plot in a world of music hall madness.

'Better Red Than Dead' uncovers the themes and metaphors within the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood. We reveal the sexual tension between Red and Wolf as both fall prey to animal instinct and we revel in the fear of both the unknown and the inevitable. Prepare those peepers for a feasting in this piece of highly inventive dance theatre.

Showing Wednesday 11th November at 7.30pm. Tickets are just £5 for students and £6 for adults. Call me on 01793 773981 to reserve yours today!

Right, now I'm just going to have to go and re-dress these wounds...