Sunday, 29 November 2009

Poles Apart: Done and Dusted, Perhaps Forever...

I'm back! Although not for too long, as I'm off to Milan this week to do some filming, so going to cram in a few blog posts and get this blog-show back on the road after the brief reprise of Poles Apart.

And where to start with Poles Apart?

Very much mixed emotions really, on one hand utterly wonderful to be back on stage, performing live rather than in recorded media, great to be getting laughs and making people think and theatre, for me, is where it is at. I just love connecting with a whole bunch of people in a room.

But I just feel that Poles Apart has run it's course, there is a threatened third and final reprise some time next year in fucking Shropshire of all places, which considering the voodoo that place has on me I doubt it'll be much fun. Plus, Mark and I's working relationship is not in the best of shape and there is a danger that it could bleed into our personal relationship, which would be frankly terrible and a cruel blow. I just feel that after working together since 1997 our time as a double-act has perhaps come to an end.

We did however discuss a new idea for a show where Mark and I run for parliament and I must confess, I am very keen on that but will it put too much strain on us and is that strain and unhappiness worth it, in order to make art? Maybe it is, maybe not...not too sure at the moment.

As for the show itself, we rehearsed briefly, the show coming back surprisingly quick and then developed the new material I had written about the BNP and bashed that into some kind of shape.

We then took it to the Lowry in Manchester and proceeded to sell out the venue and then have a cracking night with far too many highlights but the spontaneous applause Mark got for a some anti-racist thoughts and the Vietnamese couple on the front row getting some applause for being Vietnamese were real treats. It just felt so positive, so joyous, a room full of people coming together, what the show is all about really.

Then to London and the RichMix with a sense of dread, as London is notoriously hard to sell tickets in and the audiences can be tough and aloof. Well, the Friday night turned out to be even better than the Lowry, which we thought impossible, not only were the large audience up for it and engaged they were also willing to go wherever we took them, whether that be dark humour, silly visual gags or serious moments of reflection. It was a cracker! We also got given a category for our hard to categorise show: a comedy seminar. Brilliant!

The Saturday night, what could be the last Poles Apart ever, was a game of two halves really, not that the audience noticed I think (thankfully we sold well again) but we were a bit sloppy and lacking concentration in the first act and every time we clawed it back we let it slip again. We gave ourselves a kick up the arse in the interval and pushed hard in the second act to redeem ourselves and I think we did it, just wish we'd gave it our all in the first half and not been so cack-handed with the work; such moments in front of an audience are priceless, who knows when they'll next occur?

You'll be glad to know that no daft racists turned up, as I expected, because they are all deluded cowards, even though we made it onto a few far-right message boards and forums.

Lots of people turned up to support us, which I am very grateful for and would like to say thank you to everyone that helped promote the show and came to see us; we couldn't have done it without any of you.

Some bloggers have even written reviews, including Rog T with his thoughts, Ellie with hers and Rashbre with his and if anyone else chips in with some words do let me know so I can share it, whether it be good or bad.

And for now, that's it, until tomorrow that is...


  1. I see the new shine to migrants was opened today at St George's Cathedral, Southwark.


  2. It were well good, like. Nice to meet you at last, too.

    I'll be sure to come and see whatever it is you do next! Have fun in Milan.

  3. Glad it went well for you.

    With the current political landscape in the shape it is in, is there any way you can satirise it by standing for Parliament? Of course, you could grab the bull by the horns and stand against those BNP councillor types. But the ruse would be to stand as an independent quoting their more unseemly traits as your manifesto and batting it back at them. Too dangerous, methinks, and you have plenty of life left in you! ;-)

  4. D. Quail:

    An honour and a pleasure to cross paths with a web legend such as yourself, thanks for your support comrade!


    Thanks for that, nice bit of work that.


    Cheers mate, not sure where to run if we do it. I'd prefer to run from where we are from, Nottingham, rather than where we live but not sure if that is a gripping enough story...

  5. Daniel,

    Thanks to you guys for a great evening out. It's interesting reading your thoughts. I know from our own gigs that what you think & what the audience think is often Poles apart (forgive the pun). I sometimes think that an edgy working relationship is the best form, although they always end in tears. I still think my bands best ever show was in Finland at Pub Bastun, where we'd all had a massive bust up, our drummer had quit, but the tour manager refused to give him his passport and money so he had to finish the tour. The shows were electric and he drummed better than ever.

    Life is a strange thing.

  6. Indeed, after the show on Saturday I spoke to numerous audience members and they had no feeling of being short-changed by performer's neurosis are all part and parcel of it aren't they I suppose?

    Life is indeed strange...

  7. Why would you have to do the show if you dont want to? You seem to have creative control, does someone else have control-control? Or is it a case of you dont but your partner does? Or is it a simpler case of you simply dont turn down the chance to do the show and therefore get paid for doing it, which is a very nice thing, indeed?

  8. Dave:

    I wouldn't have to do the show if I didn't want to but their are certain ties that bind in place, not legal, more personal I suppose, that make it a complicated issue.

    And you are right in that being paid to act is a very nice thing indeed.

  9. I thought the show was fantastic on Saturday. I was extremely pleased I came and now hearing that it may be the last time you perform it, I'm even happier I came. I would have had no idea that you felt that it was a sloppy performance in the first half. To me, it just seemed like you were having fun with the material and thats such a fantastic thing to see.

    I'll get a proper post up later on today (hopefully) and I'll let you know when its done.

  10. hey, congrats on Poles Apart at the Rich mix the other night - thought it was a clever and enlightening peice on the immigration issue that's constantly vilified by the right wing press.

    cracking stuff

  11. Beth:

    Thank you so much, it was a real pleasure to meet you Beth and to be clear, we were having fun just we always aim high.


    Thanks John, your words mean a lot, much appreciated indeed.


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