Friday, 29 May 2015

Wyrd Sisters

Brighton Festival is over for the year, and Brighton Fringe is reaching its final weekend.
I made loads of plans this year and saw a whole heap of shows! Yesterday evening was the last one: a production of Wyrd Sisters at the Brighthelm Church & Community Centre.

The play was adapted from Terry Pratchett's book of the same title, from his Discworld series, and was performed by Brighton University Drama Society. I went to see it with my parents, neither of whom have read the book (I may have pestered them a little to go to the play...)
I re-read the book recently, in order to refresh my memory of the storyline. It's been a while since I last read it and I'd been really looking forward to seeing this play.

Wyrd Sisters is something of a take on Macbeth, with some good old Terry Pratchett humour and quirkiness thrown in for good measure. It includes three witches, a dead king, a group of strolling players, a mad ruler and a fool.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Singing in the Bath: Art at Brighton Festival

At the beginning of Brighton Festival, I planned to go and see some of the art exhibitions that were incuded in the listings. The festival is nearly over, and I still hadn't seen any, so yesterday I went off into the city with my neighbour, to see what artistic wonders we could find!

Brighton is a fantastic place for art exhibitions. It's a city so rich in history and architecture, with countless spaces hidden off the beaten track that are perfect for hosting exhibitions large and small.
Such a place is Circus Street Market, which looks derelict and empty, but could hide all manner of things behind those graffiti-smothered shutters. (Unfortunately it looks like there are plans to 'regenerate' this street and turn it into another characterless redevelopment that will suck more of the soul out of the colourful and surprising city that Brighton once was. Bah.)

Complaints aside (I promise that was the last one!) here are some pictures and summaries of the exhibits we saw. And more pictures. Pictures are great, right?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

An Audience with Henry VIII

Continuing with this month's massive injection of culture via Brighton Fringe, I went to see another play yesterday evening, this time with my Dad.

We saw An Audience with Henry VIII at The Lantern Theatre, a one man play performed by Ross Gurney-Randall.

I really enjoyed this play and would watch again if I had the chance!

The premise of the play is that King Henry VIII has been dead for 468 years, and is still waiting to meet God. But God is nowhere to be seen.
Instead, Henry has the audience, to whom he tells his story. He boasts, he grumbles, he laments, he shouts...occasionally interrupted by an infernal imp playing Greensleeves. The music maddens him--he didn't write it, he hates it, and it's there everywhere he goes!
Within his speech, Henry rattles off a list of some of the notable figures he bumped off, and gives reasons why the wives had to go. Also, he insists, he definitely did not have syphilis.
The show ends with Henry storming off into another room of his own personal purgatory, shouting for whoever is playing Greensleeves to shut up.

The pompous, boastful, short-tempered attitude of Ross Gurney-Randall's Henry VIII was a brilliant characterisation of England's most notorious king, with excellently-delivered lines that really made me chuckle.

Written by Ross Gurney-Randall and Pete Howells, An Audience with Henry VIII was a great show and very amusing, filled with little historical factlets--why don't they teach history like this?

If you're hankering after a little comedic Henry VIII, you can find out more information and get tickets on the Brighton Fringe website. The 30th May show is sold out, but there are tickets left for the 27th!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Not a Fairy Godmother, but a Wizard

Another month, another selection of books read towards my goal of three per month!
It might appear that I've been sailing through these books fairly easily, often managing to meet my monthly goal within a couple of weeks. However, this is because I pile pressure on myself to Stop Procrastinating and Start Reading.
....Even though reading is sometimes procrastination in itself!

This month I bring you three Cinderella stories.
Okay, so calling Darwin a Cinderella character might be pushing it a bit!

As per the norm, I've rated these books out of five according to my enjoyment of them.

Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones (5/5)
Until only a couple of months ago, I didn't know this book existed. The only Howl's Moving Castle I knew about was the Studio Ghibli film. Which I haven't seen, but - as I discovered when looking up it up - was based on Diana Wynne Jones' book of the same title.
I liked the plot synopsis and commented to my a friend about wanting to watch the film and read the book. Then she gave me a copy of the book for my birthday! (Thanks Lianne!)

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent here.
Howl's Moving Castle is a young adult novel about Sophie, a girl who has already come to terms with the fact that, as the eldest daughter, she'll live a dull life running the family hat shop. Jump forward a few scenes and Sophie has been cursed by the Witch of the Waste. Now with the visage of an elderly lady, Sophie leaves and begins a journey, which leads her to the moving castle of the fearsome wizard Howl, who is rumoured to eat girl's hearts...

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Help! My Books are Taking Over!

Remember how, back in March, I said No More Books?

And then bought more, and then I really said No More Books.

Well, it was my birthday at the end of April. 

I received books. And money. Which I spent on books...

The picture on the left was taken on 27th April. The picture on the right was taken today, after delivery of a parcel of books (bye bye birthday money!)

I did read a book from the pile. And I gained a book from a friend which never got added to the pile, because I read it immediately. 

But then more books happened. 

It is a daily struggle as they take over more space, and I procrastinate on reading them.

These are mostly second-hand books, because a) they're cheaper b) I can't justify spending so much on new books c) most are from charity shops and therefore money to a good cause.

It's also so much easier to spend 'just 20p' or 'just £2' on a second-hand book. 
Instead of £9.99+ for one book.
Which is probably why used books are taking over my cupboard.

I should probably read more, shouldn't I?

Shakespeare in the Garden: Henry V

Today I once again went to Brighton for another of the Fringe events. This time it was 'Shakespeare in the Garden', and Dad came along with me.

The Shakespeare in the Garden event is being run 12-13 and 15th May, with all productions by The BRIT School. Today the performance was Henry V, though according to the Fringe brochure, they will also be performing Coriolanus and A Comedy of Errors.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Plate? That's a Tray! (Full English at Caffe Aldo, Brighton)

Yesterday a friend came down this way with her housemate, for a day trip to Brighton. Being local, I joined them!
As it was pouring by the time we were parked up, we opted to go for lunch first and stopped at the cafe right around the corner from the car park (it helped that their A-board advertised, in large letters, a full english breakfast).

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Vlad the Impaler @ The Rialto Theatre

Yesterday, I took another trip into Brighton for the second play on my Brighton Fringe 'Must See' list!

This time I saw Vlad the Impaler at The Rialto Theatre.

I've been past the theatre a few times, but aside from admiring the architecture, never realised that a theatre lay beyond those doors.
Unfortunately I couldn't get a decent photo of the venue as the traffic and parking in that area is endless!

Upon arrival at the theatre, everyone was directed into Bacall's, the theatre bar, which had lots of comfy seating and some nifty art deco style lighting!
After a few minutes wait, we were called to the auditorium. I was surprised to find not the usual kind of theatre seating, but instead small tables with chairs set around them, each with a candle burning behind red glass. Add to that the haze of smoke, and the scene was most definitely set!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Blithe Spirit @ Brighton Little Theatre

Brighton Fringe has begun, and on Saturday I went to the first of the events on my Fringe Itinerary: a production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, at Brighton Little Theatre!

After meeting up with my friend Lianne, we sought out the venue.
Brighton Little Theatre is really central and close to the shopping centre, hidden away down a little lane of cottages.