St Ives Steampunk Opium Wars and Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge Part 1

Here’s the first half of The Steampunk Opium Wars which we took down to the St Ives Arts Festival to play to a packed house at the Arts Theatre on Tuesday 18th September.

We did it as a new concept — the unrehearsed reading — as six of our original company couldn’t get down to Cornwall due to logistics and health issues. However, we were lucky enough to have Bob Devereux and Buffalo Bill Smith step in as Lord Palmerston and Captain Ironside, while Charles Shaar Murray read radical Mr Cobstone, and I narrated and played all 1.4 billion Chinese with the aid of a hat.

Paul Anderson and Louise Whittle were magnificent in their second outing in their roles as Sir Jardine-Matheson and Queen Victoria.

It was a joy to play in a proper theatre. The Arts Club has a rich history that goes back to the 19th century and I wonder how many of the early patrons would have been using opium to aid their creative endeavours. It was also liberating to have a proper stage upon which to frolic and which looked suitably dramatic due to the lighting and sound efforts of Simon the St Ives Busker. Make sure you chuck money into this man’s guitar case if you ever see him playing in town. How many times have I struggled with that desk, usually forgetting where the power switch is hidden?

I was fighting off bronchitis so I sound a bit like the irritating woman who voices the automated Virgin Media telephone instructions thingy who keeps you waiting for years and then cuts you off.

Missed you John Crow, Neil Hornick, Hugo Trebels, John Paul O’Neill and Marc Jefferies. Wished Deborah Evans-Stickland was there to be Britannia singing “Money”. Thanks to Rachel Smith for shooting the video on my TZ20.

The second half of the evening was great — an assortment of our talented friends in town for the festival. More to come.

The Steampunk Opium Wars in St Ives Part 2 here.

Madam Miaow says … visit Anna Chen’s website here:


Anna’s food blog here:

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