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Orbis 194, Winter

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194

Orbis 194, Winter 2020


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


Front cover artwork: ‘Life in the Office Two’ by Richard Hopkinson

back cover, detail from image: https://richard-hopkinson.pixels.com/

Oh yes it is, Winter Orbis – out in December, for the very first time.
And yes indeed, full of seasonal cheer because, by gum, we are in need of it…
Well, sort of; lot of shenanigans on Eamonn Shanahan’s Christmas Day,
then you’ve got
Glumgit’s New Year blog as related by Theresa Sowerby.
In-between time (Anne Donnellan), hardly surprising if you want to go back
12 months when you could join
Sue Norton at Christmas 2019.
For a bit more excitement, however, try travelling on the Night Train
with C. P. Nield though Benjamin Macnair has A Warning for you,
if rather different from Kha to His Wife Meryt (Jennifer McGowan).
They do say never judge a book by its cover but virtually no office parties anyway,
and more brass monkeys outside than wise one anywhere –
so come on in and enjoy this issue

Featured Poet

Eve Jackson: Days In The Life Of Coat; Silence Is Not Always Golden;
Restless Night; How He Never Noticed The Moon;
We Wait; Her Response

Poems from Amy Barone (Heavenly Park);
John Grey (Psychiatrists at a party);
Brooke Herter James (Found Poetry); Clint Wastling (Receiver of Wreck)

Prose from Brian Daldorph (Wasps); Nigel Jarrett (Travels in Lakeland);
Fiona Vigo Marshall (What kind of story?)

Translation: Bill Jackson
(Last Thoughts/Last Things, after Wanne mine eyen misten)

Reviews include George Szirtes on Mock Orange by Anne Osbourn

Past Master: Merryn Williams on Charlotte Smith

Reader’s Response,
Jill Boucher: Some Thoughts on Poetry Writing Workshops

Reviews by Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer, Jenny Hockey,
D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby, George Szirtes
and Lynne Taylor

Orbis 194 contributors also include

Rosie Adamson-Clark; Elaine Alarcon-Totten; Denise Bennett; A. C. Clarke;
Robin Daglish; Frank De Canio; Carol Featherstone; Oz Hardwick;
Alex Howard; Jenny Johnson; John-Christopher Johnson; Kasimma;
Miles Larmour; Chris Luck; Gill McEvoy; Mary Muir; Marilyn Ricci;
Barnaby Smith; Christopher Southgate; Judith Wilkinson; Nicky Winder

 

 

 

 



Orbis194.pmd

January 26
Ó Bhéal Five Words Competition

Weekly closing date each Tuesday at noon
Must feature the five words given for the week

www.obheal.ie/blog/five-words-poetry-competition

 

DawnK6A8332_col

 

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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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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Indie Press Guide, 3rd edition –
everything you ever needed to know, or could ever possibly want to know (and I should know...)
about competitions; magazines; publishers.
By Françoise Harvey & Debbie Tayor; published by
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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