The Showman, the Diver and the Padre is an audio drama which makes up the Presenting the Past series of Yesteryear Plays commissioned for SOfaFest 2020 and produced by Breakwater Theatre Company. It imagines a fictional encounter between Billy Butlin, Lesley Gadsby and Harold Davidson in March 1936. Two mixes have been produced with the binaural one designed to be listened to through headphones.
BILLY BUTLIN – STACEY GOUGH
HAROLD DAVIDSON – EDWARD PEEL
LESLEY GADSBY – DAN BLACOW
LITTLE JIMMY/BUNCO KID – JOHN HEWER
Writer – Benjamin Peel. Produced by Sara Beasley and Jack Pudsey. Sound Producer – Jack Pudsey. Director – Sara Beasley.
“I hope that the Skegness crowds will be rather more receptive tome than the somewhat vulgar Blackpool ones.”
It is March 1936 and Billy Butlin is frantically trying to get his first holiday camp in Skegness ready and open on time. For reasons of their own, both Leslie Gadsby, a dare-devil high diver and Harold Davidson, the defrocked ex-Vicar of Stiffkey have turned up hoping to be taken on as acts. This audio drama imagines a fictional encounter between the three men.
I am very grateful to have received an advance copy of the inaugural issue of Lincolnshire Strange Delights which is a wonderfully eclectic collection of offbeat tales and facts about weird Lincolnshire. Some are fictional whilst others are ones in which; well the reader can make their own minds up over.
From strange goings on in the liminal spaces of quiet lay-bys, a story of Saint Hugh’s bones being removed from Lincoln Cathedral and UFO sightings over Skegness this beautifully written and illustrated Zine covers a whole host of subjects from across the county.
There’s an interview with Peter K Rollings, a Lincoln based artist, who produces experimental urban music who I will be checking out. I was particularly intrigued by Richard Daniel’s article about Shelley Mayes who owns a pagan and witchcraft supply shop in sleepy Horncastle of all places. Mayes also runs a local coven and the article debunks any myths or preconceptions people may have about such a group.
I also enjoyed Ross McGivern’s short story about the Beast of Langrick Fen which draws the reader in effectively quickly and conveys it’s story in the best traditions of a supernatural tale. I could imagine this being read aloud one winter’s evening by a crackling fire with a restorative drink to hand.
Those are just some highlights but every piece within the pages is of great interest and as already mentioned as well as being full of intriguing writing the Zine contains some truly stunning artwork.
I wish the originators of this fabulous publication all the very best with it and please do support them by ordering a copy.
Pre-order is available now at Plasticbrainpress.com and you can follow themon Instagram!
I was extremely happy and thrilled for my piece to be included alongside all those other terrific short dramas and thanks very much to Steven Reed for his fantastic performance in mine. Thanks too Big Condo Radio and Make it Write
Last night saw the culmination of a week’s hard work by cast and directors, which I was privileged to witness, as Singin’ for Engerland was performed live on Zoom to a worldwide audience. I cannot thank both John O’Neill and Stacey Harcourt at Up ‘Ere Productions enough for asking me after the play’s Zoom reading if I would be interested in it being the first in a series of live lock down performances and I jumped at the chance.
They retained the same fantastic cast from the reading who vividly brought their characters and the piece to life and it has been directed with intelligent passion all of which clearly shone through last night. (see photo for names). Preceding the play spoken word artist Matt Concannon performed a brilliant piece as a warm up and he returned in the interval. Morgan Cassidy provided a wonderful interpretation of the traditional ballad Boys of Bedlam to both open and close the play which worked very effectively indeed.
Although going to the theatre to see a show is sadly not going to be possible for a while Up ‘Ere Theatre have shown that a unique hybrid format can be created that provides a way of presenting brand new plays performed live making innovative use of the possibilities that it offers.
Thank you so much to each and every one involved in bringing this to fruition. I couldn’t be any more proud and thrilled at the way it has turned out and I would love to see it performed on stage with the same creative team.
The play also received a lovely review from Number 9.