Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bo Jazz at the King's Arms

I don't go often to the King's Arms in Salford, although one summer I spent a good deal of time there, as my play O'Leary's Daughters was staged for the 24:7 Theatre Festival in their fabulous round-ceilinged upstairs room (I think it used to be a billiards room), and last year after our rehearsals for The Processing Room at Salford University, Mary-Ann Coburn and I used to call in for a drink on our way back into town. I really should go more, because this is where Studio Salford is based, and they always have exciting-sounding programmes of new plays as well as their unique occasional 'embryo' nights where writers and artists can try out new sketches or snippets of plays or short films.

Studio Salford itself seems to be dark at the moment, but on Friday and last night a new independent company formed by actors Jarrod Cooke and Ryan Barber staged  the first of their own entertainments, Bo Jazz, billed as 'a new concept in live sketch shows', and directed by Helen Parry. John, Matthew and I went along. I must say the acting was brilliant. Five actors, Jarrod, Ryan, Curtis Cole, Samantha Siddall and Daniel Hayes each made lightning switches between very different characters, playing them with wonderfully accurate observation.  I liked the innovation whereby between the sketches two musicians, Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith, played live music pieces they had specially composed with the sketches as inspiration. I have to say I did find the sketches a bit laddish, and I'm not sure that the pretty vicious anti-lesbian joke at the end was quite excusable as simply a condemnation of the character who made it.
A great evening, though, and when we came down for the interval who should we bump into but several old friends who just happened to be there drinking.  I told you, I should go there more often....

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