Cosmic Trigger – Pull It If You Can

Cosmic Trigger - Cast members dressed in black, while one plays the accordian.

In life there are things that pull on your creative heart strings and shape you life from then on. Watching Gerry Anderson’s Captain Scarlet and Thunderbirds on TV, reading I Robot by Issac Asimov and the first issue of 2000AD, hearing Replicas by Tubeway Army and Black Celebration by Depeche Mode, witnessing Salvador Dali’s work close up and visiting the ballet for the first time are just a few artistic moments that touched me so deeply I can still remember them like they were yesterday, despite some of them being a very long time ago.  Sadly as I get older the instances when I experience new art that reaches into my soul and alters it become fewer with each passing year. I was starting to worry I was getting jaded in my old age, but recently I saw a play that proved I can still be enthralled.

Cosmic Trigger - The cast dressed as prison inmates, all on orange jumpsuits, singing.

I wasn’t overly keen on seeing Cosmic Trigger, as it sounded a bit too “hippy” for my punk sensibilities. The punk mantra was never trust a hippy, a play about expanding your mind based on the work of the famous hippy writer Robert Anon Wilson didn’t exactly float my boat. As I sat, ready to experience a 3 hour play with trepidation, I was not prepared for just how amazing it would be. I won’t do a blow by blow exploration of the story as I would hate to spoil it and to be honest, I’m still not sure I understood all of it. What I will say is that if you get a chance, and like your theatre up close and personal, Cosmic Trigger is a must see.

Cosmic Trigger - The stage is filled with actors dressed as a black mass

It’s a cliché I know, but Cosmic Trigger is very much a rollercoaster, as you flip from laughter to tears, from understanding to bewilderment, and from yesterday to today as the piece grabs you and flings you all over time and space. You really feel as if Dr Who had a hand in writing the piece. What makes the piece mesmerizing is the cast, who go above and beyond in their duty to transport you from era to era, from reality to fantasy and back. As an actor myself, I marveled at  the courage and skill of a cast whose performances made an ageing punk like me come over all hippified.

Cosmic Trigger - Actress dressed as a goddess with a sword and shield

I left the Cockpit Theatre in Camden, with a very different take on a pile of subjects. I was a little troubled by this new desire to tune in and turn on, but what really touched a nerve was the play’s mantra to question everything. We live in an era where faith in those who lead us and the words of experts has been shaken to the core, but this play questions the foundation of why we might have lost faith. It asks us to go deeper than mistrust and examine everything for ourselves from the position of knowledge. Don’t let the press or media tell you what to think, and the play spends a good hour on subtly explaining how the press will say anything if it fits an agenda or brings in readers. Instead expand your knowledge through personal research and exploration. OK Robert Anton Wilson did the exploring with the aid of LSD, which we see didn’t exactly lead to rational conclusions, but the concept is good.

Cosmic Trigger - the cast salute the audience at the end of the show

I think Cosmic Trigger is a play for today, despite it being so firmly based in yesterday. Never before have we needed a reason to question, and Cosmic Trigger shows the way. OK, it might be a bumpy ride, and you might get lost down the road, but in the end it will be a fun journey. You may also find yourself going all peace and love man…..

Cosmic Trigger is on at the Cockpit Theatre until May 27th

Photos © Johnathan Greet, by permission.

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Derby Feste, Here We Come!

This weekend Diane and me are off to enjoy Derby Feste, the city’s annual arts festival. It’s always a thoroughly enjoyable weekend for us, as Derby is one of those places that gets access for disabled people and so allows the disabled visitor to switch off while they are there. When you combine this freedom with a fun filled itinerary of arts for all the family, from street theatre through to the music and firework extravaganza that ends the festival, which this year is courtesy of Les Commandos Percu and Deabru Beltzak, it’s one of those events that is a must see. Luckily I will be accompanied by my mate and local actor Emily Howlett, founding member of Deaf Arts company PAD Productions, who will be giving me the skinny on the secret side of Derby. I am planning a review for the Huff, both of the festival and of any key shows that grab my eye. So watch this space. And if you are knocking around Derby this weekend and see Di and me come and say Hi! Especially if you have something in mind that you think we just have to see!

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Latest Huffington Post Article

My latest article for the Huffington Post has just gone live. It’s a review of the Graeae Theatre’s production of The Limbless Knight, which premiered at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival this Friday.

It’s a great show, that entertains and challenges in equal measure. I described it on Twitter as “Like being hit by a brick wrapped in a beautiful velvet cushion”. For a longer exploration of what I saw in the show see the Huffington Post Entertainment section.

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Busy Bank Holiday

I find myself with so much to blog about that I feel I may have to end up writing about nothing instead. I wanted to cover politics, that wedding, disability politics and a myriad of other things, but have had such a busy couple of weeks that I haven’t had time. Now each subject has slipped to a position of equal importance and so I can’t decide where to start.

I wanted to examine my recent experiences with various disabled people’s organisations (DPO’s) and how each one has different politics. What would this splintering of direction mean for the future of disabled people and our fight for equality? I also wanted to delve into what exactly we mean by “equality” and whether this fight might cause disabled people to end up worse off that we were went we found ourselves unequal. As a republican I am finding the way British society is ramping up the crazy as we run up to the 29th of April is obviously causing me to feel the need to write something. Just not sure how much of feelings I want to make known as everyone seems to have been swept up in the spirit of this “joyous” occasion. Then there was the whole question of assisted suicide that seems to have even found a supporter in the BBC. With Terry Pratchett making a documentary following a man’s visit to Dignitas and claiming it to be a dispassionate study of the questions around the right to die, even though Sir Terry is a personal supporter of assisted death, those of us who who feel deeply against changing the current laws must make our voice heard or we will loose the debate. That’s just the top three.

In the end I must admit I find myself so full of thoughts that I end up with my head spinning. Never the best time to write something that will exist forever in the ether of the world wide web. So instead I will knock out a short blog, with no rants or deep thought. No this time I feel just thought I’d mention that this bank holiday my wife and I have been busy building furniture for my recording studio. In fact we have been action painting some doors for a cupboard that will be the home of my unused analogue synth collection. Loads of fun throwing paint around in our living room, and they have come up great. So hopefully by the start of May I will have a studio that works and can start writing music again, after an age away.

Before going all arty, I did an interview for a new online magazine, called Sin Zine with the marvellous burlesque and performance artist Marnie Scarlet. I videoed the interview and it will be up on my Youtube page soon, and the Sin Zine interview will follow shortly too. I plan to do a series of these interviews, and put them online, so if you know anyone who you would like to see me chat with please get in touch.

Lastly, I have signed up to appear in the new Graeae show, Broadway Babes. It is going to be a crazy show like their famous Rhinestone Rollers show, but with Broadway musical numbers. I shall be dancing my way through a half hour set of classic musical tracks… and I shall be in drag! Yes all those years when I was a New Romantic, wearing tons of make up will finally come in handy. I don’t think I’ll be going the whole hog, mainly as I really don’t have the figure for it. Instead I feel I’ll be a kind of dancing tranny. Tee hee. Anyway, if you fancy seeing how it turns out, come along to the Greenwich festival this year and search us out. I’ll keep you all posted when rehearsals start.

So I hope you are all enjoying the sunshine and are having fun this Bank Holiday? Today is the first day I’ve a minute to spare, and so I feel I may sign off now and go outside to soak up some sun before the weather goes back to it’s default setting… of rain.

TTFN

Mik

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