Saturday, 29 August 2020

ONLINE DANCE PERFORMANCE REVIEW: Catch Me - Upswing at Newham Unlocked Festival, London.

Contemporary Dance company Upswing have re-choreographed and reimagined their short piece 'Catch Me' for the coronavirus age, performing it live at The Greenwich Docklands International Festival as well as filming this short 12 minute piece to be viewed online.

This short piece explores what people's first reactions might be when seeing two people together of differing ages, genders and colours, and as such is a touching and sensitive piece. However, the movement is in the main rather slow and unspectacular, never really getting out of first gear, and the fact that the two never actually touch due to the new social distancing measures seems odd. Further there is the additional screen on wheels which is cumbersome and unhelpful which serves as their barrier each time they do come close, reflecting our contemporary lifestyle nicely but hindering the performance and the enjoyment thereof.

However, for me, even more distracting than that was the sound and videography. Live, I would not have had any issue with this at all; but filmed, despite seeing a live show, all the natural sound had been removed and the score for the dance replaced it, making it sound like a perfect CD recording of the music; we couldn't even hear the dancers as they moved like we would have been able to on a stage. There was therefore absolutely no atmosphere and the dance lost all its connection to the viewer, as the atmosphere and all natural sound had been totally wiped. Further, and even more distracting was the filming of this sequence. Had the camerman stood still and filmed it from one single spot we would have watched the show as we would have done in real life; however, the camerman was completely unable to stay still for more than a couple of seconds and took endless walks around the space giving us a dizziying 360 degree carousel perspective for most of it, and then chose to focus and zoom in on certain moments seemingly haphazzardly, since at certain times I would have preferred the full view, and other moments were begging for a close-up of a gesture or emotional response, and these never materialised. But it was the constant movement of the camera which distracted the most. It was neither arty nor complimentary, just offputting and unnecessary.

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 28/8/20

ONLINE THEATRE REVIEW: White Noise - Powerhouse Theatre Company.

Birmingham-based theatre company, Powerhouse Theatre, has joined the live online theatre realm with ‘White Noise’, a two-hander play written by Mo Gearing, performed right in our own homes via the magic of Zoom. Mo Gearing, also the co-creative director of Powerhouse Theatre, has written a humorous and poignant play which deals with current issues and hints at what may be yet to come in the near future.

The play begins with a voiceover of Boris Johnson talking of the infamous ‘invisible killer’; Coronavirus. The hour-long play then goes on to form an unlikely, yet believable and somewhat exuberant friendship between an online sex call worker Elise, or "Lady De Franco" and a lonely conservative MP David, or "Poshboy 123". We see their friendship blossom as they bicker with one another about the current global pandemic as well as share intimate details about their lives, pointing out that ‘lonely people have a way of finding each other’.  

Danielle J Gearing plays the role of Elise in this one act play, and is also the second co-creative director of Powerhouse Theatre. Gearing brings a real humour and wit to the character. Her down-to-earth nature clashes wonderfully with that of Westwood’s. This can be seen in the opening scenes in which Elise repeatedly swears, despite David politely asking her to stop. The character of David, played by Paul Westwood is also very believable. His mannerisms and tone of voice make him a very credible member of parliament. His performance was emotional, yet held an air of loftiness. These two opposing characters were fascinating to watch interact with one another, and their chemistry really resonated on screen, even despite them not performing in the same room.

Clearly a lot of rehearsal time has gone into this production as the conversations were fast-paced and clean cut with no obvious complications, which is often a miracle when internet connection is to be relied on. ‘White Noise’ brought us an entertaining hour of live theatre.

A percentage of the production’s profits are also to be donated to The Raze Collective, a new charity created to support and develop LGBTQI performance.

Reviewer - Megan Relph
on - 28/8/20

NEWS: The RSC will stay closed until 2021 and begins redundancy consultations.

The RSC in Shakespeare's Stratford announces it will remain closed until 2021 and begins redundancy consultations.

The RSC has decided it will remain closed until 2021, with the company set to begin redundancy consultations, it has been announced.
Earlier this year artistic director Gregory Doran expressed hopes that the venue may be able to reopen in the autumn, but the lack of guidance from the government has stymied plans for any indoor work being put on.
Artistic director Gregory Doran said: "Despite our wish to re-open our theatres by the end of the year, it is now clear that the ongoing pandemic and the continued need for social distancing mean that we will not be able to stage full RSC productions in our theatres before 2021. Despite our theatres being temporarily closed, our acting company continue to work on events and activity, including our programme of outdoor Shakespeare in Stratford. We will look at what other events, and online activity we can continue to provide for our audiences in the autumn and winter. Our work in partnership with teachers and schools to support children and young people as they return to school is ongoing, with communities across the country and alongside our regional theatre partners. We very much hope that the government review of social distancing measures in November will bring positive news for the industry, and provide a timeline for when we can welcome our audiences back into our theatres again.
"It is with great sadness that we have now reached the stage where a formal consultation process with employees must take place to safeguard the long-term future of the Company. We had hoped that things would have become more positive by now, but this has not been the case. With the end of the CJRS in sight, today we gave advance notice to our trade union partners and our employees of a formal consultation process, which will begin in October. We also confirmed that, as there will be no work available, from 1st November we will be unable to pay casual worker colleagues and those employed on variable hours contracts. Variable hours colleagues will remain employed, and casual workers will stay on our books, for when work opportunities return in the future.
"Every one of our colleagues makes the RSC the Company that it is, and every one contributes to its success. They show exceptional talent, professionalism, skill, commitment and care at all times and we thank them for their ongoing support."
The venue will continue to present outdoor and online work where possible – after commencing free shows in nearby gardens earlier this month.

NEWS: Strong female leads abound in the first season of films since lockdown at Poole's Lighthouse

Strong female leads link films in new Lighthouse cinema season  
Six months to the day that the curtain fell on the last film screening before lockdown cinema returns to Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, on 17 September with a season of film stories that have notably strong female roles in common. 

First up are Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley in the feel-good comedy Misbehaviour (12A) based on the story of the real-life invasion of the 1970 Miss World contest by the newly formed Women’s Liberation MovementKeeley Hawes, Lesley Manville, Greg Kinnear and Rhys Ifans also feature. 

The first Lighthouse film season since government guidelines permitted a return to cinemas also features Girlhood director CĂ©line Sciamma’s sumptuous gothic romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire (12A), in which a portrait painter and her subject crackle across the canvas in 18th century France; and the welcome return of Bong Joon-ho’s pitch black modern fairy tale Parasite (15) – the first ever foreign language film to win the Best Picture Oscar. Bizarre, brilliantly layered and entirely gripping, Parasite has charmed critics around the world, landing four Academy Awards, two BAFTAs and the Palme d’Or at Cannes along the way. 

Recent box office hits such as Greta Gerwig’s universally feted adaptation of Little Women (U) and Peter Cattaneo’s rousing Military Wives (12A) are back on the big screen and there are first screenings for Jessica Swale’s elegant feminist wartime drama Summerland (12A). It stars Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who also features in Misbehaviour) in the story of a reclusive writer whose emotions are reawakened when an evacuee from the London Blitz is left in her care. 

Released this summer, William Nicholson’s intense and intimate drama Hope Gap (12A) stars Annette Bening as Grace whose husband of 29 years (Bill Nighy) leaves her. Unravelling and feeling displaced in her seaside town, Grace regains her footing and ultimately finds a powerful new voice. 

The home of independent cinema in Dorset, Lighthouse also screens director Eliza Shroeder’s debut feature film, Love Sarah (12A), a charming comedy-drama about a young woman (Shannon Tarbet) who fulfils her mother’s dream of opening her own bakery. Celia Imrie and Bill Paterson co-star. 

For full details of the coming cinema season and to book tickets visit 

NEWS: Anton And Giovanni visit Poole's Lighthouse in July.

Strictly Theatre Co present 
Saturday 10 July 2021 7.30pm (Concert Hall)  
Tickets & information 01202 280000  

Brace yourselves for THE best night out as two of Strictly Come Dancing’s best loved professional dancers team up for an unforgettable show – Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice: Him & Me! at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, on Saturday 10 July 2021. 

The dancing duo, who both tour their own successful sell-out shows every year, have decided 2021 is the year to showcase their unrivalled rapport, bringing audiences a collaboration of dance, song and light-hearted fun. 

Chatting together at their photoshoot for the tour, Giovanni says: “Anton, you are my idol. I have wanted to do a show with you for so long now and I’m very, very happy that we can finally do it! 

Anton Du Beke, you’re a legend! It’s going to be a really fun show!” 

To which Anton replies: “Well, I’m really excited about this! It’s going to be fabulous and I already feel younger just standing next to you Giovanni – I can’t wait!” 

Anton has been part of the Strictly family since the first series in 2004, and has appeared every year since, partnering an array of celebrities from supermodel Jerry Hall and tennis coach Judy Murray, to actress Lesley Joseph and TV presenter Ruth Langsford. Although he has reached the final twice – in 2015 with newscaster Katie Derham and most recently in 2019 with actress Emma Barton, his most memorable partnership was with former MP Ann Widdecombe, a match made in comedic heaven! 

Despite never having won that coveted glitter ball trophy, he has definitely won the hearts of millions of dancing fans across the country. 
Giovanni, on the other hand, joined the show in 2015 and has already reached the final three times – with actress Georgia May Foote in his first series, radio presenter and performer Debbie McGee in 2017, and singer Faye Tozer in 2018.  

Him & Me! will be directed by West End star Alan Burkitt, who has performed in shows including Curtains with Jason Manford and Ore Oduba, Top Hat and We Will Rock You. Alan has also choreographed for Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance?, as well as the UK theatre tour Fascinating Aida. 

Joined buy a world class cast of dancers and singers, Anton and Giovanni are coming together to put on the show to end all shows – the ultimate entertaining night out! 

The Ballroom King and the Jive Master bring you Him & Me!, a true dance extravaganza for all ages. 

Tickets go on pre-sale to Lighthouse Friends only today (Friday) and on General Sale on Tuesday 1 September. 

All tickets must be booked in advance at 

For details of Lighthouse Friends visit 

NEWS: Erasure announce 2021 tour dates



ERASURE (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke) celebrate the release of their eighteenth studio album, THE NEON, with the announcement of the first leg of their eagerly anticipated live dates. 

October 2021 will see Erasure bring The Neon to venues across the UK, Ireland, Germany and Denmark. The tour kicks off at the Glasgow Armadillo auditorium and includes a show at the London O2 Arena on 17 October. 

Andy Bell says, “We’re so excited to be able to - at last - announce dates for The Neon Tour! We’d hoped to have seen you sooner, but can’t wait to see you all in 2021. Until then, keep safe!”.

1 Oct 21 - GlasgowArmadillo
4 Oct 21 - Dublin3Arena
6 Oct 21 - EdinburghUsher Hall
10 Oct 21 - ManchesterO2 Apollo
12 Oct 21 - CardiffMotorpoint Arena 
14 Oct 21 - BournemouthInternational Centre
16 Oct 21 - BirminghamUtilita Arena 
17 Oct 21 - LondonThe O2
18 Oct 21 - BrightonCentre
21 Oct 21 - Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle 
22 Oct 21 - Berlin, Max-Schmeling-Halle
24 Oct 21 - Cologne, Palladium 
26 Oct 21 - Copenhagen, Royal Arena
27 Oct 21 - Hamburg, Barclaycard Arena
28 Oct 21 - Leipzig, Immobilien Arena

Tickets for these unmissable dates are on sale at 10am on Friday 4 September with an exclusive fan pre-sale from 10am on Tuesday 1 September (access via qualifying purchase from Lexer and Mute Bank)

Watch the incredible new video, featuring over 20 LGBTQIA+ stars (including several best known for their appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Racefor the BBC Radio 2 playlisted single, ‘Nerves of Steel’:

The Neon is a place that lives in the imagination, that we – you and me – put in the real world. It could be a night club, a shop, a city, a cafe, a country, a bedroom, a restaurant, any place at all. It’s a place of possibility in warm, glowing light and this is music that takes you there.

Written and produced by Erasure, the album’s initial sessions saw Vince and Andy reunite with a fresh optimism and energy. Vince had been feeling drawn towards his older machines, some of which he’d had since their very early years together: “There’s a warmth to them. There’s also a real beauty in putting different analogue synthesisers together, too – a Pro-One, a Sequential Circuits, a Moog – they give this lovely sheen,” he explains.

Taking inspiration from pop music through the decades, from bands Andy loved as a child through to the present day, he explains, “It was about refreshing my love – hopefully our love – of great pop. I want kids now to hear these songs! I wanted to recharge that feeling that pop can come from anyone.”

The Neon brings warmth and a brilliant brightness, connecting us to our pasts and our futures as it glistens with hope. It creates beautiful places where our imaginations can roam, bringing us together, twinkling and beaming. The Neon puts you and me in a celebratory world, now and forever, illuminated and alive.

The new album is available now as limited edition neon orange vinyl, limited edition neon green cassette and limited edition CD: