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Category Archives: comedy

Drunken Brainstorm – pre-Edinburgh fringe interview

Drunken Brainstorm is a new theatre company based in London. Their debut show, How to Mend the World (with a student play) recently ran at the Old Red Lion Theatre and opens at the Edinburgh Fringe on 12 August at theSpace on the Mile.

The Drunken Brainstorm company. Courtesy of Facebook.
The Drunken Brainstorm company. Courtesy of Facebook.

I asked Tilly Price (actor and producer) and Joshua Silverlock (director) to tell me a bit more about the company and the show.

The title of your piece, How to Mend the World (with a student play), offers many possibilities. What might an audience coming along in London or Edinburgh expect?

JS – It’s a very thorough exploration of what each individual can do to help resolve the various crises currently affecting the world we live in. I think often people think that because they are just one person in a population of 7 billion they can’t make a difference but actually if you are a privileged (preferably white) theatre student from Notting Hill you can put on an experimental play that will have a huge impact. That’s just one option. We explore them all.

TP – I should probably say, Josh is not going to take this seriously. Sorry. It’s a riotous character comedy mixing satire, slapstick, and surrealism to take a jab at some of the more pretentious theatre makers within our ranks.

You’ve chosen Arthur Miller’s The Crucible as your inspiration. Are you planning to tease out some themes from that in your 45 minute show, or keep things light?

JS – There’s a scene in this play in which a cucumber is snapped and grated in place of a penis. Take from that what you will.

TP – The characters in How to Mend the World (with a student play) do discuss The Crucible and it’s ‘themes’ but it becomes clear that the majority have misunderstood the text completely (or not even read it). Indirectly, the play itself exposes certain themes and ideas from The Crucible as part of the narrative but this too is kept light.

Tell me about your cast and creatives, and how Drunken Brainstorm came together. What might we expect from you in the future?

JS – We met on Hampstead Heath late at night. No more questions on this please.

TP – Our cast/creatives are made up of graduates from a few drama schools. We have four actors (myself, Liam Hurley, Francis Nunnery and Oliver Tritton-Wheeler). While some of us attended parts of our education together (three of us met at the Arts Ed sixth form and two on the RADA Foundation), we met as a group in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which we played the mechanicals. We really enjoyed working with each other and decided shortly after that our relationship couldn’t stop with ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’.

Drunken Brainstorm in How to Mend the World (with a student play)
Drunken Brainstorm in How to Mend the World (with a student play)

You’re at the Old Red Lion in Islington for two nights, then on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. What are you most looking forward to from your chosen venues, and how will the spaces inspire your performance and production?

JS – I’m most looking forward to meeting the Old Red Lion himself, I’ve been a fan since a very young age so will be amazing to be working together at last!

TP- All our venues have a different layout which has been great for ensuring our production is very adaptable (this is good for the future too). I think the different audiences we will have in London and up in Edinburgh will be really interesting and with a comedy I love the variety in audience reactions. The different audiences keep the play fresh and I think our venues are diverse which can only add to this. This is our first time at the Edinburgh Fringe as a company and I think the play we have created is extremely suited to that audience so it’s an exciting opportunity.

This production utilised crowdfunding, which is an exciting way for theatre fans to support emerging artists and companies. How can audiences support Drunken Brainstorm in the future?

JS – I need a new bike. So …

TP – The crowdfunding was amazing for us as it has demonstrated the support we have for the company. We were touched by how many people wanted to contribute. The best way to support us now is to come and watch our performances in Edinburgh (at theSpace on the Mile from 12-24 August) or our possible future London/touring shows. Keep an eye out for these on our social media pages. TwitterInstagramFacebook.

Poster for How to Mend the World (with a student play)
Poster for How to Mend the World (with a student play)

My thanks to Tilly and Josh for their time – best wishes to the company for their Edinburgh run!

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Welcome to loureviews.blog!

About this blog

I started this blog in 2011 to report back on shows I have attended, mainly theatre but also some concerts and sporting events.

It has also become a vehicle for some film, television (current and archive), book reviews, and some more personal pieces.

About me

On a professional level I worked for twenty-five years as a librarian, and also am a published writer – academic articles, poetry, popular culture – and spent five years editing a journal for a major publisher. If you would like to know more, see my LinkedIn profile.

As of 2019 writing and editing has become my main job, and I am very keen to engage with productions, outlets, and arts organisations to expand my coverage and my reviews.

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Please feel free to browse through my work on here or via my Twitter feed (@loureviewsblog). I am also developing my YouTube channel | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook and will be launching a sibling blog to this one to concentrate on DVD releases during 2019.

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You can contact me at louise@loureviews.blog and I will respond to you as soon as I can.


Dave Gorman (Royal Festival Hall)

With a new show entitled ‘With Great Powerpoint Comes Great Responsibility Point’, Dave Gorman brings a hilarious new show on tour with lots of insight, more than a few surprises, a lot of Powerpoint slides, and a killer joke about a giraffe.

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It’s a long show – we excited the hall at 10.45pm – and one Nick Doody supports in a kind of subversive John Shuttleworth-style.  Not to give any secrets or segments of the show away, I can say there is a great pre-show routine which pays off after the interval, and a domestic with the often-quoted Mrs Gorman which ends up involving some old friends you’ll recognise from ‘Modern Life is Goodish‘ in a convoluted way.

You may get old favourites.  You may get new perspectives.  You may never look at one particular word with a silent letter in it again.  You’ll be talking about the giraffe joke for weeks.  A high point of Gorman’s appeal.

Ever since ‘Are You Dave Gorman‘ debuted on TV in 2001, Gorman’s modus operandi has been a laptop, a checked shirt, a clicker, and a lot of cheek.  His fast-moving and quirky mind makes connections between the most mundane items and utilises social media platforms to develop routines in bizarre directions.  Not for him the basic fruits of observational comedy beloved of so many stand-ups.

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A superior evening which will make you cry with laughter and keep you on your toes.

 


Conversations with Penn & Teller (indigO2, London)

Originally published on my LiveJournal blog 10th December 2011.

After a long absence from the UK, accomplished magicians Penn & Teller have started making welcome returns to these shores, and the three nights of ‘Conversations’ last week in the O2’s baby venue followed on from their (admittedly hit and miss) TV talent spotting show ‘Fool Us’ and their successful show at the Hammersmith Apollo last year.

On the first night which we attended Mr Jillette and Mr Teller were in conversation with their good friend Jonathan Ross, while performing a small selection of their greatest tricks (Teller’s needle and thread illusion, the hand stab, the cups and balls, the polyester illusion, and a new piece involving an audience member being tricked by a couple of metal hoops).  Although we have heard the story before of the Latin teacher and the teenage street juggler deciding to work together – now in their thirty-seventh year as performers, and the longest running in terms of stage time in the USA – it is always fun to hear the background of an artist and here the duo didn’t disappoint.

A lengthy Q&A at the end allowed some discussion of the topics covered in Showtime’s long-running series ‘Bulls**t” (only shown briefly here in the UK. on the DMAX channel I believe) in which the duo debunk many areas of knowledge such as religion, politics, mediums, and much more.  It was clear from PJ’s answer to a question about mediums how much he resents their exploitation of the grieving bereaved (and also how much he loves and respects his late parents, who passed around ten years ago).  Also his love for his family, EZ and children Mox and Z who came to him late in life.  Mr Teller is rather less forthcoming about his personal views, but he was fascinating on the subject of silent performing and the work of Derren Brown and mesmerics.

All this makes me want to reach for the handful of VHS recordings I have of their 1990s series ‘The Unpleasant World of Penn & Teller’ or to watch their flawed but funny film ‘Penn & Teller Get Killed’ from 1989.

Come back soon guys.

(Incidentally the indigO2 is a weird, weird venue.  Something like a nightclub and although it was OK for this show, I would hate to watch something more conventional here.  Our last experience of this venue was for Bryn Terfel and it was just wrong on every level to see an opera star there).


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