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Aaaaaaaah! on TV: Film 4

December 1st, 2017

aaaaaaaah15vAaaaaaaah! is airing again, mid-December, on Film4.

Check out our huuuuge Aaaaaaaah! news archive here or by clicking on the screenshots to the left.

Aaaaaaaah!: Film 4: Friday 15th December: 2.20am
Writer-director-star Steve Oram’s experimental satire is set in a parallel present in which, despite wearing clothing and developing advanced technology, mankind never attained the power of speech. Instead, people communicate in gestures and non-verbal vocalisms, ranging from grunts to whistles and growls. And this isn’t the only similarity to our great ape cousins, as social and sexual behaviour is closer to that of gorillas or bonobos and is completely shorn of social niceties. The film opens with a grieving alpha male and his companion ritually urinating on a photo of the dominant male’s wife to mark her loss. They then move through woodland and into London’s sprawling suburbs, intent on staking out new territory for themselves…

Starring: Jade Alexander, Julian Barratt, Missa Blue, Holli Dempsey, Marcus Dempsey, Noel Fielding, Toyah Willcox.

Shakespeare Magazine: Toyah as Miranda/QEI

November 28th, 2017

She was Miranda in Derek Jarman’s 1979 film of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Today, Toyah is Queen Elizabeth I in a stage version of Jarman’s Jubilee. (She was also in the original 1978 film)

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Categories: Films, Jubilee, Press Clips, The Tempest, Twitter Tags:

Aaaaaaaah! on TV: Filmfear Interview Special

November 28th, 2017

Filmfear Interview Special: Film 4: Friday 8th December: 2.50am
Features interviews with the talent behind FilmFear 2017′s British premieres: actor-director Alice Lowe talks about Prevenge; actor-director Steve Oram talks about Aaaaaaaah! and A Dark Song; director Gareth Tunley and star Tom Meeten talk about The Ghoul; director Liam Gavin talks about A Dark Song; and director Nick Gillespie talks about Tank 432.

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Harrogate Theatres: Last Laugh Screening

November 21st, 2017

lastlaugh17aWhen your life’s a joke it’s time to stand up!

The story follows a college lecturer, Martin Dawson played by Nick Figgis and his hope to escape from obscurity by having a screenplay made into a film. We see his relationship with his ex-wife and children, his mistress and film agent along with his sometimesoverbearing parents. We witness his eventual breakdown during a cathartic rant on an open mic spot at a local comedy club in front of a packed house. During the performance we see flash backs to a memorable trip to Whitby with all the pathos and comic talent you could expect from Godber as our hero endures an insane weekend with his parents. We have a UK theatrical release scheduled for October2017.

Written by John Godber. Directed by Daniel Coll. Produced by John Danbury and Daniel Coll. Executive Producers: John Godber, Clive Waldron, Sir Rodney Walker and Paul Sewell. Director of Photography Dave Thorp.

With Nick Figgis, Toyah Willcox, Jane Thornton, John Godber, Amy Thompson, Ann Micklethwaite and Paul Lavers.

Original music by Phil Codd, Si Wright and Toyah Willcox.

• Showing at Harrogate Theatre on 8th February 2018. More info here. Visit the Last Laugh Twitter.

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Exeunt Magazine: Review: Jubilee at Royal Exchange, Manchester

November 18th, 2017

exeunt17aNo future: Catherine Love reviews Chris Goode’s furiously intelligent take on the punk movie classic.

Punk is dead. Long live punk.

When director Derek Jarman released Jubilee in 1978, punk had already scaled its zenith and was starting to tumble down the other side. The Sex Pistols had just split. The controversy of ‘God Save The Queen’ had come and gone. Thatcher was lurking just beyond the horizon.

Chris Goode’s version – more of a playful wrestle with Jarman’s film than an adaptation of it – asks what punk means now, four decades after it had its moment. By the time I was aware of punk in the late 90s, it was already nostalgia. Now, in 2017, it’s distant yet present. It’s Johnny Rotten in butter adverts. It’s mohawks and safety pins at fancy dress parties. It’s the Sex Pistols on the radio.

Jarman’s film suggested that everyone would sell out in the end, and punk proved him right. That abandoning of revolutionary stances and evacuating of radical gestures is worried away at throughout Goode’s reimagining. His Jubilee is firmly located in the now – the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s uranium jubilee, according to protagonist Amyl Nitrite (queer performance artist Travis Alabanza) – and picks at contemporary scabs. Is there still any sort of resistance in nihilism at a time when the film’s defiant cry of “no future” feels more and more like a simple statement of truth?

• Continue reading at Exeunt Magazine.

Louder Than War: Jubilee: Manchester, Royal Exchange – Review

November 18th, 2017

louderthanwar17aJubilee, originally a film by Derek Jarman released in 1978 is updated for the 21st century at The Royal Exchange, Manchester. Nigel Carr reports back for Louder Than War.

Denounced by Vivienne Westwood at the time of its original release in 1978 as failing to represent punk, Derek Jarman’s Jubilee was a social statement on the breakdown of modern society. Anarchy ruled, policemen got firebombed and Queen Elizabeth, transported from the sixteenth century by the occultist John Dee, surveyed a decaying dystopian, modern Britain.

Fast forward forty years and ‘nothing has changed’, ‘nothing has worked’. Gloriously narrated by Travis Alabanza’s Amyl Nitrate, the themes are brought bang up to date in a dense, visceral allegory of a still decaying Britain with references as disparate as Brexit, Grenfell – ‘Tower blocks are built to kill the poor’ and ‘Isis, Isis Isis!’

• Continue reading at Louder Than War.

Northern Soul: Review: Jubilee, Royal Exchange, Manchester

November 18th, 2017

northernsoul17aThe 1978 punk film Jubilee set out to shock with violence, nudity and strong language. Nearly 40 years later, the 2017 play features more of the same but shocks for a different reason.

Why is this? Well, thanks in no small part to social media, we’ve become immune. Numb to almost all of it. Punk’s original prophecies have been realised.

At Manchester’s Royal Exchange, ideas, beliefs and concepts are chillingly recited, followed by the angry cry that each “does not work” You can almost hear Johnny Rotten scowl “no future” somewhere in the distance.

Which bring us to Toyah Willcox, the link between old and new. Forty years on from playing pyromaniac Mad in the film, she presides over proceedings (and Derek Jarman’s legacy) as Queen Elizabeth I, surveying a broken Britain terrorised by a generation with no moral compass. Her presence adds just the right amount of gravitas and authenticity to a piece dominated by a young fearless cast.

Travis Alabanza is a charismatic, stand-out as Amyl Nitrate, MC of this horridly exhilarating circus, effortlessly drawing you in with a spiky blend of insults and charm. Comic lines are placed with precision. Despite the bleakness, there are laughs among the splinters. It’s a risky balancing act but the humour translates far more effectively here than it ever did in the cinema.

• Continue reading at Northern Soul.

Unrestricted Views: Jubilee, Royal Exchange

November 18th, 2017

jubilee17f“We should all be angry. Why aren’t we angry all the time?”

Derek Jarman’s classic punk film Jubilee was released in 1977. I hated it. Bewildered and repelled in equal measure, I just didn’t ‘get it’. Forty years on, I find myself sitting in the Royal Exchange theatre to watch Chris Goode’s stage adaptation. Although aware of a definite sense of trepidation, I am also excited at the prospect of a ‘free-spirited, gloriously rude, take-no-prisoners blast of a show’ (as the publicity describes it).

The pre-set establishes an almost magical mood, and the dissonant elements signal that this production intends to be faithful to Jarman’s original, bewildering vision; the theatre is adorned with graffiti and a strange, ghostly, wordless singing echoes around the space. ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (played by Torah Willcox) sits at a desk, peering into a vanity mirror while a shabby mattress lies stranded on the floor nearby.

The first scene involves a Shakespearian exchange between the Queen and her advisor, in which the angel Ariel is invoked and appears on the stairs, dressed in true punk attire and hair-style. Then, as they withdraw to survey what follows from the First Gallery, some 1970s-type streetlights descend from the ceiling and the main characters explode onto the stage; ‘Mad’, toting her gun, ‘Angel’ and ‘Sphinx’ (two brothers) who immediately strip each other naked and roll around incestuously on the shabby mattress, and ‘Crabs’, revelling in a shopping trolley. It is loud and wild and angry and ‘in-yer-face’ – and dares us to be offended or shocked or amused or exhilarated (or all of the above.) So far, so Derek Jarman. But it is the introduction of Travis Alabanza’s ‘Amyl Nitrate’ that brings Jarman’s Jubilee into 2017. Throughout the show, Alabanza delivers some blistering political diatribes, reflecting on last forty years with icy panache and passion. Addressing the audience directly, it is also she who introduces self-awareness into the proceedings, fully acknowledging the irony of this celebration of punk anarchy and vitriol being unleashed on a polite, middle-class theatre audience.

• Continue reading at Unrestricted Views.

Live Art Alive: Jubilee Review

November 18th, 2017

jubilee17gThe interior walls of the Royal Exchange Theatre are densely covered in graffiti. The music is ramped up – this is not Royal Exchange noise levels – this is JUBILEE. The stage is set with Toyah Willcox at her dressing table as Queen Elisabeth I regally pondering the future.

This is 40 years on from her anarchic role as Mads in the original Derek Jarman film. Having seen the original as a young teenager and promptly calling one of the family cats kittens after Toyah this feels like time travel for more than just Elisabeth I. Looking around the actual Royal Exchange  theatre it feels like we could be in a time travel machine. I half expected Amyl Nitrate and her girl gang to seal in the audience with barbed wire and Union Jack flag poles.

This adaptation by Chris Goode is faithful to the original film. The production is brought up to date by references to Cameron, Trump, Brexit and music tracks like Bad Girls by M.I.A but it maintains Jarman’s messy, anarchic “have a go” punk ethic.

• Continue reading at Live Art Alive.

Tameside Reporter: Royal Date for Queen of Punk Toyah

November 18th, 2017

jubilee17mIt’s your last chance to catch Toyah Willcox in Jubilee at The Royal Exchange which shows until Saturday, November 18.

Jubilee has been adapted for the stage and directed by Chris Goode and company from the original 1978 screenplay by Derek Jarman and James Whaley.  The play features legendary punk warrior Toyah Willcox, one of the film’s iconic original cast members who leads the cast as Queen Elizabeth 1 and marks the 40th Anniversary.  Jubilee is more than a play – it is an apocalyptic nihilistic spectacle of the past and future.

The enigmatic Toyah Willcox as Queen Elizabeth 1 time-travels into a contemporary dystopian Britain, observing from the theatre balcony and addressing the spectators with interludes of poetic verse.

Designer Chloe Lamford creates a backdrop of punk anarchy with Union Jacks and graffiti transporting us back to the punk era. Social comment and political references punctuated throughout the production, including the Grenfell Tower tragedy: “Tower blocks are an efficient mechanism for killing poor people”.

• Continue reading at the Tameside Reporter. (Photo © Johan Persson)

The Observer: Jubilee Review – Anarchy in the UK, 2017 Style

November 13th, 2017

jubilee17lWith its ‘no future’ message, Chris Goode’s riotous update of Derek Jarman’s punk film Jubilee rings true

Of course it is meant to be a mess. A coherent, rational or beguiling version of Derek Jarman’s punk picture of England, Jubilee, would be not simply a paradox but stage suicide. Sometimes Chris Goode’s new theatrical version – directed by the writer to mark the movie’s 40th anniversary next year – does feel like a sort of death. “We’ve lost a few people,” Travis Alabanza’s Amyl Nitrate pointed out, looking at the audience after the interval on press night. A bit of me went with them. But the leavers missed something. There are throughout jolts and jokes. And the swifter, more urgent second half has moments that can spin you around.

… It was clever in this anniversary of a jubilee to cast Toyah Willcox – who played Mad in the film – as a witty ruffed-up Gloriana, getting her handy magician John Dee to summon up visions, and towards the end joyously bursting into I Want to Be Free.

• Continue reading at The Observer. (Photo © Johan Persson)

North West End: Jubilee – Royal Exchange, Manchester

November 10th, 2017

nwe17aAnother five star review of Jubilee at Royal Exchange, Manchester – This one by Joe Flynn at North West End.

On the 40th year anniversary of the iconic punk film the Royal Exchange wrench Jubilee squealing and with a knife to its throat into 2017. Exploring political unrest, social inequality via themes of race, ability, sex, gender and class to name but a few, throw in a failed justice system and Jubilee highlights how our modern world has learnt no lessons from history and the real references to today’s world are tragically abundant.

The story is of a murderous subculture gang taking back control of their own desires and delivering their very own flavour of justice. They are surveyed by original Jubilee cast member and punk girl icon Toyah Willcox, playing a time-travelling Queen Elizabeth who is serenely guided by an angel to witness their turmoil and ultimate plight of selling-out. Willcox’s presence onstage was a comforting link to the bygone anarchy of the 70’s and 80’s but didn’t really feel like a crutch; Chris Goode’s adaptation is true to the original but still painfully relevant to 2017.

• Continue reading at North West End.

Jubilee: Toyah’s Message to Derek Jarman

November 10th, 2017

Within the fabric of the set….my hidden message to Derek Jarman“. (Photo © Toyah Willcox)

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Financial Times: Jubilee: A Magnificently Theatrical Punk Apocalypse

November 9th, 2017

ftimes17aJubilee, Royal Exchange, Manchester — a magnificently theatrical punk apocalypse“.

Financial Times (Subscription required to read online)

Upstaged Manchester: Review: Jubilee (Royal Exchange Theatre)

November 9th, 2017

usmanc17aJubilee is a riot. From the slogans spray-painted on to plywood surrounding the Royal Exchange’s in-the-round space to the chaotic way the cast commandeer the stage, it is obvious from the start that this is no ordinary night at the theatre.

An adaption of Derek Jarman’s punk film from the 1970s, Jubilee revolves around Amyl Nitrate (Travis Alabanza) and her loose collective of societal outcasts. As Amyl, Alabanza is a revelation – her heartfelt, angry, intelligent monologues are highlights of the show and I have never witnessed someone engage an audience more skilfully.

Forty years on from starring as Mad in the film, Toyah Willcox plays Elizabeth I. She spends most of the time presiding over the production from a throne on the first gallery with very little to say, but the moments when she does speak allow for welcome periods of calm – something you won’t find anywhere else in the show.

• Continue reading at Upstaged Manchester.