Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Berberian Sound Studio (film)

A horror film post for Hallowe'en! Hailsham Film Club's choice for their November screening is the Peter Strickland film, Berberian Sound Studio. Strickland made his debut a few years ago with Katalin Varga, a haunting Hungarian language thriller which was also screened by Hailsham Film Club. The atmosphere for Katalin Varga was heightened by the use of a powerful and unusual soundtrack and Strickland has returned to the use of sound for the same reasons in Berberian Sound Studio, the story of a nerdy British sound engineer from Dorking who gets a job in an Italian horror film studio.

Set in the 1970s, the film is staged entirely within the studio as the nerdy Gilderoy (Toby Jones) works on an explicit horror film entitled The Equestrian Vortex. As an audience, we see the soundtrack being put together - actresses screaming into microphones and men creating sound effects by stabbing vegetables. As life begins to imitate art for Gilderoy, Strickland combines these sounds, together with the loneliness of the studio building, to provide tension and fear without needing to show a single drop of gore.

Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 13th Nov, 19:45.
Tickets £6.50 (£5 concessions). Available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person from the Box Office.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Duet For One (theatre)

I used to love the Channel 4 comedy Drop The Dead Donkey so am excited that one of its stars, albeit in a very different role, is coming to Eastbourne at the end of November. 

Haydn Gwynne will star as celebrated concert violinist Stephanie Abrahams in Tom Kempinski's play, Duet For One. This Calibre Productions tour is directed by Robin Herford and has been designed by Michael Holt. The play, which closely mirrors the life of cellist Jacqueline du Pre, premiered in 1980 at the Bush Theatre in London, which is reknowned for nurturing new plays and playwrights. It was also made into a film of the same name, released in 1986, which starred Julie Andrews, Alan Bates and Max Von Sydow.

Abrahams is forced to stop playing the violin when she is struck down by Multiple Sclerosis. Convinced that her life has no meaning without her music, she falls into despair, becoming increasingly isolated and even suicidal. The play takes the form of six sessions between Abrahams and her psychiatrist, Alfred Feldmann (William Gaunt), who is trying to get her to re-evaluate her life and identify some form of a future without the violin. Duet For One is dramatically compelling without being sentimental or mawkish and asks the huge question, how does someone continue living when all their hope has been taken away?

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 27th Nov - Sat 1st Dec, 19:45.
Wed & Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets, various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Tourist Information Office and the Box Office.

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Lamb Choir

photo by Kerry Potter
The Lamb Choir was formed in May this year and has already performed twice. They are currently working towards their Winter Performance which will be at The Lamb Inn on the 18th of December. As the choir is still relatively new, they would love for more people to join them and I caught up with singer Kerry Potter to find out more about the group.

KP: Our fearless choir leader is the lovely Stella Clifford. Stella has formed several semi a cappella groups in the past including Newhaven’s Haven Harmonies in Feb 2010. She then moved to Eastbourne and after discovering the Lamb Folk Club, she found that that was the perfect place to start her new choir and so The Lamb Choir was born. Stella is accompanied by Vladimir Miller who has performed in the Underground Theatre with his jazz quartet 'Notes From Underground. There are currently only two men singing with us so would love to add some more male voices to add some extra richness to the overall sound, however we're a friendly bunch so any new faces would receive a warm welcome.
photo by Kerry Potter

tE: What inspired you to get involved?
KP: I had been looking to join a choir for some time as I have a background in performing arts but had been off the scene due to health complications. I'd checked out other choirs but none really appealed to me, as I was looking for a more relaxed environment where you could be enthusiastic and sing popular songs in harmony with like-minded people. I fell on my feet with this choir because that is exactly the vibe you get from the others in the group. It’s more about the enjoyment than anything else.

tE: What kind of songs are you learning?
KP: We sing mainly popular songs in three or two part harmony, accompanied by Stella on guitar and Vlad on piano. We have quite a repertoire now with songs ranging from U2 's 'Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' to 'California Dreaming' by The Mammas and Papas which is my personal favourite! We also have a few fairly obscure songs such as 'Go To Sleep Little Baby' from the film 'O Brother Where Art Thou' and 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken' which have a nice folky and somewhat bluesy feel. They sound great with all the added harmonies and are an interesting contrast to other well-known songs such as 'Daydream Believer' and ‘Hallelujah’.
photo by Kerry Potter

tE: What can potential members expect?
KP: A typical session starts with a vocal warm up for the first half hour after which we move to learning songs for our repertoire. We always have a short break half way through for some liquid refreshment! There is no need to be able to read music as songs are taught by ear but there is always sheet music available. The fee is £5 per session but we now pay termly. This can be paid in instalments and the first session is free!

The Lamb Inn, Tuesdays 19:00-21:00. £5 per session.
 For any enquiries, pop in to The Lamb Inn, Old Town on a Tuesday evening or contact Stella directly on 01273 567660 or 07967 438772.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Untouchable (film)

Untouchable (or The Intouchables) is a French language film written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. On its release in France almost exactly a year ago, it was immediately a success and, after just nine weeks, was the country's second-biggest box office hit.

The film is based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou. A seemingly unlikely friendship develops when a young, unemployed man, named Driss for the film (Omar Sy), is hired as carer for the wealthy quadriplegic, Philippe (Francois Cluzet) who was injured in a paragliding accident. Driss attends the job interview purely as a token gesture to secure his unemployment payments. He expects to be rejected but, to his great surprise, is given a trial period. Even after one of Philippe's friends reveals that Driss has a criminal record, Philippe keeps him on. Senegalese orphan Driss learns about the privileged world now open to him as a result of Philippe's social status, at the same time as he also helps Philippe to put his personal life in order. However, when Driss leaves for another job, Philippe's morale becomes very low.

Eastbourne Curzon, Fri 2nd - Thu 8th Nov, 17:15, 20:15. Not Wed.
Mon, Tue and Thu, 14:15.
Tickets £6.80 (concessions £4.80).
Available by calling 01323 731441 or in person from the Box Office.

Hailsham Pavilion, Mon 5th Nov - Wed 7th Nov, 19:45.
Wed 14th Nov, 14:15
Tickets £6.50, concessions £5, Wed matinee £4.50.
Available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person from the Box Office.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Second Art Expo

First Terminus Road Art Expo
Following on from the success of the first Terminus Road Art Expo at the beginning of September, the indomitable Caroline and Tim Tradewell (The Secret Garden) are organising another event for Saturday the 10th of November. Again to be held on Terminus Road between Debenhams and T J Hughes, the Art Expo will be open from 10am until 4pm and there is already a good line-up of stallholders to entice you into shopping. This could be the perfect opportunity to pick up some unusual Christmas presents!

As of the 24th of October, the confirmed stallholders are ... (insert drumroll here) ...  
Emma Moreton, Monica Durrant, Carol Stratton, Jasmin Stringer (Sussex Art Studios and Marks Garden Art), the talented Will Gudgeon (photography), Gill Hamper, Lucinda Guy, Angela Osmond, Anita Woodward-Benn (Baby, Home and Me), Norbert Guyon, John Miller (photography), Jan Mirisola Jones (upyourownart), Abigail Myers (Velvet Canary), Pauline Smith (Affordable Art), Anne Barrell Ceramics, Jane Hay (Jane Hay Art), previous tE interviewee Mina O'Brien (photography), Darren Coldwell, and St Andrews Place Art School. (If I've missed anyone out, please pop a note in the Comments below. The same goes if you have a FB page or website, feel welcome to Comment the link!)

Also, perhaps of interest to potential Expo-ees, photographer Mina O'Brien's work shown at the first Expo got her an exhibition at the Da Vinci Hotel so dust off those lenses and brushes forthwith! There is still room for a few more artists to get involved so, if you would like to showcase your work, please get in touch with Caroline at The Secret Garden ASAP on 01323 640931 or email to

Terminus Road, Sat 10th Nov, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Little Gem (theatre)

The debut play from Irish dramatist and actress Elaine Murphy, Little Gem is an award-winning drama which is to be performed at Eastbourne's Little Theatre by Green Room Productions in November. The original premiere won at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2008 and then the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009.

The Green Room performances will star Linda Bostock, Sandra Cheesman (Blackbird) and Holly Lindfield (Blackbird, Frost/Nixon) as the women from three generations of a Dublin family, Kay, Lorraine and Amber. Little Gem portrays their lives over the course of a single year through a series of interlinked monologues.
Kay’s got an itch that Gem can’t scratch (but maybe Kermit can) ... Lorraine attacks a customer at work and her boss wants her to see a psychiatrist ... Amber has fierce bad indigestion and Sambucas aren’t getting rid of it ... Then there’s Paul, the ‘boyfriend’, who is just using Amber until he can get to Australia ... and there’s the hairy man who fancies Lorraine but fails to rise to the occasion … and of course Gem, who doesn’t like the neighbours coming in to ‘mind’ him. If all that wasn’t bad enough, Little Gem makes his presence felt and life is never the same again.

Green Room is an Eastbourne-based theatre company which was founded in 2009. They produce contemporary theatre to challenge both performers and audiences, with their emphasis being on new and exciting works.

Little Theatre, Fri 9th & Sat 10th Nov, 19:30.
Tickets £10, available in advance online from Green Room Productions or in person 'on the door'.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Dressing Book (theatre)

I've wanted to see one of the famed Rude Mechanical Theatre performances for a few years now but have never quite got organised enough to get our tickets bought before they sold out. That's not going to happen again this time!

Generally, the Mechanicals perform their plays in the open air, but their upcoming tour will not be subject to the whims of the British weather. The Dressing Book runs through November and the beginning of December and will take in over twenty village halls and other small venues, including three in the theatricalEastbourne area. The play is a comedy set in the late 18th century. It will be performed, in the contemporary commedia dell'arte style, by three actors and five "half-human-size" puppets! 

 Mrs Maybelline Erstwhistle keeps a diary of all her social engagements. The diary is her 'Dressing Book' where she records each gown she wears and each man she encounters. She has even recorded the disastrous Annual Pantiles Ball in Tunbridge Wells where Mrs Augusta Rump had been furious to see both herself and Maybelline wearing exactly the same dress. Only prevented from voicing her anger at the Ball by the unfortunate demise of her husband in a duel fought over his mistress, Mrs Rump is now marching up the path to Maybelline's very door to set things straight!

The Central Box Office phone number for all performances is 01323 501260 and all tickets bought on-the-door will be £10 each (no concessions). Some individual venues will also be selling advance tickets themselves.

Barn Theatre Seaford, Thu 15th Nov, 19:30.
Tickets available by calling the Central Box Office on 01323 501260.

Underground Theatre Eastbourne, Wed 21st Nov, 19:30.
Tickets available to buy online. Adult tickets £10, senior citizens £9, students £7.

War Memorial Hall Alfriston, Fri 7th Dec, 19:30.
Tickets available to buy online. Adult tickets £10, senior citizens £9, students £7.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Rope (film)

The 1948 Hitchcock film of Rope that I briefly mentioned in my May post about the Devonshire Park Theatre play is going to be shown at the Underground Theatre at the end of November.

Two young men, Brandon Shaw (John Dall) and Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger) strangle one of their classmates, David Kentley (Dick Hogan), in an attempt to prove their superiority by committing the perfect murder. Then hide his body in a trunk which is then used as a table during a dinner party. The guests at the party include Kentley's father, aunt and fiancee, as well as Shaw & Morgan's old schoolmaster, Rupert Cadell (James Stewart), who they believe would be impressed by their escapade. As Kentley's family become more and more concerned for his whereabouts, Cadell begins to suspect the truth.

The film is famed for Hitchcock's technique of filming long scenes in one take on one set. This challenged the cast to produce similar performances as would be required by live theatre. Each shot could last up to ten minutes and so camera movements had to be carefully planned and the set walls were on silent castors, allowing them to be moved out of and back into shot as required. This complicated technique was recently reproduced in homage for the fourth episode of the excellent TV series Psychoville.

Underground Theatre, Sun 25th Nov, 14:30. 
Tickets £6.50 to include tea/coffee and cake after the film. 
Available online through oxBoffice, or in person at the Tourist Information Office and the Underground Theatre.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Mansfield Park (theatre)

Following Pride & Prejudice at Michelham Priory, earlier this year, another theatrical Jane Austen adaptation is heading our way in November. The social comedy, Mansfield Park, has been produced by Britain's last remaining Regency theatre, the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds who also produced the national tours of Cider With Rosie and Dick Turpin's Last Ride. The writer is experienced Austen adapter, Tim Luscombe (Northanger Abbey, Persuasion), and the director is Colin Blumenau.

Fanny Price (Ffion Jolly) has been forced to leave her family home and finds herself joining the aristocratic family of her uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram (Richard Heap). The household is permanently in turmoil but throughout every crisis, Fanny finds consolation in her love for the worthy and steadfast Edmund Bertram (Pete Ashmore). Unfortunately, her adopted family believe that Henry Crawford (Samuel Collings) with his wealth and connections will be a far better match. Will Fanny follow their demands or follow her heart?

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 13th to Sat 17th Nov, 19:45.
Wed & Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and Tourist Information Office.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Paul Carrack (music)

An evening of great music will be had at the Congress Theatre in November when Paul Carrack makes his debut appearance at the venue. Even if you don't immediately recognise his name, you will probably have heard his songs at some point as he was previously a member of both Mike & The Mechanics and Squeeze.

Paul Carrack has been making and recording music for over forty years and his latest album is entitled Good Feeling. The album includes songs written with both former Squeeze musician Chris Difford and also the wonderful Charlie Dore who we were lucky enough to catch at Hailsham Pavilion a couple of years ago. Born in Sheffield, his musical passion has always been soul music, especially Motown, and this influence is very evident in his work. He cites David Ruffin and Stevie Wonder as his favourite singers. The Ace song, How Long, from the mid 1970s was written and sung by Carrack, as was the 1989 hit for Mike & The Mechanics, The Living Years, which is still very popular with audiences and a part of Paul's current set list.

Congress Theatre, Sun 11th Nov, 19:30.
Tickets £27.50, £37.50 premium seats, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office or the Tourist Information Office.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

HomeGrown (art)

There is a new exhibition at the Emma Mason Gallery entitled HomeGrown which is being staged to coincide with the Towner Gallery's Collective Observations.

HomeGrown is an exhibition of prints on the themes of myth, tradition and folklore of the British Isles and will include work from printmakers that the Gallery has not featured before, such as Alice Pattullo - a printmaker from London who graduated from Brighton University in 2010, Tom Frost - an illustrator and screenprinter who lives in Bristol, Johnny Hannah and Jonathan Gibbs. There will also be other folk items such felt Pearly King & Queen dolls by Sarah Young.

The Emma Mason Gallery specialises in original prints by British printmakers working from the post-war period until the present day. They have a huge variety of prints and so only a selection are on show at any one time. If you would like to see a particular theme or printmaker's work during your visit, I havebeen told it is advisable to call ahead ( 01323 727545 / ) so they can make sure the images are at hand! They also produce a range of unusual greetings cards illustrated with prints of local rural and seaside scenes.

Emma Mason Gallery, Sat 13th Oct to Sat 3rd Nov.
Open Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, 10:00-17:00.
Free admission.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Repulsion (film)

The Thursday evening art house film at the Underground Theatre this month is going to be Repulsion. The psychological horror film was made in 1965 and was Roman Polanski's first English language project. David Stone's screenplay was based on a story collaboration between Polanski and Gerard Brach.

Carol Ledoux (Catherine Deneuve) is left alone in her shared apartment when her sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux) goes on holiday with her boyfriend. Carol is unable to cope with what was then considered to be 'normal' social behaviour and is increasingly driven towards insanity by two men who refuse to accept that she does not want them. Her paranoia drastically intensified by isolation, she begins to hallucinate, seeing the walls cracking and hands reaching out towards her. When a man she has previously rejected (John Fraser), breaks into the apartment, Carol beats him to death with a candlestick, and later she slashes her landlord (Patrick Wymark) with a razor as he tries to rape her.

Filmed in black and white, the acclaimed cinematography was the work of Gilbert Taylor and these elements are responsible for much of the chilling horror. The claustrophobic atmosphere is slowly intensified throughout the film and Polanski uses inventive camera angles and sounds to build tension instead of resorting to graphic special effects.

Underground Theatre, Thu 25th Oct, 19:30.
Tickets £5 (no concessions), available online or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Canterbury Tales (theatre)

Having tried and failed to listen to the entire of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales on audiobook a few months ago, I'm going to have another go at connecting with the work when Tacit Theatre bring their interpretation to the Devonshire Park Theatre at the beginning of November.

The boisterous performances are advised for theatregoers older than 14 years and the storytelling will also include live folk music. The collection of tales were originally written in the 14th century. Chaucer's band of pilgrims entertained themselves on their way to Canterbury, each pilgrim competing to tell the best story in order to win the prize of a free meal at the Tabard Inn upon their return to Southwark. By turns enchanting, scandalous, bawdy and disgusting, the people in the tales behave very much as we still do five hundred years later!

Devonshire Park Theatre, Thu 8th to Sat 10th Nov, 19:45.
Fri & Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices. Available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Kirsty McGee (music)

Photo by Ed Swinden
Having recently been to a Devon Sproule gig in Brighton, I was surprised at the coincidence of seeing her name listed among the 'Artists we also like' on Kirsty McGee's facebook page. Kirsty will be singing at the Lamb Folk Club early in November.

Singer-songwriter Kirsty McGee plays guitar and mandolin and is frequently accompanied on her musical travels by an ever-changing line-up of players which she refers to as the Hobopop Collective. She has recently returned from a tour of Norway and has an array of folk club and house concert gigs lined up all over the UK. Kirsty has been writing music for over twenty years and has six albums to her name. Her music is somewhere between jazz, folk and Americana and she has twice been nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Contraband, which was released at the beginning of October, is Kirsty's sixth album. Two tracks are available to hear on her Bandcamp page. Something Going On showcases her clear vocals which reminded me of Eliza Gilkyson. Setting Of The Sun has a different feel, a strong bluesy track where she is almost scat singing in the middle.

Lamb Folk Club, Wed 7th Nov, 20:00.
Tickets £6, available on the door.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Lady Eve (film)

Following her role in Double Indemnity, Barbara Stanwyck 'returns' to the Underground Theatre this Sunday for the matinee film, The Lady Eve.The ticket price includes tea/coffee and cake after the film - last month the fruit cake was particularly good!

Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck) and her father (Charles Coburn) are card-sharps, fleecing wealthy passengers on a translantic cruise. When she catches the eye of the super-rich brewery heir Charles 'Hopsie' Pike (Henry Fonda), Jean plans on tricking him out of all his money. But Hopsie's valet, Muggsy (William Demarest), discovers her secret which leads Hopsie to reject her. Not one to be thwarted, Jean returns disguised as an English aristocrat named Lady Eve Sidwich and tries to trick Hopsie again.

The 1941 comedy was directed by Preston Sturges and is considered to be one of his best films. He also wrote the screenplay which he based on the short story Two Bad Hats by Monckton Hoffe. The comedy is provided by a blend of slapstick and satire with a particularly witty script, and both Stanwyck and Fonda put in excellent performances.

Underground Theatre, Sun 21st Oct, 14:30.
Tickets £6.50 to include tea/coffee and cake after the film. Available online through oxBoffice, or in person at the Tourist Information Office and the Underground Theatre.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Collective Observations (art)

I visited the new Collective Observations exhibition at the Towner Gallery on Saturday, pretty much as soon as it opened so I got the rooms almost to myself. The varied photographs on show date from the very late 1890s up to some taken earlier this year, and all are themed around British folk rites and rituals. The exhibition has been curated by the Museum of British Folklore with the Towner.

The first room contains the earliest images which were taken by Benjamin Stone, who established the National Photographic Record Association in 1897. As well as physical photographs behind glass, there is also a screen showing selected images on a loop. Two images of the Corby Pole Fair are from 1902 and there is also one of Swan Upping on the Thames from 1900.
Photo by Sara Hannant
Several photographers have images on show in the main room. Doc Rowe's colour photographs were taken from the 1980s to 2000 and include religious and secular customs. He is preceded by Homer Sykes whose work is from the 1970s. These images, in black and white, include sword dancing, mummers and May Day festivities. I particularly liked the display of Faye Claridge's lamda prints. All posed head portraits, they show details of the extravagant black face paint used as disguise for many traditional rituals. By contrast, Brian Shuel's work is a series of as-it-happened photographs with munimum staging. Photographed during the 1980s, several are very evocative of this era and are in black and white. Sara Hannant images were all produced in the 2000s and are the most dynamic images in the exhibition. In colour, they include blurring and light trails.
  The final small area has a series of short films on a loop. Taken by Matthew Cowan and Tom Chick, they include footage of a sword dance in an impossibly small bar and also from the Hasting Jack In The Green festival. The room is curtained off, but the slightly claustrophobic (like me) will be pleased to know that it isn't too dark. The folk music from these films can be heard throughout the rest of the exhibition which I thought was a nice touch.

Towner Gallery, Sat 13th Oct to 13th Jan.
Tue - Sun, 10:00 - 18:00.
Free admission.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Jess Robinson (actress)

The lovely Jess Robinson will soon be gracing our Congress Theatre stage when she stars as Little Voice in the show of the same name at the beginning of November. You might already have seen her on TV in Dead Ringers and The Impressions Show or in her theatrical productions. She has been Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Liesl in The Sound of Music and also embarked on a national tour playing Joan Collins' daughter in Full Circle.
I interviewed Jess in August as Little Voice rehearsals were getting underway.

tE: There doesn't seem to be much time between starting rehearsals and the first performance. How do you learn everything so fast?
JR: It's amazing how quickly lines and lyrics go in when you really love the script and songs. An old drama teacher of mine once said that you can tell how good the writing of a piece is, depending on how fast you can learn it. The cast are all so lovely and supportive of each other, it's easy to grab a quick ten minutes over lunch to run through lines or go over blocking together. We're all on the same side and want this amazing play to be the best it can be, so we'll do whatever it takes!
tE:  Is impersonating people singing more difficult than their speech? How does it differ?
JR: I was trained in classical singing from the age of around 9. I've always approached impressions from a musical point of view. I have a good ear for pitch and tone and I know how to create different sounds and what the different vocal qualities feel like. Apart from irritating my mum by imitating her, my first impression was actually a singing one: Kate Bush. I used to entertain my friends with Wuthering Heights, crazy dancing and all. I personally find singing impressions easier than speaking impressions. Or rather, I prefer them. You have the luxury of sustained sounds so you can 'tune in' to the voice and monitor yourself as you go along. 
Speaking impressions are also great fun. Especially if the person you are imitating has a distinctive accent or speech pattern. I always approach a speaking impression from a musical point of view... I begin with the tone and pitch of the voice. And listen to the speech patterns to detect whether there's a tune to the voice - does it always go up and down in the same places?

tE: Do you have a favourite Little Voice song?
JR: The short answer is no. I'll get a huge amount of satisfaction from singing in a powerful American Broadway voice such as Ethel Merman's one day, and the next, I'll prefer the refined classical pure voice of Julie Andrews. It depends on how I'm feeling!
tE: Little Voice is touring all over the country. How will you cope with being away from home for so long? 
JR: I'll have my laptop, my iPhone and my slippers. That's all I need really. As long as I'm staying somewhere clean and fresh and there's 24 hour access to a good cup of tea, I'm happy! It's a wonderful way to visit and discover Britain. I'd like to make the most of seeing all these different towns and cities. I'm really looking forward to visiting Eastbourne. I love to be near the sea!

Congress Theatre, Mon 5th - Sat 10th Nov, 19:30.
Thu & Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices. Available online from Eastbourne Theatres website, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Aladdin / Jungle Book (theatre)

Young EODS are presenting their next show at the Devonshire Park Theatre during the Autumn Half Term holiday week at the very end of October. It will be a double bill of the two Disney classics Aladdin and The Jungle Book. We are promised dazzling original choreography and spectacular costumes - plus there has been an intriguing Facebook appeal to borrow a slide for the show!

The normal Devonshire Park performance times have been made earlier to accommodate both the young cast and their expected young audience, although I am sure that the show will appeal to all ages. The Wednesday and Thursday evenings will start at 7pm. Friday and Saturday have afternoon shows starting at 3pm and Friday also has a pre-lunch show from 11am.

YEODS is open to young people who are aged between 8 and 18. They meet on Tuesday evenings and you can register your child's interest for the 2013 shows through the EODS website.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Wed 31st Oct and Thu 1st Nov, 19:00.
Fri 2nd Nov, 11:00 & 15:00.
Sat 3rd Nov, 15:00.
Tickets various prices. Available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Timon Of Athens (theatre)

Photo by Johan Persson
Having been absolutely blown away by the National Theatre's broadcast of Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time, and then double-booked for Last Of The Haussmans, I am very much looking forward to the November NTLive screening in Eastbourne.

Timon Of Athens by William Shakespeare has been reset to the present day where its themes or wealth, corruption and greed are still very much as relevant as they were last time an Elizabeth was on the throne. The wealthy Timon believes he is a popular man. A patron of the arts and friend to the rich and powerful, he is always surrounded by others, but Timon does not see that they are simply freeloaders, only attracted to his money and not to the man himself. When this money runs out, Timon appeals to his 'friends' to help him, but they turn their backs, leaving him deserted and alone.

Photo by Johan Persson
The National Theatre production is directed by Nicholas Hytner and has been designed by Tim Hatley and Bruno Poet. It stars Simon Russell Beale as Timon and Deborah Findlay as Flavia, with Martin Chamberlain, Jason Cheater, Stavros Demetraki, Paul Dodds, Ciaran McMenamin and Nick Sampson. The broadcast has a three hour run time which will include a screened introduction and also a twenty minute intermission. We were surprised last time by the appearance of a sweet trolley at intermission time and also an usher going to get coffees and ice creams.

Cineworld, Thu 1st Nov, 19:00.
Tickets £13.50 (£11.50 concessions) available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person at the Box Office.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Simon Spillett Quartet (music)

Photo by Brian O'Connor
The acclaimed tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett is the guest at the Underground jazz night at the beginning of November. He will be bringing his quartet: Clark Tracey on drums and two musicians we have enjoyed hearing at the Underground before, Alec Dankworth on bass and the inimitable John Critchinson on piano.

The BBC Jazz Awards named Spillett as their Rising Star in 2007 and he won their Tenor Saxophone award in 2011. Excitingly, he is nominated in the Tenor Saxophone category of this year's British Jazz Awards with the result to be announced on October the 22nd! A member of Ronnie Scott's jazz orchestra, he has played with a number of the greats including Bobby Wellins, Danny Moss and Alan Barnes. Two albums have been recorded, Introducing...Simon Spillett and Sienna Red, both of which are can be downloaded via Amazon but have more limited availability on CD.

Reviews of his music repeatedly commend the speed and agility of his playing as well as the connection between the quartet with many reviewers being amazed by the ease with which they pick up and build upon each others' ideas. I am already quite excited about this gig!

Underground Theatre, Fri 2nd Nov, 20:00.
Tickets £11 (UGT members / students £10). Available online or in person at the Underground Theatre and the Tourist Information Office.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

David Armitage (art)

Coastal by David Armitage
Art At The Underground is presenting a new exhibition from the beginning of October, moving from the Modern African Art that complimented Snared so well last month to the abstract paintings of David Armitage, a Tasmanian artist who came to Britain in the 1970s and now lives in East Hoathly.

I first came across David as the illustrator of the children's book, The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch which was written by his wife, Ronda. It was inspired by a visit to Beachy Head and was one of Mum's favourites to use for teaching. The Armitages have created over twenty books and some of the illustrations are on show, and for sale, in the Underground exhibition, including a few depicting scenes from the Lighthouse Keeper series. The exhibition has a number of abstract works as well as the book illustrations and three elegant life drawings. 

I'm not very good at decoding abstract art and saw H.G. Wells-style science fiction ideas in Coastal which is one of the two large paintings that are on show. Terra Australis is a small image, painted in gorgeous warm terracotta colours and I also loved the Mediterranean colours in Andalucia which reminded me of a visit to Cordoba, even before I read the title. However, in Cerberus, which I very much liked, I saw a long buttoned bodice or corset, yet the title implied that I should have seen a mythical dog? Perhaps more studying is needed!

Underground Theatre, Fridays & Saturdays 5th Oct to 10th Nov, 10:00 - 16:00.
Also open to audiences during Underground Theatre events.
Free admission.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Secret Honour (theatre)

Following on from the great success of The History Boys in August, Bootcamp Theatre's next production will be Secret Honour: The Last Testament of Richard M Nixon. The one-man play is being performed by Steve Scott (The History Boys, Blackbird) and directed by Nigel Fairs (My Gay Best Friend).

Secret Honor (without the 'u') originated as a stage play written by Donald Freed & Arthur M Stone. It was also made as a 1984 American film starring Philip Baker Hall and directed by Robert Altman. The ninety-minute monologue depicts Richard Milhous Nixon alone in his study. He just has a tape recorder, a bottle of scotch and a loaded gun, and is attempting to record his version of the events that have led to his downfall. As he does so, his paranoia becomes more and more evident.

Steve also played Richard Nixon in Bootcamp Theatre's production of Frost/Nixon last year. He has said that he is fascinated with the man's character and particularly likes how Secret Honour "strives to make him human ... They show him for what he really is, not the bogeyman or 'second-hand car salesman', but a deeply flawed human being."

Underground Theatre, Thu 8th to Sat 10th Nov, 19:45.
Tickets £10 / £9. Available online, or in person at the Underground Theatre and the Tourist Information Office.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Life & Death Of Colonel Blimp (film)

The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp will be the second Hailsham Film Club screening in October. It was originally released in 1943 and is a comedy-drama produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was shot in full Technicolor and stars Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook and Roger Livesey.

At the beginning of the film, we meet an imposingly large General Clive Wynne-Candy (Roger Livesey), a blustering military veteran who appears completely out of touch with (then) modern values. The story then jumps back 40 years to reveal the young officer "Sugar" Candy. As we follow him through his life, through his relationships with three women (all played by Deborah Kerr) and his friendship with a German Officer (Anton Walbrook), we are shown how the dashing young man becomes a curmudgeonly old fogey.

The film has been extensively restored and the new version was premiered in November 2011. It speaks about censorship and the morals of war, but also explores the need to remember that all old people were once young people, and young people will one day realise they have become old.

Hailsham Pavilion, Thu 25th Oct, 19:45.
Tickets £6.50 adult, £5.00 concessions. Available online, by calling 01323 841414 (10:00-16:00 Mon-Sat), or in person at the Box Office.

Curzon, Wed 12th Dec, 14:00, 17:00, 20:00 (times TBC) .
Tickets £6.50 adult, £4.50 concessions. Available by calling 01323 731441 (15:00-19:00 daily), or in person at the Box Office.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Swan Lake (dance)

I've discovered already that ballet posts are the least viewed on the blog but I'm going to persevere here because this post also involves going to the cinema which is far more popular so the combination crossover might just increase interest!

Artists of the Royal Ballet in Swan Lake, Act II
Swan Lake is possibly the most famous ballet and is one I have not yet seen, although this is soon to change. It was apparently not liked when it was first performed in the 1870s but its imagery has now become a part of our popular culture.

The Royal Opera House 2012 Cinema Season will begin with a broadcast of Swan Lake on the 23rd of October. From 7:15pm there will be a short film going behind the scenes on the Swan Lake filming and there will also be other short films during the two intervals. We went on the Backstage Tour of the Royal Opera House last January and it is a fascinating place. If the ROH are as organised as the National Theatre were for the Curious Incident screening, the start will be very prompt.

Starring principal dancers Zenaida Yanowsky and Nehemiah Kish, I believe the choreography is Matthew Bourne's revolutionary production of 1987 which took its inpiration from 1890s Russian performances. The set and look have been designed by Yolanda Sonnabend and will be a blend of the historical Russian Imperial Court and pure Gothic fantasy.

Cineworld, 23rd Oct, 19:15.Tickets £17 for adults, £13.50 concessions and there is also a 10% discount for online booking. Also available in person from the Cineworld Box Office.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Vicar Of Dibley (theatre)

The Polegate Community Association Drama Group are following their May production of Stepping Out with the comedy, The Vicar Of Dibley. The play is based on the brilliant television series that starred Dawn French as a vicar. The Polegate production is directed by Muriel Willis and will be performed during the Autumn half term holiday week so older children could probably be allowed to stay up a bit later to watch it? I am told that there is some mild swearing in the script, presumably around the same level as was on the BBC.

The stage version has been written by Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter and begins with the unexpected arrival of Geraldine Granger into the quiet village of Dibley. Dibley's residents aren't yet ready for Geraldine's particularly irreverent approach to religion or even, in some cases, for her being a woman. We will again meet the pompous David and his son Hugo, the dippy verger Alice Tinker, Owen and Frank, inspired cook Letitia, and "no no no no yes", Jim.

Polegate Community Centre, Wed 31st Oct to Sat 3rd Nov, 19:45.
Sat matinee, 14:45.
Tickets £8, children & students £6. Tickets available online, by calling 01323 483348 or in person from Archer & Partners in the High Street.