Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Guess Who Is THREE!?"


" Hmm! Christmas Is On Its Way ALREADY!"..."



Christmas Lights switched on in the streets of Hoole ( part Of Chester) last Saturday. 
Here's son G ( wearing green scarf/brown cap... with pink clad A on his shoulder!) ) 
plus L and G.... accompanied by 1 big friend and  2 little ones and an assortment of flags..... 

BREAKING THE CODE..... IT'S BREAKING THE MOULD.....


Chester Theatre Club's new production of " Breaking The Code" by Hugh Whitemore  ( based on the book " Alan Turing, The Enigma" by Andrew Hodges) plays this week to packed houses and it's  receiving much deserved standing ovations. 
***This is a SUPERLATIVE  production of a superlative play***. 

John Henry, 20 something(?),  as Turing, the guy who broke the German Enigma code at Bletchley Park, is appearing at the Little Theatre for the first time...and already his is work admired.
*** The Whisper is: JOHN HENRY Will Be Known!***
The play was skilfully directed by Jane Barth. 
Other parts triumphed too, particularly Laura Monkhouse as Pat Green. She is another clearly talented young actor.  

"Poets And Picnics ...."


My group ( The Hoole-igans....or officially, W.E.A. class: "Write Stuff" ) had visitors recently.

Local poet Jane Mack talked about her connection with writer Laurie Lee. This was particularly apt as 2014 is 100th anniversary of his birth. We heard lots about Lee, but no time to hear Jane's own work, which is always a treat. Hopefully another time.

Last week, Cheshire Poet Laureate (2006) Joy Winkler visited. She celebrates publication of her anthology " Stolen Rowan Berries" ( referring to childhood adventures!) and we heard several of her lovely poems, many based on her obvious appreciation of flowers, plants and the natural world. These were illustrated beautifully by Karen Rossart.
Joy also treated us to a couple of workshop exercises, based on her poems. We had some both  inspired AND inspiring results! Looking forward to another visit from Joy ASAP!

** See my post when Joy work-shopped for Friends Of Chester LitFest in February 2013.** .

MORE POETRY, THIS TIME AT THEATR CLWYD:

November is NOT usually a picnicking month......UNLESS one is wrapped in coats, scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, socks, vests...well at least that's me......
BUT  on November 11th, we went to Theatr Clwyd for a Lunchtime Picnic Play.

They're held in The Clwyd Room ( not outside!) and you can choose to either loll on a huge and colourful cushion right by the actors...or you can sit more sedately at a table...while chomping on your sarnie...your apple...crisps...PLUS the biggest piece of cake In The World...or at least in Wales...

4 actors read a vivid assortment of writing from 1st World War ( prose, poetry, newspaper reports, formal letters, personal letters, diary entries) and this  gave a wonderful insight  into thoughts and feelings of people who lived through this traumatic time..

***Picnic Plays cost £3 for the performance PLUS £5 for a generous picnic in a generous brown paper bag...***

Here is my class at work. 
There are 20 Hoole-igans altogether, so this is just a sample. 
From Left: Russ, Derek, ( I THINK there's someone betwixt me and Derek...but not sure!) then me, Rebecca, Sue P, Carol, Neil, Mike W, Elizabeth, Gill, Sue B and Judith.
Then I think it's either the head of Marigold...or that of Pam!!

Liverpool's superb new EVERYMAN THEATRE........


A visit to new EVERYMAN Theatre, where we saw " Hope Place" a play by Michael Wynne, chronicling lives of residents who live ( fictitiously, of course!) just down the street from the theatre.... 

In the glossy new Everyman bar we found Liverpool writer Deborah Morgan ( Debbie) and it was lovely to see her again. She's visited Chester during its LitFest and also talked at Malpas Festival about her book " Disappearing Home", published in 2012 by Tindal St Press.  
See Blog Post : May 31st, 2012.  

APLOPOGIES for omitting this post. It was hiding shiveringly n a draughty corner amongst my drafts! 

"A PAIR OF TALKING HEADS..."



Chester Theatre Club 's production of two of Alan Bennett "Talking Heads" was well received .....unsurprisingly...
BECAUSE the 2 actresses were Delyse Rostron, absolutely stunning as Irene Ruddock ( " The Lady Of Letters") plus newcomer to Little Theatre ( but much acclaimed locally , particularly with TipTop Theatre Company) the vivacious Marian Newman, playing sherry loving vicar's wife, Susan. 

Directed by John Turner and produced in the new Salisbury Studio, the most suitable of venues....

"Callow Comes To Clwyd......."


I've always admired anything by Simon Callow, SO I had to see him on his visit to Theatr Clwyd, when he starred in Matthew Hurt's production of " The Man Jesus".  AND I was not disappointed.

It's an amazing play. It looks back 2000 years at the major moments in the life of Jesus, told through the eyes, voices and thoughts of those who knew him. AND Callow evokes them beautifully.

We see tyrants and traitors and madmen.......we see the raising of Lazarus, the wedding at Cana and the journey to Jerusalem.......all through the wonderful dramatic and moving voice of Callow.

There's tenderness, wit, drama, all here in this provocative play....which leaves you with lots of questions and even some answers....

G.R. B aged 9, Celebrating Cousin H's 3rd Birthday In Typical Flamboyant Style.....


                                                                "Happy Birthday!"..
                                                  sings Oldest GrandBabe To Youngest....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Anglesey, Mid November, Clear beautiful skies"


After some dramas of late, we've visited "Our Friends From The North".....  they're now also "Our Friends From Wales"........owing to the fact they've bought another house on the Menai Staits. This is just over an hour away from home.
We had a lovely time with them as ever, coupled with all of us taking a soul reviving, heart uplifting trip to gorgeous Anglesey....Fully recommended.

Monday, November 03, 2014

" Dylan And Divali: A Cultural Mix!"..."





                                                      In Chester one Saturday lunchtime:
At Town Hall and through streets,  a vibrant Divali Festival: .dancing, music plus other performance, much appreciated by all!
 ALSO at Town Hall ( cultural contrast!)  Dylan Thomas's writing shed.....with lots of his treasures: desk, books, bookcases, furniture, paintings....rough drafts of his writing......including his word collections he' d use when writing a new piece. Hard to decipher in a picture....... but intriguing to read his long sequences of brainstormed words......

AFTERWARDS Friends Of  LitFest, met in a pub on Town Hall Square..."The Coach And Horses".....2 Welsh poets, David and John, read Dylan Thomas poems/prose pieces, along with readings from Helen, Derek and Ray.
*****Snaps show: The Writing Shed, Divali Dancing, plus The Coach And Horses, plus appreciative listeners, with  readers Ray, Helen and Carol.

" AN ORDERLY(??) SUNDAY LUNCH......."


Sunday Lunch yesterday at the ultra friendly Faulkner Pub in Hoole.
Will( hopefully) catch up properly with my Blog SOON!XXX

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Glad I went To GladFest...."

GLADFEST this September was another huge success at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden. 
Organisers  planned a super programme and you felt almost spoilt for choice. 
Writers/poets involved included: Michael Nobbs, Robert McCrum, Nadene Ghouri,  Katherine Angel, among others.
 I was lucky to hear Salley Vickers talking about her  fascinating writing life ( plus interesting insights about herself) 
ALSO Francesca Haig, a visiting English lecturer at Chester Uni, originally a poet and now a novelist too. We were enticed by her readings from her novel :" The Fire Sermon" ( published next Spring) and she also talked with her audience about the delight of writing both prose/poetry. She has a stunning book deal and it's clear we'll hear lots more about her..
.** The snap is in grounds of Gladstone's Library. In the distance, see  Matt Baker and Theatre In The Quarter performing pieces from their memorable Ist World War production :" Over By Christmas" which has toured lots of Cheshire Railway Stations this Autumn, bringing history alive to new generations..... 

" A Stunning Street Car Named Desire..."

One of the most breathtaking theatrical experiences I've ever had! 
This was another Live Broadcast from Young Vic, starring Gillian Anderson as fragile crazy unforgettable Blanche DuBois, with Vanessa Kirby as her sister Stella and Ben Foster as a  memorable Stanley Kowalski. I was besotted, bewildered, beguiled and totally bowled over.
IN FACT, at the close, I couldn't move for 10 minutes.....
MUST MENTION THE INNOVATIVE SET: It moves round..... so you see different angles and views constantly...the characters too are with you almost constantly...you feel utterly involved...BUT powerless! .

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

"Maxine Peake's "HAMLET" At Manchester Royal Exchange...".

Last week to Manchester Royal Exchange, with Friends Of Chester Literature Festival, to see the wonderful Maxine Peake in "Hamlet", directed by Sarah Frankcom.A memorable production indeed, with a superb cast. Particularly: Peake ( obviously) plus Gillian Bevan as Polonia ( female Polonius) John Shrapnel as both King Claudius and Ghost.Also enjoyed seeing Barbara Marten in the flesh as Gertrude, who never seems to be off my TV! Visiting The Exchange too is a lovely treat in itself.

Snap: Maxine Peake ( although in actual production her head was shaved, showing her amazing cheekbones!  ALSO: enjoying  lunch in Exchange Restaurant: me, Liz and Margaret.

FAMILY STUFF.......

G , beneath the willow, playing backgammon with Grandpa, Grandpa ( again!) with H on slide at Icecream Farm, Tattenhall, and lastly, A. creating a  masterpiece in my kitchen....