9 Shows in 10 Days – Happy Happy

How’s your Brighton Fringe going? Seen any good stuff?

I’ve been lucky enough to see some phenomenal shows so far. The most surprising has been “Paul and Laura Don’t Give A Sh*t (Sorry)” which I reviewed for Brighton Source, and I absolutely LOVED. I laughed until I cried and nodded so vehemently in agreement with things that I’m surprised I didn’t wreck my neck. It was so incredibly inspiring too. “What would you do tomorrow if you didn’t give a sh*t?” they ask, genuinely wanting to know everyone’s answer.

“Twisted Tales” (also Brighton Source) is so slick and clever – physical theatre done well is like a warm hug. Another little joyful gem (again Brighton Source) is “The Ballad of Mulan”: such power in this petite framed woman, such a fascinating story of war and fear and hiding your true self, and a really interesting exploration of gender labels. That potentially makes it sound academic – it’s not – read my review instead – it’ll tell you more.

But the biggest standout so far has to be “Magpie” (Broadway Baby). I was blown away. I was literally speechless at the end, took a minute to recover, and when I found my voice again I have been going on about it to anyone who would be polite enough to listen.

I can’t stress this enough – if you get the chance, go and see these shows. Don’t even hesitate, just go.

You’re welcome.

Brighton Fringe – it begins – and: my show

Happy Merry Fringe everyone!

First of all – thank you everyone who attended the Brighton Fringe press panel event and everyone who wrote inviting me to your show. I’ve now programmed in 21 shows to see in 3 weeks as a result.

I had hundreds of emails so if I didn’t reply please don’t be offended – it doesn’t mean your pitch wasn’t good or that you won’t get reviewers – it simply means that I couldn’t fit it in.

I wish everyone putting shows on in Brighton Fringe the best time and a great run!

So here is my show – collaborating with the fantastic Sam Nixon from Gin Palace Productions, with “Loyalty – Lady Montague and Lady Capulet”:

What happens after ‘Romeo and Juliet’?

Lady Montague waits for Lady Capulet – a long standing family rivalry hides a long forgotten friendship. What happened to them? What have they become? And is there any way through this minefield of feelings, trying to remember who they are, versus what is expected of them as wives and mothers?

A play about loyalty: to family, to your children, your partner – and most of all to yourself: what you know and feel to be right. A poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic look at the lives of two women who we know so little about.

Wednesday 29, Thursday 30 May, Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June

6.45 – 1 hour

at Bar Broadway (off Broadway), Brighton, BN2 1TY

Ticket link here

Back at the Theatre!

Actually saw a couple of shows last week. Both were at the Lantern Theatre and so interesting. The first one – not having been out in ages, I just wanted to enjoy it. The second: “Duty”, was so good, I wanted to write about it.

Written by Bomafabia Wokoma, directed by Laura Rinati, Bomafabia Wokoma and Lenette Randall, and Produced by “A Little Twisted”. Here’s my review on Broadway Baby – enjoy!

Brighton Fringe Postponed

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.

Suse x

February – already?

Good grief where has the time gone?!?

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…

Last of the Fringe 2019

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.

Intense week of Brighton Fringe

Last week was filled with mostly incredible Theatre.

I absolutely loved “Those Magnificent Men” – 4 stars

Roared with laughter at “Frankenstein the Pantomime” – 4 stars

And was absolutely stunned by “A Steady Rain” – 5 stars

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.

Brighton Fringe Update

This week was an interesting mix of Theatre.

Wednesday “The Death of Ivan Ilyich at the Rialto in Brighton. A profoundly moving piece of Theatre experienced on so many levels. There is a surprising amount of humour as well as a brilliant look at the taboo of talking about death and trying to carry on as ‘normal’. Why you need to watch this: Kevin Cherry’s amazing performance in the title role, as audience members you feel his pain, and the picture of his reaction when he sees himself in the mirror is poignantly haunting.

Friday “9 to 5 – the Musical” at the Barn Theatre. If you love the movie then without a doubt you would enjoy this. The audience were whooping and cheering at the end. Not the slickest production in the world and some issues with timing, tech and some numbers seeming under-rehearsed – but, the professional performance of Lea Spells as Doralee, the part played by Dolly in the 1980 film, raises the quality of the whole show. Shoreham Herald review says “she is as punchy and strong as the energetic star”.

Saturday “Damien” at the Lantern Theatre in Brighton. I was literally speechless after watching this emotional and beautiful performance by Daniel Finley of a remarkable true story. Absolutely well deserved 5 star reviews. I can’t recommend this highly enough, and Fringe Review “Must See Show” this year, calling it a masterclass in making quality Fringe Theatre. I could not agree more.

Edinburgh Fringe – Day 1

Yes, this is the first post in ages; yes, there has been so much to update and yes, I have to start somewhere.

So today I landed in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to give its full official title, as part of Pepper Productions’ team Antling. After a successful run in the Brighton Fringe Festival and Hove Grown Festival this year, we opened tonight at the largest Fringe Festival in the world, and Helen Pepper Smith was brilliant. As time has gone on it has enriched and deepened and even now having seen it probably 50 times (at least) I’m still laughing and being moved by the poignancy of the story and the performance.

But I’m starting at the end of the day instead of the beginning! The taxi to the station this morning, booked last week for 5.15 this morning still hadn’t arrived by 5.25 despite me phoning them in a panic, they seemed completely disinterested in my urgency to get to the train that I had a prebooked ticket for… then I tried to go through security at the wrong terminal of Gatwick (I blame the illegal time of the morning and the complete adrenalin surge of the taxi situation including being thrown around the car despite the seatbelt in the driver’s attempt to get me to my train on time) – I had to look no further for the third thing to go awry when I got to Gatwick and realised none (none!) of the departure boards were working, showing gate numbers etc., but instead there were handwritten white boards with this information on and everyone crowding round those at least 5 people deep (not good for – ahem – average height people like me).

But with a shrug of “it is what it is”, onwards and flightwards. I had intended to read my book on the flight but ended up talking to the person next to me: Matt, who works for the airline (EasyJet) and loves it and was hoping to have a career in musical theatre at one time – needless to say we chatted 19 to the dozen for the whole flight time which was brilliant. Lovely guy. I left my water in my bag (firmly deposited in the overhead locker and therefore inaccessible) which I just mentioned in passing so he got a bottle of water for me from the cabin crew which was so thoughtful. We talked theatre and the industry and directing and flying – I love interesting conversations with random strangers I really do.

Later in the day Helen (the fabulous Helen Pepper Smith, creator of Antling and founder of Pepper Productions) and I found the Royal Mile: the heart of the Fringe here in Edinburgh. And this area assails at best assaults at worst all of your senses at the same time. Bustling crowds, people giving fliers to you and promoting their shows in sometimes the most inventive way possible – for example 3 men all dressed as Lady Bracknell (including wigs) advertising “The Importance of Being Earnest” (assume a slightly different version); various incredible ‘statues’ including one in black and white on a bicycle in the wind; music: from rock to bagpipes, from a banjo to opera; a man in a tail coat ‘clowning’ and making passers by shriek with his often startling interactions.

So here we are. We have arrived.

Of course there have been a few (other) odd things. To add to the fairground taxi ride and the weird makeshift Gatwick departure boards. Including cups of tea, served with pot, cups & saucers, milk jug, sugar… and a straw. Maybe we looked like we had a sensitivity to heat..?

Helen was fabulous in the opening of Antling this evening which is great but timings are tight. We have 60 minutes in total which means 5 minutes either side in and out so trying to curtail the brilliant creation into 50 minutes is tricky – there really isn’t any fat, it’s all really good and deserves a place there. But it is what it is…

After that we sought some light hearted comedy which is what we got with “Three’s Company, Where’s Our Crowd? An improvised comedy night”. Lots of laugh out loud moments. And even better as we got in with our performance passes so it cost us nothing. Sometimes you just need a bit of silly.

So with the motto of the day “It is what it is”, I look forward to what tomorrow will bring, including 2 shows that I’m reviewing, having collected my official (and very bright orange) press pass from the Fringe Hub earlier (having tried to find it for a good few hours). Such a joy to get to see shows and review them: see a show and write about it? Yes please

With EasyJet as well it’s been a bright orange day.

Here’s to orange.