Monday, 30 April 2012

Sunset Boulevard (film)

The Under Ground Theatre showed the classic Sunset Boulevard in May last year as one of its Sunday matinee choices. Now the film is returning to Eastbourne again, this time to be shown at the Hardwick Suite of the Devonshire Park Tennis Centre in association with Filmspot as part of the 2013 Eastbourne Festival.

Sunset Boulevard (1950) is a powerful work of art that was the first film to expose the insanity and heartlessness of the Hollywood dream factory. Winner of three Academy awards, it is ironically often held up as one of the greatest films of American cinema. The first film studio in Los Angeles opened on the real Sunset Boulevard in 1911 and the film contains many references to early Hollywood. It was directed by Billy Wilder who also co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Brackett. The pair had only completed half the script when filming began so Wilder only had a rough idea of how his picture would end.
Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) is a former silent-movie legend who, unable to cope with her faded fame, has retreated to an almost solitary life in her crumbling mansion. Norma's fantasies of a return to stardom are stoked by meeting Joe Gillis (William Holden), an unsuccessful writer who becomes her lover. But the fledgling relationship leads only to murder and madness.

Devonshire Park Tennis Centre, Fri 5th April 2013, 19:30.
Tickets £6.50 adults, £4.00 children.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Willie Doherty (art)

I think the last Northern Irish artwork I saw at the Towner was a sculpture by Brendan Jamison, a whimsical fairytale tower created entirely from sugarcubes. The current exhibition of work by his countryman Willie Doherty is a very different prospect.

Willie Doherty was born in Derry in 1959 and continues to live and work in his home town. The first of his works to gain significant recognition was a series of powerful photographs, exhibited in the 1980s, which explored the difficulties of living within a divided community. Much of Doherty's work throughout his career has returned to this theme as he has tried to understand the daily fear, oppression and uncertainty that was 'normal life' for so many people in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. As a child he witnessed Bloody Sunday and has suggested that this horrific event had a great influence on his work and particularly in his use of photographic images to tell multiple stories concurrently. Doherty has twice been nominated for the Turner prize.

The Towner exhibition, 'Disturbance', is a survey of Doherty's work from the mid-1980s to the present day and includes both video installations and photographs. His current work shifts between urban and rural terrains and Disturbance includes the most recent of his video pieces, 'Ancient Ground', which was filmed this year in the peat bogs of Donegal.

Disturbance opened on the 21st April and will continue until the 24th June. Admission is free.
The Towner is open Tuesdays to Sundays (and Bank Holidays), 10:00-18:00.

Have written my review in the Comments below.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Exit Through The Gift Shop (film)

The Little Theatre's FilmClub presentation for May is Exit Through The Gift shop, a satirical documentary about street art and artists, including the elusive Banksy.

Thierry Guetta, an obsessive French film maker in Los Angeles, begins following a number of street artists and they go about their work, documenting every step of their creative process. Drawn deeper into the world of street art, he even begins to help them to create their murals. He tells the artists he is making a movie about them, but in reality the hours and hours of film are purely intended for his own archive. 

The Bristolian Banksy is one of the artists caught by Guetta's camera but, having realised that the promised film is unlikely ever to materialise, Banksy takes over the direction and uses Guetta's tapes to make his own film about the Frenchman's journey. 

The resulting documentary is edited from Guetta's footage and interviews and shows a number of the world's more infamous artists at work including Shepherd Fairey, Caledonia Curry and Invader. It is narrated by Rhys Ifans and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Screening at The Little Theatre, 
Wednesday 16th May, 19:00.
Tickets £3.00 to include refreshments.

Friday, 27 April 2012

ditzyladym interview

I am delighted to introduce to you ditzyladym, the first interviewee of the Theatrical Eastbourne blog!

The bridge, Southease
A founding member of the #ebphoto group, ditzyladym is an Iphoneographer, skateboarder, Carnival Mas player and a mum. She has lived in East Sussex since moving from London in 1999 and came to Eastbourne in 2004. Since we 'met' on Twitter, I have frequently been amazed by the artistry of her photographs. I think she has a great eye for composition and contrast and a style that is very much her own.

In her spare time, ditzyladym is currently to be found out in all weathers training with @ollyeast for a 100k (60 mile) London to Brighton walk raising money for Macmillan Cancer. Fortunately for the rest of us, her iPhone has accompanied her everywhere, allowing us to enjoy all the outstanding views without putting in the miles!

Friston Forest
tE: Have you always created your art through photography or have you also used other media?
d: Always photography. Am used to film and darkrooms but that stopped when Uni finished and I moved to East Sussex. I fell out of love with it when everything went digital. The iPhone has become the only kit that I carry and love the spontaneity of it.

 tE: How is using an iPhone different to using a traditional camera?
d: you are restricted by the limitations of a smart phone camera however you have a suite of apps to give you a lot of control at editing stage.  You can not beat the quality of a professional camera and the control that comes with it.  Best thing is you do not need to 'plan' and carry lots of equipment around, you can just capture on the move!

The Pier, 2012
tE: Has living in Eastbourne influenced your work?
d: I've gone from very urban photography in London to photographing nature and landscapes - something I initially found hard. In Eastbourne we have great beauty all around, the light and the opportunity to see for miles.  Feel very blessed to live here!

tE: Do you think you would be the same artist if you didn't live here?
d: Doubt it! can't imagine not photographing the sea and the pier :)

tE: There is a strong photographic community locally. How are you inspired by each others art?
d: We started #ebphoto in Dec 2011 from gathering of about 15 local photographers that networked on Twitter.  This has grown in a few months to 40+ members.  The great thing about the club is it is a supportive atmosphere with the group spanning working professionals to 'mums with iPhones' - like me!  We get a lot of out of sharing our work and giving each other support and feedback.

The long road, Southease nr. Lewes
tE: You've been tweeting some stunning rural photographs recently, taken during training. Are you ready for the 100k London to Brighton walk?
d: The walk is a very personal thing in taking on a monster challenge in my 40th year that will really push me whilst doing something for Macmillan Cancer. Getting increasingly nervous but just got to stay focused. Have suffered with my feet throughout training and I am sure they are going to continue to be my biggest challenge.  I am very excited nonetheless and keep imagining approaching Brighton Race Course in the wee hours of 13th May looking forward to throwing myself on the grass and quite possibly passing out - lol! Have had great team mates like Olly Prentice and the training has in itself been life changing.

ditzyladym's website at shows examples of her work with details of how you can purchase canvas prints, and also gives details of her current exhibition of work at Central Eating in Terminus Road, Eastbourne. At the moment, £5 from the sale of each print will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.  If you would like to sponsor dityzladym for the London to Brighton walk on the 12th of May, her Just Giving page is

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Le Gamin Au Velo / The Kid With A Bike (film)

Also showing at Eastbourne Curzon, Wed 12th Sep, 14:15, 17:00, 20:15.

 May is shaping up to be a good month for independent films in Hailsham. In the same week as the Film Club offering Martha Marcy May Marlene, the Pavilion has three screenings of Le Gamin Au Velo (The Kid with a Bike), a French film with English subtitles. Written and directed by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes, the 12A certificate film won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes last year.

Set in an industrial Belgian landscape, The Kid with a Bike is the simple and moving story of an eleven-year-old boy, Cyril (Thomas Doret), who is trying to escape from his state-run children's home and find the father who abandoned him. When returned to Social Services care, Cyril is given a chance when hairdresser Samantha (Cecile de France) offers to foster him at weekends. While this story could be oversweet, the Dardennes use a very direct method of communication that does not allow the film to become so.

One screening on Wednesday the 9th May at 14:15. Two screenings on Thursday the 10th May at 14:15 and 17:45.

Eastbourne Curzon, Wed 12th Sep, 14:15, 17:00, 20:15.
Adult ticket £6.50, concessions £4.50,

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Diary of Anne Frank (theatre)

Ahead of Blonde Poison (14th-16th May), The Diary of Anne Frank is coming to the Devonshire Park theatre in the first week of May. Both plays are concerned with the lives of Jews during the Second World War with each play viewing the subject from the opposing side.

Anne Frank's famous diary charts two years of her life from 1942 to 1944. Whilst hidden from the Nazis with her Jewish family in a secret annexe in Amsterdam, Anne documented her hopes, frustrations and day to day experiences in confinement. 

The 1950s Pulitzer prize winning play dramatises Anne’s wry observations of herself and her companions and includes material that had originally been censored by her father, Otto Frank. The script has been criticised for being too heavily weighted towards the positive aspects of Anne's Diary so those who know the original text very well might think the play too 'light'. Anne's relationship with her mother is not as antagonistic and the potential romance with Peter is given a more prominent role. However, as a piece of theatre in its own right, the play is well worth seeing and younger theatregoers will certainly find it very useful if their GCSE history syllabus includes the Second World War

This Touring Consortium production stars Amy Dawson in the title role with Christopher Timothy (All Creatures Great & Small) as Otto Frank and Kerry Peers (The Bill) as Anne's mother, Edith Frank.

The Diary of Anne Frank is at the Devonshire Park Theatre from Tuesday the 1st to Saturday the 5th of May. Evening performances begin at 19:45 and the two matinees, Wednesday and Saturday, begin at 14:30. In case it influences anyone's decision, BF and I are planning to go the to Wednesday evening performance!

Have added my review in the comments section below.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Gondoliers (G&S)

The Eastbourne Gilbert and Sullivan Society are now in their 43rd year having originally formed in 1968. Following on from Ruddigore in 2010 and The Mikado in 2011, this year's production will be The Gondoliers.

The comic opera is a class satire which was first performed in 1889 and ran for an amazing 554 performances. 
The Prince of Baratarian was married when he was still a baby. When, years later, his young bride arrives in Venice to join her husband, he cannot be identified because a drunken gondolier has confused the Prince with his own son. As the King of Barataria has just been killed, the two young gondoliers must now jointly rule the kingdom until the Prince's nurse can be brought to determine which of them is the rightful king. To further complicate matters, both of the two gondoliers have both recently married local girls and the Royal bride is in love with another man.

The Gondoliers will be performed at the Devonshire Park Theatre from the 8th to the 12th of May. Evening performances are at 19:45 and there will be matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 14:30.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Brass Jaw (music)

Photo by Calum Morrell
The next jazz evening at the Underground Theatre promises to be an interesting offering.

Brass Jaw are an acclaimed 4-piece jazz band based in Glasgow. The group is the brainchild of baritone saxophonist, Allon Beauvoisin and first toured the UK in 2005 as a saxophone quartet. Multi-award winning trumpeter, Ryan Quigley joined in 2009 and the band also includes Paul Towndrow (alto saxophone) and Konrad Wiszniewski (tenor saxophone).  In 2011 they won both Contemporary Band of The Year and Album of The Year at the Scottish Jazz Awards, and also Ensemble of The Year at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. 

Although their music is rooted in jazz tradition, the group works without a traditional rhythm section which makes for a very unique sound. Their gigs are entertaining and humorous with catchy tunes and virtuoso performances and their trademark full-on sound and momentum should make for one of the most memorable jazz gigs in Eastbourne this year!

Brass Jaw will be playing at the Underground Theatre on the 27th of April, 8pm. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene (film)

Hailsham Film Club have announced their next film choice  which will be Martha Marcy May Marlene.

This understated American thriller is a spellbinding portrait of a young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) who has escaped from an abusive cult led by Patrick (John Hawkes - Winter's Bone). Martha is taken in by her sister (Sarah Paulson) but finds herself unable to put her previous life behind her. 

Directed by Sean Durkin. Certificate 15.

Screening at Hailsham Pavilion on Tuesday the 8th May, 7:45pm.

I have added my review in the Comments below.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Mademoiselle Chambon (film)

Eastbourne Film Society are presenting the last film of their 2011/2012 season on the 2nd May at the Eastbourne Curzon

Mademoiselle Chambon is a French language film from 2009, directed by Stephane Brize.

"Jean, his loving wife and son live a simple, happy life. At his son's teacher's (Mademoiselle Chambon) request, he volunteers as substitute teacher and starts to fall for her delicate and elegant charm. His ordinary life between family and work starts to falter."

Screening times are 14:15, 17:15 and 20:00.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Blonde Poison (drama)

Blonde Poison is a powerful and intriguing creation by Brighton playwright Gail Louw telling the true story of a Jewish woman, Stella Goldschlag, who betrayed hundreds of her fellow Jews to the Gestapo during the Second World War. Years after the war, Stella is preparing to be interviewed about her past and the play joins her as she nervously awaits the arrival of a journalist.

When I saw Blonde Poison in 2011, accompanied by my boyfriend, Elizabeth Counsell's one-woman performance was totally riveting and we both came away feeling absolutely steamrollered. Having by turns despised, hated and pitied Stella, we spent several hours over the next few days discussing the play, whether we could understand Stella's behaviour, and what we might have done in her circumstances. We still haven't quite managed to agree.

I love theatre that keeps me thinking after the show has ended and writing this review now has reminded me of just how good the play is. Highly recommended!

Devonshire Park Theatre, Wed 17th April, 14:30, 19:45.
Tickets £13.50 (£7 students & children), available online, by calling 01323 412000, or on person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stepping Out (theatre)

Polegate Drama Group are putting on the Richard Harris comedy play Stepping Out nightly from the 9th to the 12th May at Polegate Community Centre. Evening performances begin at 19:45 and the Saturday matinee is at 14:45.

Stepping Out won the Evening Standard Comedy of the Year award when it was originally produced in the West End and is a very funny play which will strike a chord with anyone who has been tempted to perform. It follows the journeys of eight very disparate people as they attend a weekly tap dance class in a dingy church hall. Each originally joined the class for its social aspect and their developing friendships form the strong core of the play while their mutual search for rhythm and coordination provides much of the comedy.

Tickets are £7.50 for Adults and £5.50 for Children/Students. Available from Archer & Partners in Polegate High Street, by calling 01323 483348, or online from the Polegate Drama Group website. Follow @polegatedrama on twitter.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Clouded Yellow (film)

I'm actually hoping for rain on Sunday afternoon (22nd April) so I have a good excuse reason to go and see The Clouded Yellow at the Underground Theatre rather than going for the healthier option of a long walk on the Downs. This 1950 chase thriller is in black and white and stars Trevor Howard and Jean Simmons.

From the Underground description: "The Clouded Yellow is not merely a melodramatically efficient action piece, but it also resonates with that post-war malaise (especially in Trevor Howard's ex-SIS agent) which gives shading to so many British films of the time."

The screening begins at 2.30pm and the £6.50 ticket price includes tea and cake.

Blackbird (theatre)

I'm really looking forward to this play. The two actors, Holly Lindfield and Steve Scott, are both excellent, and I've been hearing great things about how the rehearsals are progressing! I've also been lucky enough to interview Holly about Blackbird and her acting generally. You will be able to read her words in May 24th's blog post!

Blackbird is an intense two-actor play examining the themes of desire and guilt through the memories of two people who have not seen each other for fifteen years. When they were in a relationship, he was forty and she was twelve. Now Ray has made a new life for himself but Una is still obsessed with their past.

Green Room Productions present Blackbird by David Harrower on the 8th & 9th of June 2012 at the Underground Theatre.

Tickets available through Ticketsource and you can follow @TheGreenRoomP on Twitter.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Eastbourne Shout! (music)

As part of the Eastbourne Festival, this community sing-along is a fabulous idea that promises to be a memorable evening for all who join in. Last year over 500 people got involved and this year's event will also include street dancing and a ukelele orchestra.

The 2012 songs - Don’t Stop Believing, Like A Prayer, Sweet Child Of Mine, It’s My Life and Eye Of The Tiger should encourage 1980s nostalgia and I'm sure dressing-up will be encouraged if that's your thing! Plus if you find you don't remember all the lyrics, or didn't secretly practice enough in advance, song sheets will be available on the day. 
The Shout! will be led by a number of young shout leaders from across the town who are also available to visit local schools, colleges and community groups to help others learn the songs in advance.

Eastbourne Bandstand Western Lawns is the venue for The Shout! which is on Friday the 27th April at 6.30pm. Further information is available from the Ratton School website.

A Separation (film)

Another chance to see A Separation when Seaford Community Cinema screen the film on the 23rd November 2012. Doors open at 19:00, film starts at 19:30.
Adult ticket £6, SCC members £5.

Eastbourne Film Society are showing the acclaimed Persian language film A Separation on Wednesday the 25th April 2012 at the Curzon.
The stand out film of the 2011 Berlin Film Festival and winner of the Golden Bear, A Separation is a suspenseful and intelligent drama detailing the fractures and tensions at the heart of Iranian society.

"When his wife (Leila Hatami) leaves him, Nader (Peyman Moadi) hires a young woman (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his suffering father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi). But he doesn’t know his new maid is not only pregnant, but also working without her unstable husband’s (Shahab Hosseini) permission. Soon, Nader finds himself entangled in a web of lies, manipulation and public confrontations."

Screening times are 14.15, 17.00 and 20.00 and standard Curzon admission prices apply.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Umbrellas of Cherbourg (film)

In researching venues to feature on this blog, I have discovered a new film night in Eastbourne. I can't make this screening as I'm already out three nights this week, but it's definitely a venue that I'll be keeping an eye on for the future!

In association with FilmClub, The Little Theatre is running a monthly Art House cinema night screening a range of independent, international and classic movies in a cosy, intimate setting.

Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) will be shown on Weds 18th April at 7.30pm. £3.00 including refreshments.
"An umbrella shop girl is separated from her mechanic boyfriend when he is called for military service. Alone, she faces a life altering decision."
Director: Jacques Demy. Starring: Catherine DeNeuve, Nino Castelnuovo and Anne Vernon. 

Shame (film)

I frequently go to Hailsham Film Club which is a monthly event at Hailsham Pavilion showing a selected art house, foreign language or independent film. In the several years we've been going, we can only remember one film that we didn't enjoy at all, so are confident to trust the judgement of the Club committee!

April's film is Shame, "the story of Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a single thirty-something man in New York who is addicted to sex in any of its forms as long as it does not involve love or intimacy. His ordered lifestyle is thrown into a sort of chaos with the arrival of his needy sister, played by Carey Mulligan."

Tues 17th April, 7.45pm, £6.50/£5.00 conc. 
Box Office: 01323 841414

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Our Country's Good (drama)

Thurs 5th April, Underground Theatre, Eastbourne

A rare delight - my sister came down from London to join me for Our Country's Good as we had both previously enjoyed the Bootcamp production of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

After eating too much at Buffet Time in Terminus Road, we got to the Underground Theatre early and shivered for a few minutes awaiting the Opening of the Doors.

Neither of us knew anything more of the play than had been headlined in the promotional material. The tale, set in Australia in 1789, follows a young lieutenant as he attempts to lead newly transported prisoners to Culture by putting on a comedy play in a convict camp.

I love the way Bootcamp use the available space in their productions. For Our Country's Good, audience chairs were lined up in a single row across the front of the stage, facing into the room, and in several rows on the opposite side of the room facing back towards the stage. The play took place in the central 'corridor' space, successfully drawing the audience in to the action as the actors were practically within arm's reach. And as we filed in, convicts were already aboard ship, lying dazed and sick before us, sounds of water splashing against the ship's sides adding to a claustrophobic atmosphere.

Our Country's Good is not an easy play to watch. Some scenes are humorous and the struggle of the cast is ultimately uplifting, but the glimpses of shocking violence and madness reminded us of the terrible conditions that were endured. This uncertainty over what might come next helped the audience to understand the continuous fear of the convicts and the increasing insanity of Midshipman Harry Brewer (Michael Keegan) was a particularly haunting performance. I was also impressed by the delicate vulnerability of Mary Brenham (Jenny Cooke) and Major Ross (Steve Scott) was played with wonderful relish.

Bootcamp Theatre's next production will be The History Boys by Alan Bennett, 22nd - 25th August 2012. Casting is on Tuesday, 17th April, 7.30pm, at the Underground Theatre.

If you missed the Bootcamp production of Our Country's Good, a touring Original Theatre Company production is coming to the Devonshire Park from Tues 17th to Sat 21st April.

Inaugural post!

So, there's nothing to do in Eastbourne?

Depending on what you're looking for, you may be right, but I'm finding that there's so much going on that I'm spoilt for choice. Yet when the lights go down and the show begins there's often not that many of us in the audience. And I hate trying to applaud as if I were actually twenty people - it makes my arms hurt! I'd like to encourage more Eastbourne residents and visitors to take a chance on the cultural offerings around our town.

The Devonshire Park is my favourite of the three Eastbourne theatres. The Towner Gallery shows fabulous exhibitions. The Underground Theatre puts on an eclectic mix of music, theatre and film. The Bandstand is a beautiful music venue. The Curzon Cinema and Hailsham Pavilion are great for art house and foreign language films. Plus there is a varied and inspiring mix of pubs, clubs, cafes, galleries, artist's studios  and outside spaces.

In this blog, I'm going to review shows, films and concerts I've been to in Eastbourne and the local area. I'm also going to shout about upcoming events that I think will be worth attending. I hope I can draw your attention to events that will interest you and, if you know of something that I've not posted about, please feel welcome to let me know about it.