PICKLE | London, Park Theatre

Recommended

Two-word summary: it’s Jewish Fleabag. Yes, that world-dominating, award-winning sitcom started as one-hour, one-woman show, too. After captivating audiences during its sold-out performances in May, Pickle returns to the Park Theatre for a two-week run, in this cheeky and authentic exploration of what it means to be a young Jewish woman in London today.

Pickle is written and performed by Deli Segal, produced by Tanya Truman (Confessions of a Rabbi’s Daughter; Tier Three Sisters) and directed by Kayla Feldman (Swimming; Dear Peter), all female Jewish theatre-makers who strive to amplify Jewish voices on stage.

Pickle is all about one woman’s experience of reconciling belief and tradition with change,” says Deli Segal, writer and performer. “I wanted to tell a story that explores being in the middle of both worlds: the parts that fit together, and the parts that don’t. The vibrancy, the spirit, the richness of culture, the humour of Jewish life – those things often get lost.”

Ari lives at home in North-West London, where her life is dominated by overbearing parents, tradition and expectations. However, her daily life includes her job, going out – and, inevitably, the dating scene. Pickle follows Ari as she tries to balance Friday night dinner with drinks at the pub, JSwipe with Hinge, being Jewish and secular. This uproarious simcha of a one-woman show explores a young Jewish woman’s psyche as she navigates her two contrasting worlds with irreverent humour and heart. Expect smoked salmon, guilt and a large dose of self-deprecation as Pickle brings Ari’s vibrant world to life.

Playing at the Park Theatre 14 – 26 November, 2022.

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INTERVIEW | Jacob Mann

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Multi-talented musician Jacob Mann is the driving force behind the Jacob Mann Big Band and Shrek Is Love.

– Where is home for you?

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and then, aged eighteen, I moved to Los Angeles for college, and I’ve lived there ever since. The two cities are pretty close together, so I consider them both to be my home — Vegas is my hometown, and LA is my city of residence.

– You wear many hats: you’re a composer, arranger and bandleader, but you’re also a talented pianist and keyboard player both for studio recordings and live performances, and you also seem to love the production side of things. Is there one hat you wear more than others? Is there one hat you’re most comfortable wearing? Is there a hat you long to wear?

I really enjoy the variety that comes with being a musician. Some people ask what a normal month looks like for me, and I laugh and say I have no idea. If I can wake up and spend some part of the day thinking about music, regardless of the context, it feels like a victory. So I guess I’d say I enjoy all hats equally. Some hats I’d love to wear in the future would be writing for a full orchestra; scoring a TV show or film; playing in the house band of a talk show; and touring under my own name.

– Tell us about your latest album with the Jacob Mann Big Band, Greatest Hits Vol. 3 (2022).

I had the goal of releasing a full-length big band album before my thirtieth birthday, and I wanted to record two completely different big bands, in order to get more musicians involved. I tend to write music with specific people in mind, so having two separate bands was a nice opportunity to write different types of tunes. Each band recorded four charts, and we tracked the whole album in one day, which was exhausting, but a lot of fun – the bands brought this music to life in an incredible way; I’m really happy with how it turned out.

– What’s next for Jacob Mann?

Right now I’m working on some collaboration albums that I’m very excited about. I’m excited to keep writing, arranging, and playing whenever I can!

Visit Jacob Mann on Bandcamp to hear Jacob Mann Big Band’s new release, Greatest Hits Vol. 3.

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THE CONVERT | London, Above The Stag Theatre

Recommended

Ben Kavanagh’s chilling new play explores the resources we need to endure catastrophe through an alternate reality where our greatest fears are endemic and enduring.

***

You said The Convert is the “maddest” thing you’ve ever written. Is it really?

I think so. I mean, it feels very much like a play that exists in an alternate world, both in terms of its actual content, and also its form and structure. There’s only three characters, but there’s constant references to a wider society which gives it this epic feel. It’s also got some pretty dramatic set pieces, but I won’t ruin it with spoilers!

How did the project come about?

The play is part of a larger season at the Above The Stag Theatre — the UK’s only full time LBGTQ+ theatre — called CONTACT, which is essentially a festival of new and challenging work. Each company has been given free rehearsal space and a five-night run to realise their ideas and bring them to the stage. I’m thrilled to be back working with director Gene David Kirk, whose previous work at the Stag has been particularly successful, and with us for the journey are two extremely talented actors in James Phoon and Olly Roy — it’s an exciting prospect going back into the rehearsal room with such a strong team.

Why gay conversion therapy?

In fact, The Convert started life as a monologue in BODY POLITIC. Gene approached me about the season at the Stag in March of 2021, and asked if I had any ideas: I suggested this monologue could have the dramatic potential for expanding into a full-length play. As we chatted, the world of the monologue seemed to blend perfectly with a conversation that was being had in the wider media at the time, the legislating against gay conversion therapy – i.e. the ridiculous time it was taking to ban it!

What can audiences expect on the night?

I know the main thrust of the play is set against the backdrop of conversion therapy, but I think, like all good theatre, at its root, it’s a play about love, and in particular, enduring love. So I’d certainly expect that. As for the rest – well, we’ve not started rehearsals yet, and the entire play could be rewritten after the first day of rehearsals, as is so often the case. So much of the writing process relies on hearing the actors speak the lines, and gaining the insight of the director in how the story is coming together – as a writer, sometimes you are too close to the play to have that kind of perspective. Collaboration breeds a kind of openness in the room that nearly always results in a clearer direction for the story. It’s thrilling! They say good plays aren’t written, they are rewritten; well, if that’s the case then sign me up!

Playing 23 – 27 June 2021 at the Above The Stag Theatre in Vauxhall.

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JEW…ISH | Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Recommended

The Edinburgh Fringe is upon us! And here at Prickle HQ we could not be more excited about Unleash the Llama’s new show, a self-professed, “twisted millennial romcom that absolutely no one asked for”. This brand new two-hander sold out its London previews, and got the audience into quite a tizzy (see the video below).

JEW…ish is a pitch-black, romantic comedy about true love, politics, and two millennia of inherited trauma. TJ (Edie Newman) and Max (Saul Boyer) are in love; with amphetamines, the Palestine Liberation Organisation and ooh, Jeremy Corbyn. Occasionally even each other. There’s just one thing: Max is Jewish. TJ isn’t. He’s desperate to escape the tribe; she’s looking to sign up. What happens when you don’t identify with your identifiers, and you break out of the boxes you’re born into?

Unleash the Llama was founded in 2014 by Saul Boyer and Sam Rayner, with the goal of creating unique and ambitious comedy productions. Unleash the Llama were responsible for the hit 2014 Underbelly show Nougat for Kings (“hard to take your eyes off” – The Scotsman), the irreverent narrative comedy podcast: ‘PanaMax’ and the sketch show TüManz 2k18 which premiered at London’s Leicester Square Theatre in January 2018.

For JEW…ish, Boyer teams up again with Poppy Damon, having won awards for their writing together (Shortlisted for The RSC/Other Prize, Papatango, Cannes Series ‘In Development’ Award), with Kennedy Bloomer directing and Zoe Weldon producing.

Playing 1:30pm at the Gilded Balloon until 26 August 2019.

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AMÉLIE THE MUSICAL | London, New Wimbledon Theatre

Recommended

A new musical, based on the much-loved, five-time Oscar-nominated 2001 film, is embarking on an extensive UK tour. It’s already wowed critics at the acclaimed Watermill Theatre (Newbury), and now comes to south London. The musical originally ran for two months on Broadway in 2017, and has now been extensively reworked, following successful international touring to Japan and Germany. The songs are by Daniel Messé, including lyrics from Nathan Tysen, and a book by Craig Lucas.

Amélie is the story of an astonishing young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her mind. She secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness that bring happiness to those around her. But when a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart.

Amélie is played by the delightful Audrey Brisson (The Elephantom, Pinocchio and Pericles (National Theatre), The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic) and more). Nino is played by musical theatre star and all round heart-throb Danny Mac.

Come and be inspired by this imaginative dreamer who finds her voice, discovers the power of connection and sees possibilities around every corner. Although times are hard for dreamers, Amélie is someone to believe in.

Amélie visits Wimbledon until Saturday 25 May 2019. £13 tickets are still available.

Amélie The Musical is transferring to the West End! Book now.

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Scotland’s East Neuk Festival unveils 2019 programme

Recommended

Scotland’s East Neuk Festival (ENF) returns for its 15th festival, 26 – 30 June 2019, inviting audiences on a musical adventure in beautiful and unique locations along East Neuk’s picturesque coastline. The festival promises major artists, unique collaborations and a large-scale art installation for the 2019 ENF, filling the hidden corners of Scotland’s coastal area of the East Neuk in Fife.

Percussionist Colin Currie and his new Colin Currie Quartet will be teaming up with community musicians of the East Neuk, for this year’s Big Project for massed percussion. Pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja, Pavel Haas Quartet and Belcea String Quartet will all be coming together to present a unique series of five concerts, while Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora master Seckou Keita will make their ENF debuts with a three-concert residency.

A large-scale art installation in the grounds of the National Trust for Scotland’s Kellie Castle will celebrate the communal Drying Greens of yesteryear, and culminate in an afternoon of family activities and pop up performances from the Tullis Russell Mills Band (in its centenary year).

An evolution of the ENF Retreat sees two past Retreatants – violinist Benjamin Baker and violist Diyang Mei – return to the festival to play solo, chamber and concerto dates. Festival Director, Svend McEwan-Brown, said: “ENF is all about relationships: we love when our favourite musicians return, collaborate and take new directions at the festival. Experimenting is a risky business, and we are proud that artists of such stature trust us to support them as they do it.”

Read the brochure, get excited, and start booking.

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CIRCA | London, Old Red Lion Theatre

Recommended

After premiering with a cast of twelve at the Theatre de Meervaart, Amsterdam in 2016, followed by an acclaimed run with a cast of seven at The Vaults in London, Tom Ratcliffe’s company work.Theatre returns in a co-production with Harlow Playhouse.

“I can’t wait to be bringing Circa back this year for a longer run in London, and then to Harlow,” says Ratcliffe of his debut play. “The play has become even more topical over the past two years, and loneliness amongst the gay community is something that needs to be spoken about. The play has developed over the past two years and it’s something I cannot wait to share with everyone.”

In the 21st century, being gay is supposedly more integrated than ever: marriage is legal, parenthood is possible, and #LoveWins is trending on Twitter. But in a world where sex is readily available, what does it mean to be in a gay relationship in the modern age? And why are so many gay men still lonely?

Circa explores the blurred identity of the gay relationship in the modern age. Following the story of one man’s romantic life, we are taken through the different relationships and encounters he experiences over a period of thirty years, joining him through the joys and pitfalls of love.

Book online at www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk. Tickets from £12.

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INTERVIEW: SINNOBER

Interview

 

Acclaimed folk-rock duo Sinnober, Sebastian Brice (Vocals, Guitar) and Natalie Brice (Vocals, Keyboard, Bass), have just released their third album Projection, available now.

 

 

Q: This album seems more richly orchestrated in places, how did that come about?

 

NATALIE: For the last two albums, we were working as a trio with guitar, bass, and drums, which very much informed the arrangements. With Projection we moved away from that setup and had an urge to explore and expand our sound.

SEBASTIAN: Fortunately, one of the many perks of living in Frome is the abundance of creative talent, so local musician friends contributed to the recordings.

NATALIE: We are also pretty obsessed with the albums Hejira and The Hissing of Summer Lawns by Joni Mitchell, and they have undoubtedly informed the sound of Projection.

SEBASTIAN: Her music feels almost genreless and that’s where we feel most comfortable.

 

 

Q: “True North” is an absolutely beautiful song: what inspired you to write a song for your child?

 

SEBASTIAN: Thank you! Our son, Asher, is two years old now, but when we started writing the songs for Projection he was only a few months old, and we were in the throes of new parenthood.

NATALIE: Intense sleep deprivation, coupled with an overwhelming sense of love. Everything felt suddenly very poignant and this song came out of that.

SEBASTIAN: There’s also this rather limiting belief that if you want to be a serious artist, you can’t have children. Ironically, since having a child, our creativity has increased tenfold and because those pockets of space are so rare, when we do get them, we make sure we use them well.

 

 

Q: Tell me about the covers.

 

NATALIE: “No Regrets” is a Tom Rush song from 1968.  It’s one of Seb’s all time favourite songs, and we used to listen to it in the car, on this dodgy Old Grey Whistle Test mixtape, for years, before deciding to cover it. I guess our version is slightly different to the original, in that it’s sung by a female, so that changes the energy.

SEBASTIAN: “When a Knight Won His Spurs” is a song that Natalie used to sing to Asher to get him to sleep. A nostalgic and beautiful song that communicates, in a very imaginative way, the spiritual qualities that need to be nurtured in a child.

NATALIE: “Alexandra Leaving” is the last song on the album. We are massive Leonard Cohen fans. We got trolled by a guy on YouTube, because we’re singing the words as they are in Leonard Cohen’s Book Of Longing and not like his recording of the song.

 

 

Q: What’s next for Sinnober?

 

NATALIE: Our album launch for Projection, at Rook Lane Chapel in Frome, on October 18th!

SEBASTIAN: We’ll perform the album live, with guest musicians, followed by the opportunity for some massage, some couples therapy, and then maybe some more songs.

 

 

Book online now for the Projection album launch.

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KINGDOM | London, Camden People’s Theatre

Recommended

Created by Celine Lowenthal (Show Boat West End; Shadwell Opera) and Temi Wilkey (Hamlet RSC; Pecs: The Drag King Collective), Kingdom is a surrealist love song about two queer best friends who share a bedroom.

Step inside the kingdom of a couple of high femme weirdos with a magical world of their own. Taking place somewhere between the dream world of their minds and the real-life space of their very own bedroom, this show is a joyous celebration of queer friendship and feminine intimacy.

Creator Temi Wilkey explains in no uncertain terms: “We want to make theatre drenched in queerness and femininity, exploring and celebrating the magic of genuine intimacy; theatre that can offer something beautiful to the world, as an antidote to the cynicism and cruelty that often seems to pervade it.”

Kingdom is part of AndWhat? Queer Arts Festival; an October long celebration of the newest Queer-led cultural and artistic experiences, all across London.

Kingdom will play for three performances only, so book now.

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BRYONY KIMMINGS: I’M A PHOENIX, BITCH | London, Battersea Arts Centre

Recommended

Bryony Kimmings is renowned for her outlandish “social experiments”, with previous works seeing her retrace an STI to its source, spending seven days in a controlled environment in a constant state of intoxication, and becoming a pop star invented by a nine-year-old girl. Her most recent work, A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, was commissioned by Complicite and presented at the National Theatre.

In 2016 Kimmings nearly drowned: dealing with postnatal breakdowns, an imploding relationship and a very sick child. In 2018, Battersea Arts Centre invited her to create her first solo work in nearly a decade for the previously burnt down Grand Hall.  I’m a Phoenix, Bitch combines personal stories with epic film, soundscapes and ethereal music to create a powerful, dark and joyful work about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength.

“My shows are usually born out of me going: ‘We don’t talk about this enough,'” Kimmings explains. “My hope with this show is to give a voice to the almost unspeakable traumas associated with postnatal depression and an ill child.  I want to create a show that cuts to the heart of these things, but does it in a way that people can relate to.”

Every performance of I’m a Phoenix, Bitch is relaxed, which means guests who can benefit from a more relaxed environment are welcome – there is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement and a designated ‘chill-out space’ is provided. The 19th October performance is captioned and BSL interpreted.

I’m a Phoenix, Bitch runs at the Battersea Arts Centre 3 – 20 October 2018.

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