One of Ab Solomons many cartoon for his wife, Celie

“Wot? No Fish!!”, a theatre show inspired by shoemaker’s doodles, back on tour

One of Ab Solomons many cartoon for his wife, Celie
One of Ab Solomons many cartoon for his wife, Celie

(With thanks to Glenn Dakin for the spot): Wot? No Fish!!, a theatre play inspired by a shoemaker’s doodles on his wage packets, is currently touring the UK, most recently playing the London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s South Bank, but has upcoming dates in Hull, Darlington and Gloucester.

In 1926, shoemaker Ab Solomons drew a doodle on the wage-packet he gave to his wife, Celie. Throughout their marriage, right up until 1982, Ab developed his art, drawing a wage-packet picture every week – drawing over 3000 pictures chronicling Ab and Celie’s family life, through ups and downs, with great wit and warmth and with a blistering honesty.

One of Ab Solomons many cartoon for his wife, Celie

Danny Braverman’s solo show, directed by Nick Philippou, tells the funny and moving story of how he discovered the lost art of his Great-uncle Ab, creating an extraordinary story about love and art, history and fish balls that has earned it plenty of plaudits in the press.

Danny Braverman opens one of the shoe boxes filled with his great Uncle's cartoons
Danny Braverman opens one of the shoe boxes filled with his great Uncle’s cartoons

Following success at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013, Wot? No Fish!! has toured extensively, including to Battersea Arts Centre, the Boston ICA, Sydney Festival, Melbourne Malthouse and recently Southbank Centre.  It was named as one of Guardian critic Lyn Gardner’s Top Ten shows of 2014 and won Danny the Brian Way Playwriting Award in 2013.

“They are an eloquent portrait of love and of a marriage through its ups and downs,” enthused Lyn Gardner of the art. “There is even one in which Ab seems to be trying to persuade his wife away from the divorce court… This is an evening that doesn’t let facts (often unknown) get in the way of speculation, and it’s all the better for it.”

Here’s a quick video created for the show’s Southbank Centre dates earlier this year…

Wot? No Fish!! is now about to embark on a tour this Autumn for Battersea Arts Centre’s Collaborative Touring Network, starting out at the Kardomah in Hull on 5th September, and if you live in one of the towns they’re visiting, I think you should take a look.

I also think that although many of the images Danny’s posted on his blog are quite small and the captions hard to read, based on what I can see, someone should be talking to him about a collection of these marvellous cartoons.

• Find out more about the bread&circuses show Wot? No Fish!! here: https://wotnofish.wordpress.com | and do check out Danny’s blog, where he posts many of the images, with comments: https://wotnofish.wordpress.com/wot-no-blog/

Written and performed by Danny Braverman and directed by Nick Philippou

 

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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