Saturday, July 17, 2010

VWORP 3 Dr Who Day @ The Lass

Tomorrow sees the return of the regular Vworp! Dr Who Day at Manchester's Lass O'Gowrie pub. All day in a pub with guests from the world of Doctor Who! What more can one ask for?! Here's the info from Mein Host, Gareth Kavanagh:

Yes, it's that time of year again and I'm thrilled to announce we're back for our third annual pubcon at the Lass O'Gowrie.Taking place on Sunday, July 18th as part of our inaugural fringe festival in the Lass (Lassfest), our theme this year is 'six of the best'. Essentially a take on Desert Island Discs, our assembled guests will take us on a journey through their six favourite things about their time of Doctor Who - beit a person, a character, a scene - whatever they fancy really. As it's us, you can bet we'll be using all the technology at our disposal and with our good pals at Kasterborous will be streaming and harvesting questions via twitter to boot.

Guests include the following (subject to professional commitments, *natch);

MC John Cooper

Terrance Dicks (writer, legend novelist who taught most of us to read)*

Andrew Cartmel (script editor and mastermind behind the McCoy revival)*

Graeme Harper (only the greatest Director of Who ever)*

Dez Skinn (Founding editor of our beloved Doctor Who Magazine)*

Rob Shearman (Genius behind Dalek, Chimes of Midnight and fan scholar)*

Chris Achilleos (Master of the early target novel covers, this man IS art)*

Ade Salmon (Artist's artist, illustrator of the Time Team and Cybermen)

And more in the pipeline, so keep 'em peeled!

Other treats include the debut of John Cooper's One Man Doctor Who and after show entertainment with the superb WART Show - award winning character comedy!Naturally, our fine pies and ale will be available throughout the day and with only 50 tickets being made available, the relaxed atmosphere you've all come to know and love will be retained, no fear.

Tickets cost a bargainous £19.50 a head and are available ONLY from .

More info on us, as ever can be found at or in our cosy little thread on Gallifrey Base -

Thursday, July 15, 2010

'EVERYMAN: The Story Of Patrick McGoohan - The Prisoner'

New Press release

Hey, it's my arts blog, and I'll plug my own show if I want to! Seriously though, here's an up to date press release detailing a change of cast and director, and a little bit more information on the production. Tickets WILL be available very very soon.

Press Release 15.07.10

‘EVERYMAN: The Story Of Patrick McGoohan – The Prisoner’ is a new play detailing the life of the theatre, television, and film star (who sadly died last year), and is to be staged in Manchester this summer at the famous Lass O’Gowrie pub on Charles Street. Writer Brian Gorman believes that a theatrical tribute to the star of such cult tv favourites as ‘DANGER MAN’ and ‘THE PRISONER’ is long overdue:

McGoohan was a brilliant actor. In common with the great Orson Welles, who he cited as a major influence, he was also a fiercely uncompromising individual who took real artistic chances, and divided the critics.

PATRICK McGOOHAN was born in New York, but spent less than a year there before his family relocated to their native Ireland. Several years later, they moved to England, where McGoohan caught the acting bug in Sheffield, and worked his way up to leading roles at the local professional repertory theatre. He was the first choice to play James Bond in 1962, but turned down the role of a lifetime due to his distaste for the depiction of gratuitous violence and casual sex. While Bond was smashing cinema box office records, McGoohan became an international television star as secret agent John Drake in ‘Danger Man’; who rarely used a gun and politely declined the numerous advances of beautiful women. After several hugely successful years, McGoohan tired of playing Drake, and persuaded legendary producer Lew Grade to back his new project, ‘The Prisoner’, and allow him full creative control. The series made McGoohan the highest paid actor on British tv when he played an un-named secret agent who attempts to resign his job, only to be kidnapped and imprisoned in a mysterious village from which there seems no escape. Everybody in The Village is assigned a number, and McGoohan is referred to as Number Six, but refuses to conform; spending each of the series’ seventeen episodes attempting to outwit his captors. The show became a massive cult hit with its flamboyant action, imaginative stories, and surreal style, and was recently remade for ITV with Sir Ian McKellen starring as the enigmatic and menacing ‘Number Two’.
McGoohan also starred in a variety of successful films including ‘Silver Streak’, ‘Ice Station Zebra’, and Mel Gibson’s oscar-winning ‘Braveheart’.
He won two Emmy awards for acting in the ‘Columbo’ tv series, and was even immortalised in an episode of ‘The Simpsons’.

The play is produced by Gorman’s company TRANSMISSION UNLIMITED.

Onboard as the production’s official adviser is ROBERT FAIRCLOUGH. Robert is a freelance writer, designer and producer. His work on ‘The Prisoner’ includes the book ‘The Prisoner: The Official Companion to the Classic TV Series’, editing two volumes of ‘The Original Scripts’ for the classic series and graphic design work on the recent AMC remake. He is a broadcaster who has featured on BBC radio and ITV, written for the British Film Institute and 'SFX' magazine and produced documentaries for 2 Entertain's range of ‘Doctor Who’ DVDs.

Bolton-based JOE O’BYRNE, who has recently been receiving glowing reviews for his starring role in the gritty crime drama ‘Diary Of A Bad Lad’ (recently successfully released on dvd), was originally in line to play McGoohan. The acclaimed playwright and actor had even started rehearsals, but unexpectedly had to drop out due to previous professional commitments. Brian Gorman will now be playing the McGoohan role:

I hadn’t planned on this, as I really wanted to see Joe play McGoohan first, but fortunately we will have him back for another run later this year. However, I am relishing the chance to play a great hero of mine, and hope I can do the man justice. I won’t be attempting a simple caricature, but I will try and play him in the style his fans are accustomed to.

There is also a word of warning for anyone expecting a straight-forward story of McGoohan’s life:

In keeping with McGoohan’s surreal work on ‘The Prisoner’, we will be playing around with time, as well as the character itself. ‘Patrick McGoohan’ will be a mix of the real man, and ‘Number Six’, and the whole piece will be directed in the style of an episode of ‘The Prisoner’.

Manchester-based BRIAN GORMAN is from Wigan, and is a writer, artist, and actor. He has designed posters and brochure illustrations for The Chester Gateway Theatre, and had work published in The Liverpool Daily Post, The Big Issue, and Green World (the magazine of The Green Party). His artwork has also been seen on television (ITV1’s ‘Martina Cole’s Lady Killers’), and he is currently working on a professional commission to produce a series of graphic novels on Manchester bands. As an actor he has played leading roles in corporate and educational dramas, music videos, and has just played the notorious mass murderer Thomas Hamilton in a television reconstruction of the 1996 Dunblane massacre. He also has an arts review blog at
Gorman first studied acting at Wigan College of Technology in the 1980s, and was fascinated to later discover that Sir Ian McKellen had grown up just yards from the college theatre:

I wrote to Sir Ian several years ago when he agreed to allow me to use his likeness in my comic book, ‘Borderliners’ (as did another hero of mine, The Saint himself - Sir Roger Moore). He sent me a wonderful three page hand-written letter telling me about how he’d enjoyed his childhood in Wigan, and had even played on the same stage as I had.
It’s a fascinating coincidence that he has recently starred in the remake of ‘The Prisoner’, and now here I am playing Patrick McGoohan! I would love to act opposite the great man one day, and who knows? Dreams CAN come true!

In Gorman’s production, the part of ‘Number Two’, will be played on stage by DAVID BICKERSTAFF. This Paisley born actor is now living in London, and trained at Queen Margaret, Edinburgh. He has just finished a successful run of Joe Orton's 'The Erpingham Camp' for TW4, and is a regular in the cult sci-fi comedy radio series 'The Scarifyers'.

Director RICHARD HULSE is a long-time friend and collaborator of Gorman’s, and the two have worked on several short films and theatrical pieces for over 15 years since studying English degrees at Chester College. Born in Australia, Hulse is a writer and film-maker, and has recently completed an M.A. in Fiction Film Production at The University of Salford. During the course he co-wrote & co-directed two short films, ‘Full Of Grace’ and ‘The Travelling Artist’ which have been screened at Manchester’s Cornerhouse cinema, attracting enthusiastic audience responses.

Tickets will be available soon. More details can be seen on the production’s Facebook page ‘JOHN DRAKE’. Production information is available from

Brian Gorman can be contacted at or on 07510 591444.


The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

Date: Fri 23rd & Sat 24th July

Time: 9:30pm - Fri 23rd, 3:00pm - Sat 24th (Matinee) & 8:00pm - Sat 24th
Venue: Salmon Rooms, Lass O'Gowrie
Tickets: £5

Lass Favourite the Socks return with a preview of their new Edinburgh Show – on the Telly! Earth's funniest socks return for a fourth sell-out year with more new songs, sketches, socks and violence.

'For sheer energy and laughs per hour, these comic stockings are the biz - denier miss it.' (Scotsman);
'How on earth does the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet theatre turn out to be so bloody good?' (

BEST SHOW Nominee, Leicester Comedy Festival 2009. WINNER Edinburgh Festival Insider Comedy Award 2009

Sunday, July 04, 2010

'THE BENCH' Review

Photo: Ste Myott (as Kev) and Stella Grundy (as 'Little Rabbit')


Salford Arts Theatre until 3rd July

Review by Brian Gorman
(Originally written for

I’ve been hearing about Joe O’Byrne’s play for quite a while now, and finally I got to see it at the Salford Arts Theatre this weekend. If only I hadn’t chosen the last performance! This was so good I am kicking myself that I can’t see it again. Part of the on-going series of plays (and films) concerning the residents of the fictional Paradise Heights, ‘The Bench’ takes place over the course of a single year, as we witness the lives of a selection of weird and wonderful characters brought vividly to life by a versatile and hugely talented cast. Things start with a bang as actress Stella Grundy sends temperatures soaring higher than a hot summer’s evening, dressed in leather overcoat, skin-tight bodice, stockings and suspenders. Taking a seat on the eponymous bench, which, apart from the graffiti-strewn War Memorial, constitutes the entire set, she indulges in an erotically-charged comic exchange with Ian Curley as her sexually frustrated partner. The two actors give wonderfully nuanced performances in a scene that delivers a fabulous cocktail of drama, suspense, comedy and pathos. From this warmly humorous and surprising beginning, we move on to a fantastical scene concerning an angel (Phoebe Marie Jones) and the recently-deceased Corny (Aaron Rochford), which I initially found a little confusing, but which laid the ground beautifully for the multi-layered, interconnected scenes to come. What we have in ‘The Bench’ is a series of cleverly observed vignettes which dovetail perfectly as the play progresses, and which demonstrate O’Byrne’s skill at creating believable, fully realized characters we can recognize. Imagine watching an episode of Coronation Street as directed by Martin Scorsese, with a stellar cast of the best actors around. The stand out scene has to be the one between local hard man Frank Morgan (played by the hugely versatile Ian Curley) and the slimeball Kev (Ste Myott, ably making one’s skin crawl). Beginning calmly enough, the scene twists and turns revealing more and more about each man, until I found myself thinking that this was probably the best set piece I’d seen on the stage for years. I am not exaggerating when I say that Ian Curley would give DeNiro a run for his money should the great method actor ever try and play this scene. Real edge of the seat stuff, and a truly frightening and unnerving scenario that shows what can be achieved when the performances perfectly match the writing. Curley appears again as a cantankerous pensioner in a couple of excellently comic, and ultimately tragic scenes with a fellow war veteran (Ste Myott). Clyve Bonelle delivers an incredibly understated and affecting performance as a simple-minded local criminal who falls in love with a badly-scarred (both physically and emotionally) street urchin (Phoebe Marie Jones tugging at the heart strings magnificently). O’Byrne makes us care about these characters as people, and his direction is faultless. There are no histrionics, no patronizing of his audience, and no overt moralizing in this snapshot of 21st century life on the streets of ‘broken Britain’. ‘The Bench’ is giving it to us like it is; no frills theatre with balls and undiluted attitude. The great shame of the evening was the low turn out, and the fact that so many people have missed something quite wonderful; work like this needs the oxygen of publicity, and the support of the local print media. I am confident that we haven’t seen the last of ‘The Bench’, O’Byrne, or his massively talented cast and crew. These people are going places. Fast. Do yourselves a huge favour, and beg, borrow or steal a ticket for the next theatrical installment of Paradise Heights, because once the word truly gets out, you’ll be begging to be in the audience. Joe O’Byrne is currently working on two more chapters, ‘Strawberry Jack’ and ‘Torch’. Remember those titles. See you in the queue for returns!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

'DIARY OF A BAD LAD' The Premiere

Joe O'Byrne (who plays the hard-as-nails Tommy Morghen) strikes a suitably menacing pose outside The Plaza.

The magnificent Stockport Plaza was the place to be this Tuesday, when the gritty, no-holds-barred crime drama 'Diary Of A Bad Lad' had its big screen premiere. Several years in the making, the low budget movie, written by Jonathan Williams, and directed by Michael Booth, is gathering fabulous reviews from across the world. Deliberately setting out to 'tell it like it is', this is no Guy Ritchie gangster romp, but rather a disturbing, under your skin, 'mockumentary' that gets about as near to the real dirty, scummy underbelly of life on the street as I ever want to experience. There was certainly an element of black comedy about this film being screened in the opulent 1930s atmosphere of The Plaza, with its compliment of neatly-attired genteel elderly volunteer staff (who were all lovely, by the way!). A real clash of cultures, and a frightening reminder of the contrast between constructed fantasy and grim reality. As Jonanathan Williams said on stage during the inspiring Q & A session that followed the screening; this event can be seen as the beginning of the new wave of northern film-making. Showing that not everything happens in London, and that sheer will power plus talent CAN result in a fantastic movie. Ken Loach and Martin Scorsese need to see this film NOW. Somebody get a copy under their noses ASAP!
The dvd has just been released, and you can pick up a copy in the high street shops or on Amazon. Do yourself a big favour, and buy it.