Feedback!

Well, now that we’re just about ready to send a summary of our activities over the last few months whizzing back to the Arts Council, we thought we’d share with you a few choice comments from our audience feedback forms. We’re not big-headed, we just appreciate that our audiences have excellent taste!

“A very well written, well produced and well performed piece.”

“Very professional and very enjoyable.”

“We loved it! Beautiful.”

“Sam Redway’s performance of Branwell was superb – he did “drunk” very well indeed. I particularly liked Caroline Lamb’s Emily, stomping on set in search of powder for her musket.”

“Fantastic. Brilliantly written. Moving.”

“Totally absorbing!”

“Exceptional performance from all – well written and acted. Tears and laughter – well done!”

“A detailed and honest performance with a multitude of emotions portrayed. A beautiful insight into the lives of such a notable literary family, the sorrow and hardships behind the brilliance!”

“Original and dynamic storytelling. Beautifully written and acted. Thanks.”

“A terrific play, actors & script. More please!”

“Brilliant play. I look forward to more.”

Congratulations to Team Percy for achieving these brilliant results, and many thanks to our audiences for your overwhelming support! In response to those calls for more, do keep an eye on this site, along with our Twitter account (@DTKManc) and our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DangerousToKnow) as the New Year will bring new opportunities for us, and new ways for you to get involved!

Thank you all once again. Happy Holidays, and we’ll see you next year!

Sam Redway - IMG_4105ED

Advertisements
Feedback!

First review is in!

On Wednesday night, Dangerous To Know opened our doors to the public for the first performance in our run of The Dissolution of Percy and, as is always nerve-wracking, we invited press and reviewers to tell us what they thought of our work!

Brontë Sisters

Now Frank Hill, a reviewer for RemoteGoat, has delivered, and we are absolutely thrilled.

Under the heading “Gripping, original Branwell Brontë drama”, he writes:

“There’s a painting of the Brontë sisters, posed woodenly around a small table, with a figure standing behind them smeared out of all recognition. This figure was the artist himself, their brother Branwell, who had defaced his own image in some bout of self-loathing. As a student I was fascinated by this ghost-like image hovering ominously in the background, so was particularly interested to see a new play at The Kings Arms, Salford where Branwell takes centre stage.

I knew Caroline Lamb’s drama (‘The Dissolution of Percy’) was going to be interesting when one of the sister’s asked where her powder was. Instead of entering with objects from her boudoir she came onstage carrying a gun. The material in question was gunpowder. That’s when I realised this was going to be an unusual perspective on the Brontë women and their much-neglected-by-history brother.

The play began at an unusually stable period in Branwell’s life when, thanks to the efforts of his sisters, he had obtained a post as tutor to the Robinson’s family’s son. All seemed well, but it soon became clear that he had not forsaken his spendthrift, drunken ways and stories of his behaviour reached the ears of Mr. Robinson. Although not one to smooth over troubled waters, Branwell managed to retain his position, only to then embark on an affair with the mistress of the house, Lydia.

Branwell was a dreamer, trapped in the fantasies of childhood stories and a great admirer of Lord Byron. But without that poet’s panache and fame, being ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ could be disastrous. Detached from reality, narcissistic, and drawn to alcohol and laudanum, it became the task of his sisters to save Branwell from himself. But had he already reached the point of no return?

The play is about unfulfilled ambition, self denial and desire. It’s well written and tightly structured with fine performances (I’m sure the few occasions when actors spoke over each others lines will soon be ironed out).

Alison Flevill, Marcella Hazell and Caroline Lamb brought Jane (Ed. read “Emily”) , Anne and Charlotte vividly to life and Jane Allighan’s sensitive portrayal of Lydia showed a character desperate to survive in a world where wealth and poverty were frighteningly close neighbours – particularly for women in Victorian England.

Sean Fitton provided solid support with characters ranging from Rev. Brontë to Branwell’s drinking partner John.

But the play stands or falls on the portrayal of Branwell himself, and Sam Redway gave a riveting performance as the vulnerable, selfish, frustrating artist. To give just one example of his skill – I have seen some terrible interpretations of drunkenness on stage – by some renowned actors. It’s extremely difficult to do well and Sam managed to pitch it perfectly, getting the nuances just right. A great performance throughout, and director Helen Parry must take credit for that.

An unusual subject then, focussing on characters usually ignored by history and thereby also creating a new perspective on the famous sisters themselves. Excellent.”

Thank you, Frank! It’s wonderful to get this type of feedback for an inaugural production. We hope our work continues to impress for the rest of the run, and for the play’s future life!

If you would like tickets to the production, we highly recommend booking in advance via the link below.

BOOK NOW!

First review is in!

Brilliant News!

George Hill Photography (41_

The Dissolution of Percy has been offered full Arts Council funding!

Book your tickets to see it in all its glory at The Kings Arms Theatre in Salford or Parkside Social Club in Haworth!

CLICK HERE to book your tickets in advance, or risk missing out!

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates!

Brilliant News!

West Yorkshire: Two in One!

Well, it was only a matter of time before we were back in Brontë country!

After a very early start, we found ourselves in the lovely little town of Morley, in the very well-kept and well-attended library. Our thanks go to Simon Zonenblick, who offered us the opportunity to take the readings there. Simon is currently working on a documentary film about Branwell Brontë’s time on the Manchester to Leeds railway at Sowerby Bridge and Luddenden Foot, so please keep your eye out for it! Visit the website here or follow @CaterpillarPoet on Twitter for updates.

The audience filtered in – a chatty, upbeat lot who helped themselves to tea and coffee and seemed very much up for a morning of entertainment! The event went swimmingly, and the ladies and gentlemen in attendance didn’t make it easy for us to leave afterwards, indulging Caroline’s penchant for being quizzed in Brontë trivia to the point where she had to be virtually dragged away when it was time to go! Interest certainly seemed to be piqued by the biographical side of the talk, and we enjoyed giving recommendations for various books on the Brontë family. Our sincerest thanks go to the staff of Morley library who rounded up such a superb crowd and really made us feel at home. It’s definitely not goodbye forever!

IMG_0028

Alas, however, we did have to go, and our next destination was a famous one. We travelled along the Thornton Road to Haworth, retracing the route Caroline took on her 130 mile walk three months ago and doubtlessly the one taken by the young Brontës when they moved to the town in 1820. We were starving upon arrival, but that was easily and comprehensively fixed by a brief trip to Cobbles and Clay, the wonderful art cafe that hosted one of our readings in June. Tuscan Bean Stew, Bean Burritos and an absolutely divine warm sticky apple cake were very much enjoyed!

IMG_0029

After that, we paid a visit to the always atmospheric and affecting Parsonage Museum, examined the original bullet holes blasted by Patrick “If I Hit Anyone In The Churchyard They’ll Already Be Dead” Brontë in his own church tower, and paid a quiet little visit to the memorial above the Brontë crypt. After all, it was quite a special day.

IMG_0030
A faint rainbow ends on the moors.

24th September, 1848, marked the sad day of Branwell Brontë’s death at the age of 31. 167 years later, we were on our way to read work by himself and his famous sisters at Ponden Hall, one of their favourite childhood haunts and the site of some of their happiest memories and most intense inspiration. It is likely to be one of the properties that inspired Emily’s Wuthering Heights as well as the probable template for Darkwall, an affluent home mentioned multiple times in the Brontë children’s Angrian saga.

IMG_0031

The evening was beautiful and calm, and the house was warm and homely. We were safely shut away from the ghosts that many say wander its grounds. (We’ll be reading there on Halloween though – let’s see what happens then!) We were very pleased to see that the Collections Manager from the Brontë Parsonage, Ann Dinsdale, had come along to see what we were up to! Again, we really enjoyed performing the readings, but what turned a fun night into an excellent one was the exemplary spread laid out by Ponden resident and owner, Julie Akhurst. No fewer than FOUR cakes – including a traditional Victorian “seed cake” flavoured wonderfully with caraway, as well as scones, sandwiches and tea brewed the proper Yorkshire way graced the table and the guests tucked in heartily! However, the evening was not over, and Julie then took us on a tour of the ancient house. Utterly spoiled, we were treated to a glimpse of the famous “Box Bed” room from Wuthering Heights and the library that allowed the young Brontës to further develop their love of reading.

Another fabulous day sharing the works of the Brontë family with other enthusiasts had certainly worn us out, but it’s not over yet! We’re at Scarborough Library on Thursday 1st October, then we’ll retrace our steps to Cowan Bridge to perform a Jane Eyre-themed reading in the famous Clergy Daughters’ Schoolhouse – the template for Lowood School in Charlotte’s classic novel – on Wednesday 21st October, and finally we’ll be back at Ponden Hall for our eerie Halloween event!

Watch this space for more information, and take a moment to remember poor tragic Branwell, 200 years old in 2017. See our original production about the end of his life in Salford and Haworth this November.

West Yorkshire: Two in One!

Over to York

Yesterday was a really beautiful day, and I’m glad I mad the most of it by heading over to York, one of the most beautiful cities I can think of!

IMG_0024

I started off by creating the cover of my next folk/grunge/indie album on the city walls: IMG_0013

I’d come on a really good day – it was the York Food Festival and the whole city smelled delicious.

IMG_0017

To distract myself from my only weakness – food – I entertained myself by indulging my other weakness – old stuff. Ok, I have two weaknesses. But York is fab for antiques, and look at this!

IMG_0019
Seen in the window of an armour shop. An armour shop. Let that sink in.
IMG_0022
A nice little collection of weaponry for the discerning 18th/19th century shopper.

Once I’d messed about enough, I headed over to my venue for the evening. The library, York Explore, is absolutely superb, with oak-panelled events spaces, interactive whiteboards, a cafe, full seasonal programmes of events and, of course, a staggering collection of books, archives, records… I really enjoyed myself there!

IMG_0001

And they actually gave me my own little room to prepare in! Now, I’m not going to get too big for my boots and call it a “dressing room”, but…

IMG_0027 (1)

York is always a lovely day out, and this was a great way to end it. The readings went very well, and the audience members had some really interesting questions at the end. Citing Branwell’s influence on his sisters’ literary interests at an early age, as well as their later habit of drawing on a few of his experiences as a basis for happenings in their work, one lady asked whether I thought there would BE a Brontë canon if it wasn’t for their brother. A question without a sure answer, as we knew, but an interesting one to consider. I responded that I like to think there would have been, though it would be very different, particularly in the case of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

We’ve only a couple more readings to go – one at Ponden Hall in Haworth tomorrow (email talks@ponden.force9.co.uk to book!), and one at Scarborough Library on 1st October.

Following these, we’re back at Ponden with a great set of readings for Halloween. You can bring your own ghost story, enjoy a delicious autumnal feast and snuggle up by the flickering fire before an atmospheric tour of the ancient house. Again, email talks@ponden.force9.co.uk to join in!

We’ll hopefully see you at one of our upcoming events, or you can come along to our production, The Dissolution of Percy, which is in Salford and Haworth this November.

Now we need to hurry off and prepare for our trip to Haworth tomorrow, so, in the words of that big girt church someone stuck in the middle of York:

Video: Bong Bong For Now

Over to York

More exciting news on the way!

First, an apology.

Artistic Director Caroline was just returning from a lovely holiday and fully intended to give the low-down on our fab event at Wardle & Jones bookshop in Scarborough when disaster struck. Her trusty communicator/recording device/life-source, made by a company christened after a fruit that will remain nameless, broke. For the third time. So no lovely pictures or Palme d’Or winning videos quite yet, but they are soon to come. Watch this space. Suffice for now to say that the event went very well, and numerous people left newly intrigued about the life of Anne Brontë, and determined to read her work. The shop itself is a gorgeous, cozy little place on Bar Street that sells brownies so delicious they bring a tear to the eye. Highly recommended. Again, further details to come when we can do them justice with still and moving visuals!

HOWEVER, we have some BIG news about our new production coming up this November that we are bursting to tell you! Keep your eyes peeled and get booking for our productions in Manchester and Haworth as soon as you can!

Pillar Photo Cropped Pillar portrait

More exciting news on the way!

Haworth is where the heart is!

Of course, with all this running around the North, there was no way we’d miss out the familiar Brontë staple – their lifelong home, Haworth!

Our friends at Ponden Hall, an old haunt of the Brontës, reputedly the model for numerous elements of Emily’s Wuthering Heights and many other works by the family, are hosting us for not one but TWO fantastic events.

George_Hill_Photography__(61_[1]

The first is our Brontë Readings, taking place on 24th September at 6pm to mark the 167th anniversary of the death of the only male Brontë sibling, Branwell. Hear excerpts of beautiful poetry and vivid storytelling interspersed with discussion about the famous family’s lives, enjoy some truly excellent food (We’ve sampled it. It’s gorgeous.) and experience a tour around the ancient house where you might learn some of its many secrets!

Halloween poster

We’re back at Ponden on Halloween night at 7pm for an evening of some of the more spine-tingling excerpts from the Brontë canon. You can enjoy a sumptuous Halloween feast, hear creepy stories from Ponden’s long history, take a tour (see THAT box-bed and window) then sit around the crackling fire to share your own eerie tales. You are welcome to bring your own wine!

Booking in advance is vital. Call 01535 648608 or email talks@ponden.force9.co.uk for further details and to book for either or both of the events.

Haworth is where the heart is!