Showing posts from October, 2016

Tarka the Otter (Box Clever Challenge - October)

  I visited the Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre in the summer. Whilst the horses were stunning, it was the otters that held my attention. They were cheeky creatures, holding onto the wire fencing and making high pitched screeching noises. One of them just lay on his back and played with a stone; he was transfixed tossing it from one paw to another. I thought the poor creatures were bored and unhappy, but no...they were just passing the time as they knew their food was due to arrive soon. As soon as they saw their keeper, the stone was dropped and the screeching stopped, to be replaced by the hunting and satisfaction of munching fish in the long grass. A few weeks later I was visiting the Blue Planet Aquarium. They have an outside pen of otters too, and I witnessed them playing in and out of the water; otters splashing one another, finding "toys" in the undergrowth, and so I was spurred on to find my old copy of Tarka the Otter that I have had since childhood, but never rea

A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams)

I am a bit of a fan of Tennessee Williams. I love the way he writes about real people. He wasn't afraid to shy away from domestic issues or bring mental illness out of the shadows; he showed people what is was, an illness and one that affected real people. I watched Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Glass Menagerie in February, so when I saw that another of Tennessee Williams’ classics was being produced near me, I thought I should make the effort to see it; especially as it was starring Maxine Peake who I had not seen on stage before. Maxine Peake is a familiar name to the Manchester Royal Exchange, yet whilst I’ve watched her on TV I’ve never seen her on stage, so for me it was interesting how well she would translate from screen to stage.  Williams’ plays work because he writes from the heart. His family life was dogged by mental illness, and so he was in a position to bring these issues into the public arena, not overly sentimentalising things, but showing the world t

Goodnight Mr Tom... Burke (part 2) A Madhatters Tea Party, & The Deep Blue Sea @ The National

A couple of non-eventful weeks passed, which gave me time to finish The Cheshire Cat and my “M’lady de Winter vs The Queen of Hearts” costume for the Operation Smile/Burketeers “Mad Hatter” tea party. I do like to set myself a challenge, and this was going to be a huge challenge! I am positive the man in the local hardware store thinks I have a glue addiction! 7 litres of PVA glue later (yes 7!) and “Chesh” was ready for his paint job. Now I’m not a huge fan of Disney, I don’t like sugary sweet films, so my Cheshire Cat was not going to be the fluffy pink cat people were expecting. The fact that a cat can disappear leaving just a big grin in the air is a bit disturbing, and I think my cat had just the right element of being bright, but a little maniacal! (My favourite drawing of The Cheshire Cat has to be Arthur Rackham’s version - below). My dress was also a great challenge. It’s the first costume I’ve made in a while and it’s the first time I have tried to make a corset. I’

7 plays in 7 days!

Well that was the week that was! Monday was a trip to Theatre Clwyd to see Kreutzer vs Kreutzer based on Leo Tolstoy’s novella.  I’ve already written a review for that one, but must say once again what a joy it was to see Sam West in the flesh! He’s an incredible actor. A couple of days in work and then it was time to head off to Manchester to watch Maxine Peake in Tennessee Williams’ classic A Streetcar Named Desire. I can’t remember if I’ve ever been to Manchester’s Royal Exchange theatre before…I’m sure I must have been when I was younger, but I really didn’t recognise the place. From the outside it is a beautiful grade II listed building, inside the building’s Great Hall sits the theatre, a circular steel and glass construction. The unique design means that plays are shown in the round, seating surrounds all sides of the stage, and this brings an immediate relationship between the actor and the audience. I can't believe just how close to the action the audience are. No bar

KREUTZER vs KREUTZER - Theatr Cymru 3/10/2016

(A play for voices written by Laura Wade – music played by Aurora Orchestra) In 1889, Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata was published.  It told a stark tale of jealousy, betrayal and obsession. It was named after the composer Beethoven’s The Kreutzer Sonata and it told the tale of Pozdnyshev, a man who claimed he had killed his wife because she was unfaithful. In the novella, the tale is told by an unnamed person on a train; it features the husband’s story, but his wife and her “lover” never get to tell their side of the tale.  In this dramatic work, the audience visit the music room where the infidelity is supposed to have taken place, and through music and speech two dramatically different scenarios are pieced together. By the end of the evening you are left wondering whether the wife was faithful, or if was she rightly condemned by her husband. Jemima Rooper (Kinky Boots) and Samuel West (Mr Selfridge) star in an exceptional play for voices. There is no dominati

Goodnight Mr Tom...Burke (part 1)

I really can’t believe how quickly September has passed me by (or how bad I am at keeping the blog up to date). September is the month of my birth and so I decided I would celebrate it by seeing The Deep Blue Sea more times than is strictly necessary…although in my mind the show was extended into my birthday month for a reason…and it would be very rude not to take advantage of the fact! I started my birthday celebrations by visiting my local cinema on 1 st September with some friends, who could not make it with me to London, to watch the NTLive version of The Deep Blue Sea. I love NTLive, it means if you can’t get to London, London can come to you.  I actually realised that it brought a different perspective of the play to me. I was able to see close ups of faces and see Helen McCrory physically shaking as Hester. For the first time I saw Hester’s frailty and I felt some sympathy towards her character; I still thought she was very needy and manipulative, and I still