Sunday, June 16, 2013

This weekend saw the culmination of our spring project at Nevertheless Pub Theatre: When She Imagines... was written by Frome Scriptwriters, performed by Sara Taylor, and directed by Nevertheless Productions' founder Rosie Finnegan.  And every aspect - scripts, acting, and direction - was picked out for praise by enthusiastic audiences on both nights. Extraordinary, professional, engaging, enjoyable, brilliant, fantastic, impressive, thought-provoking, funny, accomplished, superbly acted, wonderful words beautifully interpreted, excellent production, amazing - worth the trip from Bristol... (You can read all the feedback is on Nevertheless facebook page.) Our venue at the Cornerhouse got thumbs-up for installing more comfortable seating, and we loved all the audience responses when asked why they would recommend Frome's pub theatre. Supporting local talent and enjoying good entertainment were often cited, and these three comments probably say it all:
  • The quality of performance and writing is superb, and gives the people of Frome the opportunity to experience live theatre for minimal outlay
  • It’s like no other theatre - intimate, warm, cosy, and perfect
  • Frome is bursting with talent and in the current economic climate Nevertheless has shown what you can do on a low budget
Here's Sara in her three roles as three very different women, age 25 in A Blue Line by Paul Ralston, 50 in Tighe O'Connor's play Hello five O, and 75 in A Long Wonderful Silence by Eddie Young. Frome Scriptwriters' competitions are always sent as anonymous submissions to an external judge, by the way, so some men, in Frome at least, can empathise with a women when she imagines....

Victoria Park on Saturday looks like a Peter Greenaway film as Frome hosts the national Town Cryer competition. I know nothing about crying, in the civic sense, and am intrigued to glean more about this tradition. Judging is on dress, voice, and cry content apparently: two cries each, separated by Morris dancing. "First cry is about the town, second cry is about a news item," explains one of the Axbridge team over tiffin. Everyone makes their own costumes but the Swindon entrant demurs when I ask if he chose his green jacket. "Some of them make it up to please themselves, but this is Great Western Railways!” I don't know who won but they all looked glorious ~ long may they cry for their towns!

It’s easy to spoof Shakespeare ineptly, baffling audience members who don’t know the plots and irritating ones who do. I approached Machamlear at Bath's nice little Rondo theatre with a trepidation which turned out to be totally needless: Dougie Blaxland’s paradic blending of three tragedies into a contemporary soap saga is a hilarious by any standards, and Live Wire community theatre company had terrific fun with it. The basic plots of each play are as recognisable as the Eastenders theme music that links the scenes, but all three are inextricably intertwined as action moves around the London suburb of Burnham Wood with plots are hatched by Mac and Beth and Claude Elsinore in the Kings' Head, the pub Ken Lear has unwisely handed over to his greedy elder daughters... “My mother’s married a total dickhead” moans Hamlet to Cordelia, the only one who understands since Ophelia dumped him, and they run away together followed by hoodies Rosie Krantz and Gill Denstone... The stories end in similarly cross-fertilised mass slaughter. “I’ve never seen so many corpses," declares the doctor ~ there’s always a doctor in a soap ~ "Things like this only happen in plays!” The cast's five youngsters add charming energy to the production and there's zestful acting all round with a superbly scene-stealing cameo as Banquo’s ghost from Jackie Eliot. Spanking script, lively direction, great night out.

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