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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Another Good One...

Yes, yes, yes... another fantastic review for my play!!

Posted on ReviewCentre.com

Review of Bang-Bang!
Review 1 of 1
By haze2003purple on 28th Jul 2007
haze2003purple's Ratings
Venue
24:7 @ The Midland Hotel
City
Manchester
Starring (Main Performers)
Sally Lawton, Toby Beal, Zach Brookes and Paul Swain
Value for money
10/10
Overall value
10/10
haze2003purple's recommendation
Good Points
It was funny! The versitility of the actors shone through, as each was depicting 3 very contrasting characters. Very accessible writing style.
Bad Points
Not long enough! (although I believe this was due to restrictions made by the festival organisers, rather than the writer)
General Comments
I have seen and reviewed a play written by Sally Lawton before (Centre stage, co-written by Paul Swaine) and I was very much looking forward to seeing some more of her work in the 24:7 festival at The grand Midland hotel. I had read a rather less than flattering review about Bang-Bang! and I thought I could only go along and see for myself. With the question hanging in my mind, had Lawton lost her talent? Bang-bang! stated on it's poster that it contained strong language and that it did, although only a smattering of standard swear words and they were not used in overtly violent tones so I did not find it offensive at all. It centres around a pub robbery. Each actor played three deeply contrasting roles, with two of the male actors playing women to tremendous comedic effect. The audience all knew each of the four actors were playing three roles and the pacey style added to the excitement and although they didn't mess up once I think they could of made a joke out of it and got another laugh if they had! Once again Lawton had written a play that confirms her style of having laugh out loud moments, smiling moments and a slight glimmer of poignancy, that leaves an audience wondering what else she has to offer. It also reaffirms that no, Sally Lawton has not lost her talent - anyone able to write, direct and act in a play (a comedy no less) as well as making the theatre accessible to Joe Public and making the crowd laugh is a very accomplished talent (I use the word talent as it is impossible to categorise Lawton). This play demonstrates that the theatre is for everyone and it should not be seen as exclusive or stuffy.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Simpsonize Me - Me - ME!

The Simpsons is by far the most well written thing on the Tv and I love it, love it, love it.
I've just discovered a website where you can change yourself in to a Simpson's character...
This is me:



Oh, I'm a sexy little minx - maybe I could be a new teacher at the school, and I could fall in love with Homer and...

NOTE TO SELF: Switch off your wireless and get on with some bloody writing...

x

4 Star Review!

Hip-Hip- Hwrey!
Finally a brilliant review!!! Posted on Uk Theatre Network.
http://www.uktheatre.net/articles.aspx?DoAction=Display&ArticleID=1786&CatID=114&ListUnder=0

Wow, in the space of a week my writing's been absloutely slated to then being compared to this generations theatrical Hogarth and early John Godber meets Bugs Bunny!!!! (briliant, brilliant, brilliant!)

xx

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Oh...

Just a quick one regarding my horrible review in the press. Thanks to the people below for leaving these wonderful messages of support on the MEN On-line website.

If I made one person laugh, then I did my job and I'm pleased so many of you enjoyed it.

COMMENTS OF SUPPORT:

I went to see Sally Lawton's 'Bang Bang? at the Midland Hotel on Monday evening and totally enjoyed it. Not only was it humorous, but there were also areas of depth during each actor?s individual monologues. The four actors performed very well at providing three characters each throughout the performance, with quick changes and quick paced wit. Sally?s writing created laugh out loud moments from the majority of the audience throughout the one hour piece, and between herself and her three co-stars provided a highly entertaining production. A must see performance!
Ben Frost

Philip Radcliffe?!! Were you watching the same performance of 'Bang Bang' by Sally Lawton as everyone else on Monday night? Bang Bang was hilarious!! And such good fun to watch. What on earth are you harping on about??? Ive urged all my friends to watch... yes it did have foul language but it does carry a warning on the very cartoon like poster. Maybe that was their intention............
David Jones

"Bang Bang" is a must see, hilarious & witty the whole way through with quality actors who portray their array of characters perfectly. I watched this at the Midland Hotel last night & the whole audience were in stitches. The play is lighthearted & silly in parts, I left with a huge smile on my face!!! Well recommended to all! Bravo to the 4 of you Xx
Lucy Dabbs

My eyes popped out on stalks when I read Phillip Radcliffe's review of Bang! Bang! I had seen the preview at the Press Launch, and as has been pointed out the show image makes it quite clear that what is intended is precisely what Phillip thinks is a mistake or a failure when he says that the actors perform 'like human cartoon characters'. Bang! Bang! is indeed a theatrical cartoon, and a glorious one, in the best old tradition of satirical cartoons. Me, my mouth was hanging open with the brilliance of the caricature as the four actors transform themselves into a gamut of characters and pin down their mannerisms with more than comic precision - I was killing myself, actually. Yet as has been said, the moments when the characters settle into more private monologues were humane and moving, and one of them actually made me cry. As far as I am concerned, Sally Lawton who wrote, directed and acted as brilliantly as the rest of her company, is a theatrical Hogarth for our times.
Elizabeth Baines, Didsbury

I have just caught the matinee of Bang Bang by Sally Lawton at the Midland Hotel. I have to say it was quite honestly the funniest thing I have seen for quite a long time. Id like to say a big thank you to the Actors for making my day. At one point I had to remind myself that there were only 4 Actors onstage!! They were all amazing. The leader of the gang, Daz, and the two feebie grabbin sluts Melanie and Jennifer brought tears to my eyes. If, like me, you have seen a few of the plays on offer at this years festival make this one your next stop. Simon Howe Ancoats

THANK YOU!!!
X

It's Over...

What a week. I've loved every second - even being slated in the press!
Today's final performance went fine (I won't mention the bit where I came on as the wrong character! We got through it!)

I had a lovely interview on the Phil Wood's radio show on BBC Manchester. It did start off badly when I threw a glass of water all over myself and his studio floor! He's a lovely, lovely man - he made me feel at ease and seemed to have a genuine interest in everything I said. I loved it - even if he did make me do an on-the-spot bit of stand-up as Lydia Mould!

I'm going to be really busy over the next few weeks. My teenage novel is due to be posted asap to an awaitng agent and I'm going to be busy with the re-writes of my next play 'Chaperones.'

Thanks to everyone involved in the festival. It's been absolutely brilliant and I've met some lovely people and watched some fantastic pieces of theatre.

x

Friday, 27 July 2007

On The Radio!

Tonight I'm being interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester.

Tune in at 10:00pm to the Phil Wood's Show (95.1 FM 0r DAB Digital Radio)
I'm being interviewd about my comedy, oh God, that probably means they're expecting me to be funny...

Last night's show went well. There were a lot of people in and they were all laughing lots. A lovely elderly gentleman came up to me after and said he really enjoyed it.
I've gotten over my bad review. At the end of the day I'm not trying to change the world with my writing or write anything profound - I'm simply writing fun comedy. Just a chance for people to forget about their problems etc and switch off from real life for a bit and have a laugh.

I went to a discussion with Katherine Beacon (BBC Writers Room) yesterday and then to another discussion with the Arts Council. Both were really great.

I've got a 12:30pm performance today - wish me luck!
x

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Slated....

My first bad review and boy it's as bad as it can get!
This man doesn't get the play at all. All the things he's saying about the bad language, there isn't that much, just when were playing scally's. Because believe it or not scally-wags say swear words...
And his comment about the actors being cartoon-like - that's exactly what I wanted to create.

Deep breath... deep breath.
http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/entertainment/theatre_and_dance/theatre_and_dance_reviews/s/1011/1011991_247_theatre_festival_reviewed.html

Regardles, I'm proud of my play (and not bitter about this review at all!)

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Phew!


Opening night came and went in the blink of an eye last night.

I spent yesterday rushing around town with a bag full of props, honestly I'm like a bag lady lately.

At 2pm I went to a 'discussion' with Kevin Bourke, the entertainement man at the MEN newspaper. He's actually a lovely man and told us how he reviews shows, etc.



At 6pm it hit me that we'd be doing the show in an hour and I started to feel really sick - especially when I popped over to the box office at the library and they told me I'd sold 8 tickets for the show!

THANKFULLY people bought on the door and we were very busy.

The audience laughed at the right bits, and even bits I didn't think we'd get laughs for!

As a performance we did ok. We made a couple of mistakes, I don't think the audience noticed and we got through it.

I'm very proud of the cast, everyone's put so much in to it and thankfully it paid off.



Our next performance is Thursday. I'm having a nice relaxing day with Mr Sally today - well he's watching Columbo and I'm on the net!

I'm going to watch some of the other festival shows tomorrow.



More soon!
X

Monday, 23 July 2007

Opening Night Nerves..



Well tonight's the night!!!! AGH!
The dress/preview went well last night. I was really worried after our tech and rehearsal on Saturday, but it seemed to come together last night.

Thanks to Mr Sally for filming the whole thing, bless him - he pointed a camera for a whole hour -even with his bad shoulder!

So we open tonight at 7:00pm!

Got to get my bus now - forgot I signed up to one of the festival's discussion groups for this afternoon. I knew I should have gone in with Mr Sally this morning!
Oh well!

Best of luck to all the other shows at the festival!
X

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Almost Time...


Tomorrow is the start of Festival Week in Manchester. The 24:7 Theatre Festival is busy with last minute planning and techs... agh!


Last week was a busy one. It was my last week at work before we broke up for the summer hols (yeah) and I had a rehearsal every night until around 8:30pm. Rehearsals went fine, although I was really stressed with everything on Wed/Thu and was soooo horrible to Mr Sally, who's been nothing but lovely and supportive to me. I've made it up to him now though. I've just been over-tired and stressed and also really poorly (that's the excuse I'm giving!)

Yesterday we had our tech which went well. There's not much space on the stage and because we run off and on as different characters, I'm just scared about there being enough time to get props etc. It's coming together though.

Today is our dress and press preview which I don't want to talk about because I feel a bit sick!!! We had some FAB photos taken yesterday by a photographer called Tom Wright.













Sunday, 15 July 2007

Royal Exchange

I've had a fan-dabi-dosi weekend!
Last year the Royal Exchange theatre had a HUGE playwriting competition.
And the first and second place winners had their plays produced, the others had rehearsed readings.
So Friday night I went to the rehearsed reading of 'Candyland' by Ian Kershaw. He won the North West prize.
I loved it. Very well written and very funny.
Yesterday I was back at the Exchange at 11am for the rehearsed reading of 'Well Groomed and Bride Awake' by Ian Townsend. He won the 'Writers Exchange Play of the Year.'
This was laugh out loud funny throughout. The second half was very clever. Again I loved it!

Then I went to a discussion panel called 'From Page to Stage.'
Panelists were:
Jo Combes (Director at the Exchange)
Mel Kenyon (Agent at Casatotto Ramsey)
Rona Munro (Playwright)
Ben Musgrave (Playwright and winner of the Exchange playwriting competition)
Roxana Silbert (Pains Plough)
It was also chaired by Christopher Campbell (National Theatre)

It was so insightful. Lots of tips, lots of great advice.

So I've had a great weekend at the Exchange. I'm just getting worried because there's only a week to go until Bang-Bang! premieres and I'm nervous. We've so much to do next week.

Later on today I'm going to be doing a radio interview for All FM. It's being pre-recorded,so it won't be live.
Wish me luck xx

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Sick...

I'm feeling ill at the mo. I've got a bad throat and belly ache. It could be because of this horrible, horrible weather - or it could be down to me being slightly run-down and a little nervous I've only got one week until the play opens.
AGGGGHHHH!

Last night's rehearsal was good, we got a lot done and managed to run through it twice. We were all off book and managed to get through it. At least we know the areas that need work.

I think I'm going to have to crack the whip slightly next week - with only one week to go and previews a week on Sunday - we have a lot to do.
I'm feeling confident we can do it though.

That's all for today. I'm going for a well deserved bubble bath!
X

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Muddle!

For those of you wanting to keep up-to-date on the 'Bang-Bang!' rehearsals. Last night's first off-book rehearsal was ok.

Toby wasn't off book and the rest of us muddled through. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. In fact we did quite well.

There is to be not one script in sight for tomorrow's rehearsal. I'm banning them! It's the only way to see how much work we need to do as a group.

I'm still working hard on my characters. I'm happy with Maureen the Landlady, and Shaz the lovable scally-wag. It's just Vera the old lady. I've got the voice and certain mannerisms, I just need the walk.

I'm working on it though.


One - Two...

They say things come in three's.

It's only Tuesday and here's what's happened to me so far.

I paid money in to my account at the cash-point and walked away without my card!
The busiest week of deadlines and my laptop broke. It kept shutting down last night, just as I logged in to something important. (So I took it apart, because Mr Sally is in work all tonight and I NEEDED to get on to it. I've watched him take the fan out and clean it before, so I gave it a go and it seems to have done the trick...)

These two things probably don't seem like much - but being without a debit card is sooo much hassle.
Even more hassle is being without a laptop when you're busy producing a play with emails to reply to.

So what next? One more thing to go wrong.
I'm just hoping the saying is un-true!
XX

Bad Advice.

Oh my God,
I think I've just given someone terrible advice and therefore in the process, possibly ruining this person's future happiness...

I was on my bus going home after a long day in work, minding my own business. This guy got on at the next stop and started waving madly at me. I used to work with him years ago. He's a little strange, but a really sweet guy.
After a few moments catch-up he tells me that he has met a girl and although she's only 21, he's sooo happy. (I'm not sure how old he is, he's maybe late 30's?!)
Anyway, they've been on 4 dates and it seems to be going well. He asked me if it was too soon to tell her he loved her - I did say YES to this!
He said she had already mentioned wanting to be married in 5 years, so I took this to mean she was quite serious about him.
Then he said that she's going away as part of her uni course for over a week and did I think it was a nice gesture to turn up and surprise her and take her out for the night.
I said YES. Well I am a romantic and if Mr Sally turned up to surprise me, I'd be delighted...
So, he said 'I'll do it. You're one of the nicest people I've ever met and if you say it's ok to just turn up, I will.'
Then I started to back-track.
I said a lot of my female friends are not like me and they would hate it. I tried to tell him that I was just a romantic and maybe he shouldn't, but he'd already made up his mind.

THEN:
He tells me she asked him if he'd take her to the theatre last week and he got 2 tickets (it was a play I was desperate to see and it was sold out, so she was very lucky!)
She turned up REALLY late.
Then they went out after, he was meeting her friends. But after a drink she took him outside and told him he should maybe go home, she said she found it hard to devide her time between him and her friends and so she thought it was best he left, because she didn't want him feeling upset.
He thought this was sweet.
I thought this was wierd.

So now I've gone and told him to follow her accross the country, and I can't help but feel a bit bothered by it.
He said it's the first time he's gone past a first date with a girl in over a year.
His parting words to me as he was getting off the bus. (Please bare in mind - I was sat right near the back and he, by this point was at the front of the bus.) He shouted - 'I'LL INVITE YOU TO THE WEDDING!'
Then skipped off the bus like the happiest man in the world.

I'm never giving any advice ever again!
x

Sunday, 8 July 2007

2 Weeks To Go!

Rehearsals are going really well for Bang-Bang!
Considering how much I was messed about with actors in the beginning, I was really behind and starting to worry.
I actually have a great cast. Paul and I have been friends for nearly 10 years and we've co-written and produced a play before, so I know I can trust him.
Toby was in a play last year (the one Paul and I co-wrote) and I loved working with him, which is why I asked him to be in Bang-Bang!
Zack was recommended to me by a close friend and he's FAB. Really hard working and a fantastic actor.

So I feel very lucky that I have a good cast and we all get on and work well together. The most important thing was that we had a good laugh along the way - and boy we are!

On Friday we had our first full run-through. We had enough time to run through it twice and it was good. We're all off book for tomorrow's rehearsal - and I'm a bit nervous!
I still need to do some work on my characters - we're playing three characters each, so I'm trying to make them as different as possible.
'll keep you posted!
Here's some sneeky rehearsal shots:





Nice people...

Last Monday I had a really bad day.

I had to drive in to work, because after work I had to take a delivery of 250 posters to the festival director and then get to evening rehersals...
BUT
I went to the petrol station as I was on RED and the key wouldn't open the cap, it just kept turning. I drove home, Mr Sally had a look at it and said it had broken, I had no way of getting the cap off and getting petrol in it.
I ran to the car shop at the top of my road and they ordered me a new cap to be delivered by 2:30pm - which meant I had to call work and tell them I couldn't get in.

We then drove to a garage near our house and the mechanic came out and had a look at it. It was pouring down with rain. As he was trying to get the cap off, cars were driving past and splashing him. He was soaking wet.
He managed to get the cap off and I asked how much I owed him - he said nothing.
What a lovely, lovely man.

So I got my posters delivered on time - even if my sat-nav sent me to a bus entrance to the train station, where I faced a barrier and a huge bus was behind me and refused to reverse - and so I had to do a million point turn!

Anyway, the point of this blog was to say that even though this world seems like it's full of ignorant people, there are actually some lovely people who are happy to help others.
Thanks Mr Garage Man!
X

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Bang-Bang! Info

It would help if I gave you performance and ticket info of my new comedy play Bang-Bang! which premiers this July as part of Manchester's 24:7 Theatre Festival

The Festival runs July 23rd-29th and Bang-Bang! will be performed at the very posh Midland Hotel.
Midland Hotel (where I got stuck in the revolving doors the other day!) Victoria Suite, Peter St, Manchester, M60 2DS.
TICKET INFO:
Tickets cost £6.00 (£5.00 Concessions)
TO BOOK:
Box Office: 0161 236 7110
In Person: Library Theatre Box Office
Please book your ticket and support a great festival!



BANG-BANG!





Ok for those of you that don't know. My new comedy play - Bang-Bang! is being performed at this years Manchester 24:7 Theatre Festival
It's a comedy about a group of Salford scally's 'attempting' to rob their local pub.

CAST LIST:
Shaz, Maureen & Vera Played by - Sally Lawton
Daz, Jez & Mel Played by - Toby Beal
Baz, Tez & Jen Played by - Paul Swaine
Gaz, Bill & Les Played by - Zack Brookes

We did a press launch at Pure in the Printworks, Manchester. We had to perform a 3 minute trailer. We also handed out plastic guns with details of the show stcuk to them, which seemed to go down well!
Here's some photos of the press launch:









Daz, Shaz and Baz!

















Me as Shaz!




I'm producing the play through my production company TSL Productions
I'm also directing the play and playing 3 chracters in it... so it's a very busy time. But I have a fantastic cast and everyone is helping so much, we're having a giggle along the way, which is the most important thing!

Hope you can come and support us... x

CRASH - BANG - WALLOP!

Erm,the weather is MENTAL - it's gone absolutely potty. One minute it's sunny and lovely and the next I'm bound indoors watching the very dark sky, listening to the rumble of thunder and watching the rain pouring, pouring, pouring.

I feel sorry for all the animals outside at a time like this, and when the news broke about the terrible time the people in Yorkshire are having, my first thought went to all the animals.


This weekend Mr Sally had planned to take me to Skipton - which for obvious reasons hasn't happened.
I also wanted to go for a walk around Jumble Park today, but no...

Last night we watched 'Notes on a Scandal.' I loved it. I read the book a few years ago and passed it around to all of my friends. The film was great.

We then ended up watching 'Gavin and Stacey' on BBC3.


I wanted to watch it because I missed it the first time around. Anyway, BBC3 were playing all 6 episodes back to back and we watched them ALL. Very funny. I really loved them.



 
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