Sunday, 19 February 2017

Mega 2016 Catch-Up ( Gigs ) Part Three - Bruce Springsteen and various others

To prevent these 2016 catch-up posts spreading into 2018, I'm going to quickly run through some memorable gigs from last year. First up is my second visit to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry to see the mighty Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on their River Tour, 03/06. ( Photo above courtesy of )
After major traffic problems on the M5 I got to the gig extremely late ( after also dropping Sarah off at a hotel in Coventry )  -  meaning I'd missed 11 songs (!) including two of my absolute faves, Sherry Darling and Hungry Heart. In fact, I could hear Bruce playing Out In The Street when I was Out In The Car Park  -  not good. When I finally got into the arena he was bashing out some good ol' River rockers in Crush On You and You Can Look ( But You Better Not Touch ) which got me in the party spirit. Although maybe not the best performance I've seen from the E Street Band, there were still plenty of gems: a vicious Murder Incorporated, a spine-tingling take on The River, a beautiful Drive All Night ( the first time I've heard this live and miles better than the recorded version ) and a rip-roaring cover of Creedence's Travelin' Band being highlights. After some old favourites ( Badlands, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, a full-band Born In The USA and, of course, Born To Run ) the set finished with a wild, exuberant cover of Shout and a lovely solo-Bruce encore of the majestic Thunder Road to send us home with a warm glow. And here's a photo of my view of the stage. showing just how far back I was after arriving so late:
By complete contrast, the week before going to this 50,000 capacity venue, I'd gone to see the wonderful Slow Club at the Lantern in Bristol with my good friend Tom alongside only a couple of hundred other punters. The Lantern is a small venue within the Colston Hall and is ideal for more intimate gigs. And this certainly was intimate as the core duo of Slow Club, Rebecca and Charles, had dispensed with their touring band and were giving a very stripped-down performance. Playing songs from their new album, One Day All Of This Won't Matter Any More ( clunky title! ), plus some more familiar tunes, the low-key format meant we could focus more on the words and their beautiful singing voices. It really was a treat to hear these two sing live again and to enjoy their warm, onstage banter with each other and the audience. Great gig, great company.
Of course, I've recently posted about my trip to beautiful Amsterdam to see the Dandy Warhols last May. Two weeks after that they were again playing in Bristol, so I couldn't resist the chance to see them at a more local gig :-)
Glenn and I carried on our sordid mission to stalk the band, but this time dragged along Sarah and Glenn's partner Beki as well. It was another cracking gig from Portland's finest, maybe not quite as special as the one in Amsterdam, but good fun none the less. They played all the usual faves, including probably the best version of Good Morning I've yet seen from them, absolutely haunting. And we yet again met some of the band after the gig  -  this time the terminally cool but friendly Courtney ( vocals ) and the ever-smiling Brent ( drums / vocals ) who were hanging out in the Hatchet pub, just over the road from the venue. Dandy's Rule OK!
Moving on to August, Sarah and I went to Gloucester's Sport Beat 2017 festival. This strange combination of music and sport ( the clue's in the title! ) has been running for a few years but we've always somehow missed it before. I was determined to go this time because the lineup seemed very cool in an '80s / '90s revival kind of way. Even though it was bloody cold and wet, hundreds of people turned out with the intention of partying to some bangin' choons ( as I believe they're called ) on a muddy sports field. After some fine modern pop-Metal from the up-and-coming Coasts we were treated to the spectacle of the masked DJ known as Jaguar Skills mashing up dance classics and retro TV theme tunes, whilst spraying the crowd with confetti  -  loads of fun... with added Chuck Norris!
After all this technicolor lunacy the focus shifted to stately Gothic blisspop as the legendary
Echo & The Bunnymen took to the stage in a fog of dry-ice. Although I've never been that familiar with the Bunnymen beyond their big hits I've always wanted to see them play live and they certainly didn't disappoint. Not the most dynamic of live bands, they make up for this with a wonderfully all-encompassing sound and the stratospheric personality and still-solid voice of Ian McCulloch. It was fantastic to hear such Goth classics as The Killing Moon, Seven Seas and The Back Of Love washing over the crowd. And the highlight of the set for me was an absolutely jaw-dropping version of The Cutter  - proper shivers down the spine! I'll definitely have to see them again.
We moved from Liverpool to Madchester for the headline act as the irrepressible Happy Mondays came out to mess with our heads. The 24 Hour Party People may only party for 23 1/2 hours these days and then head home for their cocoa and slippers but they put on a hell of a show for the muddy Gloucester audience. Shaun, Rowetta and Bez were on fine form  -  bickering, dancing, singing and rapping like some strange, E-flavoured sitcom  -  while pulling out classic tune after classic tune. Hallelujah, Kinky Afro, God's Cop, Loose Fit and, of course, the mighty Step On had the crowd up and dancing... "mad fer it" in fact. A delirious ending to a mostly great day.
I was sad to hear that one of my favourite bands of recent years, The Sunshine Underground, were calling it quits so I made sure that I caught them on their farewell tour last October. On a boat...
This was Bristol's famous floating venue, the Thekla. I can't believe I'd never been there before so it was high tide... sorry, "time" that I got on board. And it's a really cool place too. Sarah and I had seen TSU a few years ago at the Gloucester Guildhall and loved them so it was good to see them for one last time. Their euphoric dance-pop was just as exciting and invigorating as before and I can't believe they want to split up. There was certainly no feeling of these gigs being any kind of wake as the band put 100 % into the show and their brilliant songs had everyone dancing, with Finally We Arrive, Don't Stop and Something's Gonna Happen being the stand outs. Without a doubt one of the best gigs we've been to in recent years and quite bittersweet when it was over  -  let's hope for a reunion!
I can't finish this series of posts without a mention or two for our favourite venue, Gloucester's fabulous Guildhall. I saw some great gigs there last year, starting with The Beat ( bloody fantastic as always ) last February. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of that one  -  I was too busy dancing to the red hot ska sound! However, I do have some pics of the following:
From The Jam
( June ) Yet another stop-over in Gloucester for FTJ  -  they seem to be constantly touring! A cracking set of Punk-Mod tuneage as ever. I dragged Sarah along to this one and she enjoyed her first brush with the Setting Sons...
The Damned
( August ) I was really in two minds about this one as I've been put off The Damned by a few lacklustre performances in recent years, as well as Captain Sensible's sour-grapes mutterings about the Pistols and the Clash, and some appalling treatment of support bands that I've heard about, and of fans that I've witnessed. Anyway, as they were celebrating their 40th (!) anniversary, I thought I'd give them one last go. And I'm glad I did because it was a great gig! They were very tight and energetic, had lots of banter with the crowd and played a fine selection of classic songs  -  including the groovy Disco Man, which compelled me to leave my mate Caz behind ( sorry Caz! ) and head down the front to get crushed. As I say, a great gig, but I'm probably going to part ways with the Damned now and let them go out on a high...
( November ) Another blast from the Britpop past! Dodgy were one of those second-tier '90s bands that I somehow never caught at the time. So, when they rocked up at the Guildhall I thought "Why the hell not?" And so did Sarah, Glenn and Cliff who came along too for some sparkling, Who-influenced, muscular pop. A very enjoyable set, a bit slow to start but they eventually pulled out some crowd-pleasing anthems like In A Room, Staying out For The Summer and Good Enough  -  with the title track from their new album, What Are We Fighting For, boding well for the future too.
( December ) Great to see one of my all-time fave live bands back at my fave venue! That's a lot of faves! This gig had been rescheduled from back in June (!) so it had been much anticipated. Ash never disappoint and the set was a perfect mixture of old faves ( there's that word again! ) and material from their last album Kablammo! In fact, a lot of their new songs ( like Let's Ride, Cocoon and the beautiful Free ) stand tall in the company of classics like Kung Fu or Girl From Mars. The band played with their customary good humour and exuberance ( and volume! ) and finished with a note-perfect version of The Undertones' classic Teenage Kicks  -  a lovely tribute from one great Northern Irish band to another.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Mega 2016 Catch-Up ( Very Brief Movie Reviews )

As we're nearly half way through 2017 ( Summer starts in February doesn't it? ) I thought I'd better post about the movies I saw last year before it's next year. If you see what I mean...

( These aren't all the films I saw from last year as I already reviewed The Revenant and The Danish Girl back before my old PC went to silicon heaven. )

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
A different view of the Star Wars universe  -  no opening crawl, no Skywalkers, no Jedi  -  which worked surprisingly well as a (wo)men on a mission movie. After the full-on return to the ST mythology in Episode VII, this film got down and dirty with the boots-on-the-ground grunts of the Rebellion who do the unsung fighting and dying. Some great action scenes, beautiful space and planetary vistas and some charismatic ( if slightly undeveloped ) characters. About as gritty as a Wars movie will ever get, it was interesting to see these expendable rebels allowed to live and die within one small corner of the saga. Maybe we will see some of them again in pre-prequel stand-alones?

Captain America: Civil War
Over in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ( turn left at Aldi, past the petrol station ) we found Captain America and Iron Man at each other's throats in a loose adaptation of the much-hyped comics series. They dragged half of the MCU characters into the story to take sides, with the Hulk and Thor not being invited to the party unless it was all decided in about two minutes.Team Iron Man were all about control and regulation of admittedly dangerous super-types, while Team Cap were all about freedom, baby... and protecting former Soviet drone / assassin Bucky Barnes from the rightly pissed-off authorities. The moral ambiguities of the story worked a treat, with Cap virtually becoming the villain in his own movie by refusing to toe the government line. The returning director team, the Russo brothers, did a sterling job in keeping all the plotlines and action concise as well as spectacular, and in giving all the characters in the sprawling cast something useful to do. Probably the most exciting thing about this movie was the introduction of Spider-Man ( at last! ) and the Black Panther ( yay! ) to the MCU... groovy times ahead...

Suicide Squad
In complete contrast, Suicide Squad was an object lesson in how NOT to handle a large cast of super characters... and, in fact, how NOT to make a decent movie. This was my first visit to the grim, gritty and edgy DC Universe since the grim, gritty and edgy Man Of Steel depressed the hell out of me and put me off seeing the grim, gritty and edgy Batman VS Superman. The film started off badly with seemingly endless, stodgy info-dumps to introduce the "characters" and then continued in a sludgy smear of poorly-lit action scenes, appalling dialogue and general laziness. None of the characters were remotely interesting, with some ( hello Slipknot! ) appearing and disappearing with so little fanfare they might not have bothered turning up. The much-vaunted Method performance by Jared Leto as some kind of Gangster Rapper Joker was just painful and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn was sparky and cute but didn't have one single memorable line. And the less said about the generic, undeveloped Big Bad the better. Will Smith almost saved the day with his preternatural charisma shining through the predictable character-work of the assassin with a heart of gold... but it wasn't enough. Anyway, here's a totally gratuitous pic of Harley to brighten up this grim, gritty and edgy review:
 The Witch
I'm going to cheat somewhat here because this is a movie that came out in 2016 ( in the UK anyway ) but which I didn't see at the cinema. In a time of identikit teen-horror movies, first time director Robert Eggers has created a skin-crawling study in unease. Set in 17th century New England. Of course. A Puritan family are ostracised by their community for their extreme views and set up home on the edge of a dark wood, only to find Bad Things Are Happening.
I thought this was a fantastic movie  -  slow-burning, intelligent ( with dialogue from contemporary transcripts ), atmospheric and genuinely creepy. Excellent performances from Ralph Ineson ( Finchy from The Office ), Kate Dickie ( last seen being dropped out of the Moon Door in Game of Thrones ) and breakout star Anya Taylor-Joy, who was just stunningly good. Oh, and some hot goat action from the terrifying "Black Philip". Some felt the ending went Too Far but I thought it was a fitting, dreamlike finale to a great little film.

Star Trek Beyond
The third in the rebooted Star Trek series saw Captain Kirk and co. go, er, beyond. ( Beyond what I'm not quite sure. ) After the general disappointment with Into Darkness ( which I have to say I really enjoyed ), this installment of the Five Year Mission seemed far closer in spirit to an episode of the classic series. The Enterprise crew were stranded and separated on a strange alien world and had to contend with an enemy who had a grudge against Starfleet. Again.
There were some very impressive set-pieces, including the destruction of the Enterprise ( although this has been done before... ), a cool new character in female alien warrior Jaylah ( Sofia Boutella ), fun scenes between the bickering Spock and McCoy, and an extremely satisfying appearance of Sabotage by the Beastie Boys on the soundtrack. ( Also a poignant tribute to the late Anton Yelchin at the end of the film. ) But apart from all that the story was mostly just average, while the villain
( played by the overrated Idris Elba ) was underwhelming and not a patch on Benedict Cumberbatch's icy John Harrison / Khan. Let's hope for a proper appearance in the next movie from the Klingons and a meatier story...
And speaking of Benedict Cumberbatch...

Doctor Strange
James and I managed to drag Sarah along to this movie... mostly due to the charms of the estimable Mr. Cucumberpatch. Doctor Strange has long been one of my favourite characters ( super or otherwise ) and I was fervently hoping that Marvel wouldn't drop the ( crystal ) ball with this one. Luckily everything turned out very near to perfect, praise be to the Vishanti...
Benedict Cumberbatch was spot-on, both physically and personality-wise, as the Sorcerer Supreme  -  convincingly portraying the changing aspects of his journey: the arrogant surgeon, the skeptic and the magical novice who all combine to become the seasoned defender of our earthly realm. I liked the fact that, even after attaining cosmic consciousness, Stephen Strange still retained hints of his original sardonic attitude. Solid support also came from Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Eijofor and Benedict Wong although Mads Mikkelsen as the main antagonist was under-developed ( a bit of a recurring theme in superhero movies! )  -  ho hum.
The mind-bending, Inception-referencing special effects were suitably psychedelic and made a good fist ( whatever that means ) of duplicating the out-of-this-world comic book stylings of Steve Ditko, Frank Brunner et al. We saw this at the Cheltenham Imax which was absolutely perfect for this movie. Can't wait for the Blu-Ray!

The Wicker Man ( 1973 )
We saw this on a re-release at our fave venue, the Gloucester Guildhall, on the night of the Solstice which was very appropriate. This wonderful movie still stands up as one of THE great British horror movies and as the perfect example of the mini-genre known as Folk Horror. It was a lovely, sharp print, showing all the film's details in all their rustic glory, and was accompanied by a fascinating and very odd BFI short film about British folk customs. As always, I got to the end of the movie and hoped Sergeant Howie would escape his "appointment with the Wicker Man" but sadly he didn't. Maybe next time. ( It always amazes me that this movie originally came out on a double-bill with the equally fantastic Don't Look Now  -  another film with a shockingly down beat ending. Can you imagine seeing those two in a row? Not exactly ideal date material... )

Fantastic Beasts And Where To find Them
Sarah and I went to see this new installment in the Potterverse at Christmas and I have to say she enjoyed it more than I did. It was good fun in a light weight kind of way, with the expected great special effects and a lovely evocation of a magic-tinged Jazz-era New York, but I found the story and the main character very weak. I'm still not convinced by Eddie Redmayne in anything he does and I thought his Newt Scamander was far too passive, whereas the supporting characters were more interesting. Hopefully the projected sequels will delve deeper into this world and also into the lead character. The real star of the movie was the Niffler, the strange mole-like creature who had a liking for shiny things  -  I bought Sarah one of these for Christmas and it was definitely her favourite present... leading to such unlikely phrases as "I need to dust my Niffler..."

UPDATE ( 17/02/17 19:10 pm )
I'm absolutely gob-smacked that I've had over 700 page views for this post in the 8 1/2 hours since it first appeared. This is a first for me! Of course, my first thought was "something's gone wrong here"  -  maybe this is a sign that this 'ere blog is finally getting back on track...
( Of course, having Rogue One at the top of the post probably helps when it comes to Google searches )

By the way, here's a quick mention for my son James who has finally started blogging ( I've been pestering him for ages to have a go )  -  he's got a film review blog he calls ( far too modestly )
I Criticise Because I'm Not Creative. Check it out here for some damn fine writing ( I know I'm biased but I really like his style ) and some interesting opinions  -  3 1/2 out of 5 for Aliens?? Can't say I agree with that one ;-)

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

I'm trying to write a post about movies...

but I end up watching You Tube videos about movies.

( Actually, this is really something special  -  some wonderful final shots from a wide selection of films, with a beautiful soundtrack by Godspeed You Black Emperor )

Friday, 3 February 2017

Mega 2016 Catch-Up: Gigs ( Part Two ) Dandy Warhols in Amsterdam

A strong contender for Gig Of 2016 ( if not Gig Of The Decade ) was my trip last May to see the Dandy Warhols in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. This jaunt into pre-Brexit Europe was the brainchild of my great friend Glenn, World's No. 1 Dandy's Fan, whose motto is "If you can, you should". So, with those words ringing in our ears and legendary Borrowed Time vocalist Rob F in tow, we hopped on a KLM flight and headed for the Netherlands for an amazing long weekend. I will have to post separately about Amsterdam  -  what a stunning city!  -  but, for now, I'll just concentrate on the gig itself.
The venue was Der Melkweg, a former milk factory (!) which is now an arts space that plays host to gigs, clubs and exhibitions  -  in fact there was a really cool photographic exhibition on when we were there devoted to legends of Hip Hop. Just around the corner from Leidseplein, a vibrant square in the heart of the city, Der Melkweg puts many UK toilet-circuit venues to shame. Glenn and I stopped at Leidesplein before the gig and had a drink with ex-pat Brit and Facebook friend Paul W... and ran into the lovely Zia from the Dandy's. Here are Zia, Paul and myself posing for a photo op:
And later, just before the gig, I ran into Zia again ( I wasn't stalking her, honest! ) and took this great photo:
( I was really pleased with this one )
After all this socialising had set us up nicely we thought we'd better get to the actual gig. Rob didn't come to this because he went to some Anarchist Punk festival instead ( of course! ), so Glenn and I joined crowds of mega-cool Dutch Dandy's fans and filed into the venue.
The band were on sparkling form, definitely an improvement on the last time I'd seen them at the Anson Rooms in Bristol, where they'd been okay but a bit lackluster. This time, probably helped by the fact that this was my first gig outside of the UK ( and my first trip outside the UK in 9 years ), proved to be one of the best gigs in recent years.They played all the old faves  -  Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth, Get Off, the awesome Godless, Every Day Should Be A Holiday ( by a solo Courtney, above ) and, of course, Bohemian Like You. The new songs from the latest album, Distortland, which seem so basic and unfinished on record were allowed to breathe a bit when played live and became deeper and fuller  -  with even as simple a tune as Pope Reverend Jim becoming something of a groove monster, and the repetitive earworm STYGGO causing mass sing-alongs. By the time they had finished with the inevitable Boys Better / Pete International Airport we were one very happy multinational audience. And bollocks to UKip!
 After the gig Zia did her aftershow party / DJ Rescue thing and we had insane amounts of fun, dancing to old Indie, Soul and Ska. I danced with Zia ( again! ) which I haven't done since the Camden Barfly a few years ago and I snapped Glenn and Zia on the dancefloor...
Plus Glenn also met Dandy's guitar hero Pete Holstrom outside the venue, making his night complete:
So that was just one of the highlights of our Amsterdam trip. More to come... and Rob may even put in an appearance in the next post :-)

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Mega 2016 Catch-Up: Gigs ( Part One ) - Muse

Okay, I warned you...
Here's the first of my 2016 catch-up posts that I hope to finish by at least 2020. Last year was an absolutely amazing year for gigs and I'm going to start with some of the biggest and most spectacular. And when you're talking spectacular... you're talking Muse...
Sarah and I went to London's O2 Arena last April to catch the mighty Muse on the UK leg of their Drones World Tour. This was the first rock gig we'd ever seen there  -  we first went there when it was known as The Millennium Dome ( can't remember which year... ) and again a few years later to see the Tutankhamen Exhibition, but I'd long wanted to see a band there, just for the experience. And this was definitely an experience...
It was exciting just to be in such an iconic building, among the thousands waiting for the boys from Devon to appear and blast our ears to Kingdom Come. The stage was set up in the centre of the venue so the gig was in the round, allowing as many people as possible to get a good view of the band. And, of course, the stage rotated too  -  I wouldn't expect anything less.
As the overture of the Drones "theme" played out, the band appeared from somewhere under the stage and then launched into the recent single Psycho, its pummeling riffs and crowd-shoutalong chorus setting the tone for the night. The new material such as Dead Inside and Reapers stacked up well alongside classics like Supermassive Black Hole and Starlight  -  the archetypal Muse mix of brutal rhythms, over the top vocals and stratospheric guitar-playing. In keeping with the Drones concept ( drone warfare, people as drones ) the arena was soon invaded by actual drones which were released from gantries high over our heads...
These dozen 6-foot spheres danced with the music, rising and falling above the crowd, pulsing with light  - almost like a scene from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. This was quintessential Muse: fun, exciting, faintly ludicrous and unapologetic in its debt to spectacle-hungry bands from another era like Pink Floyd or Genesis. Luckily all this pomp didn't detract from the music which was fantastic throughout  -  all band members giving their all but frontman Matt Bellamy unsurprisingly captivating the audience with his octave-leaping vocals and blistering guitar-playing. ( I also have it on good authority that he's rather fit into the bargain. )
After the main set ended with a reprise of the Drones theme, the band came back for three encore songs, including my fave, the spaghetti-Western metal of Knights Of Cydonia. Awesomeness! They showered us with human-shaped confetti and then were gone...
Here's Sarah catching confetti:
An absolutely mental gig! We'll definitely have to see them again.
Soundtrack: Loadsa Muse songs of course

Coming soon: more 2016 gigs in Bristol, Coventry... and Amsterdam...

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Suddenly I'm not that hungry...

The Woman In Black

Last Monday night Sarah and I went to Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre to watch the stage production of The Woman In Black. I've wanted to see this show for years, well before the rather underwhelming Daniel Radcliffe movie brought the story into the public consciousness, so it was good to get a chance to visit Eel Marsh House, if only for one, haunted night.
This theatrical version of Susan Hill's novel is apparently the second longest-running non-musical in West End history, after The Mousetrap, and I was interested to see how they approached the adaptation. With just a two-man cast ( and possibly a random stage-hand as The Woman? ) how could they present the creaking old house, the fog-bound marshes and the crashing horse and carriage of this grim, Gothic story? Pretty well, actually...

( Spoilers ahead )
The story of course involves a young solicitor called Arthur Kipps who is sent to sort out the affairs of the recently deceased Alice Drablow, a reclusive old woman who lived in the neglected Eel Marsh House in a particularly desolate part of North-East England. Kipps finds that no-one from the neighbouring village of Crythin Gifford will talk about the old lady or go anywhere near the house. When he starts to work on the mountains of papers and correspondence that Drablow left behind, Kipps starts to experience strange noises in the house and out in the marshes, before eventually the Woman In Black herself appears  -  a vengeful spectre who haunts the gloomy landscapes and the tumbledown house. Soon the solitude and the disquieting events start to affect the mind of the homesick solicitor and it seems like the haunting may even follow him when he finally escapes from Eel Marsh House...

This adaptation takes the form of actors rehearsing, and then living out, a play.The elderly Arthur Kipps, still haunted by the events at Eel Marsh house decades before, enlists an unnamed Actor to help him tell his story, in the hopes that this will exorcise the memories and ghosts. The Actor in turn urges Kipps to take part in the play  -  he will play Kipps and Kipps himself will play all the other characters  -  something Kipps is at first reluctant to do and frequently stumbles over his lines before gaining confidence in the telling.
We found this initial setting up of the story at times almost painfully slow as there is much backwards and forwards between the Actor and Kipps over his inability to act. After a while we were whispering to ourselves "Yes, we get it  -  get on with the story"... and I don't think we were alone: the woman sitting next to me actually fell asleep...
When the story finally got going it became more enjoyable as the cast made ingenious use of the intentionally limited stage set and props. The Actor urged the audience to use their imaginations to conjure up the scenes and, aided by some brilliantly designed lighting and sound effects, we were transported to that fog-enshrouded old house at the end of a submerged causeway. At times the stage was plunged into almost total darkness with only lamplight to illuminate the scene... and maybe a ghostly, white face hanging suspended behind the actors...
( I'm cheating slightly here as this image is from the movie, or possibly its sequel, but who saw that anyway? )
The moments when the ghost appeared were certainly effective although mostly heavily signposted, the best and creepiest being the times when she would slowly appear in the background as little more than a moving shadow, unobserved by the main characters. We were seated up in the Circle so at quite a remove from the action and probably didn't benefit from the full impact of the SHOCK! moments. The ground-level seats were mostly taken up by school kids and students ( studying the play at college, I guess ) who screamed their heads off whenever the ghost appeared. We heard the actors talking in the bar afterwards and they loved the fact that the play had such an impact on the kids.
And, yes, the actors did a wonderful job in conveying such a story while working with such minimal aids, particularly David Acton who played Kipps and all the secondary characters. He really convinced as a man haunted by his past who finds the confidence to tell his story on stage. The Actor himself, Matthew Spencer, had a far more showy, necessarily "luvvie" kind of role and also excelled as an actor who found himself literally recreating the hauntings. Both were very impressive and helped rescue the early, stodgy scenes. So, all in all, not quite the scare-fest we'd expected but good fun and well worth seeing. It was also great to be in the lovely Everyman Theatre, a beautiful building which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year:

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

It's been a long time coming...

...but now I'm back!

Yep, I've at long last sorted out my PC problems and should be back to full blogging strength before you can say "2016? What the hell happened?"
I've really missed blogging and can't wait to get back into it. But, be warned... there's some major catching up to do...


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year from The Glass Walking-Stick

Here's wishing all you lovely people out there in the Blogosphere love, peace and happiness for 2017 and let's hope we can all survive the coming Trumpocalypse ;-)


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