Latitude 2019 – Saturday Highlights Part 1

Welcome to Saturday at Latitude 2019!

In our Saturday highlights part 1 we’ll share with you all the hilarity from our first comedy headliner of the day, Katherine Ryan, an intimate lakeside show from Ben Folds & a Piano, an arresting performance by The Northern Ballet‘s much much

Katherine Ryan

It’s Katherine Ryan‘s tenth time at Latitude and as she walks out onto the stage in the packed out Comedy Arena, shining than brighter than your average disco ball, you know she’s going to own it. It’s one of the last times Katherine is going to invite an audience into The Glitter Room, as seen in her hit Netflix show, and we cannot wait to shimmy on inside.

The show is a winning mix of killer one liners executed with cool precision (“men are like dolphins, best enjoyed on holiday”), carefully woven stories and a dash of improv. The biggest laughs come when Katherine lets loose her wrath on Jane from the school run (“ass like a peach, cervix like a hoola hoop”). And, the hilarious improv when she points out Tyler, the security guard at the front of the stage, and proclaims to have “shagged” him at the last Latitude.

Katherine oozes charisma, her jokes about interrupting a disturbing scene in Hamilton, are told with a hair swish and more sass than Ru Paul’s Drag Race. The set is proudly feminist with Katherine, in just under an hour, highlighting with razor sharp wit the hypocrisies of how the world views single fathers versus single mothers, the stigma of being a single woman and how women are still expected to not take up space.

The set comes to an unexpected, touching finish as Katherine brings out her daughter Violet and friend Matilda to sing ‘You’re Going To Miss Me When I’m Gone’ from the film Pitch Perfect. With the Glitter Room now firmly closed, we cannot wait to see what Katherine Ryan dazzles us with next.

Ben Folds & a Piano

Ben Folds is renowned for playing with some of the world’s best musicians, orchestras and, of course, the prestigious Ben Folds Five. But, today on The Waterfront Stage it’s just Ben Folds & a Piano, and not to mention a thousand joyful people and some brilliant tunes.

Ben is a naturally affable performer, cracking jokes and telling stories. During an in-between lull of his song, he even creates an impromptu song by ear based on the chords from a song playing in a nearby tent. His skills for improvisation know no bounds, a group dancing on the bridge catch his eye and moments later he’s halfway into a song called ‘Bridge People’; full of playful licks and intonations that would be a perfect fit for the Latitude national anthem.

It’s his extensive back catalogue of classics, including ‘Landed’ and ‘The Luckiest’, that draw the biggest cheers. Every song garners huge applause from all angles on the waterfront, one even breaking out into a three-part harmony performed by the latest choir to hit the festival: The Ben Folds Audience Choir.

Just in case we needed any more reminding of the special chance to see Ben play solo, he leaves the stage with a nod a wink to the sounds of Eric Carmen’s ‘All By Myself’. He meanders through the crowd and across the bridge to adoring high fives and handshakes. As he slowly gets lost in amongst the Latitude masses, we’re all left with a memory we’ll never forget.

Lazy Day

The passionately aggressive indie rock of Lazy Day echoes through the Sunrise Arena and out into the forest. The young band can hardly contain their smiles as they introduce tracks from their recent EP, ‘Letters’.

It’s a shouty but strong start to the morning, the band soak up the captivated crowd as they synchronise their side stepping in time to the beat. Front person Tilly delivers relatable lyrical quips with ease about how unsettling it feels to not look like the focused on majority.

Lazy Day’s songs have a distinct touch of light grunge, adding a little heavier aspect to proceedings which is a welcome wake up to get us ready for the day.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink

At our new podcast stage, The Listening Post, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink host Scarlett Curtis is joined by comedic royalty this afternoon in the woods. Comedians Katherine Ryan and Aisling Bea and Blue Peter alum and author Konnie Huq take their place on the sofas for a light-hearted, yet important discussion, on how feminism impacts the daily life of each guest.

Konnie Huq leads the debate, she speaks passionately about how her young sons are already having gender roles thrust upon them and about the lack of representation for a British-Bangladeshi child.

Aisling Bea stresses the importance of friendships as a tool with which to exercise feminist acts every day. With each quip, Bea has an equally spicy anecdote, the most notable being the time Katherine Ryan sent her a dress to wear for the BAFTA’s and it was subsequently voted Worst Dressed the following day.

Scarlett Curtis’ insightful questions allow the panel to focus on their individual lived experiences with feminism. The discussion ends with a Q&A that moves one member of the audience to share their own very personal struggle with mental health issues and how the podcast has inspired them to affect positive change. Feminists may not always wear pink, but they are always changing lives.

Marina

It’s hard to believe that MARINA has been performing for almost 10 years as the energy she possesses is as fresh as when she first released her larger than life debut album, ‘The Family Jewels’.

Back by dancers in neon outfits MARINA gives us a colourful hit pack set. Older singles, like ‘Hollywood’ and ‘I Am Not A Robot’, are mixed in with newer tracks from MARINA’s most recent album, ‘Love + Fear’, marrying her more serious side with the upbeat. MARINA’s voice never falters or misses a step throughout the entire performance.

The camp dial is turned up to 11 for much of the set, but there’s a more serious and socially aware side to MARINA. The screen flashes image from Black Lives Matters protests and scenes of global despair just to keep the crowd grounded. It’s great to witness pop and politics in one bubble-gum pink package.

It’s a crying shame the set ever has to end, but ‘How To Be A Heartbreaker’ brings things to a sassy close with the crowd voguing their hearts out and embracing their inner divas.

Konnie Huq presents Cookie

Meet Cookie Haque. She’s nine years old, obsessed with science and always up to mischief.

Cookie is in the brainchild of broadcaster and now author, Konnie Huq, who’s writting and illustrating her first children’s book series, starting with ‘Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World’. Cookie, if you couldn’t tell by the similar names, is a semi-auto biographical character based on Konnie’s upbringing loving learning – but always being in trouble.

With the book set to launch later this year this is one of Cookie’s first introductions to the world, which gives Konnie a chance to have a bunch of fun in The SpeakEasy with all the families gathered there. There’s giant games of heads or tails, science experiments and quizzes that split the tent in two. Interwoven between the games are passages from the book, which have the kids cackling along to the hijinks of Cookie.

Konnie even creates us a unique Cookie story just for Latitude, starring kids from the audience who have to come up with the ideas. Naturally, the plot turns into Harriet from the front row trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament with a rubber, while the artistic George from the left hand side tries to stop her with his drawing skills. We can’t wait until ‘Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World’ hits the bookshop shelves.

Kittie Kipper – Sustainability In The Kitchen

A wise and insightful panel led by Kittie Kipper sits at the front of the Theatre Of Food tent, full of passion and joy for food and the environment. The conversation of sustainability is on the tip of everyone’s tongue at the moment and this panel opens it up with clarity.

The conversation begins with the eye opening fact that Britain has a nation wastes 6.7 billions tonnes of food a year, so how do we combat this and become conscious of our environment and the nature around us?

The panel talks with sincerity and vision as they lay out some of the issues facing us and offering the audience helpful action points to combat them. There’s also praise for Latitude Festival’s focus on sustainability, reducing single use plastic and the many recycling points on site. The topics of veganism, packaging, sourcing, environmental sustainability and pollution dominate this insightful afternoon discussion.

Northern Ballet

You’d been forgiven for not knowing of Nannerl Mozart. The history books have often overshadowed her remarkable accomplishments as a musician in favour of her younger brother, Wolfgang. This is why the legendary Northern Ballet have chosen Nannerl’s life and passions as the subject of their latest short piece, ‘The Kingdom of Back’, choreographed by Morgann Runacre-Temple.

The three principal players are the two siblings and an unnamed overlord figure. Initially, the siblings in their early years go toe-to-toe, during moments that bring a whimsical irreverence to classic ballet, as they move in perfect synchronicity.

An ingenious white square, the only piece of staging in the entire performance, symbolises the limitations forced upon Nannerl. Wolfgang quickly escapes the square into a new life of fame and everlasting adoration, meanwhile Nannerl is made to live within these confines despite her talents. It is not until a finale, an impassioned war between herself and her metaphorical captor, that Nannerl realises the boundaries mean nothing, their power immediately diminished.

In one of the final moment, Nannerl leaps in and out of these boundaries to provide an uplifting climax to a highlight of The Waterfront Stage.


Latitude 2019 Highlights

Thursday Highlights

Latitude 2019 got off to a spectacular start with the National Theatre Live’s screening of War Horse, a secret set by Frank Turner, phenomenal flamenco from Jesús Carmona, and a jaw-dropping opening procession by The Elders.

Find out more