Diss Corn Hall

The DCH Blog

Luke Wright's Stand-Up Poetry Club - A review - Sunday 23rd November 2014
Some of the finest performance poets in the country come to Luke Wright’s Poetry Club, and Friday night was no exception. Yorkshire woman Jemima Foxtrot and Norwich based Martin Figura joined Bungay’s adopted Essex man for another night of verbal gymnastics. Luke Wright was in a usually melancholic mood the Corn Hall’s Stand-Up Poetry Night, at least if his choice of poems is anything to go by. But then, as Luke explained, if it’s miserable, it must be art. Always quick with the self-depreciating quip, he nonetheless had a point. His First World War accounts of the home front in Essex were particularly moving, while his sweetly subversive Christmas poem was clever, poignant, and just the right side of sentimental.

The improbably named Jemima Foxtrot was an elfin force of nature. Using a mix of performance poetry and song, she riffed off her twenty-something lifestyle with a style and precision rarely seen at a poetry night. Whether it was 3am binges, catching the sun come up the next morning, or the perils of internet dating, she spoke with a truly original voice.

Martin Figura commands attention with the ease of an old pro. Positioned somewhere on the continuum between John Hegley and Mark Watson, he offered up an eclectic mix of found words, homages and straightforward silliness. While I enjoyed hearing his inner Cooper Clarke talk about washing machines, it was his thoughts about his daughter that gave the true measure of the man.
By David Vass

Julius Caesar - a review - Friday 21st November 2014
Shakespeare’s essay on political expediency and the fragility of power is notoriously difficult to get right. With an early exit for its eponymous lead, and the closing scenes largely taken up by folk shouting and pointing at hills, it can be a real challenge. It was all the more impressive, then, that Roughcast’s version of this prescient play was so illuminating and compelling.

Credit must be due to director Mark Burridge, who really seems to understand how to present Shakespeare with clarity and precision, drawing from his cast consistent and harmonious performances. As Anthony he struck just the right imperious tone, while Peter Long and Paul Baker were as reliable as ever in the lead roles.

Notwithstanding her minor roles, Cathy Gill commanded the audience’s attention whenever on stage, but the star turn had to be Simon Evans, as a sly, unctuous Cassius - turning this slight man into the Malcolm Tucker of his day.

This production zipped along, making light work of even the play’s tricky second half and its inevitable loss of momentum. Roughcast consistently punches above its weight, and has done so here again, presenting a solid interpretation of this contrary play, with imagination, confidence and verve.
By David Vass

Saturday Club - Little Match Girl Review - Tuesday 18th November 2014
The Little Match Girl presented by Dot and Ethel was the latest feature at the Corn Hall’s Saturday Club. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, with references to some other of his tales such as The Red Shoes, The Little Match Girl features two young women with wild imaginations and how they cope with the loss of their grandmother, (it was a much cheerier performance than it sounds!).

Rather than rely on dialogue, which was scarce, the performers used their physicality to tell the story, with the help of wonderfully nostalgic stop motion animation that recalled Oliver Postgates' programmes such as Noggin the Nog. The younger members of the audience were enraptured by the imagination of the set; at one point the performers created a street from the various boxes, suitcases and lampshades they had. The Little Match Girl was delightful and poignant, and the abstract style of the performance was a treat.

The next Saturday Club performance takes place on 20th December at 11am and 4pm with The Perils of Pinocchio presented by Diss Corn Hall and the Keepers’ Daughter.
By Robbie Sunderland