Mischief Production’s ‘Good Luck Studio’

Hi Everyone,

I recently got the chance to see ‘Good Luck Studio’ by Mischief Productions, behind the comedy shows ‘The Show Goes Wrong’ and ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ on the BBC. I wanted to see one of their shows live, and last night I got the chance so was excited! 

Ticket & Venue

I was kindly invited to The Mercury Theatre in Colchester for their press night of this show, and so was gifted the tickets for this show! Tickets range from £15 to £25, it is completely worth the money. A disabled ticket can also include a companion ticket should one be required. 

Seating

For this performance, I was offered seats in row D which are always an excellent view for anyone who is visually impaired as you are very close to the stage and was able to see everything going on from start to finish comfortably, with no eye strain whatsoever. So if you can get this row when booking your seats will have no problem here at all. 

Photo shows seating view of a cartoon setting with a castle, tree, and wall. with a backdrop of clouds and oranges. Surrounded by a tv like studio.

The Show

As I had seen this company’s production of other shows on tv, I went in with hopes being very high and they did not disappoint! The show had a dark theme, but also lots of laughter and comedy and I had a really good balance of both. You felt like you had a connection with each character and the audience felt for each of them as they were going through their struggles. The show had a real professional feel throughout which is something that I had expected coming from the company’s previous reputation. 

I can’t fault any of the cast at all, they really did put everything they had into their own performances and the passion bled from them during the whole show. A truly great performance done by all!  

shows princess pineapple in a yellow and orange pineapple dress. talking to a puppeteer holding a frog puppet.
Photo by Pamela Raith

Accessibility 

I need to start by saying that there is a content warning for this show including gunshots, a bomb threat and mock acts of terrorism. So that is something you need to bear in mind when considering booking tickets. There were multiple gunshots throughout the show, a few of them were in scenes and some were slightly muffled but it is there. For me personally, I think there were maybe too many gunshots, but at the same time some added to the plot, so I would say use your own judgement on this.

There was a great use of colour and lighting in certain scenes which were really helpful. There weren’t any dark moments which was a nice addition. The only dark moment came at the end of the first act, but that is expected. There were a lot of really bright colours as the mock tv show was a show for children so was easy to see who was who. There is a point where two different characters are wearing the same costume so I had to rely on the actors’ voices but that was only a handful of times.

shows 'Andy' (Adam Byron) wearing a bright green with purple dots dragon body custom, holding a yellow script.
Photo by Pamela Raith

There is an Audio Description performance available, if you have limited to no vision I would strongly encourage you to have the AD headset as there are a few visual jokes and tags throughout the show inducing one whole scene that is entirely visual. So take the option if you can. There is also a ‘touch tour’ available should you want that access too. The Audio Description and Touch Tour performance are on the 15th of October at 2.30 pm. 

Overall

In conclusion, I thoroughly recommend this show to adults and older teenagers. A really enjoyable night out, a great laugh with all emotions in one show! I highly recommend it for sure! ‘Good Luck Studio’ is running at The Mercury Theatre from 6th – 16th October 2022. Then running to other theatres in the UK. You can find tickets at The Mercury Theatre by clicking here, or the Good Luck Studio website here! 

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

a full shot of the whole set with the dragon dancing and jumping also with princess pineapple with bright lights all around them.
Photo by Pamela Raith

Colchester Operatic Society’s ‘Fame!’

Hi Everyone,

Back again with another review. This time the show was put on by a local drama society in Colchester! If you would like to know more, and maybe even get involved then you can find their website here. Go and check it out! 

Ticketing & Venue

So I was kindly given the tickets by The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! They were incredibly helpful! There is a wide range of ticket options available. You can choose either: a disabled person ticket, or a visually impaired ticket, or if you have an assistance dog, there is also an assistance dog ticket. There is a companion ticket option at £1.50 that can be added with any of those tickets. 

They are very geared up to helping people with all disabilities, not just blind or visually impaired people! All staff are able to offer sighted guided assistance should you require it! If you also have a Guide Dog then the front-of-house staff, are very accommodating and will happily look after your Guide Dog during the performance. If however, you would like your to be with you during the performance then that is something you can also do easily! 

Seating 

So in terms of seating, you are able to book any seat within the auditorium that you require. At this particular performance, I was given seats H 21 and H22. For me, this proved to be a little tricky when it came to certain darker scenes as I was unable to fully make out who was who. I was somehow able to do this due to do this as these scenes being in the second half of the show I knew which character was speaking as I had worked out which character was who due to their voice! If I had to recommend a certain row I would recommend row D if you have Low Vision, as this is close enough where you are still able at least I am able to see the performers’ facial expressions. Which is something I like to do, but you might be different. But if you have No Vision then anywhere in the auditorium you will have the same experience. 

The Show

Overall, the show was very good, You have to consider that all the actors in the show are not professional. But considering this, some of the cast had amazing singing voices! Sadly I am unable to mention certain cast members by name as on my particular evening the programmes were sadly not delivered in time, and at the time of writing this review, there is no cast list on the Mercury website. But you all really were amazing and you all should be really proud of yourselves! 

Throughout the show, there were some technical difficulties with microphones and such so was a little difficult to hear what some of the cast were saying at times, but this was opening night so I think we can forgive them for the odd teething problems! 

Accessibility 

In terms of accessibility for blind and visually impaired people sadly, it is very limited. Unfortunately, there is no Audio Description which I feel these days is a must and should be at least one per show that comes in. But looking at the website there doesn’t seem to be an Audio Described performance, hopefully, this is something that the Colchester Operatic Society can look to change for future performances, as this is disappointing to see. However, there are two captioned performances available. So check out The Mercury Theatre’s website for more details, click here to find out more!

Overall

This was a really fun show to watch, you called tell that all the company thoroughly enjoyed their time on stage and you could really feel the passion they all had for performing, I think some could really go far if they kept at it! The show is running from 10th – 18th September multiple shows a day so this is definitely a watch if you would like to see some up-and-coming talented and you could say you saw them first! 

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic

Why ‘Alt Text’ Is Awesome! – #DescribeThePic

Hi all,

Today we all take looking at photos on websites and social media is something we take for granted. But for people who are Blind or Low Vision can be really difficult if someone doesn’t take the time to describe that photos.

Screen Readers

But how exactly do Blind or Low Vision people look at these photos? Well people with Low Vision might choose to use Zoom features to be able to look at a photo or read some text, but it’s a little different for people you have no vision at all. People with no vision use something called a ‘Screen Reader’. A ‘Screen Reader’ is a piece of software, that can either be built into a device like all Apple iOS or Mac products, or in some cases android too. This little of software reads all things on the screen to a Blind person, whether that be text messages, the weather, or even ebooks. But it will always read ‘Alt Text’ on websites to describe photos. 

Alt Text

‘Alt Text’ is a simple piece of code on a website that allows people to add descriptions to photos which Screen Readers can read if the person has ‘Voice Over’ on, but it embedded into the photos, so it is hidden by sight users to your website (social media alt text will be covered below). Websites like ‘Wordpress’ make it very easy to allow owners of a website to add descriptions to photos. For more information on adding alt text to your wordpress website you can click here!

Here are two examples, the first image doesn’t have Alt Text, but the image underneath does:

Photo shows a photo of me and Guide Dog Blossom sitting in a house garden posing for a photo. Blossom is wear her Guide Dog harness.

Social Media

So adding ‘Alt Text to photos to tweets on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook is so, so easy, and even more important now more and more people are now using social media even more! So below I am going to give you some instructions on how to add Alt Text for each of these websites:

Twitter

So adding Alt Text to your photos along with your tweets is as follows:

  1. Firstly, click or tap on the compose tweet button, type out your tweet, then at the bottom, tap or click on the add photos button.
  2. Once you have selected the image, at the bottom right of the thumbnail of the image, there is an alt text button, once tap or clicked another window will appear where you can typed on the description of the photos. 
  3. Once you have typed on the description, then just tap or click then done button, then just tap or click the tweet button.

Instagram

Adding descriptions to your instagram photos goes like this:

  1. Tap on the ‘add photo’ cross at the top right of the app, the dice on the photo.
  2. Once you have added a filter if you chose to, then once the ‘New Post’ window appears click or tap the ‘advanced settings’ option that the very bottom of all the options on the page.
  3. Once there, scroll all the way down the ‘accessibility’ section, under that is the ‘write alt text’ button, tap on that. once there it gives you a huge section for you to be as descriptive as you like! The more descriptive the better!

Facebook

Unfortunately, Facebook does not have a way for you to embed the description into the photo. So the only way around this is to add a photo description underneath your post along with the photo, with the words ‘photo description’ along with the description of the photo.

Adding Alt Text, to photos to some might be an extra thing you have to when you ‘just want to post an image to your friends’. But just taking this little extra step before pressing share. Means that everyone can enjoy your photos including people with vision loss!

I have had the massive honour and privilege, on not doing this post alone! This post has been part of a campaign called #DescribeThePic along with the brilliant Siobhan Meade creator of the YouTube channel ‘Blind Girl Vlogs’ an channel of which you can find here or her twitter here. But also the wonderful Emily Davison who creates fashion and all things Visually Impaired blog posts and videos on her website, YouTube channel, and twitter whom I have follow for a while and it has been a joy to work with!

Thank you Siobhan and Emily for having me! I’ve enjoyed it so much!

I know this is complexly different to what normally post about, but this a topic which is near and dear to me, so I was something that when asked I really wanted to get involved with. So I hope you have got something out of this, and hopefully next time you post an image to social media or website.

If you decided to post a photo in the near future, or decide to make video or blog post also on this same subject, then please do so. I’d would love to hear what you guys think about this! But then you do, please use the hashtag #DescribeThePic on social media, that way people can also see your creations and your opinions too!

Due to world pandemic as many have seen, the theatre industry is none existent! So I am not sure when my next post is going to be, as there will be no Pantomime post this year. But I want to take this time to wish all a Very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!!

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic

Apps For The Visually Impaired

Hi Everyone,

I have been blogging about my experiences going to the theatre for visually impaired people for a few of years now, and it occurred to me recently that even though yes, I tell you guys about my theatre goings-on from a visually impaired perspective, I don’t really do any visually impaired related content. I did writing about my Guide Dog Experience recently (if you haven’t read that yet, I suggest you do so). But this time I thought I would write and suggest some smartphone apps that I use. Now you may have already heard of some of these already and that’s okay, but there maybe some on this list that you might not have heard of. 

This list is in no particular order, so here it goes:

1. Netflix

Some of you might be sitting there reading this and thinking ‘why on earth have you chosen Netflix?’ Well, along with Netflix being the leading company in online streaming services, it has I believe the largest and best category of films and tv show that have Audio Description! The UK version of Netflix already has big collections of films and tv shows, but what makes Netflix stand out from all the rest is that it has its own category for Audio Description which covers tv or films. Instead of trying to search for films or tv shows and clicking on each one to see if it has AD all you have to do is just click or tap on the category which says ‘Audio Description’ and there you go! Netflix is a monthly subscription service, with their basic package being £5.99 and going far as £9.99 for their ultra package. They do offer a 30-day free trial so give it a shot!

2. TimeBuzz

Okay, now technically this is not a smartphone app, but an Apple Watch app, but hear me out. Have you ever been in a situation where you want to know what the time is, but you are afraid if you check it will look like your bored, or it will distract the people around you? Well, this solves both those problems. TimeBuzz instead of telling you the time verbally, it gives you the time by giving you physical indications by tapping you on the wrist. For example, if the time was 10:15am once you press the button, it will tap you ten times on the wrist, pause, then tap you fifteen times on the wrist, and no is the wiser!

3. Big Spender

This app is for all my fellow Guide Dog Owners out there! Have you ever been traveling in a city or place you are unfamiliar, and your dog needs to ‘spend’ and go for the toilet, and if like Blossom they only want to go on grass? Well, then this app is for you! It uses your current location and searches for the nearest public piece of grass. You do have to use a bit of common sense, as it will show you places at you just can’t get to like grass on roundabouts or it might say there is a patch of public grass, but you get there and it isn’t anymore, but on the whole, it has got me out of a jam and it does come in handy!

4. StoCard 

This has been a recent find, thanks to another visually impaired blogger/YouTuber ‘Fashioneyesa‘. This has been a lifesaver! When I’m out shopping I’m forever having a blank at to where I have put a certain loyalty card for a certain shop, with this app I don’t have to worry about that anymore. What this app does is instead of struggling to find a certain card in your wallet or purse. All you have to do is store your card into the app before you go shopping. Then when the staff asks if you have a loyalty card, you can open this app and select it, at which point it will come up with that card’s barcode or QR code for the shop assistant to scan! It will add the points automatically to your account, it works with all major UK shops and food chains so start scanning!

5. Tube Map

This app has been brilliant! Even though I’m Visually Impaired, I am lucky that I have some remaining useful vision. But sadly when I go to London and use the underground, I can’t see the large maps on the station walls or on the trains themselves. So this app takes care of all of that. It downloads the full London tube map to your phone, and you can zoom in or out as much as you need. Although the best thing about it in my opinion, is that when you search a route, it tells you how many stops it is before you get to your destination, and which ‘bound’ to use for example ‘West Bound’ or ‘North Bound’ which is for me the biggest difficulty.  

I hope that this list of apps have become useful, and has given you some new apps to try. All links to these apps are in the app titles, so just click on them and it will take you to the App Store. If you have any other suggestions as to what other Visually Impaired topics you would like me to talk about and go into, then please leave them in the comments below, or get in touch or either Facebook or Twitter!

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

Shows an iPhone next to a Macbook showing a 'Home Screen' full of Apps'