It was a happy day seven years ago when Theatre Shop, managed by Theatre Orchard and Living Spit opened its doors in Clevedon. Since that time we’ve had a rich programme of performances at the shop itself, as well as throughout the town.
At the time Peter Lord Creative Director at Aardman said:
“You can’t beat the feeling you get from sharing a space with a live audience and performers. The humanity, the intimacy and the sense of community that come from these shared experiences seem to me to be right at the heart of being human. Projects such as The Theatre Shop thrive because committed and passionate people can work a special magic in small successful communities like Clevedon.”
You couldn’t get a more committed and passionate team than the Theatre Shop CIC, a not-for-profit organisation made up of volunteers and Clevedon’s Living Spit who are currently at the helm and doing the most wonderful job. I feel that we owe them a great debt of gratitude for bringing theatre into the heart of the town in Queen’s Square. If you’re not familiar with Living Spit, check them out here
My own personal Theatre Shop Autumn season kicked off with Living Spit’s Adolf & Winston. If by some chance you don’t get to see it this week, it’s on at the Blakehay Theatre in Weston from the 26th to 29th of October – you can book here and it has a long run at the Tobacco Factory from the 1st to the 12th November, you can book here
Let’s take a closer look at what’s on offer this Autumn.
ADOLF & WINSTON – LIVING SPIT – TWO ACTORS. TWO WORLD LEADERS. ONE BLACK DOG. 7.30. p.m. AGE: 14+ TICKETS £15 17th to 22nd OCTOBER.
Buoyed by the success of “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”, “Elizabeth I: Virgin on the Ridiculous”, and unafraid to tackle the big subjects in an essentially inconsequential way, Living Spit’s Howard & Stu are back walking the tightrope of taste and decency with another slice of poorly-researched history. But will either of them escape from this war alive?
London, 1939: Winston Churchill looks in the mirror, realises that only he can steer our great nation through its darkest hour and steels himself for the hard road ahead.
Bristol, 2021: Howard Coggins looks in the mirror, shaves, realises he looks a bit like Winston Churchill and steels himself to break some bad news to his good friend, Stu.
Bristol, 2022: Stu Mcloughlin looks in the mirror and realises that he’ll have to grow a little moustache.
Check out the trailer below
“Adolf & Winston is a terrific production, gloriously silly and worth watching” Bristol Post
“Adolf & Winston is brilliantly bonkers, with an inspired 15-minute musical race through the history of the second world war.” Bristol Culture
It was as clever, as fast-paced and energetic as usual and yes it was silly from start to finish with lots of laugh-out-loud moments but it was also challenging at times and very poignant. I’m so glad I got to see it.
N.B. Howard is poorly at the moment but his part was played by Director Craig Edwards who is also an actor and did a fabulous job.
Book your tickets here
FAILFAILFAILFAILWIN – LOZ & MARK 11.00. a.m. Age: 3-10 TICKETS £8 DOORS OPEN AT 10.30. a.m. STARTS AT 11.00. a.m. 26TH OCTOBER
Failfailfailfailwi is the latest show from experienced children’s entertainers and theatre producers Mark and Loz James aka. Marky Jay and Loz Because. Both are circus performers. But the circus is REALLY hard. Failfailfailfailwin is a show about not hiding all the “tries” you did that didn’t work.
Includes a cast of puppet friends: professor Steven Chimpington – scientist, raconteur, critic; and Colin the Crab, anarchist, physical theatre practitioner (LeCoq trained), oh and of course Phyllis the haunted hula-hoop.
Featuring such fails and possibly wins in the mediums of diabolo, juggling, hula-hoop, skipping-rope, and an attempt to spin 8 real VERDAGEN IKEA plates, retail value £2 each. Total economic jeopardy = £16. Plus shipping.
I love this concept of reframing failure as a positive and it’s so critical if children are going to become successful learners. Using the circus as a context for this should be lots of fun.
A SKETCH SHOW – JACK AND JORDAN 7.30. p.m. AGE: 14+ TICKETS £15 11TH NOVEMBER
A 70-minute chaotic journey through the minds of two dudes; Jack and Jordan, who are actors – nay, artists! And professional ones at that. Expect appearances from imaginary girlfriends, a confused Yorkshireman and the mysterious Pine Nut (what are those?) as Jack and Jordan go full silly. And do some really good acting. Obviously.
In real life, Jack Stringer and Jordan Cottle are actors, theatre-makers and silly-boys based in Bristol and Weston-Super-Mare. They’ve trained and collaborated together for over a decade, with achievements including 5-star sell-out original shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, founding and running a successful emerging artists cabaret, and also Jack has a cycling proficiency certificate (level two).
Check out a filmed version of the Bobsled sketch from ‘A Sketch Show’. Filmed May 2022
“The pair are beautifully in synch and rarely miss a beat. They are not afraid to leave big pauses for comic effect, there is a perfect mix of short, sharp, surreal, silly snippets and longer more involved sketches, albeit equally as silly. There is usually the ‘straight’ man to support the silly one in most comedy pairings, but in this partnership, they are both as daft as each other. I’m not sure what it says about my stupid sense of humour, but I was laughing so loudly during their ‘Pine nut’ song that I am sure I was distracting those around me.” Weston Super Mum
THE ONE AND ONLY FIONA BATTISBY 7.30. p.m. AGE: 14+ TICKETS £15 18th and 19TH NOVEMBER
Written by Briony Waite, performed by Fiona Battisby with musical accompaniment by Freya Evans
Marie Lloyd started treading the boards at the age of 15, developing a singing repertoire that combined a mixture of arch sauciness with lyrical intensity. Hailed as the One and Only Queen of Music Hall and enjoying huge popularity worldwide, Marie had an equally colourful life off stage.
When she married for the third time to a younger and increasingly violent man, her health deteriorated. She collapsed during her last performance on stage, ironically singing ‘A Bit of a Ruin that Cromwell Knocked About a Bit.’
This is her story.
Audience comments from Burdell’s Yard in Bath where it was on in December:
‘Anyone who misses The One and Only is missing out. We absolutely loved it – we variously laughed, sang and cried all the way through. The acting, music, lighting and costumes are all first-class. I genuinely can’t wait to see it again.’
‘We travel as Marie’s confidante as her career grows, succeeds and fades and bear witness to her often turbulent love life. Great fun, amazing songs and saucy East End wit – what’s not to love?’
‘An absolutely stunning and faultless performance. Totally believable. Wonderful to know Marie’s life story. Superb piano accompaniment too!’
‘This is one of the best theatrical productions I’ve experienced in years! Acting, singing and piano accompaniment were all excellent, and the story of Marie Lloyd was beautifully put together to make a fascinating, amusing and moving narrative.’
SET MENU – GEORGE EGG 7.30. p.m. AGE: 14+ TICKETS £15 25th NOVEMBER
George Egg award-winning stand-up who makes real gourmet food live on stage. In the last half-decade, he’s toured three shows ‘Anarchist Cook’, ‘DIY Chef’ and ‘Movable Feast’ and cooked over a thousand dishes, all of them in front of a live audience, none of them with a kitchen. This is the best bits, the most delicious jokes and the funniest food. Three meals, cooked live and you even get to try it at the end. As seen on Steph’s Packed Lunch (C4), and heard on Loose Ends (BBC R4) and online with over 5 million views.
“Hilarious, yet informative and interesting at the same time, George Egg’s timing is impeccable as he moves effortlessly cooking each dish from scratch, with the most unlikely of appliances, peppering the delivery of his cooking skills with a series of jokes, comical observations and culinary tales.” Kerry Teakle the Wee Review
“A culinary Billy Bailey with chopping boards instead of keyboards.” The Scotsman
“A hilarious show with surprisingly good food.” The Times.
Check out this clip from George’s Anarchist Cook Showreel
MURDER, SHE DIDN’T WRITE – DEGREES OF ERROR 7.30. p.m. AGE: 14+ TICKETS £15 26th NOVEMBER
Degrees of Error are an improvised theatre company based in Bristol, focused on producing improvised dramatic and comedic work. Their improvised Murder Mystery play Murder, She Didn’t Write has toured the UK and enjoyed sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 2013.
Collectively, Degrees of Error represent some of the best improvisers in the South-West and are currently the in-house company of the Bristol Improv Theatre.
Degrees of Error presents an unplanned, unscripted and never before seen murder mystery play based on your suggestions. Watch as the dramatic events you and your fellow audience have helped to create unfold live on stage! The motives are mounting and the evidence is everywhere … but will you guess whodunnit before the suspects are called to the drawing room?
Check out this interview with Lizzie for the Bedfringe in 2017
“Absolutely fantastic… incredibly clever… laugh out loud funny… a truly entertaining and hilarious take on the murder mystery and absolutely not one to miss.” Voice Magazine
“Had me howling with laughter… the Murder, She Didn’t Write troupe are mesmerizingly impressive.” Arthur’s Seat
“This show is everything a fringe comedy should be: original, professional, and very, very funny.” EdFringe Review
“Live action Cluedo, with more laughs.” Fringe Guru
MORE THAN A FELINE – LIVING SPIT 7.30. p.m. AGE: 10+ TICKETS £15 12th to 30th DECEMBER
Told entirely through song and rhyming couplets, Living Spit’s new version of Puss ’n’ Boots promises all the usual frolics, festivities and foolishness, plus the answers to such burning questions as:
Is Stu’s Irish dancing actually any good?
How are they going to do the Ogre?
And what’s the refund policy?
A small amount of strong language and awful puns.
“So, there’s this bloke. He’s stony broke. His name is Tristan Sprout,
He can’t afford to pay the rent; the landlord wants him out.
He has a cat called Roger who has several attributes
Of note: He talks and wears a pair of fetching kneehigh boots!
But then they hear a rumour of an Ogre on the prowl?
Can Tristan be a hero? Or will he throw in the towel…?
Stu Mcloughlin, actor and one-half of Living Spit
(the tall one with the big ears and the legs that just won’t quit),
Reckons that a brand-new rhyming show could be the chance
For him to demonstrate his new-found skills in Irish dance!
Howard (he’s the bald one) needs the new show to succeed,
But against his better judgement, he’s reluctantly agreed”
STOP PRESS…. The amazing Bev Rudd will be playing Howard’s part. Get well soon Howard, you’re much missed.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – DAVID MYNNE 7.30. p.m. AGE: 14+ TICKETS £15 8th DECEMBER
David Mynne, veteran Cornish actor and a founder member of Kneehigh, in a one-man performance of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
Spend an evening with Ebenezer Scrooge: a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, clutching, covetous, old miser! Bah!
In their inimitable style, the team that brought you Great Expectations, Dracula and The Odyssey will now take you on a grim (sort of) journey through the dark, dismal streets of Victorian London.
Dickens’ original words with added silliness. Silliness? Bah!
Celebrate the festive season with a mesmerising one-man performance of Charles Dickens’ timeless, transformative story: A Christmas Carol. Bah!
“An innovative, atmospheric and, at times, humorous take on a beloved Christmas classic. Well worth a watch!” BH Living
“In his current production, Mynne takes on the cast of dozens, all the while adding delightfully extra humbug to this classic Christmas tale.” Splashmags
“A Christmas Carol was beautiful – apparently simple theatre with just one actor but you go home remembering a cast of dozens! He is a genius.” Director The Plough Arts Centre
CHRISTMAS TROLLS – THE LITTLE THINGS THEATRE 2.00. p.m. and 4.00. p.m. AGE: 4+ TICKETS £8 18th DECEMBER
The Little Things are a collective of creatives living and working in Bristol. They are predominantly made up of Theatre and Film graduates from the University of Bristol. They have sprung from a common goal of wanting to create theatre that is fresh, imaginative and unique, with a particular focus on engaging children in current topics.
They create performances that feed the imagination, nourish the soul and inspire the mind, presenting current topics to young audiences in a clear and exciting way.
Christmas Trolls is a lively and interactive show, inspired by the book by Jan Brett. It tells the story of two mischievous trolls, Tig and Mig, who have just lost their jobs at the Clifton Suspension Toll Bridge. Down on their luck, the Trolls can’t work out how to have the Christmas they wanted… Seeing Sigrid’s house, full of laughter, presents and decorations, the Trolls decide (with the help of a hedgehog!) to steal Christmas from her. Fortunately, Sigrid has a kind heart and when she discovers what they have done she decides to share her Christmas with them. Christmas Trolls is a joyful festive performance ideal for school audiences. With plenty of songs, snow and silliness; there is also the chance for children to connect with the deeper story about how unemployment can affect families, especially at Christmastime.
This is a brand new Christmas show this December 2022 which is touring venues across the South West so as yet there are no reviews but as soon as I find one I’ll put it on Facebook @FACESofclevedon.
What a season! Absolutely inspirational!
If you’d like to know more about Theatre Shop, they are on:
Their address is Unit 5 Queen’s Square Clevedon BS21 6HX and they are in the pedestrianised square behind B&M Bargains, tucked between Superdrug and Boots.