Friday, 20 May 2016

Socks Shakespeare Edfringe Preview OJS BIrmingham report

A very good preview at the Old Joint Stock in Birmingham last night (May 19) of Socks do Shakespeare. This year's pattern of not-too-many Preview shows, with enough time to write and rewrite inbetween them seems to be working to our benefit.

Last night was part of the OJS's Cabaret Festival and, thanks to the warm weather, didn't draw the biggest crowd ever (30 or 40 punters by the look of it), but they were almost all new to the Socks and thus perfect for trying out new gear and not letting it get off with an easy ride.

It seems we have a lot of good material. And, though it's clear where the structural stuff is needed, we managed to busk it successfully. So we had material that built very well to the "break up" moment of the show just before the finale, but we still need that moment properly written, and we could use running joke and call-back material better woven through, which will come next. Here's the running order from last night with notes.

Audience IN music (brand new) - Edited together montage of Romeo, Henry 5, Two Gentlemen, Loves Labours, As You Like It, King John & Allusion (recorded vocals for Allusion last thing before setting off for gig). Works well, but needs remixing for variable volume and to front-load shorter versions of songs.

Opening gags - Doublet to Hose routine. All good before the song.
I'm A Sock
Shall I Compare Thee - Excellent
That One About (brand new) - Excellent. Applause for punchline.
Met In Theatre - Getting better, still not as good as prop (ad libs to audience about this get lots of laughs, which routine doesn't)
Brush Up Shakespeare - Good
An Actor Prepares (new) - Excellent. Why had I not put this in the show before? First time we've ever done it live and it's perfect.
Hey Nonny Nonny + gags (brand new) - Excellent. Perfect linking routine.
Girls & Boys (shortened) - Good. Got laughs in lots of places for the first time.
King John Rossiter (brand new) - Very good, short but funny
Cymbeline (2nd time out) - Getting funnier, needs rewriting at the start, laughs all come in second half (it is only 90 seconds, 45 of which are excellent)
Insults routine (brand new) - Excellent. Good laughs throughout and good linker.
The Porter - Excellent
Oh Mr Porter - Very good, gets laughs where it should.
Richard III - Parts one and two both now Excellent. For the first time, part 1 was funnier than part 2
(Note: Costumes: By this stage we've hardly used costumes, and they're appreciated when introduced properly. Integrate them better)
Othello - Not so good. By this stage we've built up the speed of the show, heading toward climax, so this piece is now too slow and cluttered.
Iago's Song (speeded up) - Much better. This will go better earlier in the show, with a greatly reduced Othello.
Shakespearian Word Association (brand new) - Very good, will become excellent when it's in the right place.
"Falling out routine"  - busked tonight, needs writing, still worked very well.
Romeo & Juliet - Excellent as always, though parts were a bit messy through sloppiness or laziness. Remember to keep it tight and not lose gags to less-good or indulgent ad-libs.
Sweary Poppins - We'd actually crossed the 60 minute mark, but I felt they deserved a bonus. Show may actually need a closing song (may not though)

All in all a really encouraging preview. Sunday in Brighton (where we already have more advance sales than we ended up with at OJS) will be a good test. Rewriting today.

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre do Shakespeare at the Edinburgh Fringe August 2016 - see the previews in your town!

May 19 - Old Joint Stock Birmingham
May 22 - Komedia, Brighton Fringe
May 28 - Ards Puppet Festival, Newtonards
June 9 - Bridgend 
July 3 - Derby Bar One 2pm 
July 8 - Flavel, Dartmouth
July 10 - Tring Festival 
July 14 - Market Harborough Theatre
July 17 - Sheffield New Barrack Tavern 2pm
July 17 - Greater Manchester Fringe , Kings Arms Salford 7pm
July 21 - Barnes Fringe
July 22 - Bedford Fringe
July 30 - Blaenavon Rhymney Brewery
Aug 3 - 29 - 10.30pm The Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe 

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