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Write your way out of it with Dawn Gorman

Please email me
for details of this, and/or
my full critiquing service:

dawn@dawngorman.co.uk      www.dawngorman.co.uk

 

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191

Orbis 191, Spring 2020


£5 (Overseas:
£11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Hawk’ by Jan FitzGerald
back cover, detail from image: www.paintingpoets.co.nz

It’s a whole new world out there – unfortunately prophetic words
to introduce the last issue. So now it’s poetry in the time of you-know-what
(
Hell on Earth)Dave Martin is not far wrong), something to cheer and inspire
and at least take our minds off it for a little while 
granting us Grace Evangelical
(
Tina Tocco), following A Simple Act; Complex Antecedents as Sam Smith points out.
Well,
 we could sympathise with Jack Debney’s The Cack-Hander’s Lament,
especially when, like 
Mike BarlowThe voice takes a break.  And we can always
escape, visit 
Richard Hughes, to appreciate some Variations at a taverna,
then the City Of Tulum with 
Kathryn MacDonald
(although you ask me, ignorance is bliss when it comes to the Maya),
or find out more about All those myths in the dark forest from
Penny Sharman, or The numen (Jan FitzGerald)  and what’s inside
the Powder Closet, Southside House… 
Ben Bransfield knows. Meanwhile,
Finola Scott can tell you all about Spoils and Divisions, although you need to read
David Greenslade to work ouCalfOverall, could be you’ll agree with Beth Booth:
Splendid is a good description of Orbis

Featured Poet,

Gaynor Clements: Bole Hill; Bole Hill II; Badger;
You’re Never More Than Six Feet From An Elvis Impersonator; Pater Unfamilias

Poems from Patrick Deeley, Bluebell Horse; Anuja Ghimire, landlady mua;
Sean Howard, poetic extracts: study #14;
Marjorie Maddox, Ode to Son as Encyclopedia;
Anne Rath, Witness; Christopher Pieterszoon Routheut, Toward the Suns

Prose from Neil Beardmore, Key Notes; Neelim Dundas,
The House Of The Big Brown Eyes; Lorna Sherry, The Dangers Of Spring

Past Master
Michael Spinks on The book of Job

Article
Pauline Hawkesworth on A. S. J. Tessimond – The ‘Lesser’ Poet

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Jenny Hockey, David Harmer,
Clairr O’Connor, D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby
and Lynne Taylor

Orbis 191 contributors also include

Aidan Baker;Maggie Butt; Claudia Court;Natalie Crick; Bill Dodd;
Isabel Greenslade; Derek Healy; Doreen Hinchliffe; George Hopewell;
Jack Houston; Richard Hughes; Gloria Keeley; Simon Leonard;
Rozanne McCoy; Simon Perchik; Peter Sutton; Anne Symons

FrenchWF220-48

French House Party
Creative Writing Course,
Carcassonne, Southern France

Monday, 28 September
to Saturday, 3 October

www.frenchhouseparty.eu

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February 8-March 14

The Suicide

Chester Storyhouse
https://www.storyhouse.com/

Reviewed for Writebase: https://writebase.co.uk/

4*

Billed as a comedy, actually a farce, and with a title like that – what could possibly go wrong? And considering drama is expected to be based on conflict, it opens with Simon expostulating with his spouse, Marie (over sausage rolls…), bickering with bossy Sarah, his mother-in-law, and

lambasting his unscrupulous landlord, Alexander. No guesses here why the leading man is heading for being described as late. He’s lost his job and his money and they are reduced to living in a hovel, lovingly, if you’ll excuse the word, evoked (likewise) by a scruffy bedroom, background full of piled up cardboard boxes, flanked by rickety door and window, with a staircase leading up to the dodgy toilet.

The stage is set, the wheels are in motion – as are the cogs in Alexander’s brain as he grasps at the means of making a quick buck. Although he has no wish for his reputation to be blighted by a death on his premises, what if he, and others, apart from Marie and Sarah of course, could benefit from Simon’s demise? And there’s the smoking gun…

In fast succession, and even faster costume changes, the unfortunate man receives a series of callers, each of them hinting, or even insisting, that when putting an end to himself, it should be the start of something glorious: he must kill himself for a cause, whether political, financial or religious. Not forgetting, and how on earth could we in this day and age, a reality show and social media. And my word, do the supporting characters come into their own in a myriad of roles, rewriting and breathing life into virtually every stereotype, from  Phillip Laing, gamely glad in a onesie as ‘Man in toilet’ to Sophie Robinson, equally stunning as cynical Father MacAnally and airhead influencer Melody; can’t wait to see her again tackling another role, especially as this type of character is featured more and more often on TV shows, and invariably a daffy blonde when it takes considerable brains to be IT savvy, and the rest. That includes Emma Lau, smart as mediaperson,Florence Moon, then dread-locked Seren, so politically correct and environmental and gender etc aware, it’s a wonder she dare move or speak at all. And just about crowning them all, Camille Mallet de Chauny, as splendid as his name, sweet as the kind-hearted Freddy la Bouff, Alexander’s definitely better half, sour as steely entrepreneur, Jimmy Wood, who adopts a variety of persona in a determined effort to persuade Simon to get on with it.

Thus the main protagonists have a job on their hands to avoid being eclipsed but manage just fine. Corrupt, conniving Alexander (Tim Frances) makes a plausible villain of the piece while Tom Davey manages to retain our sympathy as the hapless, hopeless hero, constantly dithering, and partnered by his lovely, long suffering wife, Natasha Bain. As for Sarah, played here by Nicola Blackman, another jewel, right up there in the Comedy department, winning over the audience every time with acerbic comments and wisecracks.

Comedy, expertly done, and here as much physical theatre and props as dialogue and running jokes, brings serious issues to the fore to be considered in a whole new light. A packed audience enjoyed an excellent evening’s entertainment, with some special effects which I’ll leave for a nice surprise. It makes you curious to discover more about the source material, a play written by the Russian, Nikolai Erdman, always a good thing, and also means you can’t wait to watch the next plays coming to this theatre near you – and certainly well worth travelling some distance to see too.

February 20-March 13

Miss Julie

Chester Storyhouse

https://www.storyhouse.com/

Reviewed for Writebase: https://writebase.co.uk/

3*

What is it with some of these Nordic leading ladies? I hesitate to call them heroines, and besides, the lady here is doing a lot of leading… on. But this is a fascinating adaptation, what you could call an inspired move, from 19th century Sweden and Midsummer Eve to Chinese New Year in 1940s

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TEIGNMOUTH POETRY FESTIVAL 2020
March 19-22
Featuring
: Liz Berry, Hannah Lowe, Inua Ellams, Vanessa Kisuule and many others
Festival details: www.poetryteignmouth.com/festival-2020
Tickets available from: www.pavilionsteignmouth.org.uk

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about competitions; magazines; publishers.
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Mslexia, £16.99

https://mslexia.co.uk/products/indie-press-guide/indie-press-guide-3/

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March 19 -22
Teignmouth Poetry Festival 2020
Featuring: Liz Berry, Hannah Lowe, Inua Ellams, Vanessa Kisuule and many others
Festival details: www.poetryteignmouth.com/festival-2020
Tickets available from: www.pavilionsteignmouth.org.uk

February 4-8

An Inspector Calls

Liverpool Playhouse
https://www.everymanplayhouse.com/

On tour until May 23

4*

Make no mistake, this is most bizarre, so much so, that comes an announcement early on requesting the audience to leave the building, no mad rush for the exit because everybody assumed it was to do with the play. As if that didn’t provide more than enough drama for one night….

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Peter Pan

Storyhouse

December 21-January 12

Reviewed for Writebase: https://writebase.co.uk/

4*

Storyhouse of course enters into Christmas spirit full blast with this first class adaptation of an old classic. The aerial feats are absolutely amazing (balanced by the characters’ frequent descents below stage), as is the entire design, exquisitely realised via setting, music and costume. What’s not to like, especially having Tinker Bell upgraded to virtually partnering Peter Pan and Captain Hook played by a woman.

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