Little Shop of Horrors – Young Nomads – Newmarket Kings Theatre – Tuesday 7th November

Being a teacher and it being parents evening week, I struggled to fit in this trip to Newmarket Kings Theatre to watch Little Shop of Horrors and almost declined the invitation due to “work load”.  I am so glad I didn’t because it turned out to be the best piece of theatre I have seen this year.

Little Shop of Horrors is a show everybody loves all the more for it’s bizarre eccentricity and gruesome goings on and this performance, directed by Andy McGowan, was spectacular.  The choreography and four part harmonies during the chorus parts ignited the show from the very start, something not that easy to achieve given the relatively small cast.

Alex Matthews’s completely believable performance as Seymour was engaging throughout and his vocals were confident and note perfect.  Sophie Owen, who played Audrey, has a natural voice and sang beautifully with conviction and the two voices together worked really well during the duets.

Alfie Dry put on a stellar performance as the sadistic dentist Orin and his death scene had the audience in stitches.  The quality of the acting throughout was very impressive.

The plant, played by Joseph Beach, was genius and his strong vocals animated the plant scenes extremely well.

All in all it was a fabulous show which I really enjoyed watching.  Everything from the set, costumes and tech worked a treat and the whole cast and crew should congratulate themselves on creating another spectacular show.

 

 

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Review of Urinetown by NOMADS Summer School directed by Jamie Maguire 1/8/17

A political satire done in the style of a Film Noir with an eclectic mix of musical numbers, the NOMADS summer school put on a belter or a performance on their opening night on Tuesday.

The oddly titled Urinetown was first performed on Broadway in 2001 and the NOMADS cast and stage crew certainly managed to bring that “West End” vibe into the Kings Theatre tonight!

The play asks some serious questions. How can we manage a world with limited resources? What if the law is wrong? The play centres on an imbalance of power with the large corporations, such as Ure In Good Company, charging people to pee whilst making it illegal to urinate in public.  Those not complying are sent to the feared Urinetown.  Imbalance of power and lack of freedom create the perfect climate for revolutionaries and the play unfolds against this back drop.

Urinetown manages to present this bleak subject matter in a raucous, hilarious and uplifting way and the cast gave a stellar performance.  The singing and choreography were electrifying.  With strong vocal performances from the entire cast, the show was mesmerizingly powerful from start to end.  The fact that the summer school put on this play in one week is testament to the talent of the cast and stage crew!

The play is not didactic, it simply raises the questions.  It is unpredictable and dark yet we left the theatre as always on a high from yet another spectacular performance at Kings Theatre by Nomads.

Review of Dad’s Army – by Nomads at Kings Theatre Newmarket Fri 12th May

Being the parent of one teenager and one “almost” teenager, it is not very often that I organise something that everyone is happy to attend. But Dad’s Army’s good honest British humour has a timeless quality that travels well through the generations it seems, as everyone was looking forward to the performance by Nomads at The Kings Theatre in Newmarket on Friday night.

We were not disappointed! This performance, directed by John Mitchel and Sarah Smith, delivered and surpassed expectations.  With a quick fire script, the cast’s timing was paramount and they came up trumps every time, delivering such classics as, “Don’t tell him Pike” and, “You stupid boy,” with a spontaneity that made it all seem remarkably fresh!

The reliable and stalwart Captain Mainwaring, played by Steve Beach, was very believable as the pillar of the home guard in the fictitious Walmington-on-sea. (A place that Nigel Farage and the Brexiters would probably feel very at home living in. The fact that this series was originally written in the 1970’s and satires this notion of “Britishness” says it all!) The comic timing between Steve and the other actors was flawless, especially Corporal Jones, played by Colin Scott, who made being a step behind the others look easy!  The other men in the ranks were equally entertaining with the Scottish Frazer having the audience in stitches every time he spoke and the dodgy Walker whose black market dealings were hinted at throughout, suggesting that perhaps some of the men were not as respectable as the upstanding Mainwaring would have liked.

Being a product of the 1970s the script had air of the classic carry-on films.  The women were generally referred to by their thighs and legs and innuendos were rife.  However, the cast sent this up brilliantly and April Cook as Mrs Fox was absolutely hilarious, as was the lecherous Mr Gordon who hammed up his role brilliantly, exposing the sexism as rather sinister. I don’t think I will ever be able to hear  the word “Fleshings” again!

So, after many hilarious comic twists and turns, a hobby horse outfit and a few extra-marital friendships, the play ended with a riotous choir performance of the Floral Dance.

The performance was lively, energetic and hilarious throughout. The Young Nomads did a stellar job as the prisoners and the Godiva girls and it is clear that Mrs Pike played by Tanya Collins did have very good legs!

My whole family really enjoyed the evening and I left thinking how lucky Newmarket is to have such a beautiful theatre and such a talented theatre group to entertain us.

Review of Aladdin – Nomads – King’s Theatre, Newmarket Friday 9th January 2015

Aladdin – a family pantomime

This pantomime started with a bang and was a raucous riot of spectacle and hilarity from start to end !

The jokes were timed to perfection, the script was fast paced and punchy, interspersed with modern musical gems from Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams as well as older tracks by Blondie and the Beatles.  The songs were performed with conviction and the harmonies brought the production alive.

The costumes were fantastic with Widow Twanky’s increasingly garish garb getting bigger laughs every time she came on stage. The set design was impressive, the special effects were used to perfection and the laundry scene, where Wishy unexpectedly got more involved with his work than he intended!, was simply genius.

The acting was first class with Any McGowan making an impressive villain as Abanazar and Charlie Avison making a very likable Aladdin.  The whole cast were outstanding right from the chorus line to the fabulous genies,  the hilarious Sultan and Sultana (his current wife!) ,the silent panda So-Shi (It must have been hot in there!) and of course the marvelous Widow Twanky.

The audience got to participate in true family pantomime style and joined in with gusto.  The director Sarah Smith brought this pantomime spectacularly into the present with modern references and humour. The ad-libbing on the night just added to the hilarity ! and of course the good guys won in the end 🙂

The pantomime runs until 17th January so there’s still time to see the show!  It really is a riotous evening of fun for all the family.

“Accrington Pals” by Nomads Theatre – Preview Night – Sunday 9th November

It was a fitting evening to see this play, the evening of Remembrance Sunday.  As the audience filtered into the auditorium music from the WWI era filled the air and set the scene for a very poignant performance.

“Accrington Pals”, directed by Sandra King, manages to show how WWI affected real lives.  It cuts through the glory and the propaganda to reveal very human responses to an inhumane war.  There’s no romanticism, it’s harsh, brutal and honest.  It’s not without humour though and it is this that gives the play its warmth.  There were some excellent lines, “My father always says I’m better followed than faced” made me laugh.  Indeed, just how downtrodden and stifled women were leading up to WWI is made apparent during the play.  What is also clear is that the war ripped up the fabric of society for it to be sewn anew.

The minimal set, designed by Paul Bushell,was effective and the actors portrayed the real life human emotions among the carnage of war with great effect.  The utter waste of life as the men of Accrington were lost was stark.  Information was scarce, news of loved ones was kept under wraps.  The play portrays very well how people were used as pawns in a game.  Yet the characters are very real and it is this that gives this play its passion.

I enjoyed this play very much.  I never appreciated just how horrific war would have been to live through either on the front line or back home until I was an adult.  I took my children to see this production tonight and it provoked an interesting discussion in the car on the way home.  Its the kind of play that stays in your mind and makes you ponder.

Review of Young Nomads “The Lion The Witch and The Wardobe”

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe

A Young Nomads production

Directed by Fiona Maquire.

Review 26/09/14

Every time I go to see a Nomads production of a well-known novel or play in the wonderful Kings Theatre I always set off thinking, “How on earth are they going to pull that off on a stage?” and every time I am enthralled and amazed at what they so convincingly produce.

On Friday night, I was part of a full-house watching the Young Nomad’s bring this iconic children’s story of adventure and the triumph of good over evil by C.S Lewis to life in spectacular fashion. The quality of acting from these young people was astounding. The four children heroes did a sterling job evoking a by-gone era, Joseph Beach as Edmund was superb as the “difficult” younger brother. The family dynamic was captured brilliantly and with humour by all four actors.

The show was magical, the set design, costumes and make-up were first class and really brought this story to life for the stage. The snowy lamp post scene where Lucy first meets Mr Tumnus was very close to the way I had pictured it as a child. Every character was carefully crafted and brilliantly executed.

The use of the stage and the auditorium kept the show engaging throughout. Special effects were skilfully used to enhance the show and made it a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
I left the Theatre as I always do when I leave a Nomads show: Marveling at the talented actors, directors, set design and technical team involved in putting on such a brilliant show and vowing to go to more live theatre !

David Dinsmore – No More Page 3 song – Free Download.

https://soundcloud.com/louisehamilton/david-dinsmore-no-more-page-3

Click the link above for a free download of : David Dinsmore – No More Page 3 Song

I wrote this song to express my thoughts and to support the fantastic No More Page 3 campaign.  You can find them here nomorepage3.org

I thought it would be good to offer it as a free download in the hope that maybe people could make a small donation to Breast Cancer Care in exchange for it http://www2.breastcancercare.org.uk/donate?utm_source=template&utm_medium=button&utm_campaign=donate

I sang this song at The Strawberry Fair music festival in Cambridge and people seemed to like it.

This is me coming off stage after my set 🙂

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You can find out more about me here : http://www.flamingjune.co.uk

Lyrics

Your commitment to sexism’s really quite scary,

Peddling porn like a 70s fairy,

With the message “WOMEN KNOW YOUR FATE,

YOU’RE HERE JUST TO TITILLATE,”

Chorus

With a USP of pornography

A throwback to the 20th century

NO MORE PAGE 3

I mean porn in paper? seriously c’mon

 

Under the guise of freedom of the press

Women are shown in state of undress

It’s not news! It’s absurd

The most sexist thing I’ve ever heard

Repeat Chorus

Men in suits do important things

Whilst women are topless wearing G-strings

What does that tell you? What does that preach?

That David Dinsmore a sleazy leach ???!

Oh come on Dave, send your sexist page to it’s grave…

Repeat Chorus

(c) 2014 Louise Eatock (Flaming June)

Using something which is “alright” to justify something which is wrong – No More Page 3

I have noticed that some campaigners for Page 3 to be removed from The Sun Newspaper often put comments like, “We are not prudes,” and, “There is nothing wrong with boobs,” in their writing as if to stop themselves being labeled a modern day Mary Whitehouse and I can understand why.

There is nothing wrong with boobs, women’s bodies and sex.  There is nothing wrong with men finding women attractive.  There is, however, something VERY wrong with a family newspaper printing an objectified topless image of women for the sole purpose of titillating male readers.  It is so absurd.  There is no sensible argument or justification for a newspaper to use porn as its unique selling point.  The Sun is doing just that and nobody in retail/politics is brave enough to call them out over it.

Retail leaders and politicians should be making a stand on this issue.  They reek of double standards by paying lip service to gender equality yet not seemingly at all bothered by the fact that the most prominent image of a woman in the UK press is Page 3.  This undermines and hinders any attempts at bringing about real and meaningful equality.

There are plenty of reasons why page 3 should go.  There are even more reasons why it should never have come about in the first place. I can’t think of a single reason why it should stay.

Aside

Nomads – Kings Theatre, Newmarket Friday 23rd May 2014.

Acorn Antiques The Musical ! by Victoria Wood.

Reviewed by Eartha Tydville

When I went along to the King’s Theatre in Newmarket on Friday night to review, “Acorn Antiques,” I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I am a big fan of Victoria Wood and her versatile talents but, having somehow missed the TV series, I was not prepared for the raucous hilarity which emanated from the stage. Victoria Wood wrote Acorn Antiques The Musical! with the intent to give people a “lovely, happy night in the theatre,” and Nomad’s Theatre company ensured that they delivered just that tonight!

The plot is intentionally reminiscent of a bad soap opera with dysfunctional family relationships worthy of the Jeremy Kyle show. It’s set against the backdrop of independent traders resisting “progress” by fighting off the “franchise” invasion.

The script is first class with the kind of, “out of the box,” humour which, in the right hands, has the audience literally rolling in the aisle with laughter. The cast tonight made the script their own. The slapstick acting and comic timing were spot on and the deadpan way in which such immortal lines as, “Leave this to me, I’ve got a scrotum,” and ,”Do something with your breasts, they are not quite level,” were delivered sent the audience into fits of hysterical laughter.

Acorn Antiques – The Musical is, of course, a musical and the songs and dance routines within this production (with subject matters ranging from: giving out advice to the depressed to, “eat a custard cream,” to the aptly named, “Shagarama,” which seemed to celebrate an 18 -30’s type holiday full or drunken debauchery) were spectacular. The individual performances had conviction and the chorus line filled the auditorium with pitch perfect harmonies, accompanied by well-choreographed tap dancing routines.

It was clear that the cast were having a wonderful time bringing this musical to life. It’s difficult to single people out as the whole cast were unfalteringly magnificent but I must mention Kate Nolan, who played Mrs Overall, whose appearance and demeanour were just as hilarious as the way she delivered her lines and Kathy Bullock, who played Miss Bonnie, whose charismatic and slightly “Transylvanian” interpretation of her character was enthralling.

I left the theatre still laughing but wondering why I have never been to the beautiful and quaint King’s Theatre before?! The theatre itself is a wonderful building and now I have experienced such an entertaining Nomad’s production I will make sure I go back for more.

 

2013 – What a Year !

This last year was a good one.  We had our track “Rumpelstiltskin”, which was produced by Rob Toulson (Medieval Babes), played on BBC 6 Music. 

We managed to keep the same track on the Cambridge 105 chart for the full 20 week run too.  We released this track to raise money for Women’s Aid so we were really pleased with the response!!

Festival highlights included Standon Calling, The Strawberry Fair, Folkstock, Folk on The Water and Cambridge Oxjam.

Best support gig was with Bella Hardy at Fleece Folk.

Best gig of the year was The Cambridge Rock Festival – the audience were just amazing !!

On a personal level, I have continued my support for Refuge and Women’s Aid by playing at their events and raising awareness about domestic violence.  I am involved with 1 Billion Rising Cambridge UK and will be joining the rising on 14th February!

2013 was a great year for me and my children with lots of personal positive achievements.  I am looking forward to releasing a new EP in 2014 called “In Pursuit of Happiness”.  I am currently laying down tracks with Bugs from Half-ton studios and will be working with Paul Richards, Di Llewellyn and Ian Brown to bring this one to life.  I will also be working with creative photographer Brett Long again for the EP artwork, ideas are already flowing.

So thanks 2013 – you’ve been a friend 🙂 Happy New Year xx