Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Voices And Strings (music)

You might have noticed that I rarely blog about classical music. This is mainly because I know very little about the subject and tend to be more drawn towards jazz, americana and folk. However, when local Sussex composer Clive Whitburn got in touch to talk about his Eastbourne Festival event, Voices And Strings, I thought it might be time to learn a little more.

The concert will include several favourite classic works, one of which - Handel's Zadoc the Priest - I have actually sung myself as one of many in a schools' concert at the Albert Hall. This was over 20 years ago when I was still a soprano(!) but I still remember the fabulous atmosphere created by hundreds of us singing out together.

Voices And Strings will also have performances of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, Ave Verum Corpus and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1st Movement) by Mozart, Schubert's String Quartet no. 14 in D minor Death and the Maiden (1st Movement) and Dvorak's String Quartet Opus 96 no 12 The American (Finale). The musicians and vocalists are The New Network Singers, Sue Clough (Soprano), Tim Peters (Tenor), The Ashdown String Quartet and Ric Graebner (Piano).

There will also be three of Clive Whitburn's own works. The duet “Dream of Peace” for Soprano, Tenor, string quartet and piano will receive its first public performance at the concert. I have embedded a previous orchestral incarnation of the work at the end of the post to give you a preview. Clive first came up with the melody several years ago when he was Headteacher at Langney Primary School for a song for a school play. Somehow the melody remained with him. Unusually, for Clive, he has written both the words and music for “Dream of Peace”. This gentle and poignant duet asks that we learn from history and bring an end to war. It reaches a stirring climax with the plea to “ bring an end to all this madness, there has to be a way... learn and find a better way” It will be performed by Sue Clough, soprano, and Tim Peters, Tenor.

The other works by Clive being premiered in the concert are: “No Man is an Island - a gentle and melodic choral setting of John Donne’s famous poem. and “The Furies - Soft Rains” for chorus, quartet and piano. Here Clive has taken a powerful and energetic early 17th century text by Du Bartas /Joshua Sylvester and melted it into a wistful and evocative setting of Sara Teasdale’s early 20th Century poem “There Will Come Soft Rains”.

And if you're interested, the striking artwork on the Voices And Strings posters is by Poppy Foyle.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 4th May, 18.30.
Tickets £8.50 in advance and concessions, £10 on the door. Advance tickets can be purchased online through this link via +TicketSource

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Why has Central Asia always attracted British Adventurers? (talk)

I'm already going to +Cineworld Cinemas on the 1st of May for the +National Theatre Live screening of King Lear, but if Shakespeare isn't your thing, there's also a potentially fascinating talk at the +Redoubt Fortress on the same evening. Sir John Ure will discuss why Central Asia has always attracted British Adventurers. The talk is to raise funds for +Pestalozzi UK, a charity offering life-changing opportunities to young people from disadvantaged communities around the world.

Sir John Ure’s talk will give us a unique insight into the motives and adventures of those early explorers, soldiers, merchants and missionaries who risked their lives among the emirs and khans of Central Asia, and who made the first two-way contact with people whose rich cultures and traditions were so different to their own. 

Sir John Ure’s diplomatic career included postings at embassies in Moscow, Leopoldville, Santiago and Lisbon. He is former British Ambassador to Cuba, Brazil and Sweden and Commissioner-General for Expo ’92 in Spain. Now an historian and travel writer, Sir John has served on the council of the Royal Geographical Society and was for 10 years Chairman of the judges of the Travel book of the Year award.

After the talk, drinks will be served in the Redoubt Café where there will be an opportunity to meet some of Pestalozzi’s inspirational students and find out about their extraordinary lives.

Redoubt Fortress, Thu 1st May, 18:00.
Tickets £15, purchasing details on the Pestalozzi website.

Pestalozzi students

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Yves Saint Laurent (film)

Hailsham Pavilion has two screenings of a new French biography film of the wonderful fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in May. The 15 certificate film stars Pierre Niney, Guillaume Gallienne and Charlotte Le Bon and is in French with English subtitles. Apparently two biopics of the designer are due to hit our screens in 2014 - this is the first.

The biopic begins in French Algeria in 1957 from where a young Yves Saint Laurent (Pierre Niney) moves to Paris to begin working for the couturier Christian Dior. He meets model Victoire Doutreleau (Charlotte le Bon) and designer Karl Lagerfeld (Nikolai Kinski) before stumbling across the man who was to become both his business partner and the love of his life, Pierre Berge (Guillaume Gallienne).

Having read several reviews, it appears that the portrayal of the relationship between Yves and Pierre is the best part of the film whereas the scenes concentrating on the clothes and the fashion world at the time might have more of a niche appeal. This review on the BBC News website talks about the actors' preparation for the film.

Hailsham Pavilion, Mon 12th and Tue 13th May, 19:45.
Tickets £7, concessions £5.50, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at the Box Office.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Photo At The Tea Shop (art)

Formerly the Bumper Bookshop on Grove Road, The Tea Shop has now changed its emphasis from a bookshop serving refreshments to a cafe that also sells books. They are currently getting involved with the Eastbourne Festival by hosting the Photo At The Tea Shop photography exhibition.

I found myself with an unexpected day off on Wednesday so, having been tipped off by Josie Tipler of Lend Me A Tenor 'fame', I walked into Eastbourne to take a closer look. The Tea Shop has a great retro vibe with red and white polka dot tablecloths and Enid Blyton hardbacks scattered on the tables. As I got there, 'The Biggest Aspidistra In The World' was playing - not sure if it was the Gracie Fields version but this gives you an idea of the cosy ambience.

The two photographers are showing very different work and I liked the contrast between them. Much of Mark Sander's work is black and white, portraits and landscapes, with curious compositions that made me pause and consider. Elizabeth Doak on the other hand uses vintage dolls as her subjects, brightly coloured and initially fun but with an increasing element of sadness and poignancy to them the longer I looked. My favourite was of a Sindy doll, very like one I used to own, gazing into the camera.

The photography exhibition was opened with a performance by Brighton songwriter Lorraine Bowen. Described for me at the Tea Shop as a great cabaret with hints of Victoria Wood who plays her piano with an ironing board as the stand! If you haven't been lucky enough to catch her act, already, Lorraine will be at The Lamb in Old Town tomorrow evening (26th April, tickets on the door)

The Tea Shop, Mon to Fri, 19th Apr to 11th May, 10:00 - 17:00.
Free admission but do try the ginger cake - it's delicious!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Nicholas Nickleby / Great Expectations (theatre)

The great great grandson of Charles Dickens, Gerald Dickens, is returning to Eastbourne's Under Ground Theatre in May with a double bill of plays based on his ancestor's novels. We last saw him at the Under Ground last August for An Audience With Charles Dickens. Now he will present Nicholas Nickleby and Great Expectations, performing both on the same day and playing all the characters himself.

Gerald will perform Nicholas Nickleby at 2.30pm - the timeless story of a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. Through Gerald’s gifted story-telling you will meet the characters that created this comic masterpiece: Smike, Wackford Squeers, Vincent Crummles, Newman Noggs and many others.

Gerald’s portrayal of Great Expectations will keep you on the edge of your seats at 7.30pm as he retells this beloved coming of age story about the young orphan, Pip. Gerald will tell the story as some of the colourful characters in the plot; Miss Havisham, beautiful Estella, escaped convict – Abel Magwitch and more.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 24th May.
Nicholas Nickleby - 14.30.
Great Expectations - 19.30.
Tickets £11 for each show, students and UGT members £9 for each show, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from the Under Ground Theatre and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Renee White Community Garden appeal

Start of the Renee White Community Garden 
Never let it be said that I get all my news from Twitter(!), but every once in a while I learn about something going on that is pretty cool. One such is an +Indiegogo appeal to build a Community Garden in central Eastbourne.

Renee White was a resident of Winchcombe Road in Eastbourne for many years, who continually championed getting something done about the waste area behind her house. Now the area - former unused ground between Dursley Road and Winchcombe Road - is being turned into the Renee White Community Garden in her memory. Work has already begun with raised beds and borders installed, trees and fruit bushes planted. However, in order to really make the Garden a place for the whole community, the volunteers are raising funds for simple level walkways and a proper permanent seating/meeting area.

If you are able to contribute financially, the fundraising page is at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/renee-white-community-garden-eastbourne It was already nearly at 10% of the total when I typed this post and had only been active for a few days. To encourage you, one of the 'rewards' for pledging is homemade Strawberry and Lavender Jam! Other ways you could help would be by donating stuff such as plants and plant pots or even yourself - more labour is always welcome! There are contact details on both the Appeal Page and via the Facebook Group.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Mildred Pierce (film)

Back to the Under Ground Theatre again for today's post where Joan Crawford will put in an Oscar-winning performance in the 1945 drama Mildred Pierce. The film has been chosen as the Sunday afternoon classic matinee and will be screened on the 11th of May. It will be introduced with a short illustrated presentation on its importance by Dr Niall Richardson, lecturer at the School of Media, Film and Music at Sussex University.

Mildred Pierce is a film noir work which opens with the murder of Mildred's second husband, Beragon (Zachary Scott). Police on the scene believe that Beragon has been shot by her first husband, Bert Pierce (Bruce Bennett). When Bert confesses to the crime, the audience is shown Mildred's life in a series of flashbacks which she narrates herself. Struggling to create a good life for herself and her daughters, Mildred has raised herself from lowly waitress to the owner of a chain of restaurants. However her social climber daughter, Veda (Ann Blyth), is ashamed of her roots. Mildred remarries to the apparently wealthy Beragon but finds herself supporting his playboy lifestyle as well as trying to fund her daughter's materialistic ambitions. The film is based on a novel by James M Cain.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 11th May, 14:30.
Tickets, £6.50 to include tea/coffee and cake after the film, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Under Ground Theatre and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Andy Panayi Quartet (jazz)

I last blogged about the Andy Panayi quartet in May 2012 when they were touring an evening of Cole Porter music to venues including Eastbourne's Under Ground Theatre. Now, almost exactly two years later, the quartet is returning to the Under Ground.

The line up this time around comprises of Andy Panayi on baritone/tenor saxes and flute, Mark Nightingale on trombone,  Simon Woolf on bass and Clark Tracey on drums. Their repertoire is very likely to include several Cole Porter tunes as well as Thelonius Monk compositions and melodic originals.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 9th May, 20.00.
Tickets £11, students and UGT members £10, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from the Under Ground Theatre and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Eastbourne Photographic Society Annual Exhibition

The Da Vinci Hotel in Eastbourne is the venue for this year's Eastbourne Photographic Society Annual Exhibition. The exhibition opened yesterday according to the EPS website and the hotel itself although the Eastbourne Festival brochure has it not opening until the 28th of April which is a tad confusing. Howard Square is just off the seafront so why not combine a stroll along the prom with a visit to the gallery. You can escape from the brisk wind and revive yourself at the bar!

EPS has been in existence for well over a hundred years which is an amazing achievement in itself, and they are currently proud to be enjoying a tremendous surge in the quality of work produced by their members - much of this from newer joiners encouraged by the digital age and mobile technology. As we can see from the images on the flyer, topics and themes are pretty much unlimited and the thriving club is always pleased to welcome new members. If you are interested in joining, full details are on this dedicated page of the EPS website. However, the last meeting of the 2013/2014 season is the AGM on the 25th.

Da Vinci Hotel and Art Gallery, Sat 19th of April to Sun 11th May, 10:00-16:00 daily, free admission.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Simpsons And Their Mathematical Secrets (talk)

Another Eastbourne Festival event for today's blog post and one for which, as of Thursday evening, there were only twenty-two tickets left so don't hang about too long before booking!

The Simpsons And Their Mathematical Secrets is a talk by science journalist and TV producer +Simon Singh. He has written a book of the same title which delves into the subject as well. Simon is the author of Fermat's Last Theorem, which was a no 1 bestseller in Britain and translated into 22 languages. In 1999, he wrote The Code Book which was also an international bestseller and the basis for the Channel 4 series The Science of Secrecy. I haven't seen him speak live since the Uncaged Monkeys tour came to +Brighton Dome a few years ago, so I'm very much looking forward to this talk at Bibendum next week for that reason and also because it will be my first +Eastbourne Sceptics in the Pub event. I know I already missed several interesting evenings while we were travelling!

Some have seen philosophy embedded in episodes of The Simpsons; others have detected elements of psychology and religion. Simon Singh, bestselling author of Fermat's Last Theorem, The Code Book and The Big Bang, instead makes the compelling case that what The Simpsons' writers are most passionate about is mathematics.

The talk will be followed by a break and will then resume with a Question and Answer session. Please note, the talk will be held in an upstairs room with no lift access.

Bibendum, Thu 24th Apr, 19:30.
Tickets £3.30, available online through WeGotTickets.

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Deep (film)

There's a Scandinavian film on at Eastbourne's Curzon Cinema at the beginning of May. The Deep is an Icelandic/Norwegian co-production directed by Balthasar Kormákur from a screenplayby Jón Atli Jónasson and himself. The Deep has a 12A certificate and was selected as Iceland's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar last year. This screening is an Eastbourne Film Society presentation.

The Deep tells the story of the incredible survival of an Icelandic fisherman named Guðlaugur Friðþórsson. He was aboard a boat with four colleagues when it capsized tipping them all into water that was only 5 degrees celsius. Guðlaugur swam for six hours in this freezing water before managing to drag himself ashore. However, his ordeal did not end there. He was washed up at a place where newly formed lava spills into the sea and had to walk across an area of rough lava in order to reach the nearest town.

Curzon Cinema, Wed 7th May, times tbc.
Tickets £6.80, £4.80 concessions, available by calling 01323 731441 or in person at the Box Office (15:00 to 19:00 daily).

Thursday, 17 April 2014

She Stoops To Conquer (theatre)

I had some great news last week regarding the imminent Creative Cow (Merry Wives Of Windsor, Charley's Aunt) production of She Stoops To Conquer at Eastbourne's Devonshire Park Theatre. I've won two tickets for opening night! I don't often get free tickets to anything (hint, hint!) so this will be a rare treat. VisitEastbourne regularly run theatrethursday competitions so it's worth keeping an eye on their website and Twitter feed.

Charles Marlow, a well bred young man from London, is beset with a stutter and a quiver when in the presence of elegant and educated young women. When his father sets him up with his old friend’s eligible daughter, he is totally tongue tied - but Miss Hardcastle is charmed by her gibbering suitor and employs an unexpected tactic to put him at his ease. Meanwhile, the ridiculous muppet, Tony Lumpkin, on meeting Marlow and his dashing friend Hastings, leads them to believe that old Mr Hardcastle’s country house is actually an inn and the man of the house is the inn keeper. Mayhem and confusion ensue as the young men demand to be waited upon by a bewildered and increasingly outraged host.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 29th Apr to Sat 3rd May, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at Eastbourne Theatres Box Offices and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Secret In Their Eyes (film)

An Argentinian cop thriller is the next film choice for Seaford Community Cinema. The Secret In Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) will be screened on the 25th of April.

The 18 certificate film was directed and produced by Juan Jose Campanella who also wrote the screenplay together with Eduardo Sacheri. Sacheri had written the original novel upon which the film is based. Its dialogue is in Spanish and the work won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 82nd Academy Awards. Peter Bradshaw's Guardian review described it as 'supremely watchable' which is pretty high praise from him!

In 1999, a retired policeman, Benjamín Esposito, is writing a novel based on the case of the unsolved rape and murder of Liliana Coloto which had happened some 25 years before. He and his team had been personally affected by the case at the time and he has not been able to forget it over the intervening years. As the novel progresses Esposito uncovers both injustice and lost love.

Barn Theatre, Fri 25th Apr, 19:30.
Tickets £6 adults, £5 members, available in advance either online or in person at Seaford Tourist Office. Any remaining tickets can by purchased on the door.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Classic Ghosts (theatre)

I think I last blogged about Jack Shepherd in December 2012 when he appeared in a performance of Dickens' A Christmas Carol at Seaford Little Theatre. Now he is 'doing Dickens' again as part of a double bill of ghost stories at Eastbourne's Devonshire Park Theatre with the Middle Ground Theatre Company (Cadfael: Virgin In The Ice, Importance of Being Earnest). First night is a week today.

The Signalman by Charles Dickens, been adapted by Francis Evelyn, is the exquisitely unnerving tale of a tormented signalman who is haunted by visions of impending disaster on his isolated stretch of line. Can a well meaning traveller, who chances upon the lonely signal box while out walking, calm the man’s fears before he spirals into self destruction?

Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come To You, My Lad By M.R.James has been adapted by Margaret May Hobbs. I heard this story recently as it was the +Audible.co.uk Christmas giveaway for members. This is the story of Professor Parker, a Cambridge academic on an out of season holiday at a bleak English coast hotel. At an old graveyard near a deserted beach he finds an old bone whistle. On cleaning it, he discovers the inscription: “Quis est iste qui venit” (“Who is this who is coming?”). Blowing the whistle he awakens a disturbing supernatural force. A terrifying ordeal follows and though his scepticism tries to dismiss his unearthly encounters, his eyes and ears cannot.

Both plays have been designed and directed by Michael Lunney. Jack Shepherd will be joined by Terrence Hardiman (The Demon Headmaster/Cadfael), Dicken Ashworth (Coronation Street/Emmerdale), James Morley, Jenny-May Darcy and Greg Fitch.

Devonshire Park, Tue 22nd to Sat 26th Apr, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at Eastbourne Theatres Box Offices and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Vikings - Live From The British Museum (exhibition tour)

If you're fancying going to the cinema but aren't interested in the slew of Easter Holiday blockbusters on offer at the moment,  +Cineworld Cinemas in Eastbourne are screening something very different on the 24th of April: an exclusive, expertly guided live tour of the British Museum's new Vikings exhibition. 

The British Museum's spectacular 'Vikings: Life and Legend' exhibition offers an extraordinary insight into how these great warriors shaped our modern lives. There are plenty of surprises in store as we learn how they created a complex international trading network covering four continents. We also discover our direct connections to the Vikings through language, poetry, names, place names and even our DNA. In this special event, cinema audiences are taken on an exclusive private tour presented by historian and broadcaster Michael Wood. Curators Gareth Williams and Tom Williams bring the exhibition to life, alongside experts on Viking ships and swords, burial and beliefs, language and legacy. The broadcast includes stunning close-up photography of exhibits and the construction of the prow of a giant Viking ship. As night falls, there will also be a live, torch-lit burial ceremony in the Museum's grounds.

Cineworld, Thu 24th Apr, 19:00.
Tickets £15 adults, £12.70 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Lend Me A Tenor (musical theatre)

Previous winners of the Eastbourne Drama Festival with Blue Remembered Hills, the Dicker Players have been wowing audiences for a long time with their fabulous Dicker Cabaret and drama productions. This Spring, as part of the Eastbourne Festival, they have turned their many hands to comedy and are putting on the award winning farce, Lend Me A Tenor at the Under Ground Theatre.

Lend Me A Tenor is by Ken Ludwig, the same playwright as the brilliantly plotted Moon Over Buffalo that I saw around this time last year, so I've got high hopes for the forthcoming Eastbourne show. There are six doors in the set of this Tony-winning farce about the incredible things that go wrong with the local gala fundraiser, and one or more of them is bound to be opening, closing or, mostly, slamming pretty much all the time. The renowned tenor “Il Stupendo” is scheduled to sing the lead in the opera Otello. When he is unexpectedly incapacitated, Max, the opera director’s meek assistant has to find a last minute replacement. Chaos ensues, including a scheming soprano, a tenor-struck ingénue, a jealous wife and the police department!

The production has its own Facebook page which includes a great quote by director, Marilyn Chandler. “It’s all about the doors,” she says. “When a door opens, you know someone’s coming through it, and it’s always the very worst person it could be.” Worst for the characters, that is – best for the audience.

Under Ground Theatre, Wed 23rd to Sat 26th Apr, 19.30.
Sat matinee, 15.00.
Tickets £12, concessions £9, available online or in person from the Under Ground Theatre.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Only Way Is Downton (theatre)

Young impressionist Luke Kempner initially made his name with a fantastic +YouTube spoof video of Downton Abbey impressions entitled Downstairs At Downton. I admit I only watched part of the first episode of the TV programme and never got hooked so most of Luke's video is wasted on me, but I've embedded it at the end of this post in case you're one of the few people who hasn't already seen it!

Following on from this success, Luke wrote a solo show on the same theme which went on to win critical acclaim and sell-out audiences at the +Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year. Now, direct from a West End season, this first national tour of Luke Kempner’s tour-de-force impressions comedy, The Only Way Is Downton, is on its way to Eastbourne's Devonshire Park Theatre in an extended version featuring exclusive new material.

As celebrities start appearing at the Abbey, cultures clash and eras hilariously collide in this brilliant new parody, which takes in many other popular TV shows and familiar modern voices to help the cast of Downton save the estate from financial ruin – again!

Devonshire Park Theatre, Sat 19th Apr, 19.45.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Offices and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Greg Harper (music)

Greg Harper and his music first came to my attention back in July 2012 when he played a Saturday coffee morning gig at the Under Ground Theatre. He recently emailed to let me know that he will be returning to play at the Under Ground again on the evening of Saturday the 19th of April. The performance is part of the Eastbourne Festival and Greg will be joined on stage by Chris Davis (vocals, mandolin and guitars), Gary Holder (double bass) and Tom Holder (vocals, keyboard, percussion).

Greg likes to tell stories through his songs and has received acclaim for his poetic lyrics and catchy melodies. He was a finalist in the UK Songwriting Competition in 2008 and a semi-finalist in 2007, 2009 and 2010. His first live appearance was at the Willows Folk Club in Arundel. More locally, he has played at White Horse Folk in Bodle Street where Chris Liddiard said of his music 'Listen carefully. The words are precious.'

There is a gentleness and peace to Greg's music and I have chosen Seasons as my favourite of the songs I listened to when writing this post. The song takes us full circle through the year and has a real sense of tranquillity. The +YouTube video is illustrated with Greg's own photographs of the South Downs throughout the year.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 19th Apr, 19:30.
Tickets £7.50, available online from the Under Ground or from Greg Harper's website, or in person at the Under Ground Theatre or from Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Cenerentola (opera)

The current +Metropolitan Opera season concludes at +Cineworld Cinemas on the 10th of May with a screening of Rossini's joyous twist on the classic Cinderella story. The approximate running time with be 3 hours and 40 minutes including intervals. You can catch a glimpse of the production in the +YouTube trailer at the end of this post (the screening date is different.)

Cenerentola (Joyce DiDonato) is the stepdaughter of Don Magnifico but is treated as a servant in his household. As she sweeps the floor and obeys every command given to her, Cenerentola dreams that she will find her very own Prince Charming. Then one day the handsome Prince Ramiro (Juan Diego Florez) arrives at the mansion, announcing that he's looking for the most beautiful girl in the land to be his bride - which changes Cenerentola's life forever!

This uplifting production of the beloved opera features powerhouse performances from Rossini virtuosos Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Florez. Mezzo-soprano DiDonato sings her first Met performance of the title role while operatic tenor Florez makes for a suitably dashing Prince. Renowned conductor Fabio Luisi takes to the podium. 

Cineworld, Sat 10th May, 17.55.
Tickets £18.80, concessions £15, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person from the foyer.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A Vicar Of Dibley Christmas (theatre)

Don't let this post's title panic you. It is only just coming up to Easter, but Polegate Drama Group have chosen a Yuletide-themed comedy for their Springtime production.

The Group performed the first Vicar Of Dibley stage show, based on the popular Dawn French television series, in 2012 and had a sell-out run. Now they are taking on the second adaptation, A Vicar Of Dibley Christmas - The Second Coming with the same cast and crew as previously. The play was written by Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter and is being put on with the kind permission of Tiger Aspect productions. We left the village of Dibley as Hugo and Alice were celebrating their marriage and will return to see them undertaking married life together and looking forward to the traditional Christmas Nativity play.

Polegate Community Centre, Wed 7th to Sat 10th May, 19:45.
Sat matinee, 14:45.
Tickets £9, children and students £6, available online via the Polegate Drama Group website or in person from Archer and Partners in Polegate High Street.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Julie Madly Deeply (musical theatre)

Eastbourne theatregoers have a choice of musical tributes to fabulous female performers on the 18th of April! Green Room Productions are reviving their successful Just Joyce tribute to Joyce Grenfell at the Under Ground Theatre while the Devonshire Park Theatre is hosting Julie Madly Deeply, a tribute to Julie Andrews. (Of course, if you can't decide between the two, you could always go to see Just Joyce on the 17th and Julie Madly Deeply on the 18th!)

Adored by millions, Dame Julie Andrews is a genuine legend of showbiz around the globe. This charming yet cheeky cabaret takes an engaging look at fame and fandom, through the eyes and voice of award-winning singer, West End actress and Fascinating Aïda star Sarah-Louise Young, who has been named by +Time Out London as one of London’s Top Ten cabaret performers. Julie’s songs from musicals including Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady are intertwined with stories and anecdotes about Andrews’ own life, from her beginnings as a child star to the recent challenges of losing her famous singing voice. What emerges is a delightfully funny and candid love letter to a true show business survivor.

Sarah-Louise Young will be accompanied by musical director Michael Roulston and the show is directed by Russell Lucas.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Fri 18th April, 19:45.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Offices and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Sherlock Holmes (theatre)

One of literature's most beloved detectives is the next target for the deceptively and delightfully silly Pantaloon Theatre Company. Their Spring 2014 tour of Sherlock Holmes is the first of three shows they are touring in their tenth anniversary year and this one has the (probable) advantage of utilising indoor venues! There are two Eastbourne performances, both on the same day and at the Devonshire Park Theatre.

Dynamic detective duo Holmes and Watson are put through their paces as they tackle their most fiendish case yet in this delightfully inventive and hilarious show for all ages featuring live music, audience interaction and more mystery than you can shake a magnifying glass at. I've embedded a +YouTube trailer at the end of this post. It actually shows open-air performances from last summer's tour and is all of the bits the Pantaloons could include without ruining the best gags and plot twists!

Devonshire Park Theatre, Wed 16th April, 14:30 and 19:45.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Back To Broadway (musical theatre)

Musical highlights shows are perennially popular in Eastbourne and a Broadway themed extravaganza is soon to arrive at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre on Seaside.

Back To Broadway is now touring for its third successful year and offers a new production of 'all of the best loved musicals in one spectacular show'. Audiences can expect to enjoy captivating performances of such songs as ‘One Day More’ from Les Misérables, the glitz and glamour of Copacabana, the uplifting ‘Time Of My Life’ from Dirty Dancing and the fantastic ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked, all sung on an amazing New York set with dazzling costumes and lighting effects. Each song is interwoven by a narrator who gives the audience just a little of the history and plotline of each musical, allowing you to step straight to the right moment in the story. The eight-strong cast is Gina Price, Aston Dobson, Rachel Allard, Kathy Brooke, Kayleigh Ross, Freddie Huddleston, Eddie Kaziro and Luke Kelly, all accomplished singers and dancers from a host of top touring musicals.

Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Fri 11 and Sat 12th April, 19:30.
Tickets £17, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Offices and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Big Beach Clean

I saw the Big Beach Clean mentioned on Eastbourne +Freegle's community newsletter. OK, so it isn't really Art by any stretch of the imagination but it is a positive community event so I'm going to blog about it anyway! 

If you are available on the afternoon on Monday the 28th of April - that's the same Monday as Winter's Tale is being shown at +Cineworld Cinemas so you can recover there afterwards! - then please make your way to Eastbourne Seafront for 1pm to join in with the Big Beach Clean. ( You will need to register in advance though and can do so at http://www.marksandspencer.com/foreverfish )

+M&S organise a Big Beach Clean as part of their annual Corporate Social Responsibility commitment. Eastbourne Town Team are keen to support their efforts to clean our beach ahead of the summer season and help protect kids, pets and sea animals. Last year the initiative swept the beach from the pier to Holywell. Local resident Tim Church who took part said "It was fun to get involved and amazing how much rubbish was collected and categorised." Tim suggested to take your own sun cream though and said that this year M&S have asked that all participants bring gloves. So dig out your marigolds! Perhaps we could see who has the most flamboyant ones? It is hoped that this year will do even better and the more people who get involved, the more successful it could be. More people = more beach. There is a Facebook event page hosted by Adam McNaught-Davis which has more information.

Join this year's effort and earn a wonderful warm feeling inside!

Friday, 4 April 2014

In Praise Of Love (theatre)

Photo by Philip Stewart 
Talking Scarlet are back in Eastbourne! And they're performing a Terence Rattigan play at the Devonshire Park Theatre for a week. In Praise Of Love is a powerful family drama asking difficult questions about relationships and honesty.

The almost unbearably moving story of veiled emotions running deep is based on the true life situation of Rex Harrison's wife, Kay Kendall. Lydia is shielding her husband, Sebastian, from the knowledge that she is dying from leukaemia. But Sebastian does know and is seeking to spare her. She dies without either of them openly acknowledging their true feelings.

There's a fantastic review of the production in the Derbyshire Times from when it was performed at the Pomegranate Theatre in January. The cast then was George Telfer (Dangerous Obsession) as Sebastian, Jo Castleton (Suddenly At HomeDeathtrap) as Lydia, John Hester (Murder Weapon) as family friend Mark, and Griffin Steven (Deathtrap) as their son Joey. I'm hoping we get the same four because I've loved their work before! Just discovered, Eastbourne cast will be George Telfer, Jo Castleton, John Hester and Chris Sheridan.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 8th to Sat 12th Apr, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Offices and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip (music)

dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip 
I love blogging about new arts ventures around Eastbourne. We have such a vibrant community and it seems someone is always being inventive. Today I want to talk about Eastbourne Goes Live and their debut event at the Winter Garden which is being co-produced by Melting Vinyl and Eastbourne Theatres.

dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip entered the top 40 with huge critical acclaim, whilst still shunning any of the major label overtures that continued to follow and instead releasing on the independent Sunday Best Recordings (Bestival organiser). With a sound that has never attempted to ‘fit in,’ dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip continue to receive a huge amount of radio play and attention. With their latest album, again reaching the top 40 album charts, Repent Replenish Repeat, the duo continue to create their own unique blend of hip-hop and electronic beats with a mixture of spoken, sung and rapped lyrics. As a socially and politically aware team, dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip create music that echo the brilliance of Gil Scott-Heron’s writing. Uncut magazine called their latest album ‘powerful as it is invigorating,’ and their live shows are just as stunning. Don’t miss it!

Winter Garden, Wed 30th Apr, 19:00 to 23:00.
Tickets £12 in advance, £14 on the door, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Office.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Artists at Willingdon Village

I first spotted mention of a one-day art exhibition at Willingdon Village Hall in Feedback, the informative newsletter delivered by the Shings to let us know what they have been up to on our behalf. As part of the seventh Eastbourne Festival, the exhibition will include a sale of arts and crafts and will be open from 11am to 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday, the 21st of April.

A great variety of work will be displayed and offered and the confirmed artists include Helen Lavinia Moore (paintings, ceramics and jewellery), Deborah Whitehead (sculptures and paintings), Margaret Ann Worster (paintings and painted furniture), Liz Cottingham (silver jewellery), Susan Sheppard (knitwear), Dudley Folkard (woodturning) and Julie Ann Barton (photography). The event is kindly sponsored by Stephen Shing, Sheer Bliss and Sarah and Philip Plummer.

Willingdon Memorial Hall, Mon 21st Apr, 11:00 to 17:00.
Free entry. Refreshments will be available.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

King Lear (theatre)

I last saw Simon Russell Beale in the +National Theatre Live production of Timon Of Athens which was broadcast to  +Cineworld Cinemas in November 2012. Now I am very excited that he is returning in another NTLive broadcast, this time in the famed role of King Lear. We've already bought our tickets to ensure we don't miss out. The production is directed by Sam Mendes who previously directed the Bond film Skyfall. NT's PR team are shouting widely about this, but I didn't think much of Skyfall so 'meh'! Mendes did also direct American Beauty which I did like so I'll think of that instead!

Aging, weary King Lear (Simon Russell Beale) plans to divide his realm between his three daughters. He tells them that the one who declares the greatest love for him will win the lion's share. Goneril (Kate Fleetwood) and Regan (Anna Maxwell Martin) attempt to outdo one another with extravagant praise. Disgusted by their behaviour, the youngest daughter, Cordelia (Olivia Vinall), refuses to say anything. Enraged, Lear banishes her forever, even though she is his favourite. So begins a series of events that lead to tragedy.

Cineworld, Thu 1st May, 19:00.
Tickets £14.20, concessions £12.10, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.