Tuesday 29 June 2010

Cooking with Elvis: A wonderful not to be missed show at Hull Truck Theatre

A dark delicious comedy and hugely popular when it first appeared at the Hull Truck Theatre in 1993, Cooking with Elvis by Playwright Lee Hall arrives back at Hull Truck by popular demand, skilfully guided by Director Gareth Tudor Price, and after Fridays outrageously funny performance is bound to be a sell out success.

Mother and daughter are coming to terms with dad, a former Elvis Impersonator, after a car accident has left him a quadriplegic with severe head trauma and wheel chair bound.
Jill the teenage daughter is the main carer and she deals with it by cooking and looking after dad and mam. Mam spins wayward turning to drink and seducing young men- and this is where the story begins as this dark in places comedy starts to unfold.

Enter Stuart played with boyish cheeky innocence by Chris Connel who is Mam’s new lover. Mam portrayed seductively and needful by Jackie Lyle introduces Stuart to Daughter Jill played by Victoria Elliot with girlish womanly adolescence. Jill has her world all ‘shook up’ in her meeting with ‘hound dog’ Stuart. Mea
nwhile glimpses into dad’s mind as Elvis played regally by Jim Kitson provide unexpected musical insights. Stuart finds himself at the centre of the whole family’s sexual frustrations with shocking consequences.

The whole action takes place in the house and the set design by Andrew Wood and lighting by Graham Kirk is simple, unobtrusive and effective in su
pporting the story unfold. Andrew Wood’s costume design particularly Elvis’s works really well. Elvis is king and the musical arrangements by Jim Kitson are a good enough reason to see this play on its own.

From the very start the cast are immediately believable and the audience is
visibly and audibly drawn into the unfolding action responding with gasps, laughter and applause. During the intermission there was a buzz and heightened arousal from the audience in anticipation of the second part of the play- and they were not disappointed as the play surged on to a surprising, but satisfying, ending.

Cooking with Elvis is a good story as much as a very funny musical comedy and it has all the ingredients in the cooking pot to satisfy. This play tackles some dark elements of human experience but is ultimately about how people overcome their own trials and difficulties in life and through some wonderful, raw, honest humour. Cooking for Elvis transmits a tremendous sensation of good feeling to its audience that was reflected warmly and deservedly in the standing ovation at the end of the performance.

I recommend, no I urge you to Cook with Elvis at the Hull Truck Theatre- it’s not to be missed.

Andrew Sugden

Cooking With Elvis at the Hull Truck Theatre from 24th June till 10th July
For Tickets and more information see Here

Monday 21 June 2010

Denis's Diary for Beverley Festival Day Three

Up bright and early to attend the Festival Service at St Nicholas's Church, Beverley. This was an illuminating and spiritually uplifting service (and definitely different!) Music and choir wonderfully provided by members of the Folk Festival with participation from regular congregation and visitors alike.

Later we were joined by Andrew and Eve on the village green where we munched on bacon and egg sandwiches sitting in the sunshine (out at last) whilst being entertained by events occurring on the green.

The four of us then went to an audience with Tony Benn and Roy Bailey which was informative and amusing at the same time. Hats off to these two Old Timers. Long may they continue to deliver their message.

Just in time we managed to catch Ella and the Escapades for an informal interview before we watched them play. This band won a place at Glastonbury in a "Battle of the Bands", a competition held country-wide for a coveted chance to play the main stage at the world famous festival.

We spent some time walking around the site talking to a variety of people who were out enjoying the Festival. Andrew was by now winding down and indulged in a nice cold beer. Mmmmmm. I happened upon Anne-Marie who brightened up all the stages and other venues with her beautiful flower arrangements and I found out that she was the official florist and this was her first Festival. She can be contacted on www.flowersbyanne-marie.co.uk.

In the Concert Marquee we were entertained by Charlie Dore & The Hula Valley Orchestra. A great scoop by the Yorkshire Gig Guide! During their performance - whilst we were filming- they were joined on stage by the wonderful Barbara Dickson who gave an impromptu performance with her friend Charlie.

Back to the PeaceCake Cafe for Alison and I for lamb korma. Andrew and Eve went to the burger tent. A rich variety of faire being available at this Festival.
As the evening - and indeed the Festival- drew to a close Alison and I attended the final concert in the main hall, whilst Eve and Andrew went to cover events in the Wold Top and the Acoustic Marquees.

We enjoyed our concert which consisted of Tyde (a young trio, fresh on the music scene playing country music from around the British Isles), followed by Alison's favourite performers of the weekend The Black Umfolosi 5. These were an internationally known group from Zimbabwe who sang their own traditional songs and dances along with a very humorous "send up" of the European summer, adapting the Zimbabwean dance to the open-topped convertible and mini-skirt! A group not to be missed if they are in your area.

The final act was given to a packed, sell-out audience by The Proclaimers. They received a rousing reception and delighted their eager audience with their performance.
After this we said our "good byes" to Andrew and Eve and headed for the motorway and home.

The Yorkshire Gig Guide would like to thank the Festival Committee for such a wonderful, well organised and friendly Festival, Martha the Press Liaison Officer for all her help and kindness over the weekend, all the artists who gave up their valuable time to give us interviews and not forgetting all the stewards, car park attendants and other volunteers who were most helpful with our endless enquiries.

Andrew (Editor in Chief of Yorkshire Gig Guide) and Alison (Eigle Film Productions) will be compiling all the interviews and events which took place over the weekend. Keep an eye on the Yorkshire Gig Guide to see them as soon as they appear.

That's it folks!
Looking forward to next year.
Denis Heaton

Saturday 19 June 2010

Denis's Diary of Beverley Festival Day Two

Hello again. Off we go once more to enjoy the friendliness and beautiful music of Beverley Festival and we arrived on site with no sign of the promised sunshine, only a stiff breeze and light drizzle. This in no way dampened our enthusiasm for the day ahead.

After a quick stop at the Peace Cake Cafe for a refreshing cup of tea, we went in search of music. Eve went to the Wold Top Marquee, Andrew, myself and Alison (film crew) toured the site and chatted to various festival folk, all in good spirits in spite of the anti-social weather. Plenty of events had been organized to take place on the village green today. These included Morris dancers, clog dancing, sword dancing plus an exhibition of dancing round the maypole.

Rejoined by Eve who had explored the fringe of the festival in the town of Beverley itself we stopped again at the cafe for a further refuelling.

Once fed and watered , we headed for the Acoustic Marquee, where I was blown away by the various bands which included local singer songwriter Rob Nicklas, York's funky soul singer songwriter Jess Gardham and band and the passionate vocals and rhythmic harmonies of Hull band Circus Envy.

After this session the Yorkshire Gig Guide crew went to explore the craft tent, where I am happy to say the sales of pet peas are going well!

Time now to leave the Festival Village and attend the concert at Beverley Minster. We were entertained by the Beverley Community Choir's vocal harmonies before the main event of the evening which was the Brighouse and Raistrick Brass Band which played rousing joyous music to a packed and enthusiastic Minster audience.

After the performance in the Minster we made our way back to base looking forward to whatever delights await us on day three.
Nighty nite for now- Denis Heaton

Denis's Diary of Beverley Festival Day One

We arrived at Beverley at the opening of the Festival as the village started to slowly fill, eager to explore what would be our home for the next three days.

The camp site, thoughtfully placed in the centre of the Festival village and surrounded by the various venues divided up into Main Hall, Wold Top and Bar, Concert Marquee and the Acoustic Marquee, dotted with Craft stalls, displaying a dizzy array of skills ranging from pet peas to colourful jewelery, with hand crafted instruments and of course a mouth watering selection of food stalls.

On the Fringes the local pubs, the Tiger, The Sun Inn, Hodgson's Bar, the Friary and the ancient Minster itself all provide festive support.

The overworked friendly information team welcomed us and smiled through the constant enquiries and festival buzz.

As we wondered around we met lots of wonderful people who were part of the Beverley Festival Village. Martha press liasion who guided and looked after us, Rachael Crackett who was stage managing the Concert Marquee and Tom, Charlie and Kerry from St Johns Ambulance, this is Toms 6th beverley Festival.
As we walked through the Festival village we met lots and lots of lovely people.
At last it's time for the music, kicking us off at 5pm Miles Cain, Rebekah Findley, Dream of Appolo and Anna Shannon.

Whilst over in the Concert Marquee Bowie, Bliss and Cockerhan set the party going.

Throughout our camera team (Alison) filmed and chatted to campers, traders, and the ever important behind the scenes staff.
Much later (and not unusualy) the rest of the Yorkshire Gig Guide team (Andrew and Eve) arrived.

Following the impomtu jammin in the late Night Wold Marquee and yet exhilerated at 2.30 am after listening to the good sounds and relaxed ambient atmosphere of this festival we retired

Ni-night for now.
by Denis Heaton.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

20,000 Leagues under the Sea- at Hull Truck Theatre

The Hull Truck Theatre from May 27 to June 19 at 7.30pm.

To book tickets, call the box office on 01482 323638 or visit www.hulltrucktheatre see Map

A terrifying and wondrous adventure novel when it first appeared in 1869 written by Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues under the sea is imaginatively adapted and directed on the Hull Truck Stage by John Godber and after Tuesdays theatrical, almost vaudeville like musical performance promises to entice in and charm audiences.

The story follows the adventures of Professor Aronnax wonderfully portrayed as a rarefied academic adventurer by Joshua Richards, his unrequited doting female assistant Conseil played energetically by Heather Peace and Whaler man of action Ned Land a physical realist, played with strong ironic humour by Jack Brady . Whilst searching for a huge sea monster aboard a whaler, led by Captain Farragut played by Kim Hardy, they are thrown overboard and unexpectedly rescued by the submarine Nautilus and Captain Nemo, the manically tortured genius raging at humanity played with fiery passion by William Ilkley.

(Pictures by Karl Andre Photography).

They reluctantly join the crew and travel round the world experiencing danger, wonder and adventure. The story explores interlocking themes through strong narrative, music and songs composed by Stuart Briner and the characters precise often witty dialogue; the uses of science, world terrorism, redistribution of wealth, love, passions lost and unrequited and the claustrophobia of being contained in a small space deep under the sea.

The story starts on the stage of Madame Simone’s, played by Sue Appleby, scientific society where Professor Aronnax starts to tell his story to his audience, quickly the scenes, costumes and set designed by Pip Leckenby and built by Graham Kirk change and transform with subtle changes of light, floor map, ship decks, the Nautilus and the sea floor as the action of the story progresses. And the whole movement of the sea is suggested and inveigled by the subtle sometimes humorous choreography of movement by the characters throughout the play.

The songs and music by Stuart Briner and musically directed by Sue Appleby cleverly create mood and scene as well as help the narrative along with good voice har
monies from the cast.

The romance between Professor Aronnax and Conseil perhaps didn't quite work on this performance, yet all the ingredients were in place. Conseil (Heather Peace)
sang beautifully of her love and frustration. Maybe, like a new wooden ship, this new play will season and mature through its run as the characters explore on stage the subtlety of their human emotions so taking the audiences empathy to the whirring and tragic climax of the play.

This is a very enjoyable and in some ways challenging musical, a classical story yet one that resonates with modern themes. The adventures twist and build to a dramatic climax and could be lost for ever in the deepest seas - so step into the Hull Truck Theatre and be prepared for the terrors of the deep- go on I dare you to.
Andrew Sugden.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea runs at the Hull Truck Theatre from May 27 to June 19 at 7.30pm.

To book tickets, call the box office on 01482 323638 or visit www.hulltrucktheatre


The Trade & Foxes a great night of music at The Library in Leeds

A brilliant night of intimate music from two fantastic bands at the Library in Leeds.

Firstly London Indie band The Foxes, with fast thrilling music, personal and intelligent lyrics, underpinning voice harmonies and the fluting lyrical quality of
Nigel's voice rousing and entrhalling the Library audience. Here is a band not to be missed!!

The Foxes have a new Ep out click the banner below to visit their web site.

The Trade a band on tour from lived up to their reputation of being a "ballsy indie sound" with powerful throaty vocals and full on indie rock which powered out and delighted those present.

The Trade are five young musicians hailing from the sleepy Scottish town of Forfar, who pride themselves on their stomping anthems that are 'fighting to get out'.

The band are made up of Ross Milne on vocals, Bobo Martin on drums, Liam Moir on rhythm guitar, Craig Murray on lead guitar and backing vocals and Drew McLaren on bass and backing vocals.

Having been together since 2008 they have established themselves quickly in the Scottish music scene and with extensive gigging they have fine tuned their music.

Their sound is not to be missed this live performance had energy and fire that remained with me long after the gig had ended.

The Trade have a new single 'Fight Club'

Wishbone Ash