Friday 15 July 2011

Tour Dates

Friday 14 October 2011 7.30pm
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre

Thursday 1 September 2011 7.30pm
Hull Truck Theatre

Friday 8 July - Sunday 10 July 2011 7.45pm
Southbank Centre, London

Friday 1 April 2011 8pm
The Carriageworks, Leeds

Tuesday 30 November 2010 8pm
Lincoln Drill Hall

Thursday 11 November 2010 8.30pm
mac, Birmingham

Friday 1 October 2010 8pm
Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham

Thursday 4 & Friday 5 March 2010 8pm
SPRINT Festival, Camden People's Theatre, London

Friday 26 February 2010 8pm
The Junction, Cambridge

Wednesday 17 February 2010 2pm
The Playroom, Nottingham Playhouse

Wednesday 3 February 2010 7.30pm
University of Chester

Thursday 3 December 2009 7.30pm
The Basement, Brighton

Friday 20 November 2009 8pm
Double bill with Kings of England
greenroom, Manchester

Monday 9 November 2009 8pm
Double bill with Kings of England
Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster

Friday 30 October 2009 7.30pm
Arnolfini, Bristol

Thursday 8 October 2009 8pm
Colchester Arts Centre

Monday 24 August – Saturday 29 August 2009 12pm (Midday)
Theatre Workshop Scotland, Edinburgh

Saturday 18 July 2009 8pm
D├ęda, Derby

Tuesday 26 / Wednesday 27 May 2009 7.30pm
BURST Festival, Battersea Arts Centre, London

Thursday 12 February 2009 1.30pm / 7.30pm
The Point, Eastleigh

Tuesday 24 February 2009 7.30pm
Alsager Arts Centre

Friday 5 December 2008 7.30pm
Saturday 6 December 2008 7.30pm
Theater Frascati, Amsterdam

Thursday 23 October 2008 7.30 pm
Leeds Met Studio Theatre

London Literature Festival - Review

It was not the hills but the Spirit Level that was alive with the sound of music during an entertaining performance of The Post Show Party Show by turns hilarious and poignant, in which award-winning writer and performance artist Michael Pinchbeck, with his mother and father, recreates the post-show party at which his parents met after an amateur dramatic production of The Sound of Music. This performance is complete with its own unique interpretations of that classic soundtrack which filled the childhoods of so many.

“We are renacting this for the first time tonight”, said the father, “We have reanacted it before but not in this way”, and indeed the performance wonderfully brought out the sense intrinsic in theatre – in contrast to film – that each show is a unique performance. ”I have confidence in confidence itself”, say the duo, and this is indeed a confident performance. With only three actors, the intimacy of theatre is used to atmospheric effect as the blood-red lighting creates the sense of a reality bathed in the hues of memory.

There’s a sense that the “post” in the title also refers to the post-modern techniques used to great effect in the show, including the awareness of audience, who are brought in through direct questions to us: “Would you like to see us recreate the postshow party without words?” and “Are you thinking?”. They stop to reflect upon the progression of the narrative, pausing halfway to consider what has been and what is still to come whilst towards the end it is commented: “we are standing in the wings of the story”.

As the show races through scenes and songs interpreted from the Sound of Music, particularly powerful ones are ‘scene 8, ‘Climb Every Mountain’. “Follow every rainbow until you find your dream”, sees father racing around son as he clutches his guitar. A synopsis of “The Sound of Music” details the novice young nun Maria arriving at her new employer’s to find tension between the children desperate for their father’s love and attention.

The actors make comically effective good use of the available props: “Climb every mountain”, for example, sees chairs stacked three high which the son climbs, chairs which are then dismantled and used in a counting game to “do ray me fah”.

“This is a map of the present on the stage of the past” says the son, whose mother Vivienne (Michael’s mother and Tony’s wife) has a cameo speaking part. There is a gentle nostalgia brought out in the lyrics they select to to sing: ‘somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good”.

In the final act, “So long, farewell”, the intimacy of the show is brought out brilliantly as many of the audience members get a personalized farewell. The lights dim to leave a single spotlight illuminating a guitar, emphasizing the profound effect music has on memory, music which lingers pleasantly long after this performance is over.

Anita Sethi, London Literature Festival blog

Monday 15 November 2010

Creative Nottingham - Review

Yesterday at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) in Birmingham, who amazingly have already hit 500,000 visitors in six months since reopening, I experienced Michael Pinchbeck’s Post Show After Party a playful interactive show where Pinchbeck performs with his parents, jumping backwards and forward in time drawing on a real life situation from 1970. The real life scenario is a post show party where his Dad met his Mum after an amateur performance of the Sound of Music. It’s cleverly delivered and picks up on the new wave of audience expectation. Today audiences increasingly want to be more than being a spectator. There is a growing shift in roles and identity. Choice, distraction and purpose is blurring and growing. Audiences are shifting to becoming producers of their own work, inspired perhaps through the democratising of society through the internet, technology and UK’s vibrant arts and cultural scene. Pinchbeck’s unconventional performance takes this risk and plunges, experimenting with the fourth wall. We must protect such excellence and risk I’ve drawn on above and therefore not as an artistic landscape homogenise to mainstream expectations or lose investment on what is really working and growing.

Creative Nottingham

The weasel under the cocktail cabinet - Review

The Post Show Party Show sees Michael and Tony Pinchbeck, his father, investigate how the latter met the former’s mother Vivienne, also appearing as their prompt, at a post show party in 1970.

With the original show having been The Sound of Music it is only right that this performance is also shaped around the same soundtrack; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s songs unerringly camp and kitsch with many phrases commonplace are wittily used by the actors – Indeed, how do you solve a problem like Maria? Even the form of the songs is well known and this is expertly subverted in Do-Re-Mi where the performing von Trapps’ rounds of song are transformed into a motif about Tony Pinchbeck’s tongue-tiedness when asking Vivienne whether she needed a lift home. This cleverness pervades the whole event: the Shloer, presented to each entering audience member with a careful insistence that it was sparkling grape juice, is wonderfully observed, encouraging those watching into fully partaking in the pseudo-post show. The man-made mountain too, complete with snow storm, is a lo-tech gem and evokes the same flurry of flakes created in a tourist knick-knack. The presentation of artefacts from both then and now again is a wonderful device to give both worlds a physicality, the simple difference of showing an LP and a CD demonstrates forty years passing very skilfully.

This is a show with great personal depth but is overly complex in its dealings with some of the past-present relationships. The mapping of the Lincoln theatre’s back-stage spaces felt extra, it was impersonal and didn’t translate. It was the memories of personal moments which gave the piece real heart and its core idea, a life created from a meeting where another ended, is genuinely poetic. It is rare to see a show with such a tangible personal link to all involved and this is one which tells this in an interesting and imaginative way, neatly moving between explorations like the record between the tracks or from Do to Re to Me.

In these two shows, which beautifully consider the relationships we have with all those close to us, it is wonderful to see them performed by these small ‘family’ ensembles and even better to watch them together as double-bill. Whilst both do well as stand alone pieces, as a pair they combine to create a special evening which allows you to consider what friends and family have done or will do for you and more personally what you would do for them.

The weasel under the cocktail cabinet ****

Tuesday 9 March 2010

British Theatre Guide - Review

As an opener to the Camden People's Theatre's 2010 Sprint Festival these two works could not have been more of a contrast in concept. The Post Show Party Show by Michael Pinchbeck recreated the minutiae moment his parents met at an After Show Party with charm, wit and the most deadpan, ironic 1970's humour you will ever experience in 55 minutes. GuruGuru (by Ant Hampton in collaboration with Joji Koyama and Isambard Khroustaliov) involved only five audience members who entered a room and follow instructions from a set of headphones each, and explored the idea of our socially conditioned responses to situations.

In the first piece, The Post Show Party Show, writer Michael Pinchbeck performs with his father and mother. Dressed identically in brown shirts and black trousers, father and son set out stools in perfectly taped white boxes on the floor in what becomes a kind of rather beautifully choreographed OCD dance. They are recreating an ill-fated party after an amateur dramatic production of The Sound of Music in 1970, where a performer died, but his parents started the journey that would produce not only Michael but also this show. This is, as Michael says, 'the story of how he came to be'. While father and son perform, in the background is the rather serene and exquisite presence of his mother, who, while looking extremely nun-like all in black, has the position of technician, like some benign god who flicks the switches of the lighting board and controls the sound.

Playing with time, humour and turning Edelweiss into the delightful 'Ill advice', the sixteen scenes correspond to the different songs of the musical and each one gets fascinatingly reconstructed into different ways of looking at this eventful evening forty years ago. Keeping flat-toned voices, which is at first disconcerting but becomes endearing, we hear that father Tony 'was a nazi and she was a nun', and all three performers effortlessly win you over with their non-performative, surreal performance. While the mind at first boggles at the multi-faceted perspectives of a moment (told through the eye of The Sound of Music, as it were) the heart rejoices in this simple and complex story of 'girl meets boy' distorting 'time and space'. What could be more straightforward?

If nothing else, fans of The Sound of Music will love this wonderfully ironic twist on their favourite show, and anyone else will simply be charmed by the beauty of a family under construction in the past and still creating today.

British Theatre Guide

Friday 15 January 2010

Cambridge Tab - Review

The concept of this play is that Pinchbeck’s parents met in an amateur dramatic production of The Sound of Music, at the post show party. This ‘show’ is about the ‘post show party’ – hence the name. There are also clever other meanings you can get from the title, which I will leave you to consider quietly. Pinchbeck’s parents, along with the man himself, are the only performers; onstage throughout – Dad acting (more on this later) and Mum teching. The parents are lovely (or profoundly cruel people with the talent for appearing innocuous that is unique to the seasoned sociopath). The plot is simple – at the party, the post show party, the male actors, who have had little to do in the production, sing songs parodying the musical. Edelweiss becomes Idle Vice, for example. One of the men collapses mid-song, and eventually dies. The party called to a halt, Pa Pinchbeck takes the future Ma Pinchbeck home and they share an intimate kiss. Michael is pre-conceived.

The concept is an interesting one – the equivalent of a found poem. Much of the playwright’s job has been done for him. However, I’m not one of those people who complain about modern art or the BBC’s liberal Zionist bias etc, so that isn’t really a problem. Art is employment. And the elements of the story were employed quite well. The balletic repetition of the singer’s collapse, for example, and the rich connections between father and son which made for an onstage chemistry of a sort I’ve never seen before. Their moments of interchange were great. Pinchbeck’s father has the charisma of a theatrical knight tempered with an avuncular (ironic I know) humbleness. This actually works very well in combination with his son’s Dave Gorman levels of quiet smugness. I don’t know why I’m being cruel to Michael Pinchbeck – he has written a play about the Bodyline scandal, which is a fantastic thing to do. And he has produced an accomplished piece of event theatre. But I feel no guilt, for some reason.

Perhaps it is because the ideas, chiefly that Garden of Forking Paths, Sound of Thunder (and, if you must, Butterfly Effect) conceit of the present’s shaky contingency on the past, are not taken to any particularly new conclusions. It is personal, but nowhere near enough to be called confessional (not that this is a criticism really; experimental theatre has too many Plaths and not enough ovens). It is a charming curio with aspirations. Noble enough, but ultimately unremarkable. That said, it is worth seeing for the palpable family pride at the curtain call.

Cambridge Tab

Platform - Review

On friday evening I saw Michael Pinchbeck's 'Post Show Party Show'. The story is about Michael Pinchbeck, his dad and his mum: performed by him, his dad and his mum. In it, he and his dad re-enact the post-show party where his parents met in 1970. Kind of.

The show jumps backwards and forwards in time and place. Each of the sixteen scenes is set to a track from The Sound of Music. The show is remarkable to watch, very carefully strucuted, sometimes it seems to be a dance. It is tight yet loose. The story comes through in fragments. Repeated actions and phrases begin to make sense.

It is the story of one night in 1970 that could have faded into obscurity - the post show party of an amatuer dramatics group in Lincoln. Except that two things happened of great significance - the ending of one life and a meeting that would lead to the beginning of another. I was fascinated to watch Michael Pinchbeck and his father Tony on stage. There was a great playfulness between them and their lip-synch was perfect.

I watched the two men, one young, one old, one swift, one stiff - going through the same movements and words. There was a beauty in it. Layers of story are told without words, we are here and now, there and then. It is not the telling of someone elses story but a remembering of their own story. But through attempting to remember it becomes something new.