Strong Island Co.

Theatre and Dance

House Of Burlesque

Joe Blacks and his House of Burlesque is coming to the Kings Theatre this Sunday from 7:30pm. He’ll be brining with him laughs, flamboyant costumes, innuendo, the slightly bizarre and of course beautiful ladies.

For information on how you can buy tickets check out the Facebook Event HERE.

Featuring: Anna Fur Laxis, The Lounge Kittens, Natalia Kalashnikov, Rubyyy Jones, Lilly Laudanum, Betty Blue-Eyes, Kiki Lovechild and Terms of Unnervement. With the evening hosted by Joe Black acting as facilitator of good times.

Anna Fur Laxis
Anna Fur Laxis

The Lounge Kittens ‘I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing (Aerosmith cover)’
House of Burlesque

Making Waves Film Festival | Strange Factories

Strange Factories will be screened at the Kings Theatre next Wednesday as part of the Making Waves Film Festival. This will be an event with a difference, during the showing of the film, the scenes will be played out by the actors simultaneously on stage and around the theatre. This immersive experience is a must see for fans of theatre and cinema.

The film tells the story of a writer, Victor who awakens alone having fled a mysterious fire that consumed a theatre with his band of performers, and becomes obsessed by his unfinished story. He journeys into dreamlike places, all the while haunted by visions from the infamous hum of the Strange Factory. Upon finding his troupe under the wing of an aristocratic noble, he learns of the enigmatic Stronheim, who offers to rebuild Victor’s theatre, so long as he finds the ending to his story…

If you would like to attend this event then you can reserve your ticket HERE.

Strange Factories – Trailer from FoolishPeople on Vimeo.

Strange Factories Poster Graphic Version

Avenue Q Competition Winners

Tonight the Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q is opens it’s week long stretch at the Kings Theatre. The kind folks at the Kings Theatre have donated a pair of tickets for us to give away for a performance of your choice. All you had to do to win was email with your answer to the following question.

Q) Name any of the three Tony Awards that Avenue Q has previously won.
A) Best Musical, Best Book and Best Original Score

The lucky winner is Hayley Reeves.

Created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Co-creator of Book Of Mormon and writer of the songs for Disney’s Frozen), Avenue Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the story of a recent college graduate named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. Where he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the internet sexpert), Lucy The Slut and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his true purpose in life!

You can purchase tickets from the the Kings Theatre website HERE.

AvenueQNEW_large

Avenue Q Comes To The Kings Theatre

Avenue Q, the winner of the Tony Awards ‘Triple Crown’ for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book is coming to the Kings Theatre, Portsmouth on 8th – 12th Sep 2014.

Created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Co-creator of Book Of Mormon and writer of the songs for Disney’s Frozen), Avenue Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the story of a recent college graduate named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. Where he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the internet sexpert), Lucy The Slut and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his true purpose in life!

Following five years in the West End and sell-out runs internationally this hugely entertaining show is hitting the road on a brand new tour.

This is a great opportunity to see one of the best loved comedy shows on our own doorstep. You can purchase tickets from the the Kings Theatre website HERE.

AVENUE-Q

AvenueQNEW_large

Here to be Performed by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at Rosie’s Vineyard from 28th to 30th July

Do you fancy seeing a spot of theatre and supporting a fledgling director, all in the lovely setting of Rosie’s wine bar? Jennie Rawling, our strong island contributor for all things theatre and literature, is directing Michael Frayn’s play Here for the Southsea Shakespeare Actors (SSA), to be performed at Rosie’s wine bar tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday at 8pm.

The play follows the daily life of Cath and Phil, a young couple who move into a studio flat, as they bicker, banter and struggle to stay on the same page while creating their own little space. All this happens amidst the rather inconveniently-timed interruptions from the landlady living downstairs, Pat.

We spoke to Jennie about the rehearsal process, drama school, and how she feels to be directing to the public for the first time:

Why did you choose this play to direct? Isn’t the SSA a Shakespeare company?
Our main focus is Shakespeare (Southsea Shakespeare Actors – the name says it all!), but we also try to put on smaller, more contemporary productions throughout the year. It’s a good way of showcasing our work to people who may be normally put off by Shakespeare, and it gives our actors a chance to try something different.

I came across Here when I was looking for audition pieces for drama school – it didn’t have any big enough chunks that I could use as a monologue for Cath, but I loved the banter between the couple and thought I’d like to have a go at directing it. I love the way it exposes the minutae of daily live in a couple living together – I think there’s something everyone who’s ever lived with a partner will recognise in Cath and Phil’s to-ing and fro-ing.

This is your first time directing to the public – how does it feel?
A bit terrifying! I directed an in-house production for the Southsea Shakespeare Actors a few years ago but as that was just to company members and friends it was less scary. There’s so much more to think about when you’re directing to the public at an external venue, and more logistical issues to sort out. There’s also the company’s reputation to uphold!

Here to be Performed by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at Rosie's Vineyard from 28th to 30th July (3)

Were there any challenges you faced along the way?
Yes! There are always challenges with any production, because you never have everything perfect (set, venue, timing, props, budget), so you just have to think around any problems and be creative. In the play there’s a scene where Cath and Phil are wearing identical jumpers, and at one point they’re both in the same jumper. So we needed to find two matching jumpers but in slightly different sizes – easy, right? Not so easy when you’re trying to buy big stretchy jumpers in the middle of June! After nearly garrotting Faye, who plays Cath, several times with one jumper, we finally found a pair of v-necks that fit the bill.

We also needed a threadbare toy dog – Theodore – which features heavily in the play. We managed to find one in a charity shop but he looked too pristine, so we were discussing how to mucky him up a bit and maybe tear an ear and I realised I just couldn’t do it. I guess the big kid in me couldn’t bear the thought of ‘hurting’ a soft toy haha. It’s become a bit of a joke – the others had to inflict the matting of fur with paint and toothpaste and coffee on him as I chickened out.

You can read a bit about Theodore and find out what we got up to in rehearsals on the SSA blog at ssaproductionblog.wordpress.com.

Here to be Performed by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at Rosie's Vineyard from 28th to 30th July (2)

You’ll be going to drama school in September to do the MA Acting at East 15 acting school. Do you think you’ll return to directing once you’re a professional actor?
Definitely, if I have the opportunity to. I want to focus on acting, but I really enjoying the directing process as well. It’s a different kind of creativity, and I like the project management side of it. Plus you get the opportunity to work with some very talented actors and guide them through the process whilst trying to get the best out of them.

Here is showing at Rosie’s Vineyard, Elm Grove, 28th–30th July, 8pm. Tickets: £9 (£7 students and unwaged). Book online at ssa.ticketsource.co.uk, or for more information go to www.southseashakespeareactors.com.

Here to be Performed by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at Rosie's Vineyard from 28th to 30th July (1)

Joe Wells and Chris Coltrane Fringe Preview Show

This Wednesday night from 7:30pm you can catch a preview of Joe Wells and Chris Coltrane’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival show at the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth.

Joe Wells – Night of the Living Tories
When there’s no more room in hell, The Conservative party will walk the earth!

Critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, and New Theatre Royal Associate, Joe Wells (Alexei Sayle tour support, No Pressure To Be Funny podcast, Amnesty International’s Human TV) digs up the grisly past of the Tory party. Sell-out show Brighton Fringe 2013 and Leicester Comedy Festival 2014. ‘Some of the most surprising and thought-provoking material coming from any comedian in his early 20s’ (Guardian). ‘A skilled jokesmith who threads great gags through intelligent political material’ (Comedy.co.uk). Warning: this show contains graphic descriptions of Michael Gove.

Chris Coltrane – There’s No Heros Left Except For All Of Us
Join comedian and activist Chris Coltrane for an hour of uplifting, Tory-smashing political comedy!

The world is corrupt, politicians are garbage, but we are awesome! Let Coltrane show you how to use activism and fun to kick the bad guys out, and make the world a better place. A show for people who like silliness, social justice, feminism and joy. Come for jokes, stay for revolution! (Scotsman). (Chortle.co.uk). (Skinny). * (ThreeWeeks). ‘One of a few comedians who are the future of British political comedy’ (Mark Thomas).

For more information on how you can get a ticket, check out the New Theatre Royal website HERE.

Joe Wells & Chris Coltrane Edinburgh Fringe Preview

New Theatre Royal and Shakespeare’s Globe Present… King Lear

Following the success of last year’s all-female performance of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, the New Theatre Royal and Shakespeare’s Globe present King Lear between 3rd-5th July. The production itself will be an open air showing in the City Museum Gardens.

Playing the eponymous King will be Joseph Marcell, best known to UK audiences as ‘Geoffrey’, the acerbic and witty butler in the hit show, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. Joseph has since gone on to become one of the most respected stage actors in the country.

To book your ticket, visit online box office at www.newtheatreroyal.com, or call the New Theatre Royal on 02392 649 000.

NTR King Lear

A Kind Of Conjuration Returns

Earlier this year New Apollo and Cop the Needle brought us ‘A Kind of Conjuration’, a play based on the 1944 Portsmouth trial of medium Helen Duncan, who was accused under the 1735 Witchcraft Act of ‘a kind of conjuration’. As part of Portsmouth Festivities, audiences will have another chance to see the performance this Wednesday at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth, this time with the addition of a prelude featuring ghost hunter Harry Price. We had a quick chat with Stuart Olesker, one of the writers on the project.

The play is based on a true story – why did you choose this particular story to tell?

The notion of the trial was certainly intriguing. The discovery that the plaintiff was nationally acclaimed and with local connections was even more intriguing.

My collaborator, John Stanton, and I are founders of Cop the Needle Productions which specialises in dramatising curious and lesser known lives and events associated with Portsmouth’s multifaceted character. Here was a story about beliefs, deception, careless talk, wartime paranoia, and the distortions in the reporting of truth. The courtroom scenes in the play are verbatim dialogue from the trial. The exchanges between prosecutor and witness were, we thought, so bizarre that we could not improve on the original – so we left those bits in as ‘verbatim theatre’. The rest is our invention.

What attracts you to using a true story as the basis for a performance?

We have found that audiences never tire of hearing stories about their own city or of discovering unusual tales that require merely writers, actors and a director to bring them to life. In this we are lucky to work alongside New Apollo who ensure that the results are lively, memorable and true to the spirit of their sources.

Since its performance at The Cellars, Eastney earlier this year, you’ve added a prelude where ghost hunter Harry Price tells of his experiences while investigating the psychic claims of Helen Duncan. Why did you think the piece needed this addition?

Harry Price was a colourful individual in the 20s, 30s and 40s who, like his friend Harry Houdini, was a tireless investigator into the claims of mediums and ghost watchers. He could spot frauds – while himself being accused of fraudulent practice. He was at first convinced – and then dismissive – of the claims of Helen Duncan. Indeed he was continually changing his attitude from belief to scepticism – and back – throughout his life. As he saw it, he and Helen Duncan had much in common: a wish to believe in the supernatural, a desire for attention and the acuity of the performer/entertainer. The addition of a prologue by ‘Harry Price’ is essentially to place the trial in its historical and social context.

25 June 2014, The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth
Doors: 7pm, Show:8pm. Tickets: £10 advance, £12 on the door
Tickets available from www.thecellars.co.uk, but hurry, there are only a limited number left!

Henry Oastler in A Kind of Conjuration

Henry Oastler in A Kind of Conjuration

House Of Burlesque – Competition

Over last weekend we offered you the chance to win two tickets House Of Burlesque at the Kings Theatre this Saturday. All you had to do to was answer a question inspired by the host Joe Black. Which Arrested Development star who was also in the movie Meet Joe Black? The correct answer was b) Jeffrey Tambor.

The lucky winner is Jocelynne Kingsford.

If you have never been to any of these shows then you are certainly missing out, they are a lot of fun and the audience often get into the spirit by wearing their best suits and most glamorous dresses. If you would like to go then you can purchase tickets from the Kings Theatre directly or via their website HERE.

House Of Burlesque

The line up on the evening includes the following characters;

The Boy With Tape On His Face – International mime sensation. As seen on ‘The Royal Variety Performance’ and the ‘BBC Comedy Proms’ at the Royal Albert Hall. It is with an astounding pleasure to bring his deliriously brilliant performance to the Kings Theatre for one night only!!

Lili La Scala – Sensational songstress and operatic diva.

Cherry Shakewell – Burlesque powerhouse and mistress of the tassel twirl.

Coco Deville – Glamazon showgirl. Feathers, lycra, glitter… Not a dry seat will be left in the house.

Coco Deville
Coco Deville by Emmest Photography

Jackie Le – Circus girl, aerial acrobat and contortionist extraordinaire.

Rio – Direct from New York City USA. We see the return of the belly dance whirlwind herself. Hips that just won’t stop!

House Of Grand Parade – Drags newest unnatural disaster. Turning female impersonation on its wig.

Terms Of Unnervement – Resident double act. Concerning, sexy and somewhat confusing.

Joe Black
Joe Black by Infinity Photographic

House Of Burlesque – Competition

Next weekend the Kings Theatre welcome the gin addled piano playing host of the House Of Burlesque, Joe Black. He has of course brought along an unique, sexy and humorous bunch of performers for your entertainment.

If you have never been to any of these shows then you are certainly missing out, they are a lot of fun and the audience often get into the spirit by wearing their best suits and most glamorous dresses. If you would like to go then you can purchase tickets from the Kings Theatre directly or via their website HERE.

Joe and the team at the Kings Theatre have been kind enough to donate two tickets for us to give away this weekend. All you have to do to win this prize is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answer to the following question.

Name the Arrested Development star who was also in the movie Meet Joe Black?
a) Will Arnett
b) Jeffrey Tambor
c) Henry Winkler

The deadline for entries will be midnight this coming Monday with the winners to be announced Tuesday morning.

House Of Burlesque

The line up on the evening includes the following characters;

The Boy With Tape On His Face – International mime sensation. As seen on ‘The Royal Variety Performance’ and the ‘BBC Comedy Proms’ at the Royal Albert Hall. It is with an astounding pleasure to bring his deliriously brilliant performance to the Kings Theatre for one night only!!

Lili La Scala – Sensational songstress and operatic diva.

Cherry Shakewell – Burlesque powerhouse and mistress of the tassel twirl.

Coco Deville – Glamazon showgirl. Feathers, lycra, glitter… Not a dry seat will be left in the house.

Coco Deville
Coco Deville by Emmest Photography

Jackie Le – Circus girl, aerial acrobat and contortionist extraordinaire.

Rio – Direct from New York City USA. We see the return of the belly dance whirlwind herself. Hips that just won’t stop!

House Of Grand Parade – Drags newest unnatural disaster. Turning female impersonation on its wig.

Terms Of Unnervement – Resident double act. Concerning, sexy and somewhat confusing.

Joe Black
Joe Black by Infinity Photographic

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Archives

HMS Vanguard (1960)

Man, these photos are pretty damn epic. Both show the HMS Vangaurd that went aground just feet away from alongside the Still & West and Spice Island in 1960.

“On 4 August 1960, when she was to be towed from Portsmouth to the breakers yard at Faslane, Scotland, the whole of the Southsea sea front was packed with people to see her off. As she was being towed towards the harbour entrance, she slewed across the harbour to the Still & West public house and went aground. She was eventually pulled off by tugs and finally made her exit from Portsmouth. Five days later she arrived at Faslane and by the spring of 1962 Vanguard ceased to exist, never having fired her guns in anger.” (from Wikipedia)

It’s also great to see that area of Old Portsmouth in detail from 50 years ago. There is no sea wall in place, some kind of out building on the corner of Spice Island, what looks like early dry dock developments and I love the way Broad Street goes straight in to the drink. See what you can see. Click the images for a much closer look.

Via : Jainbow

Guildhall After WWII

On 10th January 1941 during a heavy bombing attack on Portsmouth the Guildhall was hit by several incendiary bombs which heavily damaged the structure and the resulting fires quickly spread throughout the whole building, turning it in to just a shell. It took almost 15 years to rebuild the Guildhall in to what we have today, which was officially reopened by the Queen on the 8th June 1959. This photo from Stan Webb from a collection of photos collected by Portsmouth College shows how totally destroyed the building was, leaving just some of the frontage and most of the tower.

Guildhall

Hidden Treasures

Steve Bomford gave us the heads up on this wonderful short film made up of old film footage, from the 50s to the 70s, filmed around Portsmouth and Southsea. If you like looking at some vintage Portsmouth and Southsea you will love this (really interesting to see the Guildhall before it was pedestrianised and the buildings were demolished for the council offices).

Sunny Southsea

I went for bike ride today to take advantage of the nice, albeit cold, weather and take a few photos. Check them out over on my Flickr photostream.

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Local Photographer – Matt Shaw

Louise from the Girls Who Ride crew gave us the heads up on the amazing photos of local photographer Matt Shaw, including some great images on Portsmouth, some in HDR too. Be sure to take your time going through Matt’s Flickr and here are a few to wet your appetite:

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