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A Splinter of Ice – Theatr Clwyd

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📅 Sat 12 th June – Fri 25th June Running time 2hrs 10 mins (inc interval)   Betrayal. “I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” – E.M.Forster Moscow, February 1987, two of the greatest 20 th Century novelists Graham Greene and the Soviet spy Kim Philby are reunited. Philby had been Greene’s supervisor and friend at MI6 30 years earlier, but at the time of the meeting Philby had long been exposed as a communist double agent and was living in Moscow with his final wife, Rufa – a Russian memoirist. I had seen several advertisements on social media for The Original Theatre Company’s online recording of the production, and I was on the verge of buying a ticket when I spotted that the play was touring and coming to Theatr Clwyd. Whilst online plays have been a salvation throughout the pandemic, there is nothing to beat the feeling of sitting in a theatre watching a

For The Grace Of You Go I by Alan Harris – Theatr Clwyd

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📅 Sat 12 th June – Fri 25th June Running time 1hr 15 mins   Jim’s life is going nowhere. He spends his days topping pizzas with pepperoni. He thinks he has found the answer to his problems whilst watching the film “I Hired a Contract Killer.”All he has to do is get someone to kill him. What on earth could go wrong with that? This is my second post-Covid show at Theatr Clwyd and on first sight the stage is an assault on the eyeballs, all acid green, bubble gum pink and sunshine yellow. But don’t let the Crayola crayon set fool you, Welsh writer Alan Harris has delivered a darkly comic play with a poignant message running through it. The tale is a three-hander, focusing on Jim, excellently played by the haunting Rhodri Meilir (Hidden/My family) who, following the death of his mother, has been suffering from the mental health condition, depersonalisation disorder.  As part of a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) pilot scheme, Jim has been selected to work on the production

Blindness – Theatr Clwyd (Adaptation by Simon Stephen)

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Apparently, I’ve been languishing. Organisational psychologist Adam Grant, PhD, wrote in a recent article in the New York Times, that languishing is "a sense of stagnation and emptiness." Whilst in this state, you may not see the point of things; simple pleasures lose all meaning, you lack any sense of purpose, basically you are feeling a bit "meh." I can attest to that. A global pandemic sort of does that to you. What’s the point of booking a holiday when you know the chances of it being cancelled are so high? Last year I ended up taking my summer holiday in December. Why organise meeting friends when the border between England and Wales keeps opening and closing with more regularity than Tower Bridge? My second “home” at Theatr Clwyd was closed, along with theatres up and down the UK, so there was nothing to get excited about – let alone blog about. Happily, things are now starting to change, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Blindness – Theatr Cl

Troubled Blood – Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

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2020, the year of constant surprises. I’ve never been a huge JK Rowling fan (I mean her books, not the person.  I’ve never met the woman so I can’t comment on her personally, unlike the Twitter dunderheads who like to misconstrue everything they read.) I have to give her credit for her vivid imagination and her wealth of knowledge and the amount of research she must undertake before putting pen to paper, but for me, her writing is prone to too much repetition which detracts from what could be an excellent read. So why do I read the Strike books if I’m not a fan of her writing? Easy. Tom Burke plays the lead in the TV adaptations and with it he has brought an interesting, complex character to life, one full of charm, charisma, and sparkle. I’ve become invested in the character; I want to know what the next instalment is about and what the future holds for Strike. So, for me to keep up with Strike, and to not feel like I’m wasting any of my day, I turned to Audible books for both Letha

Falling Angels in the Garden of Good and Evil (John Berendt)

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The last holiday I partook was a week up in Scotland (Lauder) last Christmas. It was sublime; a chalet in the middle of a working farm, bedecked with Christmas trees and lights, and surrounded by various livestock. Being December, it meant there were long evenings in which to amuse oneself, and whilst it was the perfect setting to sit in a hot tub every night, there’s only so much wallowing and Prosecco that can be consumed in a week. I needed a book to read and the novel I'd grabbed and chucked into my rucksack this time was: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt The book is based on a true story, a crime classic published in 1994, set in a world of highly original literary characters who only required the author to weave their tales together to produce this compelling gothic tale of a Savannah society. Settling back on the veranda of the lodge, mug of tea in hand, I travelled to America to be alarmed, entertained and to laugh out loud with these overtly col

Walks in Mysterious Cheshire and Wirral by Tony Bowerman (Walk 10 - Little Budworth)

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“ Fancy doing a walk Saturday or Sunday?” “Yeah, sounds good to me.” “I thought we could do a walk in Little Budworth and hopefully find a spot by the lake for a picnic.” In Norman times, much of Cheshire was covered by four forests. To the west was Wirral Forest which had been substantially cleared, Macclesfield Forest covered the east Pennine slopes, whilst the central part of Cheshire was covered by the forests of Mara (now Delamere) and Mondrum. Back in those times, forests were no more than wastelands which were protected by laws so that the privileged may hunt in them. The forests were a patchwork of mixed oak woodlands and open lowland heath dotted with meres. Up until the 14 th  century, wolf packs could be found hunting amongst the cover of the trees, and both red and fallow deer grazed the lands until they were hunted out during the 17 th  century Civil War. Rare birds such as merlins, hobbys and sparrowhawks graced the skies, whilst swarms of bees gathered nectar for h

Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene

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How annoying. You listen to a book. Write a few paragraphs about it, and then get distracted whilst supposedly looking for a suitable visual aid. Several weeks later you realise that all your thoughts are still sitting there unpublished!!! Graham Greene is possibly best known for his seminal works like The Power and The Glory, Brighton Rock and The Third Man. I can’t pretend to be an authority on his work, I read Brighton Rock whilst still at school and a few other extracts from various novels for “comparative purposes”, and whilst I’ve never read The Third Man, I admit to enjoying the filmed version starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles. Greene apparently wrote Travels With my Aunt as a bit of fun and a departure from his normal style of writing. His work often involved fragile, flawed characters that found themselves in distant lands; so this novel is no different in that respect, however, it’s impossible to try to tie Greene down to one stylistic genre. For those who have read