CHRISTMAS 2015

Following on from the success of last year’s pantomime Beauty and the Beast, we captured the spirit of the community once more with our magical production of Pinocchio and the Pirates!

As writer, director, producer and performer I like to keep it neat and smart with few principal cast members. I also merged the villains of the original story into a band of nasty pirates. A simple story is key to any pantomime – and any piece of theatre, so it was important to keep to a simplified plot (the original story is far too complicated) and keep traditional pantomime elements. You can check out my list of other pantomime scripts here.

After London 2012

In September 2012, straight after working on London 2012, I begain working as a development manager for The Atrium, Norfolk’s newest arts centre and creative hub. At Christmas time that year we presented my own adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first professional show produced in the town of North Walsham for many years. It was very well received and helped establish the venue as a hub for art and cultural activity. In early 2013, we set up The Atrium as a limited company and registered charity, leasing the venue from Norfolk County Council. As Director and Chief Exec, I produced in-house shows from variety, plays and Christmas treats, welcoming touring theatre and engaging the local community with a cinema and diverse workshop programme.
We became a registered charity in June 2013 and rebranded in August 2014 as Arts North Norfolk – moving our operation from The Atrium to a town centre box office and hub. We still use The Atrium for our larger and regular events.
www.artsnorthnorfolk.org

BELOW: reviews, blogs and meanderings about things that interest me (and perhaps others).

Blog: End of the rainbow, beginning of a phenomenon


End of the Rainbow written by Peter Quilter. Directed by Terry Johnson. Pinstripe Productions and Royal & Derngate, Northampton. At first, you could think of the many biographical pieces of theatre that attempt to delve into the life of a diva. I also think of the many GCSE drama students who try to immortalize Marilyn Monroe and her tragic ending. At a time when the ink telling the sad news of Amy Winehouse is still wet, comes this poignant and intense piece of theatre that blew me away.

Out of the set (a gorgeous London Ritz hotel room that provides the backdrop to most the play) comes the club venue ‘Talk of the Town’ where Judy ploughed on with her umpteenth comeback show. Tracie Bennett (a string of UK theatre, TV and film, mostly recognized from Emmerdale) gives an outstanding performance that raised the hair on the back of my neck. She delivered what felt like a true raw performance, moving from dark humour and wit to pieces of intense drama – crumbling the international sensation of Garland before our very eyes – one moment she’s up, the next she’s literally down on the floor begging for more drugs and liquor.

Just before the interval we’re treated to Gershwin’s  ‘The Man That Got Away’ – a haunting performance where you’re allowed to engage with and left vulnerable with the wreck of a woman that’s crumbling before us.

“It’s a terrible thing to know what you’re capable of and never get there.”
Judy in End of the Rainbow.
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Bennett is joined by Hilton McRae (Anthony), Norman Bowman (her last husband, Mickey Deans) and a variety of guises from ASM Robert Maskell. McRae plays her gay (and bitter) pianist, which balances dry wit with Judy’s dark humour. A nod to Judy’s gay fans (and the many that made up the audience) continued throughout the play adding comic relief often amongst moments of intensity that deal with the star’s demise that seemed to have begun as that child star we all remember.

The opening night at the first leg of the UK tour, here at Theatre Royal Norwich, got a standing ovation and I’m sure it will be getting many more.

For more information about this production and its UK tour, check out:www.endoftherainbowtour.com