Swindon Fringe Festival Friday blog…and the spotlight is on….
Week three of the Swindon Fringe Blog. Tickets are selling well, including the sought after Platinum Tickets. As an added extra to the Swindon Fringe Festival this year, every ticket you buy gives you access to the Swindon Fringe Closing Night on Sunday 10th April for free! This evening will have great music from local bands such as Sweet Nightingale. Dancing will be encouraged and an award presentation will take place for the performances at the Fringe.
Book now at https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/whatson-april2016 or at the Wyvern Box Office 01793 524481.
In The Spotlight
Wednesday 6th April, 7pm
The Ocelot Stage! The Victoria, Victoria Road
Do You Mind? by BearDog
Joni has just met someone special, but how can she tell him she has a long term mental illness? And is it really the best thing to talk about on a second date? Everyone has had a moment when they’ve struggled to tell something important to someone they care about. Using storytelling, puppetry and an old-school overhead projector, ‘Do You Mind?’ considers how we talk about the most vulnerable parts of ourselves and how open we can allow ourselves to be in a new relationship.
Forget Me Not – The Alzheimer’s Whodunit by Rob Gee
Jim’s wife, who is a patient on a dementia ward, has just died from what appears to be natural causes. Jim is a retired police detective and he smells a rat. Even though he also has dementia, he’s determined to solve one last murder. It’s a case worthy of the greatest detective mind, but his will have to do.
Written and performed by an ex-psychiatric nurse Rob Gee (“A witty, skillful storyteller” – Chortle), Forget Me Not has just completed a sold out run across Canada.
★★★★★ “Hilarious and heartbreaking” – Victoria Times
★★★★★ “Remarkable Edmonton” – Sun
★★★★★ “Smart, witty and razor-sharp” – CBC
Who are they?
BearDog is a collaborative performance company formed by improviser- director Calum Anderson and puppeteer-performer Joni-Rae Carrack. Heavily inspired by the works of Blind Summit (The Table) and Handspring Puppet Company (War Horse), Do You Mind? is partly the story of how they got together. Calum is an improviser, musician and director. Calum has performed across the country as both an improviser and a musician, regularly performing at the Brighton, Camden and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. Joni has performed at the Barbican Pit Theatre, the Little Angel Theatre, Waterloo East and the Space, mostly as a puppeteer. Together their work is interdisciplinary and focuses on realism and collaboration and uses those to create truly honest pieces.
Rob Gee uses a heady combination of poetry, comedy, storytelling and theatre to explore the world of chaos and adventure that lurks behind the veneer of everyday life. He started writing poetry when fronting punk rock bands as a teenager. Based in Leicester, UK, he’s performed over two thousand shows, regularly appears on BBC Radio, and is sometimes sent into schools as a warning to children. Rob has also performed The Glastonbury Festival, The Sydney International Poetry Festival, The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and The Austin International Poetry Festival. He performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for seven consecutive years. He’s shared stages with numerous personalities, including Harold Pinter, Jo Brand, Kate Tempest cand John Cooper Clark. Forget Me Not – The Alzheimer’s Whodunit has won multiple awards and is a favourite with the critics.
What’s special about them?
Both shows have strong themes regarding mental health, but both shows are also enormously funny and entertaining. Yes, we have been inundated with numerous Mental Health Awareness Campaigns over the last couple of years but when was the last time you actually got a real life insight into these issues? This double bill of shows touches on this very real and relevant subject with honesty, sensitivity and humour. Do You Mind? and Forget Me Not – The Alzheimer’s Whodunit are two informative pieces that come straight from the heart. They are not here to teach you, they are here to tell you stories that happen to have people with mental illnesses in them.
Joni uses her skills as a trained puppeteer to create beautiful visuals that illuminate the science and stories in which they weave between. Her mixture of hand crafted puppets, object manipulation and use of an over-head projector will have you in awe of the imagery she creates. Do You Mind? very much gives you a chance to laugh at the absurdities of anxiety.
With his one man spoken word comedy theatre show, Rob Gee has a lot to say about how we treat and perceive people with dementia. Forget Me Not – The Alzheimer’s Whodunit is hilarious and a multiple award winning murder mystery set in an Alzheimer’s ward with all the tropes you’d want from the genre.
This is a special opportunity for Swindon Fringe Goers to experience the funny side to Mental Health. They may even be a chance at the end the night for you to share a drink with BearDog and Rob Gee afterwards at the bar in The Victoria on the 6th April.
What they had to say…
Describe your show in 3 words:
BD: Honest, funny, informative.
RGP: The Alzheimer’s Whodunit.
What is your show’s selling point?
BD: It’s one of the only shows that combines puppetry, mental illness and true stories and still manages to be entertaining.
RGP: It’s only an hour.
I would be happy if my performance at the Swindon Fringe Festival…
RGP: …somehow caused the ripple effect that led to the spontaneous combustion of Donald Trump.
If your show was a superhero, who would it be?
BD: Deadpool, just because it’s self-aware and always talking to the audience.
RGP: He can’t remember.
What is your favourite performance in most recent memory?
BD: Probably a show called Möglich by Dougie Walker. A one man sketch show which was really entertaining, thoroughly funny and which had one of the best endings I’ve ever seen!
RGP: It was a show called Dog Powered Robot at the Orlando Fringe. I can’t really explain it, but it had a big cardboard robot that was actually powered by a dog.
What was your first starring role?
RGP: King Herod in the school nativity. I’m not proud of it.
BD: When I was little, I used to do shows for my Dad when he would come home from being abroad for work. I used to make programmes and tickets. Then he would sit down for half an hour as I rambled through some story I had made up the day before.
What’s the weirdest feedback you’ve ever received?
RGP: “He’s a performance poet, but don’t worry – he’s not sh*t” Jimmy Carr
If you would like to see these two great performances at the Ocelot Stage (The Vic) on the Wednesday 6th April, book your tickets here: