Saturday, 31 August 2013

Steve Hewlett (ventriloquist)

Eastbourne's favourite ventriloquist, Steve Hewlett, has got a one-night-only performance at the Devonshire Park Theatre at the end of September. It seemed as though the whole town was supporting him as he got to the final of Britain's Got Talent recently. David Walliams praised his witty scripts and even Simon Cowell was moved to describe his act as 'very funny'. I also spotted him on the BBC4 Ben Miller programme about Tony Hancock. Steve's 'friend', Archie, used to work with Hancock!

Now Steve and his foam friends will be hosting a Night Of Variety in aid of transplant aftercare charity, Look Beyond The Heart of which he is the Vice Chairman. Expect lots of laughs throughout the Night and we are promised Very Special Guests too. I found out through Facebook that one of the guests will be Adele tribute Helen Ward-Jackson.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Fri 27th Sep, 19:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Office.

Friday, 30 August 2013

51 Shades of Maggie (theatre)

Oh look, another 50 Shades of Grey cash-in! I haven't even read the book trilogy that started it all yet. Hopefully 51 Shades of Maggie will live up to its hype. It's being staged at the Congress Theatre so big audiences are expected!

Direct from sell-out runs in Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin, this hilarious new play full of naughty bits will have you laughing out loud. Join Maggie and her friends on this (slightly filthy) journey of love, booze and whips! Maggie is a working class girl who, like most women, has been let down by all the men in her life. Attending an interview at the Social Security Office Maggie meets the handsome and hunky Mr Big! But will Mr Big turn out to be the man of her dreams, or will his “Private Room of Pain” put her off?

Please note due to the strong language and themes of an adult nature this show is deemed unsuitable for anyone under the age of 18.

Congress Theatre, Thu 19th to Sat 21st Sep, 19:30.
Tickets £19.50, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Penny Black (musical theatre)

A brand new musical comedy is premiering at the Under Ground Theatre at the end of September. The production is being staged to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support in Eastbourne so all the proceeds will go to help local people living with cancer. You might have noticed me shouting on Facebook and Twitter about a Crowdfunder appeal in August to raise the funds needed to hire the theatre?

Written by local playwright John Collings, Penny Black is being directed by Harriet Beard and all the music has been composed by Ed Weston. I've embedded the Soundcloud link for a song from the show - I'm At A Crossroads In My Life sung by Lisa Coleman - at the end of this post. The show is a romantic comedy about Penny's life with her domineering husband and shows how, despite her circumstances, Penny manages to discover her own hidden talents and find true love.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 28th Sep, 19:30.
Tickets £5, available from Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre or by calling 01323 640955.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

John Crampton (music)

There's some serious foot-stomping blues planned for the Wheatsheaf Inn in Willingdon at the end of September when multi-instrumentalist John Crampton takes to the stage. 

Born in London, John is self taught on national steel slide guitar, banjo and harmonica and plays raw blues and bluegrass music influenced by the likes of Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Bukka White, John Hammond and Mississippi Fred Mcdowell. Percussion is provided by way of an also self-played stomp box and he has a powerful, gravelly voice. He has performed across the UK and Europe as well as far-flung California and Florida, Tasmania and New Zealand. Always popular locally, you can read some great reviews on his own website including comments from Hebden Blues Festival, Blues Matters and BBC Southern Counties. 

Perhaps it would be best to get there early if you want a seat - the Wheatsheaf does good food too!

Wheatsheaf Inn, Sat 28th Sep, 20:30.
I think free admission but it is a pub!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tommy (film)

Hot on the heels of the new season of classic movie matinees at the Under Ground Theatre we also have the restart of their Thursday evening Art House film season. The first of these films is to be The Who's rock opera Tommy.

Tommy was originally a double-album composed by Pete Townshend and performed by The Who. A film version followed six years later in 1975. It was directed by Ken Russell and features an amazing cast of Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Barry Winch, Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Tina Turner, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, Paul Nicholas, Jack Nicholson, Robert Powell, John Entwistle, Arthur Brown, Victoria Russell, Ben Aris and Ken Russell himself.

Tommy (Barry Winch/Roger Daltrey) is born to Nora (Ann-Margret) after his father, Captain Walker (Robert Powell), has gone off to war. Several years later, believing that her husband was killed in the war, Nora begins another relationship with Frank (Oliver Reed). Captain Walker unexpectedly returns home and catches Nora and Frank together and Tommy is severely traumatised by witnessing Frank murdering his father. Upon being told that he didn't hear or see anything, Tommy becomes apparently deaf, dumb and blind to the outside world.

Under Ground Theatre, Thu 26th Sep, 19:30.
Tickets £5, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Office.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Othello (theatre)

I'm just a little bit disappointed that I've managed to double-book myself on the 26th of September because I would very much like to have seen the National Theatre Live broadcast of Othello. Partly because it's one of the great Shakespeare plays and partly because I really like Rory Kinnear as an actor and already missed his performance in The Last Of The Haussmans - I'm told I did miss a treat!

Olivier Award-winning actors Adrian Lester (Henry V) and Rory Kinnear take the roles of Othello and the duplicitous Iago, and they are directed by Nicholas Hytner (Timon Of Athens)in this a contemporary-dress-with-Elizabethan-language interpretation. I often find this approach can be a tad jarring. Personally I prefer the costuming period to match the spoken period, but then I'm not the one doing the work and I did get accustomed to it fairly soon with Timon.

I listened to a BBC radio version of Othello starring Lenny Henry a couple of years ago. He was in a West End production at the time and I can still remember feeling moved and shocked by the play. Exploring age old themes of jealousy and desire, Othello is basically quite a nice love story. However, the overwhelming hatred that Iago feels poisons and twists the tale into one of vicious racism and revenge.

Cineworld, Thu 26th Sep, 19:00.
Tickets £14.20, £12.10 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person in the foyer.

There is also a Schools Performance on Monday the 14th of October, but it is at 10am. Who on earth does Shakespeare at 10am?!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Snows Of Kilimanjaro (film)

The new Eastbourne Film Society season at the Curzon Cinema starts off in great style with a French film from 2011 directed by Robert Guédiguian. Not to be confused with the 1952 Ava Gardner film of the same name, this The Snows Of Kilimanjaro (Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro) is set in Marseille and was inspired by a Victor Hugo poem, Les pauvres gens (Poor People). The film is a 15 certificate.

Trade unionist Michel (Jean-Pierre Daroussin) is tasked with announcing the names of 20 men who will be made redundant from their jobs. His own name is among the 20. Even though he did not need to submit it to the ballot, his sense of fair play and comradeship obliged him to. Family and friends rally round and, as a thirtieth anniversary present Michel and his wife Marie-Claire (Ariane Ascaride) are given the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to see Mount Kilimanjaro. However, they are brutally robbed before they can go, leaving Michel injured. Then a lucky chance leads Michel to discover who robbed him - another of the redundant workers, Christophe (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet).

Curzon Cinema, Wed 25th Sep, times tbc.
Tickets £6.80 adults, £4.80 concessions, available by calling 01323 731441 or in person at the Box Office (15:00-19:00 daily).

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Mike Hatchard (art)

Art and music from one man combines for the Under Ground Theatre's foyer exhibition throughout September. Not only will the walls be adorned with paintings by Mike Hatchard, but the artist will also be performing the Saturday coffee morning live music session on the 7th of September.

Born in Dorset, Mike Hatchard now lives in St Leonards and is a member of Hastings Art Forum. He has published two books of poetry and songs, both of which he has illustrated himself, and has had a fascinating and varied career as a musician. Beginning as the pianist for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, he has also been Pamela Stephenson's musical director, co-written songs with Frankie Howerd and Spike Milligan, and has played with previous bloggees Liane Carroll and Alan Barnes.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 6th to Sat 28th Sep, 10:00-16:00.
Music, Sat 7th Sep, 10:00-12:00.
Free admission.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Before Midnight (film)

Hailsham Film Club is resurrected to present a special screening of Before Midnight as part of Hailsham Arts Festival. The film is the third installment of the Julie Delpy / Ethan Hawke romances, the first two films being Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I've linked to an Amazon boxed set at the end of this post in case you want to catch up or remind yourselves of the story so far!

Eighteen years ago, American boy Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French girl Celine (Julie Delpy) enjoyed a romantic Viennese evening together in Richard Linklater's classic brief encounter romance, 'Before Sunrise'. Nine years later, we revisited them in 'Before Sunset' as they met up on the French leg of Jesse's book tour. Now we find their lives have become more complicated as they enter middle age. Jesse has left his wife to be with Celine. Married with twin girls, the couple are rekindling the sparks of their romance on holiday in Greece. But tensions and resentments are never far from the surface.

Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 10th Sep, 19:45.
Tickets £5, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person at Hailsham Pavilion Box Office.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Blonde Venus (film)

Yay! The Under Ground Theatre's classic film matinees are starting up again in September and the very first offering of the new season is to be the 1932 Marlene Dietrich movie, Blonde Venus. As always, tea or coffee and cakes will be served after the screening which makes for a lovely opportunity to discuss the film while it's still fresh in your mind.

Produced and directed by Josef von Sternberg, Blonde Venus also stars Cary Grant, Herbert Marshall and Dickie Moore. Marlene sings three songs - You Little So-and-So, I Couldn't Be Annoyed and the showstopper, Hot Voodoo. 

Seven male American students are travelling in Germany when they discover a group of young actresses bathing in a pool. Helen (Marlene Dietrich), one of the girls, tells the boys to leave but Ned (Herbert Marshall) refuses. Years later, we see that Helen and Ned have married and have a son. However, all is not well as Ned is terminally ill from radium poisoning. If he could afford to travel to see a famous doctor, he might be cured. Against Ned's wishes, Helen takes a job at a night club and reveals herself to be a great singer. She catches the eye of millionaire Nick (Cary Grant) and he gives her the money to send Ned away for his lfesaving treatment. But as soon as Ned's ship left the dockside than Nick's true intentions become clear.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 22nd Sep, 14:30.
Tickets £6.50, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926 , or in person at the Under Ground and the Tourist Information Office

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

An Audience With Charles Dickens (theatre)

After the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde at the beginning of September, the Under Ground Theatre will have another historical one man play, An Audience With Charles Dickens, performed by the great author's great great grandson.

Gerald Dickens created his first one-man show in 1993 which was a theatrical performance of A Christmas carol that had been inspired by his ancestor's own readings of the work in the 1860s. Gerald has also created shows of Nicholas Nickleby, Dr Marigold and Sikes And Nancy. As an audiobook fan, I was interested to see that several of these are available from his on website on CD or as audio downloads. I might try one out on my bus commutes!

An Audience With Charles Dickens will be performed scenes from a number of Charles Dickens' popular stories including Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 20th Sep, 19:30.
Tickets £11 adults, £9 UGT members, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Office.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Herstmonceux Medieval Festival

Herstmonceux Medieval Festival 2009 
(photo by Steph Burton) 
We spent a fantastic day out at the Herstmonceux Medieval Festival back in 2009. There's a few more photos on my Facebook page but they don't convey how huge the event is. It really does take a whole day to get around and see everything and, within the theme, there is amazing variety. The Festival has been held over the August Bank Holiday weekend every year since 1992 and it's happening again THIS WEEKEND COMING!

The Festival is the biggest in the UK and exhibits this year will include Falconry displays, Jousting and Skill At Arms competitions, Re-enactment Armies in a Battle Siege, Archery competitions, fascinating Living History encampments, fools and storytellers, bards and musicians, fabulous costumes and an overwhelming array of stallholders. Plus there are special events and attractions intended for children so they can learn and have fun at the same time.

Many of the festival participants will be dressed up and visitors are encouraged to wear costumes too. I remember several stalls with gorgeous velvet dresses and capes for sale and also some selling various pieces of armour. There will be authentic (and not-so authentic) food and drinks. Mead is delicious on a hot day!

Plus, if it all gets a bit too much, don't miss the chance for a peaceful wander around the beautiful Castle gardens.

Herstmonceux Castle, Sat 24th to Mon 26th Aug, 10:00-18:00.
Tickets various price combinations, available through their website with a significant discount for buying online. Also available on the door.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Wizard Of Oz (musical theatre)

Youth theatre group the Eastbourne Stagers are taking over the Devonshire Park Theatre from the 10th to the 14th of September with their production of the magical adventure story, The Wizard Of Oz. It's a perfect evening out for adults and children alike, particularly if a treat is needed at the start of the new school year! There is also a matinee performance for younger children on the Saturday afternoon.

Directed by Keith Smith and choreographed by Teresa Smith, The Wizard of Oz features some fabulous sets and costumes that I've had a sneaky peak at on their Facebook page. The musical director is Dustin Conrad and the performance will include the well-known songs Somewhere Over The Rainbow, If I only had a Brain, Merry old Land of Oz and of course Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.

A giant “twister” transports Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas, to magical the land of OZ. Her adventures start from the moment she meets the Munchkins and sets off on a trip to meet the Wizard of Oz. Along the way she finds amongst others The Scarecrow, The Tinman, a Lion, The jitterbugs and of course the infamous Wicked Witch of the West. Her return to Kansas is her aim....but does she get there? Come and see and we’ll find out together.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 10th to Sat 14th Sep, 19:30.
Sat matinee 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Marco Scolastra (music)

To the Birley Centre for today's blog post and a music recital by pianist Marco Scolastra who will be performing an evening of rhythms and colours from America to include compositions by Scott Joplin and George Gershwin, Chick Corea, John Cage and Aaron Copland.

Born in Foligno, Marco Scolastra graduated from the Conservatory "Morley" in Perugia under the guidance of Franco Fabiani. He subsequently studied for some years with Aldo Ciccolini and Ennio Pastorino. He has performed regularly as a soloist and as part of chamber ensembles and this Eastbourne concert is part of a current UK tour that includes the Edinburgh Festival and a late summer tour with the Fejes Quartet.

Birley Centre, Tue 10th Sep, 19:30.
Tickets £9, available by calling 01323 452255 or by emailing

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Fallen Angels (theatre)

Noel Coward's Fallen Angels is coming to the Devonshire Park Theatre in the middle of September, replacing the previously advertised The Governess. (If you've already bought tickets for The Governess, please contact Eastbourne Theatres for a refund.) The classic comedy will star Jenny Seagrove and Sara Crowe as best friends Julia and Jane. 

When their their passionless husbands, Fred and Willy, are away playing golf, a mutual past lover announces his intention to pay Julia and Jane an impromptu visit. All in a fluster, there’s clearly only one thing to do - hit the bottle! As each successive glass of liquid courage is imbibed, tongues start to loosen, hidden jealousies surface, the claws come out, and all attempts at demure behaviour go out the window. But it’s not until the unexpected early return of their golfing husbands that the women’s evening really hits its frenzied peak.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Mon 16th to Sat 21st Sep, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 812000, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Dave Greene (music)

Dave Greene with Jim Tipler of the Cajun Dawgs 
I've decided that I'm going to use today's blog post to indulge in a spot of nepotism! My partner, Dave Greene is a musician and songwriter and I am very proud that he has been approached to be one of the three featured artistes for September's Songwriters' Circle at the Under Ground Theatre. I've blogged about the concept before and this will be the third afternoon session in the series. 

Originally from London, Dave spent most of his early life on the South Coast. As a child, he taught himself to play guitar and occasionally reminisces about having to journey all the way to London to buy a Gibson ES330, the then guitar of his dreams. His teenage years were spent gigging extensively with his own band, The Teenbeats who soon renamed as Mo Henry and there's a cute photograph of them in Mike Read's book, the The South Coast Beat Scene of the 1960s. The 1970s saw him back in London, a professional musician recording for both the EMI and RCA record labels. First came two albums with prog rock band Raw Material, their self-titled debut Raw Material and Time Is... followed by On the Frontier in 1973 as part of Shoot with Jim McCarty (Yardbirds). I like the Shoot album but Raw Material isn't so much 'my thing' although their original vinyls are now very collectable.

Dave Greene self-released his own CD, 'I love this album', in 2003. The collection of nine deeply biographical songs was launched at the Six Bells in Chiddingly where Dave had been regularly performing at the Folk and Blues Club. Previously 'only' a guitarist, albeit a very good one(!), playing solo at the Folk Club had meant also becoming a singer, a new musical experience. White Horse Folk was another local folk club he attended and where Chris Liddiard invited him to play a guest evening. Most recently, Dave has guested with the Cajun Dawgs and played for a while as part of Pocketsize. He particularly likes listening to Americana singer-songwriters and much of his own writing incorporates world music rhythms. Blues, jazz and country music also influences his work. I am not sure which, or how many, guitars will be making their appearance on the Under Ground stage. Dave usually plays acoustic and electric guitars, and lapsteel guitar which has a distinctive haunting sound. As he's only got five songs to showcase his skills, the more unusual stringed instruments - saz, oud, mandolin - will probably have to stay at home.

Dave Greene will be joined for the Songwriters' Circle by Brian Cope from Bexhill and Seaford's John Cave.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 7th Sep, 13:30-15:30.
Free admission.

Dave at the Songwriter Circle playing a new song written for the occasion.

Dave playing I Went Up The Mountain-top at the Songwriter Circle
(Huge thanks to Jayne Ingles for the great videos!)

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Barry Wilson (art)

I caught a glimpse of the artwork of Barry Wilson when I visited the Birley Centre for the wonderful OperaCoast Rake's Progress in July. My overall impression was of delicate scenes and a beautiful golden glow and I knew I'd have to go back for a proper look.

A graduate of Camberwell School of Art, Barry Wilson uses his knowledge of the south coast in his art, his most recent works being inspired by our sadly crumbling architecture and its graffiti. He is influenced by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright as well as the artists Peter Doig, Edward Hopper and Gerhard Richter. His use of gold leaf in his paintings makes for distinctive work and the effect was what I particularly liked at first and second viewings! Be sure not to miss the run of framed prints along the corridor up the steps and to the right of the main door as you enter the foyer.

My favourite images are the two inside the London Underground. Dave commented on how Wilson manages to make the scenes feel open and spacious although they should be claustrophobic. I also liked an enigmatic portrait of a couple sitting at a cafe table. He is smoking a cigarette, she appears lost in her own thoughts, and it is the sort of picture that could waste hours of being gazed at imagining the back story.

Birley Centre foyer, Saturdays and Sundays only until Sun 25th Aug, 11:00 - 16:00.
Free admission.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Beve And The Beatroots (music)

I spotted Beve And The Beatroots written on the chalk board outside The British Queen pub on a return walk from Eastbourne a few weeks ago. Dave played before them at the Eastbourne Beer Festival, quite a while ago now, and we learned that Beve should be 'beev' and not 'bevvy' with a slight French accent as I had been pronouncing it. They're back at the Beer Festival again in October 2013 but in the much less distant future, they'll be in Willingdon at The British Queen on the Triangle.

A fun covers band, Beve And The Beatroots comprises of Beve Finch - Vocals, Charlie Holter - Guitar, David Welch - Guitar, Chris (Squelch) Welch - Bass/Vocals and Olie Marchant - Drums/Vocals. Their repertoire stretches from the 1950s to the 2010s and they can be persuaded to learn an additional song or two if you've booked them for your wedding/birthday/random-party-for-no-reason. I've chosen their performance of one of my favourite Elvis tracks for the YouTube below.

The British Queen, Sat 31st Aug.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Red Skies Trio (jazz)

Don't be put off going out on Friday the 13th of September by the superstition of bad luck because there's a fantastic trio booked for the regular Jazz Club night at the Under Ground Theatre. Vocalist Brigitte Beraha and pianist John Turville will be joined by saxophonist Bobby Wellins.

Veteran jazz musician Bobby Wellins has a fabulous career, making his first recordings in 1956 and still going strong! I saw him with the Andrea Pozza trio at the Under Ground in January 2012 and am sure this gig will be just as entertaining. The trio got together to record an album, also called Red Skies, which was launched at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in February this year. Red Skies draws on an eclectic range of music, from well-known standards and latin gems through to originals and contemporary songs and is currently available from There's bound to be copies at the gig too! I chose the YouTube clip below from the Red Skies launch night and love Brigitte's vocals on this song.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 13th Sep, 20:00.
Tickets £11, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Albert Parmigiani (art)

Italian born Albert Parmigiani has been chosen to be the featured artist at the Under Ground Theatre for the
duration of August so you can see his work in the foyer every Friday and Saturday up until the 31st, and also in the evenings if you are going to any other Under Ground events.

Originally from Piacenza, an ancient town in northern Italy, Parmigiani came to art late in life. He creates wonderful paper sculptures of animals, real and imagined, including his signature dinosaurs which were suggested to him by his young grandson. The sculptures are intricately crafted by folding and rolling paper sheets and are then painted to give an interesting textured effect.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 2nd to Sat 31st Aug, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Proms On The Lawns (music)

Ensemble Reza
The big screen is going back up on the Western Lawns on Saturday the 7th of September for a special open-air screening of the Last Night Of The Proms. Bring your Union Jacks and be prepared for plenty of bobbing up and down!

The concert day will begin in the afternoon with a performance by Sussex group Ensemble Reza together with local mezzo-soprano Jane Haughton. The programme will last for two hours from 15:45 to 17:45 and will include a mix of music from jazzy Gershwin to Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Beethoven’s string quartet Op 18 No 1.

Following Ensemble Reza, attention will shift to the BBC broadcast of the Last Night Of The Proms starting at 19:30 and including a firework finale at 22:45.

Western Lawns, Sat 7th Sep, 15:00-23:00.
Tickets £12 adults, £10 concessions, £5 children, available online, by calling 01323 812000 or in person at the Congress Theatre Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information centre.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Donnie Darko (film)

Two classic films are being shown at Hailsham Pavilion on the 7th of September as part of this year's Hailsham Arts Festival. The films have changed from their initial choices and will now be Creature Comforts in the afternoon and Donnie Darko in the evening.

Originally released in 2001, Donnie Darko is one of my favourite films! It is a bizarre science fiction story of 28 days in the life of an American teenager, Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal). Donnie wakes one night and is led from his house by a man in a giant rabbit costume who tells him that the world is going to end in 28 days. Upon returning, Donnie discovers that an aeroplane engine has crashed into his bedroom while he was gone. It all gets a bit weirder from here on in!

The film has an inspired soundtrack including a gorgeous version of Tears For Fears' Mad World. I discovered during researching this post that Donnie Darko was nearly obscured in the straight-to-video void when it was released but fortunately Drew Barrymore's production company Flower Films stepped in.

Hailsham Pavilion, Sat 7th Sep, 19:45.
Tickets £5 adults, £1 children, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person at the Box Office.

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Mousetrap (theatre)

The famed Agatha Christie play Mousetrap is undertaking it's first national tour to celebrate its 60th Anniversary and Eastbourne's Congress Theatre is one of the venues that has been chosen to stage the record-breaking play. Mysteries and thrillers are always popular with Eastbourne audiences, especially the Agatha Christie Theatre Company whose noses hopefully aren't put too out of joint!

In her own inimitable style, Dame Agatha Christie has created an atmosphere of shuddering suspense and a brilliantly intricate plot where murder lurks around every corner. The scene is set when a group of people gathered in a country house cut off by the snow discover, to their horror, that there is a murderer in their midst. Who can it be? One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed.

As of the 22nd of July in Salford, the cast included Steven France as Christopher Wren, Thomas Howes as Sgt Trotter, Karl Howman as Mr Paravicini, Bruno Langley as Giles Ralston, and Graham Seed as Major Metcalf. I don't know which of these will be at the Congress though!

Congress Theatre, Mon 9th to Sat 14th Sep, 19:30.
Thu and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 812000 or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Stephen Pigott (artist)

Fresh from an Open Studio at the annual Artwave Festival in Lewes (24th Aug to 1st Sep), artist Stephen Pigott is also exhibiting his work at Gallery North for the seventh Hailsham Arts Festival.

Stephen Pigott lives and works in Lewes and has a B.A. in Fine Art from Brighton College of Art. His semi-abstract works use bright colour and light to represent people, landscapes and mood in oil, charcoal and ink. His own website has several galleries including one of oil on linen paintings which give a real flavour of his exuberant style.

Gallery North will be showing a wide selection of paintings, photography and prints by their resident artists alongside the Stephen Pigott exhibition. They are also taking the opportunity of the Special Opening on the first Sunday afternoon for the judging and presentation of the 2013 Gallery North Photography Awards. Open to all photographers who have shown work at the Gallery both past and present, the competition is divided in to five different categories and will be judged by Tony Penrose from Farleys Farm Chiddingly.

Special Opening, Sun 8th Sept, 2pm – 4pm.

Gallery North opening times, Tue-Sat, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission and donations gratefully received.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Sambalanco (music)

Sambalanco onstage at Jack In The Green 
I went along to the Springtime EBS Rock The Redoubt on the Saturday and got there just as the Sea Gypsies belly-dancing troupe encouraged the sun out from behind his cloud! Following the Sea Gypsies was a community-based samba band from Hastings, Sambalanco

Led by their very enthusiastic mestre, their dynamic Afro-Brazilian carnival rhythms could be heard right across the Redoubt and it was fun to dance along and to also see some of the Pentacle Drummers getting into the Latin-American groove. Sambalanco perform at several festivals through the year including KOFEST, Jack In The Green, St Leonard's Festival and Lewes Bonfire Night. I believe they will be back at the next Rock The Redoubt in September.

"Sambalanco was formed around 1996 out of the remains of a previous samba band. It's undergone various transformations over the years, with lots of different mestres (leaders or conductors) coming and going and lots of different venues including the Hastings Pier (twice), the beach, and our current home above the Carlisle pub in hastings! We remain an inclusive community band, nobody makes money from the band and the subscriptions are actually at the same level as when I first joined 15 years ago! We continue to play our variations on traditional Brazilian samba rhythms at events such as Carnivals, Jack in the Green, Bonfire parades, festivals and fêtes."

Sambalanco rehearse on Wednesday evenings in Hastings, upstairs at The Carlisle pub on the seafront (or on the beach itself if it's good weather). If you are interested in joining, pop along between 19:30 and 21:30 to find out what it's all about. You should be able to hear them from quite a distance!

EBS Rock The Redoubt, Sat 7th and Sun 8th Sep, 11:00-17:00.
Free admission.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

JAMES HYLAND IS BACK! and I know I'm far too excited about this! I absolutely loved his solo performance of  Fagin's Last Hour in 2012 so I've been keeping an eye out for his next project. I thought it might be another Dickens adaptation but instead he has set his sights on the classic horror of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Adapted from the original novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde will be performed by James Hyland and directed by Phil Lowe with music composed by Chris Warner. The show lasts for one hour and I hope that there might also be a Q and A session afterwards as is was fascinating last time to hear about the work that went into creating Fagin's Last Hour. it is recommended for audiences aged 12 and over.

During his final lecture on the duality of man, the respectable Dr Jekyll reveals his strange association with the mysterious Edward Hyde and the shocking truth about his identity: that Hyde, unlike other human beings, is not only fundamentally evil, but also the very definition of it.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 6th Sep, 19:30.
Tickets £10, students £9, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926 or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Monday, 5 August 2013

RolePlay (theatre)

I missed Hailsham Theatres festival play last year, Alan Ayckbourn's Just Between Ourselves, but did get to see Twitter photos of the fantastic set and heard some great reviews. This year, the Company has again chosen an Ayckbourn script and will be performing Roleplay. 

One of the Damsels In Distress trilogy, Roleplay was first performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in 2001 and London's Duchess Theatre in 2002. The Hailsham Theatres performance will be directed by Sam Elsby and Richard Davis has been kind enough to name-drop the cast for me!

In an apartment in London's Docklands, engaged couple Justin (Jack Page) and Julie-Ann (Christine Holford) are about to introduce their respective parents to each other over dinner – Justin’s upper-crust alcoholic mother from Surrey, Arabella (Diane Morris), and Julie-Ann’s bigoted Yorkshire father, Derek (Clive Hale) and prim mother, Dee (Ann Walker). Into this doomed scenario ‘drops’ Paige Petite (Zoe Holmes), a former lap-dancer, and her thick, gun-toting minder Micky (Phil Hilder) who is employed by her violent boyfriend.

Summerheath Hall, Thu 5th to Sat 7th Sep, 19:30.
Sat matinee, 14:30.
Tickets £8.50 adults, £5.50 concessions, except for Saturday evening which includes a three-course meal so tickets will be £16 adults, £12 concessions.
Available online from Hailsham Theatres and Hailsham Pavilion, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at Hailsham Pavilion.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Rod Pooley (music)

Sugar Coated Rock 
Local man Rod Pooley is the star of the next Hailsham Organ Club meeting which takes place in ten days time at Hailsham Pavilion. If you're already out elsewhere that night, Rod also plays weekly on Thursdays at the Afton Hotel in Eastbourne from 8pm until 11pm.

Musician, music producer and composer, Rod Pooley is also a member of the popular Dirty Martini Swing Band and a new duo project with Victoria Ferguson, Sugar Coated Rock. He is an accomplished organist and keyboard player who began playing aged just seven. In 1981 at 14 years of age he was the Young Theatre Organist of the Year and was National Organist of the Year in both 1985 and 1986. He was a Church organist at St Michaels and All Angels Eastbourne for two years and his professional music career was well underway before he left school. There have been three CDs released, the most recent of which is the house music collaboration with James Asher, Keystar House.

Hailsham Organ Club meets on the second Wednesday of each month. Doors open at 19:00 with the shows starting at 19:30. Non-members are very welcome too, from 19:15 onwards, and can pay £6.00 at the door.

Hailsham Pavilion, Wed 14th Aug, 19:30.
Tickets £4 members, £6 non-members, available on the door.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Umbrella Decorating Workshop (art)

photo courtesy of Radiator Arts
There's something a bit different going on at the end of August in preparation for the Hailsham Arts Festival Parade on the 7th of September. The decoration theme of the Parade is The Jungle Book and Radiator Arts will be running a workshop at the Hailsham Community Civic Centre a week before to give guidance and inspiration to anyone who is a bit unsure of what to do or in need of inspiration.

Based in Hastings, Radiator Arts was founded in 2001. The team of artists, designers, performers and volunteers are skilled in a wide range of media and disciplines andtheir aim is to provide innovative workshops and unique site-specific events that lift the spirits and expand the imagination of participants and audiences alike. Their own website has some great photos of other events and festivals with which they have previously been involved.

The Costume and Umbrella Parade on the 7th of September will start next to the War Memorial in Vicarage Fields and process around the town to start the Festival week in style! Everyone is welcome – get together with your friends, dress up and bring your decorated umbrella or parasol. Aassemble in Vicarage Fields by 11am ready for the parade around the town centre (route to be confirmed) to the accompaniment of live music.

Umbrella Workshop, Sat 31st Aug, 10:00-13:00.
Free admission but please confirm attendance in advance.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Glenn Miller Orchestra (music)

There's a treat coming to the Congress Theatre for anyone who enjoyed The Bugle Boy last year at the Devonshire Park Theatre. The real Glenn Miller Orchestra, now led by Ray McVay, will play a matinee in Eastbourne on the 25th of August. It's a Sunday. The AAF line-up will be joined by a string section, the fabulous harmonies of the Moonlight Serenaders and a swinging jazz band, The Uptown Hall Gang - an outstanding Dixieland group drawn from members of the orchestra.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra UK was formed in 1988 in conjunction with Glenn Miller Productions of New York and has maintained the exact line-up on stage devised by Glenn, consisting of the leader, five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones and three rhythm plus a male and a female vocalist. They will of course play the classics In The Mood and Moonlight Serenade as well as other favourites including Pennsylvania 65000, Tuxedo Junction and American Patrol. The band's repertoire apparently numbers some 200 songs, not all of them originally performed by Glenn but loyally staying true to his sound and style.

Congress Theatre, Sun 25th Aug, 15:00.
Tickets £18.50 and £20.50, available online, by calling 01323 812000, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Just So (theatre)

Children's theatre school Trapdoor is again running their Summer School this year for a week in August. They will be based at the Royal Hippodrome in Seaside and the culmination of all their efforts will be two performances of Just So, a musical based on the short stories of Rudyard Kipling. I don't know if there will still be children's places available in the Summer School now as it is due to start in only a few weeks, but there are certainly plenty of audience spaces to fill!

Just So was finished in 1984 and had taken many years of writing before Anthony Drewe and George Stiles, its creators, were happy with it. The famous Rudyard Kipling stories are connected by the command of the Eldest Magician who tells all the animals he has created to go and discover their true selves. The Elephant's Child, guided by the Kolokolo Bird, meets many of the animals while undertaking a journey to find Pau Amma the solitary Crab who has chosen to play alone.

Founded in 2006, Trapdoor is now affiliated to Ratton Academy and is run by choreographer and director Debbie Hackett. You might have seen the results of some of her other work with Young Rattonians in Fame earlier this year. Together with Alex Adams (Singin' In The Rain), she offers Musical Theatre training to young people aged from 4 to 17. 

Royal Hippodrome, Sat 24th Aug, 14:30 and 19:30.
Tickets £10, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person at the Congress Theatre Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.