Saturday, 30 November 2013

Headhunters (film)

Norwegian crime thriller writer Jo Nesbo has been rightly gaining in popularity over the past few years, helped no doubt by increasing interest in the genre that includes other Scandinavian authors such as Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson of "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" fame. Now, in a similar situation to the Girl films, while an American production company was going after the rights to make a film of Nesbo's Headhunters in English, the Norwegian version is already out there and will be coming to Seaford Community Cinema next week!

Executive recruiter Roger (Aksel Hennie) uses intimate knowledge of his premium clients to steal their original art works to fuel a hedonistic life style. His beautiful trophy wife Diana (Synnøve Macody Lund) runs an art gallery heavily subsidised by Roger in order to give the perfect appearance to his life. Roger's flair for recruiting the right man for the job leads him to a suave new prospect, Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who is also the owner of a rare and expensive old master. Is Clas the answer to all Roger’s money problems?

Barn Theatre, Fri 6th Dec, 19.30.
Tickets £6, members £5, available online, in person from Seaford Tourist Office, or in person on the door if there's any left.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Lord Of The Flies (film)

In a possibly already welcome break from Christmassy schmaltz, Peter Brook's classic 1963 film version of Lord Of The Flies is to be the Under Ground Theatre's art house film for December. Based on the harrowing novel by William Golding, Brook's film stays close to its source material, so much so that the film was given an X-rated certificate on its original release - meaning that the child stars weren't legally able to watch their own work! It is now rated a PG.

A group of English schoolboys are flying together when their plane crashes leaving them stranded alone on a remote island. There is food and water so the boys should easily be able to survive until they are rescued. Ralph (James Aubrey) is chosen to be the group's leader and he sets about organising everyone, allocating tasks and chores. However Ralph's leadership is soon challenged by Jack (Tom Chapin) who appeals to his fellow children by advocating fun in place of responsibility. A geeky child, Piggy (Hugh Edwards) becomes angry with Jack for allowing their fire to go out meaning that a passing aeroplane does not see them. Jack attacks Piggy, breaking his glasses. As the group splits into two factions, Ralph and Jack are pitted against each other with murderous consequences.

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

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Grimm Fairy Tales (theatre)

The third in the trilogy of The Pantaloons (A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Canterbury Tales) 2013 productions will visit Eastbourne in December when the Company performs Grimm Fairy Tales at the Under Ground Theatre. The show is suitable for the whole family from children to grandparents and could be considered an alternative to the annual pantomime as several of the tales that will be incorporated are seasonal favourites.

The Grimm brothers collected and published folk tales in the first half of the nineteenth century. Their first collection of 86 stories was so popular at the time that it was republished and expanded many times, eventually comprising over 200 stories. Many of these, such as Hansel and Gretel, The Frog Prince, Rumplestitskin, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood are just as popular today.

The Pantaloons will perform comedy versions of selected stories with enough of the more horrible and gruesome elements included to keep the kids happy, but with inventive staging and funny gags for adults!

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 15th Dec, 14.00.
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.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Aladdin (theatre)

It's getting dangerously close to Panto time again and the big extravaganza for Eastbourne Theatres this year is to be Aladdin. The production will take over the Devonshire Park Theatre from the middle of December until the middle of January so there's plenty of chances to see it. The cast includes the popular partnership of Martyn Knight as Widow Twankey and Tucker as Wishee Washee. They will be joined by Shaun Williamson (Eastenders, Extras) as Abanazaar and Charlene Ford Mrs Henderson Presents, Joseph) as Aladdin.

Join the gang on this classic adventure, meet the beautiful Princess So-Shi and the Genie of the Lamp. Evil Abanazaar wants the magic lamp, Aladdin wants adventure, Widow Twankey wants a husband (Row 3 you have been warned) and Wishee Washee wants a clean vest - but can the Genie grant their wishes? 

Devonshire Park Theatre, Fri 13th Dec to Sun 12th Jan, various times.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Twelfth Night (theatre)

Shakespeare’s classic tale of comic confusion, disguised lovers, pompous preeners and hapless heroines is given a festive and contemporary Christmas twist in this whole-school production of Twelfth Night by the pupils of Eastbourne College.

Separated twins add to the mayhem as love’s tangled web ensnares even the most unlikely in its magical charm. Will it snow? Will the tree be ready? Will harmony descend on both households? 

This production is fast paced, colourful, tuneful and fun so come along and enjoy a rapid surge of Shakespeare and get in the spirit of the season. Due to the traverse stage design, seating is limited.

Eastbourne College Theatre, 9th - 11th Dec, 19:30.
Tickets £7.50, available by calling 01323 452255 or emailing

Monday, 25 November 2013

Music Hall Tavern (music)

Billed as 'the funniest night of your holiday' the drag show Music Hall Tavern is leaving its Canary Island roots behind for while to embark on a UK tour and the Royal Hippodrome Theatre is to be the Eastbourne venue. There will be lots of songs and laughter but nothing too 'adult' as the Hippodrome are selling children's tickets!

Apparently over one million people have already enjoyed the show - perhaps you are one of them? - and bringing a blast of Mediterrean sunshine into what will probably be a dismal British December can only be a good thing! Paul Carroll stars as Mrs T and I believe co-stars for this tour will be Special K and Nelly. So get your friends together and your glad rags on for a sparkling night of music, laughter and razzamattaz.

Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Sat 7th Dec, 19:30.
Tickets £18 adult, £16 concessions, £8 children, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Le Week-End (film)

A bit short notice for the subject of today's blog but there's a good looking film coming up at Hailsham Pavilion in a couple of days' time. Le Week-End is the fourth collaboration between director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi, who began developing the story together seven years ago during a weekend trip to Montmartre. Their finished film, described as a poignant comedy, premiered in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsey Duncan) Burrows are a married academic couple from Birmingham advancing in age and tension. To mark their 30th wedding anniversary and hoping to rejuvenate their marriage, the two embark on a trip to the city where they honeymooned three decades ago - Paris. Unfortunately, things tend not to go as planned. Eventually, the Burrows bump into Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), a successful former student of Nick’s, and attend a dinner party that ultimately opens up a new view of life and love for them both.

Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 26th, Wed 27th and Thu 27th Nov, 19:45.
Wed 26th and Thu 27th Nov, 14:15.
Tickets £6.50, £5 concessions, £4.50 Wed matinee, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person from the Box Office.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Wonderland (art)

From Nothing to One by Michael Challenger
A new exhibition at the Towner Gallery started on the 2nd of November and will continue until the 26th of January next year. Inspired by the fabulous Chiharu Shiota installation on the top floor - if you haven't seen that yet, you absolutely MUST go! Wonderland will draw on works in the collection that explore themes of space and architecture.

Many of the pieces contain elements of surprise or subversion within them, or explore the way in which people try to control and simplify natural and physical environments. The display will include Ceal Floyer’s Door (1995), Derek Boshier’s Vista City (1964) and Test of Courage (2000) by Rut Blees Luxemburg. Images of From Nothing To One by Michael Challenger and Hiatus by Mircea Cantor are being used to advertise the exhibition so I guess they will both be on show too!

Towner Gallery, Sat 2nd Nov to Sun 26th Jan, 10:00, 17:00.
Closed Mondays.
Free admission.

Friday, 22 November 2013

VOICES Choirs Concert (music)

It's been a great year for the VOICES choirs in Pevensey and Eastbourne. Diana Terry has contacted me with an update on everything they've done and some exciting news about upcoming concerts too. The Eastbourne branch has just moved to Christ Church, Seaside where there are currently have over 30 singers. Plus there is now a third group too: Daytime VOICES. It is specifically for people who are unable to attend evening sessions. Daytime VOICES meets at Pevensey Bay Baptist Church every Thursday from 12.30-2.00.

DT: At our Summer concert, we raised an amazing £1200 split between MacMillan Cancer and Demelza Children's Hospice. We sang for Samaritans in the Arndale Centre to help with their collections, and also in the shop window at the opening of the new Scope shop in Eastbourne! And talk about versatile - we sang on a lorry trailer at Castlefest in Pevensey Bay! A short time ago, we performed at Chalk Farm for the Mayors Charity Barbeque. He must have liked us as he has asked us to sing at the Winter Garden on 11th Dec at his Christmas function.

DT: November sees us singing for Juvenile Diabetes Charity and Children With Cancer. Our highlight will be our own fundraising concert at Eastbourne Town Hall on December 13th, when all three branches of VOICES will come together in song. The Xmas concert has varied songs in the first half, and Christmas themed songs in the second half - NOT Xmas Carols! Songs include I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables, Dancing In The Street, Hero by Mariah Carey, Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and many more. Xmas songs include Santa Baby! Winter Wonderland and White Christmas.

Eastbourne Town Hall, Fri Dec 13th.
Tickets £7, available by calling Diana Terry on 01323 766994, or in person prior to any choir rehearsal: Weds 18:45-19:00 at Christ Church, Seaside. Thurs 12:15-12:30 OR 18:30-19:00 at Pevensey Bay Baptist Church.
There will be NO tickets on the night as the concerts are always sell outs!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Caesar Must Die (film)

In some ways, I find it incredible that people are still creating new work based on the four hundred year old scripts of William Shakespeare. I recently saw an American Much Ado About Nothing produced and directed by Joss Whedon and Caesar Must Die (Cesare deve morire) is based on the Tragedy Of Julius Caesar. I often think that surely there must be enough other good stories written that this continual revisiting is unnecessary, but then along comes an adaptation that is different and exciting and that makes the works contemporary and relevant again.

The excitement surrounding Caesar Must Die suggests that this is one such production. Film critic Philip French wrote an interesting article for The Observer which should certainly convince any waverers to get themselves along to the Curzon for the screenings! Italian brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani both wrote the screenplay and directed the film. A third Taviani, Giuliano, composed the music. The film is set in Rebbibia Prison, in Rome, and uses genuine prisoners as its cast. The men are rehearsing for a prison pproduction of Julius Caesar and we see their work from the initial casting to the final performance, the theatre blending with their real lives behind bars.

Curzon Cinema, Wed 4th Dec, 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).

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

St Agnes Fountain (music)

Hopefully I haven't left it too late to be blogging about the Christmas Institution that is the St Agnes Fountain Christmas show series. Last year's event at Hailsham Pavilion was so over-subscribed that the band are returning again this year, but it's still a for-one-night-only so if you haven't already got your tickets, you might want to book up very soon. The concert is a Spyboy promotion.

The 'Aggies' (to those in the know) will be touring their seasonal show for the thirteenth consecutive year since they got together in 2001 to record their eponymous first album. David Hughes and Fairport Convention's Chris Leslie, together with Chris While and Julie Matthews, present a feast of superb musicianship and inventive arrangements, original Christmas songs and traditional carols. They play a wide range of instruments between them, the only common denominator appearing to be the ukelele! I also saw oud, mandolin, American Indian flute and bodhran among the more unusual names.

Hailsham Pavilion, Sat 14th Dec, 19:30.
Tickets £20, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person from the Box Office.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Babette's Feast (film)

The first Danish film to win an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film is the Under Ground Theatre's Sunday matinee choice for December. Babette's Feast was written and directed by Gabriel Axel and its story is based on a story by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen). The film was released in 1987 and subtitled with dialogue in Danish, Swedish and French.

Two sisters, Martine (Birgitte Federspiel) and Philippa (Bodil Kjer) live together in a remote village in Jutland, overseeing the remnants of a Christian church group established by their father. As a young woman, Philippa was courted by an opera singer but her father sent him away. Thirty-five years later, a refugee, Babette (Stephanie Audran) arrives from Paris carrying a letter from the singer that recommends her services as a housekeeper. The sisters take her on and Babette serves them well. When some years later, Babette wins a large sum of money on a lottery, she decides to secretly spend all the money on a magnificent meal to show her gratitude to the sisters. However, as more and more luxurious ingredients arrive in their village, Martine and Philippa begin to believe that such an indulgence is sinful.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 8th Dec, 14:30.
Tickets £6.50 to include tea/coffee and cakes after the screening, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 18 November 2013

I Love You Because (musical theatre)

Eastbourne College have chosen a very contemporary musical for their December production which will be performed at the Birley Centre. I Love You Because opened off Broadway in 2006 and is a modern musical twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It has beautiful music composed by Joshua Salzman with lyrics by Ryan Cunningham, and some hilarious scenes.

Set in New York City, this story revolves around how a young uptight greeting-card writer’s life is changed when he meets a flighty photographer, Marcy. Austin Bennet believes he is in a safe, predicatable relationship with Catherine and so is amazed to discover her in bed with another man! Determined to win Catherine back, Austin enlists the help of Marcy but ends falling for her instead.

Birley Centre, 3rd Dec 17:45, 4th - 7th Dec 19:30.
Tickets £7.50, available by calling 01323 452255 or emailing

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Nutcracker (ballet)

Russian Ballet image
I blogged about The Nutcracker around this time last year so I had thought I would give it a miss this year. However, there is such a concerted effort to make sure that everyone sees the ballet during December that I am blogging again! What do I mean by this? Well, there are three different performances on offer between the 2nd and the 14th of December. No excuses to miss it then! There's a synopsis of the plotline on my previous post so I won't repeat it again here.

The first performance is a live production at the Congress Theatre by the Russian State Opera and Ballet Theatre of Astrakhan. It will feature a 30-piece orchestra playing for the dancers choreographed by Konstantin Uralskii.
Congress Theatre, Mon 2nd Dec, 19.30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Congress Theatre Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Ten days later, the Royal Opera House will host a screening of their performance to Cineworld in Sovereign Harbour. Featuring Laura Morera as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Federico Bonelli as The Prince, the broadcast lasts just over two hours and will include an interval.
Cineworld, Thu 12th Dec, 19.15.
Tickets £17.90 adults, £14.20 concessions, available online, by calling 0845 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Last but by no means least, we return to the Congress Theatre for the Southern Youth Ballet production. Again a live performance with an orchestra, this Nutcracker will be conducted by Kenneth Roberts and will feature local young dancers aged from eight years old upwards.
Congress Theatre, Sat 14th Dec, 17.00.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Congress Theatre Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Holly And The Ivy (theatre)

If you enjoyed Middle Ground Theatre Company's production of Cadfael: Virgin In The Ice a while ago, then you might be glad to know of their next production coming to Eastbourne in a couple of week's time. The Holly And The Ivy is an uplifting Christmas drama, written by Wynyard Browne, and the Company has been touring the play annually for seventeen years. To be that successful, it must have something special about it!

Set around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1947, the story follows the family of elderly Reverend Martin Gregory as they gather together for Christmas. The faithful daughter, her estranged sister, the son in the army and two bickering old aunts make sure it’s certainly a festive period to remember! Simmering tensions, incredible revelations, and a good dose of humour make this an absorbing and uplifting drama for the whole family.

For this year's tour Stuart McGugan (It Ain't Half Hot Mum/Tutti Fruiti) will take the role of Reverend Martin Gregory and will be joined by Corrinne Wicks (Importance of being Earnest), Tom Butcher (Importance of being Earnest), Dean Smith (Waterloo Road), Sally Sanders, Alan Leith, Charlotte Hunter and Hildegard Neil.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 26th to Sat 30th Nov, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Martyn Joseph (music)

It's hard to pin down the music of singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph. Americana is the label I've used for this post but that's because it encompasses such a wide range of music!

With a career spanning 30 years, 31 albums, over a half a million record sales and thousands of live performances, Martyn Joseph is a powerful singer and songwriter gifted with the rare ability to speak to the soul with his expressive and poignant lyrics. A unique talent driven by passion, social awareness and love for his trade, his music manages to empower and speak for the many. He has created his own style and reputation as a mesmerising live performer, drawing comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews but always with an indefinable 'something' that makes his music his own. He has won the love of audiences from USA to Europe through an impressive number of live dates, and has previously toured with the likes of Art Garfunkel, Jools Holland, Ani DiFranco, Suzanne Vega, Mike and The Mechanics, Joan Armatrading, Celine Dion and Shirley Bassey.

Opening the show will be fellow Welsh folk musicians and friends of Martyn: Steve Balsamo and Rosalie Deighton.

Under Ground Theatre, Wed 27th Nov, 20.00.
Tickets £15, available online or by calling 01524 414043. This gig is an outside hiring of the Under Ground so tickets are not available in advance from the theatre itself. There probably won't be many (if any!) left on the door either.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Rocky Horror Picture Show (film)

One of these people might be me!
The successful Fun Film Party evenings are returning to the Royal Hippodrome on Seaside and the next film is to be Richard O'Brien's science fiction classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror was originally a stage show that premiered in 1973 and the film version followed two years later in 1975. Writer Richard O'Brien plays the part of Riff Raff, the handyman and many scenes are brilliantly stolen by Tim Curry as the mad scientist Dr Frank N Furter. Other stars include Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick and Patricia Quinn. Keep your eyes open for cameo performances from Meatloaf and Christopher Biggins as well.

The film has become a great cult classic to which audiences go dressed up as their favourite characters, sing along to the songs, and shout out their own cues and lines, most of which I probably shouldn't type on this blog post! (and while we're on that subject, the Hippodrome says this screening is not suitable for under 15s.) In order to encourage you to get a gang to go dressed up together, group discounts are being offered - buy nine tickets and get the tenth free. "Let's do the Time Warp again"!

Royal Hippodrome, Sat 30th Nov, 19:30.
Tickets £12, £10 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from Eastbourne Theatre Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Water (film)

From Denmark yesterday for Babette's Feast to India today for Water which has been chosen by Seaford Community Cinema for screening in November. The third in a trilogy of films directed by Deepa Mehta and titled for different elements, Water is a dark tale of colonial India in the 1940s.

At this time, Hindu women who were widowed were expected to spend the rest of their lives ostracised from their communities, living a religious life of poverty. Child marriage was also common practice and Water tells the story of one young girl, Chuyia, who was married at seven years old. When her husband dies shortly afterwards, the child is incarcerated in an Ashram with fourteen other widows, her hair cut off and with only a coarse white sari to wear. Chuyia initially believes that her mother will come to take her home again but soon comes to realise that her situation is meant to be permanent.

Barn Theatre, Fri 22nd Nov, 19:30.
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.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Michael Jackson: This It It tribute (music)

Michael Jackson fans in Eastbourne are to be offered the chance to experience the magic of the show that they never got to see when, at the end of November, the This Is It Tribute rolls into town.

Eastbourne Theatres say that the show will star "one of the world’s greatest Michael Jackson tribute artistes" although I cannot find out anywhere who this actually is! There will also be "an incredible live band, backing singers, superb dancers, spectacular staging, lighting and state of the art video projection. This is a celebration of the greatest pop icon of all time and not to be missed!"

Congress Theatre, Fri 29th Nov, 19:30.
Tickets £23, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Congress Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Nick Dow (music)

Just in time to tell you about this Friday's guest artist at Seaford Folk Club! Nick Dow is known as a collector of traditional British folk songs - he and his wife have collected over 300 from Dorset alone - as well a BBC radio DJ presenting the Radio Lancashire Bluenotes programme.

A professional musician since the late 1970s, Nick Dow has recently returned to the folk scene after an extended absence. His career began in South London where he was a regular at The Bird in Hand folk club in Forest Hill. He travelled around the world from his late teens but managed to release several albums during the 1980s and 1990s. A break from professional musicianship saw him turn instead to traditional crafts, in particular the restoration of gypsy caravans and narrowboats. I have learned that he even restored a caravan for Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood. Nick Dow is interested in other aspects of gypsy culture, his recordings of their singers and songs were included in a massive anthology on Topic Records entitled The Voice Of The People.

British Legion Club, Fri Nov 15th, 19:45.
Admission by donation which is used to pay the guest artist.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Los Pacaminos (music)

I know I've enjoyed hearing Los Pacaminos play before but I've been struggling to remember where! I could picture us dancing inside the marquee and knew it was a mini festival several years ago but the venue totally escaped me. Eventually I gave in and asked Dave. It was the Black Horse Festival at Telham! 

Soon Los Pacaminos are going to be playing their brand of Tex-Mex music at Hailsham Pavilion, in a Spyboy promotion supported by our own Cajun Dawgs. The gig will be two months after their 21st Birthday Gig. Fans themselves of Border, Tex-Mex and Americana music, the seven piece band unofficially formed in 1992 to play purely for fun when their other commitments allowed. They perform a mix of all these styles, some classic songs that you'll definitely know well and some original compositions. They are primarily a group of friends who all also happen to be outstanding musicians - and they have all played at some time in the bands of lead singer and guitarist Paul Young who you might just recognise in the centre of the photo above. Other members of the band are guitarist Drew Barfield, pedal steel player Melvyn Duffy, keyboard and accordian player Matt Irving, guitarist Jamie Moses, bass player Steve Greetham and drummer Mark Pinder. 

Hailsham Pavilion, Sat 23rd Nov, 19:30.
Tickets £20, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person from the Box Office.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Liz Fletcher Quintet (jazz)

Vocalist Liz Fletcher is being joined by saxophonist Andy Panayi for her gig at the Under Ground Theatre in December. You might remember his visit to the same venue with his own quartet in 2012? She also recorded with more recent visitor Matt Wates for her 1997 album Mellow Mania.

Liz is from a family of singers and includes artists such as Peggy Lee, Julie London and Ella Fitzgerald among her influences. She has performed extensively in the UK as well as across Europe, the Far East and the USA. Another previous Under Ground jazz musician, Alan Barnes, together with playwright Alan Plater wrote the album Songs For Unsung Heroes and asked Liz to record the work. On her website, Liz says of the project “Never have I learned so much and laughed so much as when working these two extraordinarily talented men. I am forever grateful”.

Under Ground Theatre, 6th Dec, 20.00.
Tickets £12, students and UGT members £11, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from the Under Ground Theatre and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Lucky Star (opera)

New Sussex Opera are undertaking a short four-venue tour of Emmanuel Chabrier's three-act comic opera, Lucky Star (L'Etoile), throughout November. They will start at Lewes Town Hall before coming to the Devonshire Park Theatre, then on to East Grinstead's Chequer Mead and finally the Cadogan Hall in London. The production is directed by Susannah Waters, who was involved with The Rake's Progress this summer. The designer is Nicola Blackwell and the musical director is Nicholas Jenkins. The cast includes Neil Jenkins as King Ouf 1, Geoffrey Moses as Siroco, Stephanie Corley as Princess Laoula and Katie Bray as Lazuli.

L'Etoile was first performed in Paris in 1877. New Sussex Opera will be performing the work in an English translation by Jeremy Sams. King Ouf wants to execute someone as a birthday treat to himself and searches his city for a suitable candidate. He decides upon pedlar Lazuli who has insulted him. But Lazuli has fallen in love with Laoula, a princess who is travelling in disguise in order to be presented to Ouf as his bride.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Sun 24th Nov, 15:00.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bill Cunningham New York (film)

The second of Eastbourne Film Society's November duo of films about older people is the independent American film, Bill Cunningham New York.

The man himself is a New York Times fashion photographer who has two columns in the newspaper, On The Street and Evening Hours. Bill has obsessively chronicled and photographed fashion trends in New York all his life and is now iconic in the business, so much so that names like Anna Wintour, Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor and David Rockefeller appear in the film. Bill himself is as far from fashionable as perhaps it is possible to get. Appearing even smaller than he is as he is hunched with age, his preferred mode of transport is his trusty bicycle and he is frequently dismissive of the people and culture to which he has dedicated his life.

Director Richard Press spent two years following Bill Cunningham around with just a minimal crew and small handheld cameras, similar to the way in which his subject works, and ended up creating a poignant portrait of a very enigmatic man.

Curzon Cinema, Wed 20th 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)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Ping Pong (film)

The first of a pair of films being screened at the Curzon Cinema on the 20th of November is the British-made Ping Pong. It will be followed by an America offering, Bill Cunningham New York, and both film are themed around life-affirming presentations of people in their eighties.

Directed by Hugh Hartford and produced by Anson Hartford, Ping Pong is a documentary which followed eight pensioners as they trained for and competed in a table tennis championships in Inner Mongolia. Dot, Rune, Lisa, Les, Inge, Terry, Ursula and Sun came from all over the world and their ages range from 82 to 101. Dot, who now lives in Australia is the oldest competitive player in the world. Coincidentally, she left the UK on a Sydney bound boat in 1911 when she was two which was around the same time Table Tennis is said to have been invented.

Ping Pong premiered at Toronto's HotDocs Film Festival in April 2012 and its first UK screening was in Sheffield on the 15th of June. It has received wonderful reviews, many of which are linked to from the film's own website.

Curzon Cinema, Wed 20th 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, 5 November 2013

4 Square (music)

Described by none other than John Tams as "simply stunning", the young Manchester-based quartet that is 4 Square has recently taken the festival circuit by storm with its unique and distinctive sound and instrumental prowess. Now they are on their way to Eastbourne for a visit to the Lamb Folk Club in November as part of a two month national tour.

4 Square are Nicola Lyons (fiddle, clogs, vocals), Jim Molyneux (piano, accordion, vocals), Daniel Day, (percussion, piano, vocals) and James Meadows (banjo, mandola, tenor guitar). Although the band was formed in 2006, in a farmhouse near Rochdale, it was their Cropredy Festival appearance in 2009 which made their name. They are currently onto their third studio album and have shared stages with the likes of Steve Winwood, Joe Brown, Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson and Seth Lakeman. The music combines elements of traditional British folk with world music riffs and rhythms, a jazz-funk edge and a wicked sense of humour. I have included a YouTube clip of their Cropredy performance below.

Lamb Folk Club, 20th Nov, 20:00.
Admission £6, payable on the door.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Joan Crowhurst (art)

Several striking images will be on show for Art at the Under Ground throughout November.

Fascinated by the ambiguity of images, Joan Crowhurst explores shadow, reflection and silhouette. In this exhibition the visitor may see a cat (or even two!) as Joan feels that these wonderful creatures can be enigmatic and covert suggesting camouflage and mystery. Skills that she honed in the printing industry are evident in her paintings which have clean edges and a designer look. Considerable art training has enabled Joan to paint in many mediums including: gouache, watercolour, acrylic and pastel; as the mood takes and as the subject matter demands for best effect.

Joan’s paintings and drawings will be on sale and on view at the Under Ground Theatre on Fridays and Saturdays between 10am-4pm throughout November 2013 and may also be seen by patrons at any event.

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

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A Slow Air (theatre)

The next Bootcamp Theatre production is being performed at the Under Ground Theatre for three nights at the very end of November. The play, A Slow Air, is by David Harrower who also wrote the powerful drama Blackbird, performed by Green Room Productions in June of last year. A Slow Air premiered at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in 2011 before transferring to the Transverse Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Bootcamp cast will be Sandra Cheesman (The Wife The Mistress The Chair, Just Joyce) and Steve Scott (Secret Honour, The History Boys).

Morna works as a cleaner in Edinburgh. She spends her time drinking, attempting affairs and trying to work out the mind of the son with whom she shares her flat. Her elder brother, Athol, lives near Glasgow airport with his wife. The owner of a floor-tiling company, with two grown-up children, he’s proud of his hard-won achievements since moving west. Between them, they have differing memories of their upbringing and their parents and definite opinions about each other. But these are left unsaid because Morna and Athol haven’t spoken to each other in fourteen years. When Morna’s son Joshua travels to see his uncle, he sets off a remarkable and life-changing series of events.

Under Ground Theatre, Thu 28th to Sat 30th Nov, 19:45.
Tickets £11, £9, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from the Under Ground Theatre and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Stella (theatre)

Two female scientists are the subject of the play Stella which is coming to the Devonshire Park Theatre towards the end of this month. Take The Space Theatre Company are based in Brighton and have already toured plays about Samuel Pepys and Robert Hooke. Now they have turned their attention to astronomy.

This is a play about Time, Space, Curiosity and Passion: two women astronomers, Jessica Bell from the 21st century and Caroline Herschel from the 18th century look up at the same night sky and find themselves colliding in their search for understanding. Caroline longs for a family and home of her own; Jess contemplates the prospect of losing both. Each woman can precisely map her position in the universe yet she struggles to find her place in the world.

Stella has been designed by Gus Munro, directed by Chris Barnes with Polly Irvin and written by Siobhán Nicholas. It will star Chris Barnes, Kathryn Pogson and Siobhán Nicholas. The production is funded by Arts Council England, Science and Technology and Facilities Council and The Institute of Physics

Devonshire Park Theatre, Fri 22nd and Sat 23rd Nov, 19:45.
Sat matinee, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Hard Pressed (music)

Seaford Folk Club resident performers Hard Pressed will be making their coffee-morning debut at the Under Ground Theatre on the 16th of November. The trio - Liz Randall, Roger Resch and Derek Seed will be singing sea shanties and other songs of the ocean waves. They’ll be supported by special guests Full Shanty who perform in the same folk tradition.

The seagoing past of Sussex and Kent is a big influence and Hard Pressed have a maritime repertoire including songs that will make you think and songs that will make you laugh. Both historical and contemporary songs are included in their set and we are promised several that will be instantly recognisable: The Leaving of Liverpool, What Shall We do with the Drunken Sailor? and The Sloop John-B. The band have appeared at folk-clubs throughout south-east England and at international maritime festivals. Penny-whistle, concertina and accordion accompaniments come from Liz Randall, who has appeared at the UGT, singing comic songs with John Cave. Roger Resch combines his share of lead vocals with some accomplished accordion-playing, and Derek Seed is known for a voice that can be heard above storm-force winds and creaking timbers!

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 16th Nov, 10:00-12:00.
Free admission.