Category Archives: Theatre Events

New drama alive and kicking in Clapham’s Bread & Roses Theatre

Unheard 2015Some stunning new dramas played at Clapham’s newest theatre, The Bread & Roses, last month as part of ‘Unheard’ – a four day festival of plays that explored themes of abuse and violence.   Vagina Monologues 2015 phto Ricardo Correia

From rehearsed readings to scratch performances and full productions, many of the twelve events organised by activist theatre company Goblin Baby played to capacity audiences. These included charity fund-raiser ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and two evenings of short new plays including ‘Deliverance’ by Amy Bethan Evans and ‘Bathroom Secrets’ by Claire Booker. Hot from its success in New York, the  ‘Maison des Reves’ shook audiences with the story of a woman who murdered over a hundred men in Czarist Russia, written and performed by the amazingly versatile Talie Melnyk.

Bathroom Secrets(Photographer Kenneth Jay)Tickets cost as little as £3.00 in keeping with Goblin Baby Theatre Company’s policy of bringing thought-provoking theatre to people at a price everyone can afford.

Susan Hodgetts

Susan Hodgetts

‘Bathroom Secrets’ was performed with touching honesty by Susan Hodgetts in the role of Bee, whilst Mark Lisseman brought poignancy to the role of her husband.  A big thank you also to director Suvi Peisanen and Goblin Baby Theatre Company for producing my work.

Goblin Baby Theatre Company are now preparing their next production due in April/May  – a contemporary take on August Strindberg’s Miss Julie featuring Tessa Hart & Rebecca Pryle. Do check out their website for further details at.:

Goblin Baby Theatre Co.

The Bread & Roses Theatre has been building audiences rapidly since it opened earlier this year. You can enjoy theatre, comedy or Open Mic events only a few minute’s walk from Clapham Common/North tube stations on most nights of the week. For a full programme go to: The Bread & Roses Theatre

Photographs curtesy of Kenneth Jay.

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Two bites at cherry for Bookerplays in Lost Theatre’s 5 Minute Festival

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobots, husbands and small bars of soap feature in two plays by Claire Booker which each won a place in the Finals Night of Lost Theatre’s Five Minute Festival earlier this month.

Thirty two short plays were inititally selected to be performed at the 7th annual 5 Minute Festival in Stockwell, south London, over four nights in front of a panel of industry judges. Ten plays won places into the Grande Finale.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlleluiah was performed by Stephanie James, despite running a high fever on the night. She snatched victory from the jaws of the flu with her wonderfully nuanced performance as Bridget – a woman who shares a bed and bathroom with husband Barry – but not the secrets of her heart.

To view the 5 minute film of the play, please click on:

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Ever wondered what life would be life after the Bomb has dropped? Wonder no longer. The food’s unrelenting, the West Wing’s tiny and the staff are work-experience robots. Nuclear Bunker offers a comic take on life underground as Lady Kay (Victoria Otter) struggles to control her scheming robot Grimaldi (Michael Hutchinson) and his side-kick Sasha (Lucy Tippett).

To view the 5 minute film of Nuclear Bunker, please click on: “NUCLEAR BUNKER” by Claire Booker – LOST Theatre 5 Minute Festival

Lost Theatre is a purpose built 180 seater conveniently positioned on the Wandsworth Road (SW8 2JU) between Stockwell tube and Vauxhall tube/overground stations. Lost 5 mInute Fest 15 It has a vibrant and ecclectic programme throughout the year. As well as running the 5 Minute Festival, Lost also runs One Act and Solo festivals. If you’d like to know more about the Lost Theatre, or are interested in entering the One Act Festival (submissions now open) click on:  http://www.losttheatre.co.uk

Camden Fringe success for Goblin Baby Theatre Company

One of our Robots is Missing

One of our Robots is Missing

Goblin Baby Theatre Co. pulled off  a Camden Fringe Review ‘Hot Ticket’ status for 2 out of the 3 nights’ performances of FORESEEN – its four writer, three actor, two director bonanza of post-apocalyptic dark comedies that played The Hen & Chickens Theatre Bar in Islington from the 22nd to 24th August.

Associate writers Amy Bethan Evans, Claire Booker, Tessa Hart and Tilly Lunken each wrote 12 minute plays which the company wove into one darkly comic, thought-provoking hour of theatre.

Processed

Processed

The Appointment

The Appointment

Lucy and the Beasts

Lucy and the Beasts

Leigh-Anne Abela directed Amy Bethan Evans’ Lucy and the Beasts  (The Beast is what you make of it);  and Claire Booker’s One Of Our Robots Is Missing (Nuclear bunkers. Read the small print!) Victorine Pontillon directed Tessa Hart’s The Appointment (The legend of the Female Species and their mysterious swelling bellies); and Tilly Lunken’s Processed  (There must be somewhere to live, even when there is nowhere to go).

Actors Alice Bell, Michael Bagwell and Alexandra Vincent turned in a kaleidoscope of stunning performances, each creating four completely different characters, plus some state-of-the-art, on-set costume changes under the eagle eyes of enthusiastic audiences.

Next up is a Goblin Baby double bill: The Proposal by Anton Chekhov(in a same-sex version) and To Be A Wife by Tilly Lunken at The Space, Isle of Dogs, London from 7th-11th October (7.30pm with 3pm Saturday matinee).  For more details or to buy tickets visit www.goblinbaby.com

“Gripping and haunting” – Devil & Stepashka moves to new theatre

D&S - StepashkaThere’s a second chance to see Claire Booker’s drama ‘The Devil and Stepashka’ this weekend, as it transfers to Ye Old Rose & Crown Theatre in Walthamstow.

Inspired by a Tolstoy short story, the play is a thought-provoking tale about passion and its consequences. Landowner, Zhenya, stands trial for the murder of one of his peasants, but can there be true justice in an unjust society?

Goblin Baby Theatre Co. has pulled off another critical success, earning four-star reviews during the play’s two week run last month at The Space, north east London: “Gripping and haunting. Booker’s play is very brave as well as unusual. One of those hidden gems on the London Fringe.” Remotegoat.com. “An intriguing new work.” Viewsfromthegods.co.uk  “The superstitiously secular, domestic world of Claire Booker’s The Devil and Stepashka manages to create a believable male Antigone in what ends up to be very literally one hell of a double-bind.” Exeunt Magazine.

D&S - Dasha

Plaudits for the cast and crew include: “Particularly remarkable were Dimitri Shaw as lawyer Boris . . . and Tessa Hart who portrayed both the haunting presence of the murdered Stepashka as well as her living sister Dasha.” RemoteGoat.

D&S - Lisa 2“Lydia Lane is wonderfully precise and pernickety as Zhenya’s doting wife, Lisa. She has the harassed, loving, frantic possessiveness of a woman fearing, but refusing to believe, that she has been replaced.” Exeunt Magazine.  “Overall production designer Christopher Keech is to be congratulated for achieving a varied and detailed design.” RemoteGoat. “Leigh-Anne Abela (director) manages to bring out the intense emotions of this piece, cleverly framing the love triangle between Zhenya, his wife and the memory of his lover . . . leaving us with two passionate individuals, choked by dark desire, spiralling out of control in front of us.” View From The Gods.

‘The Devil and Stepashka’ plays on Sat 19th July (8pm) and Sunday 20th July (2pm and 6pm) at Ye Old Rose & Crown, 53 Hoe St, E17 4SA (a 6 min walk from Walthamstow tube station). For more information or to book tickets, visit: http://goblinbaby.ticketsource.co.uk

Devil & Stepashka GoblinBaby_0001 - Copy

D&S Set

The Creative Team of The Devil and Stepashka are: Leigh-Anne Abela (Director), Christopher Keech (Production Designer), Simon Vella (Music Composer), Claire Booker (writer), Paul Christian Rogers (Zhenya), Dimitri Shaw (Boris), Tessa Hart (Stepashka/ Dasha), Lydia Lane (Lisa).

Feminist fairytales put wolf in the dog house!

Some great reviews and lively audiences at last month’s Fairytale Festival ‘Retold’ prove beyond doubt that women’s theatre can put bums on seats and still be taken seriously.

Hoodie at Space (Eliza pic)

Activist theatre company ‘Goblin Baby’ commissioned Claire Booker, Amy Bethan Evans and Tilly Lunken to update three traditional fairy tales. The plays were performed for five nights at The Space, Isle of Dogs, then transferred to The Hen & Chickens Theatre, Islington for a further five nights.

Claire Booker subverted Grimm’s ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and set all the action inside the belly of the wolf where it’s dark, it stinks and it’s packed with victims. Can Hoodie, Gran and Aisha escape, or should they wait for the Woodcutter?

Hoodie Aisha (Eliza pic)

“‘Little Red Hoodie’ feels like a sudden gem and Natasha Atherton is truly riveting as Aisha, a Muslim woman who wakes up in the stomach of a wolf. This piece of writing engages with a more delicate kind of metaphor and allows a story to be told; one which is very moving. This truly feels like a fairytale done differently, while remaining recognisable.”  ThePublicReviews

“Booker devises a brand new character, Aisha (Natasha Atherton), a devout Muslim who has unexpectedly found herself detached from the rest of her body. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The idea of women being empowered to save themselves comes across in this play and there’s a nice nod to the disparity in generational attitudes, with Hoodie (Tessa Hart) and Gran (Rebecca Peyton) coming to different conclusions. Hoodie gran (Eliza pic)Peyton’s slightly doddery, well-meaning grandmother character is a delight.” ViewFromTheGods

Tilly Lunken’s play used a reunion of three old school friends queuing up to watch Snow White as a way of dissecting issues of beauty and appearance. “There is a sweetness here and Priscilla Adade-Helledy (Lilly) brings an enjoyable levity to proceedings. Some truly poignant moments show up with wonderful lines like “[Snow White is] a story of never escaping the dreams of your mother.” ThePublicReviews

RETOLD“The Snow White Complex’ definitely packs a big emotional punch, thanks to the cast but also director Kuba Drewer.” ViewFromTheGods

Amy Bethan Evans ‘As if by a Stair’ used the story of Rapunzel as a fable which illustrates how young people’s futures have been sold down the river of so-called fiscal necessity.  “Whilst the pieces are each completely different and unique, the overall fairytale and socio-critical tone still makes the show feel like one big ensemble project where everyone is very much in tune with each other.” RemoteGoat
Goblin Theatre (Red Hoodie)

Watch this space for more information on Goblin Baby Theatre Company or go to their website at: http://www.goblinbaby.com

Claire Booker’s short comedy ‘Last Man in Watford’ plays at Loose Muse, The Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9BX on Wed 12th February (8.00pm).

Tilly Lunken’s One Act drama ‘Mint Leaves’ plays at the Hen & Chickens Theatre, 109 St Paul’s Road, Islington, N1 2NA on 13th and 14th February (7.30pm).

Goblin Baby Theatre’s one-night-only benefit production of Eve Ensler’s ‘The Vagina Monologues’ takes place on Sunday March 16th at 7pm at The Space, 269 Westferry Road, E14 3RS.  

True WW2 story – and only 5 minutes to tell it

My short play ‘Enemy’ (http://youtu.be/7yvt1Z34rEo) was filmed last month at The Lost Theatre as part of their annual 5 Minute Festival.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe play was inspired by the true story of Otto Schimek, a young Austrian recruit to the German Wehrmacht, who refused to shoot hostages on ethical grounds (he was a devout Catholic) and in return was shot as a ‘coward and deserter’.  

In my play, Otto spends his final night locked in a cell with Nadia, a Russian partisan who will face a firing squad the next day for assassinating German officers.  Can they possibly find common ground?

Russian women played significant roles in partisan operations during the second world war. They could move around with less suspicion than men and proved every bit as determined to remove the German aggressor from Mother Russia in what became known as The Great Patriotic War. 'Enemy' illustration, Volgograd

In ‘Enemy’, the role of Otto is played by George Weightman and that of Nadia by Carla Espinoza.  They both turned in performances of passionate intensity. The play was performed live in front of an appreciative audience on 10th December at The Lost Theatre, Stockwell, south London.

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'Enemy' illustrationFor more details about The Lost Theatre (including their One Act Play Festival in May) please check their website at: http://www.losttheatre.co.uk

To view ‘Enemy’ by Claire Booker click on http://youtu.be/7yvt1Z34rEo or you can read the script at http://www.bookerplays.co.uk

Booker produced Off Broadway (2,000 miles ‘off’ to be precise!)

Building on Sand, Reno 13Nevada has made theatre history! It’s the first state in America to debut a play by Claire Booker. The wonderfully monikered ‘Goodluck Macbeth Theatre Company’, based in downtown Reno, had a fantastic month earlier this October, with a run of her sea-side comedy ‘Building on Sand’.

“With the manner of Moliere – or, dare I say it, a Benny Hill sketch – this seaside farce involves lots of contrived situations, misunderstandings, naughty behaviour and characters that are adorably weird,” said the drama critic of Reno News & Review.  “The play is seriously funny – I know this despite having missed several lines due to audience laughter – everyone watching laughed a lot.”

Building on Sand Nevada

Laughter seems to have been contagious, as proved by the thumbs up given by ‘Your Sassy Gay Reviewer’ Oscar Ceezon, to what is essentially a heterosexual romp: “I laughed throughout the entirety of the show. Whether it was the ridiculous premise, the highly-charged sexual innuendos, or the senile musings of an old woman, the wealth of humor present is boundless. The production benefits from an already brilliant script, which the cast bring to life. A hilarious show and certainly worth seeing.”

“A credit to director Amanda Alvey, for effectively casting the show. Richard (played by Ian Sorensen) delights audiences with his quirky antics and has a hilarious physical presence on stage. Juliette (Amanda McHenry) grounds the production with her dry wit and delivery, harkening back to an Oscar Wilde period piece, where the humor lies in the subtle quips and clever intonation. Building on Sand - Reno

Dan (Marvin Gonzalez) woos audiences with his suave charm and sly remarks . . . Aunt Dot (Jeanne Weiser) and Berenice (Jessica Johnson), ultimately won me over in the end and delivered some of the funniest bits of the show.”

For more information on ‘Goodluck Macbeth Theatre Company check out their website at: http://www.goodluckmacbeth.org  To read an excerpt of the play, click on: http://www.bookerplays.co.uk

Building on Sand - Good Luck Macbeth Th Co