It’s been an amazing journey in support of this fabulous production. I have some really good friends in the cast, among them Phil Nair-Brown playing the Creature, and Sam Razavi playing Victor Frankenstein. These actors are incredible professional actors, super talented, and also super lovely humans. Their scenes together are electric – they positively sizzle.
So if you’ve seen any publicity on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, that will be my doing. Or press, for example this lovely article across the Worthing Herald Group of newspapers thanks to Phil Hewitt: click here. Or if you see the show and like the programme, thank you very much!
I’ve also been part of creating the lighting for the show, and I will be running lights (and there are a lot of changes) during the show. I don’t expect you to notice necessarily unless you are involved with theatre yourself – it’s there to add ambiance, to improve your theatrical experience – so people usually only notce if it’s wrong or jarring! Which is the same for sound of course. It’s been full on, lighting tech until 1.25 in the morning, then back in the Theatre 2 days later as there seemed to be issues (which it turned out there wasn’t) but changes and tweaks were requested: another 3 hours. It’s all worth it if it looks amazing, and it does.
And working with some brilliant friends while you do all this? Priceless. Absolutely priceless.
Wick Theatre were so kind to nominate me for the 2021 “Outstanding Contribution to the Arts” for which I was awarded a Commendation. It was so gratifying to hear that the calibre of entries had made it very difficult to choose an overall winner, and that the quality was so high, each of the nominees received a Commendation.
It’s amazing to be recognised, very unexpected, and huge thanks to Wick Theatre for their nomination and to Brighton & Hove Arts Council for the Commendation. But – these things are never in isolation, there were loads of other people that committed time and effort and skills to all the projects I’ve been involved in or led on. I couldn’t have done any of it alone, so massive huge thanks to all of those people: Wick Committee, all the people who contributed films to the Wickanory project and to Ghost Stories for Christmas. Special thanks in equal measure to Phil Nair-Brown, film maker extraordinaire, and to Guy Steddon, horror story officianado and curator of the Ghost Stories.
It’s important to celebrate achievements! Here we are:
I continued my Lighting Design training with the brilliant Martin Oakley for Wick Theatre’s Pygmalion in January. It was brilliant to be able to use my maths and logical brain for the computer part, and my artistic brain for the actual lighting design, including creating a wonderful sky colourscape for big scenes set in a conservatory: I loved every bit of it!
I also ran lights during the show and was able to amend and add things that needed it on the fly, during a show, which was amazing.
Plus – never one to shirk a challenge, I did the Deputy Stage Manager: DSM role. At Wick Theatre, and some others I’ve worked with, the DSM runs the show: following the script with a detailed eye and calling all the cues: lights, sound, projections, haze, actors to the stage and anything else that’s going on. This did give me sleepless nights as so much was depending on me but I also loved every second. I benefitted from training from Julian Batstone who has been part of every Wick production since he joined, and is our most experienced DSM. I couldn’t have done it without his support.
It was really cold in the Lighting Box, by the end of the week I had brought in scarves and hats and blankets and so had the very lovely Doffey who was running sound – also for the first time! We had a great time in the box. A lovely friend had just made me fingerless gloves and I wore them throughout!
I also organised the publicity campaign of course! But it was amazing to learn 2 brand new roles in theatre. You’re never too old to learn new things or develop your skillset.
October 2021 I was at last back on stage performing. It was truly brilliant to be back especially with a sell out show which made so many people so very happy!
Not only do I love “Cluedo” having grown up playing the game both in English and in Swedish, but I adore the film “Clue” with Tim Curry: in fact, it’s my all time favourite comedy film. I’ve been quoting Madeline Kahn’s lines as Mrs White since I saw the 1985 film. So I was thrilled to get the part of Mrs White – I had to fight for it though! I was the only actor who had a call back! And I’m so grateful to Director Julian Batstone for trusting me with the role. I was also producing the show, but I would still have been Julian’s production manager even if I hadn’t got the role (although I would have been extremely sad and disappointed!) I also had the opportunity to train as lighting tech with a full 96 channel board and learn from the hugely talented Martin Oakley. It was fantastic.
We were also recognised in the Brighton & Hove Arts Council Awards with 5 nominations and 2 wins: Best Actor went deservedly to Guy Steddon for his incredible performance as Wadsworth the Butler, and we (the cast plus 1 stunt double) won Best Stage Crew for the funny and in character way we moved the set around.
I also had to tango with Guy, which I’m sill not sure he’s forgiven me for… I seriously learned steps for it and everything, and practiced at home in front of a very bemused Andy.
Promotional photos and dress rehearsal photos courtesy Miles Davies Photography.
Twilight Theatre was due to be bringing you my latest play in the Brighton Fringe. Cast were in place and in rehearsal. I know it’s absolutely necessary that this has happened but I’m still absolutely gutted!
Still, we will be bringing it to you when the Fringe is rescheduled, so all is not lost. In the meantime, stay safe and keep healthy, be sensible and don’t stock pile, and be kind to one another.
Since last Summer I’ve been involved in all manner of Theatre shenanigans, including winning the Publicity Award from Brighton and Hove Arts Council for the publicity for “Taking Sides”, produced in October by Wick Theatre at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, nr Brighton – which I am seriously proud of.
In January, I directed the wonderfully eerie “The Exorcism” by Don Taylor, from TV’s Dead of Night, also at the Barn Theatre for the Wick. That was an amazing production and the reviews were astonishingly good. My cast were fantastic, the set was incredible, the special effects made the audience jump – and we had real Christmas dinner cooked fresh every night by one of the cast members!
Shoreham Herald Review – click here. There is also a review from NODA – the National Organisation for the Dramatic Arts, on the theatre page as a PDF file.
I’m now busy planning a new production of one of my plays in the Brighton Fringe in May with Twilight Theatre… busy busy…
Hubby Andy wished me good luck being a “God bothering nut job” for my role in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Neighbourhood Watch”, produced by Wick Theatre at the Barn last week. That made me smile. A lot.
It really was great fun rehearsing for this quite bonkers play and John Garland was a fabulous director. Of course that doesn’t mean it was plain sailing, it never is, there are always tense moments towards the end of the rehearsal process but there were some evenings where I was literally crying with laughter. There was even one evening where I had to stop myself laughing on stage. There were pieces in this which were hilarious from the word go and still funny three months later.
I think my character: Hilda Massie, is possibly the most far removed from my own personality that I’ve ever played. It was hugely educational getting under the skin of a type of person I have never understood – those that don’t value honesty, but think it’s rude. They have such a skewed view of the world and themselves that they are seriously deluded, but would vehemently deny this to the end. I’ve previously found this incomprehensible but I had an “aha!” moment during my character preparations and research that really helped me understand. Fascinating. And very sad. There was seriously only one thing we have in common – we both value arnica. And yes, it comes up more than once in the play!
So in short – farewell Hilda, you bonkers manipulative right wing evangelical nut job, I’m re-embracing myself. Acting tab is updated with our brilliant reviews from NODA, Brighton Argus and Shoreham Herald; plus show photos. It’s always so important to receive feedback and so lovely when it’s positive!
To end this year’s Fringe I saw four shows in three days. Yes, three of them were children’s shows and one of those I didn’t even bring Mia to as she was double booked – but I had committed to reviewing it.
We started with a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” on Friday which was delightful and charming. I wanted to give this 3.5 stars but the star rating won’t give halves. It was really lovely though and Mia loved the beast and having her photo taken with them! Review here.
Friday evening I was at Brighton Little for “The Pride”. I wouldn’t and couldn’t review this being a member of the Little. OH MY GIDDY GOODNESS I can’t even begin to tell you how absolutely brilliant it was. Superb script, beautifully and sensitively directed with perfect understanding of the material, and the acting was incredible. Sometimes BLT produce absolute class, and this was one of these moments. This is NOT a forgettable play, or a forgettable evening. This will stay with me. Wow. If I could have reviewed it I would have given 5 stars.
Saturday, this time without Mia, I saw “Ogg and Ugg and Dogg” about how early humans first connected with wolves and tamed them, thus creating one of our most beloved pets. Sounded great, and it started really well but after about 20 minutes just kind of fizzled out slowly through to the end. I really wished more for it as it had potential. I reviewed this and if you want to find it do search but I won’t put the link.
Sunday, the best at the last: my favourite has to be “This Noisy Isle” which was just brilliant. A fun non patronising children’s show which as a deeper message. More of these please! Mia absolutely loved it and so did Andy and I. Read my review here.
I also saw another play which I thought was awful, the publicity was misleading yet I really do admire the director who I think did a decent job with the awful script and an actor who failed to connect with the material, at least at the performance I saw. This is of course perhaps controversial because there were two in the audience who it obviously resonated with as they were sobbing; however some were yawning and looking at their watches. What I wanted to write in the review but couldn’t was that it was all terribly up it’s own arse.
Then there was “Hysteria” at New Venture Theatre (NVT) which was an interesting script of absolute darkness and details of child abuse juxtaposed with farce. It wasn’t my favourite script as I don’t think you can mix those two successfully in theatre, but if anyone was going to make the show a poignant and enjoyable event it was director Bob Ryder and lead actor Dan Dryer. And yes, they are friends of mine and I feel honoured that they are, but this is my honest opinion of the calibre of their skills: if I did not believe what I’m writing I simply wouldn’t write anything.
NVT always provides a quality detailed set, lighting and sound and it’s always a pleasure to go there. The direction and all the actors were superb. Huge well done to everyone involved.
I also went to see “Damien” the week before – a one man show about the true story of the minister of Molokai the Leper Colony, which might sound like a dire thing to watch but it was the most extraordinary theatre, an emotional roller coaster including humour and heartbreak. Absolutely superbly acted by Daniel Finley and directed by Janette Eddisford. Clearly I could not review this show officially as I trained at ACT (Academy of Creative Training) with those two incredibly talented awe inspiring people! But Fringe Review and Fringe Guru agree with me: 5 stars, ‘Must See Show’. I urge you if you have time, catch this if you can.
This coming week is a little less full of theatre due to other commitments and half term… but how we love Brighton Fringe, oh yes, how we love it.
I’ve just updated the acting and directing tab with Macbeth, and it reminded me how much I miss working on this play. It was an utter joy from beginning to end. The most expressive, professional, flexible and fun group of actors and a magnificent show that blew the audience away.