Friday, 31 May 2013

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (film)

Another film version of a book I enjoyed is currently making its way to our cinema screens and gets two nights at Hailsham Pavilion towards the end of June. The Reluctant Fundamentalist was written by Mohsin Hamid and published in 2007. It was nominated for a spate of awards including the Man Booker and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, won the South Bank Show Award for Literature and was named a Book of the Decade by the Guardian.

Only a short book at a little over two hundred pages, I seem to remember reading it in one sitting and loving the beautiful prose that Hamid created. The story is framed by the meeting of two men in a cafe and I did find this device awkward at the start, but then the men themselves were awkward with each other so as I got accustomed to the 'real-time' interruptions, the set-up made more sense. One man is a Pakistani professor, the other a nervous American. Meeting in Lahore, the Pakistani man, Changez (Riz Ahmed), tells the American his story, his life in America and love affair with an American woman, and his abandonment of America after the 9/11 attacks prompted a sea change in attitudes towards his people there.

Directed by Mira Nair, the film adaptation premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year. It is being touted as a political thriller which I believe may do it more harm than good as I remember the story being more intriguing than thrilling - in the movie sense of the word. I do hope that extraneous car chases and explosions haven't been shoehorned in everywhere! The cast has some big names - Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri - and I have read that the storyline doesn't always stick tightly to that of the book. Still, beggars can't be choosers and, as I was bemoaning the lack of non-blockbuster cinema last week, I think I shall be going along to see this!

Hailsham Pavilion, Mon 24th and Tue 25th Jun, 19:45.
Tickets £6.50, £5 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person at the Box Office.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Dead Certain (theatre)

I'm almost disappointed to be writing the last Murder In The Park post already - even though none of the plays have actually happened yet! The thought of a guaranteed theatre visit every week for a month is right up my street, as they say, and I'm hoping to enjoy every one of the four thrillers: Murder Weapon, Suddenly At Home, Deathtrap and Dead Certain.

The final installment, Dead Certain, was written by British playwright Marcus Lloyd and in 1999 was his first stage production. However, his first radio play, Taking Pictures, and his first television play, A Relative Stranger, were both award-winning productions! Talking Scarlet have produced the play before, in 2007, with Karen Henson and George Telfer, but this time the cast will be Sabina Franklyn (Coronation Street) as Elizabeth and Philip Stewart (Blood Brothers) as Michael.

Charming and good looking but never more than a few steps from self-destruction, Michael is an out-of-work actor who was once on the verge of stardom. Elizabeth is a theatre-obsessed ex-dancer who is now wheelchair-bound and lives alone in a large country house. When she contacts Michael's agent and offers a large fee if Michael will visit her and act out a play she has written, he jumps at the chance. The evening appears to begin quite straightforwardly. But when they start to read Elizabeth's script, Michael is startled to find disturbing similarities to real life including an apparent transcript of the first conversation they had when he arrived. How could she have possibly written that beforehand?

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 25th to Sat 29th Jun, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person from the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Special Offer for the Murder In The Park Season: Book all 4 plays for £14 each, Book 3 plays for £16 each (Applies on top price tickets only at the evening performances, no other concessions apply, must be booked at the same time).

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

High Society (musical theatre)

A big musical is usually a surefire hit for summer audiences and this June, the Cole Porter classic High Society is coming to the Congress Theatre for a week as part of its nationwide tour. The story began life as a play - The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry - before becoming the famous 1956 film that starred Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Perhaps surprisingly, the film musical wasn't adapted for the stage until some forty years later.

The Eastbourne show will star 'local boy' Michael Praed as Dexter Haven. I think Praed was last here playing opposite Connie Fisher in The Sound Of Music a couple of years ago. Also in the cast are Teddy Kempner, Sophie Bould and Daniel Boys, and the show has been directed by Anna Linstrum.

Wealthy socialite Tracy Lord is in the midst of planning a lavish summer wedding when her ex-husband Dexter Haven turns up to disrupt the proceedings. He hopes to tempt her away from her rather bland fiance and win her band. A further twist arrives in the form of charming reporter Mike Connor who falls instantly for Tracy, and she for him. As the day of the wedding draws closer we’re left guessing which groom the bride will choose!

Congress Theatre, Tue 18th to Sat 22nd Jun, 19:30.
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.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Anna Netrebko (opera)

I keep checking the local cinema websites in the hopes of finding a film to go see, but it seems that the further we get into blockbuster season, the less appeals! We are going to Animal Crackers in June, and hopefully by the time this post publishes I will have gotten around to buying the tickets, but I would like something a bit more up to date as well! However, in the meantime, Cineworld's arts programme continues and an operatic concert by a global megastar is on the cards for June.

Anna Netrebko will be joined by baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky for "Live from the Red Square", a concert of arias and duets by Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and more. The grand concert will be broadcast across Russia and Europe from Moscow's historic Red Square. Anna and Dmitri will be accompanied by Russia's State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov" and Academic Grand Choir "Masters of Choral Singing", under the baton of Constantine Orbelian. 

Cineworld, Wed 19th Jun, 19:30.
Tickets £14.20 adults, £12.10 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person in the foyer.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Arlington Arts and Crafts Show

As part of Arlington Arts festival there will be a wonderful Art and Craft Show in and around Arlington Village Hall over the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of June. Open on both days from 10:30 - 17:00, admission is free and everyone is welcome. Several of the craft stalls are offering child-friendly items and, although refreshments aren't mentioned on their website, I am sure there will be tea and cake available somewhere.

Over twenty artists are already confirmed to be showing work in the Hall with previous bloggees Keith Pettit, Leia Charleson and Andrew Forrest among them. Keith will be demonstrating wood engraving in the Marquee on the Saturday showing the whole process of his art from sketch to press. Other announced names are Alan Chapman, Alan Clark, Anne-Claude Downs, Anne Howard, Brenda Carr, Camilla Pennant, Carol Drew, Frances Stevens, Gill Phelps, Hazel Hooker, Helen Groom, Helen Lavinia Moore, Josie Tipler, Margaret Ann Worster, Michael Blaber, Mike Neale, Robert Bell, Sarah Gauntelt and Vi Robinson.

Outside and in the Marquee there will be a varied mix of stalls showcasing the many skills of our local craftspeople. Storytelling Sundays friend Tania Long has been allowing us Facebook previews of the adorable peg dolls she will taking along, Sarah Slaughter of Purple Butterfly Crafts makes cute nappy and pamper cakes. I bought a flannel rabbit last time I saw her stall. Ivy Dunk has been knitting toys and Sue Wilson makes both crackers and finger puppets. There will be needlecrafts by Ali Parris, Carol Wood and Gill Phelps, pottery courtesy of Andrew Cottingham and plenty of unique jewellery in all sorts of styles by Linda Parrish, Liz Cottingham, Emma Binfield and Pam Vieler. Plus the RSPB will be offering wildlife gifts and the Arlington Art Group are running a tombola.

Arlington Village Hall, Sat 22nd and Sun 23rd Jun, 10:30-17:00.
Free admission.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Harlequin Goes To The Moon (theatre)

Having been delighted by my first Rude Mechanicals production last year, The Dressing Book, I have been eagerly anticipating another, keeping an eye on their website and Facebook page for updates about the new 2013 summer show. Entitled Harlequin Goes To The Moon, this historical commedia dell'arte play will be performed in lots of outdoor venues across the south of England including several in our area. Scroll to the end of this post for my list of the most local venues or visit the Mechanicals' tickets page for the whole schedule.

Full of slapstick, poetry, romance, buffoonery and original music, Harlequin Goes To The Moon is set in beautiful Florence during the late sixteenth century. It is intended for an adult audience but might be suitable for some older children. Written by Creative Director Pete Talbot, the play itself is original although it apparently owes some of its storylines to Flaminio Scala's 'Scenarios' and Ariosto's 'Orlando Furioso'. Do read this great blog post about Pete's creation of the work.

Catalina is in love with the delicious Federico, the son of Il Magnifico Buco del Culo, a Florentine banker who has forbidden them to touch even their little fingers – and has threatened his servants, Harlequin and Colombina, with ‘death by stretching’ if they should allow it. No way will Federico marry the daughter of Il Dottore Pazzo, an astronomer, so poor his pants are as ragged as a half-plucked chicken! Harlequin is terrified, so decides to steal Pazzo’s moon ship and fly to the moon to form his own government.

Advance tickets £12 adult, £11 senior, £9 student, £6 child. Available online. Any remaining tickets will available on-the-door of each venue but will all be full price.

Weds 26th June, Crouch Gardens, Seaford, 19:30.
Weds 31st July, Filching Manor, Polegate, 19:30.
Thur 1st August, The Tye, Alfriston, 19:30.
Sun 11th August, Michelham Priory, 19:15.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Royal Air Forces Association Summer Concert (music)

Hailsham Pavilion will be the venue for this year's Royal Air Forces Association Hailsham Branch Summer Concert, performed by the Wealden Brass Band. I've heard the band sounding impressive in the open air from Eastbourne Bandstand and so I would expect an amazingly powerful sound within the confines of the Pavilion.

The concert will include a variety of brass music, not just military marches, and this year will be a particularly special occasion as the Royal Air Forces Association are celebrating their 70th Anniversary. So if you're never been before, this is probably the time to go!

As well as playing purely for enjoyment, RAFA will be raising money for the Wings Appeal. This important charity started in 1951 and helps raise the vital funds needed to support serving and ex-RAF personnel and their families, whenever they are need. RAFA does not receive any government funding, so they are totally dependent on the generosity of the public to continue their work.

Hailsham Pavilion, Sun 23rd Jun, 15:00.
Tickets £6 adult, £3 under 16s, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person from the Box Office.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Arlington Gets Cajun (music)

The third incarnation of Arlington Gets Cajun is all set for the Arlington Village Hall field on Saturday the 15 June. Kicking off at 7pm, the music will be a fantastic mix of Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Rock'n'roll, and all under canvas so hopefully weatherproof! Led by The Cajun Dawgs with a duo from Worthing band Rough Chowder, guest musicians will include Jeremiah Longshanks on blues harp and my very own Dave Greene playing lapsteel guitar. Plus there will be a Cajun Dance workshop and food included with your ticket.

The YouTube video at the end of this post was shot by Josie Tipler at last year's Jubilee Cajun Night. (Give her a chance to dance through the crowds before the film settles down.) I was there, together with Dave who features briefly in the video, and had a brilliant night out. There was a warm, family friendly atmosphere, loads of dancing, a plentiful bar and the food was absolutely delicious! Rough Chowder's duo of Ian MacIlroy and Miss Kitty also played at this gig and it was interesting to hear their take on Cajun style alongside that of the Dawgs. I heard a Jeremiah Longshanks set at the Under Ground a while ago as part of a Pocketsize Coffee Morning gig. He plays traditional 'riverside' blues and has a great cigarbox guitar - I'm not sure if that will be putting in an appearance at Arlington though.

Arlington Village Hall field, Sat 15th Jun, 19:00-22:30.
Tickets £10, available from the Old Oak Inn, Arlington or online from
Check out the event's Facebook page for the most up to date information.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Deathtrap (theatre)

The third installment of the Devonshire Park's Murder In The Park season is the comedy thriller Deathtrap written by Ira Levin. The play within a play was written in 1978 and its first outing on Broadway ran for nearly eighteen hundred performances winning a Tony Award in the process. The script is famed for its twists and turns, unexpected revelations and double-meaning dialogue.

The Eastbourne performances are being produced by talking Scarlet and will star Stephen Beckett, also the star of last year's Playing Dead.

Clifford Anderson, an unknown playwright, has sent a copy of his latest play to accomplished playwright Sidney Bruhl for his comments and feedback. Sidney is struggling to write his next play and, impressed by the newcomer's efforts, he persuades his wife Myra to help him plagiarise the work. The plan appears to be foolproof, but when Clifford arrives at the house, events take an unexpected and sinister direction ...

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 18th to Sat 22nd Jun, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person from the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Special Offer for the Murder In The Park Season: Book all 4 plays for £14 each, Book 3 plays for £16 each (Applies on top price tickets only at the evening performances, no other concessions apply, must be booked at the same time).

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sue Haseltine (artist)

Beachy Head by Sue Haseltine
Today's post has been inspired by a belated birthday card that I received at the weekend. I'm not sure where the striking card (pictured right) was purchased - perhaps if/when Barbara reads this post, she could Comment the details! - but the linoprint scene is unmistakably Beachy Head with the Belle Tout lighthouse. I love the way the sea and rocks are depicted and also the small flock of seagulls flying past the top of the cliffs

The image was created by Sue Haseltine and was translated by Camden Graphics onto beautiful greetings cards in 2012. Based in Brighton, Sue Haseltine is inspired by landscapes and the natural world so most of her work reflects these themes. She explores the South Downs on foot or by mountan bike so can fully experience the "colours, textures, smells, temperatures and atmospheres of the landscape". Her love of the area is acknowledged by her inclusion in the book A Picture of the South Downs: Art in the National Park, a gorgeous coffee table book depicting the Downs through the eyes of forty artists. Flower photography and abstract landscape painting complement her landscape prints providing a full spectrum of observation from the closest detail of a photograph to the impressions and memories conveyed by the abstract.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Grease (film)

I have often overlooked The Royal Hippodrome as a venue but since it was taken over by RHT Management changes are afoot and there is a varied list of performances occurring over the next few months. Highlights include The Rat Pack with special guest Kenny Lynch on the 25th May and Sophie Evans in concert on the 8th June.

What particularly caught my eye is a trio of special Film Party Nights which look like they'll be great fun. Each night will be hosted by Tracey Lea, who you might remember starring in last year's Sentimental Journey as Connie Francis, and will include a screening of a classic film musical to which the audience are expected to sing along. Turning up dressed up as your favourite character from that night's film is also encouraged and if you can get a group together to go, it will be a brilliant night out. Celebrating a birthday or other special occasion? Perfect!

The first of the trio is the 1978 Rydell High School musical, Grease. Originally quite a raunchy and vulgar stage musical in its first incarnation seven years earlier, the story had become tamer and far more family-friendly by the time this Paramount film was released. Sing along to You're The One That I Want, Greased Lightning, Summer Nights and Hopelessly Devoted To You. Dress up as a T-Bird or a Pink Lady, or if you're feeling especially brave, don your black catsuit!

Royal Hippodrome, Sat 15th Jun, 19:30.
Tickets £12, £10 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Offices.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Audience (theatre)

The Queen (Helen Mirren) & 
Margaret Thatcher (Haydn Gwynne) 
in The Audience
photo by Johan Persson
We very much enjoyed the fantastic National Theatre Live screening of This House (last night at the time of writing). All of these broadcasts that we've seen have been excellent and hopefully the next one, in June, will be just as wonderful. The Audience reunites Helen Mirren, who is reprising her role as Elizabeth II from the hit film The Queen, with The Queen's writer Peter Morgan. We were told last night that the first Cineworld screen has already sold out and the broadcast has been extended to another. This second screen is also now nearly full so if you want to see this broadcast, don't delay booking much longer or you won't get in!

Broadcast from London's Gielgud Theatre, The Audience has been directed by Stephen Daldry. As well as Helen Mirren, the cast also includes Edward Fox as Winston Churchill, Haydn Gwynne (Duet For One) as Margaret Thatcher, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown and Paul Ritter (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) as John Major.

For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses. The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From young mother to grandmother, these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.

I am pleased to learn that Cineworld in Eastbourne are extending their arts programming through 2013. In a short speech before This House, David (the manager?), thanked patrons for their continued enthusiastic support and mentioned some highlights for the year including three Shakespeare productions from the Globe Theatre coming soon and the Met Opera season which will restart in the Autumn.

Cineworld, Thu 13th Jun, 19:00 and encore screening Sun 23rd Jun, 14:30.
Tickets £14.20, concessions £12.10, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the machines in the foyer.

Also screening at Hailsham Pavilion, Thu 25th Jul, 14:15 and 19:30.
Presumably standard Pavilion tickets prices apply.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Eastbourne Photographic Society Annual Exhibition

The lovely Da Vinci Hotel in Howard Square has been chosen as the venue for the 2013 Eastbourne Photographic Society Annual Exhibition. The hotel includes an art gallery downstairs and art themed rooms upstairs. The art gallery holds regular exhibitions showcasing the work of local artists. I have previously seen Gillian Toft's paintings there and Irene Runyaker of the Linchpin Gallery is one of the 'names' currently featured on the Da Vinci Hotel's website.

The Exhibition was officially opened on the 3rd of May by The Worshipful Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Mike Thompson. There are four rooms of images composed and photographed by members of the Society and all the prints are for sale.

To whet your appetite and tempt you to stroll along to the Da Vinci, examples of EPS's work are also currently sprucing up the ex-furniture shop in the entrance to the Arndale Centre.

Da Vinci Hotel, Sat 4th May to Fri 31st May, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Stone Roses: Made Of Stone (music)

To Cineworld for today's post and a potentially nostalgic journey for anyone who was a Stone Roses fan longer ago than perhaps they care to remember. A new documentary film, Stone Roses: Made of Stone is to get its premiere screening at a 'secret' London venue on the 30th of May. The event, which will be attended by the band and the filmmaker Shane Meadows, will also be simultaneously broadcast to 100 cinemas across the UK, one of which is our Cineworld in Sovereign Harbour.

He is most famous for This Is England, but I think my favourite of the Shane Meadows films I've seen is Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee, a spoof music documentary which starred Paddy Considine and Olivia Colman. Perhaps it paved the way for Made Of Stone, perhaps not! Named after a song on their first album, the film includes some early footage of The Stone Roses, but its primary purpose is to document their 2011 comeback. Shots of their rehearsals are interspersed with clips of reverent fans and the film culminates with their sold-out gigs at Manchester's Heaton Park. I have heard that several of the 100 preview cinemas have already sold out their screenings, but Cineworld has tickets available at the time of writing. Made Of Stone gets its nationwide release on the 5th of June.

Cineworld, Thu 30th May, 19:00.
Tickets £14.20 adults, £12.10 seniors and students, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the machines in the foyer.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Suddenly At Home (theatre)

If you read my post on the 5th of May about Murder Weapon, you might already be anticipating the Murder in The Park season of plays coming to the Devonshire Park Theatre throughout June. Suddenly At Home will be performed during the second week - from the 11th to the 15th.

Written by Francis Durbridge in 1973, Suddenly At Home is set in the 1970s and is staged in a single room of a flat. Durbridge also wrote the popular Paul Temple radio series which expanded into novels and films. Suddenly At Home is the first of his eight plays. This talking Scarlet production will star Marcus Hutton and Ben Roddy, both of last year's Playing Dead and Rope, and Patric Kearns.

When Glenn Howard decided to get rid of his wealthy wife - firstly to enjoy her money, secondly to avoid spending the rest of his life in Bermuda, and thirdly to free himself for another woman - he worked out a complicated but seemingly foolproof plan which would not only keep him in the clear but involve his wife’s former lover, detective-story writer Sam Blaine. But, the plan depends on the co-operation of another person, Sheila Wallis, an attractive woman to whom Glenn is apparently devoted. All appears to be going well for Glenn until the unexpected arrival of the formidable Remick.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 11th to Sat 15th Jun, 19:45. 
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person from the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Special Offer for the Murder In The Park Season: Book all 4 plays for £14 each, Book 3 plays for £16 each (Applies on top price tickets only at the evening performances, no other concessions apply, must be booked at the same time).

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Animal Crackers (film)

I might finally get Dave along to one of the Under Ground Theatre Sunday matinees because the chosen film for June is the Marx Brothers feature, Animal Crackers. Dave is a Marx Brothers fan and sometimes bemoans the lack of their films on TV anymore!

Filmed in 1930, Animal Crackers was the last film that Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo filmed in New York. It was directed by Victor Heerman and written by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby and George S Kaufman. The story had started the year before as a Broadway musical also written by Kaufman together with Morrie Ryskind. The Marx Brothers had starred in the Broadway version with Margaret Dumont who joined them for the film.

A vague storyline holds the film together. Captain Geoffrey T Spaulding (Groucho Marx) attends a dinner party held in his honour by Mrs Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont). During the party, a valuable painting is stolen and Captain Spaulding investigates. The other Marxes attempt to 'help' getting themselves into all sort of bizarre and hilarious situations in the process. There are great comic set-pieces, sharp one-liners that are still amongst filmgoers' favourite quotes today, and several original songs including Why Am I So Romantic? sung by Lilian Roth.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 16th Jun, 14:30.
Tickets £6.50 to include tea and cake after the film, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from the Box Office or the Tourist Information Office.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Big Garden Party

Did you go to the Big Garden Party at Stone Cross Nurseries last Summer? It was such a success that they are holding another event this year and it's only two and half weeks away - on Saturday the 1st of June! Please start your Sun Dancing!

Starting at midday, the Party will continue all through the afternoon and evening right up until 11pm. As well as the essential Beer Tent and Food, there will be a Kid's Play Area and Carnival Rides. Plus, to create the perfect festival atmosphere, there will be two music stages starting at 12.15. On the Main Stage you can hear The Riverboys, Beve and the Beatroots, Otti Albietz, The Move-ons, Snakebyte and The Harkes. And on the Acoustic Stage will be Will Read, Charlotte Staples, Ed Stokes Band, Jayne Ingles, Garry Wonfor and The Boogera Brothers.

Stone Cross Nurseries have held quite a few events recently which made great use of the versatile non-garden-centre space they have available. The Pentacle Drummers Wassail was great fun and there has also been an art exhibition.

Tickets £5 adults, £3 children, £15 family of up to five, available online and (presumably) in person on the day. Ticket holders will receive a wristband which will allow them access to the event all day.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

An Evening with Tom Lehrer and Flanders And Swann (musical theatre)

My favourite two 'serious' theatre companies have both surprised me by branching off into musical comedy this summer. The Green Room Productions' Just Joyce is at the Under Ground in August and, much sooner, Bootcamp Theatre are presenting An Evening with Tom Lehrer and Flanders And Swann at the Little Theatre in the middle of June.

Actually on for three evenings, the 13th, 14th and the 15th of June, An Evening with Tom Lehrer and Flanders And Swann will feature many famous comic songs including ‘Poisoning Pigeons in the Park’, ‘The Gnu’, ‘The Masochism Tango’ and ‘The Hippopotamus’, all performed by Steve Scott with Eric Retallick at the piano. Both the American songwriter Tom Lehrer and the British duo of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann composed most of their songs during the 1950s and 1960s. Political satire and social commentary characterised their work and many songs have endured to still be well-known now, even if their source has been obscured. Perhaps sadly, they are often still just as relevant! Lighter songs such as The Hippopotamus ("Mud, mud, glorious mud") are simply great fun to hear.

Little Theatre, Thu 13th to Sat 15th Jun, 19:45.
Tickets £10 / £9, available online or by calling 0845 680 1926.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Liz Brown (artist)

Great Dixter
by Liz Brown
A member of Eastbourne Painters, I most recently saw Liz Brown's work alongside that of Fiona Morrison at the group's Birley Centre exhibition, a part of the Eastbourne Festival. Liz is another artist who makes a wonderfully striking use of colour and I made sure to snap up some of her greetings cards. They are so beautiful that I think I will have trouble parting with them when birthdays come around!

Liz Brown is originally from Worcester. She obtained a BA (Hons) in Art and Design from the University of Brighton and has also done a Post Graduate Course in Art Teacher Training. Currently her teaching is done through Catalyst Arts, "the educational organisation that is seeking to encourage a renaissance in the creative arts." I don't know when Liz will next be publicly exhibiting her paintings near Eastbourne, but I am told that she has work at Heathfield Art and Books gallery, Blue Ginger gallery in Malvern, and Arts in Healthcare at the Eastbourne District General Hospital. Can the public just walk into the DGH to see art? I have no idea!

Catalyst Arts is based at St. Elizabeth’s Church Centre on Victoria Drive in Eastbourne. Their 2013 programme includes a variety of taster sessions and short courses in painting, drawing and stitching. Liz Brown's "Introduction to Mixed Media" is tomorrow - sorry for far too short notice here - but she is also teaching a four-date Mixed Media course through July.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Buddy Presley Show (music)

The premiere of a brand new show of vintage music is coming to the Under Ground Theatre on the 8th of June. Starring Dave B, The Buddy Presley Show is an exciting evening recreating the feeling, look and sound of the heady days of 50s and 60s rock’n’roll. Buddy Holly's music will make up the first half of the show with Elvis Presley's songs for the second half.

Dave B has been performing rock'n'roll professionally for over 14 years and specialises in being an Elvis tribute artist. He was originally captivated by the music of Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley when he was just nine. His break came in 1998 when he auditioned for and won Whatever You Want, a BBC TV series searching for a new star to play Buddy in Buddy The Musical in London's West End.

Dave will be joined at the Under Ground by his band: drummer Gary Richardson (Stargazers, Slammers Maximum Jive Band), guitarist Corrado Di Ianni (Crazy Jay and The Partytimers, Blues Shakeout), and bass player Neale Hobday (Slammers Maximum Jive Band). This band formed in late 2011 and are currently based in London. They have spent the last year perfecting their sound in preparation for this new show which will tour through 2013. The Buddy Presley Show also showcases vocal group The Harmonaires. I've chosen the cover of Devil In Disguise for the YouTube clip at the end of this post. There are lots more videos of the band on their YouTube channel so you can get a real sense of their music.

Dancing shoes at the ready!

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 8th Jun, 20:00.
Tickets £12 (£10 concessions), available online or in person 'on the door'.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Mud (film)

I've been struggling to find any new films to write about recently. After the wonderful glut at the very beginning of the year, there have only been a couple that I've really got excited about. I'll probably even wait for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby to come to TV! However, I think that the Southern American coming of age story Mud might be worth a look - if it gets a local screening.

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, Mud follows two boys after they discover a homeless fugitive near their Arkansas houseboat homes. The fugitive, Mud (Matthew McConaughey), tells the boys he is on the run from bounty hunters because he has killed a man in Texas. He is now hiding in an abandoned boat in a tree, waiting for the love of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), to join him so they can escape together. The boys are intrigued but do not wholly believe his tale until they find their small town overrun with bounty hunters.

Like the wonderful Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Mud attempts to provide a snapshot and record of a community way of life that is fast vanishing from rural America. Early reviews are praising it's sense of place and atmospheric depiction of a Mississippi delta summer. About half of the 100-strong crew was made of Arkansas people and over 400 locals got involved as extras on set. Mud premiered at 2012's Cannes Film Festival and was also shown at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

I'll update this post as soon as I discover a local screening. Please Comment below if you spot one first!

Friday, 10 May 2013

I Want A Star As A Friend (theatre)

***** CANCELLED *****

The Under Ground Theatre seems like it might just be the place to be on the 25th of May as there is a whole day's entertainment planned. The Coffee Morning slot is being performed by Simon Joslin and Friends and pianist Jonathan Bending has his debut recital at the venue in the evening. However, something else new for the afternoon is the subject of this post.

In what is hoped to be the first of many such events, special theatre for children is returning to the Under Ground. Little Something Theatre is based in Kent, the vision of creative director Martha Palmer. Inspired by her artist mother and storyteller father, Martha studied theatre design at university where she started to specialise in children's theatre. She uses traditional storytelling techniques together with puppetry. The fantastic puppets are the work of puppet maker extraordinaire, Jo Lakin.

Little Something Theatre will be performing I Want A Star As A Friend. This magical story, based on a Greek folk tale, introduces us to Pandora who is travelling the world trying to find a star of her very own. However, she soon comes to realise that what she is looking for has been right in front of her the whole time. The performance is suitable for children aged between three and seven years and will last for about half an hour. There will also be a short puppet making workshop for the whole family to enjoy.

I believe that future children's theatre at the Under Ground may depend on the success of this afternoon, so if you have young children who would enjoy the work, please make sure you support this initial venture!

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 25th May, 14:00.
Free admission.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Albert Lee and Hogan's Heroes (music)

A regular annual fixture in the local music calendar is the appearance of the Grammy Award winning guitarist Albert Lee and his band, Hogan's Heroes. I've seen them play twice over the past few years, once at Hailsham Pavilion and once at the Under Ground Theatre. 2013's gig is a Spyboy presentation, back at Hailsham Pavilion, and will be on Sunday the 9th of June.

A Hogan's Heroes gig is simply great fun. The band mostly play covers of rock and country songs but add their own style to each with fantastic guitar, steel guitar and piano playing, as well as tremendous energy. Even if you are one of the few who haven't jumped up to join in the dancing, by the end you'll still be exhausted just from watching them. They have been touring together for twenty years and have certainly got the hang of it! Formed by pedal steel guitar player Gerry Hogan, Hogan's Heroes are Peter Baron on drums, Brian Hodgson on bass and Gavin Povey on piano. Their gigs are a very popular night out so don't delay booking much longer or all the tickets will already have been snapped up!

Support for the gig will be Brighton-based Porchlight Smoker. Acclaimed for their four-part vocal harmonies, the band mix original songs with covers and create their distinctive sound with a blend of banjo, guitar, lap-steel, stand-up bass, mandolin and clarinet.

Hailsham Pavilion, Sun 9th Jun, 19:30.
Tickets £20, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person at the Box Office.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Fiona Morrison (artist)

I first saw Fiona Morrison's artwork at Until The Cows Come Home, the lovely little art gallery in Berwick. I was attracted to the paintings by her very distinctive style and palette. The card I have used to illustrate this post is of a different hue but Fiona tends to work with a tranquil selection of blues and greens. I love the way these colours reflect our local area between the sea and the Downs.

Most recently, I saw Fiona's work in the Eastbourne Painters exhibition at the Birley Centre as part of the Eastbourne Festival. This reminded me that I had meant to blog about her art! I don't know yet what exhibitions she will be included in next, but will update this blog post when I find out.

Fiona Morrison trained in Newcastle and has both a BA Hons in Fine Art and Master of Fine Art. She generally paints in oil on gesso and makes her own gesso using an ancient recipe. She is inspired by the "colour, light and magic of the changing landscape" and creates scenes which are familiar yet, at the same time, slightly otherworldly. I hadn't really been aware until I read her website, but Fiona rarely includes people in her paintings. Instead she paints evidence that people had been there which I think adds to the mystical feel.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

La donna del lago (opera)

The next Royal Opera House opera to be screened locally will be Gioachini Rossini's opulent love story, La donna del lago. The opera is based on Sir Walter Scott's famous poem The Lady of the Lake which is set in the Scottish Highlands. It is infrequently performed so there is a lot of excitement about John Fulljames' new production. I believe all the live performances have sold out so the screening is now the only way to see the work. Our nearest venue is the Cineworld in Sovereign Harbour, otherwise you'll need to travel to Hastings Odeon or the Uckfield Picturehouse.

King James V (Juan Diego Flórez) is entranced when he meets a beautiful woman, Elena (Joyce DiDonato), in the Highlands. But he is dismayed to learn that she is the daughter of his enemy, Douglas (Simón Orfila). Elena, meanwhile, is in love, not with James V or her fiancée Rodrigo (Colin Lee) but with romantic hero Malcolm (Daniela Barcellona).

The ROH says of the production, "The ultimate bel canto cast is assembled for this important yet rarely performed masterpiece. ... La donna del lago is the most fully Romantic of Rossini’s Italian operas. Expansive ensembles and shimmering orchestration generate an opulence seldom heard in the composer’s comic works." The broadcast will last for three hours and twenty minutes and includes one interval.

Cineworld, Mon 27th May, 18:45.
Tickets £17.90, £14.20 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person from the machines in the foyer.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Eastbourne Moviemakers Showcase

If you felt inspired by my post a couple of days ago about Robin Romei's planned music video to promote Eastbourne, you might be interested in an event being put on at the Under Ground Theatre in a fortnight's time. The Eastbourne Moviemakers group will be screening a variety of their films over a two hour period starting at 15:00, and starting again at 19:30 for the after-work crowd.

Eastbourne Moviemakers were formerly the Eastbourne and District Camcorder Club although they invite membership from a wider area including Bexhill, Hastings, St Leonards, Hailsham, Heathfield and Seaford. They meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month, usually at St Luke's Parish Church in Stone Cross at 19:45. Potential new members are welcome to go along for a few visits before committing to join and the Showcase will be a great chance to meet people in the existing group and have a chat. Films that will be screened at the Under Ground include a short black comedy called ‘Cleaning up the Parish’ and a documentary about when the Olympic Torch came to Eastbourne in 2012, ‘A Day to Remember’. While reading up on the Eastbourne Moviemakers website, I realised that I have already seen a film by two of their members, Alan Tutt and Harry Lederman, and very good it was too. Their Jack And The Beanstalk pantomime documentary followed the making of the Eastbourne Pantomime for eight months and was shown to an audience of Devonshire Park Theatre Friends at the Winter Garden in 2011. Apparently it was also then condensed into a 20 minute film which won Best Documentary at the SERIAC Festival.

Under Ground Theatre, Wed 22nd May, 15:00 and 19:30.
Free admission although donations would be appreciated.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Murder Weapon (theatre)

The first of the four plays in the Devonshire Park Theatre's Murder In The Park Season is to be a World Premiere! Murder Weapon by Brian Clemens is described as an 'ingeniously plotted, highly tense thriller'. It is being produced by talking Scarlet. As yet, the only cast members I can confirm are Patric Kearns and Marcus Hutton (who was very good in Playing Dead last year and was also in Rope). I'll update this post if/when I get more information.

Screenwriter and television producer, Brian Clemens is best known for The Avengers television series in the 1960s but if you glance through the list of his work on his IMDb page, you'll probably spot loads more mystery and thriller series and films of his that you've enjoyed. He was given an OBE in 2010 for services to British television and film.

When Chief Constable Bligh accompanies her friend Diane Tulliver home to Dysart Hall after a night at the opera they arrive to a horrifying scene. Diane’s husband Paul has been shot dead and ex-convict Charley Mirren is standing over him bearing a gun. It appears to be an open-and-shut case for Jessica Bligh, but as she and her colleague Inspector Fremont probe further they discover all is not what it seems.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 4th to Sat 8th Jun, 19:45.

Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person from the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Special Offer for the Murder In The Park Season: Book all 4 plays for £14 each, Book 3 plays for £16 each (Applies on top price tickets only at the evening performances, no other concessions apply, must be booked at the same time). I'm going to need to attempt Maths to work out if this will be cheaper than sitting further back with my Devonshire Park Friends discount!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Robin Romei (music)

Another Twitter find on today's blog. Robin Romei got in touch with me to publicise a new music project that he is looking to fund through Kickstarter. He wrote and recorded a song in 2010 entitled Eastbourne. The song has become popular through YouTube and Robin would now like to re-record it and film a new video showcasing Eastbourne and its people. Visit Eastbourne are backing the project and filming is set to begin in June.

If you haven't heard of Kickstarter before, it is a new way for creative people to gain funding. Individuals post details of films/games/music/art/design/technology projects that they want to undertake and if Kickstarter visitors like the look of the idea they can pledge various amounts of money to make it happen. There are a few websites that offer the same service but I think Kickstarter was the first. I have already supported a couple of albums by Devon Sproule and Rebecca Pronsky and it is exciting to read updates as the projects come to fruition knowing that, in a little way, they are happening because of me!

Eastbourne by Robin Romei is a romantic song of a long distance relationship. I have embedded the current YouTube video here so you can hear the song. Robin's new video will be cinematic in scope, involving local people and showing local businesses. Hopefully it will inspire greater tourism by showing Eastbourne as a vibrant modern town that has retained its quirky, local feel. 

His funding appeal closes on the 15th of May and Robin needs to have raised £1000 by then or he won't get anything at all. Pledges start at just £3 - although you can pledge more if you want - and this level of donation will get you a signed CD of four songs including the re-recorded Eastbourne. Pledge Here!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Slater's Sussex (book)

A Happy Birthday present to me from me today!

You might remember that I loved the work of Eric Slater when it was included in the Point Of Departure exhibition at the Towner Gallery last year. His woodcut prints were created during the 1930s and, as he lived much of his life in Seaford, several depict local scenes. The evocative images included in Point Of Departure had been chosen by James Trollope, an expert on Slater's work, and I was delighted to recently discover that James has written a book on the subject. It has been published by the Towner with Eastbourne Borough Council and the Arts Council. Slater's Sussex went on sale at the Towner Gallery on the 27th of April. I treated myself to one of the first copies!

I particularly love the seventeen full page colour reproductions of Slater's prints. Seeing them all together gives a wonderful feel for his work and of the period in which he created them. My favourites from the Towner are there as well as other landscapes and floral still life images. James Trollope has penned a fascinating biography of Eric Slater and also describes the Japanese technique he used. Slater's Sussex is an interesting read and I know I will pick it up to see the prints again and again.

Slater's Sussex is available from the Towner Gallery gift shop.
Limited edition giclee prints and a selection of postcards are also available.
Don't forget to show your Towner membership card to get a discount!