By Ellie Turner
Our blogger for January is Ellie Turner
Ellie works for Sponsors Club for Arts & Business which takes her all over Tyne and Wear and Northumberland supporting arts and businesses to work creatively in partnership and providing consultancy and training to both sectors.
Hailing from Belfast Ellie moved to Newcastle to study Fine Art at Northumbria University where she developed her passion for arts management. Following an MA in Cultural Management her career developed as an arts fundraiser at BALTIC and then with a corporate portfolio at The Sage Gateshead.
Ellie’s role means she is part of the national networks of Arts & Business and Community Foundation and travels nationally experiencing other city’s cultural offers. In particular the cultural community in Belfast where she gets back to often to visit family.
She is really looking forward to blogging for What’s on North East this month.
Stand Up at Live Theatre - David O'Doherty
25th January 2010
Here are two recommendations for you:
1. Go and see a Stand Up gig at Live Theatre
2. Get tickets to see David O'Doherty if he is coming to a venue near you
Live Theatre provides the perfect setting for an evening with friends to enjoy their regular comedy nights. I was lucky enough to be on a great table with my hosts for the evening and sponsors of the series Potts printers. As always with 'Live' it's a laid back experience where you are welcome to take your drinks in, the audience is always good fun and after a performance you can have a drink in the comfy bar and say hello to the actors or in this case comedian.
I'm a difficult Stand-up audience member I give the act about 4 words and then decide if I'm going to find it funny or not. On that basis David O'Doherty was my Stand-Up hero. His Dublin brogue had me in stitches from the first few words reminding what Irish humour is all about - which is mostly not taking yourself too seriously! In a poor attempt to sum up his comedy it's intelligent (in that way that it's not too clever) observational (in a universal 15 year old boy way) and accompanied by a keyboard (wonderful joke songs like 'send a text to the person the text was about').
Check out his website for a giggle www.davidodoherty.com. He has also, along with 2 other writers, written a book called '100 Facts about Pandas by David O'Doherty, Claudia O'Doherty, Mike Ahern' which he read from during his gig. Definitely worth 9 quid from Amazon and here's 9 pence's worth:
'All pandas are born female. They will only turn male if they get a fright within their first 48 hours of life. It is for this reason that zoos with a high female bear population often employ a panda spooker to surprise newborn girls into manhood.'
Oh and a bit of advice when booking for any comedy show remember not to be a sitting duck in the front row when the comedian decides to ab lib!
Black Coffee at the People's Theatre
20th January 2010
The People’s Theatre. Black Coffee by Agatha Christie. 19 – 23 January 2010. 7.30pm each evening.
“It is impossible to deceive Hercule Poirot”
If you’re a fan of ‘Whodunits’, get off your sofa this cold, wet week and spend an evening at The People’s Theatre. You will be rewarded with a welcoming, warm and comfortable evening of entertaining, wonderfully crafted theatre.
Agatha Christie had introduced Hercule Poirot to readers in 1920 with The Mysterious Affair at Styles. It was 4 more mysteries and several short stories later that she brought the Belgian Detective to the stage in her first play ‘Black Coffee’.
80 years later in The People’s Theatre and this time directed by Mary MacDonald we get a snap shot of British society recovering from the first world war. For her first stage play, Agatha Christie, got it so right; the loveable and detestable characters, the red herrings, the humour, pace and the necessary dead body. Everyone has a motive and my husband and I backed a new killer at the end of each Act.
I really enjoyed this production’s Poirot, acted by Michael Short [dare I say it, more than David Suchet!]. It would be easy to over play the celebrated character, but in this production the Belgian accent, eureka moments and compassion are wonderfully treated. Other highlights includes the very English side-kick Captain Hastings and Aunt Caroline Amery who through her gossiping and claiming to be ‘not very helpful’ gives away more than she thinks!
Check out the People’s Theatre website for more information.
14th January 2010
Essentials for the evening were 2 best mates (who know all the words), pre show dinner with a large glass of red, popcorn, giant buttons, your singing voice and a GSOH! The more dedicated audience members went further with their preparations donning full 70’s gear including platforms, flares and tinsel wigs!
If you don’t know the story, the official Mamma Mia website sums it up as: “A mother. A daughter. 3 possible dads. And a trip down the aisle you'll never forget!” Written by Catherine Johnson, the story is told through ABBA’s classic pop songs. It is wonderfully funny and heartwarming.
My congratulations to the Metro Radio Arena for bringing Mamma Mia to the North East. I was skeptical about how they would create the right atmosphere for this show in the arena. However, by effectively halving the space with the stage and black curtains they did create a welcoming space. However, I would say as we were sitting about 20metres out from the stage it wasn’t possible to read expressions on actors faces and the sound did take a while to tune your ear into.
Now in the last week of a 46 show run, from December 12 to January 17, much has been written about the success of this show and the 4million investment to the local economy. Paul Tappenden, the arena’s marketing director and deputy general manager is quoted in 2010 NEBusinessGuide.co.uk as saying “It’s a real coup for Newcastle to get an international show like this…Newcastle has been the only other place in the country where you can see this record breaking show…The people coming from Holland and Germany, reckon it’s easier to reach here than London”.
I would like to thank my fellow audience members last night who added so much to the experience. I loved the singing along and the spontaneous random dancers who stood up and braved it on their own unable to contain their dance repertoire to chair swaying with the rest of us! There was also some good heckling in particular when the ’suspect’ Geordie lead man got his kit off!
The evening finished with what we had all been waiting for a great big ABBA dance and sing-a-long led by mother-of-the-bride-come-bride Donna Sheridan ‘Are you alreet Newcastle? Do you want some more?’ Yes please, bring us more global blockbusters to the Arena!
If you haven’t seen it yet I hope you catch it before the closing date this Sunday. If you have then hope you’ve stopped singing the songs in your sleep!