Monthly archives:

A Play, a Cake and a Pint?

Cake is becoming a bit of a theme around here – as he told us yesterday, Sean is adjusting well to life as the PP intern by embracing the abundance of cakes in the office. And two of this year’s three Play, Pie and Pint shows feature cake in a crucial role. Woe betide any diabetics who come to work for Paines Plough.

It seems like only yesterday I saw the first run through of DIG and started to get a sense of what a beautiful and affecting play it was going to be. In fact, it was just over four weeks ago. And one month, 4 cities, and 24 cakes later, it has drawn to a close.

L-R: Stewart Porter, Louise Ludgate and Simon Macallum - the brilliant cast of DIG.

Here’s what the critics from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Coventry had to say…

‘This tightly written play is gripping, funny and extremely moving… A thoroughly affecting piece of theatre.’ Edinburgh Guide ★★★★

‘Tight and emotionally-chargedAs it builds to its powerful conclusion, Dig deftly uncovers the emotions which lie hidden beneath the surface of our everyday lives; and the hope which can often be found growing there.’ Edinburgh Spotlight ★★★★

‘It’s a simple idea, but over the resulting 45 minutes a surprisingly large emotional terrain is covered by George Perrin’s production…Douglas’ dialogue is sharply written and well observed…Louise Ludgate’s climatic monologue, a desperate plea to save her marriage, is impossibly affecting’ Exeunt Magazine ★★★★

‘Incredibly gripping…intelligent, compelling and humorous…The script builds to a tender and emotional conclusion, portrayed brilliantly by a talented trio of actors. Overall, Dig was a fantastic experience and it would have been excellent even if I hadn’t had a hot pie and a glass of red wine to keep me company.’ The Student ★★★★

‘Dig is the sort of brash, confident and hard-hitting piece of theatre which makes you sit up. A perfectly crafted short.’ Annals of Edinburgh Stage ★★★★

‘Very moving, very incisive…For a 45 minute long play “Dig” packs a lot of punch.’ Lothian Life ★★★★

‘A small masterpiece…this rich and shattering slice of lunchtime drama’  The Scotsman ★★★★

‘From hilarity to chilling suspense, Katie Douglas’s script controls the atmosphere in the room precisely…This exploration of the emotional effects of an economic climate where job security is a fantasy asks tough questions, and asks them very well.’ Edinburgh Evening News ★★★★

‘The play, the pie and the pint are all thoroughly enjoyable, but best by far is the play – wonderful, deep and satisfying.’ Warwick Courier

If you caught DIG, we’d love to know what you thought of it.

And if you didn’t – there’s still time to grab your pie and pint and settle down in front of either YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW, at the Belgrade Theatre until Friday, or JUICY FRUITS – playing at the Manchester Royal Exchange this week and heading to Coventry next week.

PP Around the UK in 81 days

As we are in rehearsals for 4 plays, with two set to tech and open next week, plus a 5th play to start rehearsals and a 6th to join in four weeks time – it can be difficult to keep track of who is where!

Enter the joy that is the EXCEL spreadsheet.  This paired with our brilliant intern, Amy, results in the glorious schedule below.

Take a peak to see who is rehearsing what, where and when…

Colour coded and everything!

Of course there is also Claire, Hanna and Amy who are our rocks at number 43 Aldwych during these busy periods.

A Play, A Pie and A Pint – On Tour

A Play, A Pie and A Pint

A Play, A Pie and A Pint

Later this year we’re presenting three World Première productions with our good friends at Oran Mor in Glasgow. Brand new work by Katie Douglas, David Watson and Leo Butler will open in Glasgow as part of the lunchtime series A Play, A Pie and A Pint, before heading out on tour. Oran Mor is in the heart of Glasgow’s West End – a vibrant and eclectic corner of this gorgeous city, home to students, families and some of our favorite cinemas, delis and bars in the UK.

Oran Mor

Oran Mor

First stop after Glasgow will be Edinburgh’s new writing power-house, The Traverse. A Scottish home to much of Paines Plough’s work of the past few years (including 2010’s PPP series as well as Orphans, After The End, Long Time Dead and The Straits), the Traverse is also one of the top venues for the Festival Fringe each summer.

Traverse Theatre

Traverse Theatre

From Edinburgh we head south to Manchester for our fourth visit in twelve months to this beacon of the north. After a fling with the Manchester International Festival this July we’ll be back at our home from home in M2, the formidable Royal Exchange Theatre, in October.

Royal Exchange Theatre

Royal Exchange Theatre

Last stop on this tour is Coventry, where 79% of our audience for last year’s PPP series were first time visitors to the theatre. We were in Coventry for Come To Where I’m From in July last year where our four writers painted a vivid picture of a fascinating city. You can still listen to the writers reading the plays themselves here.

Belgrade Theatre

Belgrade Theatre

We’ll be posting updates on Katie, David and Leo’s plays on this blog as well as on our website over the coming months. In the meantime, let us know if you’ll be coming to share a pie and a pint with us in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester or Coventry this autumn.

And, if you’re already a regular at Oran Mor’s PPP, vote them pub of the year by following the instructions below. We’re sure they’ll reward you royally.

To vote Oran Mor the Sunday Mail pub of the year:

Call 0901 229 2817 and enter the code 10. Calls cost 26p plus network extras. Calls from mobiles may be significantly higher.

Or text SMVOTE01 followed by a space and the code 10 to 84080.Texts cost 25p plus your standard rate.

Lines will close at noon on Thursday, June 2, 2011.

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%

Send yourself to Coventry

According to Lyn Gardner’s theatre tips, Coventry is the place to be this week, and I’ll be heading there myself on Saturday for another yummy installment of A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT.

FLY ME TO THE MOON by Marie Jones opens at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry on Thursday 30th. Check out this lovely review of the play in The Stage.

Also mentioned in Lyn’s theatre tips this week is ESTATE WALLS at Oval House Theatre, by one of our associate companies Inner City Theatre. We all saw it last week and it’s absolutely brilliant, so get your tickets before it ends on the 9th October!

We’re a bit lonely at PP HQ now as the cast of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE have left our rehearsal room and gone to Plymouth to finish rehearsing before the show opens at the Drum Theatre on the 7th.

To quote a text from Simon Darwen, ‘Missing the PP crew too…not the stairs though!Looking forward to you coming down.The rehearsal spaces are incredible and the place is lovely and sunny.xxx’

Rub it in guys!

The empty rehearsal room