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BOURNEMOUTH ECHO Thursday 10th September 2009 .

'DOORWAYS'

By Nick Churchill

BOURNEMOUTH’S first experiment with pub theatre has proved such a success that it’s being brought back by popular demand.

Doorways, a black comedy written by Steven Murphy about a week in the life of two bouncers, sold out both nights at The Winchester pub last month.

The play is now set to return to The Winchester on September 20 and 23 and is set to tour.

“This is great news for the company, the pub and fringe theatre in Bournemouth,” says director Christina Artemis. “With two stunning performances from Steven Murphy and Johnny Ciardini, all the hard work and dedication from the team has paid off.”

Christina is working in partnership with Mark Berry to develop professional fringe theatre in town. Their policy is to provide a platform for new writers and professional artists to display their skills in cutting edge contemporary plays.

Meanwhile, the Artemis Actors’ Company is preparing its next production – The Severed Head, a new play by Horatio Pippin based on the true story of a murder by dismemberment in London in 1726 – which will open on November 8.

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Van Gogh 2008 - Royal Manor Theatre Portland. Private Review from Julie Cox

"Half expecting a sort of amateurish, end of pier piece of theatre as we were on holiday in nearby Weymouth, I and my parents were astonished and hugely impressed by the script, the interpretation and the acting in this unique play about Vincent Van Gogh's dreadful struggle with the weevil inside his mind.……we all recognized the weevil whose voice comes to sabotage us one way  or another.  We had never actually seen this dramatized and it has been a revelation!  Dealing with such dark and powerful themes, the play could easily have been too painful to watch, but there was always a delicate line between dark humor and despair.

With elements that could have come from Shakespeare and Greek tragedy, the play was extremely powerful and entertaining.

The acting was all extremely powerful, but we must congratulate in particular the weevil himself, a sort of evil Puck character - Darren Matthews, and Jo Egan as Gaugin - a spirited performance, reversing the Shakespearian trend of female parts taken by men. I congratulate all on their courage in taking on such a subject and dealing with it so masterfully.  I would like to hear of this being taken to the West End."

Dorset Echo Newspaper – June 17th 2008

….. the direction of the play is towards comic farce as VG speaks through the oddball characters who crowd his memory…… fellow painter Gauguin, with alcohol-fuelled passion, remorselessly taunts him and his father chastises him for his sexual liaisons with women of the streets.…. our hero degenerates into strait-jacketed incarceration in a play that throws a fascinating light on the failing mind of a genius….A particularly fine performance by Peter Beebee as Van Gogh conquers any temptation to regard this play as a black comedy. His portrayal presents instead a picture of a tragic soul grappling with the suppressed anxieties of his past as his cruel illness overtakes him.   The Royal Manor Theatre is to be congratulated for bringing such a stimulating piece of fringe theatre to its stage.