Bridget Jones on steroids

Single 40-something ‘Cynical Sue’ posted this fabulous anonymous review of Melanie Branton’s My Cloth-Eared Heart

This lyrical masterpiece pulls no punches. Branton’s pit-of-the-stomach bile is drawn to the surface in the telling of a woman’s struggle with painful disappointments, dashed hopes and unrequieted love that repeatedly turns sour.

Her razor-sharp undertones of passive rage spill out at a lifetime of being lied to, given false hope and patronised by society who use sayings to reassure that love will miraculously appear just around the corner, such as ‘there’s a light at the end of the tunnel’.

It’s a refreshing, albeit brutal repertoire of poems and spoken word based on ‘the truth’. Finally someone has said it: ‘Cinderella may not even make it to the ball.’

As my long-suffering, single-for-many-years friend always said: ‘The light at the end of the tunnel is an on-coming train.’

Melanie touches on the whispering fears of many a single lass of a certain age and in doing so highlights we are not alone in our plight and the harsh truth sets us free. This is a must-see show.

Sent from Outlook

Need a laugh today? Try this one….

Kevin, King of Egypt is about an escaped psychiatric patient Kevin Haggerty who is not pleased about his diagnosis, even less pleased about being on a section of the Mental Health Act and distinctly upset about being told he is not the reincarnation of an Egyptian pharaoh. Seraphina Allard-Bridge saw the show and loved it

The Golden Lion Tap was packed for the King of Egypt’s show; there was a buzz of anticipation among the audience and rightly so, as Rob Gee is a fantastically talented performer, comedian and poet.

The energy levels Gee brought to stage gave life to all the characters, with a variety of voices and facial expressions to make each one unique. The script too was superb, with subtle but effective rhyme and rhythm that may not be immediately noticeable, and some inventive metaphors that I won’t mention here for fear of censorship.

Several stories ran parallel alongside each other, each with their own quirky heroes, intertwining as the show progressed. Although the specifics of the storyline may not exactly be relatable to the average audience member – do you know anyone who believes they are the reincarnation of Ramesses II? – the themes that run throughout will strike a chord with all, such as family, relationships and recovery.

If you’re in need of a laugh and an insight into the minds of these extraordinary personalities, head on down to the Golden Lion Tap to see this hilarious show! It’s on Sunday at 5pm.

Sent from Outlook

Glimpse beneath the surface of an autistic women’s world

Have you seen The Duck? Seraphina Allard-Bridge recommends catching this insightful show today

To be a duck is to appear calm to the world, a smile on your beak, while underneath the surface you are working tirelessly to keep up appearances. This is the life of Laura, a late-diagnosed autistic woman and the protagonist of this show.

It is important to know that a duck should not be feared, nor pitied. A duck has many aspects to it and like any of us, a duck has strengths as well as weaknesses. This metaphor continues throughout the play and proves to be an ingenious way of communicating about autism to an audience which could be unfamiliar with it.

Lucy’s energetic acting and Rhi’s masterful writing combine wonderfully so whether you yourself have autism, you have family members with autism or you know nothing about it, this is well worth a watch for a fun and informative experience. If you’ve already watched the show, let me know your thoughts!

Catch The Duck by Autact at the Castle Centre on Sunday at 1pm

Sent from Outlook

Broken creator

Seraphina Allard-Bridge sees ABSTRACT, a raw energetic show exploring the struggles of the creative process

Although ABSTRACT begins with an upbeat start to a funky song, this intimate insight into the life of a young designer begins to get darker as the story progresses, as more complications and difficulties build up.

The 4th wall is quickly demolished and remains so throughout, allowing the audience to make a real connection with the performer. The monologues feel very natural and open, like a stream of consciousness, so it is easy to forget you are watching a performance at all.

James Elston gives a raw, energetic performance, engaging with the audience in very creative ways, while in turn his character talks about the struggles of the creative process, something I’m sure many of us can relate to.

Mental health is a theme that has cropped up in many TheatreFest shows this year, and with good reason too, as it is something that we all face in one way or another. This show gives a fascinating but poignant look into the life of a broken creator, and shows the struggles one can face when feeling isolated from those around you.

Let me know your thoughts – how well did you feel the issues were presented? Was there anything within this performance that you could relate to? I’d love to hear what you think!

Catch ABSTRACT by James Elston at the Castle Centre on Sunday at 4pm.

Sent from Outlook

A tale of tolerance on the rooftop

This site-specific play within a play gives a poignant message about identity and breaking down barriers, finds Abi Manning

Sometimes the biggest issues can be most poignantly portrayed by young people, and Sparkleshark proved to do just that. Heads Up Youth Theatre delivered a valiant performance amidst blazing sunshine pouring upon their set at the top of Green Lanes’ multi-storey car park.

A smattering of props – a lampshade, shopping trolley and battered leather chairs to name a few – begin life as the surroundings for the rooftop refuge used by budding writer and ‘geek’, Jake. Yet as other characters invade this space, they end up as props for an internal fairytale which has the young actors performing a play within a play that draws the geek, mean girls and rugby boys together.

This they did admirably – the plot was clear and characters defined. It wasn’t without drama, though. Jake (the ‘geek’) comes heart-stoppingly close to a tumble over the car park barriers, and this is juxtaposed with the humorously acted, cocksure Russell and the mean girls who exuded feistiness.

Encompassing the themes of bullying, vulnerability and tolerance, this was an enjoyable reminder of how the power of storytelling overcomes barriers.

Head to the top of the multi-storey car park on Sunday at 3pm to watch for yourself.