This time last year, I was finishing the script and the music for The Magic Tea Kettle and starting to think about how to make all the bonkers props for the first Waggly Tales production. Now, Waggly Tales has two successful runs under its paws and a great local reputation thanks to the group of wonderful collaborators who made it all happen.
It was so lovely to be involved in a theatre project that simply *worked*. If you have anything to do with theatre, you’ll know what I mean. Small, self-supporting theatre is mostly battle after nightmare after trauma, but with Waggly Tales, everything fell into place. People wanted this kind of work. They came back and saw it again. They sent us emails saying how much they’d enjoyed it. It worked. It made money. It had a future. However, the personal factors that have been making me an utter misery guts for the past few years have now made it impossible for me to continue taking a creative lead in the company. I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t incredibly difficult stepping back, but I know that Eilidh Beaton and Helen Goward will do a marvellous job. They’ve got a brand spanking spangly new show lined up for the Easter hols as well as some rather special prop-making workshops, so keep an eye on the website for booking details.
I really, really hope to be able to do some small solo stuff for children or adults in the vaguely foreseeable future, but I’m not sure when or how at the moment. I’d love to do some comedy again but my funny bone keeps breaking. Hmm. That came out rather more self-pityingly than intended, but it’s *true* and I’m tired of pretending otherwise. Tediously, the ongoing mission is to try to get both body and brain operating in a vaguely helpful manner, however they’re both a bit on the stubborn side (well, gosh darn, who’d a thought it?*) so, well, we’ll just have to see how it goes. Not an approach I particularly enjoy, but that’s how it is. Chin up, shoulders back, best foot forward etc etc.
*This was the name of a pub outside which my brother and I spent many hours in the late 70s and early 80s in the car with the tape player on with a bottle of pop and a bag of crisps while my dad was inside arm-wrestling or whatever dads did in pubs in the late 70s and early 80s. The pub sign featured an astronaut discovering a bottle of beer on the moon. I thought this pub name and the sign and sitting in the car with the tape player on (Beach Boys Summer Dreams) with a bottle of pop and a bag of crisps and my brother were all simply brilliant things. I just did a quick search and discovered that the pub is no more! The site now boasts a group of rather attractive houses. Progress and all that…
I’ve been neglecting my online presence, but it’s been a bit hectic of late. I’ve been on jury service, which was very much not what I expected. I thought I would enjoy it and find it fascinating. It was fascinating but, blimey, being responsible for making a decision about someone’s life is utterly exhausting. And not helped by the dreadful canteen. And the lack of any sort of post-show drinks, chat or other form of debriefing or decompression made for a few interesting days once it was all over. However, it now seems quite unreal and long ago – a strange experience in parentheses.
So, back to the business of getting on with things. Waggly Tales’ first run of The Magic Tea Kettle at the Old Nun’s Head in Nunhead was a delightful and successful experience. Super venue, super audiences and super team! We’re now organising more local shows for the coming months and a tour for spring 2014, plus another new show is in the pipeline. In case you missed it, here are a few snapshots of the magic kettle-based frolics:
Uh-oh, Sophie the Witch and Prince Arnold in trouble again
The Moody Fairy about to show Arnold who’s boss
The Moody Fairy, Sophie the Witch and Prince Arnold – and a smelly old kettle
The Badger Tea Kettle – he’s wise and brave and bold and hundreds of years old!
Bubbly-wubbly, bubbly-wubbly…Time for a Bath!
Prince Arnold and the Narrator searching, searching everywhere
Sophie the Witch and the finest Badger Tea Kettle the world will ever see!
One of my current projects is Waggly Tales, a company making exciting, fun and funny theatre for children and their adults. The Magic Tea Kettle is our new show and you can see it at the end of May in Nunhead. Inspired by a Japanese folktale, the play has words and music by me and is directed by the magnificent Lora Davies. The hilarious and adorable Helen Goward plays Sophie the Witch, the ever-succulent and cheeky Eilidh Beaton portrays Prince Arnold, the debonair and dextrous Martyn Barmby brings the Magic Tea Kettle to life (and also plays the Moody Fairy) and I pop up as the narrator. With gorgeous costumes from the sensational Lois Ireson and a healthy sprinkling of good, old-fashioned magic, we’re hoping this show will be a hit with southeast Londoners aged 3 and up.
We’re giving a local school two free previews tomorrow and the official run is at the end of the month.Come see!