How I Became A Dominatrix Using Damn Lies and Statistics, Vulcanello Productions, EtCtheatre

It’s not every day you see the majority of the room admit to trying BDSM in some form. Or maybe we should ask that question more. In a world where most people’s exposure to the BDSM scene is through the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy ‘How I Became A Dominatrix Using Damn Lies and Statistics’ offers a refreshing and safe introduction to the scene through the medium of a couple entering the scene in their mid-30’s.

 

On our seats were a handy pamphlet-cum-programme that was referred to in the production, and we were greeted warmly by the crew and we settled in for the night. We got a lot of direct address and some handy tips on how to tie people up. (Don’t mess with me now!) The American company hit their Camden audiences with some warm London references, and we were away. With, as I mentioned, a lot of the audience being familiar with “The Scene” jokes such as “Why did Jesus die on the cross… Because he forgot his safe word” were well aimed, and went down well.

 

The narrative of the couple, where the seemingly high-strung woman (Played brilliantly by Fleur De Witt) discovers The Scene through a wonderful means of the internet and actively begins attending class in Seattle, alongside her reluctant husband (played convincingly by Anthony Rhodes), who eventually found his niche in ropes- though it really wasn’t for him. Kyran Peet and Coral Tarran multi-rolled beautifully in a charming self-aware way that ran through the performance and kept it fresh.

 

The play was nice and funny- however, the ending was perhaps a little self-indulgent and seemed out of kilter with the playfulness of the rest of the show. But all in all a fun and informative evening!

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Time For Tea, Camden Fringe, Etcetera Theatre by Lita Doolan

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Camden Fringe has begun – woohoo! Two Lasses are exceedingly excited and we began in style, chit chatting with the cast and production team of Time For Tea, which opened the Fringe at the Etcetera Theatre. Might I also applaud the teams chirpy and warm spirit, which made our natter all the more engaging!

Chatting to Abbie (playing Mila), Shaun (playing Max) Jen (playing Emily) and Lita (the writer), we were able to delve into the shows meaning, high points and journey.

 

So my first question is – you’ve just opened the Camden Fringe! *cast cheers* How does that feel?

 

Shaun: i didn’t even realise it was the first one on until a few weeks ago, and I was just like, oh my god, we’re the first ones on, wow, crazy!

Jen: Yeah, it’s very exciting, it’s the first time I’ve ever done Camden fringe, I’ve quite often done Edinburgh Fringe, but Camden Fringe is a new one on me, yeah it’s just exciting

So how do you feel that Camden fringe is different to the Edinburgh fringe – so far that is!

Jen: Not entirely sure since we were the first thing, and I’ve not had a look around yet, but obviously it’s smaller and more compact, and er I’m about to have a look at the brochure and see what else is on!

Lita: I think the Camden fringe is a lot more accessible, it’s a lot cheaper to put work on, because it can cost up to £10,000 to put a show on in Edinburgh so I think you can get more experimental work at Camden you can take more of a risk, and also it’s easier for people to you know, try something

Do you guys wanna tell us what it’s like working as a company together?

Abi: Yeah so with this show it’s interesting, its ensemble but at the same time none of the characters have any interaction together, its 3 separate monologues, so you’ve got to be very aware of each other on stage, of your relationship with each other and I think we were just discovering in our rehearsal process that the relationships we have with each other on stage even though we’re not actually in dialogue with each other so I think that’s been something interesting to explore in the rehearsal room,  figuring out that, especially as were 3 people who’ve never worked together before and that’s sort of the industry anyway, meeting new people all the time

Shaun; yeah that’s the thing and also learning your cue line cause you’re not responding necessarily directly to what someone else has said, because you’re responding to your own thoughts, so you have to really sort of, focus on what the other people are saying and thinking about what’s that leading to me saying and so on

Jen: yeah, it’s very much that, because your not even looking at them and sometimes in rehearsal you know, ive looked and it’s like “no don’t look”, so it’s using your peripheral vision a lot as well, so you know what’s going on around you.

Great, now this ones specifically for Lita, so can you say why you were compelled to write about the Cowgate fire?

Lita: Yes, so when I was growing up, I did lose a young friend to a fire, and I think probably there is that element of grief, that loss that is still lurking, and with Cowgate fire it was just I was still going through the emotions of when that happened, so it was just the case of buildings that I just loved and were so supportive to my creative process, and they were just gone it was like losing a person, those rituals, those routines you were so familiar with they’re just never gonna be the same again and you can’t replace the architecture really.

Kirsty: So it’s really really personal then,

Lita: Yeah

 It must have felt really special to have it put on today then,

Lita: Oh yeah it’s a special feeling for me today, brilliant.

Ok then, so can you please tell me your favourite line in the play?

Abbie: Ooh, ok, I don’t know why this one just stuck out to me, but “I want to be free of this memory, I can’t pray because I’m scared of saying ‘God, get me out of here’ and finding out Jesus doesn’t work.”

Shaun: I think mine is when I talk about Mila’s criminal foster father and I say “He wears a YouTube t-shirt, and tells everyone that YouTube is base player and that click is his friend”

Jen: I hope I’m allowed to say this one! I say “ I just vay pee sticks and fuck bus drivers, it’s all lies”

Lita: “I left it just to keep the f***ing job” because I do think that jobs make you do things you didn’t really want to do.

 

Kirsty: can you try and sum up your piece in 3 words?

Lita: Sad, Open, Hopeful.       

We wish it all the best in the future!

An Interview with ChewBoy Productions

We were joined in The Southbank Centre by George, Hal & Georgie to chat about their production, Euan.

Tell us a bit about you as a company and this show?

So we’re a new company And we’re trying to branch out across theatre and film, we’re dedicated to working with new and young artists across these different areas making work that isn’t necessarily always being able to be made. Our Ethos is making work that sticks, and that you can chew on.

Euan is kind of this crazy little experiment that is very weird and, we’d like to say wonderful, but we’re not sure if wonderful is the right word! It’s very non stop and hits home different points. Basically, our idea behind it was to leave a lot up to interpretation so that every audience member will come away with something different from it in terms of what Euan is.

You don’t necessarily have to enjoy it (although that would be great!) We just don’t want them to be bored we hope they get entertained by the show! Everything in it is shrouded in mystery, conversations are kind of going one way and then you’re sat there thinking, oh wait, that wasn’t what I was expecting! It’s kind of been born and bread from a very small idea it’s a very conversational piece and that kind of makes the nonsensical aspect because in everyday conversation you just sort of talk and it changes topic the play sort of mirrors that in the way that it flips between things it’s erratic.

Your marketing style really stands out from the crowd, already making the reader feel part of the production, (Not a question Kim) tell us about how this reflects the personality of your show and you as a company?

We want to make our work as accessible as possible to anyone and everyone we felt like just speaking how we do Is the best way to approach people and be like “Hey, this isn’t not for you!” (That was a sentence and a half!)

We like having fun on social media, we feel like the most engaging things are things that are like “Hey come down” and stuff like that. The whole ‘where’s Euan’ thing sort of mirrors the whole piece. Let’s make it fun let’s make it a mystery with the marketing! We tried to make it not too serious, and not to take ourselves too seriously. It is the first theatre piece we’ve done, we’ve done other things as well, but we were like let’s launch Euan with that and see what fun we can have with chatting to people, engaging with people and just basically putting ourselves out there. We didn’t want to make a production trailer that was just us in rehearsal, we wanted to make trailers that we thought would be funny if we watch them, and would make us want to go see the show

What have you enjoyed the most about this project?

Seeing a piece through from start to finish- because it’s our first theatre production we’ve had to do everything from public liability insurance to the marketing and the artwork and all the print designs. With writing, producing, and directing it’s all kind of come into to one thing. It has just been a massive challenge, and we’ve been involved with things we’ve never done before- it’s been a massive learning curve!

And working with your mates, we’ve had lots of fun with it, and we’ve only got on each other’s nerves once or twice. It’s nice cos you can just chuck stuff in and try it out.

What do you think people will like most about the show?

Well, it’s whether they like it at all! It is odd, I think the main thing is it doesn’t give you a chance to process things. You’re in one moment and you’re like “ok right”, and then you’re straight onto the next thing. I think the main thing is it is so weird, and it is so bonkers. Even if you’re like “I don’t know what I’ve just seen” You’ll also think “I’ve had a good outing” and that’s the main thing we are trying to get across.

You’re not from London, which is refreshing to see! What challenges have you faced in West Sussex, but also what advantages has that given you?

The audience is very different!  We’re so used to producing refined theatre and now we’re producing almost the opposite.

I’d say the biggest challenge has been that we only saw the space on Thursday! So we’ve had three days to be like “ok so does that work here!” And we haven’t been able to flyer and things like that because we’re not Central London. But it’s nice to not be in London because you’re outside of that hub and that bubble, so coming in with something new is kind of fresh and different to the scene.

Are you hoping to develop the piece? If so, how?

Well, we have already developed it quite a lot. It started as a 10-minute short piece, I got bet by my mate called Euan to write the play, and then for his birthday I put on a rehearsed reading. I think there’s only one section in the final script that was in the original- everything else has changed since then, and we’ve developed it into this hour-long version. I think after these six nights we’ll see where it lands, and see what works and then hopefully bring it back to- well somewhere! I think we’ll develop it through the week too, I think we always try to do that and change bits that aren’t quite landing as we go. We will try different ways of doing stuff, sometimes it works sometimes it… really doesn’t

Favourite line from the play?

We couldn’t tell you without ruining the show! Maybe the wanky bit?

Three words to describe the play? (none of them can be Euan!)

Are you in? (Say it out loud…)

Bizarre, ambiguous, nonsensical, fun, not-boring (hyphenated)

Tell us a funny story from rehearsals?

I got sort of slide kicked in the groin area in the dress run in front of people. There’s a section where we’re all grabbing a bag and were dragging it along the floor, and we all sort of run in to get that- and then you stacked it down- and then George two-legged slid right in like a right angle, and then all we heard was a blood-curdling squelch and a scream. That was bad…

There was the time we decided we were going to wear long socks with PE shorts for the show, and basically, we had a really good time for 2 hours just sliding around the floor. Until you slid, hit your ankles together, scraped your knee on the floor, and then sat up and hit your head on the mirror…

Anything else people should know before coming to the show?

Don’t take the play at face value. Nothing is as it seems. It’s not a play about Euan.

Euan runs from the 30th July- 4th August at The Tristan Bates Theatre.

Our review will be up soon, and we strongly recommend getting the cast knee and elbow pads rather than flowers for opening night!

Model Behaviour, Issy Knowles, Edinburgh Fringe Preview

Entering one of the poshest venues Two Lasses have reviewed in, the atmosphere was notably different to our typical, above a pub kind of venue. Here to see Model Behaviour, a one woman show by ex-model Issy Knowles about the notoriously cutthroat fashion industry. She began by entering the stage, wearing a pair of seemingly agonising red heels, which she proceeded to remove as quickly as possible and do the entire show barefoot.

The show was sardonic, with a running theme of performative re-tellings of the actors life experiences. I can safely assume the character portrayed was as close to the actor as humanly possible. It concluded with a chilling tale of sexual harassment on set. Artistically delivered, I just wish this moment had come a little bit sooner, to give a faster paced plot movement. The ending was revealing and dramatic, and left us on a meaty cliffhanger. All in all it was a well crafted and performed show, if not incorporating one too many tangents and risque jokes. The show knew its audience and I do believe it will do well in Edinburgh.

The show must be praised for its level of self awareness. Graphic moments, including a comic description of how a model simply isn’t allowed to poo. Comic reflections like this is what kept it going – making light of really quite rubbish situations. Particularly the show of “sexy” positions, especially the one on her head.

It was honest, it was truthful and it was revealing. A deep cut into an elitist industry which the world needs to be aware of.

 

Stable Boy, V.I.L.E Theatre, Etctheatre

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So the temperature has finally dropped (yes!) Unfortunately little black box theatres above pubs are not cool places! Anyone that knows me knows how much I dislike the heat- and how much of a compliment it is for me to say that this show made me not care about the sweat pouring like crazy from my body because I was too busy laughing!

 

I was excited when I saw that the show contained original music (by Terence Calvert) which aided scene transitions smoothly and comically and that for the first time in a while the melodramatic style of acting and music hit just the right spot- it screamed to me that V.I.L.E were a tight-knit theatre company that knew what they were doing.

 

The plot was relatively traditional, young character fulfils their ambition to be more than what they were born into- however, it was hilariously self-aware. gender swapping and timed looks to audience alongside dark, filthy humour which suspended us between shock and laughter. It’s not every day you see a pegasus with a French accent after all.

 

The show gave off vibes of a grown-up Monty Python with daddy issues. (I’m looking at you, daddy frog trying to kill his son.) Fast paced and without apology, you could see the exertion on the actors’ faces was clear, everyone was putting there all into this and the results showed that. Grace Hudson held her own as our naive protagonist, Samthony Hog she was endearing, and made you care for the character. As for the rest of the cast (Harry Mead, Harry Rigby, Marcus Tischhauser and Millie Done) all multi-rolled with sheer talent creating different roles, each one vastly imaginative and managing to be both unexpected and perfect at the same time.

 

If you get the chance to see this show we can’t recommend it enough!

Taking Liberties, Actors Awareness New Writing Festival, Barons Court Theatre

Vivid, brutal and hilarious, This one woman show ticked a lot of boxes for the lass reviewing.

 

First tick; the audience enters to a packet of a crisps on their seat. I love crisps, especially monster munch, hence I sat where I did. Although I was concerned the rustle of packets and munching of crispy treats would become irritating and distracting, however I was proved wrong as I actually found it gave the theatre character and a sense of community to the audience.

 

Second tick; the play was Northern! A Northern actress performing a one woman show based in Manchester. Actress Caroline Gray was splendid; a master in storytelling and a queen of the stage. The opening line of “Happy people piss me right off” set the comic tone for the entire performance, as heartbreaking moments of sorrow were met with eye watering streams of comedy. Caroline (in character as Amy) effortlessly transported us to a variety of different time periods and locations relevant to the life of Amy. In my notes the adjective ‘outstanding’ appears many times; outstanding sense of place, outstanding comic timing, outstanding audience interactions. Even though her character had been through hardships not usually reported on the stage, which could easily portray the character as a pity case, instead of feeling misery, you root for this woman and do actively believe there can be a positive ending.

 

Third tick; the unashamed, fearless conversation raised about mental health, the British class system and unconventional yet prevalent familial issues which are so often brushed under the carpet.

 

And the mention of my favourite Greggs breakfast deal. Tick number 4.

 

All in all I really wish this play the best in its future. It would be a waste of this critical piece of art for it not to go elsewhere and would encourage audiences of any socio-economic demographic to go and see it. Very well done.

 

An Interview with Tobacco Tea Theatre Company.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

We are Tobacco Tea, a Bristol-based theatre company specialising in making you laugh. From light, absurd parodies such as The Accidental Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (***** Theatre Bath) to dark contemporary satire such as Vitomori (**** Inter:Mission Bristol), to the Tarantino-esque period action comedy about highwaymen, Stand and Deliver (**** Epigram), and our ‘Hot Fuzz meets Game of Thrones’ parody, Parish Fête-ality: A Game of Scones (**** Remotegoat), we’re bringing comedy that matters roaring into the heart of British theatre.

Where did the interest with Sherlock Holmes begin?

Since childhood! I’ve read every one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories. More recently the impact of the BBC’s Sherlock made me revisit everything Holmes, and this loving but knowing parody is the result.

You’ve had three sell-out years at the Edinburgh Fringe; what makes this show last?

It’s a fun adventure that also manages to be genuinely clever. It’s a silly parody with a lot of substance, and the twists come thick and fast. I think that’s the core of it – there’s something for everyone no matter what variant of Sherlock Holmes you’re familiar with.

What is the biggest alteration you have made during the shows life?

We completely revamped the show with a director from Lecoq two years ago, so the entire performance style changed! It brought a dynamism and playfulness to the show that breathed new life into it.

Your show features gender bending! Tell us more about the decision making processes you made considering this in your show.

The principle here is that anyone can play anyone. There’s a great deal of role-playing and characters acting as other characters in the play, so saying to an audience that Holmes and Watson can be played by women is a natural extension of that.

What do you think we will like most about the show?

I think the twists and turns of the case and the surprising things we do to portray it!

 

Check out our review for The Accidental Adventures of Sherlock Holmes here!

 

Their Finest Hour, The Chilli Beans (Baked Bean Theatre Company), Putney Arts Theatre

The Baked Bean Theatre Company is a company that creates and performs with adults with learning disabilities- and it is 21 years old. The same age as us! It’s probably fair to say that they’re ageing more gracefully than we are!

 

We had the pleasure of joining them at the end of their week-long Birthday celebration for the Chilli Beans, who are the musical theatre group and third theatre company under the Baked Bean Theatre Company name. They joyfully presented ‘Their Finest Hour’- a show which beautifully closed 4 nights which showcased over 70 performers.

 

‘Their Finest Hour’ is set before and during the Second World War. The group tackled the entire length and breadth of the war, featuring scenes of land girls, the front line and the trusty home guard. This is something we have never seen attempted and we were impressed at the level of ease that they pulled off such a well-rounded perspective of the War, which is no mean feat.

 

The songs were well-chosen audience favourites, such as ‘Roll out the Barrel’ and ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ Special mention has to be given to the beautiful and heartwarming solo rendition of ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ by the wartime nurse who was very popular with the men in uniform. I strongly doubt anyone could claim to have not felt their heart break just a little bit.

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Kirsty, in particular,would like to applaud the young men who played the front line soldiers who made us all laugh by cracking jokes about Sunday Roasts and clearly, truly demonstrating how one’s safety rested on the flip of a coin when in battle.

 

During the interval, we were lucky enough to speak to Kay and “Triple Threat” Charlie who spoke to us about the shows they had been in earlier that week.

 

Kay told us “I was here last night on the big stage with the Baked Bean Players and Choir too. And last night I was doing my Adele song [To Make You Feel my Love]- the karaoke version.”

 

“Triple Threat” Charlie, so named by us as he sings, dances and acts with The Baked Bean Company spoke next saying; “I have a piece in players and choir and dancing, and my favourite bit from dancing was the boy band.’ He then showed us a bit of dancing from ‘Written In The Stars” His favourite piece from the dance show.

 

During these interviews it was crystal clear why the Baked Bean Company are so important- these adults are performers. That full stop is critical, their disability has no say in their ability to perform, and to give and receive joy from doing just that

 

So Happy Birthday Baked Beans, and here’s to the next 21!

The Accidental Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Tobacco Tea Theatre at the White Bear

This show came at the end of a busy day for us Two Lasses, as we finalised our plans for Camden Fringe and sorted our email inbox with style and efficiency.

The Accidental Adventures was performed at the White Bear Theatre and Pub in Kennington. Dog friendly and decorated with bear puns, we were thrilled to note that the theatre was nicely air conditioned. A perfect quality for a 30 degree day!

We went upstairs at quarter to nine to be joined by a surprisingly small audience for a show that has been running for three years. The stage had an array of different props, which peaked my interest- I was ready for something sleek and clever.

I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up, the play was comically mistitled as the adventure we went on was overly planned and so overplayed, it would have been more appropriate to hold up Brechtian “laugh now” cards.

The writing wasn’t overly at fault, other than that  the show took a while to get started and then slammed its foot on the accelerator, but the acting was missing some kind of smoothness and subtleties that would have made it funny. I don’t know if this was due to a new Watson coming on board, under rehearsal, or if they were all affected by the weather- but the production sadly felt stilted and off.

We still want to note some positives though, for example the fab techno remix of the famous Sherlock theme tune that tickled our fancies. Perhaps the main lesson to take from this production is that sometimes in theatre, less is more. The show squeezed an entire novels worth of content into an hour, with 3 actors playing a multitude of characters. Our advice: strip it down, build it back up. And good luck for the future!

 

The Squirrel Plays; Part of the Main at Theatre 503

It’s an exciting time, Edinburgh Fringe previews. So exciting, we often forget that the festival in its entirety is actually eh Edinburgh International festival, hence it would make sense for an all-American show to be treading the boards. The Squirrel Plays, by Mia McCullough was just this; an all-American satirical dig at the suburbs, through the intensely metaphorical interrogation of reproductive rights. As the title suggests, the metaphor was all about Squirrels, and their likeness to children – their ability to destroy a house, and in this case, ultimately a relationship.

The company had a fab use of the space and a comedic approach to their props. The characters laugh at the middle class, “white picket fence” Americans while highlighting societal racism and elitism. While the characters did this effectively, I can’t help but note they are all quite superficial, however they serve their purpose as opposing opinions while discussing the topic of abortion and payment. This was interesting to hear as a Brit, with all my privilege of the NHS, free contraceptive and health services. It may certainly bring a freshness to the festival.

So altogether, this features a nice circular plotline, a tricky subject content made talkable about by a furry animal like metaphor and occasional light comedy.

The Squirrel Plays will be performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 2-27 (not 13) at C Cubed on the Royal Mile. Go have a watch!