Category Archive: The Uncertainty Files

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

IN THE PIPELINE by Gary Owen

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

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

THE UNCERTAINTY FILES by Linda McLean

“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.

Linda McLean’s THE UNCERTAINTY FILES opened to rave reviews this week at Oran Mor.

‎****The Scotsman for Linda McLean’s THE UNCERTAINTY FILES:

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.

Whilst the company of Marie Jones’ FLY ME TO THE MOON pioneered the first leg of the tour at Live Theatre Newcastle. I went up there to see the first show and brought back a little souvenir for everyone in the office:

We're loving Newcastle Live A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT Beer Mat

Judging from the show report received today from Stage Manager, Kara Jackson, the Newcastle audience are enjoying it so much that the running time has increased by two minutes due to laughter.

Back at PP HQ LOVE, LOVE, LOVE culminates its second week of rehearsals.  They have it up on its feet after the detailed table work last week and rehearsal props are flying into the room.  The character of Sandra seems to enjoy quite a few cigarettes!

We also had all three of the Creative Team in today to watch rehearsals.  Hartley  (Lighting Designer), recovered from Edinburgh where he runs C venues, and Lucy Osborne (Designer), currently opening THE ALIENS at the Bush Theatre, have a good catch up on the sofa that is on for rehearsal furniture.

Lucy Osborne and Hartkey T A Kemp deep in thought - or are they on facebook?

We, in the office, are very much looking forward to catching a run through next week and we’ll be able to show you some photos soon as Graham Michael is coming in on Friday to take some rehearsal shots.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend – we’re off to see Bryony Lavery’s BEAUTIFUL BURNOUT on Sunday at the Barbican.

Linda McLean gives certain answers to her writing of THE UNCERTAINTY FILES

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

 Just different.  Something i’ve only become aware of in the last couple of years is that limitations are strangely freeing.  If I set my mind the puzzle of what it can’t do, it invariably comes up with some creative way of beating me!  So, for example, with the Uncertainty Files, I made a piece for 3 actors playing 14 characters!

 Should every play come with a complimentary pie and pint?

 I’m keen on variation so I’d like to see a play a pasty and a pint (the south country tour); or a play a pasta and pint (the italian tour); or a play, a pastis and pint (the french tour where we all get maroculous).

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

All three are a challenge in their own way: the blank sheet of paper (or screen) always demands something new, it won’t tolerate same old same old. The deadline, especially when the show is already programmed is at once scary and exciting but with an inflexibility that reminds me of those terrible moments at school when you knew you were going to get the strap and there was nothing you could do except hold out your hand and wince. And the audience because no matter how much confidence i have in a piece I spend that first performance quivering.

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

Medium rare, please.

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

I think he was talking about lightbulbs!  I’m more of a fan of Vilfredo Pareto’s 80:20 principle.

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 bushgreen.org 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?

Lesley Hart learns her lines

Ever wonder how actors learn their lines?

Lesley Hart, who is currently in Glasgow rehearsing for THE UNCERTAINTY FILES by Linda McLean, explains all in The Press and Journal. Click here to read her article.