So what has a pirate dinosaur, a piano on wheels, the Enigma Machine and Robbie Williams got to do with it?
Well obviously they’re all at Theatr Brycheiniog this summer season. As Stephen Fry would say it’s all part of this business we call ‘show’. I don’t know what to expect when I sweep through the automatic doors, first thing on a Monday morning. I met Basil Brush the other week and although he’s just like you see him on TV, he’s oddly smaller in real life. Lovely guy though. I was actually meeting someone from my childhood. I was quite tongue-tied.
Nordgrass – now there’s a concept to grapple with. It’s bluegrass music from Norway, I’m told, pioneered by a band called Frigg. A shedload of violins with guitars and mandolins thrown in. They also come equipped with some traditional Finnish tunes. Book your tickets for Thursday April 30 here
When I was 18-years-old, I did the England v Wales rights of passage trip to Twickenham. In those days circa the end of the 1970s you could run on the field at the end of the game. I managed to grab a grassy clodge to bring home for my dad’s garden. You could do that in those days. Bred In Heaven: The Road To Twickers is on Friday May 1, book your tickets here. I’m told it’s an exciting comedy based on the Rugby World Cup. ‘Follow the highs and lows of outrageous misfortunes, and the emotional rollercoaster of supporting the Wales rugby team.’ From those lovely Frapatsus people, written by Jack Llewellyn and directed by Michael Bogdanov.
Are you afraid of spiders and snakes? The girl in Jim Stafford’s hit record was. Niall McCann isn’t. He’s ‘an explorer, adventurer and biologist, one of a boundary-pushing new breed who has travelled the planet, turning his hand to a variety of expeditions’. I’ve never seen a picture of him where he wasn’t holding a snake or riding on an elephant. Some people are like that. He’ll be telling us stories of the Amazon and other remote places on Friday May 8, book your tickets here.
Here’s one for you intellectuals out there. To Kill a Machine – the story of Alan Turing. He was part of the Enigma Machine decoding team at Bletchley Park and it’s sometimes suggested that he practically invented the computer. And where would we be without computers? Probably climbing trees with Niall McCann. Turing the genius, Turing the victim and Turing the constant. Saturday May 9 book your tickets here.
The master of absurdist irony and the king of rapid-fire wit. No, not John Humphries, though he’d love to be. No, it’s Rich Hall (Thursday May 21, book your tickets here). He’s quite often on TV ‘quiz’ shows like QI. Always makes me laugh. Well, maybe not laugh, smile. He’s laconic after all. Quite a big star though, to be honest.
Onto subjects more ‘Marmite’ in constitution, the one type of act we get at Theatr Brycheiniog, more than any likely to elicit love / hate comments from our loyal customers, is the paranormal professionals. You wouldn’t believe it. Some people will go out of their way on Facebook to tell you the whole thing is cobblers. Then some people swear by it and can’t get enough of Derek Acorah. This season, it’s Diane Lazarus’ turn. So catch her, if you dare, on Thursday May 28, book you tickets here.
There’s no business like show business, there’s no business I know. Or so I’m told. Back in the dark ages, turn of the century with Harry Lauder and Harry Champion and Marie Lloyd it was what we would consider ‘internet’. Instead of logging onto Facebook, you’d get down to the nearest music hall (probably on the Old Kent Road), buy a half of bitter and spend the night singing along with Florrie Forde (she did ‘Down At The Old Bull and Bush by the way).
But those days are coming back!” And aren’t you glad? One Night Only on Saturday May 30, is produced by Mary and Gareth Phillips. It’s a variety show, perhaps not quite in the nether regions of music hall but there will be comedy. There will be dance. And there will be a medley of songs from The Sound of Music. Yes, you heard right. High on a hill stood a lonely goatherd. It’s like a shepherd but with goats. They were puppets in the film with Julie Andrews and Chistopher Plummer. I think this version might go with real people. Book your tickets here.
Finishing off May at Theatr B, It’s all aboard, me hearties, for a real live pirate adventure! Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs. Up until now, I’d never even heard of Pirate Dinosaurs. But then I never know what to expect. It’s all about a pirate hiding in a school supply closet. Well, it would be wouldn’t it? book your tickets for May 31 here.