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Springboard Festival - Something for Everyone

Keith Donnelly

Springboard Festival, Criterion Theatre, Coventry. From 25 March to 1 April.

Review by Alison Manning.

The Springboard Festival’s final night took place on Saturday 1 April at the Criterion Theatre in Earlsdon, Coventry. This eight day extravaganza has featured an amazing mixture of poetry, drama, comedy and music, as well as a resident poet, Dangermouse#, two resident artists, Paul Chokran and Nicky Cure, all creating and responding to the action as it happened. Nicky Cure could sometimes even be seen on the end of the front row etch-a-sketching the action by phone light. An exhibition of Paul Chokran’s sketches and Nicky Cure’s artwork was on display in the theatre bar for the duration of the festival.

Sketches and artwork on display

The last night fittingly opened with poet Dangermouse# sharing his words with us and performing some poems inspired by other acts in the festival, such as the harrowing drama Small Hours, dealing with the cacophony of new motherhood, and the tale of suffragettes, Rebellious Sisterhood, reimagined as the aroma of a fine wine from 1913. At times thoughtful reflection, at times urban grittiness, Dangermouse# rounded off his set with a hilarious and impressive performance poem narrated by imperious cat Waffles, occasionally slightly distracted by a passing bird.


The next two short dramas were both repeats from earlier in the week and these have already been reviewed by Elementary Whatson from their Thursday performances. Wild Swim by Martha Watson Allpress is a heartfelt dramatic monologue about coping with grief and trying to reconnect with those we have lost, performed powerfully and humorously by Lucy Hayton. Fast, by the Criterion Theatre’s youth, was another moving performance, exploring ideas of food, health and justice.

Prior to the closing of the festival was The Closing, a thank you from festival director Andrew Sharpe, with a little help from right wing politician “Richard du Tird” in a witty and satirical comment on culture in Coventry.

Actually, closing the show was comedic musician Keith Donnelly. Keith has written material for Jasper Carrot and Phil Cool and finished off the festival with his sometimes endearing, sometimes groan-inducing rambling comic tales about topics such as Ikea’s lifts, Asda’s toilets and socks on the London Underground, interspersed with amusing sing-a-long songs including one about quacking ghost eiders, a sea shanty mash up of Bohemian Rhapsody and another about Déjà vu that I’m sure I’ve heard before…

It's been a busy week at the Criterion Theatre, bringing together a wide range of shows, an exhibition and acts by new performers and old, professional and amateurs, artists and poet in residence. Everything might not have been to everyone’s taste but there was certainly something for everyone.

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