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Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.London - The People!
Parties, events, people...
Rose Theatre Launch 2007 - Park Street SE1 - Thursday 18 October 07
Fringe Report's First Monday At The Arts - Monday 1 October 07
London Film Festival Press Launch 2007 - Odeon West End Cinema - Thursday 13 September 07
Fringe Report's First Monday At The Arts - Monday 3 September 07
Casting Call Pro Student Award 2007 - Keston Lodge, Islington - Thursday 5 July 07
Peter Hepple Memorial Service - The Actors' Church, St Paul's Covent Garden - Friday 11 May 07
UdderBelly Press Launch - Old Steine, Brighton - Friday 4 May 07
Almeida Theatre Reception - Big White Fog - Friday 27 April 07
Sue Scott Davison - Birthday Drinks - Akbar - Wednesday 28 March 07
Drinks - Glasshouse Stores - Tuesday 20 March 07
Comic Relief - Oxfam Bookshop Kensington - Friday 16 March 07
OTHER GOSSIP & CONTACT:
London 06 - The People!
Edinburgh 06 - The People!
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Crystal Clean - Edinburgh 05 gossip column
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Crystal Clean - Edinburgh 04 gossip column
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Drinks tonight at London's central and extremely classy Arts Theatre. It's just outside the naughty part of Soho (though not too far). It nudges Covent Garden (but not far enough in to make liking opera compulsory). It's very louche and – fortunately for the desperately safe and dull place the West End has become – becoming a lot more so as it blossoms under its new and energetic management.
The Arts is famous for the legendary beauty (and handsomeness) of its staff. These include tonight gorgeous theatre manager Gilda Frost, and very handsome front of house managers Max Ferreira and Patrick MacDonald. Equally gorgeous and handsome (as appropriate) stage manager Gwynneth Ellis, dancer and actor Emily Green and writer, mime and director Joe Connor work tonight's bars. The Arts Theatre's charming theatre programmer and proprietor, rugged Martin Witts is here, chatting to everyone and generally making people feel welcome.
Here is sound artist and delightful chap Martin A Smith (www.martinasmith.co.uk), lovely Rachel Mason (Channel 4), and urbane Dr Gary Diomandes (Chair, Theater Arts, St Mary's University of Minnesota www.smumn.edu/theatre). Producer Jesse Romain. Poet, playwright, singer, actor, and legendary green-eyed beauty Alison Trower. Flame-haired temptress Hils Jago aka The Amused Moose (www.amusedmoose.com), doyenne of British comedy. Band and talent manager Steve Ludwin. Distinguished film producer John Timlin. Performers Emi Pedro, Mocnu Laude, Toby Halde, Vikka Gyllenburg, Jonathan Kemely. Extremely good-looking ace publicist and PR Dan Pursey (www.mobiusindustries.com). Musician, poet, performance and sound artist Brett Gowlett. Fabulously pretty artist Agnes Poitevin-Navarre (www. cushionculture.com).
Sublime comedian and lovely person Elise Harris. The UK and Europe's stand-out critic gorgeous Kate Copstick, writer and director (Bobby's Girl Productions). Fringe legend Jackie Skarvellis, playwright and actor. Multiple-award-winning tv and stage actor and playwright Ray Gardner. Stephen Brown. Playwright, actor and Dynamis CEO Marcus Markou. Writer Roger Howe. The incredibly talented photographer pretty Alice Mutasa (www.placesandseasons.org.uk). Producer and performer Ewelina Kolaczek (www.switchtheatre.com). Publisher and bachelor playboy Rupert Keenlyside. Joe Hague.
Theatre programming supremo Dave Mauchline (www.davemauchline.com). Artist and writer Parissa Etessami. Lighting and sound designer hunky Andy Nicholson (www.allstagesltd.co.uk/). London's prettiest creative producer and writer Anna Bewick (www.realcircumstance.com). Blue Compass, CastingCallPro and Remote Goat joint gurus Chris Timms & Simon Dale (girls, they're single, incredibly good-looking, and not gay). Publicist lovely Adanma K Frederick. Andrew J Lederer, ace comedian. Breathtakingly beautiful actress, writer, improviser, singer Sara Pascoe. Blag Theatre joint director (with Lynn Beaumont) Ricky Beaumont (www.blagtheatre.com/). Literary agent pretty Niamh Walsh. Fabulous comedian Tanyalee Davis. Kali Theatre general manager Chris Corner (www.kalitheatre.co.uk). Gorgeous award-winning actress Genevieve Swallow.
John Park - Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport Street, London WC2H - 1 October 07 - (c) www.fringereport.com
It's not absolutely clear how playwright Christopher Marlowe died (see Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Marlowe), but being stabbed above the right eye during a struggle is a popular version. He was about 29. His birth date is not exactly known, but he was christened in 1564. He died in 1593 at Deptford, near the theatre that made him famous - The Rose, in what is now Park Street. It opened in 1587, about a year after he started writing.
Tonight sees the launch of The Rose's first resident company since Marlowe's day. TheATRE hE, mME, mm (www.theatrehe.co.uk)'s season runs from 23 October to 15 December 07 and director Mike Miller, fresh from a lively experience directing NewsRevue's London run during August 07, greets guests in an attractive white lace shirt (he's also wearing trousers), with a red rose buttonhole. Two performers do short Marlowe routines. Patron Ed Hall speaks about The Rose Theatre (www.rosetheatre.org.uk), and drinks commence.
Belle of the ball is Tracy Keeling, one of the resident company's two writers and the first woman playwright ever to have a play performed at the Rose (full story). Pretty Tracy looks lovely in a pink couture ballgown to mid-calf, sexy high heels, gorgeous red hair swept back, her elegant figure emphasised by the close cut of her dress: the girl's stepped straight off the cover of Vogue. Everyone else in the room - mainly the boys, this is theatre - is silently spitting blood trying to be as beautiful as Tracy. Can't be done.
The Rose Theatre now consists of a performance space above the original foundations of the Rose, all contained within the lower part of an office building constructed in the 1990s. Southwark Bridge Road crosses at high level as a bridge over Park Street. On Park Street, the entrance to the Rose is just to the left of the bridge, and can be reached by a small public staircase down from Southwark Bridge Road.
Christopher Marlowe's exact contemporary was William Shakespeare (c 1564 – 1616) - they were baptised in the same year. Shakespeare's theatre was The Globe. The present-day Globe is a modern reconstruction nearby. But the actual site of the Globe was on Park Street, a couple of hundred yards from the Rose, on the opposite side of the road. The Globe's location is marked by a sign in a small open space on the south side of Park Street just to the east of bridge. It's not hard to imagine the two playwrights outside their theatres, competing for audiences. They were offering spectacular entertainment to a mass market - much more like cinema than theatre today. And their language wasn't a history lesson then - they were modern, fresh, revolutionary, and after packed houses.
Tony Toller, Rose Theatre Trustee and Director, is absent but receives great acclaim in the speeches. Those here include: Rose Theatre manager Pepe. Producer Sue Scott Davison. Actor Keith Larkin. Composer and arranger Jamie McDermott. Actor and presenter Sara Griffiths. Actor and director Gabriella Kelley. Actor Chris Polick. Actor Kelly Williams. Actor Jennifer Kidd. Actor Damian Kell. Actor Donella Fox. Producer Louise Chantal. Actor Henry Luxemburg. Actor Maureen Roberts. Playwright and performer Alison Trower. Here is charming and handsome Matt Harris, one of the resident company's two writers.
The season includes (updates at www.rosetheatre.org.uk / www.theatrehe.co.uk) Pawnography by Tracy Keeling (23 Oct 07); The Massacre at Paris – Remembered, by Christopher Marlowe adapted by Jeff Thompson (29 Oct 07); Dionysus in Paris, by writers including Antonin Artaud, Tristan Tzara (3-4 Nov 07); Edward II by Christopher Marlowe (lecture/extracts) (7 Nov 07); Meat, by Matt Harris (based on Desire and the Black Masseur, by Tennessee Williams) (various dates 29 Nov to 15 Dec 07).
There is a fund-raising raffle. Prizes include two described as Christopher Marlowe's books. About CM? Or his copies of eg Tom Of Finland and Enid Blyton - perhaps a primary influence, with Edward II modelled on George as a gay icon? Another prize is a season ticket to attend all the company's productions - whether under duress isn't stated. And two cottage holidays. It's not clear if this is lavatory code or thatched ones, but the holidays are for six. A tight squeeze either way, and one which CM would certainly have enjoyed.
Today is the press launch of the British Film Institute (BFI)'s 51st London Film Festival, which runs 17 October - 1 November 07. Amanda Nevill, director, BFI and Sandra Hebron, Artistic Director, LFF summarise the thinking behind this year's festival, and its content. There is a 36-minute film (clip reel) compiling clips from 32 of the films - selected to give an idea of its scope.
These are the film clips shown today, in running order, and with page numbers from the festival catalogue for reference: Eastern Promises (2007) (p 12), director David Cronenberg, writer Steven Knight; actors: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel. The Darjeeling Limited (2007) (p 13), director Wes Anderson, writer Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola; actors: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman. Lions for Lambs (2007) (p 14), director Robert Redford, writer Matthew Michael Carnahan; actors: Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise. Se, jie (2007) (Lust, Caution) (p 15), director Ang Lee, writer Eileen Chang & James Schamus; actors: Joan Chen, Chih-ying Chu, Anupam Kher. I'm Not There (2007) (p 15), director Todd Haynes, writer Todd Haynes & Oren Moverman; actors: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin. Juno (2007) (p 16), director Jason Reitman, writer Diablo Cody; actors: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner. Things We Lost in the Fire (2007) (p 16), director Susanne Bier, writer Allan Loeb; actors: Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny. Into the Wild (2007) (p 17), director Sean Penn, writer Jon Krakauer & Sean Penn; actors: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Dan Burch. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) (p 18), director Andrew Dominik, writer Andrew Dominik & Ron Hansen; actors: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Adam Arlukiewicz. Le Scaphandre et le papillon (2007) (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) (p 18), director Julian Schnabel, writer Jean-Dominique Bauby & Ronald Harwood; actors: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze. 4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile (2007) (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days ) (p 19), director Cristian Mungiu, writer Cristian Mungiu; actors: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov. Stellet licht (2007) (Silent Light) (p 20), director Carlos Reygadas, writer Carlos Reygadas; actors: Elizabeth Fehr, Jacobo Klassen, Maria Pankratz. Sicko (2007) (p 19), director Michael Moore, writer Michael Moore; actors: Michael Moore, George W Bush, Reggie Cervantes. Bee Movie (2007) (p 20), director Steve Hickner & Simon J Smith, writer Spike Feresten & Barry Marder ; actors: Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick. Interview (2007) (p 27), director Steve Buscemi, writer Steve Buscemi & Theodor Holman; actors: Sienna Miller, Steve Buscemi, Michael Buscemi. Talk to Me (2007) (p 31), director Kasi Lemmons, writer Michael Genet & Rick Famuyiwa; actors: Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bruce McFee. The Band's Visit (p 22), director Eran Kolirin, writer Eran Kolirin; actors: Saleh Bakri, Ronit Elkabetz, Sasson Gabai. Mio fratello è figlio unico (2007) (My Brother Is an Only Child) (p 27), director Daniele Luchetti, writer Antonio Pennacchi & Daniele Luchetti; actors: Elio Germano, Riccardo Scamarcio, Angela Finocchiaro. Reservation Road (2007) (p 29), director Terry George, writer John Burnham Schwartz & Terry George; actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Mira Sorvino. Far North (2007) (p 25), director Asif Kapadia, writer Asif Kapadia & Sara Maitland; actors: Michelle Yeoh, Neeru Agarwal, Per Egil Aske. Import/Export (2006) (p 26), director Ulrich Seidl, writer Veronika Franz & Ulrich Seidl; actors: Ekateryna Rak, Paul Hofmann, Maria Hofstätter. Caramel (2007) (p 23), director Nadine Labaki, writer Rodney El Haddad & Jihad Hojeily; actors: Ismaïl Antar, Gisèle Aouad, Yasmine Elmasri. Exodus (2007) (p 25), director Jimi Elion & Penny Woolcock, writer Jimi Elion & Raffaele Passerini; actors: Bernard Hill, Daniel Percival, Anthony Johnson. Jetsam (2007) (p 35), director Simon Welsford, writer Simon Welsford; actors: Alex Reid, Shauna Macdonald, Jamie Draven. Naissance des pieuvres (2007) (Water Lilies) (p 41), director Céline Sciamma, writer Céline Sciamma; actors: Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachère, Adele Haenel. Porno (2006) (Porn) (p 89), director Jan Wagner. El Baño del Papa (2005) (p 58), director César Charlone & Enrique Fernández, writer César Charlone & Enrique Fernández; actors: Virginia Méndez, Virginia Ruíz, Mario Silva. Frozen (2007) (p 61), director Shivajee Chandrabhushan, writer Shanker Raman; actors: Danny Denzongpa, Gauri, Aungchuk. The Cool School (2007) (p 24), director Morgan Neville, (documentary) ; actors: Frank O Gehry, Robert Irwin, Edward Ruscha. Kitch's Last Meal (1973-76) (p 78), director Carolee Schneemann. Killer of Sheep (1977) (p 82), director Charles Burnett, writer Charles Burnett; actors: Henry G Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy. Du levande (2007) (You, the Living) (p 31), director Roy Andersson, writer Roy Andersson; actors: Fred Anderson, Patrik Anders Edgren, Björn Englund. Source of exact titles and credits used above: Internet Movie Database www.imdb.com as at 13 September 07.
Fringe Report's First Monday at London's The Arts Theatre, Covent Garden is a new monthly social event taking place on - as you might expect - the first Monday of each month. Coming dates are given on our First Monday page will be updated here. We're very grateful to Martin Witts, proprietor of The Arts, for giving us the venue, to Hils Jago for setting up the event, and to Max Ferreira for managing the bar.
People here tonight include Terry Newman. Elise Harris. Alison Trower. Ron Prowry. Max Ferreira. Jack Whitehall. Jessica Delfino. Leon Conrad. Chris Timms. Ed Bradshaw. Gemskii. Jessica Fostekew. Cariad Lloyd. Calvin Wynter. John Timlin. Steve Bennett. Cecila Colby. Alana Pryce. Tom Heath. Anil Desai. Sara Pascoe. Kate Lewis. Anita Mckeown. Dave Dale. Giuliano Zampi. Leon Fleury. Nathan A Thomas. Gido Karow. Neelam Challoner. Cat Lake. Zoë Gilmour. Emma Taylor. Jason Trachtenburg. Dan Pursey. Michael Spring. Cecilia Holmes. Pete Smith. Megan Whelan. Igor Tojcic. Paul Levy. Parissa Etessami. Lucy Jackson. Hils Jago. Rupert Keenlyside. Tim Davey. Andrew J Lederer. Bo Wilson. Steven Crisci. Christopher X Brodeur. Danny Worthington. Amy De Bhrún. Steve Bloomer. Philippa Tatham. Sam Howey Nunn. Georgia Chadwick. Gemma Whelan.
The event is open to anyone - actors, directors, producers, comedians, designers, journalists, techies, artists, anyone who likes/hates the arts, storyboard artists, Fringe Report (FR) writers, costume-makers, sculptors, editors, make-up artists, film directors, FR board members, FR readers and their friends, and anyone at all, whether they do or don't fall into any of those tags. There is no guestlist, dress code, entry fee. Drinks are at Arts Theatre's normal prices, which are reasonable. The idea is for people to be able to have a regular diary date where they can meet others in the arts, or perhaps people they've never met or know only by email or networking sites, plan future projects, or just chat. Next is Monday 1 October 07 from 6pm - details - you are welcome.
John Park - Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport Street, London WC2H - 3 September 07 - (c) www.fringereport.com
The first-ever Casting Call Pro annual Student Awards take place tonight at the penthouse bar of Islington's stylish Keston Lodge. Winners are (in order of appearance) Ricky Payne (Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts) and Karla Olivares (Central School of Speech and Drama).
Casting Call Pro Website Manager Robbie Dale says 'Thank you for coming. This is the first year of the awards, and they've been a success. Thank you to Hilary Strong and Nicole Hay of the National Council of Drama Training. Thank you to John Clark Photography, Cut Glass Productions and Actors One Stop Shop for setting up the prizes. Karla Olivares (and others) are stuck on the Central Line (a train derailed today after hitting a roll of plastic sheeting - for those who appreciate detail), so we'll present Ricky Payne's award now. The entrants are fantastic. Ricky is going to Edinburgh. All the six shortlisted guys did well to be shortlisted.' Robbie Dale presents Ricky's award - the first ever to receive one. There's a cheque for £1,000 and more, and lots of photos. An hour later, the other winner Karla Olivares emerges from the tube network and Robbie Dale presents her identical award.
The shortlisted students were the two winners and Thomas Hare (GSA Conservatoire), Emma Laird Craig (Central School of Speech and Drama), Olivia Neville (Central School of Speech and Drama), Suzanne Nixon (Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts). Full details of the awards are at http://uk.castingcallpro.com/award.php.
Here are Chris Timms, director of Casting Call Pro. Simon Dale, director of Casting Call Pro. Hilary Strong, director of National Council of Drama Training (NCDT), former director of Edinburgh Festival Fringe (1994-1998), and after that director of Greenwich Theatre for 8 years. Nicole Hay, projects and office manager, NCDT. Hannah Timms, actor - Hannah has just returned from Edinburgh where she played a mole with poo on her head. Diego Indraccolo, tonight's photographer. John Clark, John Clark Photgraphy. Naomi Ridgeway, retail financial analyst. Duncan Gates, Casting Call Pro. Phil Corran, Cut Glass Productions. Kerry Mitchell, shortly to give birth, Cut Glass Productions.
Ricky Payne is a BA (Hons) acting student. How does he feel about the award? Ricky: 'Sweet as three sugars and cup of tea with two Jammy Dodgers on the side.' Ricky's show goes to Edinburgh Fringe 2007.
Karla Olivares says 'I feel lucky enough to have received this because I know there are millions of other fellow actors leaving drama school this year without future projects and it is encouraging to know that there are people organising awards like this for those actors. I feel honoured to be a winner in the first year of the awards - not following the path but starting off a new trail.' Karla is a student on the 3-year BA (Hons) Acting degree at Central.
The winners each receive a cheque for £1,000, a head-shot session with John Clark Photography, a voice-reel session with Cut Glass Productions and a show-reel session with Actors One Stop Shop. The Casting Call Pro Student Awards, in association with the National Council of Drama Training (NCDT), are for graduating students. During April and May 2007, all students graduating from NCDT accredited courses were invited to submit an entry, with 6 shortlisted students being interviewed.
Casting Call Pro Website Manager Robbie Dale says 'When you leave drama school, there can be a sudden influx of costs, a scarcity of work - and a feeling that everything may not be as rosy as it seemed when you started out. Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to work with the NCDT in developing the first-ever Casting Call Pro Student Awards. We were delighted to open them to students graduating from NCDT accredited courses.
'We particularly wanted to offer something to young actors. We meet them every day, and wanted to celebrate them. When we first launched the awards, and advertised the opportunity to students, we didn't know what to expect. We didn't know what would make a winning entry. As the applications came back, we were amazed and excited by the variety of projects and interests that drama students were evolving. Whether they had raised money to help fund theatre groups, convinced other students to take their work to festivals, or got involved in production, direction or writing to educate themselves about the creative process, the best students showed a fire, a tenacity, that was absolutely inspirational.'
Peter Hepple (1927-2006) was the hugely popular editor of the UK theatrical and showbiz definitive publication The Stage, and one of Europe's leading theatre critics for more than 50 years. He died aged 79 in October 2006. So, after some months of quiet remembrance, 200 of his friends are ready to join in celebration - sung, spoken and saxaphoned - and possibly later become reasonably drunk.
Father Simon Grigg recalls that St Paul's has since 1662 represented the acting profession; that The Stage at 126 years old is a relative newcomer, and that Peter Hepple was critic and editor for most of that time. Charles Spencer (theatre critic, Daily Telegraph and former The Stage staffer) in an affectionate tribute comments 'I do wish Peter was here to see the size of the house. If showbiz had a Boswell, it was surely Peter Hepple'. Frank Comerford (Chairman, The Stage) reads from the Bible 'Lord, who shall be admitted to your holy tent and walk on your holy mountain?'. Barry Cryer remembers 'I met Peter in about 1960. Peter never made an entrance. He kind of backed into the limelight. He turned self-deprecation into an art-form', before adding cheekily (come on, this is Barry Cryer) 'Arrogant in his humility'. Barry Cryer reads a very funny tribute he's titled A Man For All Reasons, 'He was a practising catalyst. I can't wait for his review of today.' Rosemary Squires, gorgeous and blonde, in a pretty pink/scarlet dress, sings Give Me The Simple Life and I Remember You, with elegantly scored and played piano from Brian Dee. Danny La Rue recalls meeting Peter Hepple and Tenessee Williams at DLaR's first gig at the Irving Theatre, getting tongue-tied and introducing them to the audience as 'Peter Hepple and his friend Tenessee Irving. I nearly died'. Fr Simon Grigg denies from the pulpit that his splendid vestments come from Danny La Rue's wardrobe. Hymns include Let All The World In Evry Corner Sing, Now Thank We All Our God, Amazing Grace. Tufty Gordon plays lead sax to Brian Dee's accompanying (grand) piano on Satin Doll, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, A Train, The Days Of Wine and Roses, Stranger On The Shore. Church organist is Simon Gutteridge. The congregation includes Stage staffers debonair and recklessly handsome editor Brian Attwood, memorial service organiser Catherine Cooper, party and events organiser Cyrila Pereira, production and design manager Trevor Davies, and the creme de la creme of the theatrical and entertainment world. Photographer is gorgeous Daniela D'Amato (www.damatoart.co.uk). There is a retiring collection for The Entertainment Artists Benevolent Fund, and music after the service by Robin Hurst. Then it's over to the Club for Acts and Actors for fish and chips, and what the showbiz profession does best after showbiz itself - drinking.
The arrival for the first time at Brighton Fringe of one of the Big Five Edinburgh Fringe venues - the Underbelly - marks a potentially seismic shift in the development of South-East UK's major fringe festival. Underbelly tonight launches its first Brighton venue - the inflatable bovine-udder-shaped UdderBelly that stormed Edinburgh Fringe 2006.
Underbelly (www.underbelly.co.uk) directors Ed Bartlam & Charlie Wood (Fringe Report Awards 2007 - Best Venue Directors) host tonight's party and showcase on a balmy Brighton evening opposite the historic Brighton Pavilion, in which the Prince Regent (later King George IV) had sexual intercourse with some of Europe's prettiest women. Probably much the same kind of thing happens tonight round the back of the blow-up cow. Charlie Wood is recklessly good-looking, and Ed Bartlam was nominated as Top Fringe Totty by beautiful Zena Barrie, co-director (with equally stunning Michelle Flower) of It's Alright For Some, The Etcetera Theatre, and Camden Fringe - so there's an exceptionally high standard of top male handsomeness on parade tonight, and the crème de la crème of Brighton's legendarily gorgeous women.
These include Penny Sims (Underbelly head of press), Holly Payton (Brighton Fringe and Roman Eagle Lodge co-director - with pretty diamante make-up highlights and lovely new blonde fringe 'it's a fringe for the Fringe' says Holly), Nicola Haydn (Marlborough Theatre co-director), Tamsin Jarvis (Komedia Entertainment past key person and hopefully soon again to be back at Komedia after a round-the-world journey), Susila Silva (Marlborough Theatre, stunning in silver chiffon dress - see more below - no, no, in the article), Vicky Nangle (Latest 7), Julia Stidolph (Underbelly box office, and Marlborough Theatre), Jill Edwards (stand-up comedy course supremo with lovely gray eyes - Jimmy Carr and Shazia Mirza are two who've felt her guiding hand; the divine Jill, Vicky and Susila Silva - who could easily model for The Three Graces - discuss 'who has more tits out' this evening; it's agreed pretty Susila wins by - as Jill puts it - 'two hands and a crochet bra'; Jill lends Susila her fabulous plum pashmina - covering up the competition? no, it's getting cold) (and no, we're not adding the cold-weather joke, FR is a family publication - besides, we've already done it here), gorgeous flatmates Alice Booth (www.fringereview.co.uk editor) and Laura Hawkesford (textile artist), Helen Pownall (lighting and furniture designer), Felicity Wren (Greedy), Shelley Hughes (Brighton Festival head of press), Lou Clarkson, Clea Smith (The Ornate Johnsons; gorgeous Clea was a fabulous monkey in Life's A Monkey), Rachel Egan (Greedy).
The handsome lads include: the urbane and generally fantastic Andrew Kay (Latest 7 editor), Chris Timms (www.castingcallpro.com director), James Wren (Greedy), Andy Vaughan (Roman Eagle Lodge co-director, and newly engaged to Tamsin Jarvis), Tim Richardson (Latest 7 photographer), charming and debonair Simon Fanshawe (Brighton Fringe), Steven Bennett (Brighton Dome and Festival box office - 'he had great legs' recalls a Brighton theatre lady who was at school with Steven), Tom R Jones (box office manager at Underbelly, and Marlborough Theatre), Steve Cotton (Brighton Festival and Fringe box office manager), Paul Levy (www.fringereview.co.uk director), Ian Taylor (Underbelly), Brian Mitchell (The Ornate Johnsons - who are on BBC4, 21:00, 22 May 07), David Mounfield (The Ornate Johnsons, naked except posing pouch and tattooed buttocks (but only on stage)), Glen Richardson (The Ornate Johnsons), Laurence Relton (The Ornate Johnsons), Phil Whelans (The Pros From Dover, Udderbelly, 15 May 07, evening), Richard Glover (The Pros From Dover, who also include Neil Cole), Alan Freestone (director, Greedy). Louie Bayliss (Greedy).
(Much later, the party divides in two, continuing separately at the UdderBelly, and on Southern's Fringe special last train 23:19 from Brighton to London Victoria (arrives about 00:20) containing Casting Call Pro and lots of show casts including Pros From Dover, Greedy, and The Ornate Johnsons.)
Underbelly co-director Charlie Wood suggests moving the Brighton Fringe to June, so that it's during the school holidays. If that's done, Charlie reckons 'it will be bigger than Edinburgh in 10 years' time'. With talk of The Pleasance also coming to Brighton Fringe 08, Brighton Fringe could grow fast. The Udderbelly Showcase is introduced by Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood. They thank the Underbelly crew for their fast and strong erection, sponsor Asahi, Brighton Fringe and Festival, and Ian Taylor. Compères are Jean-François et Didier (assisted by Justin McCarron and Arnold Widdowson) aka Priorité à Gauche, who perform 'We Are Priorité à Gauche' and a site-specific song 'Purple Cow'. Acts include: Greedy (2F, 2M - a couple of gifted sketches about sexing up box-office sales-staff, and a dance-off duel). David Benson, singing 'Crepes Suzette' by Kenneth Williams. The Ornate Johnsons (1F, 4M - new take on 'Who Will Buy' from Oliver!, in Dickensian period costume (except David Mounfeld, see above). Pierre Caesar and Pablo Caesar aka The Caesar Twins (blond-haired muscular twins originally from Poland, bare chests, white trousers, stunning athletic work with an erotic edge, and they don't sweat). The showcase runs for 40 minutes (21:00 - 21:40), sandwiched by a colossal amount of free drink for around 300 people.
Michael Attenborough is the artistic director of London's Almeida Theatre. He is also director of their production of Big White Fog by Theodore Ward, running at 2hr 10 minutes including interval, from Friday 11 May 2007 to Saturday 30 Jun 2007 (see www.almeida.co.uk). Today he hosts a reception for the cast.
The Attenborough family - Michael's father is the equally distinguished Richard Attenborough, actor and director - have for many years been associated with progress for equality between people with white and black skins. Richard Attenborough's film Cry Freedom (1987) - about the relationship between Donald Woods and Steve Biko - looked critically at apartheid in South Africa. Michael Attenborough today introduces a drama about the dilemma within a family in 1920's USA - whether to return to Africa after generations of forced removal to America, or take their chances with the American dream. It's a significant step for a theatre which its artistic director mentions (below) has a 'fundamentally white middle-class audience'.
Michael Attenborough is a cuddly sort of chap, with a friendly face and wild artistic white hair - reassuringly theatrical. He says: 'A huge warm welcome. We have all kinds of different communities. I'd like to say why we are here. Michelle (Abbey, see below) and Kim (Morgan, see below) are ambassadors for this production (Big White Fog). I think we're sitting around something historic, something very particular that we're discovering. It's a serious piece based on the lives of African Americans. This is astonishingly early (first staged in 1937), it's accurate, honest and real. Theodore (Ted) Ward was the sixth child of eleven kids. He took to the freight trains and ended in jail. He started to write, determined and self-educated, and was part of the community this play is about. The play looks at three generations of one family across 10 years - 1922-32. Part of the family want to return to Africa, the other part want to make a better life in Chicago. He was writing about people he knew - it has authenticity - it's not just an interesting specimen, the lines resonate today. Some things have changed - huge things haven’t. I didn't hesitate to take on this play. They are wonderful parts. This is one heck of a good cast. It's beginning to crackle like a fire. I couldn't speak after the end of a scene (in which a character hits rock bottom). I can only commend it to you. It's a great opportunity.'
Janine Shalom (see below) asks 'What is it going to look like?' Michael Attenborough: 'It's going to look rigorously real. Every (item) is going to look absolutely authentic. I hope - what we aspire to - what you’ll see will be 1922, what you’ll feel is 2007.' Michelle Abbey says 'I am very grateful to be part of the Almeida', and speaks about accessibility within the arts. Michael Attenborough: 'I came here five years ago. This is a fundamentally white middle-class audience. It doesn’t represent Upper Street (the main street outside the theatre). It should represent that community. This is not just any black play. I wanted to wait for the right one.'
Michelle Abbey: 'I hope it will have a ripple effect and open up the door for more black theatre.' Michael Attenborough: 'I would love to show you the auditorium.' (He says this to all present, rather than as a romantic invitation to lovely Michelle - but who knows?) Michael leads the way into the theatre, explaining that it was built in 1837. He shows the set to the 25 or so people present, including the cast, and the area below the stage. The theatre is a modern-looking building, with the 320-seat auditorium including stalls and balcony incorporating the old part - with its fine curved brick wall at the rear of the stage - in a subtle way. The new part of the building includes a bar that does food, and across Almeida Street, there's a restaurant called Almeida. It's not, in fact, associated with the theatre, but looks as if it is - the restaurant sign confusingly uses a similar font.
The people mentioned above - Kim Morgan, Michelle Abbey, Janine Shalom - are highly influential players in London's theatre and arts, emphasising the heavy artillery Michael Attenborough is deploying for the Almeida's move into black theatre:
Michelle Abbey describes her work as 'Audience development - making the arts accessible to new audiences. There are two audiences. I want to bring the arts to grass-roots communities. There's a whole wealth of Black middle-class audiences that have been excluded from the arts as well. Diversity includes, for example, deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences who are just as likely to be white. And bringing children into the arts. I come from Liverpool - ten generations of my family were born there. I would also call myself Black English. Me and my children are the first generation of my family to access the arts.'
Kim Morgan's work embraces at least two major categories. In one, she is an audience development specialist within the black community across the arts and with social projects such as Step Festival (and see Step Festival Launch). In another she is a well-known theatre and comedy PR covering West End and Fringe productions; Kim has been in-house press officer for The Pleasance in Edinburgh, and at Theatre Royal Stratford - following legendary publicist Mark Borkowski (Fringe Report Award 06). Michelle Abbey and Kim Morgan together also carry out similar work to that involved in today's meeting (introducing new audiences for the arts) for organisations and events such as London Philharmonic Orchestra's Launch.
Janine Shalom is Almeida's press specialist, and a former member of staff at the Almeida, and at the National Theatre. In 2004, Janine founded the theatre department at Charles McDonald and Jonathan Rutter's pr company McDonald & Rutter, which was acquired in 2006 by Premier PR's CEO Sara Keene. Premier PR has for many years been a prime pr company for film and television in the UK and USA, and organises press for (among other major events) the London Film Festival. In theatre work Janine Shalom's theatrical department at Premier is currently associated with productions including Billy Elliot, Boeing Boeing (Roger Allam, Frances de la Tour, Mark Rylance, Tamzin Outhwaite), Spamalot, The 39 Steps, Wicked. The company also represents The Tricyle Theatre in Kilburn, a long-standing specialist house in multi-cultural theatre with an outstanding reputation.
Those present today include the cast (in alpha order): Ayesha Antoine (Caroline), Tony Armatrading (Daniel Rogers), Martin Barron (Patrolman), Aaron Brown (Nathan Piszer), Lenora Crichlow (Claudine), Clint Dyer (Percy Mason), Jenny Jules (Ella), Tunji Kasim (Lester), Al Matthews (Count Strawder), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Wanda), Novella Nelson (Martha Brooks), Susan Salmon (Juanita), Danny Sapani (Victor Mason), Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Older Phil/Count Cotton), Gynn Sweet (Bailiff), Tony Turner (Marks/Lieutenant). Michael Attenborough, Janine Shalom, Michelle Abbey, Kim Morgan. Almeida's head of marketing Jane Macpherson; and marketing colleague Cherry Williams who describes Almeida's output as ‘innovative, cutting edge, risk-taking theatre’ - gorgeous Cherry clearly has theatre pr coded into her DNA. Barbara Deroy Badejo works with West African Community radio stations. Accountant David Frederick (Jamaican Heart Foundation, Business Enterprise Centre finance and accountancy specialist for various London boroughs, lecturer in finance and accountancy). David's daughter Adanma Frederick is extensively involved in fringe theatre, but not here today as she is taking exams for her classics degree. Sam Tsipotey (West African Digital Radio, Victim Support Head Office, involved in various Ghanaian community groups). Reverend Mark Shelton and Mrs Tina Shelton are from Cross Street Baptist Church opposite the Almeida, but have not previously been inside.
John Park - Friday 27 April 07 - Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, Islington, London, N1 1TA - (c) www.fringereport.com
Ace producer and actress gorgeous Sue Scott Davison celebrates her birthday in Soho surrounded by London's most attractive men - as ever. Which birthday? Shh, she's an actress. An encore of her 21st.
We're under the most expensive Indian restaurant in town - the Red Fort- but expensive Sue isn't under anyone - at least, not yet. It's Akbar, stylish, intimate, fabulous bar food from Red Fort, unlimited drink - key elements of a perfect party. London's two most stylish young directors (in no particular order of age or talent and equally handsome) Guy Retallack and Mike Miller are here. Here's astonishing writer Glyn Maxwell, and hunky producer James Seabright. Muscular Kevin Wilson, legendary PR is here, so are Brian Davison (Sue's brother), actor Paul Goodwin and teacher Lizzie Goodwin, and actors Kath Dow Blyton, Henry Luxemburg, pretty stage manager Roshni Savjani, actors Amanda Prior, Paul Grunert.
Some people are talking about theatre: Ambassadors Group to sell New Ambassadors Theatre? Mousetrap to move into it, freeing the perfectly mid-sized St Martins Theatre for the first time in 52 years and 21,000 performances? And anyhow, did the butler do it? Cameron Mackintosh to build new theatre between his two on Shaftesbury Avenue? Some are seeking the answer to life's questions. Specifically: what was the second most common crime in Cumbria when the West End's leading PR covered courts for the local paper? Clue: number one was sex with animals (come on Wales, you're, well, getting behind). Number two? Taking brotherly love just a little too far.
Rugged actor and producer Paul Lucas is as impossibly stylish as ever, en route tomorrow for New York for its Edinburgh Fringe event, sporting a fabulous pair of glasses with two-tone red and black frames. Here's writer Matt Robart, and composer debonair Delroy Murray who arrives from playing a gig round the corner, actor Maureen Roberts, and former Riverside Studios key man now Oxford Playhouse deputy director Nick Giles.
Here's DJ Paul Mako, producer Alex Holt, actor John Kirk with beautiful Sarah Killen, actors Michael Cahill, Tony Timberlake, assistant producer Richard Matthews, agent Maxine Burrows, producer Barbara Matthews. Here are Mike Draper, Anne-Marie Tracey, Paul Tracey, director Peter Kavanagh, writer David Crook. And here's pretty actress (ex-Rada and Pymouth Argyle - supporter, rather than player - starting a 3-week run at Colchester Mercury Theatre on 2 April) Kelly Williams.
John Park - Akbar, Red Fort, 77 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 3SH - 28 March 07 - (c) www.fringereport.com
The great, the good, the elevated, and thankfully the frankly sleazy - rammed Glasshouse Stores's notorious Cellar Bar in London's Soho, one otherwise tranquil night in March 07.
Here is urbane and handsome Christopher Richardson. Pretty Susan Turnbull (who would otherwise have been writing this piece) isn't here because she's just stumbled (elegantly) from a plane after a taxing work assignment in the tropics. Missing too is lovely Amy Merrill, celebrating a key birthday this week - Amy's in New York. Here are FR board members gorgeous Zena Barrie and outrageously sexy Michelle Flower setting an impossibly high standard in wit, elegance and sophistication. Here are startlingly handsome actor Gareth Kane and director (Stephen) Steve Keyworth.
Many of those here tonight create Fringe Report including actresses (Georgina) Georgie Edwards, Jemma Gross and friend, singer/songwriter Taly Koren, editing team member Mary Paterson, actress Sara Pascoe, stand-up Gill Smith, journalist Nadia Gilani, and board members including actor Ray Gardner, here with Angela Austin, actress Tracy Keeling, PR Paul Sullivan, PR Kevin Wilson, actress / producer Sue Scott Davison, graphic designer Richard Dragun, film publicist Rachael D Booth, publisher Rupert Keenlyside, theatre manager (Nicola) Nicky Haydn, publicist Susila Silva, impresario Hils Jago and friend, artistes Michael Topping and Andrew Simmons (Topping and Butch), ITV comedy producer Rohan Acharya, director Peter Benedict, actress Gemma Arrowsmith, actress Sarah-Louise Young, comedy writers Marc Blakewill and James Harris, director Mike Miller, PR Penny Sims, musical director Pete Smith and friend; director Alex Dower, PR Kim Morgan; producer Alana Price and friend Igor Tojcic; pretty poet back from a year and a half touring the world Alison Trower.
It's a fusion night, with people from theatre, comedy, acting, press, publicity, directing, film, design, architecture including - Kim Wiesener and Inge Henningsen, press at the Danish Embassy; artist Gillian Best Powell; author and journalist Fabian Acker and friend ; writer Hazel Smith; Mark Bilton; architects Tim Nicholls, Hugh Crawford, Steve Newton and Miranda Newton both here with Leonie Newton, Richard Ladenburg, Chris Coates, Sir Charles Knowles, Richard Patrick, Andy Down, Dhiraj Duddhia, Jonathan Walpole, and educational psychologist Peggy Walpole; Professor Bob Greenstreet and executive and professional development coach Dr Karen Greenstreet and their son; Press Association London Theatre and Dance Editor Denise Bailey and friend; Rosemary Branch Theatre supremos Cecilia Darker and Cleo Sylvestre; rugged actor Dominic Rodgers; adult gifts entrepreneur Bill Dubes; researcher Catherine Tranmer; actor Andrew Lukas; artist Agnes Poitevin-Navarre; directors Matt Holt, Andrew Byron; quantity surveyor, barrister and arbitrator Andrew Cox and Sharon Cox; actors Damian Kell, Siren Turner, Ricci Harnett; surveyor Chris Jones and model Iona Richmond; actor and architect Giuliano Zampi; lyricist Joel; actress Kate Dineen and friend; actor Louis Brownhill; director of photography Ben Wade and friends; editor Adeela Sharif; talent agent Rob Sandy; actress Jackie Stirling; Directors Guild chief executive Andrew Lukas; actress Jacqueline Wood; artist Tony Bream and friend; madame de salon Andrea zur Strassen. And outrageously pretty actress and presenter Sara Griffiths.
John Park (with lots of help from Fringe Report writers) - Cellar Bar, Glasshouse Stores, 55 Brewer Street, Soho, London, W1F 9UJ - 20 March 07 - (c) www.fringereport.com
Comic Relief is a night no comedian can spend at home. The Do-Gooders gig at Oxfam Bookshop, Kensington, gets off to a great start way before the comedy begins, with acts and audience bonding over novels, biographies - and the drinks stand (writes stand-up Gill Smith, who opens tonight’s show).
Bobby Carroll is genial host and MC. (Then it’s me, discovering that Bobby Carroll’s, ex-girlfriend’s 14 year old brother Sid already knows all the words the comics will be using). Trainee brain surgeon Dean Burnett follows, wowing the audience. Charming Charlie Saffrey’s spot goes well, and he spends his off-stage time constructively, buying Talking Dirty - and realising that The Bumper Book of Boobs will go down less well with the girlfriend he is late to meet. Exhausted Mike Facherty admits he may have been mad to combine two Comic Relief gigs in less than 24 hours - in Manchester then London - with a full day’s work in between. He bounces back for his set. Gorgeous and vivacious Vikki Stone discusses her weight loss. She’s followed on stage by bubbly buxom blonde Sheena Salmon. Andy Williams has been described as a ‘one-man wank-joke machine’. In spite of his subject-matter, audience members queue to shake his hand afterwards. Physical character comedian Jason Attar performs as police officer Les Land, and even looks a little scary off-stage. Pretty and cheery Cecilia Holmes masks her good looks with a wig and strange clothes on stage, and sadly disappears before the post-performance drinking. Paul Vintner makes full use of the venue, studying many of the bookshop’s offerings. He buys Chevalier d’Eon’s biography, and shows off pictures of the Chevalier dressed as a woman.
Smutty Michael Marsland makes the audience laugh and blush with tales of his sexual exploits – and worry a little when they learn between gigs, that he’s a busy dentist. Nick Hodder dashes to London from Bracknell, remaining consistently funny despite heckles from passers-by and buses, as the temperature has soared. Aussie Tyson Boyce manages the ultimate stand-up challenge – getting groupies. Dark, too energetic to be really deadpan - but appealing to the whole audience - he hands over to headliner John Newton. This intelligent comic keeps his audience thinking - despite their alcohol consumption. He’s a last-minute stand-in, and makes the whole evening end high.
The night’s efforts see nearly £400 raised for Comic Relief and Oxfam’s international projects. The after-party – comics and audience – goes on till midnight - though some of the more determined (Bobby Carroll and Paul Vintner) celebrate into the early hours.
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013