Wednesday, 30 March 2011

ACE news for Curve

Leicester's beautiful glass fronted theatre, Curve, has released the following statement:

Prof Philip Tasker, Chair of the Board, Leicester Theatre Trust says; “Earlier this year Curve submitted an application to the Arts Council England National Portfolio Funding Programme for funding for three years, beginning in 2012.

"We have learned this morning that our application has been successful, with Arts Council England stating “a good application from a producing theatre with a growing reputation based on high production values, [with] strong potential to make a considerable contribution to ensuring excellent art happens.”

Prof Tasker continued; “We are grateful for Arts Council England’s support, and that of Leicester City Council, our other major funder, as we continue to build both audiences and Curve’s reputation for producing quality theatre and hosting the very best of visiting and community work. As our new Chief Executive, Fiona Allan, joins us next week we look forward to taking Curve forward into a new and exciting chapter.”

I'm glad to see my 'second home' has received good news today. My heart-fely sympathies for those who didn't get the answer they were looking for from ACE. How can we continue to support the growth of the arts?

ACE news

Very pleased to say TMC has been successful in the ACE funding round for 2012 onwards. Click here to view The Mighty Creatives chief executive statement.

A big day for the arts

Today we'll find out whose made the cut for the Arts Council England (ACE) funding round. Arts and cultural orgnisations up and down the country will be frantic right now, with many employees struggling to sleep wondering if their jobs would still be safe in the morning. Up to 1,333 organisations submitted bids to be a part of the exclusive new portfolio for ACE. Each bid would have to help fulfill one of their five goals set-out in their 10-year strategic framework, Achieving Great Arts for Everyone.

Here's a reminder of the goals

Goal 1: Talent and artistic excellence are thriving and celebrated

Goal 2: More people experience and are inspired by the arts

Goal 3: The arts are sustainable, resilient and innovative

Goal 4: The arts leadership and workforce are diverse and highly skilled

Goal 5: Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts

This final goal is the one The Mighty Creatives (TMC) is hoping to help ACE reach. News on TMC's bid submission will be posted at

For full live updates on all the ACE announcements click here.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Let Me Entertain You

This celebration of the legendary Robbie Williams certainly lived up to its title when the tour made its debut appearance at De Montfort Hall in Leicester last night. The show is much more than a humble tribute act to the king of pop. Internationally renowned impersonator, JK, oozed the same cheeky charm as Williams and JK’s stage presence and voice are uncanny to the star too. Opening the show with the song by the same title – Let Me Entertain You – got the audience on their feet and many didn’t sit down all night. With great hits including Rock DJ, Angel, Shame and She’s the One on the set list for the evening, it was clear that whether you’re a die-hard Williams fan or just a music lover you would be in for a treat. The energy in the hall was high all night and looking at the audience was like watching a sea of arms. JK kept the show a celebratory event by telling the audience about key events in Williams’ life and re-created some of the pinnacle moments from his career such as the swing concert at the Royal Albert Hall. During the infamous Knebworth concert which was reputedly the biggest UK pop concert of all times, Williams’ got the crowd to form a mass karoke. JK encouraged the audience at De Montfort Hall to do the same last night and there was something quite spectacular about hearing almost 1,000 people singing Strong. On stage, JK was supported by three female back-up singers/dancers, two of which performed the duet songs Something Stupid and Kids with JK in the second half of the set. There was also a band including two guitarists, a bass player, keyboard player and drummer. There performance helped gel the whole show together. The show officially opened in Stoke on Trent in June 2010 to rapturous applause with special guests including Robbie Williams’ father Pete Conway. Along with top musical directors, choreographers and award winning musicians, singers and dancers it took 8 years to perfect and master what is quickly becoming one of the most talked about theatre shows in the country. If you’re looking for an enjoyable night out with friends then this show would be the perfect tonic. For further information visit The tours next stop will be on May 5 at Grove Theatre in Dunstable. Originally written for The Public Reviews.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Love Love Love

Love Love Love is a production littered with drink, fags, family dysfunctions and politics.

Last night, the infamous new Mike Bartlett play opened at Curve in Leicester. I had high expectations following reviews in the national press but it somehow didn’t live up to the hype.

It’s 1967; Kenneth (Ben Addis) and Sandra (Lisa Jackson) know the world is changing. And they want some of it.
Love, Love, Love takes on the baby boomer generation as it retires, and finds it full of trouble. Smoking, drinking, ambitious and paranoid, one couple’s forty-year journey from initial burst to full bloom. Drawing its title from the hippy-era-defining Beatles classic All You Need is Love, the show tells a story that will be familiar to many; a tale of luck, opportunity, freedom, achieving goals and having hopes and dreams dashed.

The show was performed in three acts to allow them to change the set to fit which era they were in.

If you’re interested in finding out how the set is put together then stay in your seats during the interval as they don’t pull the curtains down in the studio so you get see all that happens behind-the-scenes.

One of the biggest grievances I have with the play is that there are no loveable characters. The portrayal of Ken and Sandra shows them in a very selfish light and their offspring grow-up surrounded by booze, nicotine and shouting and the effects on their personalities in notable in the final act.

I presumed the show would have a lot of humour but from the first act all I could see was forced comedic actions.

The second and third half of the show certainly picked up the pace and drew the audience into the story. Although the characters lacked depth, the story was enjoyable.

My favourite scene of the night was in the final act. The parents are old and so are their offspring. The daughter, Rose (Rosie Wyatt) finally lets out her repressed feelings towards her dismissive parents.

“Look at you…”if you can remember the sixties you weren’t really there”. What a smug f***ing little thing to say. You didn’t change the world, you bought it. Privatised it. What did you stand for? Peace? Love? Nothing except being able to do whatever the f*** you wanted.”

It was at this moment I got goose bumps. The anger, the passion and the velocity of Rose’s words were huge.

I found it difficult to tolerate Ken and Sandra at all and I’m not sure if that was to do with the class that they were reflecting. The pair went to Oxford and had very traditional English accents.

But what I did love about the pair is that both Lisa Jackson who played Sandra and Ben Addis who played Ken were able to play the characters as whimsical teenagers, middle-aged workaholic parents and as a more humble version of their former selves in the final act.

The costumes for the pair were a true reflection of how someone from that era would have looked then and now, which gave the story a real edge.

If you were a teenager in the 60s or know people that were then you might enjoy this play.

To book tickets visit
Runs until Saturday March 26.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The History Boys

Last night’s awe-inspiring performance from the cast and crew of The History Boys left the audience riveted at Curve.

I cannot recall the last time there was such a buzz for a show. The audiences’ engagement for what was happening on stage felt intense.

Director, Christopher Luscombe has resurrected the show for the first time since its original National Theatre production.

Known as one of the great plays of the decade, The History Boys is set in a school in the North of England in the 1980s where a sprightly bunch of bright, funny, sixth-form boys are attempting to gain entrance to Oxford or Cambridge whilst evading the distractions of sport and sex.

The dynamics between the actors work well in this show which portray some very complicated relationships between pupils and teachers. They handle, what would normally be very delicate subjects, in an unusually light-hearted way which worked well surprisingly.
The play sets up the school setting and introduces the loose storyline and you soon establish who the characters are.

The scenes between the new teacher, Irwin (Ben Lambert) and Posner (Rob Delaney) were intriguing to watch. Some parts left the audience feeling like a voyeur peeking in on someone’s life but it was too interesting to tear your eyes away.

Lighting Designer, Tim Mitchell, produced an excellent scene setter. The main set is laid out for the classroom scenes but using the lights, Mitchell, is able to create the illusion of a school corridor.

There is a scene in the first act were the boys are being mischievous in class when the head master walks in which got the audience laughing in unison and I think it’s from that point that their sense of understanding and shared knowledge between them and the characters was noted.

The different scenes were bridged with bursts of pop culture music from the 80s which allowed the cast to adapt the set quickly.

The audience were left touched by the story of the boys but also left reminiscing about their school days and wondering what they’re old friends had gone on to accomplish in life.

If you love intelligent wit with a few laughs thrown in for kicks then The History Boys is for you.

Runs until March 26.
To book tickets visit

Originally reviewed for The Public Reviews.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Interview with Lisa Jackson

The fanciful and witty new play Love Love Love by Mike Bartlett opens at Curve this week and audiences will see the return of Lisa Jackson.

Freelancer journalist, Jemma Crowston, caught up with Lisa during a tour break last week.
Lisa was last in the city playing Ann Deever in the Curve Production of All My Sons in November 2009. This week, Lisa will take on the lead female role of Sandra in Love Love Love from Tuesday night.

It’s 1967; Kenneth (Ben Addis) and Sandra (Lisa Jackson) know the world is changing. And they want some of it.

Love, Love, Love takes on the baby boomer generation as it retires, and finds it full of trouble. Smoking, drinking, ambitious and paranoid, one couple’s forty-year journey from initial burst to full bloom. Drawing its title from the hippy-era-defining Beatles classic All You Need is Love, the show tells a story that will be familiar to many; a tale of luck, opportunity, freedom, achieving goals and having hopes and dreams dashed.

Lisa said, “I was thrilled to see some old haunts on the tour list and I’m excited to come back to Curve because it’s a great theatre. We were in the main auditorium for All my Sons so I’m looking forward to working in the studio space.”

The show will be split into three acts. The first act will see the first meeting between Sandra and Kenneth and we’ll see Lisa portray a head-strong 19 year-old who rebels against her reserved parents.

In act two, we’ll see the set and characters transform. The couple are now married with two children and it seems they’ve lost their aspirations which they strongly believed in during their prime.

For the final act, Lisa tells us where she gets her inspiration for Sandra. She said, “I’ve been asking my mum loads of questions because she’s about the same age as Sandra. She has lived through the situations that my characters been through and I’ve been able to use her stories to create Sandra as a character that other people from the era would relate to.”

The show is about three weeks into the tour which will run until June.

Lisa said, “I love the fact that I can take on the different ages of Sandra in this show. Some times your cast at a certain age when you look a certain way so I’m honoured to get to follow Sandra’s life all the way through.”

The Sussex born actor has been in many theatre productions as well as starring in TV shows such as Waking the Dead (BBC) and Campus (C4).

The 31-year-old actor said, “It’s a quick paced, witty and very funny show so if you want an enjoyable night out come and see it this week.”

The show, which will run from Tuesday March 22 to Saturday March 26 at Curve, will be directed by Paines Plough co-artistic director, James Grieve.

To book tickets visit

Friday, 18 March 2011

Review: Shaun the Sheep

Tap, disco and ballet dancing farm animals what more can I say about the stage production of Shaun the Sheep.

The Aardman animation has been adapted and directed by David Wood and last night (Friday) I was astounded at the fantastically entertaining show At Curve in Leicester.

It’s always quite strange going to see a show clearly aimed at children with another adult with no children between us. But we had a surprisingly great time despite the lack of children to accompany us.

The light-hearted family show is split into two acts. The first half we see the characters introduced including Shaun and the flock of sheep, the mischievous pigs, the farmer and his faithful and reliable mutt, Blitzer.

The main stage at Curve has been set-up as a farm with flourishing green images framing the set each side and an interchangeable background which was transformed from day to night, sun and rain with light trickery.

Blitzer, whose job was to control everything in the show including the sleep-walking farmer, provided the seamless transition between the scenes outside the farm house and the scenes inside the house, which was opened on set by a moving wall.

Both acts were full of great choreographed dance performances to some well known songs.
The adults in the audience had a shared knowledge of the instrumental songs being played which referenced many popular films and theatre productions.

The sheep and pigs were dancing to a well-known piece from the classic story of Swan Lake and in one scene the farmer and pigs dance to Singing in the Rain.

During the night scene, the sheep create a disco in the barn and Shaun does a solo dance which mimicked John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

The disco scene is revived for the final dance and this has got to be my favourite part of the show. The audience is energised, the music picks up pace and I loved the disco balls that appeared from the ceiling.

A must-family visit to the theatre. You have two dates left to see it at Curve don’t miss out on this music and dance extravaganza!

To book tickets visit

Runs until Sunday, March 20.

Day Five: Wig Five

What a week! I hope you’ve all enjoyed laughing at the pics.
I’m now at 95% of my target (of £300) so hopefully with a last push out via my social networks I’ll reach it by the end of the day.

Day One
The Mullet
This was probably the hardest day for me. I hate the mullet-look and it hated me. I was very shy and regretful on that first day but as the sponsors kept coming in I was reminded that it’s for a good cause.

Day Two
The Kylie-esk look
This was a fun wig to wear. My head felt somewhat protected by its huge presence and my confidence went up by the hour and so did the sponsors.

Day Three
The Clown
By far the most itchiest and hottest wig! I was clock watching that day and hoping the hour would come where I could set my head free.

Day Four
The Emerald
This was a fabulous wig. A great tribute to paddy’s day and I had a blast walking to the HBR training at Phoenix watching all the looks from people sat in Curve.

Day Five
The Red shimmer
Today’s wig is a symbol of everything that Red Nose Day stands for. The charity was set-up over 25 years ago and has worked in 25 countries across Africa as well as all four nations in the UK. They say that you’re likely to find a project supported by Comic Relief within at least 30 miles of where you live in the UK.

Thank you for all your support so far. Just another 5% to go before I reach my £300 target. Will you help me complete my challenge?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Day Four: Wig Four

Day four of my wig-a-thon

Today’s emerald wig is to honour St Patrick’s Day as well as continue my Comic Relief challenge.

I'll be wearing today's wig longer than the rest as I'll be wearing it to some training this afternoon/eve.

So far, I've managed to put a smile on everyone's face whom I pass. It's a great feeling to know I'm raising money for a vital cause and giving a few people some laughs along the way even if I do have to look ridiculous for a little while:-)

Today’s motivator
300,000 children under the age of 15 in Africa are blind.
Over 300 million people across the world are visually impaired and, of those, 45 million are completely blind.
The Red Nose Day money you raise can help to give people access to the treatments and operations that will let them see again.

Total so far: £257.50 (Goal: £300)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Total so far

Just wanted to give you an update on my wig-a-thon antics.

The clown wig is most definitely the itchiest and hottest out of the three I've worn this week.

I'm keeping it on despite this though and so far, I've received £222.50 in sponsorship!

Goal: £300

Can you help me reach this?

Day Three: Wig Three

Day three has arrived and I’m joining the circus!

Well, not really but my clown wig might make people think different:0)

The last two days I made you all laugh and today will be no exception.
Today’s motivator

I’m wearing my wig to help Comic Relief support the many disadvantaged communities across the UK that have to deal with high levels of poverty and deprivation. For the people living in these communities it can be really tough and can feel as though there are very few opportunities to improve their quality of life.
Total so far: £185 (Goal: £300)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Day Two: Wig Two

Today’s wig is a cross between Tina Turner and Kylie Minogue (the early years) but unfortunately I don’t have the body of either so I think I look more like a frumpy mum but I can’t find the shell suit to match!

My motivator today is the part of the Comic Relief campaign which supports children and young people to have the chance to stay in school and get the education and skills they need to build a better future for themselves and their families.

A quarter of all primary school age children in Africa are denied the chance to go to school. Let’s change this together.

To sponsor me visit

did you know Comic Relief was launched on Christmas Day 1985 from a Refugee camp in Sudan.


I never thought I'd feel so intimidated and shy when wearing a wig! The thought of making a cuppa in the communal kitchen area or heading to the toilet sends my introvert side into overdrive.

What am I bothered about? So, people stare, so, people smile to themselves or nudge their mates in the ribs.
Day one jitters are definitely in full swing.

Just to give myself some clarity and a jolt back to reality, here's some facts that'll help remind me why I'm doing this:

* In the UK, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem of some kind in the course of a year. Affecting people regardless of their age, gender, wealth or ethnicity, mental illness does not discriminate.
* Fewer than 40% of employers are willing to consider employing someone with a mental health problem.
* Mental health problems are three times more common then cancer.

Today, I wear my wig for those who've suffered with mental health problems. Will you support me too?

Day One: Wig One

Day one of my wig-a-thon

I’m reviving the mullet look today with my 80s style wig. When I decided to wear a different wig each day of the week for Comic Relief I jokingly said I’d need a shot of Dutch courage to get me through the week but now I’m sat here looking like I’ve just step into a time machine I remember why I’m doing this.

I’ll dedicate each day to an element of the Red Nose Day (RND) campaign.

Today I’m providing other people with amusement through my own humiliation to help support RND to provide young people with mental health problems the chance to access services tailored to their needs.

Annabel was struggling with the stress of her GCSE exams and began to lose her appetite rapidly. Soon, she wasn’t eating at all. Click here to read her story.

To sponsor my wig-a-thon visit

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Interview with Richard McCabe

Since taking on the role of Prime Minister, Richard McCabe has new respect and sympathy for the man at the top, he explains to freelance journalist Jemma Crowston.

The top West End comedy Yes, Prime Minister will grace the stage at Leicester’s Curve theatre at the end of the month with a six-night stop in the city.

Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, the original writers of the classic TV series, Yes Minister and the sequel Yes, Prime Minister have reunited for this anniversary production.

Heading the coalition government, Prime Minister Jim Hacker (McCabe) and cabinet secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby (Simon Williams) face a country in financial meltdown. The only salvation comes from a morally dubious deal with the Foreign Minister of Kumranistan.

McCabe said, “It’s a 21st century version of the much loved TV series. The characters are recognisable but they have modern twists.”

He added, “It’s a wonderfully funny script about the government and those that make the decisions. The show doesn’t talk down to the audience and can be very silly. The second half is basically a farce but it can be very clever at times too.”

The 50-year-old actor said the show is not portrayed in any one particular political party. He said, “What’s great about it is that Jim has qualities of a lot of the prime minister’s over the years and there’s no obvious political party involved.”

The show has completed six weeks of its 20 week tour.

McCabe, whose played in numerous stage and TV productions including BBC’s Wallander, said, “This version of the show has the addition of a woman which reflects the changes in government now compared to when it was originally written.

“There are a lot of stories in the show which you’d think were written yesterday because they’re so current and reflect what’s in the news today.”

McCabe hinted at the current controversial story of Italian politician Berlusconi and said it bares some resemblance to a part in the play.

When asked if he had ever dreamed of being the Prime Minister, the Glasgow-born actor who grew up near Brighton, said, “It’s an impossible job. I have deep sympathy for them. You have to really watch what you say because anything you say could be taken out of context in this media age.”

The set used to play out this production represents the drawing room of the well-known country residence Chequers used by many politicians. The stage is filled with oak panelling, book cases and posh furniture.

He said, “Everyone would love this show because it’s a great comedy. The older ones will come with pre-conceptions from the TV series but they might find something quite different. It’d be great to see younger people there who will just see it for what it is. It’s a very intelligent play.”

McCabe, who last came to Leicester in the 1980s to perform at the late Haymarket Theatre, is excited to return to the city.

After the tour finishes in July, McCabe is hoping to head back to Sweden for a second series of Wallander.

To book tickets for Yes, Prime Minister, which will be at Curve from March 28 to April 3 visit

Interview with George Banks

Playing a cocky and boisterous teenager is something new for the understated George Banks who will be heading to Curve next month to star in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys.

Freelance reporter, Jemma Crowston, caught-up with the 23-year-old during the show’s tour in Bath.

Director, Christopher Luscombe has revived the show for the first time since its original National Theatre production.
The History Boys, which has picked up three Olivier Awards, six Tony Awards, the Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Awards, will tell it’s tale of a Yorkshire Grammar School at Leicester’s Curve theatre from March 21 to March 26.

Known as one of the great plays of the decade, The History Boys is set in a school in the North of England where a sprightly bunch of bright, funny, sixth-form boys are attempting to gain entrance to Oxford or Cambridge whilst evading the distractions of sport and sex.

“The headmaster brings in a new history teacher to give the boys an edge in their exams and what you see on stage is a very enjoyable show with complex relationships between the students and the teacher and the teacher and the headmaster”, said Banks.

Banks will play Dakin, the leader-of-the-pack. He said, “Dakin is very cocky and impressive. He’s quite charming and a big flirt.

“I was a bit of nerd in school so nothing like Dakin. I can be a bit of a flirt I guess but I’d love to be like Dakin and have all that confidence.”

Banks said his favourite scenes are the ones with Dakin and the new teacher Hector played by Philip Franks (Darling Buds of May, Absolutely Fabulous). Banks said, “They’ve got quite a unique relationship. I also love the scenes when all the boys are in the classroom. We’re all very cheeky and like to cause mischief so we’re on stage drawing pictures and showing each other for a laugh.

“We’re all around the same age so the tour has been great because we’ve been out socialising.”

The 12-strong cast including Banks have been touring since January and Leicester will be there penultimate stop.

When asked if he could would he re-live his school days again, Banks replied, “I’ve got fond memories from school but I know some of them are through rose-tinted glasses so I wouldn’t want to ruin the memories I have.”

The Watford born actor has starred in many theatre and some TV roles but has also lent his voice for documentaries and computer games including Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup.
Banks said the show would be suitable by anyone whose been in education.

He said, “Everyone whose gone through education has fond memories and this show has a character that everyone can relate to.

“It’s a beautiful play and I defy any audience member who doesn’t come out asking whoever is nearest ‘who was your Hector?’ Who was the teacher that inspired you?”

Banks added, “My GCSE English teacher was the first teacher to respect me as an individual. I think I was about 14 or 15 and for the first time we were treated as adults – not vacuous children. He ignited my passion for text and was very much like Hector in that he opened up the possibilities of everything to us.

“It was great to be in his lessons. I can still feel his influence on how I approach a text and in the way I try to reach a deeper understanding of what it is saying.”

In 2005, a film was made with the entire original cast of The History Boys, many of whom, including James Corden and Dominic Cooper, who have subsequently became household names.

To book tickets visit

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Do Something Funny for Money

I love any excuse to do something funny so when I saw Comic Relief’s slogan this year I started dreaming up all kinds of whacky ideas to raise money for the charity.

One of the obvious things to do is wear an item of red but this has been done so many times that this idea just didn’t satisfy my need to embarrass myself.

I’ve been trying to motivate the troops at TMC (The Mighty Creatives) but not everyone seems too fussed this year.

So, to offer a bit of inspiration and to give everyone a giggle I’ve decided to come to work next week wearing a different wig each day.

Am I mad? Most likely.

If you’d like to support my wig-a-thon then click on the link below to sponsor me today. Photo evidence of my humiliation will be provided.

Harborough Mail gang (me on the right) 2009

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Writer: Steven Berkoff
Director: Adel Al-Salloum
Assistant Director: Natalie Raven
Lighting: Ziggy Jacobs
Sound: Simon Moloney

After seeing East on Monday night and despite knowing that Greek is an entirely different play with different actors I couldn’t help draw the comparisons.

Greek, which was created by Steven Berkoff, was depicted by six drama students from De Montfort University last night in Curve’s studio space.

Director Adel Al-Salloum said, “We have challenged ourselves to unpick, explore and delve into the murky world of Berkoff’s Greek, a modern Oedipus set in a destitute and decaying England where an emotional plague has taken root and there are few ideals to speak of.

“The play is also a love story told through our hero Eddy, a young English lad living in the east end of London in the 1980s.”

Included in the cast line-up for Greek is Jony McClean (Eddy), Mark Halliday (Dad), Jennifer Smith (Mum), Kelly Scagill (Doreen/Spinx), Becca Cooper (Wife/Waitress) and Laurie Cusack (Fortune Teller/Café Manager).

Unlike East, last night’s performance of Greek was a slow starter. It took a while to fully grasp the understanding of the characters and the story which was being laid out.

The familiarity of the stage set-up and lighting (Simon Moloney) and sound (Ziggy Jacobs) used through both plays left me feeling like there was something missing.

The whole premise of East was underpinned with a very sadistic humour but Greek lacked any humour at all and chose to plunge into a dark tale which never truly had a full substance for me.
There were several moments in East where I could pick out a scene which has stuck with me or moved me in some way. With Greek, I can only think of one.

When the Spinx (Kelly Scagill) is shouting about her feminist views to unsuspecting Eddy (Jonny McClean) her words were powerful and you could see the whole audience were hooked on her stage prowess.

If I had to choose between the two shows I would see East again because I enjoyed the characters more and I love a good laugh.

Curve and De Montfort University have paired up to work on East and Greek which were both created by the iconic British playwright, who played General Orlov in James Bond’s Octopussy.

Both shows are unsuitable for children and contain scenes and language of a graphic sexual and violent nature which may cause offence.

Greek will be on for two more nights; 10 & 12 March at 7.45pm.

To book tickets visit


Photo by Darren Cresswell

If you’re a fan of raw, gritty and humorous theatre performances then you must see Curve and De Montfort University’s take on Steven Berkoff’s East.

A group of five drama student’s from a Leicester university have been working tirelessly with Artistic Director, Paul Kerryson, and they’re efforts didn’t go unnoticed last night.

Their thrilling portrayal of a cockney clang was hilarious and provocative.

East is shameless, sexy and beautiful. Gang members Les and Mike take the audience on a raucous and viciously funny ride through the East End. In their cockney tongue, a dysfunctional family tell each of their stories to build up a picture of their unconventional lives.

Included in the cast line-up for East will be Robert Callery (Mum), James Coldrick (Mike), Douglas Deans (Les), Matthew Forey (Dad) and Kara John (Sylv).

The sound (Simon Moloney) and lighting (Ziggy Jacobs) was superb and helped to direct the audience around the various stories being told on stage.

I was particularly taken aback by Matthew Forey’s performance as the Dad whose character was aggressive and Robert Callery’s performance as the Mum which was daring and fantastic to watch.

The whole two-hour show was over-run with teenage-like hormones and rude yet comical gestures.

So, it’s not suitable for the faint-hearted.

Curve and De Montfort University have paired up to work on East and Greek which were both created by the iconic British playwright, who played General Orlov in James Bond’s Octopussy.

Both shows are unsuitable for children and contain scenes and language of a graphic sexual and violent nature which may cause offence.

To book tickets visit

Saturday, 5 March 2011

East & Greek

Greek rehearsal shot by Pam Reith

A group of talented students from Leicester’s De Montfort University will bring two of Steven Berkoff’s great plays to life at Curve this month.

East and Greek were created by the iconic British playwright, who played General Orlov in James Bond’s Octopussy, and will be directed by Curve’s Associate and Artistic directors with 11 students working with them on these challenging pieces.

The 11 lucky drama students were chosen during a rigorous audition process in December.
Included in the cast line-up for East will be Robert Callery, James Coldrick, Douglas Deans, Matthew Forey and Kara John.

And, the Greek cast consists of Rebecca Cooper, Laurie Cusack, Mark Halliday, Jonathan McClean, Kelly Scargill and Jennifer Smith.


Greek, which will be directed by Curve’s Associate director Adel Al-Salloum, is a wildly humorous twist on the Oedipus legend and a powerful account of the state of a selfish society. Berkoff recreated the various Sophocles myths and applied them to 1980s London; riots, filth, decay, mobs and bombings. The characters suffer from an emotional plague and inhabit a world under Thatcher’s government, suffering from moral decline. Greek is a love story set in the wasteland of modern society.

Adel Al-Salloum, director of Greek and Head of Participation and Learning at Curve said, “We are thrilled to be working with DMU on this project. The strong script and stripped-down nature of the pieces lend themselves to developing the craft of performance.

“They are two provocative, unsettling and humorous texts, which will push their performers to verbal and physical extremes. Paul and I are privileged to be working with local emerging acting talent and offering them the opportunity to perform at Curve.”


East, which will be directed by Curve’s Artistic Director, Paul Kerryson, is shameless, sexy and beautiful. Gang members Les and Mike take the audience on a raucous and viciously funny ride through the East End. In their cockney tongue, a dysfunctional family tell each of their stories to build up a picture of their unconventional lives.

Both East and Greek are unsuitable for children and contain scenes and language of a graphic sexual and violent nature which may cause offence.

James Coldrick, who plays Mike in East said, “Paul is a brilliant director and has encouraged us all the way, helping us get every word, every action perfected. I haven’t felt like a student swamped by professionals, because we have all been treated like professionals, and I hope my performance, along with everyone else’s, can be compared with other professional work occurring at the Curve right now.”

Rob Brannen, Head of Performance and Digital Arts Department at De Montfort University, has said how delighted he is to have their students working in a professional theatre.

He said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for this student group to gain first hand experience of Curve, Leicester’s state-of-the-art performance facility. We are looking forward to similar exciting theatre performance collaborations in the future between Curve and DMU.”

East rehearsal shot by Pam Reith

As well as the 11 students in the cast, the performers are also supported by two assistant directors, Toni Martell, a final year Drama student and Natalie Raven, who returned to DMU this year to undertake our MA in Drama Studies.

And, several students are also gaining valuable behind-the-scenes experience alongside Curve’s professional production team.

Greek will be shown in Curve’s studio at 7.45pm on 8, 10, 12 March.
East will be shown in Curve’s studio at 7.45pm on 7, 9, 11 March.

Ticket price: £5

To book tickets or for more information call 0116 242 3595 or visit

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Feety pj's

They've got loads of names like feety pyjama's, all in one pj's, one's and baby grows, but we love them!
Since watching an episode of Family Guy and laughing in hysterics when Peter wears red flannel pj's and causes mischiefs by giving everyone static shocks and wearing the pj's to work.
Nearly a year since we watched that episode we discovered that you can actually buy feety pj's for adults (£10 Primark).
Do you share our love for feety pj's?

Romeo and Juliet

Last night saw the timeless tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet come to life in a contemporary context at Curve, Leicester.

The award-winning company Pilot Theatre returned to the city after the success of their production of Lord of the Flies in February 2009.

Their contemporary version of the classic love story sees the actors wearing everyday clothes but it uses the original text from Shakespeare but condensed to make the play more accessible. The stage props includes stunning visuals and the set, designed by Chloe Lamford (winner of Best Set design at the 2007 TMA awards) is filled with over 600 bunches of silk flowers to create a 21st century scene for the love story to take place.

Pilot Theatre’s production at Curve gave me a chance once again to tackle my deep-rooted fear of Shakespeare’s work.
Following Filter’s Twelfth Night last year, I decided it was better to face my fears head on than hide away from a challenge.

Like when watching a fast-paced show, I feel like I have to concentrate real hard when watching Shakespeare’s words spoken to be able to grasp their understanding.

The last time I read/watched this classic story was at school so seeing it performed in a professional theatre is a new experience for me which means I have no comparisons to draw it against.
Although the cast were using the original text their mannerisms and playful charms had an air of modernity.

I was particularly taking aback by Chris Lindon’s performance as Mercutio as his boisterous presence was strong and at times refreshing to see against the narrative.

The chemistry between Juliet (Rachel Spicer) and Romeo (Oliver Wilson) was beautiful. Despite having to concentrate on the spoken words I was mesmerised by the physical actions between the star-crossed lovers.

The infamous balcony scene was apt. Instead of a traditional tall structure on the stage, Pilot used a neon framed cube for the balcony and sloped stage flooring to represent the wall in which Romeo climbs up.

As the two meet for the second time and declared their love and fascination for one another I sat their hoping it wouldn’t end but then Juliet’s nurse calls to her.

Unlike most theatre shows, this production includes a continuous cutting edge, specially-commissioned soundtrack by composer Sandy Nuttgens, which is available to download on iTunes.

From the moment you’re sat in your seats waiting for the show to begin you hear a very eerie sound which builds up the atmosphere for the play which can be quite dark at times.

I’d recommend this play to anyone who, like me, finds Shakespeare a challenge because I’ll guarantee you’ll find some enjoyment through watching the eight talented actors portray a traditional story with modern twists.

Romeo and Juliet is the last performance that audience members aged 12 – 26 can claim free tickets through the scheme - A Night Less Ordinary. To take advantage of this offer join Curve’s Young Company by calling 0116 242 3595.

To book tickets visit

Runs until Saturday March 12.

Originally written for The Public Reviews

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Lots of Love

Using our obsession with everything online as the primary theme for Luca Silvestrini’s LOL was pure genius.

This hour and fifteen minute physical theatre performance uses abstract dance movements and intertwined stories to express our lives on the information highway.
Protein Dance company mesmerised the audience in Leicester’s Curve theatre studio last night (Feb 28).

The show began with some fantastic video footage from Rachel Davies portraying the six dancers staring blankly into what were presumably computer screens.
What follows is a very witty portrayal of the way we update our social network statuses and how often we use this tool.

The dialogue from the dancers was mirrored by the metaphorical dancing with the dancers moving each other’s bodies to represent the narrative.

The majority of the audience members were those who have grown up with technology and social networks as a staple in their lives. So when the dancers used the symbols/emoticons in the dialogue you could hear the quiet hums of recognition around the room which gave them a connection to the story.

Two dancers started to perform to the sounds of keyboard keys tapping, produced by composer Andy Pink, and it was clear the two were having a conversation via a chat room or messenger.

When a third dancer came barging between the two it was an interpretation of a conversation interrupted and then one of the dancers veers off the set which triggers another to type/dance furiously at the person who had interrupted their conversation.

The second part of the show delved into the issues with our obsession. A combination of the dance performance and video gave an illusion of information overload which can be the case when surrounded by a wealth of knowledge online.

The show also looked at the ever complicated world of online dating and how communication is moving away from being personal and how you can feel loneliness despite having 1,000 friends on Facebook.

LOL (Lots of Love) looks at the world of electronic communications to uncover the evolutionary shift that social networking and the internet are having upon the way we live and love.

This imaginative performance would appeal to young people or those who are web savvy.
The tours next stop is on March 2 at ARC in Stockton on Tees.

Originally written for The Public Reviews