Tag Archives: Riding Lights

BLU – Love Arts Festival. Friargate Theatre, York, 4-5th July.

29 Jun

“I thought love was black and white.

But with you it can be red and orange and yellow and green,

and sometimes…

just sometimes…”

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I originally wrote Blu for a Script Yorkshire Script Factor heat earlier this year. The theme was, unsurprisingly, ‘Blue’ and I immediately thought of writing something to do with mental health, “blue” sometimes being used as a euphemism for mental health problems such as Depression. I don’t mention a specific issue in the play, but my own past experiences with Anxiety did have an influence on the writing.

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“It was a Saturday. That Saturday. Meeting you for the first time.”

Blu begins with an awkward meet cute at a party between a man (played by David Phillipps) and a woman (played by Emma Dubruel). They are very different people but they are intrigued by each other and, over two different time frames, we see that actually maybe they are just what each other needs at this particular time in their lives.

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“I think I noticed some kind of, lemon kind of, might be some elderflower crap. Posh bastards, everything’s from Waitrose.”

Coming to watch Blu will take the maximum of 10 minutes of your precious time and for just £5 you can also get in to watch other Love Arts performances at Friargate Theatre. On Saturday 4th July, we are on at 5pm and at 6pm you can watch Are You Taking the Mick by Conquer and, at 7pm Do you Mind? by Beardog. On Sunday 5th July, we are on at 4.30pm and at 6pm you can watch Headaches by Enso. For an extra £5 each you can also see Anonymous Bosh’s The Knot of the Heart and Hedgepig’s The Maids the same weekend!

Love Arts York festival is a festival with the simple aim of using the arts to get people to think about and talk about mental health and wellbeing. www.loveartsyork.co.uk

Blu production updates are posted on twitter, follow @birdonhead for more information.

I will also be entering a play in the Script Factor Final, also at Friargate, later in July. Tickets for both events can be booked at www.ridinglights.org.uk/friargate

Review: Two Planks and a Passion

11 Jul

York Theatre Royal’s and Riding Lights’ Two Planks and a Passion – the third of the former’s main house ensemble plays – is a credit to York and to regional theatre. A charming and entertaining script by Anthony Minghella, a large and talented community cast and atmospheric music by Christopher Madin give this production (on until 16th July) a big heart.

Set in York and based around King Richard II’s visit to the city and to the mystery plays in the late 14th Century, the play focuses just as much on the royals (played by professionals) as on the ‘normal’ citizens of York and on the competition between two of the guilds putting on two of the plays.  Ambitiously, there are two community casts, totalling over 50, which are alternating the run and the cast I saw (the Taylors) had been impeccably cast; there wasn’t a weak link. Most impressively, voice projection, even discounting the fact that it was a largely amateur cast in the round, was spot on – here we have, quite clearly, professional amateurs. Rory Mulvihill and Rebecca Beattie, in particular, have great vocal presence.

The cast have clearly thought hard about their characters as there were some great nuances and subtleties to certain performances. It almost goes without saying that Jonathan Race (as King Richard), Michael Lambourne (as Oxford) and Emily Pithon (as Queen Anne) were on form but it was to the community cast’s credit that they did not seem to ‘stand out’ so significantly as to be distracting. Gemma Shelton, playing a wife of one of the players, gave a very truthful performance and Paul Stonehouse, as the non-too-holy Father Melton, was pitch perfect.

The promised spectacle of the 2012 Mystery Plays in York will need to build on the success of Two Planks and a Passion but it is without a doubt a great introduction to the project and an entertaining, if slightly over-long, stand alone production.

This review is also posted here: http://www.ayoungertheatre.com/review-two-planks-and-a-passion-york-theatre-royal/