The Nogs Go Forth … South, East and West.

Dear Reader … the Nogs are on the road again! We started off at Forest Forge in Ringwood (where we also rehearsed; more about that later) and then onto The Rose Theatre, Kingston where we had a lovely time … and so did the audiences if the following couple of reviews are anything to go by.

“I haven’t laughed so regularly and with such uncomplicated pleasure for a long time.” Culture Vulture

“The show is a winning mix of puppetry, projections and a sharp script. It is particularly commendable that both the projections and the puppets resonate with the original series with fragments of the original cartoon seemingly woven into the show, but it’s the Pynthonesque nature of the production that adds a new, delicious dimension to the play, creating a whole new fan base for the Nogs.” Curious Mum

I’ll put links to these two lovely reviews at the end of this post as I know you fliberty-jibbets will be flitting about without reading the rest of this post!

Forest Forge Theatre Company were amazing (there is a link to their website at the end of this post). We arrived at their wonderful building (studio, workshop, offices, green room and loads of equipment) at the start of our short re-rehearsal period … spent a bit of time worrying about our broken down van … then got down to the serious business of drinking tea and eating iced fancies. Once this preliminary activity was done and dusted we got onto the real reason we were there … trying to remember a script and what we did on stage. The long and the short of it is that we, over a wet week in the New Forest, put together The Sagas of Noggin the Nog for a new tour.

Forest Forge, Ringwood

John Wright, our Director who helped us to make the piece in the first place, turned up and threw some new and exciting spanners in the works, giving us new games and provocations to take the play to a new level … much fun was had! We then decamped to The Rose Theatre, Kingston where we unpacked the now not broken down van and spent a happy few hours carrying heavy things, building the set and playing with technology and lighting. We had a rehearsal and then performed seven shows in four days to some really lovely audiences.

We are now about to head of west … Bridport and Taunton and the … well … east, south and north. To see where we are going follow this link to find the where and when.

Hopefully we’ll see you at a venue in the near future … keep popping back here to find out what we’ve been up to!

http://curiousmum.co.uk/reviews/noggin-the-nog-3

https://mediastarsite.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/review-noggin/?utm_source=noggin+review&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=noggin+review

http://www.forestforgetheatre.co.uk/

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Noggin Rides Once More …

The holidays are over. Graculus, the Great Green Bird, leads the Nogs back to the land of Nog. Noggin and Nooka resume their reign, Queen Grunehilde resumes her rightful place (in bed, sleeping) and ThorNogson dries his knitted woollen swimming trunks and hangs them up until next year.

In the real world the lovely fellows from Third Party and Mischievous Theatre take to the road once more with The Sagas of Noggin the Nog directed by John Wright. 

★★★★★

The Stage

“Grizzled, worried and utterly charming, Noggin the Nog’s tea-loving viking hoard – of four – is well-cast in this suitably delightful adaptation of Oliver Postgate’s original 1959 children’s TV cartoon.”

Accompanied by the Great Green Bird Graculus, the lovely fellows go North on a journey of adventure and discovery to battle the fearsome Ice Dragon and the dastardly deeds of Noggin’s wicked uncle, Nogbad the Bad.

The Great Green Bird, Graculus

The classic stories by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, which became one of the most iconic television series of the 1970s, are playfully retold using puppets, original music, film – and a cast of silly Vikings will, once more, be showing at a theatre near you.

Follow the Great Green Bird … and this link to find out where and when.

See you soon!

Noggin is on the road again …

Oh no, not again ... I get van sick!

Oh no, not again … I get van sick!

So, the intrepid Nogs once again take to the road. It is just a short tour this time but we do pack quite a few shows in. From Wimbledon to Buxton to Hull to Peterborough and then next year (if we aren’t too old by then) we head to who knows where! So if you are anywhere near any of the places mentioned above (or even if you are not, it is well worth travelling for) come and say hello!

It has been a long time since we Nogs got together to perform at the Brighton Festival: which was, by the way, absolutely fabulous fun and with a real festival feel to it.

We will be starting this new excursion into the vast interior of the United Kingdom in the wonderful Polka Theatre (For dates and times follow the link at the bottom of the page)and then we travel North, then norther and then a tad southerly, all to bring the wonderful stories of Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate (They of The Clangers, Bagpuss and Ivor the Engine fame to name but a few) to a wider audience of families, children, adults who haven’t yet grown up, nostalgia groupies and those interested and excited by a “pythonesque” play about a bunch of Vikings! In other words; more or less everybody. Even if you weren’t raised on the slightly bizarre stories and the wonderfully hypnotic voice of Oliver Postgate I promise you will enjoy the show.

We had huge audiences, a number of 5 and 4 ★ reviews from the National press and some wonderful conversations with whole generations of families last year at the Edinburgh Festival. The Sagas of Noggin the Nog is a genuine family show, so bring the children, bring grandma and grandpa and great grandma and grandpa and great, great grandma and grandpa and … you get the idea.

The play is based on the first two stories that were first shown on the BBC in 1959 and 1960; How Noggin became King of the Nogs and The Ice Dragon. We use live action, live music, puppets, video projection and a great deal of humour to tell these wonderful tales and although Oliver Postgate is not still with us, Peter Firmin, the artist who created the visuals is, and he and Daniel Postgate (Oliver’s son) are great supporters of the show and both laughed “like drains” at the performances at the Theatre Royal Brighton.

So, see you there!

Follow this link to take you to the Nog Log.

 

 

 

Zooming Towards Brighton … Slowly! Part 1

The road to Brighton (and beyond) has been a long one … and relatively slow, with lots of twists, turns, the odd blank road-sign and a surprisingly large amount of rain. For those who know nothing about our production of The Sagas of Noggin the Nog here is a bit of history; for those who do, a recap.

800px-Theatre_Royal_Brighton

The view that Noggin will have at Theatre Royal Brighton

 

 

In the lands of the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long … Tony Gleave and Clive Holland sat and plotted. They talked of producing a piece of theatre that was genuinely for families, indeed, genuinely for the old and the young and everyone in between. Earlier in the day they had wandered along the beach in Margate and had become excited by the mention of Noggin the Nog. And now, with the odd bottle of beer and a salty snack, they talked long into the night.

Noggin the Nog enthrals the average British family

Noggin the Nog enthrals the average British family

A Noggin Note: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog was an iconic television series that began in the 1950s by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate (Bagpuss, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine, etc); it was shown on the BBC.

As the beer evaporated and the talk became more animated … they began to plot and plan. They met up with Peter Firmin and Dan Postgate (son of Oliver) and asked if they could have the rights to produce a play: yes … oh joy! They were fortunate to receive a small grant from Arts Council England and collected a coterie of creative people … designers, directors, puppeteers, musicians, actors and put them all in a room at the same time. This they called “The Research and Development Stage”. They spent almost two weeks getting nowhere … and a couple of days working out what they should have been doing in the days when they were getting nowhere.

John Wright wonders if jumping from a fifth storey window will improve matters.

John Wright wonders if jumping from a fifth storey window will improve matters.

By the end of “The Research and Development Stage” they had a good idea of how they were going to make the play. And so, some months later, with a two week run at The New Diorama, London, planned, and a short tour organised, “The Research and Development Stage” became “The Rehearsal stage”.

During “The Rehearsal Stage” puppets were designed and built, costumes created, music and songs written, video of the original films of Firmin and Postgate was created, a script developed and, eventually, a piece of theatre called “The Sagas of Noggin the Nog” was born. Oh, how happy they all were. A two week run at The New Diorama, was followed with a short tour of theatres large and arts centres small.

Dragon in Van

Groliffe the Ice Dragon gets the best seat in “The Nogbulance”

They bought an old ambulance to tour around the country like the travelling players of yore; it was very quickly renamed “The Nogbulance” (more of this later). They travelled north, south, east and west. They drank dreadful and outrageously expensive coffee, they had more curries than was wise, they slept in hard beds, soft beds, beds that were too small, beds that were as big as Wembley Stadium, they drank beer of every region and … they performed “The Play” to thousands of people young and old and everything in between. The tour was deemed, by all and sundry, a huge success. Venues loved it, audiences loved it, the media loved it, we loved it but … by the end of the tour and despite “The Play” being highly regarded, their bank account stood at forty-three pounds twenty-seven! “The Touring Stage” is terribly expensive and despite brilliant audience numbers (most venues sold out), they struggled to make it pay.

For those of you who are artists ... this is what money looks like

For those of you who are artists … this is what money looks like

All went quiet for a while. This they called “The Quiet Stage”. Tony Gleave and Clive Holland sat long into the night and ummed and aahed. They knew that the play was good. They knew that people wanted to see it. They knew that there must be a way to make it a viable proposition. They drank more beer. They ate more salty snacks. They went for a curry. They became quite depressed. They worked on other projects. Then … one day, Tony Gleave said to Clive Holland, “Why don’t we take it to the Edinburgh Festival?”

“Because it is terribly expensive and we only have forty-three pounds twenty-seven.”

“Yes … but we do have credit cards!”

Thus began the “We Have Found a Whole New Way to Lose Money Stage” otherwise known as the “Edinburgh Festival Stage Stage”.

They found a venue. They filled in the forms. They re-created the play to fit into a one hour slot. They had thousands of fliers and posters printed. They found somewhere to stay. They ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise money. They went to Edinburgh. The first two days were beautiful sunshine. They had been lulled into a false sense of security. The rest of the month it rained. It was windy. And it rained. And it was cold. And it rained. And their venue was a tent! A beautiful theatre tent. A tent with a wooden floor. A tent with wooden walls. A tent with a canvas roof!

The wooden walled, wooden floored, canvas roofed but beautiful theatre tent

The wooden walled, wooden floored, canvas roofed beautiful theatre tent

They had arrived to discover that one of their boxes of leaflets had … disappeared, that their digs were not as large or as plush as they had been led to believe. They were happy though because they were at the “Edinburgh Festival Stage Stage” … and then the rain came.

As we are almost as far from Brighton as we can be and yet still be in the UK, there will be another post to continue the story. The next part of this post shall be intelligently called “Zooming Towards Brighton … Slowly! Part 2” and will appear soon … do pop back!