An overdue update for no-one

I haven’t written here in about a year. Though I doubt anyone has missed me. Still, the purpose of it was to keep me writing, so that is a bit lame. In fact, writing – aside from in my day job, where blogging and interviewing and writing social media updates fill my days – is something I am not doing enough of at all, recently. I have seen several great productions lately – from Legally Blonde to an all-male version of Pirates of Penzance; the London revival of Hair (now approaching early retirement) to a wonderfully provincial touring play called The Knicker Lady; Love Never Dies, of course, and Priscilla, once again – and yet have not written anything on any of these, despite this being the whole point.

And MORE to the point, I haven’t done any creative writing – well, not enough anyway – for several months. I have ideas, I have some brief drafts of plans, I have character sketches, but I have nothing solid.

This seems to be my main problem: the motivation to start. Anything. I think about it all an awful lot, but when I get a lovely bare Sunday stretching out in front of me, I sleep, eat, and generally procrastinate until the whole day is gone and I’ve barely thought about opening the laptop.

Have been thinking of doing a creative writing course to try and stop this curse of inactivity – bully myself into doing something. But being unsually broke this year it is looking unlikely (incidentally, have 6 weddings and 4 hen do’s to go to this year. I love my friends, but this is bordering on mentalism. Also it is bankrupting me.) Anyway, have this stupid block in my head telling me that truly creative people don’t need courses to show them the way.

But then perhaps I am not truly creative.

I’m definitely not truly dedicated.


The Miniaturists in Edinburgh

I’ve just finished writing up a feature for Who’s Jack magazine about a theatre company called The Miniaturists. The Minis – as I like to call them, being as we’re such great mates and all – specialise in the short play; that is, they stage up to five plays during one show, but each play is no more than twenty minutes long.

They usually perform at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston but they’re heading up to Edinburgh in August to perform at the Forest Fringe (wish I was going to Edinburgh but as I am now on holiday for ten days in August AND heading to Cardiff to see The Sound of Music UK tour it looks like I won’t be able to go, boo and several hisses.)

Anyway enough of me and my robust ungratefulness, basically if you ARE going to Edinburgh and don’t know The Miniaturists, I strongly recommend you try ’em out. Go see go see.

RSC, I like your Latitude.

Last weekend I found myself at the most middle-class of festivals, Latitude (or Lahtitude, as it was referred to by more than one chipper left-wing comedian.) I say ‘found myself’ – obviously I paid for a ticket and went, so it’s not like it was an accident. But anyway.

For those of you not familiar with this icon of polite festival-going, it is a bit like the older, slightly-past-it-but-still-quite-cool sister (definitely a sister) of Glastonbury. Families go there with young children. Lots of young children; there’s a family camping area and a kids festival bit, for God’s sake. Teenagers go there too, but they seem to be the probably-usually-very-well-behaved public school-educated but left-leaning offspring of bankers you may also find in Rock (the King’s Road of Cornwall), given special permission to go by their parents because, well, it’s not Glastonbury.

Anyway, I liked Latitude a lot because as well as having bands (like Passion Pit, who my sister told me to go and see because she is a lot cooler than me, and Grace Jones, Thom Yorke, The Doves and The Editors, all of whom I found all by myself), it also had a comedy tent, a literary tent, and a theatre tent. These things please me, because this is all the kind of stuff I usually miss seeing enough of in London because I am poor/disorganised/drinking/all of the above.

A highlight for me was the RSC’s exclusive Latitude event – a project they supposedly collaborated on with the Sussex Witch Hunting Society, or something. I say supposedly because I couldn’t work out whether it was complete fiction or a bit truthful. Basically, for half an hour at midnight in the theatre tent (which was massive, actually, with people crammed in all over the shop, sitting on the floor, standing at the back…) turned into this dark and creepy little world where someone playing a lady from the Sussex Witch Society thing told us all about the 12 witches found buried on the Latitude camping site. Interspersed were snippets of stories from the lives of three witches put to trial in Sussex; three of the 12 bodies found by the Sussex Society of Witches lady.

I’m being flippant, but it was a brilliant bit of theatre. Chilling. Beautifully acted. And quite an amazing experience, to be sat there in your smelly festival clothes while the RSC’s finest explored one of the several darker periods of British history.

My only criticism is that the piece didn’t make it clear whether the research referred to in the play was real or created completely for the purposes of the play. I would imagine it’s real research, but a bit more attention paid to the character of the archeologist working on the dig would have added even more atmosphere to a dark and spooky tale…

In the beginning…

Well. This is my very first personal blog post. (Freudian slip: I just accidentally wrote ‘pist’, haha.) Actually, probably not my first personal blog ever, as I think I had a blog when I was in my teens, but the first one I have written in as an adult (ie, not something detailing my average teenage life and obsession with late 90s boyband Hanson.) It feels a bit weird and self-indulgent. Do all new bloggers find this? Oh well, I am sure I will get over it in time.

I have just written an About Me section (God the self-indulgence) so this is sort of repetition, but I will mostly be using this space to share my thoughts on various theatrical things with the few people who might read it… that sounds a bit wanky, but don’t worry, most of the things I think about theatrical things aren’t likely to bother the real critics. Plus, I am pretty easy to please, when it comes to what I like at the theatre. Recent example: I think Sister Act at The London Palladium is brilliant; I laughed, I (almost) cried, I whoop(i)ed. The press were very mixed about it though – The Guardian thought it was cynical, which I don’t understand. I did enjoy the variety of nun puns in the reviews – even Charles Spencer in The Telegraph couldn’t resist a ‘habit-forming’ reference.

Who knows, maybe this blogging lark will become a habit of mine… how punny is that?