Like a box of rich, rich chocolates – My #Pulse Preview

With a whacking great 52 shows in just 13 days I’m in danger of not being in the Eastern Angles office much between the 25 May and the 9 June. If I get the sack as a result I shall be laying the blame four square on the door of the Pulse festival (@pulsefringe #pulse). You heard it here first!

The brochure with its B Movie / Sci Fi / planetary feel is a riot of colour and – well – shows. It’s all a little bewildering (in the best possible way!). So for what its worth – and in no particular order – here is my personal #pulse top ten!

1) Ours was the fen country

Eastern Angles has spent the last 30 years telling the stories of East Anglia in its own way. So i’m looking forward to seeing a different approach as @dancanham (who has worked with the likes of DV8, Kneehigh, Punchdrunk and Fabulous Beasts) interprets the conversations he’s been having with the people of the fens. See the work in progress at the New Wolsey Studio on the 25th May at 19.30

2) The Ethics of Progress

I’ve been a fan of the work of Unlimited Theatre (and not just because they are from Leeds) since seeing their early shows at the Fringe and booking their work at Phoenix and 21 South Street (Reading). I’m not usually into quantum physics but I suspect Unlimited’s artistic director Jon Spooner could convert me. Suggest booking early for this one as it ought to be popular. 1 June New Wolsey Theatre 7pm

Might also be worth booking in for The BP Story (researched and edited by Mimi Poskitt)

3) Three Step Endeavour

The Hop Scotch project was a very close runner up in the Artist Taking the Lead (see my blog here) competition (which was subsequently won by Robert Pacitti project On Landguard Point whose SPILL festival comes to Ipswich 31 Oct -4 Nov). So it’s great to see the project re-emerging as Three Step Endeavour ‘a joyous, quirky intervention to be encountered as a fleeting moment or as a fully immersive event’. It’s at Pulse on Sat 2 June but you can also catch it in Basildon, at the Suffolk Show, in Maldon, the Castle Park show, at First Site and the Hertfordshire Youth Games – see here for more.

Talking of the Spill festival – artist Rajni Shah – will appear at both Pulse and Spill. His project at Pulse – write a letter to a stranger.

4. The Campsite

lets face it these days venues are passe. So no surprises to find that #Pulse has its own pop up venue ‘The Campsite’ which will run from 1 June to 3rd June. It’s an elusive offering (can’t find much about it on the website) but the brochure promises a more personal and engaging experiences for audiences. The public reviews preview (try saying that after a glass of wine) does let slip that The Campsite will be be run by Laura Mugridge and Tom Frankland. Although not a VW camper myself I am suitably intrigued. Keep an eye on @whereiscampsite.

5. Bird Head by Jammy Voo

Over three years ago I had a small role in helping put together Jammy Voo’s first national tour (of the sublime Something Blue). Their shows are by turns silly and moving, beautiful and crude, dark and down right hillarious and they just keep going from strength to strength. Commissioned by Beaford Arts this new show Birdhouse is an anarchic adaptation of The Birds by one of my favourite film makers – Alfred Hitchcock. I’m expecting great things! Definately not one to miss!! Sat 9 June 2pm

7. Opposition by Hannah Silva

I’ve done a lot of work in the past with performance poets so these next recommendations will probably come as no surprise!

Hannah Silva (a former Phrased and Confused commissionee) is an extraordinary artist – a real polymath whose work encompasses theatre, music, dance and poetry but above all her work is just bloody great. Opposition blows away the facade of politics – leaving you torn between laughing and a nagging feeling you are being had.

When I saw it at the Albany I got to be Winston Churchill (a choice inspired by EA’s current show Private Resistance). Who will you be on Friday 8 June at New Wolsey Theatre ?!?

8. Molly Naylor My Robot Heart

Molly Naylor’s ‘Whenever I get blown up I think of you’ was mind-blowing, beautiful, poignant and scary. She is working with the Middle Ones in this new show – My Robot Heart. Should be very special- Sun 3rd June at New Wolsey Theatre

8. A New Play by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm

There’s nothing better than the anticipation of a new play (unless that is you are the marketing department and there is – as yet – no information about it). Morgan Lloyd Malcolm is one half of the dynamic duo who writes the Lyric pantos – the other half is of course Joel Horwood who is currently writing Eastern Angles new show for Edinburgh – I heart Peterborough. It’s a small word! The new play gets its first airing at the New Wolsey Studio on the 1 June.

9. Mega – Bryony Kimmings

With titles likes Sex Idiot and & 7 Day Drunk (which comes to Colchester Arts Centre on 28 April) Bryony Kimmings is not afraid of taking her audience to strange places. Now she wants to takes us back to the 1990’s – well I had a great time in the 90’s so I’m more than happy for Bryony to take me back. Mind I’ve never worn a shell suit in my life. Catch the audio tour at the New Wolsey from the 6-9 June.

Which leaves one last pick. Being a Northerner I was tempted to go for Victoria Melody’s Northern Soul and I love Under Milk Wood so Under Stokes Croft was very tempting. Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe’s The O F**k Momment really should have made the list too but in the end I went for this:-

10. The Furies by Kindle Theatre

According to the marketing copy ( I know nothing of the show nor the company) its the ultimate tale of envy, rage and revenge. That’s a lot to live up to. Mind the show has been developed through China Plate’s Darkroom project which has proved itself to be a brilliant incubator of new and exciting work so its got a great chance of living up to the blurb. Sat 9 June at the Corn Exchange is the day of truth!

Pulse is rather like one of those gigantic box of chocolates you get at Christmas time. You keep putting your hand in – never quite knowing what to expect and you just keep on having to go back for more. Looks as though its going to be a fun 13 days!


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