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A feast of solo entertainment

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One-man shows in various guises – poetry, drama, and stand-up -feature at the Merlin this fortnight and it’s all about the guys!

On Thursday 27 February, south-west based Black Hound Productions, a young and independent company producing original theatre, are thrilled to bring to their first one-man show to the Merlin. Alright? is an honest and natural look at men’s mental health through the eyes of 15-year -old Noah, who lives with his dad. Just like any other teenager, he drags himself to school, visits his grandparents, and watches stupid videos on Facebook until crazy times in the morning, just to avoid revising.

But also like a lot of 15-year-olds, Noah finds life difficult. Very difficult. And he doesn’t know how to cope. This is a story about coping, about getting by and as Noah’s dad says, “You’ve gotta laugh!”, but what if it’s not funny… How do you cope when you’re clearly not alright? The show is directed by Benjamin Hardy-Phillips, written by Patrick Withey and performed by Dillon Berry – all three graduates of the Merlin’s youth theatre and Tri.Art programmes. Tickets are £7, concessions £5 and the 45 minute show is recommended for age 13+.

On Saturday 29th February, Pip Utton, one of the world’s most  respected solo performers, brings Einstein, his latest incarnation to the Merlin.  Over the past two decades, Pip has written and performed some of the most internationally successful solo shows. ‘Adolf’, ‘Bacon’, ‘Dickens’, ‘Chaplin’, ‘Churchill’, ‘Playing Maggie’, ‘Hunchback’, ‘And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love you’ and many others have received five-star reviews and awards around the world. 

Albert Einstein is the image of a crazy scientist, a mad professor. Pip brings to life not only the scientist but a musician, politician, human rights campaigner and the ‘deeply religious Jew who doesn’t believe in God’. Following this performance, there will be a half-hour interval followed by a new short piece: Popes, a sideways look at the history of the papacy from St Peter, to today’s Pope Francis.   Tickets are £12.50 adults, £10.50 concessions, recommended age 14+ and running time approx 2 hours.

There’s a celebration of the oral tradition throughout history on Thursday 5th March when Pete “The Temp” Bearder presents Homer to Hip Hop: A people’s History of the Spoken Word. Following a standing room only reception at the Edinburgh Fringe, National Poetry Slam Champion Pete “the Temp” Bearder, presents a fun and fascinating tour of the oral tradition and the poetic movements that have shaped history. Why have wordsmiths always been vilified, feared and revered?

Pete brings to life some of the most iconic moments in the history of performance poetry, from ballad singers and Beat poets, to the icons of dub, punk and hip hop. Pete is an award-winning spoken word poet, author and comic whose work has been featured on BBC Radio 4, The World Service, and Newsnight. Suitable for all ages, running time 145 mins with interval, all tickets £6.50.

On Saturday 7th March, Mark Thomas returns to the Merlin with 50 Things About Us, a show about songs, gongs, loot, tradition, wigs, nicking, statues, art and identity, using his trademark style of storytelling, stand-up and subversion – a sort of funny national edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Always popular, the show is selling fast, with ticker £18.50 and concessions £13. Recommended 16+.

Further details at www.merlin theatre.co.uk.

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