Month: October 2013

CHARLIE PEACE – His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend – Stage Review

This is an entertaining, semi-musical melodrama portraying Victorian life around Victoriana themes with fairground style props, set design and costume, and tells of the exploits of real life villain, Charles (Charlie) Peace.  The agile and stupendously multi-talented, Peter Duncan stars in the title role, while Norman Pace (one half of comedy duo Hale and Pace) is crucial in leading events as they happen as the Showman character. Members of the company perform, sing and play musical instruments that are mostly of the stringed and brass variety. The tunes are largely jaunty and fun and help with linking the visual. Scenes are witty and alternate quickly with the help of projected designs by graphic artist, Eddie Campbell, which compliments very nicely the work of designer, Barney George.  So who was Charlie Peace? Well, as a young boy, he’d vowed to himself never to do a day’s honest work following a nasty accident involving a rod of hot metal passing through his leg while working in a Yorkshire steel mill.  And so, as he grew up, he …

Kindertransport – Stage Review

Judging by the amount of school children attending last night, it was heartening to learn that somewhere in the L3 area of the curriculum, there is room for these kinds of ‘out of classroom’ outlets to aid the education of young people in their understanding and appreciation of a subject. This is a new production, and the Kindertransport author, Diane Samuels, herself, offers talks and leads workshops about the movement in educational settings. This is a play where The Holocaust is more of a backdrop. In this piece we learn a little bit about the precarious existence of Jewish people in Vienna particularly, and, we learn much more about the transportation, prior to the outbreak of WWII, in 1938, of 10,000 children who were ferried to safety from both Austria and Germany. Nevertheless, primarily, this is a play about painful decision making, about love and kindliness…about hopelessness, and, yet, at the same time, hope features too, in all the madness. This is straightforward storytelling, and director, Andrew Hall, together with the Belgrade Theatre does this …

Stage Review – Daytona

Playwright, Oliver Cotton has imposed a strict structure here and there is much substance to the story, but characterization fails to grab you. These three actors, each wholly established in their creative careers, provide the whole performance. They portray characters from European Jewish backgrounds, with each one possessing long term American citizenship. The Holocaust – the horrors of which all three were involved and were witness to; is some forty years or so behind them. Least this was thought to be the case, until main character, Billy (John Bowe), is given a stark reminder of those dark days while holidaying in sunny Daytona, Florida, in the 1980s; the most unlikely of settings for nasty circumstance to rise up and bite him. So, and in no uncertain terms, Billy settles a score. He seeks out Joe (Harry Shearer) and Ellie (Maureen Lipman) to gain their support for his actions. This odd couple, with a shared passion for ballroom dancing, are strangely impassive to his plight. Slowly, we learn that this is because of past happenings, regarding …

Review of The Mira 360i SHOWERHEAD

t The Mira 360i has four distinctly different spray options contained in a large, pill shaped showerhead with a 9.5cm diameter and has a pin running through the middle section allowing the head to pivot and so be turned – manually. The user can choose up to four positions for the spraying water to be distributed to achieve the desired showering experience. Promotional terminology calls this ‘Flipstream Technology’ but is basically a simple mechanism which allows the head to be flipped, but it is a neat idea and brings added benefit and enjoyment to showering due to it functionality and form. It goes like this: The first circular face (Figure 1) produces: Rain – which is a strong spray with big droplets, flip it 90 degrees so the edge with the metal slot is at the bottom and you will have selected: Burst (Figure 2) – this time the water fall is delivered in sheet form. A further 90 degree flip to the reverse circular face and you have: Storm (Figure 3) – which delivers …

One Night in November – Stage Review

Agonizingly steeped in sadness, is this play, and I felt so heavy hearted while seeing it in Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre that I’ve been left feeling massively reflective. A love interest allows an occurring coincidence to link the story-line. A WWII code breaker, employed at Churchill’s Secret Intelligence Headquarters, Bletchley Park, becomes emotionally tied to a Coventrian family of four. The back story in regard to the German bombing raid on Coventry, and the numbness people felt in the after math, is so truthfully conveyed in this piece, that I am again considering why the city chooses to continuously revisit that appallingly painful time in its history. Coventry’s Blitz Night – I had some in depth prior knowledge about it. I’m from Norwich, which remains a fine example of a medieval city, and is not unlike one that Coventry once was. Poor Coventry, so short on the variation of architectural style that other cities take for granted. Stone, brick work, metal and wood – all gone now – blasted out; burned out; demolished. Over 2,300 houses, …