Shakespeare’s Macbeth – with a twist

A Birmingham based theatre company, Out of Chaos, will be performing Shakespeare’s Scottish Play at Barton upon Humber’s Ropery Hall in early March – but there will not be anything traditional about their version of Macbeth.

Just two actors will take on more than 30 roles, in a physically spellbinding production that brings to life the electric drama, beautiful poetry, and playful comedy of the original – and all in just 80 minutes.

Multi-award winning actors Paul O’Mahony and Danish actor Troels Hagen Findsen take on this colossal challenge.  in this production directed by Mike Tweddle, director of all Out of Chaos’ productions to date and formerly an assistant director at The Globe.

Both actors have appeared in all of Out of Chaos’s previous productions.

“Don’t miss the dark deeds that are afoot at the Ropery Hall as Out of Chaos brings Macbeth to the Humber.  In just 80 high octane minutes more than 20 characters are brilliantly and boldly brought to life with just two actors,” said Liz Bennet of The Ropewalk.  “Whether this is your first Macbeth or your hundredth, don’t miss this entertaining night out.”

Paul admitted Macbeth was the greatest challenge they’ve taken on.

“Macbeth is an enormous story full of action, intrigue, horror, and fascinating relationships.  And we are going to deliver that with our two bodies and our two voices, plus some brilliant original music and lighting.  Troels and I are going to sweat like never before!”

Mike added: “People often ask why a two man Macbeth?  After all, the first line of the play is ‘When shall we three meet again?  It’s surely going to be difficult!’”

“But we say come and find out.  This will be one of the most exciting, entertaining and eventful evenings you could spend with William Shakespeare.”

Staged on Saturday, March 5, starting at 7.30pm, tickets cost £13 in advance or £15 on the door and can be bought online at www.roperyhall.co.uk, from the Craft Gallery or by calling 01652 660380.

 

 

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The Fretless  

It’s not uncommon for bands to make wildly extravagant claims when attempting to describe the music they play. Unique is one of the terms most commonly used to convey there’s something different going on. Of course, it’s rarely the case, unless you are talking about The Fretless.
Frankly, there nothing quite as exceptional as this – and that’s precisely what has earned them must-see status, not only on their home turf in Canada, but all over the USA and Europe too.

The Fretless take string music to fascinating places, transforming fiddle tunes and folk melodies through intricate, beautiful, high-energy arrangements and breath-taking performances.

In 2014, following the release of their self-titled second album, they carried off a Western Canadian Music Award for Instrumental Album of the Year and the 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year.

That followed similar success two years earlier when their debut album, Waterbound grabbed the attention of critics & fans across many genres, and also won Instrumental Album of the Year at the WCMAs and two CFMAs for Ensemble and Instrumental Group of the Year.

In 2016, they issued another stunning recording focused on original music with a few traditional tunes too, to follow the trajectory set from their first two releases as they continue to expand the rhythmic, harmonic and structured style of the many folk genres they play using only string instruments.

These musicians have come from very different traditional and contemporary backgrounds, and are fully formed from a vast array of influences.

The band tours extensively and has enjoyed success all over the world, with a considerable following on their homeland in Canada from 12 major tours since forming in 2011.
Everywhere they go, they create the kind of impact rarely experienced, largely through respect for their innovative approach and always as a result of supercharged execution.

By richardhatfield |

Keith Christmas    

In 1969 Keith Christmas recorded his first album ‘Stimulus‘ at Sound Control in Chelsea, London when he was signed up by Sandy Roberton. Mighty Baby was given the task of backing the tracks and it has become a rare collector’s item.

On the back of headline gigs at the Beckenham Arts Lab, then run by a rising star called David Bowie, Keith  was asked to play the acoustic guitar on David’s first album ‘Space Oddity‘. He played his Fender Palomino Acoustic guitar while David played 12-string on ‘Letter to Hermione’, ‘God Knows I’m Good’ and ‘Occasional Dream’.

Over a career that spans six decades has seen Keith collaborate and tour with a veritable who’s who of musicians and he shows no sign of slowing down and with a new burst of creativity in 2018 he is back on the road again.

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Orlando 

 

Orlando: Who is she? Who is he? Who are we?

Find out in the life-affirming, comedic tale of an immortal poet, whose gender cannot be pinned down, whose spirit cannot be caged, and whose irreverent, romantic adventures across British history – from the 1500s to the present day – provide a magic-realist exploration of human identity; personal, sexual and national.

Drawing on a decade’s worth of critically-acclaimed theatre-making, Dyad Productions – performer Rebecca Vaughan and writer/director Elton Townend Jones – explore what it means to find our place in the world whilst remaining utterly true to who we are. Based on the satirical 1928 novel by Virginia Woolf this play is from the award-winning creators of Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, Dalloway, The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe, Christmas Gothic, I, Elizabeth, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, Female Gothic, The Time Machine and Austen’s Women.

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Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: Superheroes

Sock! Pow! Wham! The award-winning Socks – winners of the 2018 Bath Comedy Festival Lovehoney Best Joke Award –  are back with their 10th new show of songs, sketches, socks and violence. This time they’re real live Superheroes! You think you’ve seen heroes in tights before? This pair will run and run.

Space age comedy to knock your socks off” – ★★★★ Daily Record

Had every single audience member… laughing until they cried.” ★★★★★ Edinburgh Evening News

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Heidi Talbot & John McCusker   

Two of folk music’s most highly regarded and celebrated musicians, JohnMcCusker and Heidi Talbot, are joining forces for the first time as a duo.2018 saw Heidi and John celebrate their 10th year as musical partnerswith a new EP released on Under One Sky Records and an extensive UK and   European tour. John has produced Heidi’s last three albums, and they have both toured all over the globe in each other’s live bands but thiswill be the first time the pair collaborate exclusively as a duo. Between themthey have shared the stage with among others – Paul Weller, Mark Knopfler, Alison Krauss, James Taylor, Teenage Fanclub, Graham Coxon, Eddi Reader, King Creosote, Tim O’Brien and Jerry Douglas.

In celebration of his 25th Anniversary as a professional musician, John McCusker released ‘Hello, Goodbye’ on April 29th 2016 and embarked on an extensive UK & European tour. John has long been renowned for his skill at transcending musical boundaries: striving to keep his music fresh and exciting, never leaving the past behind but always embracing new sonic adventures. Since 2008, he has been a member of Mark Knopfler’s band, playing arenas around the world including a double bill with Bob Dylan at The Hollywood Bowl and 20 nights at the Royal Albert Hall. John was awarded the coveted BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year in 2003 and also The Spirit of Scotland Award for music in 1999 and again in 2009.   In 2016 John received the Good Tradition Award and perform with his band at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at The Royal Albert Hall.

Over the past 10 years Heidi has performed both as a solo artist and with the world famous group Cherish The Ladies all over North and South America, ,the UK and Europe, Australia and New Zealand performing in the finest concert halls and international festivals. She is equally at home in front of a symphony orchestra, a performing arts centre, a folk festival or even at the White House.

Heidi has been nominated for Folk Singer of the year and Best Traditional Song by BBC Radio 2, Best Live Act by the Scottish Traditional Music Awards and Best Female Vocalist at The Irish Music Awards. Her fifth solo LP plays to the tune of quiet skips and giant leaps. It crosses the ages, jumps into the unknown, traverses oceans and musical styles – from folk, through Americana, to classic pop, and back again. The Co Kildare singer/songwriter, who now resides in Scotland is joined by a host of musicians and co-writers on the album, including Louis Abbott (AdmiralFallow), Duke Special, Adam Holmes and Boo Hewerdine.

One of the UK’s most gifted and versatile musicians in any genre, John McCusker is equally in demand as a multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer”. The Guardian_

“Simply vocal heaven The Sunday Times_

A voice that’s both awestruck and tender” The New York Times

By richardhatfield |

ROUSE, YE WOMEN Mary Macarthur and the Women Chainmakers

a folk opera by Neil Gore and John Kirkpatrick                                                            

In 1910 the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath focussed the world’s attention on the plight of Britain’s low-paid women workers involved in the ‘home-working sweated industries’, hammering out chain-links in sheds in the backyards of their homes with their babies and children for 5 shillings (25p) for a 50-hour week.

Led by the charismatic union organiser and campaigner, Mary Reid Macarthur, hundreds of women laid down their tools to strike for a living wage.

The success of the 10 week strike more than doubled their earnings and helped to make the principle of a national minimum wage a reality.

Through rousing traditional songs and moving ballads, Townsend Theatre Productions reveals the horrors of sweated labour, Mary Macarthur’s stunning national campaign to expose the perpetrators of this appalling employment, the universal sympathy for the workers, the flood of donations, and the events that led to a final victory.

 

★★★★ ‘A powerful story, powerfully told.’ Clare Brennan. The Observer

Guardian Readers top favourite shows 2017

By richardhatfield |