What’s Worth Watching: spring/summer 2024
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
1w ago
Still in the thick of Brighton Fringe coverage, but we’ve got things coming up locally too. So let’s get straight into it. Safe choice: You know the drill now: these plays have wide audience appeal, and if this description is the kind of think that appeals to you, I’m confident you won’t be disappointed. Most are plays I’ve seen already, but the first entry is an uncommon reason for Safe Choice: The Kite Runner Quite rare for me to put a play I’ve never seen with a script from someone I don’t know straight to Safe Choice, but if anything can make it straight to the top tier, it’s this one. I ..read more
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Brighton Fringe 2024 – as it happens
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
3w ago
Wednesday 1st May: Welcome to my live coverage of Brighton Fringe 2024. Brighton Fringe doesn’t start until Friday, but the build-up begins here. And this is going to be a very messy Brighton Fringe, because two venues have opted out of being part of the Brighton Fringe programme. For a fuller account of why this might have happened and what this means, I’ve already written a foreword to my usual What’s Worth Watching preview. Anyway, pictured above: the new Fool’s Paradise venue, which is either a welcome addition or the cause of a whole load of trouble. I hope to find out which one in the n ..read more
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What’s worth watching: Brighton Fringe 2024
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
3w ago
Oh dear. Just when you thought it was safe to go outside … the infighting has got worse. Last year the big controversy was over Caravanserai, a venue run by Brighton Fringe that was supposed to function as a revenue-earner. Unfortunately for Caravanserai, apparently Brighton Fringe lost control of expenses and the venue made a loss, which defeated the object. However, one small consolation from this was the absence of Caravanserai 2024 settled all the arguments, right? Wrong. Spiegeltent and Sweet have chosen to go their own way and run their events at the same time but outside of the Brighto ..read more
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Odds and sods: March 2024
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
1M ago
Sorry this is late. I had two season launches in the backlog, and then I was spending a lot of time preparing two different shows. But it would be embarrassing if we ran out of April, so let’s get a move on. Stuff that happened in March The big news, of course, was the closure of the Vault Festival. This is a really big deal, and so got a whole article to itself. Other than that, we’ve had quite a lot of news around various censorship issues. So yet again, I wearily weigh in to censorship debates. But we’ll get to that later. First of all. Another new Theatre space in Sunderland You may rememb ..read more
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Laurel’s 2024 Season Launch
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
1M ago
With Live’s year ahead now covered, it’s now time for the other press launch I was invited to. Laurel’s (a subtle rebranding that is now named after one particular Mr. Laurel rather than two) has had an excellent 2022 and 2023, with a transfer of their megahit Gerry and Sewell to Live Theatre last November, and now an upcoming project in partnership with the National Theatre. That particular project is a long-term thing, and is not part of the upcoming season. Instead, there’s a heavy crossover with the Richard Jenkinson commission. First, a catch-up on the Richard Jenkinson Commission. I was ..read more
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Live Theatre’s 2024 season launch
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
1M ago
Firstly apologies for this article being late. I do appreciate being invited to season launches and aim to give coverage as swiftly as possible, but the unfortunate news about the Vault Festival took precedence. But now there is time to catch up. Just a reminder before we start that this is not a comprehensive guide to everything covered at the launch – I leave that up to other media outlets. My interest is more with what grabs my attention. Much of this comes down to whims; something the doesn’t get my attention can turn out to be a gem – and very occasionally, something I was convinced was ..read more
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The end of Vault Festival: what went wrong?
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
2M ago
It is never nice to hear a much-loved arts events is closing for good – but it’s less nice still when it comes out of the blue. There was the bombshell news last year that the owners of the space underneath Waterloo station didn’t want them back again, and the immediate worry was over money. Then the concerns of money grew quieter and focus turned to finding the right replacement venue. A replacement was found. The Vault Festival took on new branding, #SaveVault became #BuildVault, and a big relauch gala was supposed to take place at the end of this month. Surely this was proof more than anyt ..read more
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The return of Ella Grey
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
2M ago
Apart from an unresolved puzzle over who or what Orpheus is, Pilot Theatre’s decision to focus A Song for Ella Grey on a group of close-knit friends does justice to David Almond’s book that his own solo play script never could. It’s time for Ella Grey at Northern Stage. Or, for those of us with long enough memories, Ella Grey round two. For those of us with long enough memories, this is in fact the second time Northern Stage has produced an adaptation of David Almond’s young adult novel for the stage. Seven years ago they did a solo play, written by David Almond himself and directed by then a ..read more
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Odds and sods: February 2024
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
2M ago
Blimey. It’s a news-heavy month this Feburary. Better get right to it because I run out of March to write this up in. Stuff that happened in February Oh, my aching hands. Here’s what you’ve kept me busy writing up: More woes at Brighton Fringe It turns out I wasn’t connected to all the Brighton Fringe rumour mills. I’d known for some time Caravanserai wasn’t coming back, probably because Brighton Fringe couldn’t run a venue without letting costs go out of control. Now it’s gone public that Spiegeltent and Sweet aren’t being part of Brighton Fringe either. They are still running at the same tim ..read more
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Should we really be worried about AI in the arts?
Chris Neville-Smith's Blog On Theatre
by chrisontheatre
2M ago
Credit: Paul Brake, DeviantArt COMMENT: AI in the arts can never do as good as job as a human, and is only likely to be viable for formulaic and uncreative activities. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people don’t have a problem with any of those things. Panic! The Terminators are coming! And the Cybermen! And the killer robot dogs from that Black Mirror episode. They’re going to start a nuclear apocalypse and hunt the survivors and eat your brains and put you into dystopian computer simulations … but even worse – they’ll take your jobs as artists! It’s even in the next Matrix movie. As the Sen ..read more
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