There’s some bloody fantastic theatre and performance coming up in and around Colchester over the next month or so. Genuinely brilliant cutting edge stuff.
First up is this Friday at the currently buoyant Lakeside Theatre (at the University) where the ever inventive (some would say maverick) Border Crossings present Consumed. Expect an inter cultural story told with flair and real beauty. Border Crossings director Michael Wallings is equally at home creating beautiful, shimmering work on intimate stages like Lakeside as he is on the giant stage of the London Colliseum (where I last saw him working with Peter Sellars on Nixon in China)! Tickets etc here
Then hot foot it over to the studio at Colchester Mercury where Garage Band gives way to a trio of shows that anyone who knows anything seem to be talking about.
From 19-21 March the studio hosts Paines Plough with the first play from the pen of Kate Tempest (the extraordinary poet who fronts Sound of Rum former Phrased and Confused commissionee back in 2009 – more about that commission here). Wasted is an electrifying and ingenious tale of love, life and losing your mind. Heres what former Ustinov Director and Hull Truck Chief Exec had to say ‘So direct, so true, so much more than a play #katetempestwasted by @painesplough is mesmeric and intense’. Originally designed for festival stages (where as a solo artist and with her band Tempest is a regular) the show has made the seamless transfer to studio theatres. Tickets etc here
From the 26th-28th March catch Hightide’s Bottleneck by Luke Barnes – which was running alongside Eastern Angles I heart Peterborough and Dirty Great Love Story in Edinburgh at the Pleasance and all three productions from the East have also played Soho in London. As if to prove the point that everyone is talking about these shows Rufus Norris (currently heading the cast of Two Men Two Guvnors) in the West End has just tweeted ‘If I was going to the theatre tonight, I’d definitely go and see Bottleneck starring the excellent @jkcooney’. By the way look out for the Hightide 2013 festival launch on 16 March. Tickets etc here
Leaving the Mercury for the moment (and sticking with the Phrased and Confused theme I started earlier) DO NOT MISS the Dead Poets when they arrive at Colchester Arts Centre on the 27 March. Back in 2008 these two Peterborians – a teacher and a call centre rapper – walked into meet the P&C commission panel. Then they were raw but enthusiastic and committed . We loved the story of how they met and how they thought they might just be able to make a show together. When they launched their new P and C commission on an unsuspecting Summer Sundae festival crowd BBC 6 Music presenter and Office star Stephen Merchant said simply ‘both your flows are impeccable’. These days they are simply a class act (and you tube stars). Tickets etc here
Now in a rather poor attempt at a link Mixy has a cheeky John Clare poem. John Clare is of course the subject of Eastern Angles show which comes to Brightlingsea on the 19 March – but if you want to see the show you’ll need to move quickly as there are only a handful of tickets left. Tickets etc here
Which takes us to that final show of this blog and the Mercury trio. Michael Pinchbeck is a writer/performer – who like Border Crossings Michael Wallings – crosses genres with ease and panache. He’s written major main house plays for Nottingham Playhouse (The White Album and The Ashes ) as well as creating a host of innovative experimental shows first with Metro Boulot Dodo and now under his own moniker. The End (see video below) was recently seen at the arts centre ….
A curious way to end the blog – with the beginning – but boy o boy is that one great line up of spring live theatre / performance stuff. Colchester may not be bidding for capital of culture but thats clearly not stopping it punch way above its weight.