STRANGE THE ROAD by LIL WARREN Review

“STRANGE THE ROAD” – The Hope Theatre, London Feb 2017

From the moment the audience enters this studio space at the Hope & Anchor Pub Theatre they are confronted with a display of violent hierarchy in a frozen tableau of the full cast. 1930s New York Gangster Malloy (Pat Koupland) at the centre, drink in hand aggressively keeping his subordinates Randall (Darren Paul McStay) and Hughie (Rikki Chamberlain) in check.

Separated by this melee stage right we see a waitress (Andromeda Godfrey) who we will later meet as Verda, and stage left we see Frenchie (Joey Ellis) leaning with an air of melancholy surrounding him. He is however the first to spring into life signifying the start of the play. This is his story. Ellis’ character takes relish in explaining his emotional turmoil at every opportunity. The audience in this intimate space clearly hang on his every word as he explodes into exposition. We witness Frenchie falling in love with Verda who works at the club that these gangsters hang out at but he is Malloy’s driver and he has his aggressive sight set Verda, as does Randall. (Godfrey and McStay clearly enjoy playing Verda and Randall with verve and style). Wonderful subplots involving Randall and Hughie keep the audience on their toes as they flip between hilarious childhood buddies and ugly underworld villains.

This play is so well written by writer director Lil Warren. Every character brought to life from their opening frozen state are well rounded and immediately endeared by the audience without cliches attached. The carefully crafted black humour is immensely enjoyable and the staging within the space is sometimes intimate as characters plot secretly upstage then other times the audience are jolted back in their seats as characters are attacked. Lil Warren has achieved something wonderful with a very strong cast in this small space. I hope that one day STRANGE THE ROAD will be given the opportunity to spread its wings in a larger auditorium.

Simon Bowles   Production Designer   
Portfolio & Showreel: http://www.SimonBowles.com  
Member of the Britsh Film Designers Guild 
Member of British Academy of Film and Television 
 simon_bowles

Our Researcher Accepted on Heritage Cookery Course

One of our research team SusieQ has been accepted onto an online course to research historical food delivered by the Historical Royal Palaces and Reading University.

She will join expert historians, curators and even Heston Blumenthal for A History of Royal Food and Feasting, which charts the rich history of royal cuisine, as told through the tastes of five monarchs; Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, George I, George III, and Queen Victoria. The changing palates of successive generations of royals, and experience the splendour of the palaces they called home. From Henry VIII’s Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court Palace, to the rooms specially designed for the preparation of chocolate, the course offers the chance to go behind the scenes of some of the greatest palaces ever built, while uncovering the secrets of royal cookery.

Professor Kate Williams and food historian Marc Meltonville will share riveting tales of food fit for a king, and challenge some common misconceptions about the impact of monarchs from the past on dietary tastes today and Susie will receive a diploma for Reading University.

A great start in her goal of delivering a food installation as part of the Woeful Puppet Installation  at The Tower Of London in February 2018.

 

HERITAGE DOCUMENTARTY FILM WORKSHOPS

We are holding a free tester session on

Saturday 3 December 130 – 430

in a Hackney studio led by the filmmakers from Meddle Films (who are making a feature in 2017).

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This will be a practical demonstration from professional film makers as opposed to Oral History experts.  Also you will start to learn how best to prepare yourself and your subject for an interview.

All participants will get a chance to be filmed interviewing and delivering historical information to camera and we will send you your personal work once it has been edited.

Next year we will be holding more in depth workshops exploring how you can use images and sound to help tell the story of your heritage subject and focus and some work on how Voiceover is used in documentaries.

These workshops are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund so the session is free, travel will be paid and refreshments will be available.

Email unityarts@hotmail.co.uk for more information and to reserve your place.

ONGOING TUDOR RESEARCH

We have spent the last couple of months on research trips in and outside of London.

We were lucky to visit Bradgate House and Park (home to the Grey family) whilst the 3D model of the original house was on display.

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We have visited Basing House and Park for a Tudor Day tour and seen the fully restored Tudor barn (including canon ball damage)

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We have also had our bespoke tour and talk at St Katharine Cree where we are presenting a two week heritage installation in June 2017.

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Other visits include The National Portrait Gallery, The National Gallery and Archive training at the London Metropolitan Archives.

We have Sutton House, The London Museum and Hampton Court planned. If you want to join our research team please fill in comments below and we will send you an information pack.

National Theatre Opportunity for one of our Young Research Team!

Nellie Noodle, one of our Young Heritage Research Team members is through to the 2nd and 3rd rounds of interviews to work at the National Theatre on their Costume Apprenticeship scheme.

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Nellie has volunteered and worked on many Unity Arts projects and we wish her all the very best!!

SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH

We held the launch of the Heritage Lottery funded WOEFUL PUPPET at St Mary’s Community Rooms in Hackney on 10 August. This project about the events that led to the execution of Lady Jane Grey attracted a lot of interest.

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We were so pleased with the wonderfully diverse turnout (especially as its the holidays) and that so many people signed up for trips and training to gain the skills to install heritage exhibitions at St Katherine Kree, Sutton House and the Tower of London.

We will also be producing a documentary, sub-titled interviews with experts, colour booklet and online educational materials.

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It was also a first outing as presenter for our volunteer Olivia who is hoping to learn heritage skills such as research and archive training and also installation skills such as how to be a Live Exhibit.

As previously we will be holding other outreach events throughout the project.

If you were unable to attend and want more information email us at unityarts@hotmail.co.uk or contact us below.

 

10 August Launch of Tudor Project WOEFUL PUPPET

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On 10 August at 6pm at St Mary’s Stoke Newington, N16 we are holding the launch of our new Heritage Lottery funded project WOEFUL PUPPET.

This 18 month project will be looking at the political climate and events that led to the arrest and execution of Lady Jane Grey.

There will be refreshments, a presentation and a chance to sign up for project activities.
Unity Arts will be offering trips, training, events to attend and to create and this project will be delivering a documentary film, a colour book, education materials. In addition Exhibitions with Live Installations and Performances at St Katherine Kree, Sutton House and The Tower of London.
You can participate in any aspect of the project you wish.
Please feel free to forward this invite to anyone that you think will benefit from a high quality community research project with strong artistic outcomes.
We have an open door policy. ALL WELCOME!
RSVP via email if you wish to attend or if you cannot come please register your interest here or via email. unityarts@hotmail.co.uk

We are looking to a very exciting time ahaead!

BLACKOUT SIZZLE TRAILER

BLACKOUT SIZZLE TRAILER

Blackout will be performed

22 April Bloomsbury Theatre

https://www.thebloomsbury.com/event/run/15107

23 April Soho Theatre

http://www.sohotheatre.com/whats-on/national-theatre-connections-2016/

There are some free tickets for Under 18s. Please contact us via below to reserve these.

Photograph by Michael Cheetham