10 questions for 10 years – Stewart Pringle

Is Stewart Pringle a closet Wicked fan? Find out this and more as he goes in 10 for 10

Writer, dramaturg, former reviewer and Artistic Director, candlestick-maker – Stewart Pringle has worn many hats (and one of those might be a fib). His reviews for The Stage were always ones to treasure but his Papatango-winning play Trestle was a proper minor-key delight 

  • Where were you 10 years ago?

    Finishing my MPhil dissertation, so lost in a quagmire of batty mid-20th century occultists. I’d forsaken the theatre to try to become an academic, which lasted for all of about 18 months before it pulled me back in. I tried to escape again in 2012 and that time I lasted for about 4 weeks. I won’t be trying it a third time. Continue reading “10 questions for 10 years – Stewart Pringle”

Review: Trestle, Southwark Playhouse

“We’re not here forever. You’ve got to take a chance from time to time. Sometimes you’ve got to see something you like and grab hold. Don’t let it go.”

Unforgivably late, I made it along to Trestle for its final matinee – too late to be able to recommend it to all and sundry but delighted to find it sold out and packed to the rafters in the Southwark Playhouse’s Little space. Written by Stewart Pringle, this two-hander is the 2017 Papatango New Writing Prize winner and tacks rather hard away from both Papatango’s tendency towards the bleakly dystopian and Pringle’s previous output as a writer.

For Trestle is beautifully tender and warm, the kind of play you imagine Victoria Wood heartily approving of as it tracks the burgeoning relationship between Harry and Denise, two retirees struggling to find their place in the world. Their paths cross as their regular bookings at the village hall border onto each other – as his council meetings finish up, her Zumba classes are about to begin and in the moments inbetween, as they share the putting away of tables and chairs, they slowly get to know each other.
Continue reading “Review: Trestle, Southwark Playhouse”

2016 Offie Award Winners

Offies Awards - Off West End Theatre Awards

Best Female 
Clare Higgins for Clarion at the Arcola Theatre 
Gemma Whelan for Radiant Vermin at Soho Theatre
Nadia Nadarajah for Grounded at Park Theatre
Olivia Poulet for Product at the Arcola Theatre

Best Supporting Female 
Emilie Patry for The Christians at the Gate Theatre
Kate Kennedy for Three Short Plays at the Old Red Lion
Lucy Ellinson for The Christians at the Gate Theatre
Rochenda Sandall for Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs at Southwark Playhouse

Best Male 
David Fielder for And Then Come The Nightjars at Theatre503
Ian Gelder for Gods and Monsters at Southwark Playhouse
Matthew Tennyson for A Breakfast Of Eels at The Print Room
Rob Compton for Bat Boy at Southwark Playhouse Continue reading “2016 Offie Award Winners”

2016 Offie Award Finalists

Offies Awards - Off West End Theatre Awards

Best Female 
Clare Higgins for Clarion at the Arcola Theatre 
Gemma Whelan for Radiant Vermin at Soho Theatre
Nadia Nadarajah for Grounded at Park Theatre
Olivia Poulet for Product at the Arcola Theatre

Best Supporting Female 
Emilie Patry for The Christians at the Gate Theatre
Kate Kennedy for Three Short Plays at the Old Red Lion
Lucy Ellinson for The Christians at the Gate Theatre
Rochenda Sandall for Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs at Southwark Playhouse

Best Male 
David Fielder for And Then Come The Nightjars at Theatre503
Ian Gelder for Gods and Monsters at Southwark Playhouse
Matthew Tennyson for A Breakfast Of Eels at The Print Room
Rob Compton for Bat Boy at Southwark Playhouse Continue reading “2016 Offie Award Finalists”

Review: The Ghost Hunter, Old Red Lion

“Do you know what they are, ghost stories? They’re a place to put things you’re too scared to look at any more”

Theatre of the Damned’s self-avowed undertaking is to explore horror and suspense on stage, a challenging mission as demonstrated by last year’s The Horror! The Horror! which only fitfully worked for me but one worth pursuing as this expanded version of The Ghost Hunter, written by Stewart Pringle, proves to be a highly proficient foray into the realm of suspense. And taking over the Old Red Lion theatre pub in Angel, it transforms the space most effectively. 

Alice Saville’s design is simplicity itself, but it shouldn’t be under-estimated how effective stripping the walls of the intimate theatre right back to black, with just a strip of frayed pub carpet up centre on which a table and chair sit, pint of Abbot Ale pride of place. And from these well-worn surroundings, Tom Richards’ Victorian-garbed raconteur Richard Barraclough quickly pulls us into the world of York’s twisting narrow streets like the Shambles and regales us with tales of pale abandoned orphans and other spooky goings-on. Continue reading “Review: The Ghost Hunter, Old Red Lion”

Review: The Horror! The Horror!, Wilton’s Music Hall

“I know what you’re thinking, you’ve seen it all before…”

Much like we all carry our own sense of humour with us, we all too have our own individual fears and dreads. Which means we don’t all find the same things funny (I barely laughed in One Man, Two Guvnors for example) and, as Hallowe’en fast approaches, it makes it difficult to guarantee that something is scary for everyone. A proliferation of shows across London are all determined to send shivers down our spine, but none can have been so initially successful as Theatre of the Damned’s The Horror! The Horror! which sold out its run at Wilton’s Music Hall before it had even started.

As the main hall is being renovated, this Victorian-era promenade show takes place in the shadowy spaces and ramshackle rooms upstairs at Wilton’s and takes the form of a sneak preview of the new season of work from A.S. Brownlow & Company, a group of performers whose acts have all taken something of a gruesome turn. From saucy singers provoking mysterious men to vengeful magicians bitterly resisting the arrival of the future, a cabaret of the grisly and ghastly emerges from the ghosts of the past. And there are puppies. Oh, the puppies. Continue reading “Review: The Horror! The Horror!, Wilton’s Music Hall”