Wolverhampton has got talent…despite the slagging off


Tim Routledge on the lighting desk at the Olympics Stadium, London

Tim Routledge on the lighting desk at the Olympics Stadium, London

An award-winning Black Country lighting designer and programmer is taking a well earned rest after being part of the team praised for the fantastic lighting at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games.

At the same time two Black Country comic actors earned rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival and were nominated and shortlisted out of 536 comedy shows at the festival in the Fosters Comedy Awards (Saturday 25th August).
Tim Routledge, originally from Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton, and a former member of the city’s Central Youth Theatre (CYT) was Lead Lighting Programmer for Olympic shows which attracted worldwide praise. The BBC’s Gary Lineker also picked out the lighting at the closing ceremony as top drawer.
Tim was a member of CYT, based at the Newhampton Arts Centre, Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton,  from the aged of 13.
After cutting his teeth in youth theatre as an actor in a number of productions, including one which toured to the former USSR, found a love of lighting.
Ben Clark and Tom Parry, also former CYT members were two of the three man Pappy’s Fun Club – team (trimmed down from the original four who have been performing for five years)- delivering Pappy’s Last Ever Show at the festival.
Daily Telegraph reviewer Mark Monahan described their show as the funniest thing he had seen at the festival.

Ben Clark, left, with Tom Parry, right, and Matthew Crosby make up Pappy's Fun Club

Ben Clark, left, with Tom Parry, right, and Matthew Crosby make up Pappy’s Fun Club

 He also praised the renewed zest of their writing and performing in an hour which was “a garden of verbal and physical comedy.”
Monahan also said: “In the best Pappy’s tradition the show moves like quicksilver, and the writing wears its cleverness with a marvellous lightness of touch.”
He concludes: “Their last show ever? It had better not be – a sparkling return to form.”
In the same vein, Paul Fleckney, on the London is Funny website, writes: “If this does turn out to be Pappy’s last show, they’re ending on a huge high. Show number six for Matthew Crosby, Ben Clark and Tom Parry is a knockabout classic with some unashamed poignancy to balance the books.

“Oh to be a fly on the wall when the trio were planning this show. When sketch groups find success on the live stage but not in the hearts of TV commissioners, the elephant in the room is: how long can they feasibly stay together? With this show, Pappy’s don’t so much address the elephant, as put it in a silly hat and ride it around singing My Way.”

The £10,000 best comedy show award went to  Phil Burgers from Los Angeles, appearing as Dr Brown.

New Zealander Sam Wills took the panel prize for performances over three weeks and Daniel Simonsen, from Norway, took the best newcomer award.

Pappy’s appeared at the festival in 2006, as part of the Free Fringe and in February 2007, were nominated for Best Newcomer at the Chortle Awards by the website Chortle.co.uk

In August 2007 they returned to the Fringe with their second show and were nominated for the 2007 if.comedy award (formerly the  Perrier Comedy Award. In November of that year they appeared on the BBC Three’s Comedy Shuffle.

The following year they team recorded a pilot for BBC Radio 4 which was broadcast 12 May 2008 and followed this up in March 2008 with a ComedyLab for Channel 4 TV, broadcast in August 2008.

Pappyy’s will continue with their ‘Last Show Ever’ at the Saltaire Festival on the 12th September and tour from the 28th September with local dates including the Stafford Met on the 5th October, Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms on the 28th October, Bromsgrove’s Greatrix on the 10th November and Birmingham’s Glee Club on the 23rd November.

The full tour list is available at www.pappyscomedy.com/tour.php

CYT Director Jane Ward says of Tim Routledge’s work at the Olympics:  “It was so exciting for current Central Youth Theatre members to watch the ceremonies on TV and know that the incredible lighting was being operated by a former member of their group.

“Lots of our young members were buzzing with it on Twitter and Facebook – saying how proud they were of him.

“When LOCOG talk about inspiring a generation of sports people – they should also realise how this event has also inspired young people in creative ways as well.
The spectacular opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games

The spectacular opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games

“Our own Cultural Olympiad funded festival – Everybody Dance Now which was successfully staged across Wolverhampton in the summer of last year, is also receiving it’s own accolade as the project is being named on a commemorative Inspire Legacy plaque which is going to be unveiled at the Olympic Park later this year”.

Tim’s next and final Olympic challenge is the closing ceremony of the Paralympics starting at 7.30pm on Sunday 9th September.
It will be called the Festival of Flame and feature 2,000 performers including top British band Coldplay.
Tim says: “The closing ceremony was especially hectic as we had just 16hrs to set the stage and make our technical preparations.
“However, it was also a very special night as it marked for the fourth anniversary of meeting my wife Natasha at the closing Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
“I’ve definitely got the Olympic bug and really hope that I can get involved in the Rio Olympics in 2016”.
Earlier this year Tim was associate lighting designer of the Queens Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace.
He said: “The Diamond Jubilee concert was a unique project to be involved with, and I was working with the best technical and creative people in the UK, from my colleagues Lighting Designer Durham Marenghi to projection producer Sam Pattinson,an evening that was topped off with a champagne reception in the Palace.”
The closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games from the lighting desk

The closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games from the lighting desk

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