#chesterculture – Brand Spankin’ Comedy Open Mic at Alexander’s

Been watching Live At The Apollo or Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast and thought to yourself ‘I could do that’? Now is your chance.

On the first Wednesday of the month Alexander’s are providing a safe space for both experienced comedians to try out new material and for people that have never performed stand up before to try their hand at comedy.

Brand Spankin’ Comedy Open Mic
First Wednesday of every month

£2 entry, Free with NUS

You are #ChesterCulture

All too often we still hear cries of

“we didn’t know it was happening until after the event”, 

“nothing ever happens in Chester”,

“Chester has no culture”, 

“nobody supports local artists/musicians/creatives/<insert other here>”

We want to change that.

Keep us updated with any events, shows, clubs or societies that you’re involved with in Chester so we can help others find it too.

Artists, musicians, poets, authors, writers, actors, dancers, creatives of any type – we want to hear from you.

Send us links to/pictures/videos of your work either via email or Twitter.

Tell us who you are. Share with us your creative process. Help inspire others.

Let us know what you’re doing.

Show us your creations – whatever they may be.

We want to be friends and build a creative community here in Chester.
We want to support and encourage creativity by all.

You are #ChesterCulture

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Contact us at ChesterCulture@gmail.com

Image courtesy of @shitchester 

On now at Chester’s Little Theatre:

Christmas may be over and the winter nights getting colder but temperatures are about to soar and pulses quicken at a Chester Theatre as the curtain rises on a passionate tale of love, lies and lust.
Chester Little Theatre in Gloucester Street, Newtown is the venue for Chester Theatre Club’s staging of “Passion Play” by Peter Nichols who is perhaps best known for the  1977 play “Privates on Parade” which was was turned into a hugely successful film in 1982. 
With its themes of love and obsession, “Passion Play” deals with the subject of marital infidelity in a unique way. The story of middle aged couple Eleanor and James – happily married for twenty-five years and their much younger friend, Kate, a sexual predator who has designs on James, the play cleverly reveals what Eleanor and James are feeling and thinking through their alter egos  – Nell and Jim, alternative versions of James and Eleanor, who voice the private thoughts, desires and deceptions of the two main characters. With it’s overtly sexual themes, Passion Play is an adult play in every sense as Nichols tears away the lies and deceits of an apparently contented marriage and the characters reveal their true colours.
Playing the young femme fatale Kate is Laura Monkhouse who most recently appeared in “Breaking The Code” at Chester Little Theatre whilst James, the object of her desires is played by local Actor Mike Deakin who has appeared in numerous plays and musical theatre roles over many years for local companies including Tip Top Productions and Chester Operatic Society. Mike most recently appeared with Chester Operatic at St Mary’s Centre as Gomez Addams in the Addams Family Musical. 
Playing opposite Mike is Chester Theatre Club stalwart Fiona Wheatcroft. Fiona most recently appeared at Chester Little Theatre alongside Passion Play’s Director Mark Newman in “The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard. In 2014, Fiona created the role of Helen in “Useless Beauty”, Mark Newman’s debut as a playwright which premiered at The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester for Tip Top Productions. 
Playing their alter egos, Jim and Nell are newcomer Ryan Rothwel and Sally Dillon. Ryan who is making his first appearance with Chester Theatre Club performed extensively whilst at University including as Lord Henry Wotton in Will Self’s adaptation of “Dorian Gray” in 2012 which he reprised at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Wrexham based actress Sally Dillon who has appeared in numerous production with companies including Grove Park Theatre in Wrexham and Tip Top Productions. Most recently Sally played charlady Mrs Swabb to great acclaim in the hilarious “Habeas Corpus” by Alan Bennett at Chester Little Theatre. 
Playing the role of Agnes, a very bitter and recently widdowed friend of Eleanor and James is popular local actress Marian Newman who most recently appeared alongside Sally Dillon in Habeas Corpus. Marian’s other roles include “Shirley Valentine” in Willy Russell’s acclaimed play of the same name at The Forum Studio Theatre and as Susan in “A Bed Among The Lentils” part of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads at Chester Little Theatre. Marian also directed “The Sociable Plover” a two hander featuring Mark Newman in productions at The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester and Chester Little Theatre.
“Passion Play” (recommended for age 15 and over) is being staged at Chester Little Theatre from Saturday 16 January until Saturday 23 January, with performances commencing at 7.30 pm.  Tickets are £9.00 and £7.50 concessions on the first Saturday, Monday and Tuesday evenings.  For full details of the play and all upcoming events at  Chester Little Theatre go towww.chestertheatreclub.co.uk and click on How to Book, or telephone TicketSource 0333 666 3366.  Booking charges apply.
submitted by Paul Crofts
Photo 8547.jpg shows: The cast and crew of “Passion Play” at Chester Little Theatre. From l-r Back row (standing) Paul Crofts, Jess Toyne, Haluk Saglam, Marian Newman(Agnes), Sally Dillon (Nell) Ryan Rothwell(Jim) and seated, Mike Deakin(James), Laura Monkhouse(Kate) and Fiona Wheatcroft (Eleanor).
Photo 8285.jpg shows:Kate (Laura Monkhouse) seduces James(Mike Deakin) whilst his alter ego Jim (Ryan Rothwell) looks on in a scene from “Passion Play” at Chester Little Theatre.
Photo 8460.jpg shows: Seductive:Kate (Laura Monkhouse) exploits tensions between James(Mike Deakin) and Eleanor (Fiona Wheatcroft) as their alter egos JIm(Ryan Rothwell) and Nell (Sally Dillon) look on in a scene from Passion Play at Chester Little Theatre.
Photo Credits: Steve Cain at EventphotographySC.


  3 Attached Images

Review: Paul Dabek – Mischief at St Mary’s Creative Space

If you’re looking for somewhere to take in a show tonight, you could do a lot worse than dropping in to St Mary’s Creative Space to see the second night of magician Paul Dabek and his show ‘Mischief’. If you’re in the mood for puns and quickfire witticisms, largely at the audience’s expense, then Dabek’s somewhat awkward brand of comedy is sure to charm you. There were laughs aplenty last night in the first of the two shows, as the magician used audience participation and humour for misdirection whilst his sleight of hand magic came to life.

Dabek performed the kind of tricks that magic fans will have come to expect, favouring small props and plenty of interaction to keep the patter fresh. There were also a few unexpected additions, such as optical illusions and shadow puppetry, which were highly enjoyable and added great variety to his show. Within the beautiful setting of St Mary’s and its ample bar and refreshments for the interval, your Saturday night could be very well spent in magic and mischief!

Get details of tonight’s show here, as well as what else is on during St Mary’s superb Christmas season.

Review: ShooShooBaby’s Christmas Party

St Mary’s Creative started the festive season with a bang on Thursday December 3rd as the dynamic and delightful trio ShooShooBaby provided musical mirth. Self-branded as ‘unashamedly sparkly’, the upbeat arrangement consists of two female singers and their accompanying singer/musician, delivering a cabaret-style mixture of humorous chatter, musical numbers and audience participation. For their December show, the company took on several Christmas classics in their own unique style with superb vocals that captivated the audience from the start. Aside from the traditional songs and arrangements that one might expect at a Christmas cabaret, ShooShooBaby added a fascinating array of vintage and unusual selections to the mix, particularly the introduction of the surprisingly melodious musical saw.

Particular highlights for me included the Macedonian Christmas Carol, beautifully sung a cappella, in striking contrast to the improvised comedic lyrics to popular tunes that we all know and love. One such melody was James Bond themed, and the singers were accompanied by the audience themselves, who had each been provided with a trusty kazoo during intermission. In the words of ShooShooBaby themselves, no party is complete without a slow dance, so at the end of the evening two lucky gents were gently encouraged to partner up with the girls and sway to Lady In Red. The audience participation continued with a round of popular Christmas carols that everyone could join in with, ensuring high spirits for the subsequent final number and the much anticipated encore.

For more information about other upcoming events at St Mary’s Creative Space, check out their What’s On Guide here.

Useful link:

ShooShooBaby’s official website

LitFest Review: Rachel Parris

When I say that Rachel Parris was utterly charming, it’s not charming (as Parris herself would claim) in the way that Kirsty Allsop would describe a £530 pcm tool shed in Bethnal Green. I mean charming in the truest sense of the world, where a performer’s grace, humour and affability force a smile onto the hardest visage with the most underused facial muscles. This was the atmosphere on Friday 16th October, as Parris unleashed her solo show of comedy, music and improvisation, entitled Best Laid Plains, as part of the Chester Literature Festival.

The premise is simple, and begins with the question “What did you want to be when you grew up?”. As adults, we look back on the unrealistic expectations we have throughout our young lives, and Parris explores this theme with a candid look at her own experiences, through piano lessons, living as a starving artist and of course, sex. The latter was an especially large theme of the evening’s routine, but delivered with Parris’s sweetly awkward voice and fidgety mannerisms, the taboo topic of the female orgasm becomes hilariously endearing.

Whilst I usually prickle at any comedienne who calls themselves a feminist, Parris delivers pro-female humour that’s self-deprecating and humming with hilarious pathos. Her show was perfectly balanced, and it was a delight to see an authentic female comedian who can cater to both genders without resorting to cheap man-hating shots, but who I feel also accurately represents contemporary women’s views.

As well as her excellent stand-up stints, there’s also Parris’s musical talent to discuss. Her piano songs were reminiscent of the slick Broadway-style humour of the likes of Avenue Q, dealing with comical real world situations such as ‘Hen Do on a Train’: the commuter’s worst nightmare. Indeed, her faux-risque Rihanna-inspired RnB song ‘Ankles’ will be stuck in my head for days to come, and it was hilarious to be part of the joke as we sung along in the crowd. Parris’s finale was an improvised song with the audience’s childhood aspirations included, a heartwarming interactive touch in which I was proud to put my former notion of being a paleontologist to use at last.

In short, if you have the opportunity to go and see Rachel Parris perform, do it. Don’t miss out on this fresh and uniquely talented lady who’ll make you chortle ’til it hurts.

Search for more Chester Literature Events at: http://www.chesterperforms.com/literature/events/