‘Howerd’s End’ (Town and Gown, 15-17 July)

“An insight into genius, a glimpse of the dark matter cushioning every star, a sense of a love that dared not speak its name, but spoke instead in a quiet and gentle whisper.”

Editorial Rating: 4 Stars (Outstanding)

Full disclosure. My credentials as an impartial reviewer for anything connected to the brilliant Mark Farrelly are zero. I’m a huge fan. I’ve been reviewing him since EdFringe ‘12 when he appeared in Roy Smiles’ ‘The Lad Himself: A Celebration of the Life of Tony Hancock’. I’ve seen both his solo shows, and was part of the team that helped bring them into print. Earlier this year I urged the renaming of our little arts thing from Edinburgh49 to GetYourCoatsOn based on a throwaway comment Mark made in an interview with Karl Steele, manager of the Town and Gown. You have been warned.

<><><><><>><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

We enter to find Farrelly nursing a drink and a bevy of grievances large and small. Here is Dennis Heymer, the oh so secret other half of the late, great comedy legend Frankie Howerd. Remembered chiefly as an established mainstream mainstay, Francis Alick Howard, OBE (1917-1992) was the first in that line of non-conformist comics who progressed through the latter half of the previous century. Howerd was followed by the Goons, who were followed by Beyond The Fringe, who were followed by the Pythons, who were followed by Izzard. 

The great strength of this script is that one really doesn’t need to know very much about Howerd’s life to comprehend the drama. Celebrated comedian (40yrs) walks into a bar behind which is a sommelier (28yrs). A spark is kindled between them that will burn light and dark down the discrete decades together. Theirs was a romance set in a time when same-sex relationships, especially life long bonds, were still the love that dared not speak its name.

As Frankie Howerd, Simon Cartwright skillfully treads a tightrope in a performance that remains both recognisable and real without falling into simple caricature. His Howerd is a sympathetic, gentle giant, a little boy lost in a sexually-abusive past, adrift in a secretive and uncertain present, complacent about the Christmases yet to come. It’s a quietly powerful performance that grows louder in the remembering.

As Dennis Heymer and several other characters, Farrelly brings his A-game – that mix of pace and pathos of which he is a master. On stage he is a unique blend of considered spontaneity, obvious vagueness, and resolute indecision. Nobody else presents ultra real people on stage quite as well as Mark Farrelly.

There is a third presence on the stage in this two-hander. June Mendoza’s portrait of Howerd hangs above the mantelpiece throughout, a silent witness to the drama unfolding between the corporeal Dennis Heymer and the ghost of his dead soulmate. The pictures sets the sartorial standard which Cartwright’s costume follows exactly, from the cut of his lapels to the narrowness of his tie. This play is an animation of Mendoza’s capturing in oils of her sitter’s ambiguity, calm, and resilience.

This was an early performance of a production much delayed by the COVID crisis. There were faults and unforced errors. The scene of the characters’ first meeting is not blocked well. Farrelly’s impersonation of Peter Cook needs fine tuning and amplifying. A potentially pivotal final moment, in which the departing Howerd puts Heymer’s smoking jacket back on is lost to the audience by Cartwright’s physical bulk along with a chance to see Heymer reflected in Howerd’s eyes.

Farrelly fans, including this one, will not come away disappointed. They will leave with a trove of theatrical treasures that will shine alongside his past performances. They will gain an insight into his method through the addition of a second performer, one skilled and talented enough to more than hold his own alongside the chic sheik of the solo script. For those of us less familiar with Howerd himself, we will gain an insight into genius, a glimpse of the dark matter cushioning every star, a sense of a love that dared not speak its name, but spoke instead in a quiet and gentle whisper.


Reviewer: Dan Lentell

ALL our Town & Gown coverage? Click here!

Town and Gown, Cambridge – 2021 Season Interview: Paper Boats

“50% of prison leavers in the UK are reincarcerated within a year of their release, and two-thirds within two years. The show offers a fresh perspective on a social issue that has endured for decades but has become even more critical at a time when those who are marginalised in society are being pushed even further to the edge.”

WHO: Isobel Griffiths and Amara Heyland: Producer and Director

WHAT: “Standing on the side of a road, clutching a plastic bag in one hand and £46 in the other, staring at the future.

Like many prison leavers, Sam has just been released into the middle of nowhere. Miles from home, with no place to go and no way of getting there, there is nothing to do except walk.

In this brand new devised piece, Roadside Theatre offers a frank look at the reality of leaving prison in the UK through Sam’s eyes. Drawing on real-life testimony to tell unheard stories with humour and compassion, Paper Boats explores what it means to start again.”

WHERE: Town and Gown Pub & Theatre, Cambridge

WHEN: 27-29 September (times vary)

MORE: Click Here!


What does Cambridge mean to you?

We both went to university in Cambridge, and spent three years constantly amazed at how much culture, history, and passion a small city could hold! Roadside Theatre was founded in Cambridge, and we love the unique and diverse audiences that the city can offer. Paper Boats, in particular, comes from a crucial time for rehabilitative justice both nationally and internationally. The murders of two Cambridge graduates at a conference on rehabilitative justice leaves a legacy for this in the city, and adds an urgency to the issues we raise. We wouldn’t want anywhere else to be the site of the show’s debut.

Tell us about your show.

A devised one-hander making its debut at Cambridge’s Town & Gown Theatre, Paper Boats was inspired by the true stories of prison leavers and the struggle of being suddenly ejected from an institution in which you have spent most of your adult life, often into a state of homelessness. 50% of prison leavers in the UK are reincarcerated within a year of their release, and two-thirds within two years. The show offers a fresh perspective on a social issue that has endured for decades but has become even more critical at a time when those who are marginalised in society are being pushed even further to the edge.

Through cooperation with facilitators of The Forgiveness Project’s RESTORE programme, we have had the opportunity to interview ex-offenders and rehabilitation workers in order to gather real-life testimony about the experience of leaving prison in the UK today, from those who have experienced it themselves and those working on the frontline of trying to redress systemic failures. Creating a show which is gripping, dynamic and compassionate, we will shed light on a little-known aspect of navigating the prison system in this country; what happens when you leave?

What kind of art makes you ‘Get Your Coat On’ and go see it?

We like work that explores urgent social issues in a way that is dynamic and fresh. Thought-provoking art that is for the current moment is what makes us go out and see it. We have been inspired by the work of Clean Break, a female led theatre company who work in prisons and use theatre to raise the profile of criminal justice issues.

We also are inspired by Cambridge itself. We have always loved the local venues in the city: the ADC Theatre, the arts theatre, and the many local gig venues. That’s why we’re so excited to be performing at the Town & Gown, because it’s bringing fringe theatre to the forefront in Cambridge. We’re so intrigued by the work that’s being performed there, and are excited to be a part of the programme!

You’re the age you are now. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What’s the one thing you’d like your older self to remember about you now?

To our younger selves, we’d tell them not to fret about what career you’re going to end up in. You’ll realise that the arts are what you love, and even when you graduate into a pandemic you will still find a way to create. For our older selves, we want them to remember to be glad that we didn’t give up, even though being an artist in your 20s is really bloody difficult and while there may have been moments where you thought about sacking it in and working in Canary Wharf, you didn’t!


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

Town and Gown, Cambridge – 2021 Season Interview: Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood

“My mum died from her own battle with cancer before she could see this show, and we lost Vic the same way. This month, I’m proud to have been named the 5th Ambassador for the charity, CabaretVsCancer.”

WHO: Paulus, The Cabaret Geek: Creator, Writer & Performer

WHAT: “Written and performed by Paulus Of TV’s All Together Now, ‘Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood’ is a homage celebrating the music of the late comedy genius and national treasure. This one-hour performance created for the 2020 Edinburgh Festival, features musical director Michael Roulston (Fascinating Aida; Julie, Madly, Deeply; Jess Robinson).”

WHERE: Town and Gown Pub & Theatre, Cambridge

WHEN: 31 July (3 & 8pm)

MORE: Click Here!


What does Cambridge mean to you?

To me, Cambridge evokes memories of my first ever corporate gig. I was business partners with a Cambridge Alum and he arranged for Michael and I and a guest singer to entertain some ”Old Boys’ in a very grand function room after a lavish dinner. They said they had a lovely time but suggested the lead performer (me) might benefit from a toupee!

We then had a HIDEOUS search for some food and a drink (this was before the days of Deliveroo et al!) which culminated in us collapsing in our digs at 1am with a bottle of wine which we could not get the cork out of as there wasn’t a cork-screw.

Tiredness – 1, Alcoholism – 0.

Tell us about your show.

I wrote this piece to celebrate the music and musicality of the late, great Victoria Wood. I was introduced to her via her 1985 sketch show As Seen on TV when I was ten. I watched with my mum and sister and remember clearly how Vic’s ‘look’ back then was very androgynous – mens trousers, jacket, tie, shirt – spiky hair and trainers (she came 2nd in Tie Man of the Year, 1982, beaten only by Trevor McDonald, you know!). I didn’t know it at the time, but her eschewing of fashion norms would influence me heavily. My mum died from her own battle with cancer before she could see this show, and we lost Vic the same way. This month, I’m proud to have been named the 5th Ambassador for the charity, CabaretVsCancer.

What kind of art makes you ‘Get Your Coat On’ and go see it?

I’ve spent a great deal of the past two decades working at Outdoor Arts Festivals as a Ringmaster/Compere. I love the mixture of artisanal crafts, interactive workshops and bespoke pieces of dance, drama and music that all mingle together to make a special day or weekend at a site specific event. I want to buy ALL the jams and brooches and cushions and yet my suitcase is full of costume, so its often very tough to decide! I am the self-confessed ‘Cabaret Geek’ and so anything that is intimate, informal and breaks the fourth wall will get my attention also.

You’re the age you are now. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What’s the one thing you’d like your older self to remember about you now?

Enjoy your hair while you have it; one day it will slip off the back of your head.

There is a different between making art and creating content.

Ken & Deidre were never ultimately meant to be together.

Buy ALL of that soap you like in LUSH because they are gonna discontinue everything you love.

Keep your vinyl.


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

Town and Gown, Cambridge – 2021 Season Interview: Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

“The story, about the value of home and family, is one which everyone, regardless of age, can relate to.”

WHO: Charlotte Ellen: Creator

WHAT: “Fly away with Betwixt-and-Between’s magical stage adaptation of J.M.Barrie’s prequel to Peter Pan. Meet Mary and her father, George as they explore the origins of ‘the boy who wouldn’t grow up’. Introducing a host of new characters- from regal fairies to talking birds – with tons of imagination, ‘joyful playfulness’,* and five wonderful, original songs by Patrick Neil Doyle, we invite you and your family to join us in Kensington Gardens this summer to hear the story behind the legend and to remember that to live is an awfully big adventure.’

*This family show is recommended for children aged 5+”

WHERE: Town and Gown Pub & Theatre, Cambridge

WHEN: 18th – 22nd August (3pm)

MORE: Click Here!


What does Cambridge mean to you?

Daniel and Charlotte, who set up Betwixt-and-Between and perform in this play, met in Cambridge in 2014 whilst they were both performing at the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, it is a city with many happy associations for them – although they have both succumbed to swallowing too much water from the Cam during punting and let’s just say that is not a wise move when you are sewn into your costume the next day!

Tell us about your show.

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens tells the origin story of Peter Pan – back before he flew to Neverland to meet Captain Hook, Wendy or Tinkerbell – when he first flew away as a baby and lived in Kensington Gardens with the birds and the fairies! The story, by J.M.Barrie, has been adapted for the stage and our versatile cast of two, who play all the characters as they tell the story. It is a show with storytelling at it’s heart, full of imagination, play and five catchy new songs. The story, about the value of home and family, is one which everyone, regardless of age, can relate to.

What kind of art makes you ‘Get Your Coat On’ and go see it?

Favourite plays include ‘The Grinning Man‘ (Bristol Old Vic), ‘The Light Princess‘ (The National) and ‘Spillikin‘ (Pipeline Theatre). From my first experience of the West End at ‘The Lion King‘ (Disney) to the one woman ‘Animal Farm’ I saw at Loughborough Town Hall in 2001 (Lizzie Wort), I love ambitious, creatively rich theatre with soul which aims to tell stories in imaginative ways.

I have come to recognise I am often drawn to puppetry as a particularly potent form of what theatre is – making something imaginary, real – and am enchanted by the work done by Gyre and Gimble.

During lockdown ‘Flowers for Mrs Harris‘ (Chichester Festival Theatre) and ‘The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk‘ (Bristol Old Vic) kept me hoping and dreaming about the return to theatre.

You’re the age you are now. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What’s the one thing you’d like your older self to remember about you now?

At 35 I would like to tell my younger self to do, do, do – whatever feeds your soul – and not to wait to be ‘ready’; but to do things for their own sake not for outside approval or ‘success’. I think I’d like my older self to remember … well just to remember things would be good! I’d like to remember that this is the time that I took all my doubts and said, ‘come on and fly with me’ – even if that means falling with style!


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

‘Adolf’ (Town and Gown, 4th & 5th June)

Pip Utton is THE leading solo player strutting the boards in our time.

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars (Nae Bad)

Among the most damning things that can be said about Adolf Hitler is that he was a politician. Perhaps the most damning thing that can be said about politicians is that Adolf Hitler was one. We know that Hitler was a politician first and foremost because at the end of his 12 year reign of terror and error, the Germany that he had promised to leave stronger, happier, healthier, and wealthier was in utter ruin. Its cities had been shattered. Its youth slaughtered (yet again) on the altar of bombastic statecraft gone wrong. Its minorities piteously tormented, robbed, and murdered under the smiling guise of due process. Germany had been conquered and was occupied by the very people and nations Hitler had spent his public career vilifying. Germany would not be a single, united state again for the better part of half a century. It takes a politician to make such a god awful mess of things.

Hitler was a narcissist, a liar, a user, an abuser, intellectually shallow, personally callow. His biography is a case study in how the divine spark of a rather ordinary human being was snuffed out by a violently tyrannical parent, an indoctrinating hate-fuelled school teacher, a world indifferent to his early self-delusions of grandeur, exposure to the soul-crushing loneliness of life as an urban vagrant and the horrors of industrial warfare on the Western Front. This hapless self-involved manchild, a figure all too familiar these days, was spun by the fates into the author of atrocities great and small from which the world may never recover. Hitler became what he was because instead of seeking therapy he sought votes. He wanted unthinking adulation when he needed unrelenting help. Why would anyone vote for such a sorry specimen of putrid, pusillanimous, perversion?

Pip Utton is THE leading solo player strutting the boards in our time. No one in the business is more respected by their peers for the sheer bloody effort they bring to each game, set, match and championship. When I first reviewed ‘Pip Utton is Charles Dickens’ at EdFringe in 2011 the master was appearing in no less than three separate solo bouts – as Charles Dickens, as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and as Adolf. It took a toll on the artist, but the art was all the more exquisite for his feat of endurance. Now, with the COVID-crisis having shuttered our theatre spaces, Utton is (naturally) among the first to return. It’s like hearing the purr of a vintage tiger moth or the growl of a perfectly maintained hurricane fighter coming out of a cloudless Duxford sky. A thing of not-so-quiet beauty. An engineering masterpiece roaring back to life.

Utton’s portrait of Hitler is pictured in the bunker in the final hours of that misspent life. Those wanting only a rehash of Bruno Ganz’ landmark and ultra-realistic performance in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2004 biopic ‘Downfall’ will be disappointed, as will those hoping for a return of the camp clown presented by Dick Shawn in Mel Brooks’ 1967 ‘The Producers’. Pip Utton’s ‘Adolf’ isn’t about Hitler. It’s about us.

The show is about how an expert performer can tempt us, lull us, draw us away from what we know to be right and sink us in a mire of half-baked half truths. It is sad to think how many people come away from their encounter with the ultimate politician believing that none of the health warnings apply to their own preferred pedders of political spume. Arguing that one politician is better than another is like claiming that one bucket of lukewarm vomit tastes better than another. As Dr. Ben Carson put it, “We’ve been conditioned to think that only politicians can solve our problems. But at some point, maybe we will wake up and recognize that it was politicians who created our problems.”

Given how many problems the politician Hitler created for so many people it is a feat of editorial genius that this show is as tightly packed as it is. If the production’s Director, the legendary Guy Masterson no less, were a tailor for M&S we would all be looking sharper than Sinatra on our way to the office. Masterson is a genius for getting even very heavy and cumbersome material to hang just right. For all that this is a dark tragedy, there is a light, even a breezy feel to this intense and intensely upsetting piece of theatre.

Aspects of the script are in need of a little updating. These days Prince Harry wears a mask, not a costume, and wants us all to know that he is woker than woke (and open for business). Utton is in better physical shape than any of us, so the line about a tubby little English actor is as discorant as Blackadder’s describing Hugh Laurie’s Prince Regent as fat. But what’s so impressive (if not altogether unexpected) is how well the script has held up over nearly 30 years of performance. It’s proof positive that we cannot hear its warnings too many times. Whether we choose to heed those warnings on the other hand…


Reviewer: Dan Lentell

ALL our Town & Gown coverage? Click here!

Town and Gown, Cambridge – 2021 Season Interview: Shell Suit Cher AND Believe In Bingo & Bingo at Tiffany’s with Audrey Heartburn!

“Years of dramatic disco dancing and rolling around dance floors has not been kind to my lumbar region.”

WHO: Tracey Collins: Writer and performer

WHAT (Cher): “Imagine if Cher left showbiz behind, swapped leather for leisure wear and became a shell suit wearing, chain smoking, bingo host…

Well, imagine no longer as award-winning performer Tracey Collins brings her brand new weird and wonderful character to the stage for SHELL SUIT CHER: I Believe in Bingo! 

She’s flammable and her balls are on fire! 

* Laugh, dance and play to win life-changing prizes!

* Singalong to all Cher’s hit songs hilariously reworked!

* Be amazed as Shell Suit Cher unzips the story of her wild journey from Vegas to Mecca and beyond! 

She’s got balls babe!

WHAT (Audrey): “Daaarlings!

Calling all dream makers, heart breakers and bingo lovers!

Join award winning character comedian Tracey Collins (Tina T’urner Tea Lady) as she hosts Bingo at Tiffany’s with Audrey Heartburn! An evening of hilarious bingo games, raucous singalongs and glamorous dancing!

Laugh, dance and play to win luxury prizes as Audrey spins her deluxe cage of bingo balls and shakes her maracas to a marvellous party soundtrack.

Fresh from performing all over the UK, including a sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe run in 2019, Audrey Heartburn leaves Hollywood once again in search of love and laughter in the real world.”

WHERE: Town and Gown Pub & Theatre, Cambridge

WHEN (Cher): 11th June 2021 and 3 other dates

WHEN (Audrey): 2nd July and 27th August 2021

MORE: Click Here!


What does Cambridge mean to you?

I adore Cambridge! It’s such a beautiful place. I have wonderful memories of going on a guided punt river tour in the winter – which was very romantic. Taking in the architecture and then sitting in a cosy pub for hours.

Tell us about your show.

I perform two regular events at The Town & Gown Theatre. ‘Bingo at Tiffanys with Audrey Heartburn’ and ‘Shell Suit Cher – Believe In Bingo’. The shows merge musical character comedy performance with bingo games.

I’ve been writing and performing character comedy for almost a decade now, and in recent years I have really enjoyed merging my heightened, ridiculous character comedy with songs, games and plenty of audience interaction. Its a chance for the audience to let go, have fun, play together and win some fabulous prizes!

The two shows differ in the concept, story and style. ‘Bingo at Tiffanys’ is a melodramatic, classy, night of entertainment delight! Whereas ‘Believe In Bingo’ is a wild, trashy evening hosted by Cher in a shell suit with pop-rock anthem parody songs and a lot of costume changes!

What kind of art makes you ‘Get Your Coat On’ and go see it?

Oooh I am a huge fan of mixed bill variety shows. I especially love Pull The Other One in London, where you’ll always find incredible creativity and freedom. I love venues such as Bethnal Green Working Mens Club and the eclectic shows they curate. I also adore Lenny Beige and his band of freaks – he always puts on an amazing show.

I love The Edinburgh Festival Fringe and really hoping to return again. Nothing beats having no plan and wandering into a show in a sweaty cave and being mesmerised by an artist/ company you’ve never heard of.

You’re the age you are now. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What’s the one thing you’d like your older self to remember about you now?

I would tell my younger self to look after your back! Years of dramatic disco dancing and rolling around dance floors has not been kind to my lumbar region.

I would like my older self to remember this time of creativity and freedom. To cherish the random and ridiculous memories.


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

Town and Gown, Cambridge – 2021 Season Interview: Naughty Boy

“I wanted to tackle this belief that everyone seems to have an excuse for their behaviour these days, rather than accepting that sometimes their are no excuses.”

WHO: Eddy Brimson: Actor/writer/producer

WHAT: “Acclaimed writer and comedian Eddy Brimson presents his debut play Naughty Boy to the theatre in this brand new stage adaptation. This one-man play brings Brimson’s natural wit into the darkly hedonistic world of Joe, a mysteriously complicated character whose life is full of twists and turns, violence and compassion, lies, and reality. All of which exposes some uncomfortable questions about both responsibility, and truth.”

WHERE: Town and Gown Pub & Theatre, Cambridge

WHEN: 23rd – 24th June

MORE: Click Here!


What does Cambridge mean to you?

For me Cambridge means football away days and having the laces taken out of my boots by the police. Strawberry Fair (What I can remember of it), and dying on my arse here at the start of my comedy career…. And the Cambridge Folk Festival as my old man played it year after year. I loved it.

Tell us about your show.

Well don’t bring the kids as it is a bit full on. I first performed the play at the Edinburgh Festival in 2019 and the reviews exceeded all expectations. My main focus was on the writing. In the play I take you from mental institution to a hedonistic weekend away full of sex drugs and violence. The piece looks at nature nurture, them and us and mental health. I wanted to tackle this belief that everyone seems to have an excuse for their behaviour these days, rather than accepting that sometimes their are no excuses. The play also looks into love, loyalty, identity and the role of class in society. I’m very proud of how it has turned out, and the fact that people are left with as many questions as the piece provides answers.

What kind of art makes you ‘Get Your Coat On’ and go see it?

I love all forms of art. I am a comedian by trade, and although I am pretty scripted I love the absurd. But I also love to see art that pushes a message, be it in print or on stage. Music seems to have lost it’s way since the days of punk and ska, but bands such as The Newtown Aces are starting to use music to get people thinking again.

You’re the age you are now. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What’s the one thing you’d like your older self to remember about you now?

Ha … Loyalty is all well and good, but if you are going to devote your life to one thing then pick Barcelona rather than Watford Football Club. I would tell my younger self to always carry a spare pair of jeans and wet wipes in the car … Which is the same thing I’d tell my older self to remember, but maybe double up on it once you pass 45.

I would also tell anyone of any age that creativity never stops. And we are here to create.


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

Town and Gown, Cambridge – 2021 Season Interview: Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope

“The student drama scene hugely influenced my choice of career. I made lifelong friends. And sank enough ale to flood Parker’s Piece.”

WHO: Mark Farrelly, Writer / Performer / Producer

WHAT: “Fresh from its Off-Broadway debut and milestone 100th performance, Mark Farrelly’s hugely acclaimed solo comes to the Town and Gown Theatre.

From a conventional upbringing to global notoriety via The Naked Civil Servant, Quentin Crisp was one of the most memorable figures of the twentieth century. Openly gay as early as the 1930s, Quentin spent decades being beaten up on London’s streets for his refusal to be anything less than himself. His courage, and the philosophy that evolved from those experiences, inspire to the present day.

Naked Hope depicts Quentin at two phases of his extraordinary life: alone in his Chelsea flat in the 1960s, certain that life has passed him by, and thirty years later, giving a performance of his one man show An Evening with Quentin Crisp in New York. Packed with witty gems on everything from cleaning (“Don’t bother – after the first four years the dirt won’t get any worse”) to marriage (“Is there life after marriage? The answer is no”), Naked Hope is a glorious, uplifting celebration of the urgent necessity to be your true self.

Mark Farrelly’s West End credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opposite Matthew Kelly. He is directed by EastEnders star Linda Marlowe (Berkoff’s Women).”

WHERE: Town and Gown Pub & Theatre, Cambridge

WHEN: Thursday 27th May 2021 and 2 other dates

MORE: Click Here!


What does Cambridge mean to you?

I studied English Literature at Jesus College in the late nineties. I’ve always found Cambridge magical. It took me three attempts to get accepted. So once I arrived, I was on a mission to make the most of it. The student drama scene hugely influenced my choice of career. I made lifelong friends. And sank enough ale to flood Parker’s Piece. I was so happy there that when I returned to Civvy Street in 2001, I found it very hard to cope, and spiralled into depression. Ordinary life seemed so aggressively mundane. But I have no regrets about overdosing at the Fountain of Pleasure. It was a heady, life-affirming privilege.

Tell us about your show.

The show, which I wrote, is a salute to the courage of the individual to be themselves. Quentin Crisp wittily and bravely emphasised his flamboyant gayness at a time when it was illegal. That’s an extraordinary thing to look back on from the vantage of 2021. But the show is also a timely nudge in the ribs for anybody who may be slipping into conformity and not letting their sparkly, dangerous genius shine before it’s too late.

The first night at The Town and Gown will be the 125th performance. It delights me how much hunger there is for Quentin’s message of hope, his determination to meet adversity with what he calls “laughter in the dark”.

What kind of art makes you ‘Get Your Coat On’ and go see it?

I have a passion for solo work, because of its immediacy and intensity. Sarah-Louise Young, and her amazing “An Evening Without Kate Bush”, are quite something. She is directing my next solo, about Derek Jarman, which debuts at The Town and Gown in August.

But I can’t lie…I go to the theatre infrequently. I much prefer sitting on my sofa, drinking Puligny-Montrachet and dreaming up ideas for new pieces. Going to the theatre can feel a bit like a busman’s holiday for me…I’m performing so often that I like a break from it whenever possible.

You’re the age you are now. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What’s the one thing you’d like your older self to remember about you now?

To younger self: you will survive. You will weather the storms of rejection, depression and suicidal impulse, and one day your hot, furious little ego will find its quietus and the true you will arise. Nothing will be wasted, nothing forgotten, and everything will come when the timing is deliciously, inexplicably right.

To older self: you were living, breathing, feeling your dream day after day.


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

Town and Gown, Cambridge – 2021 Season Interview: The Nobodies

“The play explores the ‘us vs them’ mentality of the class divide, and the politicisation of vigilante activists. We look at the feeling of restlessness in the working classes in a time where class divisions are widening, the poor are getting poorer, and Brexit threatens to tear the country apart.”

WHO: Sam Edmunds, Co-Director & Co-Producer

WHAT: A town is in turmoil. A hospital is closing. And an MP is dead on the train tracks… Accident? Or opportunity?

When a local hospital announces its closure, panic ensues. Healthcare Assistant Rhea is forced to look for work elsewhere. Local lad Aaron worries about his mum’s treatment in the cancer unit. And Curtis just isn’t sure where he’s going to sleep. But when the three witness a horrific accident, a rare opportunity presents itself. As a dangerous decision triggers a wild chain of events, Rhea, Aaron and Curtis soon find themselves gathering power, influence and infamy – and inspiring a cohort of vigilante activists. What does it take to enact real change? And what would you sacrifice to keep it?”

WHERE: Town and Gown Pub & Theatre, Cambridge

WHEN: Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th June 2021

MORE: Click Here!


What does Cambridge mean to you?

Bringing The Nobodies to Cambridge will actually be my first time visiting! I have heard lots of wonderful things however and I am really excited to explore the city and take in its amazing architecture and culture. I’m also really excited by the theatre scene in Cambridge, which is renown for producing incredible artists. I hope during my time there I can meet some likeminded creatives and learn more about the arts scene in the city. Having spoken about Cambridge to Karl from The Town & Gown, I was thrilled to hear that the city is actively engaging in local politics and that there is a buzz in younger people especially to implement change within their local community. That is really what The Nobodies is about and I’m sure it will resonate with those who come to see it.

Tell us about your show.

The Nobodies is written by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Amy Guyler. Amy is a regular writer for East Enders and recently was voted top of the Brit List for ‘The Jude Problem’. It stars David Angland (I Like The Way You Move– Frantic Assembly), Joseph Reed (The Wipers Times – Arts Theatre & UK Tour) and Lucy Simpson (The Happy Warrior – Harrogate Theatre). The creative team consists of many different professionals including Sound Designer Mekel Edwards who was the previous production manager on the New York & UK Tour of The Babershop Chronicles by The National Theatre. It is produced by Chalk Line Theatre company who are a multi-award-winning company based in Luton who tour work both nationally and internationally. Chalk Line are an Associate Company of The Lion and Unicorn Theatre, as well as a Graduate Emerging Company of The New Diorama. The company is run by Co-Artistic Directors Sam Edmunds and Vikesh Godhwani.

The Nobodies first premiered at The Vault Festival where it received the COMMON Award 2020 presented by COMMON and The Pleasance Theatre. It performed to great critical acclaim receiving multiple 5* and 4* star reviews as well as being one of Lyn Gardner’s Top Picks for the festival, a British Theatre Recommended Show and one of A Younger Theatre’s Top Shows of 2020. It is now embarking on a UK summer tour and is published with Salamander Street Publishing.

The play explores the ‘us vs them’ mentality of the class divide, and the politicisation of vigilante activists. We look at the feeling of restlessness in the working classes in a time where class divisions are widening, the poor are getting poorer, and Brexit threatens to tear the country apart. Fuelled by the ‘taking back the power’ mantra, the play capitalises on the need for action for those feeling impotent in the current political climate.

Writer Guyler said, ‘The Nobodies follows three characters who – initially, at least – just want to make the world a better place. They want to help their own community. I think we all know what that feels like in today’s climate. I was tired of working-class stories being doom and gloom. This is a new version of our story – a version where we win. …Almost. ‘

In a time where political and social unrest is in abundance, The Nobodies aims to inspire communities to speak up against systems which do not represent them and to take action to provoke change, (no matter how small or large that action or change may be).

What kind of art makes you ‘Get Your Coat On’ and go see it?

I am a huge fan of contemporary work which tackles socio-political issues. Some of my favourite plays include: Good Dog by Arinze Kene and The Angry Brigade by James Graham. I like theatre which amplifies narratives of underrepresented communities, telling stories which do not often get given the platform they deserve. I like bold, visually striking work, often combining physical expression and intricate designs to compliment the text. Rhum & Clay’s recent production of Mistero Buffo was an exemplary piece of theatre which uses all the styles of theatre I love. I’m more a festival, off-west goer than West End theatre.

I love going to The Vault Festival in London or up to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where people really create new, challenging work, pushing the expectations of what theatre can be. I also love venues such as the The New Diorama, The Pleasance and Soho and companies like Gecko and Complicite. My taste in theatre isn’t too specific or fussy however, I like experiencing a multitude of work, engaging with lots of different genres.

You’re the age you are now. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What’s the one thing you’d like your older self to remember about you now?

I would tell myself that believe it or not, you are going to grow up and make theatre haha! No my advice would be, to take risks, have fun, don’t be afraid of being silly and try not to compare yourself to others, your journey will be hugely different to everyone else’s.

I’d like my older self to remember how hard I worked to keep making theatre and all the amazing memories I made with all of the incredible artists I worked with.


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!