Orbis 168

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Orbis 168 Summer 2014
£5 (Overseas: £9/€12/$15)
Subs: £17/4 pa (Overseas: £35/€42/$58)

Front cover artwork: ‘Tickled Pink’ by Lance Headlee;
back cover, detail from image: www.lanceheadlee.com

Featured Poet, 
Lance Nizami: AmericanaHealing; Zen

Poems from: John Temple Finnigan: ….take these broken wings and learn….;
Mandy HaggithSunderbansNiels HavWith Charlie Chaplin in Yulin;
Anzhelina PolonskayaThe Berkut of Mezhigorie (trans. Andrew Wachtel);
Noel WilliamsNight-scented stock

Prose from: Caroline Carverthe search; Michael CaseyLetter to Meryl;
Rachael HegartyThe Cleaning Lady

Translation: Terese Coe, Rainer Maria Rilke’s Fallende Sterne

Past Master: Ian Colville on Robert Herrick

Angelina Ayers, Maria Isakova Bennett, Suzannah Evans,
David Harmer, Afric McGlinchey, Jennifer McGowan,
Clairr O’Connor,  D. A. Prince, Lynne Taylor

Orbis 168 contributors also include:

Christopher Allen; Maria Bennett; Robert James Berry; Adrian Buckner;
Lucinda Carey; Ian Clarke; Nick Conrad; Jim Conwell; Anna Dwyer;
Anne Hay; Anne Humphreys; 
Ashleigh John; Terence John;
Shirley Jones; Gill Learner; Michael Mc Carthy; 
John Michael Mouskos;
Dr D. Parrott; Marcus Smith; 
Dolores Stewart; Lynne Taylor;
Jonathan Totman; Helen Whitten; Anna Wigley; Sarah Williams  


Cafe Writers


November 30

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Plough Poetry Prize

PloughKudos ad

November 30

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November 4-8

This isFamilyrehearsals my family

Liverpool Playhouse





What makes this a marvellous musical is, quite simply, not just my family – it’s yours, ours, and everybody’s. After all, where would Art be, in any shape or form, without us; mostly providing the tension from contradiction and conflict, basically, proving time and again how ties do bind us.


What makes this a typical musical, all the same, is that there isn’t a big deal in the way of plot: Part 1: daughter’s competition entry describing the ‘perfect family’ wins holiday; Part II, family goes on holiday. That actually doesn’t matter though, despite missing the odd bit when the going gets chaotic, what you are enjoying is a beautifully observed, intricately woven and exceptionally funny set of oh so true to life scenes. And you cannot help but wonder how much of it is actually drawn from life…


On a largely bare stage, the whole of the back is the interior of the house which homes Nicky and Matt and their parents, Steve and Yvonne; part doll’s house, part junk shop, absolutely stuffed to the gills. It’s here where Steve’s mother, May, comes to live. Marjorie Yates’ singing voice may not seem particularly strong but it conveys her growing bewilderment, in poignant contrast with her strong faith and her sharp tongue. And here’s Yvonne’s flamboyant sister, Sian (Rachel Lumberg), parading possessions and boyfriends. Somewhat stereotypical as the anarchic sibling but essentially good-hearted, she is a positive fount of comedy.


That is something the show has in spades, particularly with Matt as a petulant Goth, voluble and inarticulate by turn; a remarkable effort from Terence Keeley. Likewise, Bill Champion as Steve, whose ongoing midlife crisis, lurches from one extreme to another, from learning Arabic to trying to master parcour. And we are at least spared the inevitability of his losing his job; that’s another story altogether, evidently; the workplace aspect just fades away.


And given the matriarch as archetype, Yvonne (Clare Burt) seems rather underplayed, although if more mother, wife, sister and daughter-in-law rather than herself, hell, that is fairly typical of most families after all. Nicky, too, may be a bit much Pollyanna at times, full of enthusiasm and inspired ideas but no tantrums or sulks, yet Evelyn Hoskins is truly splendid as the narrator, the glue helping to hold it all together. The cast cannot be faulted, performing as if this were their one passion in life; their mission.


In a long and successful career, TV, stage and film, Tim Firth has polished the knack for making something extraordinary out of the ordinary, not to mention having a real gift for technique. Heartwarming, uplifting in the blend of song and dialogue, yes, this show is another palpable hit, one which will mark the spot for a long, long time to come.

Multi Genre

November 6
0 @ The Weiner Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide
Annual Creative Writing Competition

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Labello Press

December 31
Labello Press International Short Story Competition. Winning stories published in ‘Gem Street: Beyond the Axis’

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Fish Publishing

FishNew Image

November 30
Short Story Competition 2014/15

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October 31
Sponsored by Berforts Information Press Group.

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Ó Bhéal

Obheal2014-15 Ad from O Bheal

January 27
The Ó Bhéal Five Words Competition

Weekly closing date Tuesday at noon

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Liquorice Fish

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