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Pure, Mikron Theatre Company, the Victoria Beeston, 14th June 2016

One of the best!
I am rarely disappointed with a Mikron show, but today’s show was a real winner. The theme was chocolate, and new writer Richard Vergette clearly had the hostile take over of Cadburys by Kraft at the front of his mind. However, the darker themes of exploitation and the slave trade are tempered by the usual Mikron recipe of jokes, songs and super swift costume changes.
The scenes switch from the Victorian foundation of the fictional chocolate company Plumsteads to its present day predicament (again, Cadbury’s is never too far from the mind), with the four actors effortlessly switching between the two. There are seven songs (including the very poignant La Cote D’Ivoire), and the Chocolate Machine Song is hilarious. The story had a number of twists and turns, especially at the end.
Mikron mainly tour pubs near canals, and this Summer they are popping up round the Grand Union Canal, Oxford, Worcester and Birmingham Canals and the River Thames. Check out their website They are definitely worth it

Open Letter to Open Mic UK

Open Mic UK
Future Music Ltd
36 Lumsden Avenue
SO15 5EL

29th October 2014
Dear Sirs
After a very impressive and well organised evening at the Britannia Hotel last Sunday, I was informed that I could not collect my £30 deposit because I, as one of the contestants, had not sold enough tickets. I believe this to be unfair, dishonest and probably illegal. Furthermore it does not say anywhere in the information pack we were provided with, nor the FAQ page on your website, that contestants would lose their deposit if they failed to sell enough tickets. I did email you to ask what would happen if I failed to sell enough tickets, but you did not reply.
I abided by the rules, made an effort, turned up on time and performed. I tried hard to sell tickets. However, this must be put in context. The previous weekend I was involved with an event where a £5 ticket could get you 12 hours of live music across 14 different venues, and every penny of your £5 went to Oxfam. Some people even asked which charity your tickets were in aid of. In this context, £8 is a lot of money for people to pay, particularly in these tough economic times.
What staggers me, however, is the fact that you made no effort whatsoever to promote your event, and expected the contestants to do the promotion for you. There was no mention of it in the Nottingham Post, nor could I find any mention of this year’s event on their website. You did not even put any signs up outside the venue. Most people would have arrived at the main entrance to the Britannia Hotel to find no signs or posters either outside or inside the lobby area. It was left to the receptionist to direct people to a back entrance on a different street that could not be accessed from the main part of the hotel. It was hardly her job to do this. This entrance also had no signs outside advertising your event. Furthermore, should any member of the public have miraculously found their way up the escalators to the room where the event was held, I did not see any sign saying “BOX OFFICE” or “TICKETS” or anything else that could indicate there was a concert taking place and there were tickets for sale. No wonder the room was half empty.
The contestants could submit press releases about their participation in the event, but it is incumbent on you as organisers and promoters to advertise the fact that you are putting on an event in the first place. This is why I believe the audience consisted entirely of the private entourages of the acts, and why the room was half full. You made no effort to sell the tickets you knew would be returned to you, yet you penalise at least one of the contestants for not being able to sell these tickets despite making an effort. This is appalling.
I stress that I am asking for nothing from you except the £30 which I am owed. I reiterate that selling your tickets was never stated as a condition for returning my deposit, and you are therefore not entitled to keep it.
I trust this can be resolved amicably, and look forward to receiving the £30 that you owe me with immediate effect.
Yours Faithfully
Barry Shaw

Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral

It’s interesting how Margaret Thatcher is completely polarising opinions, in the same way that she did when she was alive.  I’ve had both people who wish to heap uncritical adulation upon her, and also people who want to stamp on her grave, with virtually nothing in between.

Some people are celebrating her death.  This may offend some of you, but really are you surprised.  I know what offends me more:  The fact that we are being asked to pay for what’s virtually a state funeral.  This is completely out of proportion to any other recent prime minister.  Clement Atlee’s funeral was very low key, despite being arguably the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th Century.  Churchill got a state funeral, but unlike Thatcher he really did rescue Britain, in his case from Nazism.


Could go on, but I’ll stop here…