Welcome to irrational theatre... producing an eclectic mix of opera theatre established and new.

Lily and Bear at The Bunker

20th / 21st Dec 2018

11.30 and 2 pm.

The Bunker Theatre .London

BOOK HERE

The perfect pre Christmas treat.

Once in a while, along comes the perfect picture book, bearing the hallmarks of a true classic. Lisa Stubbs’ Lily and Bear is one such book, now adapted for the stage with songs with animation and puppets tells a truly magical tale about the give and take of friendship. Lily likes nothing better than to imagine and draw the things she loves. She draws cats and birds, boats and houses, and one day she draws a bear who comes to life. Lily and Bear play pirates, sing, and partake in all manner of bear activities, discovering the joys of sharing along the way.

‘The magical power of invention is at the centre of this warm-hearted story celebrating friendship and sharing’ - Guardian Book Review

CAST
Lily - Catrin Lewis
Bear - Alejandro Lopez-Montoya / Ross Hobson
Puppet operation and narration - Katy Bingham-BestBased on the book by Lisa Stubbs
Published by Boxer Books
Adapted for the stage by Paula Chitty
Direction and production design by Paula Chitty
Music by Jill Priest
Arranged by David Forbes
Animation by Matt Sandbrook
Audiovisual operation by John Anderson
Produced by Lily and Bear Productions
regretfully - due to unforeseen circumstances the pre Christmas shows have been withdrawn.

Winner – Kenneth Branagh Award – Waiting for Hamlet

4TH - 6TH October. 8 pm (sat at 7.30)

Waiting for Hamlet by David Visick

Directed by Paula Chitty

Cast: Elizabeth George/ Edmund Dehn

The old Court Theatre. St Leonards Road. Windsor. AL4 3BL

Waiting for Hamlet by David Visick

Directed by Paula Chitty

Cast: Elizabeth George/ Edmund Dehn

WINNER OF THE 2019 AWARD.

Lost in a wilderness with only an old fool for company . an exiled king plots to regain his kingdom - there's only one problem. He's dead.

Full details here:

http://www.windsorfringe.co.uk/drama-writing-awards-2018.html

Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci Kings Head Theatre

**** 4 Stars Broadwayworld

Directed /designed by Paula Chitty

Kings Head Theatre 14th October

www.kingsheadtheatre.com

Leoncavallo's Pagliacci

**** 4 Stars Broadwayworld

Directed /designed by Paula Chitty

Previously performed at The Arcola Grimeborn Festival, London 30th August - 3rd September 2016

PAGLIACCI, Arcola Theatre, 31 August 2016 by Gary Naylor Sep. 1, 2016 Broadway and West End:

BWW Review: The second opera in Irrational Theatre's double bill is the love triangle (plus one) of Pagliacci, the tale of the clown whose sexpot wife, Nedda, has turned too many heads in the travelling troupe. With echoes of Hamlet's play within a play, the evening's Commedia dell'arte show veers so close to real life, that Pagliaccio/Canio takes off his mask, takes matters into his own hands and tragedy on stage becomes tragedy in real life. Again, there's just David Podd on piano for the music, but he has a chorus to work with this time and singers who appear more relaxed in letting their voices dip and soar, filling the air, thrilling us in a way unique to boutique operas, so close are we to the performers. I've seen upwards of 25 such productions now and the impact of classically trained singers working (at times) within touching distance remains undiminished. Samantha Green's Nedda appears oblivious to her fate, transfixed by her lover, Silvio (a dashing Herbie Hill-Reid), and blind to the scheming of Tonia (Katy Bingham-Best in a gender flipped role), whose infatuation is met with a fatal disdain. A menacing, muscular Randy Nichol delivers his setpiece "Vesti la giubba", as he prepares to play his part in events anchored in both fiction and reality, with some skill, but I missed the strings and this most powerful of arias felt undercooked as a result. …in Italian (supported by very clear surtitles) this is about as accessible as the art form gets and, it has to be said, only opera's reputation for being dicult, demanding or posh stands in the way of anyone wishing to dip a toe in and try the temperature. At £20, it's fantastic value and an introduction to a world that can give anyone who enjoys theatre many years of entertainment. Pop along and see if you don't agree.

Original Cast for Grimeborn 2016/Cast for Kings Head 2018

Randy Nichol / Randy Nichol - Canio

Katy Bingham Best - Katy Bingham Best - Tonia

Pete Martin /Joao Valido Vaz- Peppe

Herbie Hill Reid/Alejandro Montanya Lopez - Silvio

Samantha Green/Samantha Green- Nedda

MD Peter Jones.

Pianists David Podd/ Nia Williams/ Gergely Kaposi

Lighting Bob Grover

Production/Stage Manager Kate Reynolds

The Government Inspector. Highgate / Brockley Jack

A new adaptation of Gogol's great satire

As the lights flicker...
it's 1979 in Worsborough Dale.
A letter arrives.. B@@K below

Upstairs at the Gatehouse / Brockley Jack

The Government Inspector
JULY 11th / 12th - Up Stairs at The Gatehouse. Highgate 

AUGUST - 21st - 25th 7.30 pm Brockley Jack. SE4 

Nikolai Gogol
produced by irrational theatre
adapted by Paula Chitty

As the lights flicker… it’s 1979 in Worsborough Dale.

A letter arrives…

announcing the arrival of a government inspector, incognito, and ready to root out the town’s rampant corruption, which sends the crooked council chairman and his bureaucrats into a panicked frenzy.

A web of lies and bribery follows in this comic satire of a small town’s utter madness, shadiness and self delusion.

Nobody is free from the taint of ravenous self-interest, bureaucracy, buffoonery and more. Their actions are held up to scorn and ridicule in this hilarious yet moral tale. irrational theatre presents a new play, adapted from Gogol’s great satire.

Cast: Bernarc O;Sullivan Fiona Vivian, Richard Wilmot,, Elizabeth George,, Richard Houghton-Evans,, Jack Blue,, Robert Mclachlan,, Kieran Doyle,, John Stivey.

Creatives: Director/Designer Paula Chitty. Adaption - Paula Chitty. Lighting design Adam Brook/ Bob Grover. Production and stage manager Kate Reynolds

Lily and Bear – Broadway Letchworth & Tour

Our charming musical

18 months to 7 years

with puppets, animation and song.

LILY and BEAR returns...

Our charming musical for 18 months to 7 years with puppets, animation and song.

LILY and BEAR returns..

Details here

https://www.broadway-letchworth.com/theatre/whats-on/lily-and-bear

"The magical power of invention is at the centre of this warm-hearted story celebrating friendship and sharing."
The Guardian

Once in a while, along comes the perfect picture book, bearing the hallmarks of a true classic.
Lisa Stubbs’ Lily and Bear is one such book. Lily and Bear has been adapted for the stage with songs, music, animation and puppets. It premiered at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room and has been a sell out at theatres including The Maltings arts theatre and The Abbey theatre, St Albans. Lily and Bear tells a truly magical tale about the give and take of friendship.

Lily likes nothing better than to imagine and draw the things she loves. She draws cats and birds, boats and houses, and one day she draws a bear who comes to life. Lily and Bear play pirates, sing and partake in all manner of bear activities, discovering the joys of sharing along the way.

Ideal for families with children 18 months to 7 years, this wonderful piece of musical theatre will have them singing and dancing along. After the 40 minute show there is a meet and greet with Lily and Bear.

Adapted , directed and designed by Paula Chitty.
Book published by Boxer Books Limited.
Produced by Lily and Bear Productions Limited.
see website for full cast. www.lilyandbearproductions.com

Strauss’ Die Fledermaus

    Set Design for

    Strauss’ Die Fledermaus

    Produced by SACO.

    March 2018 Abbey Theatre 

Mixed Identities, fun tunes and confusion in this charming opera

Directedby John Heath. Designed by Paula Chitty. Conducted by David Ireson

A Triptych of Comic Operas – Kings Head Theatre

an irrational twist”

★★★★   "A trio of talented performers,
wonderful 
production design
and a lovely atmosphere,
well worth seeing"

Reviews

The Stuart Review

The multi-platform review site for books, opera, theatre and film

February 11, 2018

A Triptych of Comic Operas

King’s Head Theatre and Irrational Theatre have put on a trio of rare comedic gems with the same three great cast members who each have a chance to shine. It began with John Whittaker’s one-act opera The Proposal based on a short play by Anton Chekhov. It is about Ivan Vassilevitch Lomov going to the house of Stepan Stepanovitch Chubukov to ask for his daughter, Natalya Stepanovna Chukukov’s hand in marriage.  The problem is that Natalya and Ivan keep fighting over and over again, and Ivan has a bad disposition and keeps getting ill. This is a great first opera to get the audience in to it; it’s a bit slow to start but once it gets going it’s funny and leaves you with a smile on your face. A great farce. Andrew Sparling as Stepan is the highlight of this one. Opera 2 is the shortest opera in the world, a whole 3 minutes and 34 seconds, Peter Reynolds’ Sands of Time, about a couple having a fight whilst making breakfast. I really enjoyed this, it’s short, sweet and funny. Le 66 is a moral tale from Offenbach about not letting money change you (a lotto win is involved). My favourite of the night, it has great music and is wonderfully slapstick (the dancing and the ‘Allo ‘Allo style German accents) whilst also making a good point which is as necessary now as it was when it was first written. Lucy Elston as Grittly and Laurence Panter as Franz were fantastic, Elston in particular has impressive control. I’m really glad that Irrational Theatre decided to put on this triptych of rare comic operas, each is so different and funny with a trio of talented performers, wonderful production design and a lovely atmosphere, well worth seeing as the chance of seeing all three again is pretty slim, especially with such good performers.

A rare and special chance to see these three comic gems performed with piano and flute. Peter Reynolds’s Sands of Time: The Guinness book of records shortest opera on earth at 3 min 34, intended to ‘match the boiling of an egg’. A new comic opera commission by John Whittaker:The Proposal based on an early Chekhov satire and a fun tale of mixed fortunes in Offenbach’s Le 66, performed for the first time in the UK with an English Libretto by Matthew Toogood and Ellen Leather.

★★★★ As I left the theatre I felt like yodelling along with the score, and I’ve not said that since I saw Frank Ifield live in 1984. Pub Theatres

TRIPTYCH OF COMIC OPERAS http://pubtheatres1.tumblr.com/post/170841396082/triptych-of-comic-operas-kings-head-theatre-11 Triptych of Comic Operas King’s Head Theatre 11 and 12 February 2018 “Modern operas with an irrational twist” ★★★★ Irrational Theatre’s Triptych of Comic Operas is just that - a trio of satirical and certainly irrational pieces linked by the relationships of three characters in each opera, and the same three singers who portrayed them. This well constructed, cohesive bill began with an adaptation of The Proposal, originally written by Chekhov in 1888-89. Accompanied on the piano by its composer John Whittaker, it introduced the programme’s two main themes – relationship conflict and wealth. On this occasion, the conflict was predominantly between Ivan Vassilevitch Lomov, sung by Laurence Panteg and the woman he wishes to marry, Natalya Stepanovna Chubukov, sung by Lucy Elston, and concerned the ownership of some land and the comparative quality of the squabblers’ dogs. The role of Natalya’s stoic father was sung by Andrew Sparling. This was perhaps the most absurd of the three pieces, with hypochondriac Ivan constantly protesting that he was going to die. The inclusion of a pretend (invisible) dog was off putting; unfortunately, Natalya sings a song about the dog, so it had to be represented on stage. The second opera, The Sands of Time, is hailed by the Guinness Book of Records as ‘the shortest opera on earth’. Lasting for three minutes and 34 seconds, it was intended to 'match the boiling of an egg’ and 'create a piece which bore the same relationship to opera as a miniature does to a full-length portrait’. Complete with an egg timer to demonstrate the brevity of the piece, the story incorporated an argument over a boiled egg for breakfast, as well as the announcement, by Spalding, that the couple had won the football pools. The third opera, Le 66, was by far my favourite, as – whilst very silly – it was exquisitely sung. Offenbach’s 1856 score showcased the vocal talent of both Panter and Elston; the latter of whom was excellent throughout the evening. Here, as in the previous two operas, Spalding acted both as the linchpin between a young couple - this time Grittly (Elston) and her cousin Franz (Panter), and the catalyst for financial change. As I left the theatre I felt like yodelling along with the score, and I’ve not said that since I saw Frank Ifield live in 1984. Triptych of Comic Operas presented by Irrational Theatre www.kingsheadtheatre.com The Proposal, composed by John Whittaker from a play by Anton Chekhov The Sands of Time, composed by Peter Reynolds to a libretto by Simon Rees Le 66, composed by Jacques Offenbach with a new libretto by Matthew Toogood and Ellen Leather Reviewer Deborah Jeffries is a PhD Researcher at the University of East London and Rose Bruford College. Her thesis is entitled ‘Legitimising the Victorian Music Hall’, and it contests the notion of legitimate versus illegitimate theatre. It also investigates theatre architecture, purpose and licensing. She has worked for Hoxton Hall and Wilton’s - two of the UK’s four operational Victorian music halls, as well as the more modern incarnation, Brick Lane Music Hall. Her MA in Drama from Goldsmiths explores the difference between music hall and variety theatre, and the place of each genre in modern popular culture. She has reviewed music and theatre across the UK for over 30 years.
 
Who said opera had to be stuffy, dense and obtuse? Irrational Theatre presented not one but three miniature one act operas full of frivolity, each as absurd as the last. It may not have been the most refined or sophisticated evening of opera, but its whimsy was infectious. Sometimes fun comes in small packages.
3 Stars  The Gizzler Review
 

It is always a pleasure to see little known works, but you never know quite what you’re going to get. Irrational Theatre came to the King’s Head yesterday evening What it did have was bags of energy, complete with comedy accents, that made the silliness of this charming operette such fun. If they had been able to inject that energy into The Proposal it may have been more engaging.

Reviewed by Anthony Evans. Planet Hugill

You may never get to see them again – so here’s your chance.

11th and 12th Feb - Kings Head Theatre. London  Book Tickets

17th Feb. Abbey Theatre. Hertfordshire Book Tickets

Running time – approx 1 hour 50 including interval


Produced by irrational theatre

Director and Designer – Paula Chitty

Lighting Bob Grover

MD /Pianist Peter Jones and John Whittaker

Flautist: Abi Clark

Cast:

Laurence Panter

Lucy Elston

Andrew Sparling

Home Time. The Space Festival / Kenneth Branagh Award

Home Time ****

Kenneth Branagh Award. Directed by Paula Chitty

The Space Festival . London

'A Triumph' See CV page for reviews 

Full details here: Full details

To Book: Book Tickets

Real life encounters, stuffed animals and twists at the end. An eclectic evening of solo performances where dreams are made and nothing is quite as it seems.

That Wednesday, he hadn’t wanted to go to school. He said he had a stomach ache. I wasn’t having any of it.

In Home Time, Jennifer is waiting for her son to come home, but there’s something she hasn’t mentioned and it’s worse than you can imagine. Runner up for the Kenneth Branagh New Writing award this brilliant piece of work from David Hendon, whose plays have been staged at The Bunker, Southwark Playhouse and the Edinburgh Fringe, is directed by Paula Chitty, previous Assistant Director at The Royal Opera House and performed by Elizabeth George. A power house team and not to be missed.

Full details here: Full details

To Book: Book Tickets

Real life encounters, stuffed animals and twists at the end. An eclectic evening of solo performances where dreams are made and nothing is quite as it seems.

That Wednesday, he hadn’t wanted to go to school. He said he had a stomach ache. I wasn’t having any of it.

In Home Time, Jennifer is waiting for her son to come home, but there’s something she hasn’t mentioned and it’s worse than you can imagine. Runner up for the Kenneth Branagh New Writing award this brilliant piece of work from David Hendon, whose plays have been staged at The Bunker, Southwark Playhouse and the Edinburgh Fringe, is directed by Paula Chitty, previous Assistant Director at The Royal Opera House and performed by Elizabeth George. A power house team and not to be missed.

Reviews


HOME TIME One Festival: Programme C – The Space, London **** Writer: David Hendon / Director Paula Chitty The evening’s most horrific story comes with an almighty emotional punch that carefully sidesteps the sentimental as David Hendon explores the effect of a shock tragedy on a single mother in Home Time. Waiting for her 7-year-old son to return, the mother, played with affecting depth by Elizabeth George, begins to relay the story of her life and how she came to be a parent. Hendon slowly builds the story, first by mining the frustrations of parenthood and the backstory of this little family before walking the audience through the immediate and galling aftermath of the tragedy. George is perhaps a little too calm as she narrates the effect of those moments, but the overall effect of this little play is a powerful one. Review Overview The Reviews Hub Score “”””


Review of The One Festival at The Space

JANUARY 12, 2018 LAST UPDATED: JANUARY 12, 2018 4:30 PM BY Laura Thomas Elizabeth George gave a powerful performance as the harassed single mum Jennifer in David Hendon’s Home Time. Movement and timing were well directed by Paula Chitty, but the play was overlong, both in real time and the narrative arc it covered. Tending toward melodrama, it was a tragic story, but without the cathartic kick of a tragedy. Nevertheless, a compelling and gripping tale well executed. **** Review by Laura Thomas


Frank Kaye (Sardines review) 7th October

Hometime written by David Hendon and directed by Paula Chitty, was a triumph. Someone sat behind me said that we should have stood to applaud and I agree. Elizabeth George, who plays the sole protagonist, Jennifer, trained in both acting and mime and this is the perfect single hander for an actor with those skills. It is impossible to untangle the roles of writer, director and actor in achieving the outcome but that is what great theatre is all about. We are taken on a journey from the joy of a mother at home with a small child, through the mixed blessing of her meeting the father who only lasts a year to the final inevitable tragedy. The structure of the play is crucial, starting and ending in the present but going back in time for the middle sections. The structure is overlaid with beautifully written dialogue and then the genius element is the miming of the story. After about ten minutes I began to find the mime a bit distracting but the shift to a night club with appropriate music which ended with a perfectly timed crash and then the ultimate recognition that all this activity was the way that Jennifer coped with the loss resolved my concerns. The beauty of the writing, acting and direction was the way that we were given pictures of the many characters through the vivid descriptions. Ffion and her father stick in my mind especially when the father says he will “send a car” to pick up his seven-year old from the scene of a tragedy. Modern theatre often foregrounds objects, giving them equal status with actors. This play not only has some very simple objects – a red fire-engine, an ironing board, children’s’ clothes but also some vibrant images inserted into our imagination such the green fire-engine drawn by the little boy – which begins and ends the play. We also saw Jennifer laying out clothes on the floor as representations of her child and her schoolfriends. This last would work so much better in a studio theatre with raked seating.

Operas – Arcola Theatre and White Bear Theatre.

Menotti. Sullivan. Norland.

Directed and Designed by Paula Chitty

Arcola Theatre. 24.25.26 Aug

Kings Langley 6th/7th Sept

Cast Sheet https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/dalston-area-guide

The Telephone, or L'Amour à trois is an English-language comic opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti . Ben bearing a gift, comes to visit Lucy at her apartment; he wants to propose to her before he leaves on a trip. Despite his attempts, Lucy is occupied with interminable conversations on the telephone.

Lucy – Samantha Green (Soprano)
Ben Sebastian Charlesworth (Baritone)
Additional non-speaking parts – Katy Bingham-Best
Use with kind permission of G Scrimner Limted

Cox and Box (The Long-Lost Brothers) is a one act comic opera with libretto by F. C Bernard and music by Arthur Sullivan. It was Sullivan’s first successful comic opera. The story concerns a landlord who lets a room to two lodgers, one who works at night and the other who works during the day. When one of them has a day off, they meet each other in the room. Tempers Flare. They discover they are both betrothed to the same women...will it end happily?

Cox – Sebastian Charlesworth (Baritone)
Box – Joseph O’Gorman (Tenor)
Bouncer – Roger Mullis (Countertenor)

Cycle is a short comic play by Joanna Norland, which takes a real life neighbourly dispute over 'right of way' as its inspiration

Stuart – Joseph O’Gorman
Julia – Samantha Green
Miranda/ Veronica – Katy Bingham-Best
Singer Kieran Cummins

Produced by irrational theatre
Director and Designer – Paula Chitty
Lighting and Costumes - Paula Chitty
MD and rehearsal pianist Peter Jones
Pianist – Odette Cotton
Stage Manager/ Lighting/ Sound operation - Kate Reynolds

This show has also been performed at The White Bear Theatre. London. The Maltings Theatre. Hertfordshire and Kings Langley.

ABOUT THE SHOW

A good marriage is a fusion between opera and new writing says Irrational Irrational Theatre will be bringing their latest show Fun at the Festival: A fusion of comic opera and Fresh New writing to The Arcola Grimeborn festival on 24th, 25th and 26th August This ground-breaking production will offer audiences a fusion of opera and new playwriting and is the latest in the company’s quest to create fresh, original, innovative staged entertainment. The director and designer is Paula Chitty, who was responsible for last  year’s well-received Il Pagliaci by Leoncavallo. Irrational  productions are always hugely creative, inventive and enjoyable and this show will be no different. Paula said: “We’re marrying opera with new playwriting and focusing on introducing audiences to something they may not have tried before. So, if you like opera, you’ll get to sample new writing. And if you like new writing, you will get to hear some pretty good opera. The evening will feature two short operatic pieces, A Proposal is Made by Menotti, next up Two lodgers sharing the same room in Cox and Box by Sullivan –  this work was originally written with a countertenor in the role of Bouncer, later editions saw the change to baritone. We have decided for this production to revert to its original and a new play, Cycle by Joanna Norland’

Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore – Regional Tour

Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore

Designs by Paula Chitty

Opera Anywhere's regional tour

HMS Pinafore backdrop designs by Paula Chitty
This is a tale of mismatched love across different social classes. Josephine is the captain’s daughter and has fallen for lowly sailor Ralph. Yet her father has other ideas – he has promised her to Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. Will love prevail? Climb aboard to find out and enjoy a feast of fun along the way. Hip hip hooray!
Produced by Opera Anywhere on regional tour

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