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.
Trying to schedule everything in this crazy Fringe bubble is tricky – well actually it’s impossible. I couldn’t see everything I want to see.
Helen and I went to see “Sisterhood”: a 3 hander, one was the fabulous Jules Craig. Set in Tudor times, 3 very different women through a few hours contemplating the same fate that awaits them all, interspersed with true tales of their own modern lives. It affected us so profoundly we had to go and sit and have a cup of tea afterwards. It’s so incredibly sad that in some ways things are very different but in others: attitudes towards women who “go their own way”, attitudes to women as objects – not much has changed. So moving, lump in throat trying to hold on to tears and gulping. One that will haunt me. And I’m glad about that.
Then I navigated the mad mile to get to the Box Office for my ticket for “a joke”. Which was so very far away in a completely different part of town. Didn’t look that far away on the map… so this was a play in the Assembly Rooms Ballroom – and yes it was a ballroom. With chandeliers.
“a joke” was with famous actors, one Robert Picardo who I remember as the cantankerous doctor from Star Trek Voyager and then Star Trek films. Also Sylvester McCoy. So I saw a play with a member of the Star Trek cast and a previous Dr Who – or 2 doctors, actually. It was a brilliant production. And so much so say about life. It was such a multi layered play it reminded me of “Waiting for Godot” in that at first, you leave the theatre and wonder what the hell you’ve just seen and what it was about. Is life a joke, with a punchline, or s story and in that case tragic in places? And many many other questions and musings. “Sing and the music will come” is a mantra that will stay with me. Which is pretty much how I live most of my life.
Then I bumped into Robert Picardo in the foyer and had a picture with him, he was just heading out the door but he waited which was nice. Must be a bug bear to live ‘normal’ life and be famous. But hey! Here we are!
So I was round the corner from “The Ivy” which had been advertised on Facebook so I thought I’d give it a go, especially as it was chucking it down. I only wanted a snack. I thought it was a café. Turns out it’s uber posh, there’s me in my hoodie and backpack. I had some beautiful messages from friends on Facebook when I posted that, made me feel like a million.
Blackened cod. Rosemary lemonade. Then a cranachan (we are in Edinburgh after all) with white chocolate. Which came looking like a little globe, then the waitress poured hot whisky sauce on it and the white chocolate melted, missing with the icecream , raspberries and everything else inside. Oh my god it was so lush. I’ve only seen that presentation on Masterchef, it was so great to experience it.
I walked chuffing miles on Friday – the play was miles over the other side of the city! Nice to get around a little bit!
Antling was brilliant of course. After that we went to Bristo Square (we love it there) and got flyered by a New Zealand woman in a 50’s dress for a comedy show “Ladylike”. But I think that actually happened on Thursday… Antling had a crowd in that laughed on Friday evening which was fabulous. One guy who is also performing at the Fringe talked to Helen after and we went for a drink – or rather he took Helen for a drink and I toddled behind very much like the third wheel. Made me smile. We ended up in a private bar though talking to the owner and the members of the cast and crew (and the son and daughter of the writer) which was really lovely, hobnobbing with professional actors and everything…
Saturday. 2 Michael Morpugo plays. You can take the girl out of – oh who am I kidding. I’m just interested in history, especially in the first and second world wars. So we went to see “An Elephant in the Garden”: a one woman show which was so brilliant. I loved it. Especially her body movements of the elephant – so clever. Then “Private Peaceful”, a one man show which was an incredibly powerful performance, standing ovation at the end. That made everyone gulp and tears were free.
My last Fringe show I went and found the Sweet Venues and bumped into the lovely JD and had a quick catch up. Unfortunately, my last show of the Fringe, something I was reviewing, was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I had not thought I could ever give a 1 star. I was wrong. It was just the most hideous puerile crap I’ve ever had the misfortune of having to sit through. One person got up and left. I was jealous.
This was in yet another different part of the city and what a beautiful place it is.
The last night of Antling. What a crazy adventure we’ve had. We met Elaine (who taught at ACT) who came to see it and then 4 of us then 3 of us went for a drink at Bristo Square again. We ended up standing bopping to the strangest eclectic mix of music ever.
This morning we went for lovely breakfast – veggie haggis! – at Spoon before heading off separate ways.
Day 3 in this wild fabulous city of Edinburgh in the largest Fringe Festival in the world, and the realisation dawns that even if I had been here for a month, I couldn’t possibly get to see everything I want to see. And even when you think you’re choosing well, it could be that their marketing blurbs are just written well. Mind you, I’ve not seen anything I regret spending that time on. Including experiencing Ruby Wax teaching mindfulness. I kid you not.
Another 5 shows today and I’m back early with more reviews to write – but mainly because going to sleep at 2.30 a.m. each morning then being up early has taken its toll and I’m knackered!
Here is a little example of how busy this place is. Below is a small section of the map of Edinburgh with all the Fringe venues on it. A very small section. So, look at number 33, on the right of the picture. Kind of on its own there.
One number = one venue. Right? Wrong.
Walk in, to a little cobbled courtyard. Loads of picnic tables. Prosecco bar. Other bar. Food serveries. Coffee hut. These places (and there are lots of them) remind me of Riads in Morocco: extra large houses with a courtyard in the middle. Also – there seem to be tons of prosecco bars… maybe a Scottish thing..? I digress. The point is, that one number represents about 6 or 7 different venues each of which has their own programme of shows. It’s absolutely astonishing how much is going on here.
First show I saw today was with Helen and was Weird. Not a value judgement, that was the title. Holy cow. So incredibly moving, and brilliantly performed. One young woman with hardly any props. It’s hard to sell a show about OCD in its stark real form but this was both funny in places and desperately sad. OCD is used so flippantly in every day language now as a term for being fussy or fastidious which is hugely insulting to those who actually suffer with it. It was also educational, hearing the inner monologue of someone with this condition, and the difference between that and what they say out loud, as well as the way everyone else around them reacts to their behaviour which is just regarded as “weird”.
I stayed on after, wiping tears, and then couldn’t walk past a little table with 3 whisky bottles and little tasting cups without being drawn in. I have no idea whether they were selling it in the pub to which the whisky belonged or just giving it away; but I ended up being educated in where the whiskies came from, how they were made, and the history behind them. I smelled all of them and wow did they smell different from each other, I was amazed. I wasn’t going to try but one of them was intriguing so I did – and goodness me it tasted bloody lovely, which I was not expecting, having previously believed I’d grown out of liking whisky.
I stayed in the courtyard, once again having random conversations with total strangers – I love that there is no expectation to swap numbers or stay in touch or be forever pals. It’s nice to have these interactions with people and take them for what they are.
That’s where I discovered that Ruby Wax was just about to start her one woman show “Frazzled” and there were tickets available. I had no idea what to expect but I always loved Ruby Wax on TV so why not. Turns out she was talking about people being frazzled, which she explained is not the same as stressed. People need a certain amount of stress, but now we don’t know how to stop being on alert: the fight or flight response. We are flooded with cortisol and can’t switch it off. Until we involve a different part of the brain to quell those spiraling voices. How do we do that? How do we activate the sensing part of the brain? Mindfulness. Which she then proceeded to get us all to do. I never in a million years thought I would be taught a version of mindfulness and good mental health practices by Ruby Wax. Don’t get me wrong, she was still really funny while she did this. And I agree with every word. If I hadn’t been paying such close attention, I would have been nodding. Her description of us as a human race as very clever, with very powerful brains that we have forgotten to use properly by saying we have a ferrari on top of our heads but someone forgot to give us the keys; is an analogy which will stay with me. We, as a race, are definitely clever she emphasises. After all, “we invented bubble wrap”.
I then ran to my next show. OK, walked very fast. Could I find it? Took until it was just starting by which time I was breathless from running up and down hills. Then that over ran, and the thing that I was due to see at the moment when that finished (which was supposed to be in the same venue but was in a different part of the venue) was just starting as I snuck in and sat down. I’m reviewing those and still mulling. Maybe I’ll get up early in the morning and do that. Maybe pigs will fly though.
The cafe opposite the alleyway to the venue for Antling is a real safe haven I really love it. I just fancied some comfort food to be honest, so I asked for egg beans and chips. Sometimes egg and chips is the bomb.
Helen was fabulous in Antling – again – of course. I wish us bigger audiences, she deserves it, and people deserve to see it. It’s a brilliant piece. The people who’ve been have totally loved it. And I’m loving my Edinburgh Fringe office (pic below) for the week. I really am.
The Fringe vibe in this amazing city is vibrant, quirky, wonderful – and above all: weird. Deliciously so.
Turning the corner on the way to review a show there were an a cappella group of young attractive men singing and flyering (not busking) – by the time I got my phone to capture it, they had stopped “the bare necessities” and moved on to a funky version of “swing low, sweet chariot” until a corporate woman came and told them to shut up because they were disturbing office workers. I’ve worked in offices. Anyone who doesn’t respond to this kind of vibrant fun (and they were good!) needs a serious injection of needing to ‘get a life’.
I walked around today and found the Bristo Underbelly – which sounds a little like a medical condition, admittedly, but reminded me a little of the Warren during the Brighton Fringe. A little enclave, flanked by food stalls and bars, artificial grass on the ground, and communal seating where everyone huddles together (I had hoped for conversations with random strangers again but was disappointed, seems everyone was avoiding that).
Amid the University buildings. Plus of course access to lots of Fringe venues. They seem to make venues out of everything.
So I’m sitting there eating, having seen two shows, when a group of people dance up all wearing headphones and singing along with the song that they were all listening to: Uptown Funk. This was such a spontaneous show of happiness it was simply wonderful. “Silent Adventures” apparently.
On to show number 3 of the day in a fabulous little site which was a little like a tardis. From the outside, you had no idea that there was so much inside. Including a bar with the strongest coffee the world has ever known. I might be buzzing all night. I was only one of 2 people in the audience for that one which was a little sad given how much they were both putting into this two hander – but with so many shows competing for audiences, it’s understandable.
Onto the fabulousness of Antling. OK, so I am obviously sound and lighting tech for the inimitable Helen Pepper Smith but I do still get to watch the show so it still counts. We had a reviewer in, who bought us a drink after the show as a thank you for his (and his friend’s) free tickets! How super is that? He said he loved it. Hoping the review is indeed as lovely as him and his friend were.
So we then checked to see if there was something we could see to unwind with – Mike Bartlett’s “Contractions”. Mike Bartlett is fast becoming one of my favourite playwrights so I thought ‘yes please’ – Helen has seen a previous version and was all in favour. So we went… and it was truly one of the most bizarre experiences… We were handed little radio packets with an earpiece and then given instructions on how to fit it and how to turn it on by a very strong accented woman. The man handing them out was saying “translation” in an equally strong accent. Helen and I just stared at him and the woman and then it suddenly dawned on me – a Russian company… so we watched this bizarre Kafka-esque two hander performed completely in Russian while a quiet female voice with yet again a strong accent translated what was going on in our ears.
At one point I leaned to Helen and asked her if this was really happening or if I was dreaming. She said it was real and pinched me.
Bonkers day. Totally flippin bonkers. Love this city.
We are mid way through the run for my play “The Session” with Twilight Theatre. Audiences have loved it and given brilliant feedback.
Audience feedback so far:
“fantastic… so much so that I’m going again tonight”
“Loved it, very tense… wonderful writing”
“What an amazing, fantastic performance! A brilliantly written script and a very very talented cast. The venue really lends itself to this play and you are completely drawn in to everything happening on the stage. This is an absolute Must-See for everyone, I guarantee you will be glad you did.”
“I watched this little gem last night. It gets the old grey matter thinking. One not to miss. Written by the amazing Suse Crosby”
James Roy, from Meridian FM: “Wow. Cleverly written, brilliantly performed. “The Session” at the lovely intimate Sweet Dukebox Theatre. Get fully immersed in the action whilst trying to work out who is the Doctor and who is the Patient!”
Still some tickets left – do come along!
And just before “The Session” opened, “Antling” written and performed by the amazing Helen Pepper Smith and directed by yours truly premiered, also as part of Hove Grown Festival.
Don’t worry if you missed it – this fabulous show will be back in the Brighton Fringe Festival, and in the Edinburgh Fringe too!
And if that wasn’t enough – next week I’ll be performing in the Wick Theatre‘s production of “Disappeared”. This has a fabulous cast and a great crew, led by director Guy Steddon.
The character I play has been challenging, because she’s really not very nice at all. When I saw myself in the publicity photos I was astonished I could look so – well – vile! Still some tickets left, runs 4 – 7 April.
One doctor, one patient – or are they? And who is who?
Part thriller, part humour: they try to unravel what’s going on. Each tries to gain the upper hand through banter and even bickering, as if they are married.
Sometimes witty; sometimes poignant; always surprising.
Looking for solid character actors, one man one woman, to play the two leads characters Emma and Tom. Some physicality required in performance.
Looking for pragmatic and flexible actors to be part of creating these roles in an intimate theatre space.
This is a great opportunity to be part of creating unique theatre.
Playing age: 25-45.
The play is one act and is 50 minutes long.
This is an equal profit share opportunity.
Details of the Audition:
Please prepare a minimum 1 minute maximum 2 minutes modern off-book monologue which gives an idea of your emotional range.
You may also be asked to read a section of the script with others. You are not required to be off book for this. This will be given at the audition, however, if you would prefer to read it in advance of the audition please contact below.
Thursday 1st February, 7.45 pm
Sweet Dukebox Theatre, The Southern Belle (formerly the Iron Duke), 3 Waterloo Street, Hove BN3 1AQ
Rehearsals: will begin the following week, to be agreed with cast, some flexibility will be required.