PRESS RELEASE: Runt of the Litter presents Little Things You Learn

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Press Release, Theatre
Tuesday 28th September at 7pm
Wednesday 29th September at 7pm
Tickets: £6.50 | Concessions: £4.50
Running Time: 45 minutes

Audience warnings: Single bad word, flashing lights.

When four strangers that were once siblings are reunited by an unfortunate event, they are plunged into a fantastical world. A place where their memories are a reality and their childhood is revived. A safe space to explore what happened all that time ago. Little Things YouLearn uses children’s imagination as a vessel to explore attachment in its many forms.

This whimsical world is a visual feast of colour and makeshift storytelling. Little Things You Learn is a reverse coming of age tale stooped in nostalgia, full of bittersweet accounts that will make you both laugh and cry.

Mommy’s Dead and They Buried Her in Moscow | Nervous Theatre

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 6-30 | On Demand | C Arts | Get Tickets | Learn More about the company

Three siblings are desperately questioning whether or not there is more to life as they navigate love and death, wondering if there truly would be more to their existence if they could move back to their vibrant hometown of Moscow or ‘What if we’re just three miserable people who would be miserable anywhere…?’

Told in an empty theatre and filmed in a single shot this show does an amazing job to replicate the feel of seeing something live on a stage without actually being there, more so than anything else I’ve seen this pandemic.

This talented group of actors and musicians have a knack for modern storytelling finding an original and exciting way to reimagine Chekhov’s Three Sisters for a young audience whilst still maintaining the cynical witticism of the text.

Integrating music and focusing on the siblings with no other cast is a clever way to maintain the core values of the script, looking at the family relationships and asking if there are really helping or hindering each other.

Remarkably complicated direction comes across as simple and effortless thanks to the brilliant cast and beautiful design.

An electrifying company who I hope will attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in real life soon! I will be queuing up for tickets!

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • Reimagining old pieces for a new generation (especially canonical works like Chekhov) is a great way to attract the attention of the press or a traditional repertory audience, especially when it’s done this well. Once this crowd is attracted, others will follow! It’s although worth mention how tricky it is to make Chekhov this accessible. I remember reading his back catalogue at uni and it can be pretty dry, to say the least. I’ve never felt more connected and come out with a clearer understanding of his work than I have watching this production, so well done Nervous Theatre! An exciting new company that I will be sure to keep a close eye on!

Hear. Speak. See. | Expial Atrocious

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 16-30 | On Demand | Fringe Player | Get Tickets

 

Is this the dinner party from hell… or is it limbo? Is that your conscience talking to you or is it so bizarre that, in a strange twist of fate, it might just be real.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland meets Stephen Berkoff’s Metamorphosis in this newly devised production from Midlands-based company Expial Atrocious.

Half delirium, half horror movie and filmed through a fish-eye lens from the point of view of you, the guest, you’re immediately immersed into this twisted tale.

Faye, Ez and Nic give carefully examine how to characterise the concepts of Hear, Speak and See no evil through different dynamics and distinctive, individualised performances whilst serving this doomed driver their last super.

A truly original show executed to the freakiest and most fantastic standard.

 

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • This play experiments with cutting edge technology. I imagine it has been designed to work in a virtual reality headset. When cutting off senses so the tea party is all you can see and the creepy dialogue and eerie effects are all you can hear the action can only be enhanced. The perceived glitches to different areas of the room would add to the paranormal feel of the piece.
  • Another added bonus is the fact it can be directly streamed to headsets in your home and create the same if not a better experience than if you were actually on location. This has a huge budget impact as once it has been filmed the costs can be kept relatively low for online, on-demand streaming.

Fairytale 20/20 | body portal theatre

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 16-30 | On Demand | Greenside @ GreenScreen | Get Tickets

 

This beautifully made short film examines exactly what it means to live ‘Happily Ever After’.

Choreographer, Sarah Lee, and actor, Ella Jung, are looking to produce their Fairytale show for a performing arts festival, but quickly realise, coming from the world of theatre, they have no idea how to make a film.

Considering this they have successfully managed to make a documentary meets storytelling extravaganza packed full with stunning content and superbly put together.

Interweaving their process into every step of this film body portal theatre takes us through external workshopping their ideas to creating a series of tales reflecting both what they’ve learnt and their own opinions on the meaning of ‘Happily Ever After’.

They use innovative mask work, flowing costume and simple choreography to tell these modern folk stories with the gorgeous settings of Hawaii as a backdrop, you can’t help but feel positive after watching this! They may not have known how to make a film but they have most certainly nailed it.

 

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • If you don’t know how, just give it a go. Sure you can sit around discussing it until you’re blue in the face but that’s not actually going to create any work (unless you put it in the documentary like body portal theatre have). We live in a golden age of technology and online education so if in doubt Google what to do or check out a YouTube video. Then get your work out there! And you might just make yourselves a little gem of performance art, a new entity in itself, carving out your own path and developing your own techniques for your own work, like Fairytale 20/20.

It Kind of Looks Like a Doughnut | Holly Boyden with Curve Theatre and Pleasance

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 6-30 | On Demand | Pleasance Online | Get Tickets

Two ‘sort of’ friends from the East Midlands navigate the confusing and sometimes scary world of sexual health clinics and sexual preferences as one embarks on childbirth and the other is diagnosed with advanced HPV.

The show closely follows the story of Eva and Jo as they struggle through life with the additional appearance of an intermediary character who is part narrator, part multirole player and part Greek Chorus explaining and commenting on the action as it unfolds.

This excellent new writing from Holly Boyden has been distinctly designed for the stage using tables and choreography to transition from scene to scene allowing the audience’s imagination to fill in the gaps.

It’s no wonder this piece of theatre won the 2021 National Partnership Award with Curve Theatre. As a Midlander, it is easy to see why a Leicestershire Theatre would want to back this. As a semi-autobiographical writing it is immensely informative at times and mightily moving at others.

As a recent graduate, this is Holly’s first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe (albeit virtually) and I suspect not her last. A strong start is bound to have an exciting future.

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • Keep your sets simple! This show (I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying) is designed with Lack Tables from IKEA, which is a stroke of genius! Not only do they cost next to nothing, they flatpack down making this show crazy easy to tour and are cunningly adaptable to create almost any location needed for the play. They can also be quickly modified to account for any shape or size venue this performance may enter. And they are available from any IKEA in the world, so if you lose or break them they are very easy to quickly replace.
  • Having the two main characters supported by just one other cast member who multirole plays all other needed characters and narrates the story is very shrewd. Not only does this keep cast costs low but also creates a somewhat mystical element to the storytelling that would otherwise be lost.

Femme Ta Bouche | A Drunken Sailor

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 16-21 | 7.35pm | theSpaceUK@Triplex | Learn More

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, the fabulous, the feminine and the fantastically inspiring Femme Ta Bouche.

Now, SHUT YOUR MOUTH and listen up!

Femme Ta Bouche is from the southern states of America. A new kind of performer who is wowing the world with her gender-bending cabaret act. And for what may be her last performance, at least for now, she intends to break into a Christian, Gay Conversion Camp, on film, and expose their secrets.

Although it got off to a bit of a slow start (I felt the first scene could have been about half the length) after twenty minutes I was completely engrossed in the story. An intelligently written metaphor reflecting the beauty and fragility of love splendidly ties together the beginning and end and keeps you hooked throughout.

The scenes were interspersed with backstory told through simple and skillfully edited projected film enabling us to understand the finer details of the action.

An important premise and informative show well performed. With a bit more workshopping I think this could be refined into a prolific theatre show.

 

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • It’s hard to believe that these horrendous atrocities still take place, especially in the Western World. I think theatre can find a place of importance in education to ensure as many people as possible know about these camps. Hopefully, awareness will bring change.

Triple Bypass: Three Ten-Minute Plays About Living for Death and Dying for Life | Hardly Working Promotions LLC in conjunction with Aberdeen Community Theatre

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 6-30 | On Demand | Online@theSpaceUK | Get Tickets

Enjoy three plays in one with this smorgasbord of new writing from Deena Ronayne. This year it’s online and being virtually cast to 14 festivals worldwide but next year the intention is to return to the fringe with a cast of locally sourced Scottish actors.

The selection opens with Seeking Dignity a desperately dark narrative between a mysterious man who is seeking death and the girl next door who wants to drag him through the pain of life for as long as possible. When you’re already dying is that punishment enough for the mistakes of life?

We conclude with Tango-ed Web paralleling human existence with the natural life cycle of insects, exploring what is the meaning of life and we can ever really dodge fate and avoid our true destinies.

These pieces sandwich my personal favourite Close to Black where two very different women meet outside a nightclub. Elements of this show reflect Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, as two women (who we assume are Amy Winehouse and Karen Carpenter) have a conversation wondering what awaits them in the afterlife.

There’s some great writing here and all these short stories have enough substance to be explored as long-form plays. Take Close to Black, for example, I can see this with additional characters like Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe or Britney Murphy all discussing problems they’ve had through life and how these are overcome with death.

A dark yet strangely optimistic series giving you countless reasons to live!

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • If you’re experimenting with writing styles and ideas this is a great way to showcase your scripts and workshop your ideas. By bringing scripts alive with a cast and crew you may discover more than you ever could have working alone. This way you can establish which concepts you want to focus on.
  • It also allows any potential collaborators out there to see a wider array of what you’re capable of! These scripts are written in three very different styles showing the breadth of Deena Ronayne’s writing styles.

Disrobed – The Virtual Event | Troy Matthew Peterson Productions and The Southern Californian Naturist Association

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 6-30 | On Demand | Fringe Player | Get Tickets

We’ve all suffered through countless Zoom calls over the past few years but I doubt as many would be been as awkward or eye-opening as this one.

It’s time for Eric to meet the family as his fiancé Skye wishes to formally announce their engagement but little does he know he will see a lot more than he bargained for as Skye has overlooked the fact that her family are naturists.

Eric, played by Troy Peterson, has skilled comic timing displaying natural expertise in his delivery which carries the show from start to finish, alongside its clever and incredibly relatable formatting reflecting the way we have all experienced social events over the last 18 months.

The intention of the show is for the audience to come away feeling like we wanna give naturism a go but the second half of this script needs a little more retargeting in favour of the central character. As a majority of the viewers will relate with Eric more so than the others some of the content, like drawing constant attention to his slight stomach, can come across as a personal attack in which the family seem to be bullying, more than encouraging, but with a little tweaking here and there this could easily go the other way.

A light-hearted and easy-going watch so if you’re looking for an escape into a few laughs then give this show a go.

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • The marketing of this show is excellent, from their modern and original show branding, their hilarious and informative social media content and their additional behind the scenes content including interviews and outtakes. If you’re looking for advice on how to max out your social engagement then Disrobed is the perfect example of this!
  • It’s a collaboration between Troy Matthew Peterson Productions and The Southern Californian Naturist Association. This means double the overall coverage for your show: double the social media , double the funding, double the existing audience, double the cause, you see where I’m going with this. This is a perfect collaboration for a project like this one and something to considered when creating your own work.

Lost in Love | Flow Stage Productions

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 6-30 | On Demand | Fringe Player | Get Tickets

Follow Emily through her emotional turmoil as she struggles with losing her boyfriend and her best friend. With questionable coping mechanisms and seemingly sketchy avoidance strategies will Emily confront her demons? And will we learn what really went on?

Filmed in a studio theatre this one-woman show utilised the technical aspects of theatre well, separating settings with lighting and sound. This showed great ingenuity of design which was only enhanced in the editing for online viewing.

A little confused at times and an undeveloped story which comes to its climax in the last five minutes with limited explanation throughout of the protagonist. Emily comes across a little superficial, but with some reworking of the script and more details of her story drip-fed throughout the audience would have a mystery to solve and the impact of the ultimate twist would be far greater.

A stunning performance from Rachel Pryde and a great script from Nathan Keane and Megan Bowie. With a little more work I think this could be an incredibly impactful piece of theatre.

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • There are so many perks to doing a show with one member of cast. Here Rachel Pryde carries the show with such passion and skill it is impossible not to remain engaged. If you’re a small scale company or you’re just starting out having just one performer can be a cheap and effective way to get your work out there.
  • SPOILER ALERT: By taking a theme like abusive relationships this piece could immediately do a lot of good in the world. Consider working with charities, researching grants, touring into schools or unis or even community centres to get shows like this off the ground. There is an abundance of potential opportunities out there for a moving monologue like this one.

Alex – Or What Happened on the Train to London | Alex and The Cast

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 6-30 | On Demand | C Arts | Get Tickets

 

A train to London stops in its tracks, a mysterious package has been left on a seat and a group of strangers are forced into conversation discussing their own personal journeys which have led them to this point.

The music in this show is completely original and superbly devised with beautiful harmonies and some distinctive tunes. The excellent singing ability of the cast can really shine through the arrangements and composition.

The storyline is simple, similarly to Come From Away, we learn about the characters both individually and as a whole cast, learning the events which have brought them together on this fateful day.

A few story elements need a bit more thought, like that mysterious suitcase. I suspect the cast is too young to have lived through the devasting events of the 7/7 bombings in London, but I can assure you an unattended piece of luggage would be taken far more seriously, most likely being the reason for the train stopping.

But please don’t take this negatively, although a little naïve it’s brimmed with talent and potential.

If Alex and Company take this further, they should consider exploring this and incorporating it into your characters and action. An exciting company and one to keep an eye on, I suspect there is greatness in many of their futures!

 

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • Try to make your show as accessible as possible! This show has an unfortunate issue with sound balance, and it can be difficult to hear the lyrics and dialogue, which is a shame because they have a lot to say. If you’re not in a position to rerecord or alter the sound in post-production a super quick fix here would be to add some subtitles, it’s pretty easy and would immediately improve both the accessibility and audience understanding of the show. And why not use the medium of film to your advantage.