A Mayfest round-up as we head into the final weekend of the festival

Midnight letter deliveries, rubber ducks, robots, whisky sours, cheese, semaphore, fish and chips and jelly slapping! Yep, you guessed it. Mayfest has returned and Bristol is awash with exciting and innovative theatre. Wondering what’s happened so far? Allow us to summarise for you…Opening night saw fun and frivolities at Bristol Old Vic. Robots were dancing, songs were sung and beer was consumed – all in quite large amounts and all in the spirit of the now legendary Mayfest opening party.The days following saw the arrival of Foley/Astronaut at the Brewery, described as captivating to the eye and ear and an excellent theatrical journey respectively and with, rumour has it, a rather impressive display of jelly slapping from the former. Here at Bristol Old Vic we welcomed Little Bulb Theatre into our Studio and Operation Greenfield’s infectious energy won over audiences all weekend. Stand and Stare returned to Bristol with the incredible Guild of Cheesemakers, gathering an audience of foodie theatre fanatics around a table in a Georgian church for an incredible ‘multi-sensory cabaret’. Talking of food, the Tobacco Factory presented sea shanties, story telling and fish and chips with NIE’s Tales From a Sea Journey which was described by Venue magazine as being ‘laced with beauty, humour and almost elemental pathos’. Deborah Pearson and Sylvia Rimat brought their moving and intimate double bills to the Arnolfini and we opened the doors of the newest (and quite frankly the coolest) bar in town – The Blind Tiger where whiskey sours are drunk and songs are sung into the wee hours. Phew!Monday marked a fresh week on the good ship Mayfest and Colston Hall presented an evening of unique music with composer and performer Peter Swaffer-Reynolds which saw the venue transformed into a mini circus, a Music Circus if you will… On Tuesday and Wednesday Guy Dartnell brought his mesmerising one man show Something or Nothing to Bristol Old Vic and mixed video, chalk images and good old fashioned story telling to create something truly wonderful. Meanwhile Circomedia provided the perfect setting for Nobody and Beyond as Lucie Petrusova and Karla Shacklock pushed the boundaries of physical performance with an explosive double bill.Leon Kay has been creating somewhat of a twitter buzz with It’s Like He’s Knocking, a tender and moving piece based on the lives of three generations of men at The Parlour until Saturday evening. Meanwhile Dan Canham has been at The Cube with his brand new dance piece, 30 Cecil Street, inspired by a dilapidated theatre and described by one audience member as ‘a piece of great delicacy and understated beauty’. Bridewell Island is also getting in on the Mayfest action by playing host to The Invisible Journey, a one-man cabaret of storytelling, physical comedy and song from the ring-master of the renowned Invisible circus until this evening. Catch it whilst you can!Thursday evening also saw the opening night of The Summerhouse at Bristol Old Vic, fantastic, devised ‘comedy thriller’ about men and all their crap, myths and what they’re for and, erm, the weather! The fantastically entertaining Sam Halmarack and the Miserablites are in the Arnolfini’s dark studio until Saturday and acclaimed choreographer Darren Johnston will be making his Bristol debut with Ousia in the Arnolfini’s main house, a piece that makes for hauntingly beautiful viewingAnd whilst all this is going on The Blind Tiger is open for business after every show at the Bristol Old Vic for cocktails and cabaret of all descriptions, sign up slots are available every night from 9.30pm. We hear it’s doing a roaring trade… (Sorry!). Search Party will also be continuing with their fabulous semaphore soap opera Save Me down on the floating harbour every day. It’s completely free of charge, a lovely concept, and quite a spectacle! And if you’re worried you’ll have missed something important in the semaphore lives of Jodie and Pete, come and catch up on all the flag-related goings on in the foyer of Bristol Old Vic.So there’s still plenty to see as we approach the final weekend. Check out www.mayfestbristol.co.uk for more information and daily blog for all the ins and outs. Alternatively follow them on twitter @mayfestbristol to links to all the shows and reviews, and of course so you can keep up to date with plans for next year!

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