P-O-S-H Posh!

Ten points if you got the reference, but on the 19th of April I headed up to the Pleasance Theatre to see a brand new production- Posh. Laura Wade’s fantastic play was twisted by director Cressida Carré to exchange all of the Bullingdon Club boys for girls- although they were still playing the roles with masculine characterisation the very presence of the women on the stage made a very important point about the presence of women in power- the fact is that it doesn’t matter who has the power- it’s what they do with it, the vulgar comments the characters made and the way they treated each other was wholly believable- the backstabbing and side taking was utterly close to the bone.

Whats on Stage point out how plays like Posh and The History Boys have launched male actors careers, whereas there has been no equivalent for female actors, imagining what a play like that might look like maybe this is the first step in inspiring someone to write that play.

On sitting down I discovered I was sat next to Oliver Dench, whom Kirsty and I had met after The School Play. It turns out he knew one of the actresses and we discussed the play, and it’s merits- the set especially and how it fits in with current trends in theatre- and it’s experiences like that one and the one I had at My Country that reinstated my love for the theatre community, that having that one thing in common can spark a conversation and learning experience for all those involved. If you love theatre you love opinion and that makes you interesting. And I love that.

-Kim

Woah – were halfway there…

Two lasses in London started, and remains to be a blog about two northern lasses having the full drama school experience in London. One minute we were bright eyed, bushy tailed freshers – next thing we know? We’re halfway through our degree…

And I for one cannot believe it. The time has flown and there’s a class entitled “dissertation preparation” on my timetable – if that doesn’t make your stomach drop down to your knees then nothing will. So what have I done? Well I’ve discovered that student life is nothing, yet exactly what they tell you it’s like. I’ve woken up with raging hangovers with stamps on my hands from clubs I don’t recognise, in my room with a fortnights worth of outfits on the floor. I’ve discovered the joy of the night tube, that northern water is undeniably of superior quality than London water and that having someone else make you a cup of tea is a luxury. I never realised how expensive cheese is to buy and now I know the importance of coffee and its contribution to human function pre midday. I’ve seen a lot and been shocked, even sickened by the gross disparities of wealth and poverty in the city and realised how little of the world I know. Has it done any good? Well it’s made me hungry to know more. It’s made me quite politically vocal and more engaged than I thought possible especially as a drama student. As a drama student I’ve spent more time lying on the floor watching my breath and running around pretending to be a lightbulb than I’d care to admit, and as for the education part I now own two pairs of colourful, patterned “drama teacher” trousers. When I started the course I said “nah I won’t wear them, that’s really not my style” – now I’m a patterned trouser advocate.

So, now I have a year and a half left – what does that mean? Do I have to adult more often, meet more expectations of what a student is? Well all I plan to do is dive in head first and really try to enjoy myself. And I still need to see the guards change. That’s a London must.

On feeling Brassed Off.

I love my local theater. (As should everyone.) And more than that, I love going to see people I love do things that they love. For example, Brassed Off, which played its last night yesterday. I saw the opening night on Friday. The director was my old drama teacher, her son (and a friend of mine) played his usual loveable rogue (Though he definitely got the girl, which was kind of like watching your brother get it on. On stage) alongside good friends, old cast members and new people, some of whom I’d heard of, and some that were a lovely surprise. Applause is well due to Stape Brass Band, who play fantastically throughout the show, and negotiated a sloping stage and small wings superbly.

There were small bits of staging that I was itching to change, and things I would have placed more emphasis on; but it’s the mixing up of lines and in jokes that make it what it is, and it asks you politely to fall in love with it’s charm and you are helpless to do anything but accept.

Especially with such a poignant topic overall, and things such as broken marriages, suicide and family death all weaving into the overarching backdrop of pit closure and the loss of community in tandem with the loss of jobs.

There’s no way you could hate this, as someone born in the north it runs in my veins, and the Thatcher/Tory-hating made my heart soar and I loved seeing so many familiar faces being happy- doing the thing they love.

-Kim

Nailing Mental Health

On the 2nd of April Kirsty and I ventured south of the river to Greenwich, specifically the InterContinental in order to support Nailing Mental Heaths world record attempt. for £5 you could get a shape and polish by any one of seemingly hundreds of professional manicurists. The ladies were chatty and did an amazing job with my chewed, weak ass nails. There was of course, a reason to doing all of this.

The money raised (totalling nearly 6k) is split between Mind, Samaritans and to the Nailing Mental Health organisation itself in order to achieve charity status. The event was organised by the amazing Stephanie Staunton who set about this amazing feat after suffering from mental health issues herself in order to raise awareness around mental health. Here are some of the statistics on the website:

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem.

9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination.

There is one death every 2hrs from suicide.

People who have had a failed suicide attempt are at risk of having a successful suicide attempt within a year.

The ratio for men to women is one women to 4 men for suicide.

It’s important to remember that this is not an easy problem to fix, but by making health, and mental health in particular a subject that is acceptable to talk about, as well as teaching people how to react when someone discloses to them are things that could save some of lives that are lost every day.

 

http://www.nailingmentalhealth.org.uk/the-statistics/

https://www.facebook.com/nailingmentalhealth/?ref=br_rs

Don Juan in Soho

Contrary to popular opinion, I thought this was a corker of a show. A good show often cheers me up, but to have one make me roar with laughter is another matter. Yes I can critique the show – a big star plug used to sell the show usually makes me grit my teeth and roll my eyes, but my 9 year old self couldn’t resist this one. It’s David Tennant for gods sake – and that man can act! And because he’s David Tennant he got away with bringing in good old political satire (I darent mention the other DT, of the fake tan variety) and sex, drugs and white, rich man privilege in bucket loads. Similar to Jamie Lloyds Doctor Faustus, the cast engaged in nudity (ooh, how cheeky) and other theatrical rituals usually reserved for fringe theatre and put them in the Wyndhams with a large dollop of cheap humour on the side. Now normally his would merit a less-than-desirable response from yours truly (wow, guess whose writing this) but here, I can’t help but look through rose tinted glasses. In a season where there’s theatre about Brexit, Burns and all other manner of hard hitting yet regretfully relevant content – much of which I use as reference material in my academic essays, this was just what the doctor (make that as much of a David Tennant pun as you desire) ordered. It was critically engaged enough to make a point, primarily of class divide and patriarchal values, but separate enough for you to still be able to enjoy it as a night out at the theatre. After all, that’s how I fell in love with the art in the first place. Argue with me all you want, because I know the other reviews of the show are much more grumpy than this one. But I really liked it. Full stop.