Festival sets pulses racing - at times

ORGANISERS of Ipswich's Pulse Fringe Festival were today celebrating after breaking box office records in the first week of the event. Pulse 08 director Steve Freeman said an estimated 2,500 tickets had been sold in the first week of the two-and-a-half week festival with many shows being sold out.

James Marston

ORGANISERS of Ipswich's Pulse Fringe Festival were today celebrating after breaking box office records in the first week of the event.

Pulse 08 director Steve Freeman said an estimated 2,500 tickets had been sold in the first week of the two-and-a-half week festival with many shows being sold out.

He said: “We are delighted with this year's audience numbers and response to Pulse. We have never sold out three quarters of the events in the first week.”


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The festival which includes comedy, theatre, dance and visual theatre in a number of locations across the town ends on June 14.

Mr Freeman said: “I and the rest of the New Wolsey team have been to an awful lot of the productions and the response in the town has reaffirmed Pulse at the heart of the cultural calendar of Ipswich.”

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Mr Freeman said there are a number of highlights still to come in the final days of the fringe festival.

He said Strawberry Daiquiri, being performed tonight at the Sir John Mills Theatre, in Gatacre Lane, by Shamelessboyz Theatre Company and Horsemeat by Gary Clarke were expected to be popular.

He added: “We finish on Saturday with Bacchic at the New Wolsey Theatre which should be a piece of visually stunning theatre.”

For more information about the festival visit www.pulsefringe.com or contact the New Wolsey Theatre on 01473 295900.

Have you enjoyed this year's Pulse Festival? What was your favourite show? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

One, nineteen written by Tim Stimpson

Net Curtains Theatre Company

New Wolsey Studio

Pulse Festival - Saturday, June 7

This play comes fresh from a three week run in London and was billed as a look into the immediate future at an east coast flooding tragedy, so I had high hopes.

The story is told from the view point of the media - through interviews with various characters involved in a fictional tragedy with the purpose of showing how the media twist situations to their own ends and report in an exploitative, rather than an informative way.

I could see what the writer was trying to do with this approach - and there was a lot of subtle references to the McCanns with the lead character having left her children alone during the floods. But this play fell down on two fronts.

The first was a total absence of any feel that we were witnessing a disaster on a massive scale. To understand the media's exploitation we needed to see the real story too. I wanted the play to start with the reporter on the seafront watching the tide rising higher and higher, talking about evacuation plans or lack of them, building up the tension.

This led to the second problem - lack of characterisation. There were far too many characters involved and we knew so little about any of them that we ceased caring what happened to the missing children very early on.

There were some good moments in the piece. The internet hunger protestor was an interesting idea but then his character was one of the few that developed as the play went on.

I think if the play focused more on the problems of environmental damage and the effects of government inaction on coastal defence erosion rather than just on issues with media coverage it would probably achieve more depth and be a stronger piece as a result.

SUSAN HAWKES

Correspondence

Claire Macdonald

Pulse Festival, Ipswich

New Wolsey Studio, Friday, June 6

The beauty of the Pulse Festival is that it can give a platform for experimental theatre that would not be produced on the main stage.

Claire Macdonald's play is a cross between theatre and short story - although it has no definite structure or plot. A man and a woman meet on a train and discuss possibilities - have they met before? Is this Europe during the war or South America? What is their purpose in travel?

This writer has a way with words, the script is beautifully written but it is a frustrating play to watch in many ways as it gives no indications of purpose and certainly gives no answers to any questions. The expertise of the two actors, and the insightful direction of Patrick Morris made sure the play kept momentum, but it needed their experience to make it work.

Even so, it did become repetitive and was possibly a little too long to hold the attention.

Half way through the play is the only physical interaction between the couple when the train lurches and briefly they are in each others arms. The sensuality and the relief of having something happen made me feel that it would have been good to route the piece in a few more such moments.

SUSAN HAWKES

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