Thursday, 31 October 2013

White Christmas (theatre)

A classic-style musical with a real Christmassy feel is to be performed at the Royal Hippodrome on various dates through November, December and January. White Christmas is based on the 1954 film of the same name which famously starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney. The Eastbourne performances are being put on by RHT Community Productions Ltd by special arrangement with Rogers and Hammerstein.

Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, two iconic song-and-dance men, follow a sister act to Vermont, only to discover that the nearly bankrupt lodge they were to perform at is owned by their former commanding general.

Royal Hippodrome, from 7th Nov
Tickets £14.50 or £10 dependent on performance date, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Congress Theatre Box office or Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Thursday matinees in November: 7th at 14:30, 14th at 15:00, 21st at 15:00, 28th at 15:00.

Evenings in December at 19:45: Thu 19th, Fri 20th, Sat 21st, Mon 23rd, Fri 27th, Sat 28th.
Matinees in December: Thu 5th at 15:00, Thu 12th at 15:00, Sat 21st at 15:00, Sun 22nd at 16:00, Tue 24th at 15:00, Thu 26th at 16:00, Fri 27th at 15:00, Sat 28th at 15:00.

Evenings in January at 19:45: Wed 1st, Thu 2nd, Fri 3rd, Sat 4th.
Matinees in January: Wed 1st at 15:00, Sat 4th at 15:00.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Silent Scream (film)

The Under Ground Theatre's art house film for November will be the British made Silent Scream, an examination of the immense social change of the 1960s as seen through the life of Larry Winters.

The 15 certificate film was made in 1990, directed by David Hayman and written by Bill Beech. Its protagonist, Larry Winters (Iain Glen), was sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder in a Soho bar in 1963. He died of a drug overdose aged just 34. Silent Scream depicts his Glasgow childhood, the close relationship he had with his criminally-inclined older brother Don (Jamie Morton) and his time as a soldier in the Parachute Regiment. Described by Time magazine as one of Scotland's finest films, Silent Scream won a Silver Bear award for Best Actor for Iain Glen and two Scottish BAFTAs for Best Film and Best Director. It is also notable for having the film debut of one Robert Carlyle.

Under Ground Theatre, Thu 21st Nov, 19:30.
Tickets £5, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Catfish Keith (music)

photo by Hattie Miles 
American singer songwriter Catfish Keith is the latest guest of Spyboy upstairs at The Lamb in Old Town in December. The blues singer is on a two month tour of Europe taking in Denmark, Ireland and the UK. The Eastbourne gig is towards the the end of the tour and in the three days before he gets to us he's got Llandeilo (Wales), then the Ropetackle in Shoreham (Sussex), then Dorchester (Dorset)! Someone's knowledge of geography is even worse than mine!

Born in East Chicago, Indiana in 1962, Catfish Keith first heard blues music as a child and when he picked up the guitar as a teenager, he was inspired to pursue the deep delta blues after being converted by Son House. Following high school, Catfish hit the road, embarking on a lifelong quest as a solo performer of American roots music. He got his nickname while in the West Indies. The first of his fourteen albums was recorded in 1984 and since then he has been pretty much constantly on tour, honing his skills and working with and amazing array of fellow musicians: John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Robert Cray, Koko Taylor, Taj Mahal , Leo Kottke, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Johnny Shines

Upstairs at The Lamb, Sun 17th Nov, 20:00.
Tickets £17.50, available in advance by calling 01323 841414 or in person ONLY from Hailsham Pavilion.

Monday, 28 October 2013

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (musical theatre)

A show title that might seem familiar for today's blog! The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was performed at the Little Theatre in April as part of the Eastbourne Festival. Now a different touring production, which will have two nights at the Royal Hippodrome, is on its way.

Patch Of Blue Theatre are based in London and mainly focus on producing musicals and theatre for children, both touring the work and regularly presenting at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. They are very proud to have received an Musical Theatre Network Award Nomination for 'Best Production of an Established Work' for 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'. The production stars Darren Day and Niki Evans alongside Arina II, Ross Cobbold, Joshua Dowen, Tom Mackley, Janette McManus, Ellie Mason, Jamie Lee Pike, Will Bradnam and Rhys Owen. Also, four audience members will be invited to join in each production as 'guest spellers' - Bee Warned!

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

Royal Hippodrome, Fri 15th and Sat 16th Nov, 19:45.
Sat matinee, 14:30.
Tickets £19, £17.50, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at Eastbourne Theatres Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Si McLean (music)

Young singer-songwriter Si McLean first played at the Under Ground Theatre back in February when he was the support artist for Matt Cooper. I have also seen mention of several other local performances including at the Wheatsheaf, Upstairs at the Lamb, the Waterfront, the Loft Lounge, and the Lammas Festival. Plus, of course, he is the winner of ‘Hastings Has Got Talent 2012’ and ‘The Eastbourne Achievers Award for young music, arts and culture’. Phew!

Si McLean is a self-taught musician who writes and sings his own original songs as well as performing a range of covers from across the decades. The YouTube clip below shows his Under Ground set from February where he is singing the Moody Blues classic Nights In White Satin. You can also hear some of his original songs on his Soundcloud page.

Support at the Under Ground will be provided by Abbie Jones and MelodiKa.

Under Ground Theatre, 16th Nov, 19.00.
Tickets £4, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from the Under Ground Theatre and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Rear Window (film)

Grace Kelly reappears at the Under Ground Theatre in November, after last Sunday's The Country Girl, to put in a thrilling performance in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Based on a 1940s short story by Cornell Woolrich entitled It Had To Be Murder, Rear Window also stars James Stewart, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr. The film premiered in 1954 in New York at a benefit performance to raise money for the American-Korean Foundation and went on to win four Oscars.

Photographer L B Jefferies (James Stewart) has broken his leg and is stuck in a wheelchair in his apartment during a particularly hot summer spell. In order to stave off boredom, he takes to spying on his neighbours. One night he believes he has witnessed the aftermath of one neighbour - Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) - murdering his wife. After recounting what he saw to his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) and nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), Jefferies sends the women out to discover evidence which results in Lisa climbing through Thorwald's window and being discovered herself.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 17th Nov, 14:30.
Tickets £6.50 to include tea/coffee and cake after the screening, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, and in person from the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Canterbury Tales (theatre)

Tacit Theatre brought Eastbourne an adult and bawdy version of The Canterbury Tales last autumn. For 2013, London-based theatre company The Pantaloons are touring a family-safe production and one of its venues is to be the Under Ground Theatre. If the Company's name sounds familiar, this is the same group who performed A Midsummer Night's Dream at Michelham Priory during the summer.

Chaucer's story collection, The Canterbury Tales, follows a group of pilgrims who decide to hold a story-telling contest on the road from Southwark to the shrine of St Thomas Beckett in Canterbury. The pilgrims are from all walks of medieval life and include a Knight, a Miller, a Monk, a Prioress, a Shipman and a rather insatiable Wife of Bath. Their stories are just as diverse, including old favourites such as ‘boy meets girl’, and ‘talking chicken meets fox’.

The Pantaloons production uses modern English so audiences don't need to worry about trying to understand Medieval language, but it will be an ambitious feat - the cast will perform every single one of the 24 completed Canterbury Tales in a different theatrical style! In this total theatre experience, audiences can expect pantomime, puppetry, masks, musicals, mime, farce, reality television, horror and opera. Even Shakespeare gets a look-in.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 10th Nov, 16.00.
Tickets £6.50, UGT members £5.50, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from the Under Ground Theatre and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Nightmare On Elm Street (film)

I'm not a big horror fan and have never actually seen any of the Nightmare On Elm Street films - even though (a very young) Johnny Depp was in the original! The first film is now thirty years old (yes, really!), having been released in 1984, so it's probably not as gory as I imagine it will be, but I'm still not sure about it. However, for those of you who do like your vintage horror, Cineworld are putting on a special Hallowe'en screening.

Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Springwood, Ohio, the plot revolves around several teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams by Freddy Krueger. The teenagers are unaware of the cause of this strange phenomenon, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago.

Directed by Wes Craven, Nightmare On Elm Street was made for less than 2 million dollars and managed to earn all its costs back within the first week. It went on to become that rarity among films, one that both critics and audiences love. Villain Freddy Krueger became iconic in his own right and the film spawned several sequels, a television series and all manner of merchandise.

Cineworld, Thu 31st Oct, 21:15.
Tickets £8.80 adults, £5.70 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Merrily We Roll Along (musical theatre)

Maria Friedman's hugely acclaimed production of the Sondheim musical classic, Merrily We Roll Along, has its first cinema broadcast at Cineworld TOMORROW evening! Don't panic if this is a bit too short notice though - there's an encore matinee on the 3rd of November too.

The show was captured live at the Harold Pinter Theatre having moved from its original venue, the Menier Chocolate Factory. Friedman's revival won the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical in the 2012 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. Now the broadcast is the first in a projected series of West End shows to be screened under a partnership between Cinema Live and Digital Theatre.

Set over three decades in the entertainment business Merrily We Roll Along charts the relationship between three friends Franklin, Mary and Charley. Travelling backwards in time, this powerful and moving story features some of Stephen Sondheim’s most beautiful songs including ‘Good Thing Going’, ‘Not a Day Goes By’ and ‘Old Friends’.

Cineworld, Thu 24th Oct, 1930, and Sun 3rd Nov, 14:30.
Tickets £10.50 adults, £8.40 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Spitfire Solo (theatre)

Spitfire Solo is an interesting looking multimedia production which blends theatre, music and film. Having toured through 2012, Spitfire Solo did visit our Under Ground Theatre for one performance in the June and is now returning to Eastbourne for two night at the Devonshire Park Theatre.

Spitfire Solo was originally created at Eastbourne College, in association with Blueground, in April 2011. Centred on a tour de force performance by Nicholas Collett and featuring sixth form drama students Suzy Elliott and Lucy Skinner, the play was directed by resident practitioner Gavin Robertson and produced by Tim Marriott (Snared). It had since morphed into a one-man play still starring Nicholas Collett.

It is June of the new Millennium. For eighty-year old Peter Walker, ex-Battle of Britain pilot, an unexpected new challenge is about to begin. From the comfort of the Silver Birches Retirement Home, he must once again find the resilience, determination and strength to do what must be done. As he re-lives past glories, losses, wartime experiences, family memories and the heady days of blue skies and battles, he searches for the answer to the biggest question so far!

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 19th and Wed 20th Nov, 19:45.
Wed matinee, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Richard II (theatre)

Another major company is jumping on the 'broadcast to cinema' bandwagon - soon there won't be any need to trek to real theatres at all! The Royal Shakespeare Company will be screening Richard II on the 13th of November and I expect this to be very popular, not due to the subject or even the Shakespeare, but because the star is David Tennant! He is directed by Gregory Doran, the RSC's Artistic Director, and will be joined onstage by Emma Hamilton as the Queen, Oliver Ford Davies as the Duke of York, Michael Pennington as John of Gaunt and Nigel Lindsay as Bolingbroke.

If you wanted to see the production in the flesh, I believe it is already sold out in Oxford where it started a couple of days ago, but there may still be a seat or two for a few performances at the Barbican Theatre (9th Dec to 25th Jan). Otherwise, it's off to Cineworld we go! The broadcast has a 12A certificate.

Richard is King. A monarch ordained by God to lead his people. But he is also a man of very human weakness. A man whose vanity threatens to divide the great houses of England and drag his people into a dynastic civil war that will last 100 years.

Cineworld, Wed 13th Nov, 19:00.
Tickets £12.78 adults, £10.79 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Seedy Sunday

Come along to Eastbourne’s now-annual Seedy Sunday event at Leaf Hall on Sunday the 27th of October! Perhaps I am tenuously linking it with the usual subjects of my blog here, but I think this is such a wonderful resource for gardeners, and gardening is often referred to as an 'Art', isn't it?

The primary idea behind Seedy Sunday is a Seed Swap. Local people and visitors alike are invited to bring along their excess or unwanted seeds, labelled and dated, to swap out with others. If you're getting fed up with growing the same plants each year, you might make some surprising discoveries of other species that are successful in Eastbourne soil. However, if you didn't save any seeds this year, don't feel you will have to miss out. You can simply buy seeds instead.

Seedy Sunday is much more than just Seed Swapping though. There will be various stalls, arts and crafts, workshops, talks and lots more. Stalls already confirmed include some selling plants, furniture made from recycled wood, Friends of the Earth, and Susie Seedpod's Healing Garden. Talk topics include biodiversity and food security. There will also be a Café open all day serving home cooked food. Latest information is available on the Facebook page together with photographs taken at last year's event.

Leaf Hall, Sun 27th Oct, 10:00-16:00.
Admission: adults £2, children free.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Les Vepres Siciliennes (opera)

Verdi's grand opera in five acts, Les Vepres Siciliennes, is quite rarely performed so for it to be the second in the current Royal Opera House's cinema season means that many more people will get the chance to see this masterpiece. The major new production will be conducted by Antonio Pappano and directed by Stefan Herheim who is making his debut at the Covent garden venue. As well as opera stars Bryan Hymel, Marina Poplavskaya, Erwin Schrott and Michael Volle, the production will also include dancers from both the Royal Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. It should be an amazing spectacle!

The French have occupied Sicily, and Hélène is held hostage by Montfort, the French governor, who has had her brother executed. She turns to the partisan Jean Procida and the rebellious patriot Henri in her bid for vengeance.

Cineworld, Mon 4th Nov, 17:45.
Tickets, adult £17.90, £14.20 concessions, available online, by calling 0845 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.
Please note the early start time - the running time is just under five hours but this does include two intervals!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Death In High Heels (theatre)

A 1930s period thriller is to be the last play in Seaford Little Theatre's 2013 season. Written by Richard Harris (Stepping Out, Dead Guilty), Death in High Heels is based on Christianna Brand's debut crime novel of the same name, the first of her Inspector Charlesworth Mysteries. Tickets are on sale from Stitch in Seaford High Street from today and SLT tickets usually sell quickly so don't miss out!

It's a big day at Christophe et Cie, a small couture house off Regent Street. Mr Bevan will announce which of his staff he is sending to France to be general manager of a new branch in Deauville. Will it be the talented and elegant Miss Doon or the loyal and long-serving Miss Gregory? Perhaps senior saleswoman Irene or showroom manager Dorian will get the job. Events take a dramatic turn over a lunch of rabbit curry when Miss Doon collapses and dies, poisoned by the oxalic acid crystals that another employee, Rachel, has been using to clean her hat.

Directed by Angie James (The Titfield Thunderbolt), Death In High Heels will star Tricia Pape (Pack Of Lies), Steve Wetherilt, Jenny Humphries (TTT), Ann Mabey, Lee Powney (TTT), Susanne Crosby, Clare Forshaw, Helena Bell, Rob McLaren and Kay Wetherilt. Angie has also designed the set which, judging from the previous three SLT productions I have seen, will be fabulous!

Seaford Little Theatre, Fri 8th to Sat 16th Nov, 19:45.
Matinee Sat 9th Nov, 14:30. No performances Sun and Mon.
Tickets available in person from Stitch, 13 Broad Street, Seaford, or on the door if there are any left.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

An American Werewolf In London (film)

Sheer coincidence (probably), but at the moment, I'm reading a biography of Warren Zevon and his biggest hit was the song Werewolves in London. The song has nothing to do with the vintage horror movie though and that is what will be shown at the Redoubt Fortress next week, on Friday the 25th of October. There will also be a few short film by Bloody Cuts Films and all attendees will be given a silver bullet - just in case!

Originally released in 1981, An American Werewolf In London stars David Naughton as David Kessler and Griffin Dunne as Jack Goodman, two young backpackers travelling around England. Whilst stupidly walking across a deserted moor at night - have they never seen a horror film? - Dunne's character is attacked and killed by a werewolf. Naughton hospitalised and alone begins to have a series of nightmares through which he learns that he is now also a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.

Redoubt Fortress, Fri 25th Oct, 20:00.
Tickets £5, available in person from the museum. email for further details.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Goodbye Lenin (film)

There's a lovely film showing at the Coach House Gallery in Alfriston this Sunday. We saw Goodbye Lenin on DVD a couple of years ago and very much enjoyed its gentle humour and satire.

Set in East Berlin in 1989, Goodbye Lenin tells the story of Alex Kerner (Daniel Bruhl) struggling to prevent his mother, Christiane (Katrin Sass), from discovering that Socialism has been abandoned in their country. Christiane is an ardent party idealist. She was horrified to see her son at an anti-government demonstration and the trauma caused a near-fatal heart attack. Eight months later, she has awoken from a coma and is still so weak that her doctors warn against any further shocks. However, during these eight months, the Berlin Wall has fallen and capitalism is the order of the day. Therefore Alex is forced to subterfuge - he redecorates the apartment in drab colours, goes in search of the old food jars and tins, and even creates fakes news reports from old footage. All seems to be convincing until his mother becomes strong enough to wander outside.

The evening is a Deckchair Cinema screening, run by Filmspot and the Coach House Gallery, in association with, and in support of, the Seaford Twinning Association and the German Conversation Group. Filmspot are the people who brought The Italian Job to Magnificent Motors and Top Gun to Airborne earlier this year. Deckchair Cinema is a new joint initiative, launching with this event in October, which will be bringing world cinema and art house films to The Coach House Gallery in Alfriston. Contact for updates specifically about this exciting new venture.

Doors open at 18:00 for an 18:30 start and the film is a 15 certificate.
Tickets £7 to include a drink and canapes. Please reserve your place by calling 01323 871402 or emailing

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Teechers (theatre)

John Godber's play Teechers was originally performed by the Hull Truck Theatre Company in 1987 when it was refreshingly different and radical, but, perhaps sadly, its themes and observations are still relevant today, over a quarter of a century later and despite many changes in the British education system. Godber was a former drama teacher so very much on his home ground for this play. 

Teechers only has a cast of three who between them morph into twenty different characters so it's quite a feat for any actor. There's a nice review of the current tour in the Spenborough Guardian which I believe has the same cast as will appear in Eastbourne: Frances Wood, Laura Bryers and James Dryden.

Join Gail, Hobby and Salty, three fifth form (Year 11) students who, through their end of term play, tell the hilarious story of an idealistic new drama teacher in his perilous first days inside a local comprehensive school.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Mon 11th to Wed 13th Nov, 19:45.
Wed matinee, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Chiharu Shiota (art)

photo by Sunhi Mang 
There is only one exhibition at the Towner Gallery at the moment but it looks like it will be a pretty amazing event!

The Japanese performance and installation artist Chiharu Shiota has been commissioned to create an "ambitious, immersive installation" for the whole of the Towner's second floor gallery space. I am very excited about this exhibition as the photos I have seen of Shiota's work elsewhere are fantastic and haunting. There's a great article in this quarter's CQ magazine and I've been reading up as much as I can online as well. The Towner says "You will be able to walk around the installation and inside it, entering a dense other-wordly labyrinth woven from black yarn – woollen cocoons which arose from the artist’s desire to ‘draw in the air’ and represent physical anxieties she has personally experienced."

Chiharu Shiota was born in Osaka in 1972 and now lives and works in Berlin. She has studied in Japan, Australia and Germany and has exhibited her art all over the world for the past thirteen years. Several exhibition catalogues have been published in the last few years and there are some for sale on, albeit at very 'ambitious' prices! I'm hoping the Towner will have their own souvenir catalogue for sale in their shop during the exhibition.

Towner Gallery, 11th Oct 2013 to Sun 5th Jan 2014.
Free admission.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Hailsham's Outdoor Big Draw!

I saw this post on the Gallery North blog yesterday and think it might interest Theatrical Eastbourne readers, especially if you've got kids to entertain! The event has its own Facebook group with the most up-to-date information.

"Join Gallery North's Josie Tipler and Felicity Price-Smith for our 'Outdoor Big Draw' event on Saturday 19th October. This is a free outdoor sketching session as part of the annual international Big Draw festival.

Meet at Gallery North at 10am, we will then proceed to various locations in Hailsham, sketching anything and everything around us. This is an informal drawing group not a tutored workshop, so you can share ideas or just do your own thing.

All ages and abilities are welcome, and it is completely free, so whether you are a "I can't draw"-er or a seasoned professional, come along and have some fun!

Basic paper and pencils can be provided but do bring sketchbooks, pens, pencils and anything else suitable to work en plein air. We will be sitting outside so wrap up warm. In case of bad weather we will hold a drawing workshop inside at Gallery North. 

The Big Draw Festival is coordinated by the Campaign for Drawing, an independent national organisation which raises the profile of drawing as a tool for thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement."

Gallery North, Sat 19th Oct, 10:00.
Admission free.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Casablanca (film)

I only saw Casablanca for the first time a couple of years ago and it certainly is much funnier if you've already seen that Red Dwarf episode. Personally, I didn't really 'feel' the famous attraction between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman but I know I'm in a minority there. Now, Seaford Community Cinema have chosen the classic film for a Saturday matinee screening at the end of October.

Originally released in 1942, Casablanca is based on a stage play, Everybody Comes To Rick's, written by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. Burnett had made a trip around Europe in 1938 and been profoundly affected by the anti-Semitism they witnessed in Vienna. He also spotted the model for Sam in a nightclub in the south of France and his experiences led him to write his play.

Barn Theatre, Sat 26th Oct, 14:30.
Tickets £6, £5 members, £3.50 children under 15, available online, in person in advance from Seaford Tourist Office or, subject to availability, on the door.

Friday, 11 October 2013

See How They Run (theatre)

A 'hilarious wartime farce' is the next offering from Polegate Community Association Drama Group whose previous play, The Shell Seekers, was a much more emotional affair! Written by Philip King, See How They Run was last performed locally by the Original Theatre Company at the Devonshire Park in 2011. The Polegate performances will be directed by David Buck.

Titled from a line in the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice, See How They Run was first performed in 1945 and has proved popular with audiences ever since. It is set in the 1940s in a rural vicarage living room which has a conveniently large number of doors.

Former actress Penelope is really trying to be the perfect demure vicar's wife but when her former co-star, a dashingly handsome escaped German POW, comes calling it starts a night of utter chaos at Merton-cum-Middlewick's vicarage. Throw in a slice of Noel Coward's Private Lives, an unconscious maid, a bottle of sherry, several vicars and a bishop and you have all the ingredients for a classic and frantic family-friendly show.

Polegate Community Centre, Wed 30th Oct to Sat 2nd Nov.
Tickets £8.50 adults, £6 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 483348, or in person from Archer and Partners on Polegate High Street.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Ripper Files (theatre)

The wonderfully named Rumpus Theatre Company are bringing their own brand of chilling horror to the Devonshire Park Theatre at the beginning of November. The Ripper Files is a new play, an unusual who-dunnit based around the Jack The Ripper story. Described by The Derbyshire Times as "fun but not for the faint-hearted", the Company asks that "Anyone wishing to leave the auditorium during the performance as a consequence of excessive fright or terror is respectfully requested not to do so in the middle of a murder!"

Charles William Lestrange was a newly promoted Detective Inspector in the Metropolitan Police when the THE AUTUMN OF TERROR, as it came to be known, reached its grizzly height in 1888. Now, thirteen years later, and ably assisted by Samuel Edwards, formerly Detective Constable Edwards of H Division, and Samuel Edward’s “close friend” Miss Elsie Fordham, rising star of the music hall stage, ex-Inspector Lestrange is touring the country to rehearse again for our titillation and delight the ghoulish events in Victorian Whitechapel which have been a source of universal fascination since the 1880s.

The Ripper Files will star Jennifer Biddall (Hollyoaks), Mark Homer (Eastenders) and David Gilbrook.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 5th to Sat 9th Nov, 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 Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Breathing (film)

An Austrian film from 2011 has been chosen by Eastbourne Film Society for their screening at the beginning of November at Eastbourne's Curzon Cinema

Breathing has a 15 certificate and tells the story of a 19 year old ex-convict, Roman Kogler (Thomas Schubert) who is trying to rebuild a normal life and get his parole from a juvenile detention centre. The film is in German and was both written and directed by Karl Markovics. It has been praised for its minimalist approach to its subject and was chosen to be Austria's entry for the 84th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Roman was put into the detention centre for the murder of another teenager. He is shunned outside and fails several times in his attempts to find a job. A condition of his being given parole is that he has permanent work and eventually he is accepted at an undertaker's. Roman tries to trace his mother, who abandoned him as a baby after trying to suffocate him. When he does, he lies about his job but she finds out the truth. 

Curzon Cinema, Wed 6th Nov, times tbc
Tickets £6.80 adults, £4.80 concessions, available by calling 01323 731441 or in person at the Box Office (3pm to 7pm daily).

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Habit Of Art (theatre)

The Habit Of Art was the then new play by celebrated playwright Alan Bennett (The History Boys, People) in 2009. The National Theatre production of April the 22nd 2010 was broadcast by NTlive in that year and is now being broadcast again as one of the 'encores' to celebrate the National's 50th anniversary.

Directed by Nicholas Hytner (Timon Of Athens, Othello), The Habit Of Art stars the late Richard Griffiths together with Alex Jennings, Frances de la Tour (People), Adrian Scarborough, John Heffernan and Stephen Wright. It explores themes of aging and creativity, especially how it is possible to continue being inspired when all the creative passion is spent.

Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera, Death in Venice, seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W H Auden. During this imagined meeting, their first for twenty-five years, they are observed and interrupted by, amongst others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station.

Cineworld, Thu 7th Nov 2013, 19:00.
Tickets £12.78 adults, £ concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Monday, 7 October 2013

I'm An Aristocrat, Get Me Out Of Here (theatre)

Anarchic historical theatre descends on the Eastbourne College Theatre on the 7th of November in the shape of Gonzo Moose, a Bristol-based company that focuses on visually exciting stage comedy. Their new play I'm An Aristocrat, Get Me Out Of Here has been loosely based around the flamboyant story of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. It is directed by Abigail Anderson and its cast of three - Mark Conway, Lauren Silver and Jonathan Peck - manage to play over 20 different roles between them in a frantic 75 minutes of comic innovation, sketches, offbeat ideas and traditional slapstick and clowning.

Paris, 1792. Revolution grips the city and the secret police march traitors to their deaths. No one is safe. Everyone is a suspect. Paris needs a hero, someone who can deliver it from this terror and restore freedom and justice. Will such a hero emerge? Yes! With comedy and thrills galore, you'll gasp, laugh and be amazed at the elaborate sword fights, the heart-wrenching love scenes and the sensational death-defying French accents.

Eastbourne College Theatre, Thu 7th Nov, 19:30.
Tickets £9, available by calling 01323 452255 or emailing

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Philip Brown (art)

October's featured Art Under Ground artist is Eastbourne painter and author Philip Brown. The exhibition of his work in the theatre's foyer will celebrate his 88th birthday which I think makes him even older than recent Under Ground artist Albert Parmigiani.

Philip was married to Swedish born artist Gounil Brown whose stained glass art decorates several local venues including the door panel for St George's Catholic Church in Polegate and the roundel in Berwick New Village Hall. After she died in 2007, Philip wrote a book about her life and has also written several art manuals and executed the Millennium Maps for Willingdon and Jevington. Philip works in watercolour, acrylic and pen. He studied at the Slade School, at University College London and in Paris at the Ateliers d’Art Sacre. He has had one man shows in Britain, France, Spain and even Japan and his work can be found in private collections throughout Europe, the Americas and the Far East.

Under Ground Theatre, Fridays and Saturdays 4th to 26th Oct, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Winter Of Discontent (film)

Nothing to do with trade unionism in Britain in the 1970s, Winter Of Discontent is an independent  Egyptian film which has taken everyone by surprise, mainly due to its serendipitous topicality. It has even been chosen as Egypt's submission for the foreign-language film Oscar. Our imminent local screening is an Eastbourne Film Society presentation at the Curzon Cinema and there are three chances to see the film THIS Wednesday, the 9th of October.

Winter Of Discontent (El Sheita Elli Fat) has a 15 certificate and premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012. Its director is Ibrahim el-Batout who was formerly known in Egypt for making television documentary programmes, particularly about peoples at war. He first turned his hand to film-making in 2004 and I believe that Winter Of Discontent is his fourth full-length feature film. The story is based around the events of the 2011 revolution in Egypt that saw Hosni Mubarak ousted from power after 30 years. However El-Batout has said that “We need to keep in mind that The Winter of Discontent is not about the revolution itself. It is a film about three people who lived through the historic and unforgettable 18 days of the revolution.” Therefore we see these days through the eyes of a security officer, a political activist and a journalist. There is an interesting review at the end of this link, written by Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian.

Curzon Cinema, Wed 9th Oct, 14:15, 17:15, 20:15.
Tickets £6.80 adults, £4.80 concessions, available by calling 01323 731441 or in person from the foyer (15:00-19:00 daily).

Friday, 4 October 2013

Forget-Me-Not wears the trousers (music)

The Under Ground Theatre will become a art deco-style flapper cabaret for-one-night-only in a couple of weeks' time when International cabaret artiste Forget-Me-Not performs risqué and banned songs from the 20s and 30s celebrating Jazz Age sexual liberation and gender cross-pollination.

Forget-Me-Not is a beguiling, deliciously naughty flapper and singer on the London nightclub scene. She fell into cabaret life after her parents inconveniently cut off her allowance due to her general misbehaviour and scandalous love affairs. Unperturbed, Forget-Me-Not fled from the family estate in Kent to her wealthy lover’s London love-nest and in a brief moment of boredom auditioned as a singer at a fashionable nightclub, Le Jardin de Plaisirs. Fuelled on champagne and charm, to her surprise she was offered a spot of great prestige and is now the club’s radiant and rather expensive star.

Forget-Me-Not Wears The Trousers was devised and is performed by Sharon Elizabeth together with her musical director Paul Lewis at the piano. The show was performed to much acclaim at the Brighton Festival Fringe last year and Sharon has also performed in New Zealand. She has recently recorded an album of songs from the cabaret - available through her website - and songs we might hear include You’re the Cream in my Coffee originally sung by Annette Hanshaw in 1928, Cole Porter's 1935 composition Begin the Beguine and Put It Off Until Tomorrow by Mae West.

Under Ground Theatre, 18th Oct, 20.00.
Tickets £10 adults, £8 concessions, available by emailing or in person on the door.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Bugsy Malone (musical theatre)

Another fabulous musical is currently being rehearsed in Eastbourne because Rattonians Youth Group is preparing their show of the fun gangster musical Bugsy Malone. It is being performed at the same time as Young EODS A Christmas Carol which seemed a bit odd until I realised it must be half term week!

I was a great fan of the Bugsy Malone film when I was a child and would have loved to have been Tallulah. Splurge guns always looked like fun! The film was directed by Alan Parker ho then went on to write a stage show with versions for adult and for child casts. The RYG production is directed by Alex Adams with choreography by Debbie Hackett and musical direction by Carl Greenwood.

Blousey Brown has come to Fat Sam's, a speakeasy, to audition as a singer but Sam is too worried about rival gang leader Dandy Dan to pay any attention to Blousey. New-kid-in-town Bugsy Malone falls hopelessly in love with Blousey and tries to help her but instead winds up making her so jealous that she will not speak to him. Meanwhile Dandy Dan's men have raided Fat Sam's with their new weapon, the Splurge Gun, leaving a trail of destruction and cold custard in their wake.

Royal Hippodrome, Wed 30th Oct to Sat 2nd Nov, 19.30.
Thu and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets £12, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Eastbourne Theatres Box Office and the Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Church Street Art Group Annual Exhibition

a recent painting by Teresa Currie 
Do you remember back in June I blogged about the Trinity Art Group exhibition? The group's tutor, Teresa Currie, had got in touch to tell me about the exhibition. Teresa recently emailed again, letting me know that the Trinity exhibition "went very well, everyone sold and there was lots of positive feedback which gave the artists more confidence in their own ability". She also wanted to tell me that another of her groups, The Church Street Art Group, are having their annual art exhibition on Saturday 12th October 10am to 4pm at St. Mary's Church Hall, Church Street, Willingdon.

The Church Street Art Group meets on Monday afternoons. Teresa says that "they are a talented lot" and the 12th October will be their third exhibition since she started the group in February 2011. There will be 12 artists exhibiting - Brenda Hartland, Pat Lambie, Vera Tame, Julia Lupoli, Louise Etwell, Hazel Fuller, Olwen Evans, Daphne B, Judith, Peter Butler and Teresa herself. On show and for sale will be original artworks, prints, photography, textiles, cards and other crafts.

St Mary's Church Hall, Sat 12th Oct, 10:00-16:00.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Frankenstein (theatre)

photo by Catherine Ashmore 
Following on from Hamlet a couple of weeks ago, the next National Theatre Live screening is perfectly timed for Hallowe'en!

The horror story of Frankenstein was directed for the National by Danny Boyle and stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. The two actors alternated playing the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his Creation and both castings will be broadcast to Eastbourne Cineworld: with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature on the 31st Oct, and with Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature on the 21st Nov. They're both Thursdays.

Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the friendless Creature, increasingly desperate and vengeful, determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal. Urgent concerns of scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic gothic tale.

Cineworld, Thu 31st Oct and 21st Nov, 19:00.
Tickets £10.50 adults, £8.40 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.