28 Sep 2013

V for Vendetta comes to Kendal!

18th-20th October 2013 sees the first ever Lakes International Comic Art Festival.  Inspired by legendary illustrator and writer Bryan Talbot (The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, Batman, Magic: The Gathering) the event promises to be the first such festival in the UK to mimic the scale and eclecticism of Continental comic arts festivals.  Taking place in Kendal, Cumbria, it will not only feature fascinating exhibitions, talks, screenings and panels with an international array of comic creators, it will also be packed with competitions and fun family events.  Lass Productions and Scytheplays are incredibly thrilled that theatre will also play a part in the festival, in the form of our acclaimed production of V for Vendetta.

The performance will be staged with the support of the brilliant students and staff of Kendal College, taking place at The Box, the college's state of the art performance space, at 8.45pm on Saturday 19th October. Tickets are £9; they are already on sale and can be booked here. Following this, the production will be performed at two venues in the North West: Jackson's Pit in Oldham, Lancashire for a special Bonfire Night performance on 5th November, and The Oakwood in Glossop, Derbyshire on 7th November.  Tickets will be soon be available to book via WeGotTickets, and specific links will be posted to this blog as soon as they go on sale.

The production will be a new, streamlined version of the play, helmed by the original team of director Ross Kelly and writer Sean Mason, and with several members of the original Manchester cast returning, including Sinead Parker as Evey and Daniel Thackeray as V (pictured above in Karen Berry's photograph).  They will be joined by original cast members Carly Tarett as Dr Surridge, Michael Whittaker as Dominic Stone, Jez Smith as Lewis Prothero and Brian Gorman as Peter Creedy.  Brian, also a noted comic artist and writer (of the recent Joy Division graphic novel New Dawn Fades and its smash-hit Fringe adaptation), will be appearing on a panel at the event and signing examples of his work.

Very sadly, Stuart Hudson, Leni Murphy, Paida Noel, Marlon Solomon and Tori Tunnah have been unable to reprise their roles from previous versions of the show.  However, we're very pleased to welcome aboard a number of wonderful actors familiar from earlier Scytheplays productions including Liam Grunshaw (Wine of India) as Eric Finch, Morag Peacock (The Ballad of Halo Jones) as Valerie, Phil Dennison (The Year of the Sex Olympics) as Bishop Lilliman, and Daniel Blake from earlier versions of V for Vendetta, now in a new role as The Man.  The small but pivotal role of The Girl will be played by an actress new to Scytheplays, Anita Joanne Kerr (The Wrong Side of Town, High School Musical).

For full details of the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, including information about the competitions and family activities, please go to the main website here, and the beautifully presented programme is here.

13 Sep 2013

The acclaimed Wine of India available to view online!

Sam (Will Hutchby) embraced by Will (Taran Knight) in Nigel Kneale's Wine of India
Photo: Shay Rowan
2013's Greater Manchester Fringe was another hugely successful festival for the city with many shows such as Hand Over Fist and New Dawn Fades proving huge hits with both critics and audiences - not bad at all given that this year's Fringe faced competition from both the packed Manchester International Festival and the hottest summer weather for some years.  Although it reached slightly smaller audiences than some shows in the festival, Scytheplays and Lass Productions' Wine of India proved to be one of the most palpable critical hits with an array of four- and five-star reviews.

Julie (Morag Peacock) troubled, with Nita (Gemma Ryan) and Jonna (Una Love) in the background.
Photo: Shay Rowan
"Cerebral, dark and funny" (the Fiction Stroker); "the actors make the entire concept believable" (What's On Stage); "clever staging and direction" (The Skinny); "a bold and intelligent piece of theatre" (Viva Lifestyle Magazine); "it is the little touches that make all Scytheplays productions so special" (The Good Review)... To read the full reviews just click on the links.

Jonna with Mac (Liam Grunshaw)
Photo: Shay Rowan
Co-director Daniel Thackeray says, "It's thrilling to think that the show has been so well-reviewed.  The credit belongs to the late, great Nigel Kneale, of course, on whose coat-tails we all swing - but also to Ross Kelly for writing such a clever adaptation and to the cast who gave such flawless performances in very limiting circumstances.  I am so pleased we were able to get the production on camera, so that those performances have been preserved to some extent - although of course a video can never fully replicate the experience of actually seeing a play first-hand - and that we can share the production on YouTube so that fans of Nigel Kneale everywhere can now see Wine of India, instead of just reading and dreaming about it."

Dod (Tom Reed-Goodehall) and Sam (Will Hutchby)
Accordingly the full performance video is available to view on YouTube here.  Daniel continues: "The recording is a combination of three different performances taken from three different angles, cut together.  I have to say that filming the show was something of an afterthought and the hand-held footage was not always ideal.  There are definitely some clunky moments.  However, I tried to cut it in a way that reflects the way it might well have been shot in a multi-camera studio in 1970, and I'm quite pleased with the end result.  I hope it stands as enjoyable viewing even if you didn't see one of the performances live."

Russ (Luke Helly), Jonna and Bee (Carole Bardsley)
Photo: Shay Rowan
The video will remain available to view via Daniel's YouTube channel, which has just been updated with several other videos pertaining Scytheplays productions.  As well as the original trailers for Wine of India and Together in Electric Dreams, there are performance clips from the latter play and from the original and revival versions of The Ballad of Halo Jones, Together in Electric Dreams and our first Nigel Kneale adaptation, The Year of the Sex Olympics.

Adam (Quentin Knight)
Photo: Shay Rowan
Meanwhile, the cast of Wine of India have been busy on stages elsewhere.  Almost simultaneously with playing Will, Taran Knight has won plaudits for his portrayal of Mic in Richard O'Neill's new play Temper, premiered as part of the 24:7 Festival, while Morag Peacock and Luke Helly were acting in Lass Productions' Rotten Apples (directed by The Ballad of Halo Jones and V for Vendetta's Sean Mason in between starring in Suspended in Space directed by fellow Halo actor Phil Dennison) within three hours of saying their last lines as Julie and Russ!  Will Hutchby appeared in the closing play of the GM Fringe, Jack Rosenthal's Big Sid, while his fellow Toby, Benjamin Patterson, starred in Colin Connor's Meanwhile, which has just transferred from the Lass O'Gowrie to the Bolton Octagon.  Sex Olympics' Coordinator Priest, Howard Whittock, starred with Together in Electric Dreams' latest Akiko, Jess Lee, in The Ray Harryhausen Skeleton Orchestra.  V for Vendetta's Michael Whittaker won acclaim (and sell-out audiences) for his performance as Joy Division's Ian Curtis in New Dawn Fades (written by Peter Creedy himself, Brian Gorman and also featuring the ubiquitous Sean Mason) and his co-star as Evey (and sometime Rodice Olsun) Sinead Parker has just taken her comedy show Norris and Parker: All Our Friends Are Dead to Edinburgh where she and comedy partner Katie Norris played to full houses and massive acclaim. Finally, Una Love has been cast in upcoming Manchester comedy-drama play Women's Voices - tickets are available to book at the link!