Thursday, 26 May 2011

Interview with Mr Stink and The Duchess

Leicester’s set for a smelly treat this May half-term with the world premiere of Mr Stink.
Freelance journalist, Jemma Crowston, caught up with case members Peter Edbrook and Mark Peachey during rehearsals.

Little Britain star David Walliams, will see his award-winning children’s novel come to life with this musical adaptation.
The co-production between KW & NB Ltd and Curve Theatre, Leicester with Hackney Empire and Nottingham Playhouse had its first public dress rehearsal last night (Weds, May 25).

Tweets following the performance said, “if you only see one show this year make sure you see Mr Stink. It’s awesome and great for adults and children alike.”

The show has been adapted and directed by Matthew White (Director of the recent West End productions of Sweet Charity and Little Shop of Horrors and the forthcoming production of Top Hat) with music composed by Matt Brind (Musical Director for Legally Blonde and Conductor and Orchestrator for John Barrowman’s latest album).

Chloe doesn’t like school very much. She isn’t as cool as the other kids, no iPhone, no DS and no friends. Then she meets Mr Stink – the local tramp. Yes, he smells a bit but he’s the only person who’s ever been nice to her, including her mother who wants to be the local MP and is trying to rid the streets of its homeless. About to lose her only friend, Chloe finds Mr Stink a secret hiding place…but is there more to him than meets the nose?

“It’s an absolutely charming play for all the family”, said Peter Edbrook who plays Mr Stink.

Rehearsal photo: Peter Edbrook (Mr Stink)

Edbrook, who lives in Chester, is well-known for his performances at Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre.

Mark Peachey, who plays Mr Stink’s dog – The Duchess, plus Mr Crumb and other parts, lives in Glenfield, Leicestershire.

David Walliams’ smelliest book of all time will include the first ever interactive scratch ‘n’ sniff family show! Each audience member will be given a free scratch ‘n’ sniff booklet bringing Mr Stink pungently to life.

“We tested the scratch ‘n’ sniff books out at a school. Children’s reactions are huge so it was great fun to see them laughing or squirming depending if it was a horrible smell or a nice one”, said Peachey.

The musical comedy has a five star cast and there is some puppetry including The Duchess, Mr Stink’s dog.

Rehearsal phot: Mark Peachey (The Duchess)

Peachey said, “I’ve never done puppetry before so this was something completely new. I had training from Toby OliĆ© who is truly fantastic at what he does.

“The main tips I’ve took from him is to remember the breathing and watch your eye line. His work makes you almost forget that the puppets aren’t real.”
OliĆ©’s most famous work is in a production called War Horse.

Mr Stink is suitable for children aged 7+ and their families. The show will kick start the Spark Children’s Arts Festival programme at Curve.
A special Curve Ball will open the show’s first night on May 26. Two schools working on the Creative Exchanges project with Curve have created an installation and musical feast to entertain the audiences from 5pm.

The Mighty Creatives, the young people’s creative development agency for the East Midlands, who deliver the Creative Exchange project as part of the Government’s flagship learning programme Creative Partnerships.

The show also lends itself perfectly to schools audiences. Ideal for key stage 2-3 PSHE – Education Pack available on request.
Following its world premiere at Curve with previews from 26 May, Mr Stink will embark on a major National tour between May and December 2011.

For tickets visit

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

My MS Story

I had just landed my dream job as a reporter, I was finishing off my law and news writing exams and moving out of my parents’ house for the first time.
It was a hot summer that year too. All of these life altering events (and the climate) were blamed for what was happening to me.

I can see that very first day like it has just happened all over again.

A typical Sunday afternoon at my parents.
I had washed the car and gone inside to get my dinner. It's always chicken when I'm round because I can't stand red meat.
As I picked up my tray with a plate sloshing with gravy I lost the feeling in my right side, the world around me went into slow motion and I was about to fall. My short mumblings and no doubt horrified look alerted my Dad that there was a problem. His quick actions stopped the tray from smashing and me from falling with a thud.

I was helped to the ground by my terrified parents who didn't have a clue what was going on and neither did I. My immediate reaction was tears.
What has just happened?

My head went fuzzy, my arms and legs went limp.
I was shocked.
Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.
It was soon put down to the stress of everything that I mentioned at the beginning but then it happened again.

As part of my initiation into the news hound gang I was given the fabulous task of wearing the mascot uniform during carnival week. A hot summer's day and I was dressed in a dog suit! It was great. I loved it. We all went back to the office for pizza and drinks. I drank plenty of water which is what everyone was telling me to do all the time since the first incident.
I wanted to show off my new office to my boyfriend and again I went into a state where the world slowed down and so did my right side.

I turned to smile and that was it I went down.
I couldn’t move my limbs and this time my face started to twitch.

Both incidents didn't last more than a few seconds but they're the scariest moments of my life. What was happening to me? After months of tests and a horrible lumber puncture I was called back to the neurologist.

“I’m afraid we suspect it’s MS”.

My only knowledge and only image of MS is that of someone who is bed-ridden and unable to care for herself.
My world had just crumbled.
What am I going to do? I’m 23 years-old and I’ve just been told I’ve got a condition which could potentially paralyse me.

When the self-pity faded and the realisation settled in I knew I was going to have to deal with this. I often think why me, why now but then I have to remember that life is what you make it. I’m not brave and I’m not a heroin. I’m just me. If anything, having MS has reminded that life is fragile. Where you expecting me to say something else there? Like life is short, life is sweet or life is great. But life is fragile. Seemingly simple incidents can alter your life, they can alter your perception and open up your thinking.

MS is a part of my life now. My last attack came just before Christmas 2010 and this time the pains in my arms and face were too much to handle and I went on medication for a short while. I’m currently awaiting the results of my latest scan.

It’s a huge part of life. My MS story seems mild compared to many sufferers. It some ways I feel quite embarrassed at my own feelings of upset because I have seen the worst case scenario and I’m not there, well yet anyway. Do I have the right to feel the way I do? How can I sit here writing my MS story like it was the hardest thing ever? Well, for me it was and still is. It might not be as progressive or aggressive as some people’s symptoms but my own experience of multiple sclerosis has been the most challenging part of my life to date.

Of course I wish I didn’t have it but I’m a big believer in fate and if certain life events hadn’t happened to me would I still be the ambitious and head strong person that I am today? Life is a gamble, a turn of a card which you can never fully predict. My deck seems to have a few jokers but then doesn’t everyone’s?

MS is still a disease not fully understood by the masses and is often confused with ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy).

The work of the doctors, nurses and charities is simply amazing. The support I’ve been offered is outstanding. I knew right from the first incident and the following appointments that I wasn’t alone. If I could offer any advice to someone learning about their diagnosis for the first time, it would be to use the support around you. I’ve been to the support groups; I’m a member of my local MS group and keep up-to-date with the latest news stories. It’s a big help. To read about the research being carried out or the latest fundraiser is a testament to the strength of the MS Trust, the MS Society and all those affected by the disease.

Today is World MS Day (Weds, May 25) please help support the work of the MS Trust and MS Society by using the hashtag #MSWeek on Twitter and sharing my story with your friends.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

New Season at Curve

Leicester’s Curve theatre has opened up the ticket lines for this autumn’s jam-packed season of stage delights.
The exciting new programme features three Curve productions, two Curve co-productions and two Curve collaborations plus a host of visiting companies.

Paul Kerryson, Artistic Director for Curve, said: “I am pleased to announce Curve’s autumn 2011 season of work. We open with a Curve co-production and dance World Premiere from Akram Khan, followed by a thrilling mix of contemporary drama and new writing.

“Musicals also form a key part of our season, including Broadway glamour in our Christmas production of 42nd Street.”

Khan returns to Curve following Vertical Road with another world premiere – Desh. This solo dance performance by Khan is inspired by his homeland of Bangladesh. This new dance work is a Curve co-production which premieres in Leicester ahead of another world tour. Desh will be on at Curve from September 13 to September 17.

The season will continue with a series of unmissable home-produced thrillers including One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Director Michael Buffong will bring the adaptation of Ken Kesey’s 1962 cult classic to the stage from October 14 to November 5.

Kerryson will bring Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Buried Child, to life in November.
When Vince returns to his family’s farmhouse with his new girlfriend Shelley they walk straight into a terrifying night to remember in Buried Child on stage from November 11 to December 3.

Towards the end of the season we’ll see two popular and timeless musicals at Curve – Blood Brothers and Curve’s Christmas special – 42nd Street.

Speaking to Kerryson at the beginning of the spring season he said: “We’ve been very lucky to get the rights to do 42nd Street and we only got them because of the success of previous performances such as King and I.

“It’s a very magical story and one of the most famous around the world so we wanted to give the audience time to buy their tickets especially those who couldn’t get tickets this Christmas to our sell out show.”

To see the complete list of autumn 2011 shows visit

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bin Laden dead or is he?

America's most wanted was found and killed on May 1 2011 or was he?

Osama Bin Laden has been hunted since the devastation of 9/11 in 2001.

Many suspected he was hiding in a cave like an animal but I never heard anyone suggest he was living in luxury with his many wives and children.
How did you hear about his death? I heard via Facebook and then I checked Twitter for verification before finally switching on the news channel.
It was during the flicking between Sky News, BBC and Fox that I discovered that his ‘body had been buried at sea’.

So, the most wanted man was killed and just discarded in the sea leaving a gapping hole for all the conspiracy theorists in the world to gather. Is this a ploy to boost Obama’s campaign? Are we trying to forge links or destroy confidences in Pakistan?

Or was Bin Laden killed and dumped in the sea to avoid a shrine being made as speculated by key world leaders?

What’s your theory?