Interactive Theatre International already have a well-established hit on their hands with their much-loved Faulty Towers Dining Experience. Created in 2015, The Wedding Reception offers the same mad-cap, interactive, who-knows-what’s coming next, evening of adventure.
Will and Kate have got married, and while the groom is under the illusion that their wedding reception is a quiet, intimate affair, his bride and his in-laws have other plans…
Every aspect of The Wedding Reception is startlingly familiar, the seating plan, the circular linen covered tables, the gilded chairs, sparkling silver cutlery, top table resplendent with a multi-tiered cake, a three course meal and over a hundred guests decked out in their finery. There’s also the jack-the-lad best man, an eye-poppingly clad mother of the bride, the snobby aunt, the uninvited mother of the groom and a somewhat out of his depth wedding planner.
A cast of just four gamely portray the motley cast of characters with great gusto. Ben Hood is a particular star as best man Ricky and bride’s dad Ray, his physical comedy garners the biggest laughs of the night and is the catalyst to the audience relaxing and enjoying the craziness. Dave Tremain’s expressions as put-upon bridegroom Will are a masterclass in comic acting: sometimes subtlety is key. There’s mild audience (guest) harassment but nothing that would make anyone uncomfortable and the mixture of madcap comedy and time to enjoy your food is well worked out.
The cast have to be lauded for not only keeping the action going throughout the two-hour plus running time, but also dealing with the unpredictable and unscripted responses of the ‘guests’.
This is an original take on a night at the theatre and delivers an exciting entertainment experience for those looking for something different. Great fun and highly recommended.
The ex-members of Hotel California, KT Tunstall and Fish’s bands, return to the touring circuit with this new exciting project, The Police Sting Show. Touring Scotland throughout October and November and finishing this year’s tour at Eastwood Park Theatre on Saturday 25 November, the show features re-worked, fresh versions of all the iconic Police and Sting solo album songs in a 100-minute show featuring an acoustic Sting section.
Gus Boyd, who performs as Sting, talks about what we can expect and what’s coming up next year.
Why do you think the Police’s music still has such an enduring appeal?
Basically, because they are great timeless songs that have lasted that initial audience generation and being listened and liked by our children’s generation.
How long has it taken for you to perfect your portrayal of Sting/The Police?
I started working stripping back the songs on acoustic guitar just under two years ago.
Added in a drummer and bass player 18 months ago and we created our own interpretations and style for the 24 songs that we currently play.
Tell us what we can expect from the show?
Not copies of the songs but our own style and fresh take, but still retaining the integrity and the song message.
Do you find audiences differ as you travel around the country?
They are all fans of The Police and Sting Music but do differ in age demographic especially in the regional areas.
It’s great to see the young generation enjoying the songs alongside people of their parents ages!
The Police/Sting Show will be at Eastwood Park Theatre on 25 November at 7.30pm as part of the UK tour.
Medhavi Patel is taking on the role of Jayaben Desai in the world premiere of We Are The Lions, Mr Manager!, which is currently touring the UK.
Patel’s previous stage work has seen her star in Tales of Birbal, Trident Moon and Fragile Land, and she has starred in TV shows including Doctors and Holby City. The role of Jayaben Desai holds particular significance to Patel after she learned she is a distant relative of the iconic leader.
The play will be atEastwood Park Theatre on 29 October 2017.
Tell us a little bit about the play.
We Are The Lions, Mr Manager! is a beautifully written play by Neil Gore about the Grunwick strikers back in 1976. The play is based on the strong and courageous journey of Jayaben Desai, a South Asian women of Gujarati descent. Jayaben fought along with the many that supported her for the right to have a union represent them in the factory they worked for – this was due to the mistreatment of immigrant workers at the factory.
Medhavi Patel as Jayaben Desai in We Are The Lions, Mr Manager
And your role…
I will be playing Jayaben Desai. She was a woman of incredible strength, courage and determination. She fought a battle at a time where the odds were against her, simply because she was a woman and an immigrant. Many say she was ahead of her time and strived to show that Asian woman can be strong and outspoken too.
The real Jayaben Desai
How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations?
Many are excited at the prospects of such a strong play based on real-life experiences which are still a struggle for many in today’s society. I believe it will be received strongly everywhere we go, as we have kept the energy levels high and used elements of humour and emotion at the right balance.
What is life like backstage on tour?
Rehearsals are fun but gruelling and trying to get the right tone of the play and characters is important. Louise Townsend (Director) and Neil Gore (Playwright and Actor) have gone to great lengths to ensure the production is as close to real life events as possible. There have been many moments of laughter but equally many moments of discussion and thought about why the play is so important right now. Life backstage can be tiring but when you love what you do, that feeling takes second place.
Touring can be demanding: how do you keep your performance fresh/look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night?
I try to be as active as possible on a regular basis, whether this means walking, going to gym, for a gentle run, dancing in my room, practicing yoga and even getting enough shut eye. I also make sure I drink plenty of water and keep healthy snacks to hand. I warm up before performances and ensure I have time to silence the world from my thoughts before the show in order to go on sharp, focused and energised. Rest and play should be in the right balance and looking after oneself is essential to any performer as we are our tools.
Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?
I chose this path as I always loved performing from a young age. I didn’t see it as something particularly unique or special, as it feels like home when I’m performing – it really feels like I’m doing what makes me happy and that is my life’s mantra.
People spend so much time working and worrying that they forget about feeling, whether it’s happy or sad. When you incite feelings in your audience and bring them into your world it is the most amazing feeling. When you are able to touch people and make them aware of these feelings, it’s a job well done. I love the physical, mental and emotional challenges, the creativity, the people and the experiences that being a performer brings.
Any advice for aspiring performers?
Keep learning and be open to new challenges, don’t let yourself fit in just one category as you’ll never know your true potential.
Know your value and never be scared to question if you don’t understand or you don’t agree with something. An actor never stops learning and developing as their environment and life is their inspiration. Keep your craft alive through moments of quiet through attending workshops, shows or even trying to learn a new skill. You’ll never regret it.
Finally, why should people come along to see the play? And where else can we see it?
I think it will touch anyone who has ever had to fight for something important. It shows that together any difficulty can be faced and overcome. To see and know the story of a strong South Asian woman who has fought so valiantly for the rights we have today, to understand that we can question the systems in place and strive to make changes not just for ourselves but also for the people around us.
According to their publicity, vocal trio The Swingcats have performed from Dublin to Dubai, Manchester to Marrakech, and by Royal command for Prince Albert of Monaco in Monte Carlo. Tonight, the group bring their show Sisters of Swing to Eastwood Park Theatre.
Paying tribute to the great female vocalists of the jazz and swing age, the show is packed full of standards made famous by Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, The Andrews Sisters and surprisingly, Marilyn Monroe.
As well as two album releases under their belt, Alyson Orr, Laura Ellis and Nicola Auld have fronted some of the top big bands including The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The BBC Big Band and the RAF Squadronaires, and have appeared with jazz artists Annie Ross, Carol Kidd, Claire Martin and Martin Taylor, and their experience and talent shows. This is as slick vocally as you could wish for, with to-die-for harmonies. Each gets their own chance to shine, choosing personal favourites to perform solo, but it is as a trio that they are at their strongest, The Andrews Sisters numbers in particular are stunning: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Bei Mir Bist Du Schon and Chattanooga Choo Choo, just a few highlights.
The rest of the evening’s selection is packed with crowd-pleasers: Doris Day’s version of Quizás, Quizás, Quizás better known as the sultry Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps; Noël Coward’s Mad About The Boy, Kiss Me Kate’s Too Darn Hot; Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend; Dream a Little Dream of Me; Satin Doll, Rum and Coca Cola; Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me – which is prefaced with a really interesting anecdote about Simone, from musical director Karen MacIver, the list goes on and on…there’s plenty of bang for your buck, and all delivered by three undoubtedly talented singers.
Worth mentioning too is the fact that the show features some unique arrangements from the group’s musical director Karen MacIver, complimenting the traditional vocals and all backed by the Karen MacIver trio.
This is a classy affair – for fans of Big Band and Swing – you can’t go wrong with The Swingcats.