Thursday, 29 March 2018

StageWright's production of TWO

Taking on an intense play such as Jim Cartwright's TWO, was never going to be an easy option.

This play, which requires two actors to craft fourteen very different characters between them, is enormously demanding both emotionally and physically on the performers, not to mention necessitating great skill to pull it off.

Add to this the fact that actress Hannah Kilroy hadn't performed in a play before, and that this was also the debut production by a brand new, young and innovative director and theatre company - and what you're really asking for seems beyond the realms of possibility.

Yet that is exactly what StageWright Theatre Company did when I went to watch their production in The Victoria in Birmingham last night. In fact I would go as far as to say that their first ever staged production was nothing short of a run-away success.

Beautifully portrayed throughout, both Kilroy and her male counterpart, Chris Cooper, played each new character with startling insight and a fair dose of sensitivity. They were by turns, endearing, over-bearing, nauseating and funny. But above all they were credible - every word they uttered rang true.

As I writer myself, I understand the value of  realistic dialogue, but during a performance such as this, one can only hope that a good director will ensure that every last drop of meaning is wrung from every line. Tellwright delivered this in buckets, keeping her audience fully immersed and experiencing the full gamut of emotions.

Every ounce of comedy, every shred of stripped dignity, every fortuneless twist of fate suffered by these characters was laid bare before the audience's eyes. I didn't see a single person move their gaze from the riveting performance in front of them, so rapt was their attention.

But I must make a special mention about Kilroy. Her final portrayal of the 'Landlady' was nothing short of outstanding. Poignant and heart-rendingly real, I unashamedly cried, not only for how she had been emotionally abandoned since losing her child, but for all the unrealised what-ifs in her life.

From beginning to end this was a production that enthralled, captivated and entranced. And I have no doubt at all as to the professionalism and exceptional talent of all of those involved.

If you can, get tickets for the final night of this production. If you're lucky there may be some left. But I seriously doubt it.

And if you're wise, you'll note Laura Tellwright's name, and that of her company StageWright, because I think this young director is going places fast.

But don't just take my word for it. Go and see for yourself.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Did you know that reprints of Split Decision have just been delivered in South Africa? 

Here they are in all their glory.

They are a little different to the British version and list my other books on the inside as well as giving a list of readers who have recommended the book.

If you haven't yet bought yourself or a loved one a copy, now is the time.

Happy Reading! x

Grand Re-opening of The Old Beams

The Old Beams in Stourport reopened on Saturday to a packed house.

Having been recently taken over by a new management team, this pub has a fabulous fusion of old and new, with a wealth of charm evident in every exposed beam. Tastefully decorated and furnished with quirky designer sofas, there are even more plans afoot to turn the place into THE place to go in Stourport.

More comfortable lounging areas are planned, and there are extensive plans for the outside area to host live music with the addition of an outside bar and dining area, allowing diners to make the most of those long summer evenings.

And to give clients just a taste of a delightful new, summery menu, mini-burgers were served on the evening, along with samples of crispy chicken, cheesy pizzas and dreamy desserts. All went down very well, along with the complimentary glass of prosecco.

So roll on summer! 

Roll-up for the mystery tour!

Yesterday was such an unexpectedly beautiful day, that my partner and I decided to change our plans and go on a mystery tour. With no real destination in mind, other than finding somewhere new to explore, we found ourselves in several little country villages and hamlets, before dropping into Knowle for a saunter around the churchyard and a leisurely cuppa.

We chose Elderberry Blacks Café for a drink for both of us, and a sausage and mushroom sandwich for my partner.

But what entranced me most about the place was it's quaintness and in particular the Hobbit-sized toilet.

Now I don't think I've ever written a post about a toilet before, but this one was quirky and unexpected - a bit like me!

With its tiny entrance carved into the framework of the building, the room boasted a log burner and a set of books, as well as the obligatory porcelain.

And it made me smile because I could just imagine Frodo Baggins rummaging around in there. [No cheap jokes about him looking for the ring please ;)...]

So here are the pictures, I hope they make you smile too!