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Reviews round-up: THE ANGRY BRIGADE

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The Angry Brigade smashed into The Bush last week with fire in their bellies and anger in their minds. Here’s what the critics made of the revolution:

“Memorably adventurous…a timeless depiction of young people agitating against a world that appears to exclude them.”
★★★★ The Times (Paywall)

“Thrilling, exciting, unpredictable… James Graham marches triumphantly onwards.”
★★★★ Evening Standard

“An explosive account of ideological war.”
★★★★ The Guardian

“Throbs with exciting theatrical effects… fab soundtrack, vibrating projections and air of anarchy…  like a vinyl rock record, it has the power to blow your mind… a thrilling and highly enjoyable evening.”
★★★★ The Arts Desk

“Thrillingly topical… a marvellous play: as rich in ideas as a pudding in plums, compassionate and serious and dryly funny and fascinating… it’s brilliant.” ★★★★ Libby Purves / Theatre Cat

“Knockout… hits the heart as much as it hits the head.”
★★★★ Londonist

“Exhilarating, politically engaging, funny and exciting.”
★★★★ The Upcoming

“Engaging, tender, witty and – on the eve of an election – troublingly freighted with contemporary resonance.”
The Daily Telegraph

“Exhilarating… James Graham’s riveting, downright raucous and politically fascinating work is bought to life in James Grieve’s fittingly anarchic production that boasts both addictive punk spirit and near flawless direction.”
Official London Theatre

“Heady, intoxicating and very, very angry.
The Huffington Post

“A complete theatrical experience… glorious.”
★★★★ Everything Theatre

“Funny, satirical and clever.”
A Younger Theatre

And someone was really, really angry…

“Anarchist dirge… boring… undigested radical dogma… flashes of hardcore porn… leaden… dull… incomprehensible… even an anarcho-syndicalist, crypto-Trotskyite paranoid conspiracy theorist from a Hackney squat might struggle to make sense of such shenanigans.”
The Daily Mail

We have never been more proud.

For more info and tickets head over this way.

New York reviews round-up

EVERY BRILLIANT THING opened Off-Broadway at Barrow Street Theatre in New York on Sunday, and we’re thrilled with the response. The critics have fallen head-over-heels for our co-pro with Pentabus, written by Duncan Macmillan with star Jonny Donahoe, and directed by our very own Joint AD George.

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Here’s a round-up of the reviews so far:

“Captivating…guaranteed to keep your eyes brimming… often very funny… takes the chill off the depths of a light-starved winter.”
New York Times

“A life-affirming gem… as profound a work as you are ever likely to experience on a New York stage.”
NY1

“Duncan Macmillan’s affecting, memorable new play…heartbreaking…ultimately life-affirming…Every Brilliant Thing sparkles.”
AP

“Every Brilliant Thing may be the funniest show about depression you’ve ever seen… about finding reasons to live rather than reasons to die. And those reasons can be as minute as wearing a cape and as big as falling in love.”
NY Post

“Works a gentle magic, thanks to Donahoe’s skill as a host… even the audience gets a little chance to shine.”
Time Out New York

“Funny and observant little heart-tugger… another “Brilliant Thing” to add to the list.”
NY Daily News

“[A] heart-tugging tale… Donahoe is a warm and personable performer… shrewdly staged in the round by helmer George Perrin.”
Variety

“George Perrin’s seamless direction and Donahoe’s impeccably natural delivery… MacMillan has discovered joy to be just as contagious as despair.”
Theatre Mania

“Beautiful… a specific and deep response to the work of staying alive.”
Vulture

“Bewitching…about as brilliant as theatre can get.”
TalkinBroadway.com

“Heartbreaking and joyous…there’s probably no better way to beat the holiday blues than seeing Every Brilliant Thing.”
Holywood Reporter

“Guaranteed to melt all but the hardest hearts… If I see a performance piece any time soon that gives me as much pleasure and raises my spirits as high as Jonny Donahoe’s has, I’ll be grateful. And if I ever start my own list, he’ll be on it prominently.”
Huffington Post

“This sweetly sentimental, wise, and often very funny one-hour piece… humorous and moving…many may consider it yet another of life’s many brilliant things.”
Theatre’s Leiter Side

“Surprisingly rich… ingenious work by playwright Duncan Macmillan… by the end of the sixty minute production we’ve all become a chorus of celebration.”
TDF Stages

“A funny, fun and moving show.”
New York Theater

“A funny and touching work that may not change your life but will certainly remind you to appreciate a bit more the pleasures, great or small, that go with living it.”
New Jersey Newsroom

“It’s not quite magic, but it’s something close to it, one of those incredible, transformative phenomena of collective imagination.”
Slant Magazine

“Wonderful, touching…hilarious. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, one that will make you laugh and maybe bring you to tears, Every Brilliant Thing is an absolute must see.”
Edge

“Every Brilliant Thing is a theater lover’s perfect stocking stuffer.”
NBC

“One of the most humane and touching theatrical experiences of 2014.”
British Theatre Guide

“Every Brilliant thing is evidence, which we may need, that life matters, and that theatre matters.”
Fuse

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THE ANGRY BRIGADE final stop: Watford

As we charge into our final week on tour with James Graham’s adrenaline-fuelled  THE ANGRY BRIGADE at Watford Palace Theatre, here’s a sneak peek at what some of the audiences and critics have been saying:

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★★★★ The Times – “James Graham has a gimlet eye for newsworthy subjects… What emerges is a world with chilling similarities to our own. Graham’s witty play deserves a London run”

 ★★★★ The Guardian – “An explosive account of idealogical war”

★★★★ The Oxford Times –  “An exciting, well-crafted play… Excellent”

★★★★ Female Arts – “Quick-fire throughout… The cast are a delight to watch… James Graham once again proves he is a master of text”

@Tom_Goodwin: – Fantastic production. Top production, acting, presence and execution. Theatre the way it should be

@director_beth: #TheAngryBrigade by @JamesGraham @painesplough fizzes with anarchic spirit. If you’re in the South West catch it @TRPlymouth

@christiaharris:  HUGE congrats to all involved in #TheAngryBrigade. Blown away by @PatsyFerran. A thoroughly gripping piece & a stellar cast! GO SEE!

@Minilyzer: #TheAngryBrigade freakin’ stormed it @OxfordPlayhouse! But with writing like that & such a strong cast, we couldn’t expect anything less!

THE ANGRY BRIGADE opens tonight at Watford Palace Theatre and plays until Saturday 25 October 2014.

To find out more and book tickets, click here.

Join the conversation online:

#TheAngryBrigade @painesplough @TRPlymouth

Fringe review round-up

We can’t believe we’re now two-thirds of the way through the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Having officially launched our Roundabout auditorium at the start of this month, cheese comas, kebab slumbers and burger babies aside, it’s been weeks of non-stop shows three times a day as we present this year’s Roundabout season of plays.  We couldn’t be prouder of our incredibly dedicated team, who’ve trooped on each day come rain or shine to deliver their best to Fringe audiences.

So here’s the skinny on what critics are saying:

EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan

★★★★ The Guardian – “Heart-wrenching, hilarious…possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop.”

★★★★ The Telegraph – “Funny, clever, and surprisingly uplifting.”

★★★★ The Sunday Times – “Absurdly cherishable…fantastically likeable.”

★★★★ Evening Standard – “Immensely likeable…with great sensitivity behind the abundant laughs.”

★★★★ The Independent – “Dual interest in joy and sorrow… a perfect balance.”

★★★★ The Stage – “Extraordinary piece of inclusive, participative theatre.”

★★★★ Time Out London – “Filled to the brim with joy…beautiful, heart wrenching and very funny.”

★★★★ WhatsOnStage – “Beautifully directed…perfectly cast…deeply personal.  I defy anyone not to laugh and cry.”

★★★★ Exeunt Magazine – “Infectiously warm… Somehow manages to overlay utter despair with life-affirming joy.”

★★★★★ BroadwayBaby – “Both devastatingly sad and incredibly uplifting…one of the most engaging, warm and funny performers you are likely to see at the Fringe this year.”

★★★★ A Younger Theatre – “Genuinely wonderful and life affirming. It is impossible not to love.”

★★★★ The Scotsman – ” A piece that demonstrates why life is worth living… you’ll leave feeling elated.”

★★★★ Fest Magazine – “Beautiful…a sweet, comic performance assisted by the audience.”

★★★★ Fringe Review – “One of the simplest, sweetest and most life-affirming hours you’ll experience

★★★★ PostScript – “The spontaneity of it all generates electricity… Funny, sweet, sad and uplifting.”

★★★★ TheatreguideLondon – “Impeccably directed…tears and laughter combine in one of the most uplifting shows on the Fringe in 2014.”

 

LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan

★★★★★  British Theatre Guide – “Rapid-fire…precise…seamless. The script fits like a glove.”

★★★★★ Official Theatre – “Brutal, honest and moving… A must see.”

★★★★ Exeunt Magazine – “Assured, grab-you-by-the-heart theatre that will live on in your mind long after the actors have taken their bows.”

★★★★ TheatreguideLondon – “George Perrin’s outstanding revival… is like a thrilling rollercoaster ride, bringing every emotion in equal measure.”

★★★★ Edinburgh Guide – “Delivered with raw honesty and machine gun speed… powerful, thought provoking stripped back theatre.”

★★★★ Fest Magazine – “Pin-sharp…deliciously quotable…pulses and races.”

★★★★ BroadwayBaby – “Full of comic brilliance…superb acting…ceaselessly captivating.”

★★★★ Fringe Guru – “Poignant, funny and relevant. A brilliant choice.”

 

OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL by Dennis Kelly

★★★★ The Times – “Fun, funny…comic perfection.”

★★★★ The List – “Clever wordplay…equally clever staging. If there’s something to be said, a new and interesting way has been unearthed to deliver it.”

★★★★ British Theatre Guide –  “A lovely, simple production…an enthusiastic ensemble of actors ensure that their guests have a great time.”

★★★★ Scots Gay Magazine – “A joy and delight. Don’t miss it.”

★★★★ WhatsOnStage – “Dennis Kelly has done it again… Has all of the wit, grotesque humour and naughtiness of Dahl’s best.”

 

THE INITIATE by Alexandra Wood

WINNER of Scotsman Fringe First Award 2014 – “An intense, original and memorable play for today, with outstanding performances.”

★★★★ TVBomb – “A complex show that finds power in its simple execution… quality storytelling.”

The Guardian – “A wonderfully slippery and always intelligent play… Beautifully performed.”

Time Out London – “An unsettling, forthright piece of writing that will leave you thinking.”

 

Join in the conversation online with #RoundaboutPP @painesplough.

Catch our shows in the Roundabout @ Summerhall until 23 August 2014.

Critics are jumping for JUMPERS

We’re thrilled at the reception to Tom Wells’ JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS, currently running at The Bush Theatre until the 4 January 2014.

Alongside earning a place in The Daily Telegraph’s ‘Best Plays On Now‘, here’s a round-up of what else reviewers had to say:

“Wells has written a razor sharp, beautifully human script that brings to life characters that every one of us will know, but whom rarely get to claim their space within gay culture”
★★★★★ Attitude Magazine

“The perfect winter-warmer…blissfully funny…deeply affecting”
★★★★★ Daily Telegraph

“Wells has given us another winner…Unreservedly recommended.”
★★★★★ Independent

“You won’t know whether to laugh or cry (you’ll probably do both).”
★★★★★ Public Reviews

“Truly exceptional…sparkly with wit…What you witness is an honest portrait of two people finding their way into each other’s hearts… an utterly charming must see”
★★★★  What’sOnStage.com

“James Grieve’s delicate direction, which milks every awkward moment with cringe worthy results, is complemented by a cast that balance emotive performances with physical comedy”
★★★★ Official London Theatre

“Consistently funny, tenderly observed and gently moving”
★★★★ Metro

“A delightfully awkward librarian played with great charm by Philip Duguid-McQuillan… More rueful notes are struck by Matt Sutton… an air of furtive daftness by the excellent Andy Rush…generous, warm-hearted…very funny.”
★★★★ Evening Standard 

“A heartwarming message, delivered with fine acting, tart humour and judicious northern understatement.”
★★★★ Time Out

“Wells is not afraid of appearing sentimental: he writes with a brave emotional honesty that proves very moving.”
★★★★ Financial Times

Get tickets here.

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.

The reviews are in…

…well, one or two of them. Our production of DIG, the first of our three A Play, A Pie and A Pint shows, opened at Òran Mór on Monday after a busy morning of technical work and dress rehearsal. In people filed, collected their pint, chose their pie, and sat down – knives and forks at the ready – to see what we had made for them.

Dig in performance. Terrible photo...'small masterpiece' of a play.

It’s a funny feeling, watching a play you’ve seen develop from words on a page, to slightly different words on a page, to words coming out of actors’ mouths, to a fully fleshed-out, captivating and moving story. And it’s a very gratifying feeling to watch people around you, encountering it for the first time ever, laughing, gasping and even crying as the lives of the people they’re watching unfold before them.

And then the wait for what the all-important critics think… well, today, we got our first review in from Joyce McMillan of the Scotsman – and she loved it, giving it four stars and calling it ‘a small masterpiece’. That’s what we like to hear! See the full review here: http://bit.ly/nek9kN

And as we await the verdicts of our audience-at-large, who can file their reports at http://www.playpiepint.com/ in order to win a bottle of malt whisky (can I enter?), we’ve also spotted reviews like this one coming in. Funnily enough I spotted the lady in the video  in the audience this lunchtime – she was wearing a very nice dress – so it’s brilliant to see a response like this so quickly and vividly. Keep em coming!