Tuesday 27 July 2010

Lucky Sods at Hull Truck Theatre; Review. July 22nd to August 7th

A satirical at times delicate and poignant comedy Lucky Sods written and directed by John Godber arrives back at Hull Truck after its UK tour, and following Fridays moving and delicately humorous performance will be drawing people in.

Husband Morris, played by Robert Hudson’s masterly sense of resigned ‘ordinariness’ and wife Jean played feisty by Jacqueline Naylor are sitting on the sofa watching ‘Come Dancing’ and preparing for the lottery, a ritual played out every week. Between them is spirited argumentative banter tinged with regrets and what might have been, that reveals both the depth and length of their relationship. And then it happens- they win the lottery, and their luck keeps coming!
Fiona Wass, Robert Hudson and Jacky Naylor. Photo by Ian Tilton

Enter brother in Law Norman played with naive innocence by James Weaver and Sister Connie portrayed Jealous and envious by Fiona Wass.  Sudden wealth opens up new possibilities- to explore dreams and paths in life; to break patterns. Morris explores past opportunities, and links up with his previous girlfriend Annie played by Fiona Wass as a gratuitous vamping opportunist. Fiona Wass took a triple part playing mother too!   But for Morris was the real treasure always at hand and what happens when luck finally runs out?
Jacky Naylor and James Weaver. Photo by Ian Tilton.

In the first half the action takes place in the house and in the second is set outside; in both the set design by Pip Leckenby and lighting by Graham Kirk is simple and effective in supporting the story and Samantha Robinson’s inconspicuous but appropriate costume design works well.
From the beginning the cast are immediately believable and the audience is drawn into the unfolding action responding with laughter and applause as they are taken finally to the story’s surprising, but satisfying, ending.
Fiona Wass and Robert Hudson. Photo by Ian Tilton

Lucky Sods is a good story, a poignantly funny comedy with a keen sense of human frailty and ordinariness. This play tackles delicate elements of human relationships desires and emotions; exploring satirically the balance between luck, chance and fate.

I enjoyed this funny and thoughtful play and emerged from the Hull Truck Theatre thankful of my own luck. It’s a play not to miss.

Review by Andrew Sugden.

Tickets and more information can be found
 Here hulltruck.co.uk

Monday 26 July 2010

Wind in The Willows at York Theatre Royal- 22nd July - Saturday 21st August

Upon entering York Theatre Royal I was immediately struck by how much work has gone into this theatre production as I was transported into an amazing woodland scene reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. 

This amazing set design in the foyer is a wonderful prelude to the fantastic play to follow.

Young or old, it doesn’t matter! You’ll still enjoy this immensely and remember it forever.
The theatre- in- the- round staging throws you head long into the action and mayhem on stage and the cleverly worked set design transports you seamlessly from scene to scene, so well done to Lydia Denno for the set and Richard G Jones for the clever lighting that transforms this Toad Hall set into everything and anything you can imagine.

 The directors Damian Cruden and Katie Posner must be credited duly with this fine performance and many strokes of genius that play out magically in front of your eyes.
 Now for me here comes the hard part reviewing the cast performances, I’ll start with the various children who were all so cute and adorable the audience  “aaahhhheeeed” constantly when they were on stage as they pranced and preened themselves like the woodland animals they were playing.
Mole played by Robert Pickavance draws you effortlessly into the story and Ratty played by Jonathan Race snatches the mantle from him and has you transfixed for the entire first half with his brilliant performance. These two are fantastic together while every one else is left to being bit part players- until the second half that is!
Sarah Parks as Badger and Martin Barrass as Mr Toad then get there chance to shine and they are blinding. Conceited Mr Toad is wonderful and he bounces off the other characters seamlessly so all in all it is wonderfully acted.

My final thoughts on this magical play have to go with the wonderful wild-wooders who for me steal the show with their brilliant one-liners and brilliant music. Michael Lambourne as Chief Weasel and the horse is fantastic and you can’t seem to take your eyes off his sneering, leering boat race.

Then there is Emilia Brodie as Otter, Kenji Watanabe as Rabbit and Richard Mark as Mr Fox who are good as their respected characters but brilliant as the tour de force of music that is ever present throughout the play. The music seems to guide you effortlessly and how they manage to play their instruments while chasing Mr Toad and the others over the stage is anyone’s guess. So I will mention Christopher Madin the musical director and composer for his wonderful music but wild-wooders you get my standing ovation for not only acting superbly but for your great musical ability that is played on the run so to speak.

Overall I will give you nine out of ten as I don’t want any of you to rest on your laurels but I will say it’s one of the most enjoyable experiences that I will always remember fondly. 

By Luke Winterburn

Tickets available here
Find out more about Wind in The Willows here beyondthewildwood.com

Saturday 24 July 2010

Crown of Lights Music Festival - Heckmondwike

Crown of Lights Festival Heckmondwike was buzzing with enthusiasm and pulsating to the music of Mucky Blond a versatile indie rock band from Doncaster at the time of our arrival.

The Troubadors next had the festival audience cheering clapping and dancing with their rousing rocking rhythmic Americano.

Then it was Chris Martin's turn to entertain and stir the Crown of Light crowd who responded to his humour and music enthusiastically.

Next on stage was Miseria Lost, a Sheffield band who gave a very stylish performance which had the audience dancing and wanting more. The Lead singer kindly gave us an interview which you can see here.

Misera Lost was followed by Further From The Tr
uth who hail from Wakefield, 'though some band members told us they were from far-flung outposts of Wales and Leeds! The lead guitarist, James, was also the sound-man for a large part of the festival. Interview below.

We were ve
ry fortunate to have an interview with Donal O'Driscoll the festival organiser and compère for the past 4 years. Catch this  must-see interview below.

Rounding off the evening's entertainment was Commonside from Dewsbury. A
very energetic band who had much of the crowd on their feet swaying and dancing to the music.

The weather, which had been sunny all day, bec
ame wet and overcast but this seemed to have not the slightest impression on the crowd who just opened umbrellas and kept on dancing. When the rain stopped again the smiles just kept on coming.

Young and old all enjoyed themselves
in good spirits and communal fellowship and respect

Well done to all involved with the organisation, Donal O'Driscol main co-ordinator and his team; Peter Earnshaw principle sound engineer and his team of sound technicians, and all the stewards and background staff who are usually only no
ticed when things go wrong!

The Yorkshire Gig Guide had a brilliant evening and is looking forward to the next time.

, Alison and Andrew

Thursday 22 July 2010

Otley Street Festival

Eve and I stumbled across the Otley Street Festival on Sunday the 18th July, and spent a lovely few hours enjoying what proved to be a fun day out.

The Market place, Market Street and Newmarket featured all kinds of entertainment where stilt walkers delighted children and adults alike whilst a bouncy castle rang with excited bouncing kids. Punch & Judy drew a large crowd as they played out the traditional tale in dramatic razzmatazz style, just as gripping as ever. A living statue startled and entertained unsuspecting pedestrians.

And then there was music and dance all day featuring youth bands and musicians throughout the afternoon, followed by more established adult bands playing into the evening.

It was good to see a street festival showcasing and supporting local young people’s talents, giving young bands the opportunity to perform. Eve and I enjoyed watching song writing duo ‘hey Doris!’ with their evocative vocals and voice harmonies which they combined with intriguing lyrics and songs.

Local shops joined in the festivities and the Market place was alive with festival goers and shoppers enjoying communal fun and fellowship- all in all a lovely afternoon.

Andrew Sugden

Sunday 11 July 2010

Kirkstall Festival 10th July 2010

Alison and I spent a pleasant Saturday afternoon at the Kirkstall Festival set in the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey which made a perfect backdrop for this event. The weather was very kind and this clearly encouraged the population of Leeds and district to turn out in their thousands.

After meandering around the various stalls and sideshows we settled at the main stage to listen to the Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra who entertained us royally. It is good to see the young people keeping traditional music alive.

Next we watched an exhibition of birds of prey, brilliantly handled by their trainer Ben Potter.

Onward we went and listened to the ever popular Bassa Bassa playing in the area of the Abbey Guest House. The original guests can never have had such entertainment!

With so much to see and do - fairground, stunt bikes, majorettes, belly dancing, Morris men, Punch and Judy, pony rides, information stalls of all descriptions, food stalls from all corners of the world made our choices of what to watch next very difficult but we cleverly opted for Casual Sax. A very clever choice as they were perfect to chill to away from the hustle and bustle as they were housed in the cloisters which still to this day feel peaceful and relaxed. This suited their mellow tones superbly.

Now feeling very mellow we decided that a cream tea in the tent of the Oddfellows Tea Dance would be very appropriate. This rounded off a lovely afternoon and we made our way home with the sun still shining. We are already looking forward to next year.

For The Yorkshire Gig Guide
Denis Heaton

Monday 5 July 2010

Hole in The Wall Acoustic Night in Hebdon Bridge

It was Club Organiser Craig's birthday and an infectious party atmosphere pervaded the Hole Note Acoustic Club in Hebdon Bridge, with its cosy sitting room and drinks cabinet, comfy sofa and chairs, intimate low lit lamps silhouetting the performing area, and expectant excited audience.

They were not disappointed as Mand gave beautiful voice to her evocative authentic songs, accompanied by Blanty's hauntingly violin like melodies and subtle rhythms on guitar.

Paul Wetherin
gave traditional folk harmonies to modern themes in his hilarious often cutting lyrics as he sang out joyously, and his audience applauded enthusiastically. This was followed by Derek Elton on keyboard with fast rock n roll piano and crooning voice. Wayne Rusell had his audience whooping and cheering to his drag it down furious rhythmic guitaring and passionate vocals.

Then it was time for Pancho Ballad and the Banditos
, a great band featuring drums, spanish guitar, two trumpets a trombone and lots of fun!! They play a sort of Mexican Scar from Bolton with a BIG BIG SOUND. Fun songs, Mex-Bolton Perkins soup Song with funky rhythms, story telling donkeys, cut throats and war, haircuts and hats. They have a fun boozed harmonic appeal cut from superb tight musicianship; and the hole Note Audience loved them, dancing spontaneoulsly, cheering, shouting and clapping to the collision of Mexican Bolton rhythms.

The evening ended to the funky rhythmic guitar of Blanty with his lovely spanish folk song beautiful classical fingering clear voice, relaxed catchy choruses that had his audience clapping and singing with him.

The Hole Note Club has a minimilist approach to lighting and a basic use of sound control, it is a friendly accepting club encouraging vocalists and muscicians of all abilities and giving a truly intimate and acoustic feel.

A great night and a great music club at the Hole in The Wall Pub Hebdon Bridge.

Review by Andrew Sugden

Crown of Light Acoustic Nights in Heckmondwike

A lovely evening as the sunshine softened into the twilight illuminated by candle light as we sat in the friendly company of the Crown of Lights Acoustic Club at Comrades in Heckmondwike.

A great stage, good lighting and excellent sound management by Peter Rimshaw along with a very friendly receptive audience allowed all the musicians to perform to their best.

Jasmine Kennedy beautifully sang her new song Cardigan Sweater which had been given its debut airing the previous night on Radio Leeds. Then Toby Hardwick from Heckmondwike sang and played in serene and relaxed style.

Up next was April Maybe May a Duo from Barrow in Furness featuring Rosie Hillman's both 'delicate and earthy' voice and Matt Kassel's 'flawlessly evocative rhythmic' guitaring. They sang songs from their new album with lovely voice harmonies and funky folk rhythms. This is a great duo and can be seen in Yokshire again at the Hole in The Wall Club , Hebdon Bridge, 17th July.

Diamond Dac Charnley from Holmfirth played blues slide guitar and with melodic voice sang with humour, warmth and relaxed style to his laid back rhythmic harmonic guitaring.

Jack and Gills Daughter, a Leeds Duo featuring Gemma Tilley on vocals and Jack Haigh on guitar. Exquisite funky rhythms and percussive harmonic guitar with Gemma's subtle voice, sometimes strong, sometimes light, powerful, soft, raucous always evocative in quality. They sang their own songs about elements of their own experience. A band to look out for.

Chris Martin finished off the evening with brilliant thumping blues guitar and laid back cheeky humour, not forgetting his 'Jaffa Cake Tradition'. He was accompanied on acoustic guitar by Paul 'Raoul' Johnson and on banjo byMartin Hirsd.

Donal O'Driscol (Acoustic Club Organiser) and his team have created a lovely friendly relaxed place presenting and supporting local musicians, comradeship, conversational anecdotes and irrepressible good feel optimism.

Review by Andrew Sugden