Tuesday, 30 April 2013

House Of Wax (film)

The Redoubt Fortress is taking part in Culture 24's Museums At Night extravaganza in 2013 with a special screening of the Vincent Price horror film House of Wax. The film will be shown on the evening of the 18th of May and I think the Redoubt will be the perfect spooky venue! You might have seen one of its 'abandoned rooms' used in the trailer for Green Room Productions The Wife The Mistress The Chair? Eastbourne Museums are planning a few scary surprises for visitors and will be lighting the Redoubt corridors with candles to add to the atmosphere.

House Of Wax was released in 1953 and was apparently a remake of an earlier 1933 comedy entitled Mystery Of The Wax Museum. House Of Wax dispensed with the comedy and added 3-D instead. I'm not sure if the Redoubt screening will be able to accomodate the 3-D effects but probably best to take your paper glasses just in case!

Set in New York in the early 20th century, Vincent Price is wax sculptor Professor Henry Jarrod. He and his business partner, Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts) own a museum and Burke tries to encourage Jarrod to create more sensational waxworks so the museum will earn more money. Jarrod refuses and is nearly killed in a fire set by Burke as an insurance fraud. Badly hurt, Jarrod does survive and, aided by deaf-mute Igor (Charles Bronson), opens a new House Of Wax featuring a graphic Chamber Of Horrors - a gallery of notorious crime scenes. What visitors do not realise though is that each waxwork is actually a wax-covered human corpse.

Redoubt Fortress, Sat 18th May, 19:00.
Tickets £5 to include admission to the museum and the film screening, available from the Museum Shop.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Sweeney Todd (musical theatre)

EODS are back at the end of May with their presentation of the fantastic Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd. There's quite a buzz around about this show so don't wait too long to get your tickets or you might be disappointed!

A tale of bloody revenge, the original story is said to have been published as Victorian 'penny dreadful', The String Of Pearls. The tale has been told since in several incarnations including ballet and a play by Christopher Bond. Sondheim's musical version, based on Bond's play, first appeared in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1980 winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical in the same year. The most recent professional revival in 2011/2012 starred Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton and Tim Burton's 2007 film version partnered Johnny Depp with Helena Bonham Carter. The score is notoriously tricky for actors to perform with every word and pause needing to be 'exactly so' while the roles themselves offer great versatility and room for interpretation.

Sweeney Todd returns to London from fifteen years in Australia where he was wrongly sent as a convict. He goes to Mrs Lovett's pie shop and asks about renting the room upstairs. Mrs Lovett tells him about the previous tenant, a barber named Benjamin Barker, before she recognises Todd as the returned man. Todd learns that his wife poisoned herself after she was attacked by the very same Judge Turpin who sentenced him to transportation, and that now Judge Turpin is keeping Todd's daughter captive until the day he can marry her. Mrs Lovett gives Todd back the shiny silver razors she has kept safely in case he should return. She tells him to set up again as a barber. Todd declares revenge on everyone who has wronged him. When Todd begins slitting throats instead of shaving them, Mrs Lovett comes up with a novel idea of how they can dispose of his victims.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Wed 29th May - Sat 1st Jun, 19:45.
Thu 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 Office.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Fiona Rae (artist)

‘Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century’,
 Fiona Rae, 2009 
© Fiona Rae;
Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
A lovely walk in the sunshine yesterday morning led me from Polegate to the top floor of the Towner Gallery where their new exhibition, Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century was open for its first day. I meant to dash from work to the Friday evening preview as I would then have been able to hear the Walk And Talk by Emma Dexter, Director of Exhibitions at London's Timothy Taylor Gallery. But I didn't so my understanding of the works by Fiona Rae is limited to say the least!

Fiona Rae received her first significant public attention in the late 1980s when she exhibited as part of Freeze, a group show organised in Docklands by Damien Hirst. She was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1991 and in 2011, became the first woman to be made Professor Of Painting at the Royal Academy Schools. I googled the school's history - it's the oldest art school in the country having been founded in 1768. So it's only taken them 245 years to appoint a woman to the role!

Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century includes, I think, sixteen large paintings dating from 2000 to 2012. Large expanses of colour and bold abstract swirls compete with lots of dripping paint to create eyecatching pictures. These are then detailed with cartoon-like images including pandas, Bambi deer, hearts, stars and teddy bears. There is a definite Japanese flavour to the works but I'm not sure if the juxtaposition of the 'girly' details on the big canvasses really worked for me. Much of the meaning of each painting must come from their lengthy titles. I managed to see how I need gentle conversations fitted with the baby blue of its canvas, but the almost sinister aspect of its dripping clouds then confused me. A small Bambi in a foreboding dark maybe-forest is entitled As I run and run, happiness comes closer. I totally agree with the title, but thought the Bambi of the painting had quite a distance still to cover to escape the darkness. 

While I was in the gallery, I was interested to note other people's reactions too. No one ignored the paintings! One woman was absolutely fascinated by the details and spent several minutes carefully examing each painting closely before moving on to the next. And a man spent the whole time staring across the room towards As I run and run, happiness comes closer, perhaps engrossed but with an expression that appeared just baffled. Personally, I think I will let the exhibition rumble around the back of my head for a week or two and then go back and have another look. I wasn't immediately a fan of the work as I was with Kelly Richardson, but I think it's great that the Towner has this exhibition too and I am certainly intrigued.

Towner Gallery, Tue-Sun, 10:00-18:00.
Bank Holiday Mondays, 10:00-18:00.
Free admission. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Spirit of 45 (film)

Director Ken Loach has created a very different film in The Spirit Of 45. Instead of a fictional tale, this time he has used film from Britain’s regional and national archives alongside sound recordings and contemporary interviews to make a documentary about the camaraderie and national spirit in Britain in the years immediately following the end of the Second World War. 

Community and cooperation are becoming popular words again as we rediscover the benefits of simple concepts such as shopping locally and recycling. In 1945, working together and mutual support were the essential attributes that allowed Britain to begin rebuilding herself and the lives of her people. In a few years of rapid change, important industries were nationalised, the Welfare State was founded and the National Health Service began treating its first patients. The Spirit Of 45 is an impassioned snapshot and a celebration of the determination that enabled this to happen. The film does not claim to be a complete history - and director Ken Loach has pointed out that this would take hours of film to achieve - but I think it hopes to inspire 2013 Britons to recreate the sense of unity that their grandparents enjoyed. It is appropriate that the film has its local screenings at Hailsham Pavilion - a volunteer-based cinema.

Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 14th May and Wed 15th May, 19:45.
Wed matinee, 14:15.
Tickets £6.50 adults, £5 concessions, Wed matinee £4.50, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at the Box Office.

Friday, 26 April 2013

John Jones (music)

If you're an Oysterband fan, you might be interested in a gig at Hailsham Pavilion at the end of May. The band's lead singer, John Jones, is performing a one-night-only gig with a few special guests to launch his annual walk. This year he has chosen to conquer the 100 mile South Downs Way from Eastbourne to Winchester.

John Jones and the Reluctant Ramblers Song of The Downs tour 2013 will start on Sunday the 26th of May. As well as his fellow Oysterband members, John will be joined at Hailsham Pavilion by singer Rowan Godel, Boff from Chumbawamba and multi-instrumentalist Benji Kirkpatrick from Bellowhead. Boff and Benji are planning to walk the full 100 miles and you can join them (for the first day at least!) on the Bank Holiday Monday as they set off from Beachy Head. 15 miles are planned enabling the band to reach Glynde by Monday evening for a second gig at the Trevor Arms with The Copper Family. All walkers and musicians are welcome.

Hailsham Pavilion, Sun 26th May, 19:30.
Tickets £19.50, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at the Box Office.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Land And Sea Scapes (art)

Eastbourne Prom at Dusk
by Paul Liddiard
I've been experimenting with +Blogger recently, particularly the various options it has for keeping up with other people's blogs. There's now a reading pane I see every time I log in that gives me headlines from other blogs I follow. This lunchtime, up popped a post from Gallery North about their newest exhibition, Land And Sea Scapes.

The exhibition will include paintings by John Amos, Jeremy Bear and Paul Liddiard. I've illustrated this post with Liddiard's Eastbourne Promenade at Dusk although this particular work will not be there because it's mine! I loved it so much at the Lansdowne Centenary Art Exhibition last summer that I bought it and am now excitedly hoping that I might spot a partner work at Gallery North. John Amos previously exhibited at at the venue's Festival Exhibition last autumn where I was quite taken with his drawing entitled Old Stone Steps and the acrylic work Snow Light.

As well as the above mentioned trio, and a broad selection of work in various styles and media by the Gallery's resident artists, Land And Sea Scapes will feature lino prints by Ian O'Halloran and new work by Sarah Drury.

Gallery North, Tue 7th May to Sat 6th July.
Tue - Sat, 10:00 - 16:00.
Free admission but donations appreciated.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Freeman Street (music)

Welsh soul band Freeman Street are journeying a pretty long way from their hometown of Cardiff to play two gigs in Eastbourne over the second May Bank Holiday weekend. Starting at the Crown and Anchor on Friday the 24th, they are also playing our beautiful Bandstand on Sunday the 26th.

Originally formed as a covers band, Freeman Street have been inspired by their musical heroes - Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, James Brown - to begin penning their own brand of funky soul music. I also spotted that in April they supported the recent star of Hailsham Pavilion, Geno Washington! Fronted by Guyanan gospel/jazz singer Wade Collymore, the band's nucleus is Simon Mansfield on guitar, Christian Pegley on keyboards and saxophone, Warren Pegley on bass guitar and Pete Ford on drums. Other musicians get involved as needed and I've seen up to an eight-piece band on their Facebook page. I don't know how many might appear in Eastbourne.

If you can't get to either of the gigs, the band's four track EP, No. 1 Freeman Street, is available through iTunes and Amazon

Crown and Anchor, Fri 24th May, 21:00.

Eastbourne Bandstand, Sun 26th May, 20:00-21:30.
Advance tickets, £7.50 adult, £3 child. On the door tickets if still available, £10 adult, £5 child.
Available online, by calling 01323 410611, or in person at the Seafront Shop.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Morocco (film)

The Academy Award winning film Morocco is the classic Sunday matinee choice for May at the Under Ground Theatre. Starring Marlene Dietrich who won Best Actress for her role as singer Amy Jolly, Morocco also picked up awards for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography, and Josef von Sternberg walked away with Best Director.

When wealthy patron La Bessiere (Adolphe Menjou) visits her nightclub and gives singer Amy Jolly his calling card, she politely accepts it but later tears it up. Her eye is caught by Legionnaire Private Tom Brown (Gary Cooper). Following her headlining performance, she slips him her doorkey and he comes to her room after the show. Jolly is not expecting to form any emotional attachment but, when she realises she is beginning to actually like Brown, she makes him leave. The following night, La Bessiere proposes and Brown, believing she will be happier with wealth, hides his feelings and departs with his regiment, leaving Jolly to accept La Bessiere's offer.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 19th May, 14:30.
Tickets £6.50 to include tea/coffee and cake after the film, available online or in person at the Under Ground.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Complete Gospel Of Mark (theatre)

I've got local publication ethemagazine to thank for alerting me to an unusual event coming our way in May.

Performed by storyteller and actor Brendan Somers, The Gospel Of St Mark is two hours of theatre telling the complete Gospel story. There will be two intervals with light refreshments served. The for-one-night-only performance will take place in beautiful Berwick Church, a wonderful venue decorated with powerful murals by the Bloomsbury set. (The Church is well worth a visit in its own right purely to see these images.) 

"There are seldom opportunities to listen live to any of the Gospels in their entirety. Usually we hear small sections delivered during a church service. Uplifting and inspiring as these sections undoubtedly are it is only by reading, listening to or seeing performances of a complete Gospel that one can experience the dynamic brilliance of the text. The Gospel story experienced as a whole is without doubt a wonderful journey, full of marvellous happenings, fears and hopes, miracles and pains. To understand how a simple carpenter came from obscurity in his thirtieth year to become a beacon of hope to countless millions one needs to journey with him on the short but world changing road from Nazareth to Golgotha."

Berwick Village Church, Fri 17th May 2013, 19:00.
Tickets £8 (£5 concessions) on the door, and seats can be reserved by leaving a message on 07510 197122 or by emailing b.somers@hotmail.co.uk

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Cemetery Club (theatre)

The Cemetery Club, written by Ivan Menchell, is an insight into the lives of three Jewish widows living in New York. The trio get together once a month for tea and gossip before they go to visit the graves of their husbands. The play last appeared locally at the Devonshire Park Theatre in May 2012 and is soon to be put on again, this time by Seaford Little Theatre.

Ida is sweet tempered and ready to begin a new life, Lucille is a girl who just wants to have fun, and Doris is priggish and judgemental. When widower Sam, a butcher, enters the scene, he catches Ida's eye and the pair embark upon a new life together. Dismayed, Doris and Lucille squash the budding romance, but are then guilt stricken when this nearly breaks Ida’s heart.

Directed and designed by Cathryn Parker, The Cemetery Club will star Sylvia Aston, Trish Richings, Mary Young, Alan Lade and Sue Shephard. The bittersweet comedy is laden with wry Jewish humour. "Life may change but love will always remain."

Seaford Little Theatre, Fri 10th to Sat 18th May, 19:45.
Matinee, Sat 11th May, 14:30.
Evening tickets £8, matinee tickets £7, opening night tickets - two seats for the price of one.
Available from Sussex Eyecare Ltd, 9 Broad Street, Seaford (no credit  cards please). Enquiries 01323 895225.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Georgia Mancio Trio (jazz)

It seemed like ages since I attended a jazz night at the Under Ground Theatre so I've just checked back through the blog posts and the last time was January - the excellent Buster Birch Quartet. I definitely don't want to get out of the habit of going though and May's artist looks good.

Vocalist Georgia Mancio incorporates her Anglo-Latino heritage (her great-grandmother was from Uruguay) into her interpretations of standards, originals, show tunes and blues songs to produce a distinctive sound. Her 24 date tour includes duo, trio and quartet projects as well as festival appearances in Manchester, Wavendon, Chichester and Marlborough. In the ten years since the release of her debut album Peaceful Place, Georgia has honed her professional performances and is now building upon this discovering new directions as an interpreter and writer. Her current album Silhouette includes bold co-written original songs alongside classics by contemporary artists such as one of my favourites, Tom Waits.

Georgia will be joined by guitarist Nigel Price and bassist Julie Walkington. I remember enjoying seeing Nigel Price with his own trio at the Under Ground, probably early last year or late in 2011. However, it was 'pre-blog' so there's no review!

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 17th May, 20:00.
Tickets £11 (members/students £10), available online or in person at the Box Office (when open) and the Tourist Information Office. 

BE AWARE I have just noticed that the Under Ground has started adding a £1.50 PER TICKET booking fee for online sales, even if you have the ticket emailed to print at home yourself. It does annoy me when venues do this. £1.50 per transaction is one thing, per ticket is quite another! If I have to pay extra for every ticket, I'd much rather it was 'hidden' in the ticket price than being told one cost upfront and then confronted another when I come to pay. Apparently there is no fee for 'in person' sales, although I don't know if these need to be cash or if the Tourist Office can take card payments.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Shell Seekers (theatre)

Polegate Community Association Drama Group's forthcoming production of The Shell Seekers might have passed me by completely were it not for the advertising board by the Level Crossing that I saw on my way home last night. The Company is well-respected and popular locally meaning seats for their shows sell quickly. The Box Office opened on the 9th of April so I hope this post doesn't come too late!

The play was adapted by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham from Rosamunde Pilcher's best selling novel The Shell Seekers. It's first UK tour was in 2006. I found a good review of the play (a totally unrelated production) written by Hannah Perlin on the Lippy blog. IT CONTAINS SPOILERS!!

Penelope Keeling is in her sixties and has just come home from hospital after a heart attack. As Penelope's health worsens, she reviews her life from her own viewpoint and also through the eyes of each of her three adult children. Penelope's great treasure is a painting, The Shell Seekers, by her late father which was given to her as a wedding present. She has great emotional attachment to the work but this is not understood by her children who can only see it for it's monetary value. They are keen to get their hands on this inheritance early.

Polegate Community Centre, Wed 8th to Sat 11th May, 19:45.
Sat matinee, 14:45.
Adult tickets £8, children and students £6, available online or in person from Archer and Partners, 48 High Street, Polegate (01323 483348).

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Italian Job (film)

The wonderful free motoring weekend that is Magnificent Motors is returning to Eastbourne over the first May Bank Holiday weekend and will be back in its original seafront venue. Around four hundred classic vehicles will take over the Western Lawns together with live music, a funfair, the Continental Market AND - as if it couldn't get any better - an open air screening of the ultimate motoring movie, The Italian Job on the Saturday evening!

It's the original 1969 film directed by Peter Collinson, not the 2003 remake, and stars the fabulously unlikely trio of Michael Caine, Noel Coward and Benny Hill. It also features the first film role for Robert Powell. Singing along with Get a Bloomin' Move On (Self Preservation Society) isn't compulsory, but probably should be!

When career criminal Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) is given the plans for a daring payroll robbery at Turin's Fiat factory, he breaks into prison to meet with Mr Bridger (Noel Coward) a gang boss whose backing Croker will need. Croker's gang is assembled and head out to Italy. An unexpected bonus of gold is grabbed while gangmember Professor Peach (Benny Hill) screws up Turin's traffic control system causing total gridlock. Seemingly having trapped themselves in the city, the gang reveal their cunning escape plan - three patriotically painted Minis!

Western Lawns, Sat 4th May, 19:30.
Tickets £15 for a carfull, adults £5, under 16s £3, available from the Congress Theatre Box Office or by calling 01323 412000 in advance, or in person on the night subject to availability.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Sorcerer (G&S opera)

Eastbourne Gilbert and Sullivan Society are going to be performing the classic opera The Sorcerer at the Devonshire Park Theatre for a week in May. The comic opera was the third to be written by the W S Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan partnership and, although it now tends to take a back seat in comparison to their later and more famous works, this is the template upon which they built. The Eastbourne production will be directed by Carol Mounter in her debut with the Society who are also welcoming back Nicole Brazier as their Musical Director. 

Aline (Alison King) and Alexis (Neil Horstcraft) are madly in love and wish that everyone in the village could be as happy as they are. Alexis believes the power of love will level all social distinctions and employs a ‘family’ Sorcerer to create a love potion which everyone in the village drinks in their tea. They fall asleep and on waking fall in love with the first person they see, leading to some very inappropriate couples!

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 7th to Sat 11th May, 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 Office.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

This House (theatre)

I am in no way suggesting that the National Theatre had anything at all to do with the recent demise of Margaret Thatcher(!), but I have been wondering whether this unexpected topicality has pushed sales for their next NTlive cinema offering, This House. I didn't want to take the chance that it might sell out and so bought our tickets at the weekend. 

This House is a new play by James Graham, set in the Parliamentary Whips' office through the five years before Thatcher came to power, which will be screened at Eastbourne's Cineworld 'for one night only' on the 16th of May. Directed by Jeremy Herrin and designed by Rae Smith, the play has a huge 23-strong cast including Reece Dinsdale, Charles Edwards, Phil Daniels and Julian Wadham. Oh, to have the National's budget!

It’s 1974 and the corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and backbiting as Britain’s political parties battle to change the future of the nation, whatever it takes. In this hung parliament, the ruling party holds on by a thread. Votes are won and lost by one, fist fights erupt in the bars, and ill MPs are hauled in to cast their votes. It’s a time when a staggering number of politicians die, and age-old traditions and allegiances are thrown aside in the struggle for power. James Graham’s biting, energetic and critically-acclaimed new play strips politics down to the practical realities of those behind the scenes who roll up their sleeves, and on occasion bend the rules, to manoeuvre a diverse and conflicting chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments.

Cineworld, Thu 16th May 2013, 19:00.
Tickets £13.50 (£11.50 concessions), available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person from the machines in the foyer.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Love Life Loss and Leaving (book)

By the by, theatricalEastbourne is one year old today! Woo Hoo!

* * * * * * * * *

Since discovering and blogging about the novels of local authors Jake Nelson and Annette Keen a few months ago, I've become more aware of the writing talent we have around Eastbourne. My first love is still printed books and I can spend hours browsing in real bookshops, but now we can download and use the Amazon Kindle software without needing to splash out on the device itself, I've taken to book reading on my laptop as well. Plus the immediacy of ebook versions means I can buy and download books straight away, rather than needing to remember to search out titles, so I do. Impulse shopper? Me?!

My latest recommendation came via my Twitter feed for Love, Life, Loss and Leaving, a collection of twenty short stories for adults which have been penned by Andrew Baguley and Janet Rawson. You might have heard of Janet as a member of Twisted Events Presents. I vaguely remember something about an interactive Shakespeare play on the Western Lawns last summer but failed to blog about it so am at a loss for details now! The company specialises in creating interactive theatrical experiences for business and conference situations.

"Andrew Baguley and Janet Rawson. Two friends, two genders, two different but slightly twisted views of life. Much red wine. Between them enough years to be wise and considered, yet not enough for hope and amazement to cease. Janet acts, has plays published and hawks around her first novel. Andrew acts too, ponders and gets up late. He’s writing a radio play about power thrust upon an ordinary man. Both love words, cities and sea air. They write and live separately but merge dreams and ideas. Both are from the south east of England, just outside the city sprawl, close enough to enjoy the heat but distant enough to feel the breeze. This is their first collaboration."

As it is made up of independent short stories and poems, Love, Life, Loss and Leaving can be dipped into and I've found myself returning to the collection on several occasions over the last couple of months when I have spare time. I like the way the book alternates between authors because the different voices compliment each other well. The subjects of the stories appeal to my dark side and there are certainly a few that should not be read too close to bedtime - especially if you're prone to bad dreams. I think my favourite stories are Far Fathoms and Time To Kill by Janet Rawson and The New Jesus by Andrew Baguley.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Singin In The Rain (film)

Unusually for me, I'm going to be displaying slight irritation on the blog today. If you're having a happy day and don't want to be brought down, scroll straight past to read about Salon de Refuses or Larry Garner instead. Or stop scrolling just before the post's end to get the actual details of the Singin In The Rain screening - it is in a good cause!

I'm noticing more through writing my blog that we do seem to get a significant proportion of repeated shows and films around the theatricalEastbourne area. Several times, when I am researching events, I get vague deja-vu just before Google helpfully tells me that I've 'already visited this page'. As a blogger, perhaps I should be grateful because repeats mean I can just link the Calendar to previously written posts and save myself a lot of typing! However as audience, I'm disappointed. The latest culprit is Singin In The Rain, a delightful musical indeed BUT Rattonians performed the stage show for a whole week last July at the Congress, and Filmspot screened the film version only last week at the Devonshire Park Tennis Centre. Now the Under Ground Theatre has the film again in a fortnight's time. Can venues not find out about each other's programmes in advance? Or is it a money thing - guaranteed 'bums on seats'? Does anyone else mind?

Singin In The Rain is being screened by EVENTurous to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. The Under Ground will be decorated with film memorabilia to enhance the cinema experience and an exclusive tap dance performance will open the movie.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 28th Apr, 17:00.
Tickets £5, available online, by calling Robert Frew on 07507215614 or by email at rf129@uni.brighton.ac.uk or in person on the door.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (musical theatre)

The third of three shows being put on at The Little Theatre for the Eastbourne Festival is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a one act musical comedy. That link goes to the website for the show itself and I think the Eastbourne performances will be by our local under-25s theatre group, The Performance Factory.

Conceived in America by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee began in Sheffield, Massachusetts, around 2004 and is the expansion of a non-musical play originally created by the improvisation group The Farm. It has since grown tremendously being performed locally, then off-Broadway, on Broadway and internationally winning two Tony Awards in 2005 for Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor in the process.

Six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. This hilarious tale of overachievers’ angst, chronicles the experience of adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime.

The Little Theatre, Wed 24th to Sat 27 April, 19.00.
Tickets £10, available online but be quick! The Saturday evening performance has already sold out and, at the time of writing this post, there were only four tickets left for the Friday evening.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Salon de Refuses (art)

The Linchpin Gallery's Salon de Refuses exhibition is now in its second year showing work from artists who were not chosen for the East Sussex Open at the Towner. Salon de Refuses runs almost concurrently to the Open so 2013's exhibition began on the 30th of March and will continue until the 20th of April. I managed to find my way there last Saturday (those of you who know my sense of direction will agree this was quite a feat) and was warmly welcomed by Irene Runyaker who explained a little about the Linchpin and its aims to me. It is linked to the vibrant Blue Monkey Network and you can see the work of several of their artists at Linchpin. The artist led Gallery also supports the Artists General Benevolent Institution, a charity that assists artists who, from illness, sudden disability or financial circumstances, are unable to work or exhibit. 

I had already picked up a flyer at the Library advertising Sumiko's Wild Flowers Of The South Downs and there are several of these beautiful paintings downstairs, on the left just as you get into the main room. Also downstairs are a couple of Josie Tipler's paintings, one of her fish and two atmospheric Alfriston landscapes that are dark and brooding and greatly appealed to me! Teri Walsh has prints created by wood etching of which I particularly liked Broken Pampas. In his 'first proper exhibition' Simon Wiegand is showing ink and paper works, including the fabulous Turtles. I was lucky enough to chat to him briefly about his art and he explained that he initially allows the material, in this case ink, to basically do its own thing, then replicating the process leads him to discover new images and directions with the same material.

Upstairs is a second room dedicated to the 'regular' Linchpin artists and don't miss the few works at the top of the stairs as well. Perhaps dominating the room is Derek Davies' Cos-Play in Harejuku Tokyo, a bizarre photograph of three women staring intimidatingly right into the camera. They are in bright fancy dress and make-up for Costume Play and this makes for a striking image. Two artists are showing incredibly intricate ink of paper work. In colour are Elizabeth Claridge's Interval and Gradation and in monochrome are Judith Alder's Spread and Germ Scatter, all of which must have taken hours and hours and hours.

Linchpin Gallery, 11:00-15:30, Wed to Sun 10-14th & Wed to Sat 17-20th April.
Free admission.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Larry Garner (music)

I went to New Orleans recently, in March for a week followed by a week in Austin. If you know me well you're already completely fed up with hearing about it but there is a point to mentioning it again in this post!

Bluesman Larry Garner, who will be visiting Hailsham Pavilion in May, was born in New Orleans and raised near Baton Rouge in the small town of Oaknolia. The state of Louisiana is proud of their son having inducted him into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 2002. One of the world's top contemporary bluesmen, Garner has been influenced by many of the Baton Rouge blues artists including Lonesome Sundown, Silas Hogan, Henry Gray, Clarence Edwards and Guitar Kelly. His original songs reflect his upbringing and surroundings but are appreciated by audiences around the world. On his website, Garner says of European audiences, “I go to Europe and England a few times a year. Over there they really like my original stuff. They hear guys playing the blues, but when I come in, they come right up and say, ‘Thank God — a real blues band.’ We take it for granted here. They’re really appreciative there, and so am I."

Hailsham Pavilion, Sat 11th May, 19:30.
Tickets £19.50, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person at the Box Office.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Hunt (film)

One of my favourite actors, Mads Mikkelsen, is starring in a Danish film entitled The Hunt (original title in Danish is Jagten) which will be shown at the Barn Theatre by Seaford Community Cinema next Friday. I think Mikkelsen's last screen appearance locally was in En kongelig affaere, a romantic period drama, but The Hunt is a very different prospect.

The 15 certificate film was directed by Thomas Vinterberg and shows how a man's life is wrecked when he becomes the victim of mass hysteria following an untrue accusation of sexual assault. The Hunt premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2012 where Mads Mikkelsen was awarded the Best Actor award.

Lucas (Mikkelsen) takes a temporary nursery school job in the run up to Christmas after cutbacks mean he is made redundant from his permanent teaching post. He settles in well to his new life until he upsets his best friend's daughter by refusing a gift. In revenge, she tells her school administrator that he exposed himself to her. The school administrator calls in a child psychologist and a 'witch hunt' rapidly gathers pace.

Tickets £6 adults, £5 members, Fri 19th Apr, 19:30.
Available online or in person from Seaford Tourist Office. There may also be tickets left on the door but the Seaford Cinema nights are very popular so don't rely on this!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Nadia Wazera (artist)

I nearly didn't go to the Musgrave Museum on Saturday because I got waylaid at Rock The Redoubt and thought the Musgrave might already be closed. However, I'm so glad I detoured as, not only did I finally have a look around the collection itself, but I also got to meet Nadia Wazera, an artist whose has work currently on show there as part of the Eastbourne Festival.

Nadia got involved with the Musgrave Museum through an art swap project with Fenya Sharkey where Fenya would create work in Nadia's town of Coventry and Nadia would reciprocate in Eastbourne. She has created six works for the Musgrave - two video installations and four assemblage pieces. This is the first time that the venue has been used for visiting artists although I understand there are plans to invite further projects through the year.

Nadia is very interested in exploring connections and way they occur between people and places, between people and objects. She has incorporated items from George Musgrave's collections into her work here, revitalising what had been overlooked and hidden away. This is particularly apparent in the first large installation which utilises a pile of dilapidated picture frames. Nadia explained that the frames have been brought up from the basement and replaced exactly as they were discovered. On the opposite wall is a desk with flat circular pebbles collected from Eastbourne beach (don't tell the Council!). Nadia encourages visitors to interact with the work by writing a word of their choice on a pebble and then throwing the pebble into the frames. Some are lost in the stack, some fall through, some words are visible, some are hidden.

The second large installation is a bookcase which was again found on site. Nadia has placed small cake-topper figurines and other items from George Musgrave's collections onto the shelves together with some of her own vintage postcards thereby adding a part of her own collection to that of George's. Some shelves are backed with clear acetate which adds reflection and an element of movement, and there are also clear circles which didn't come out in the photo so you'll have to go see for yourselves! Circles are a recurrent theme in Nadia's work and the clear discs can also be seen at the base of the hanging driftwood installation. Circles in the forms of coins, roulette wheels and gaming machines are depicted in the video work at the back of the Musgrave, perhaps a  partner to the beach walk but showing the 'other side' of Eastbourne seafront - gambling in the Pier arcades.

I spent quite a time engrossed in Nadia's video installation of her walking across Eastbourne beach and stopping to gaze out across the sea. This is a walk I have done many times myself so was interested to see it replicated in the indoor space. I forgot to ask whether it was intentional, but I love the way the handheld camera's movement gives the impression of being underwater as Nadia walks. The camera then becomes perfectly still as she stops to look at the sea so the only movement is now actually that of the waves.

Musgrave Museum, Tue-Sat, 2nd Apr to 4th May, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission, donations welcome.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Laura Crean (author)

Laura Crean
I discovered the work of Eastbourne author and poet Laura Crean recently when she gave her blog a mention via her Twitter feed. Apparently (showing my ignorance here), April is National Poetry Writing Month and so Laura has undertaken the challenge of writing an original poem every day. Already onto Day Three by the time I distracted her, Laura kindly agreed to take time out from rhyming to compose this wonderful guest post for Theatrical Eastbourne explaining why she is so inspired by poetry.

LC: It is National Poetry Writing Month and poets all over the World Wide Web are feverishly composing their own poetic masterpieces. Whether a published poet or not, it is a good excuse to pen a poem from the heart and share it with your fellow lovers of the poetic art form. So why am I personally getting involved this year? Why have I set myself the personal goal of writing a poem every single day this month? That’s 30 poems in 30 days, an ‘original’ poem every single day of the month of April 2013! 

Well, since writing my first children’s novel The Realm Of The Purple Dragon 2 years ago now I have had major writer’s block and depression. Poetry was always my first love and while I continue to write my second novel in The Realm of the Purple Dragon series The Fire Giants and the Heart of Ice and my first Young Adult novel Atlantis and the Dolphin of Knowledge, I have found poetry a good way to focus my confused and overwhelmed mind. By focussing on composing a new poem every single day I am hoping it will help me to become dedicated enough to write every single day – no matter what! Usually I only write a poem or a chapter when I am inspired to, when an idea ‘comes to me’ or my emotions draw one out. But this way I have to ‘find’ the inspiration from somewhere, anywhere, so that I can also begin to write my novels come-what-may, without waiting for the illusive Muse to show her temperamental face! You see, I believe anyone can write because everyone has a voice, and writing a poem is a great opportunity to use your voice, to express your inner world or make an observation or a statement about something you feel passionate about. I want to be able to draw on that passion immediately, not wait for it to surface on its own. I want my voice to speak - now, not - tomorrow, maybe, if I am in the mood! Which is how it usually is for me and my writing? Whoops! Not good! So I have decided that I will dedicate this month of April to poetry and then at the beginning of May get back to the novels by writing every day come what may!

The reason I love poetry so much is because I find it so exciting. Each poem is like a mini adventure – a painting with words, a real canvas of colourful language, and a rhythmic race to mould an almost tactile sculpture with words. I just love playing with the rhythms and patterns involved in constructing a poem and whether it rhymes or not, a poem to me always has a unique shape and personality – and that is besides the actual content! And if you can blend the theme and shape together in a mutual dance where each compliments the other perfectly, well…no wonder I get so excited at the prospect of being able to do this every day! Have I got you excited about poetry yet?

Poetry is for everyone, whether 1 or 100. Yes I did say 1 – babies love to hear adults recite nursery rhymes (often to the glorious sound of hysterical baby laughter). Anyone can write a poem and it is often not as daunting as trying to write a whole story because you can write a poem with just a few short words or several stanzas. And it can be as simple as you like or as deep and meaningful as you want to make it. You can even plant some hidden messages in poems, or even write them in code! That’s what I do in The Realm of the Purple Dragon – the children have to decode the poems hidden in the manuscript in Norse Runes and in The Fire Giants and the Heart of Ice they will have to decode poetic spells written in the Ogham tree runes.

When I write a poem I try to also think about who will read it. The poems I write for children usually rhyme, and in fact I write stories for pre-school and infant children and they tend to be in rhyme because I find children love the rhythm and repetition. A lot of children’s publishers will probably disagree with me but as a Mum and former Nursery-Nurse, this is what experience tells me. Reading poetry to young children definitely makes them better communicators and more likely to be interested in reading (in my opinion). Mind you, I am not a performance poet but with children every nursery rhyme or poem becomes a performance, and when they find one they really like – watch out! Because they will expect the voices, the facial expressions – all the bells and whistles, over and over again!

So there you have it. That is why I am participating in the National Poetry Writing Month 2013. I hope I have inspired you to go away and pen your own unique poem and become as passionate about poetry as I am.

You can discover more of Laura's work on her website and purchase both her children's novel and her poetry book through Amazon.