Thursday, 28 February 2013

Alice In Wonderland (ballet)

I was lucky enough to catch a recording of the Royal Ballet's then new production of Alice In Wonderland when it was televised two Christmases ago. The whole ballet is a delight from start to finish with tremendous choreography by Christopher Wheeldon and imaginative sets designed by Bob Crowley. I am smiling as I write this as I have just remember how Alice 'grows', but I won't spoil the surprise for those who haven't seen it yet.

The Royal Opera House will be screening a worldwide live performance of its Alice In Wonderland revival at the end of March and one of the chosen cinemas is Eastbourne's Cineworld in Sovereign Harbour. I definitely recommend booking tickets soon, if you have not already, as this ballet will probably be a sell-out. If it isn't, it certainly should have been! The broadcast will last just under three hours and includes two intervals.

Alice will be danced by Royal Ballet principal dancer Lauren Cuthbertson and I think I remember that the role was choreographed specifically with her in mind. The double role of Jack/The Knave of Hearts will be Federico Bonelli with Edward Watson as Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit. Mother and the tremendous The Queen of Hearts is Zenaida Yanowsky who I last saw in the ROH broadcast of Swan Lake in October when she starred as the delicate Odette and villainous Odile. My favourite character in the whole Alice ballet, the Mad Hatter will be tap danced by the talented Steven Macrae. I loved the way his staccato tapping adds a creeping darkness to his performance.

Cineworld, Thu 28th Mar, 19:15.
Tickets £17 adult, £13.50 children, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person from the machines in the foyer.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

DirkJan Ranzijn (music)

Fresh from both the Daffodils And Tulips Keyboard Festival in Bournemouth and the Bewdley Keyboard Festival in Kiddeminster, Dutch keyboard maestro DirkJan Ranzijn is performing a concert at Hailsham Pavilion on the 13th of March as the guest of the Hailsham Organ Club.

Ranzijn was born in Alkmaar, Holland in 1968. As a child, he was taught to play the organ by Franz Oudhoff and Peter Rijs before leaving school at eighteen to study for a diploma in acting and music. He was approached a few years later by the German manufacturer Bohm who invited him to become a freelance demonstrator for their products. Ranzijn still uses a Bohm for every performance. He now tours seemingly non-stop in Europe, particularly Germany, Denmark and the UK, as well having many gigs in Holland.

Founded in 2000, the Hailsham Organ Club meets on the second Wednesday of each month at Hailsham Pavilion. There is a guest performer each month and you can see the planned list for the rest of 2013 on their website. Doors open at 19:00 for members and 19:15 for non-members who will be made very welcome.

Hailsham Pavilion, Wed 13th Mar, 19:30.
Tickets £6 non-members, £4 members payable on the door.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Judy Goodsell (artist)

Driftwood Mirror by Judy Goodsell
A real flavour of the seaside on my blog today - an introduction to the work of mixed media artist, Judy Goodsell. Eastbourne-based Judy likes to create ornamental and functional items decorated with buttons and beads and also with her beach finds which include driftwood, shells, pebbles and coloured sea-glass.

JG: I've always loved beach-combing. I used to go with my grandma to Hastings beach when I was very little and collect shells to decorate boxes, and now I can't walk along a beach without picking up shells, driftwood, pebbles and other "treasure".

I spotted her work in the online marketplace Etsy where she keeps a shop. Her signature items are large circular topped rings adorned with beads, hanging ornaments decorated with buttons and, the pieces that particularly caught my eye, driftwood mirrors which I think have a beautiful serenity to them.

JG: I love the muted colours of beach worn rope, sea glass and driftwood - I think they're very pleasing to the eye, and in the right setting, hope they provide a real feel of the beach and sea.

Judy's work is currently only available online, but I'll update this post and tweet if I learn of any 'real world' opportunities to see her work.She also sells collections of small driftwood pieces so you can create your own seaside memories without needing to brave that icy wind yourself!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Driving Miss Daisy (theatre)

I'm delighted that the lights are coming back on at the Devonshire Park Theatre after the theatre's annual dark period for refurbishment and sprucing up. Following the extravaganza that was Sleeping Beauty, the first play on offer is one I considered going to see at Brighton's Theatre Royal last year, Driving Miss Daisy.

Now the national tour, which has won the Award for Best Revival, is on its way to Eastbourne. The production stars Gwen Taylor as the eponymous Miss Daisy. I remember seeing her assured performance in Brighton as Mrs Corden beautifully upstaging Matt Lucas in Prick Up Your Ears a few years ago. Gwen is joined by Don Warrington as Hoke Colburn and Ian Porter as Boolie Werthan. The play was originally written by Alfred Uhry and was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning 1989 film which starred Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Ackroyd.

Driving Miss Daisy is the charming, poignant and utterly compelling tale of the unlikely, long-lasting friendship that blossoms between a prickly, elderly southern matriarch, Daisy Werthan and her kind-hearted chauffeur, Hoke Colburn who is employed by Daisy’s son Boolie Werthan. As the wheels turn and the decades roll by against a backdrop of prejudice, inequality and civil unrest, the pair slowly transcend their differences and ultimately grow to rely on each other far more than either ever expected.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Mon 25th - Sat 30th Mar, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Centre.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Dishonored (film)

The most fabulous Marlene Dietrich will be starring in March's Sunday matinee film at the Under Ground Theatre. Dishonored was released by Paramount Pictures in 1931 and is a black and white romantic spy thriller. 

Directed by Josef von Sternberg in the third of their seven collaborations, the film has Dietrich as Marie Kolverer, the Austrian Secret Service's most beautiful and seductive spy who is sent to spy on the Russians during World War One. Apparently the part of Colonel Kranau, Kolverer's target, was originally offered to Gary Cooper but he refused to work with von Sternberg again so Kranau was played by Victor McLaglen.

While the plot of Dishonored is often inconsistent and not ever really believable, what carries the film through is its great visuals. The masked ball, Dietrich's piano playing, and the final scene (which I won't name here in case you haven't already seen it) are all highlights which arguably bestow Dishonored with 'classic' status.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 17th Mar, 14.30.
Tickets £6.50 to include and home-made cake after the film. Available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, on in person at the Under Ground Theatre.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Maggie Boyle (music)

photo by Nigel Hillier
The film title Patriot Games grabbed my attention and led to the writing of this post. I hadn't previously been aware of Maggie Boyle, although when I mentioned her to Dave he recognised the name immediately, but included in a great catalogue of work are her beautiful vocals on the Patriot Games soundtrack. I used to love Sean Bean!

In March, Maggie will be playing at the Lamb Folk Club in Eastbourne's Old Town together with acoustic guitarist Paul Downes. She is an internationally famous traditional singer and flautist who began her musical life in the vibrant Irish community of 1960s London. Since then she has sung, played and recorded both solo and with many other artists including The Chieftains, Bert Jansch and Steve Tilston. Her current album Won't You Come Away has Paul Downes on guitar and also features Bellowhead's Jon Boden on fiddle. I expect Maggie and Paul will play some songs from it at the Lamb but in the meantime I've embedded a YouTube of one of the songs, Old Man's Retreat, below. I love how the birdsong fits with the music! There are lots of other live songs performed in various collaborations on Maggie's YouTube channel so do click through for a listen.

Upstairs At The Lamb, Wed 20th March, 20:00.
Tickets £6 on the door.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Chris Liddiard (artist)

Sunset by Chris Liddiard
I know Chris Liddiard as the tireless organiser of White Horse Folk, the fortnightly folk club at the White Horse Inn in Bodle Street Green. My Dave has played there on a number of occasions, although not recently, and I even sang there myself several years ago now. Chris plays guitar and is a member of the trio Cornflower Blue whose Coffee Morning sessions at the Under Ground Theatre are always very popular. Soon the Under Ground will be celebrating Chris for another reason with a  exhibition of his artworks throughout March.

Chris Liddiard lives in Rushlake Green and enjoys views from his studio over the Weald to the Downs above Eastbourne. It is these views with their ever changing colours from green to misty greys and sometimes barely any colour at all that shape his work. His work is primarily watercolour paintings but he also pencil-sketches old and interesting buildings, makes collages of “things he finds on his walks” and illustrated the children’s book Rufus and the Rain. Trained in Southend, at the School of Art and Design, Chris has exhibited widely, including several times at the Royal Watercolour Society's Bankside Gallery.

Under Ground Theatre, Fridays and Saturdays, Fri 1st to Sat 30th Mar, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

People (theatre)

I believe the last Alan Bennett play to be performed around the Eastbourne area was Bootcamp theatre's wonderful The History Boys at the Under Ground in August 2012. Now the National Theatre has chosen Bennett's newest play, People, to be one of its NTlive offerings so we get the chance to see it, broadcast live from London, at the Cineworld in Sovereign Harbour.

People spoil things; there are so many of them and the last thing one wants is them traipsing through one’s house. But with the park a jungle and a bath on the billiard table, what is one to do? Dorothy (Frances de la Tour) wonders if an attic sale could be a solution but her sister June (Selina Cadell) thinks they should offload everything onto the National Trust.

Bennett is one of Britain’s most celebrated playwrights, and the much anticipated People is the sixth of his plays to have its premiere at the National Theatre. He is reunited with director Nicholas Hytner and Olivier Award-winning actress Frances de la Tour, with whom he worked on  both The History Boys and The Habit of Art. Also in the cast are Linda Bassett, Selina Cadell and Miles Jupp. I found an interesting review of People on another blogger's  website, Glen's Theatre Reviews.

Cineworld, Thu 21st Mar, 19.00.
Tickets £13.50 adults, £11.50 children, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person from the machines in the foyer.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Position Among The Stars (film)

Position Among The Stars (Stand Van De Sterren) is Dutch film maker Retel Helmrich's third film about the Indonesian Shamshudin family. The first film, The Eye Of The Day, took place as President Suharto lost power over Indonesia; the second, Shape Of The Moon, documented how the rise of Islam in the country affected the family; and now the third film concentrates on the Westernisation of Indonesia and how this is creating a wide generation gap. Each film can be watched as a stand-alone documentary so don't feel excluded if you haven't already seen the previous installments. 

The film will be screened by Eastbourne Film Society at the Curzon in the middle of March. It was released in 2010 and is in Indonesian with English subtitles.

Grandmother Rumidjah, a Christian woman in the predominantly Muslim country, has moved out of the Jakarta slums and now lives in the countryside. Her son Bakti and his wife are still in the city with their daughter Tari whom they are finding more and more difficult to control and understand. Tari is intelligent and her parents want her to be the first in the family to go to university. They see her as their route out of the slums, but Tari is preoccupied with just having fun and being a teenager. Bakti asks Rumidjah to return to Jakarta to help teach Tari the values and sense of purpose that their generations were expected to live by, but which Tari's generation are casting aside.

Curzon Cinema, Wed 13th Mar, times tbc.
Tickets £6.80, available by calling 01313 731441 or in person, both 3pm to 7pm daily.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Andy Woon All Stars (jazz)

A new-to-the-blog venue for jazz today as the Friends of the Towner present Jazz at the Hydro. March's trio is the Andy Woon All Stars.

Cornet player Andy Woon has worked with a number of household names in his career. As a member of the Royal Artillery Band in the 1970s, he backed artists such as Semprini and Larry Adler. Then being in the pit band for the Bernard Delfont Organisation allowed him to work with Danny La Rue, Jimmy Tarbuck, Little and Large and Ken Goodwin. He also played with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra (1976 to 1990) and the Southern Dance Orchestra. Andy will be joined at the Hydro by pianist Keith Nichols and vocalist Spats Langham.

In 1965 the Friends of the Towner was formed. Since then the Friends have consistently raised funds on behalf of the Towner Gallery which have been used to purchase or contribute towards the purchase of works of art and facilities. They offer a range of events throughout the year including jazz gigs and talks on a variety of subjects - arts music and poetry and there are details of how to join on their website.

Hydro Hotel, Wed 6th Mar, 14:15-16:30.
Tickets £12.50 (£11.50 members), available online via Visit Eastbourne or in person from the Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Tim Farebrother (artist)

Exceat Barns by Tim Farebrother
It was while awaiting the beginning of the Pentacle Drummers Wassail in January that I spotted a basket of attractive greetings cards in Stone Cross Nurseries' cafe. I can also recommend the Hot Chocolate!

Featuring a variety of local scenes, the cards are the work of Seaford artist Tim Farebrother. A number of his works feature water - rivers, pools and the sea - and I was particularly taken by the way he portrays reflections. The image of Exceat Barns he has kindly allowed me to use to illustrate the post is a perfect example of this. I asked Tim how he began.

TW: I started painting in 1968; a sunset over the Malvern Hills where we then lived and ever since then did about one every two years, just experimenting. In about 2008 I suddenly got the urge to pick up the brush again and the pictures seemed to get better and better so I ploughed on deriving so much satisfaction that I couldn't stop. However I only paint when in the mood and not for the sake of it as any results have got to be from the heart and I HATE failure. It is very rare that I throw one away and always take as long as it takes. As oils take so long to dry it helps to spend time just looking at the picture as well as painting it.

tE: Have you always painted landscapes?
TW: I gave up being a portrait artist in pencil and turned to landscapes and seascapes in oils with a particular passion for water and reflections. I am self taught and simply paint what I see to please myself and hopefully others in the process. My inspiration comes from the Sussex countryside, the Downs and the sea from which I produce original paintings, usually about 20"x16". From them I offer same sized framed prints and greetings cards.

Tim is now up to a set of 20 images which sell as cards. The cards are on sale in Eastbourne at the Holywell Tea Chalet on King Edward's Parade and Stone Cross Nurseries. Also they can be found at Birling Gap, Stones at Alfriston and various outlets in Seaford including the Post offices in Church St and at Walmer Rd. Prints and originals for sale can be seen on his website. His work has been used by local firms for calendars, people such as Tansleys Printers who do the cards and Brooklyn Motors, and he can also paint bespoke scenes on request.

TW: I happily accept commissions of painting people's houses and gardens to try and capture happy memories for the owners.They seem to make wonderful gifts. I shall never retire.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Matt Cooper (music)

Matt Cooper
Both my guitarist boyfriend and I were impressed by Matt Cooper when we caught his set at Eastbourne's Lammas Festival last summer. It turns out that we weren't the only ones as he has now been chosen as one of four local acts for a new venture by the Under Ground Theatre - Musical Showcase. This twice monthly Saturday night event will also feature previous theatrical Eastbourne bloggees City Of Ashes in March.

Polegate-based guitarist and didgeridoo player, Matt is also a talented percussionist who frequently manages to combine playing these different instruments at the same time. His music is original compositions and he cites Preston Reed, Martin Simpson, Brad ‘Buster B’ Jones, bass legend Victor Wooten, Chilli Peppers 4-string master ‘Flea’ and Australian Aboriginal artist David Hudson among his main influences. His style is unusual with much his distinctive sound being created by playing the guitar's fret board. I have seen him described as a 'fret dancer' and this moniker is very apt. The acoustic music has a blues feel.

Matt will be supported at the Under Ground by Si McLean, acoustic singer songwriter and winner of Hastings Has Got Talent 2012.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 23rd Feb, 19:45.
Tickets £4, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926 or in person at the Under Ground Theatre and the Tourist Information Office.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Jo Downs (artist)

Jo Downs fridge magnet
A wander along South Street in Eastbourne's Little Chelsea recently led me to Deck The Halls, a lovely giftware shop that also offers a bespoke Christmas decoration service, hence the name. Among the beautiful items for sale, I spotted a cute metal gecko that I might pop back and get for our garden, and lots of handmade fused glass pices in a variety of designs, colours and prices.

The glass is designed by Cornwall-based artist Jo Downs. Her work is very popular in the West Country and she is beginning to make quite a name for herself nationwide as well. I was told that Deck The Halls is the only shop in the local area that stocks Jo Downs glass and they have a good selection. I have had to wait until after Valentine's Day to publish this post because the little fridge magnet I bought is/was part of Dave's gift!

Jo Downs Jumble Bowl
photo from
After gaining a BA Hons in Design in Glass and Ceramics at the University of Sunderland in 1994, Jo gained further experience with established glass artists, including Mike Davies, Galia Amsel and Rebecca Newnham. She set up her first workshop in Muswell Hill in 1996 but I think it was after her relocation to Launceston, Cornwall in 2001 that her work really took off. She developed the giftware range including coasters, hangings, bowls and mirrors, as well as furthering her large scale commissions - designs for the Matisse Exhibition at the RCA, Westminster Tower, and Fulham Methodist Church amongst several others. Now, there is a dedicated National Trust range, a partnership with John Lewis and Jo was commissioned to create unique artworks for singer Joss Stone. Her website shows a selection of the large-scale art and functional installations she has created and some are truly breathtaking.

Deck The Halls, 33 South Street, Eastbourne.
Standard shop opening hours. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

La Fille du puisatier (film)

Eastbourne Film Society's choice for the last Wednesday in February is a French film, La Fille du puisatier (The Well-Digger's Daughter). Marcel Pagnol made a film of the same name, from his own novel, in 1940 and this 2011 version is based on the same book. It recreates some of Pagnol's scenes, apparently practically word for word but apparently provides a much sunnier view of the world than the original film. Actor Daniel Auteil puts in a dignified performance as the Well-Digger and this is also his directorial debut.

Set in the south of France just before the Second World War, La Fille du puisatier tells the story of Pascal (Daniel Auteuil), a well-digger and widower who is struggling to bring up his six daughters alone. His eldest daughter, Patricia (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), seems destined to marry Pascal's middle-aged friend Félipe (Kad Merad), but she is distracted by fighter pilot Jacques (Nicolas Duvauchelle). Jacques is dashing and wealthy and easily seduces the innocent Patricia who is devastated when he goes off to the Front leaving her pregnant and ruined. Jacques parents refuse to acknowledge their grandchild until they find out that Jacques may not be returning from the War.

Curzon, Wed 27th Feb, 14:15, 17:00, 20:00.
Fri 8th, Mon 11th, Thu 14th Mar, 14:15, 17:00.
Tickets £6.80, available by calling 01313 731441 or in person (3pm to 7pm daily).

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Electric Dreams (music)

The Erudition, Kelly Richardson
Image courtesy of the artist and Birch Libralato
Photo by Colin Davison
Were you at the superb Courtney Pine gig at Brighton's Komedia a week ago today? I loved his new music - steel pans in a jazz band - danced for two hours and didn't get home until nearly midnight - which is pretty outrageous for me!

The gig was a Melting Vinyl promotion, the same people who organised the Night Folk club night at the Towner back in November. Now, inspired by the fabulous Kelly Richardson exhibition, Legion, I blogged about a few days ago, the Towner and Melting Vinyl are putting on another club night entitled Electric Dreams.

Electric Dreams will feature the Brighton-based electronica duo Grasscut together with DJs, digital visuals, sound art and a psychedelic room in which to lose yourself.

Towner Gallery, Sat 9th Mar, 20:30.
Over 18s only. Tickets £8 (£6 concessions) in advance, £9 (£7 concessions) on the door.
25% discount for Towner members

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Mike Tann (artist)

Alice Tallulah was the first Lady Luck
by Mike Tann

I made a wonderful discovery at the Francis Perry Gallery on my last visit there a few weeks ago now. I was fortunate enough to have been nosing around when the Sussex artist Mike Tann arrived to drop off a new series of prints. Originally created as mixed media works, the prints are themed around Cat sayings including Cat Burglar, Cat Fish and, the one which particularly appealed to me, Cat And The Fiddle. The Cat in question is drawn slightly differently each time with these little details determining his character.

However, the main reason for my excitement here is because my attention was drawn to Mike's assemblage works. I think there are three at Francis Perry. Assemblage is still a relatively new idea in the UK although I was told it is very popular in America where there are already galleries devoted to the genre. I would describe it as a form of three-dimensional collage and Mike's style is a wonderful steampunk. So if you like the Lucifer Box novels by Mark Gatiss or the music of Sunday Driver, then this could very well be the Art For You! I think the work is very inventive and great fun.

My favourite of the pieces is the one pictured - Alice Tallulah was the first Lady Luck. The title has as much importance as the items chosen for the assemblage and I did find that my interpretation of the works changed between seeing them initially and then looking again having read their titles. Also, in a reverse timescale, Mike described Bert and Rupert's Strange Zebra Zoo to me while we were at Francis Perry. However, the work was not there and the reality of it seen on Mike's website was far more than I had imagined while travelling home on the bus. I challenge you now to imagine Cowgirl Electrician or Albert Scuttle's machine for turning school dinners into real food, then click through and see!

Francis Perry Gallery,  Mon-Sat 10:00-16:45.
Free admission.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sam Jones (magician)

Sam Jones
I saw Sam Jones performing magic at Seaford's Barn Theatre way back in December 2011 when he had a short spot as the highlight of Seaford Musical Theatre's Christmas show. I remember a fabulous trick where he made a fountain of snow appear on stage to the delight of everyone watching. A natural performer, he quickly created a great rapport with the audience, engaging with the children whilst also aiming a few 'adult' innuendos perfectly over their heads!

A magician since the age of four, Sam's first performance was at his primary school, aged just five. At eleven Sam started performing his first paid gigs and his reputation quickly spread through referrals and word of mouth. Now an adult, Sam has kept his passion to entertain, baffle and astound and loves the reactions he receives from people of all ages ... especially the girls! He performs regularly at all sorts of events ranging from Weddings, Pubs, Restaurants, Hotels, Corporate Events and Parties. His YouTube channel has several short films of his work including the street magic sequence at the end of this post.

Sam has devised a brand new show for 2013 which is coming to Seaford's Barn Theatre on the 9th of March. It promises to be a fun filled evening for all the family and will include puppets, comedy, music and, of course, magic.

Barn Theatre, Sat 9th Mar, 19.30.
Tickets £7.50 adult, £5 children, available online via Ticketsource or by calling 07710 426321.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Liquorice Stick All-Sorts Band (jazz)

The clarinet will come to the fore on the 1st of March when Alan Barnes brings his new trio to the Under Ground Theatre jazz club. Often overlooked in favour of the saxophone, the Liquorice Stick All-Sorts Band are attempting to swing the balance back to the clarinet. I previously blogged about Alan Barnes ahead of his June 2012 visit to Eastbourne and March's trio will also include the talented Paul Clarvis on drums. The third man is Jim Hart on vibes.

Drummer Paul Clarvis is in great demand as a session player counting a number of film scores among his performances - you might have heard his percussion work in The Trumpet, East Is East or Quills. Jim Hart began his musical career as a drummer and pianist - aged just four! - but is now well-known as an intuitive and inventive vibraphone player. He is a founder member of London's LOOP collective and has toured extensively with visiting American musicians over the last few years.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 1st Mar, 20:00.
Tickets £11 (£10 members and students), available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Under Ground Theatre and the Tourist Information Centre

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Kelly Richardson - Legion (art)

The Erudition, Kelly Richardson
Image courtesy of the artist and Birch Libralato
Photo by Colin Davison
I mentioned my imminent Kelly Richardson preview visit recently when I blogged about the Collection Store Tours at the Towner Gallery. The preview was straight after work last Friday evening and was well attended. As one of the very newest members, I was pleased to meet the first, Maureen Honey, and also got to chat to The Artist for a few minutes!

Canadian-born Kelly Richardson is originally from Ontario but has lived in England, in Whitley Bay, since 2003. I believe that Legion is her first major exhibition in the UK and it was interesting to hear how she has always been leaving the country over the years to promote her work. Now Legion is at its third venue of a 'UK tour', the Towner, after popular showings at the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Newcastle. Kelly said that she is flattered by the positive reception that her work had in both the previous venues and was obviously very keen to discuss and show the installations to her Eastbourne audience.

The first work, entitled Leviathan, was created in two months during a residency at Caddo Lake near the wonderfully named town of Uncertain in Texas. This is fast work for Kelly whose other installations have taken far longer. A three-screen film of swamp in January has been embellished with golden light ripples in the water. Inspired by the BP oil spillage, Kelly has created an uncertain, threatening image where we do not know whether the darkness is simply shadows or the approach of something more sinister. I had the opportunity to spend several minutes gazing at Leviathan while waiting for a bottle-neck through the next work to clear. It is hypnotic and fascinating.

Great Destroyer is an unusual installation of multiple forest scene videos being displayed on a number of hanging screens. The viewer walks between the screens as if navigating a forest floor. Kelly explained that the audio for this work conveys its meaning. The soundtrack includes a knocking sound which could just be woodpeckers in the trees. However, in combination with the works' title, the viewer is pushed to assume human intervention, perhaps the distant destruction of the forest.

Twilight Avenger features two amalgamated videos and took about five months of painstaking manual work to complete. The background was filmed in a Canada forest and the foreground is an English deer. He was added to the film, frame by frame, and surrounded with a ghostly aura. Kelly was particularly pleased that she had managed to capture such natural behaviour from the deer. 

The final installation is a haunting science-fiction inspired piece entitled The Erudition. I think this is probably my favourite of the four, although I also love Leviathan and will need to return to see them again before I make up my mind. The Erudition appears to have been filmed on another planet but the barren rocky landscape is actually the Canadian Badlands. Kelly slowly went through the footage removing every sign of life so the viewer believes that the place has been deserted for at least decades, if not centuries. She then added in holographic trees. The holograms do not function properly - they vanish suddenly, crackle and flicker, and are no longer even tree-coloured. Kelly explained the idea was to show a place where someone, maybe, had manufactured a park a long time ago, but now the people have all gone and their last traces are breaking down. She hopes it will lead us to think about what we are leaving behind to break down when we have gone and I have certainly given much thought to the work since I saw it.
Towner Gallery, Fri 2nd Feb - Sun 14th Apr.
Tuesdays-Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, 10:00-17:00.
Free admission.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band Changed My Life Forever (theatre)

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band Changed My Life Forever is probably the longest-titled play I've blogged about so far. A poignant tale of tribute act wannabees, the play explores the unglamorous depths of the music business. Written by Patrick Prior and directed by Jim Dunk, the Isoceles production was first performed in 2008. 

Dedicated musicians Bob (Pat Abernethy) and Eric (Dave Marsden) meet at the audition which might just be their last chance to break into the big time. Both are only one song away from achieving their dreams, but Rock 'n' Roll can break your heart. As the audience discovers their history, Bob and Eric's future unfolds. Pat Abernethy and Dave Marsden perform several songs from the 1960s during the play, including The Crying Game, Urban Spaceman, San Francisco, Something In The Air and  Spirit In The Sky.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 8th Mar, 19:45.
Tickets £10 (£9 members), available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Under Ground Theatre and the Tourist Information Office.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Silver Linings Playbook (film)

One film that nearly passed me by in this wonderful glut of good films for January was the off-beat romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook. My partner spotted it for-two-nights-only at Hailsham Pavilion and persuaded me to go. I had already noticed the title, but had seen Bradley Cooper was the star, assumed another 'Hangover' and moved on. Had I trusted my own judgement, we would have missed a treat. So, thank you Dave!

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, Silver Linings Playbook has been nominated for a host of awards. Its odd title is due in part to the 'silver linings' that lead character Pat tries to find in every situation as a result of his bipolar therapy. A 'playbook', Dave tells me, is an American football term and the characters do discuss the sport quite a lot, although not in a way that requires any real understanding of the game on the part of cinemagoers. 'Playbook' has been left out of several international translations of the film's title, but was included for the British release. However, many cinemas have omitted the word from their publicity materials believing that it confuses potential British audiences. I agree - it did me.

Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has been released from a psychiatric hospital after eight months of treatment. His bipolar disorder was blamed and used for a plea-bargain after, having discovered his wife Nikki (Brea Bee) and her lover together, he nearly beat the lover to death. Now he has returned to his parents house to live under their supervision while he tries to re-adjust to the outside world. Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and the pair become friends as they both share quirky views. However, Pat is determined to win his wife back and Tiffany's suggestion of his partnering her in a dance contest seems the ideal opportunity to show Nikki how much he has changed. But when Pat's father (Robert De Niro) bets all his savings on a double-bet of his football team winning and his son's dance success, the pressure looks set to become too much for both Pat and Tiffany.

Silver Linings Playbook was shown at the end of January at Hailsham Pavilion and at the moment I don't know of any further screenings around the area. I am hoping the film may appear at the Curzon or be chosen by Seaford Community Cinema in the future. If so, I'll put the dates on the Calendar and tweet about it.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Lucinda Guy (art)

The Polegate Cafe is not on a hill!
The talented Eastbourne artist Lucinda Guy first came to my attention when she had one of the stalls at the second Terminus Road Art Expo back in November. I remember she was constantly working away on a portrait then, despite the bitterly cold day, and I was amazed that she is so young (only 21) and yet has so much skill.

Today (2nd Feb) I spotted a display of her distinctive work in the window of The Polegate Cafe. I believe this may be Lucinda's first solo 'exhibition' although, by the time this post is published on Wednesday it will temporarily have gone. Not to worry though! I have been told that the portraits are moving to Hailsham's Chapter 12 Wine Bar until just after Valentine's Day and will then be returning to Polegate. If you haven't visited either Chapter 12 or The Polegate Cafe yet, perhaps you could use Lucinda's work as an excuse to venture in! Both are friendly and welcoming and the Cafe certainly does a good fried breakfast.

I asked Lucinda how she discovered her talent.
LG: I’ve always loved art since a young age and was constantly glued to the TV show ‘Art Attack’, having to make everything from a monster bin to a princess castle made from toilet rolls! It wasn’t until I started my GCSE’s that I really started to take art seriously, and I drew my first portrait at 16. Not the greatest drawing in the world but I practiced and practiced for a year before I was asked to take place in a group exhibition. Since then my art has kept growing and I’ve been very lucky to be part of several exhibitions and who knows where it will take me in the next few years!

Lucinda's portraits are available to buy online through her Etsy shop and you can keep up to date with works-in-progress by liking her Facebook page. Lucinda is also happy to discuss commissions and you can contact her through Etsy and Facebook.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Just Sing! (music)

The Evergreen Singers plus Eastbourne G&S singers
I'm blogging about a very worthy cause today - a charity single which has been recorded to raise money for the Pevensey Ward at the DGH, Eastbourne. Just Sing! has been composed by Michael Sellings, the musical director of The Evergreen Singers, as a thank you to The Pevensey Ward for his successful course of treatment there. His wife, Mavis, kindly spoke to me about the Singers and the project.

MS: The Evergreen Singers are a local concert party that was formed 8 years ago. They perform for expenses and charity and their repertoire comprises of well-loved popular songs, music from the shows, and several songs that Michael has written. Having performed Just Sing! throughout 2011 and 2012 to great acclaim, in October 2012, Michael invited members of Eastbourne Gilbert and Sullivan Society to join the The Evergreen Singers in recording the song. The one-off collaboration was recorded at CMP Studios.

MS: 15 years ago Michael bought his first synthesiser, and having found a very "interesting" (loud and raucous) sound, quickly composed a throbbing and pulsating piece that did the sound justice. Fast forward to 2011 and Michael was successfully treated at the Pevensey Ward for a relatively rare type of leukaemia. Whilst in relative quarantine during chemotherapy, he extended the piece and wrote the words which repeat and repeat in several keys and rhythms.

As well as an Amazon Download priced at a recession-busting £0.69, Just Sing! is available on professionally produced CDs for £3.00.
All proceeds will go to The Pevensey Ward which is now about to expand to larger premises with the inclusion of 3 radiotherapy machines. The machines will eliminate the need for 50 mile round trips to Brighton for treatment. The Pevensey Ward Appeal is a registered charity reg: 220592. Mavis says that the song is technically not "for sale", but the suggested donation in an adjacent collection box will secure your copy from the following outlets:

At the recording of Just Sing!
The Rodmill Pub (opp DGH)
ASDA Customer Service Counter (Crumbles)
Eastbourne Information Centre (Cornfield Rd.)
Friends of Eastbourne Hospital Shop (DGH)
Graham's Plumbers Merchants (Lottbridge Drove)
Charles Hunt Centre (Vicarage Field, Hailsham)
plus the Doctor's Surgeries in Stone Cross (Mimram Rd.), Pevensey Bay (Richmond Rd.) and Westham (Church Bailey).

The Evergreen Singers will be performing the coffee morning session at the Under Ground Theatre on Saturday May the 11th. The performance will include some of Michael's other compositions - a satirical swipe at banking called "Mr. Banker" and a reworking of Robbie Burn's poem "My Love is like a Red, Red Rose" - and I am sure they will welcome audience participation for Just Sing!

All together now ...
"Sometimes when you sing this song
It helps to right the things that once were wrong
So, sing this song for you and me
Sing with great intensity
Sing...Sing.... Just sing !"

 If you are an enthusiastic singer and can commit to regular rehearsals, the Evergreen Singers are currently on the lookout for new members. I believe they rehearse one evening a week and I am told they complete twenty to thirty engagements each year. Please call Michael and Mavis Sellings on 01323 767060 if you are interested in joining (especially if you are male or can sing male ranges!)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Of Mice And Men (theatre)

Eastbourne Operatic and Dramatic Society (EODS) are preparing for their first show of 2013 which will be performed in February at the Birley Centre. They have chosen John Steinbeck's stage adaptation of his own classic novel, Of Mice And Men. The play is being directed by Cathryn Parker.

Set in Great Depression era California, Of Mice And Men is a classic portrayal of enduring friendship and unfulfilled dreams. I remember reading and enjoying the book as a teenager at school. I don't know whether it is still on the syllabus but if so, this would be an ideal opportunity for students to gain another perspective on the work.

Two casual farmhands, uneducated but intelligent George and simple giant Lenny, dream of having their own little homestead where they can provide for themselves and Lenny can tend rabbits. Lenny loves to stroke soft things like rabbit fur, but the pair are travelling on again after a misunderstood incident in their previous town. Lenny's attempt to stroke a woman's dress had been construed as attempted rape when, panicked, he refused to let go. Now in Soledad, George has found more work for them both and their dreams again seem to be possible.

Birley Centre, Thu 21st - Sat 23rd Feb, 19:30.
Matinee, Sat 23rd Feb, 14:30.
Tickets £12 (£10 concessions), available by calling 07840 473818 or emailing