Category Archive: In The Pipeline

Sound and Vision

You join us, dear blog-reader, at a very interesting and exciting moment here at A Play, A Pie and A Pint HQ in Glasgow. We’ve just watched the first run of DIG, which takes to the Òran Mór stage on Monday. Our second play, YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW, is nearing the end of its first week of rehearsals which has been a brilliant period of exploring and playing with the text. And we’re just putting the finishing touches to preparations for ETERNAL SOURCE OF LIGHT, which starts the whole process again, going into rehearsals on Monday. Having taken you through the sounds we heard coming out of the DIG rehearsal room last week, this week we have a whole different kind of sound to deal with.

David Watson’s YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW is a fantastically original and poetic play in which sound is completely essential to the telling of the story. In it, snippets of conversations you might hear variously on talk radio shows, a police radio, across the pub and on your SatNav weave in and out of each other. So who better to talk us through the show than our Sound Designer and Composer, Scott Twynholm:

Scott, can you tell us about YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW from your perspective? I’m excited about being involved as the play is so sound dependant: I get the chance to cut up sound, record actors, re-create everyday sounds in the rehearsal room, we might even get round the piano to write the odd radio jingle.

What particular challenges are there when you’re putting together a show like this? The main challenge will be deciding what will be pre-recorded and what will be performed live. For this play we’re going for the Foley film studio approach of creating as much as possible live. These sounds will be performed by the cast so it’s important they are simple, effective and compliment the dialogue rather than distract. Of course there is the visual aspect which is naturally more theatrical than sound playback.

You’ve worked with us at Paines Plough for two years on Play, Pie and Pint: is this the sound-iest show you’ve had to work on with us? Yes and no. I would say the sound is written into this play to compliment the narrative. It can be just as challenging to compose the music to underscore the drama of a play. Last year I enjoyed writing the music for IN THE PIPELINE, which didn’t have an obvious sound element.

What do you enjoy about designing sound for the theatre? Composing for the theatre gives me great joy in that it differs from writing for film and commercial recordings. There is more variety and human interaction. There is a certain excitement about the live performance. And I enjoy the collaborative process – I enjoy getting out of the studio, working with actors and the creative team to put together a show.

And finally: What’s your favourite play, pie and pint? I don’t really have a favourite anything but I’ve enjoyed these over the past year or so: Medea/Steak/Heineken.

Sounds good to us.

Some of the items currently in the rehearsal room being used for Foley sound effects. Either that or they were having a tense round of Kim's Game.

2010 reviews round-up

With the advent of a New Year we’ve been reflecting on a thrilling 2010 and we thought we’d share with you some of the nice things the press said about our shows. So here goes – a round-up of 2010 in quotes…

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE by Mike Bartlett

“Mike Bartlett’s bang-on-the-money new play… required viewing”
***** The Telegraph

“Peppered with terrific lines and big laughs…Bartlett does the clash of generational world views with a devastating precision”
**** The Guardian

“Under Hartley T A Kemp’s vivarium-like lighting no nuance of the five actors’ brilliantly hyper-real performances is lost… Dazzling.”
The Observer

TINY VOLCANOES by Laurence Wilson

“Lit up by excellent performances from Kevin Harvey and Michael Ryan”
The Stage

“Brave enough to shake up the Latitude theatre tent with such a challenging piece of work.”
Liverpool Daily Post

“James Grieve’s direction employs many complex layers that build a compelling narrative… the script switches effortlessly between diverse styles of delivery such as stand up comedy and a quiz game.”
Oxford Daily Info

FLY ME TO THE MOON by Marie Jones

“Features two high-powered comic performances from Katie Tumelty and Abigail McGibbon”
**** The Scotsman

“James Grieve’s direction whisks it all quickly along, punting the laughs up front and giving Tumelty and McGibbon the necessary comedic broad-brush shorthands to whisk plot and development along in the brief time available. But not so broad and cartoon-like as to hinder their – and Jones’ – success in creating a pair of humane and likeable characters.”
The Stage


“The writing is brilliant, gripping, poetic, often sensationally powerful”
The Scotsman

“Directed assuredly by David Horan… the writing is sparkly and poetic.”
**** Metro (Dublin)


“Charlotte Gwinner’s production has a severe and brilliant quiet choreography, controlled down to the minutest gesture; and the performances are riveting, mature, eloquent, beautiful, and not only real, but true.”
**** The Scotsman

“This is tightly performed piece that evoked not just amusement but the recognition of the wide array of views with the theme of uncertainty at their core”
Edinburgh Guide

CALAIS by April De Angelis

“This is a little bit of female history brought to life in a moving and entertaining way with top performances all round.”
Edinburgh Guide

“Tamara Harvey’s clear, dynamic direction, picks right through to the emotional relationship”
The Stage

GOOD WITH PEOPLE by David Harrower

“Harrower’s dialogue is crisp, economic, and loaded with meaning… Duff and Scott-Ramsay both turn in riveting performances brimming with sexual chemistry and charged with danger.”
**** The Herald

“George Perrin’s razor-sharp production…a tremendous piece of work.”
**** The Guardian

Where we are this week

Here’s a quick update on where our A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT shows are this week:

FLY ME TO THE MOON by Marie Jones is at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre in Dublin. Click here for information and booking.

IN THE PIPELINE by Gary Owen is at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. Click here for information and booking.

THE UNCERTAINTY FILES by Linda McLean is at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. Click here for information and booking.

CALAIS by April De Angelis is at the Live Theatre in Newcastle. Click here for information and booking.

GOOD WITH PEOPLE by David Harrower is on a break before opening at Live Theatre in Newcastle next week. Click here to read the outstanding ****review in The Guardian.

We’ve been getting fantastic feedback from audiences all over the UK and Ireland for our A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT plays. Here are a few comments for THE UNCERTAINTY FILES by Linda McLean at the Live Theatre in Newcastle:

“A really thought provoking and engaging piece. Actors really inhabited the myriad characters in such a short time – very telling business with minimal props. Liked the “interview” style and very natural responses highly enjoyable.”  Karen, Lanchester

“Really interesting production. Would like to see it again. Liked the non usual.” Hazel, Newcastle

“I always love coming to the Live & I’m pleased you have new work from Paines Plough coming in – good to see excellent new writing venues joining together – will be keeping an eye out for future work (as always)” Jenny, Newcastle

We’ve also been interviewing the writers of all of our PPP plays. Here are some answers from April De Angelis, writer of CALAIS:

Is 45 minutes and max 3 actors easier or harder than 2 acts and a cast of ten? 

A one act play is definitely less slog than a two acter!

Should every play come with a complimentary pie and pint?

If every play in the universe came with a pie and a pint we’d get bored of the novelty and fatter as a constituency.

What is more scary, contemplating a blank sheet of paper, contemplating a deadline or contemplating the audience at the first performance?

The audience at a first night is the scariest. You can always tear up your writing at the end of the day..

In three words how do you feel about about the critics?

Critiscism ain’t art.

Do you agree with Thomas Edison that “Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration?”

Yes, mind you it’s an elusive 1%

A new time of day

Once again I set off early to Oran Mor to see the fourth of the five plays in the A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT season, April De Angelis’ CALAIS.

I got on the familiar 0539 train from Euston to ensure I was around for the tech.  I think it is the calmest tech I have ever sat in and they even had time for a dress rehearsal before doors open at 1230.

I was able to sit in on a stagger through of the fifth and final play on the season, David Harrower’s GOOD WITH PEOPLE, which is being directed by our very own George Perrin and performed by Blythe Duff and Andrew Scott-Ramsay.  It is a fascinating piece, where nothing is, as it seems paired up with electric acting.

Meanwhile the three plays that have already opened at Oran Mor are in various places in the UK:   Marie Jones’ FLY ME TO THE MOON opens in Edinburgh tomorrow (in fact Katie Tumelty and Abi McGibbon returned to Glasgow to watch CALAIS so we enjoyed our pies together!)   IN THE PIPELINE opens today at Live Theatre Newcastle and THE UNCERTAINTY FILES company take a well deserved week off, and all three of the actors remaining at home in Glasgow.

A lorra-lorra love for the cast of Love, Love, Love and generally all round…

From left to right back row: John Heffernan, James Barrett, Simon Darwen. From left to righ front row: Daniela Denby-Ashe and Rosie Wyatt

We honoured to be able to you to introduce James Barrett, Simon Darwen, Daniela Denby-Ashe, John Heffernan and Rosie Wyatt who make up the wonderful company for Mike Bartlett’s new play LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

Whilst on LOVE, LOVE, LOVE if you fancy getting into the incredible mind of Mike Barltett himself he has been chatting to about all things theatre plus a fantasy dinner party.  The Bush Theatre co-produced Mike Bartlett’s ARTEFACTS in 2008 with James Grieve directing.

Elsewhere in the world of Paines Plough, I returned late last night from yet another delightful day in Glasgow:

I took the 0539 train which got me to Glasgow at 1040 in order to be at 5 Sanda Street to meet with Kara Jackson (Stage Manager of FLY ME TO THE MOON) and Kirsten Hogg (Tour Designer for A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT) to discuss how to fit a bed, a pillow, a duvet, a chair, a wheelchair, a phone, two cds, a cd player, a lamp and seven packs of custard creams into a suitcase.  Anyone know Mary Poppins?

At 1200 it was the meet and greet for the company of April De Angelis’ CALAIS, the fourth play in the A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT Season.

At 1255 I dashed over to Oran Mor to catch the second performance of  Gary Owen’s IN THE PIPELINE. What a great way to spend 52 minutes with exquisite narrative and touching performances; I must confess I could not resist temptation and did have a pie and a pint!

At 1405 back over to 5 Sanda Street to sit in on a bit of Linda McLean’s THE UNCERTAINTY FILES.  I am absolutely in awe of J S Duffy, Lesley Hart and Helen Mallon who are all off book and reeling the words of naturally as can be.  Charlotte has created a brilliant world for the piece…but I won’t say anymore as you can see it for yourself next week or indeed four other venues subsequently.

At 1530 I popped back across the hallway at 5 Sanda Street to listen to read through of April De Angelis’s CALAIS.  I would have been pretty impressed if this had been the first performance let alone the first read through. David McLennan and I enjoyed a good chuckle.

Finally at 1840 I caught my train home – and as if I already hadn’t had a very privileged day, I caught sight of a rainbow.  I am in lucky, lucky times.

Anyone for Lucky Charms?

All You Need Is Love…

And there was a lot of love in the Paines Plough offices today as we hosted the first day of rehearsals of our co-production with Drum Theatre Plymouth, Mike Bartlett’s LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

It was a real Monday morning treat to hear five talented actors read this firecracker of a script together for the first time.  It is also really joyous to have all the creative and technical teams plus staff members from both companies in the room together which will probably be the first and last time until we tech in 4 weeks time at Drum Theatre Plymouth.  With this in mind every minute is essential and straight after the reading the actors were measured by Lorna Price, Deputy Head of Wardrobe at Plymouth.

Post a revitalising lunch the actors returned to start their around-the-table-work with James Grieve, who directs his second Mike Bartlett play after ARTEFACTS rehearsed in the very same room 2 years ago.

Raring to go...

Elsewhere in the busy hive of Paines Plough activity around the UK – Gary Owen’s IN THE PIPELINE received its first performance at Oran Mor. Click on the link for video footage.

Tomorrow we welcome the writer of CALAIS, April De Angelis, as well as Tamara Harvey (director) and a wonderful cast: Joanna Bacon, Louise Ford and James French to the A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT family at number 5 Sanda Street. I’m looking forward to my 5am train up there for second meet and greet of this week!

The fine actresses Abigail McGibbon and Katie Tumelty and superb stage manager, Kara Jackson, have a well deserved week off before going to Live Theatre Newcastle next week.

That’s it for now, I’m off for my sister’s birthday dinner…