Final Festival update

Udder fail
Originally uploaded by d6y

So, the final week of the Brighton Festival saw us at four events:

  • Double Header: Hattie Hayridge & Norman Lovett at a very chilly Udder Belly. This was the first night on their tour, and it was an entertaining hour or so
  • The death and life of Sherlock Holmes at the Nightingale Theatre. This only starred Roger Llewellyn and he worked immensely hard for both 45 minute halves – especially given the heat in the theatre. It was a great play – with Roger playing Sherlock, Watson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Moriarty and a number of smaller, lesser characters. Excellent and real good entertainment
  • Brain Drain – a locally produced play at the Sanctuary Cafe. We missed the first half as we were still travelling back from the Hull City game at Wembley so despite Jeremy and Kirsty’s best efforts I never did quite work out what was going on
  • The return of the Ornate Johnsons at the Udder place – the most noisy venue I may have ever been to – with the traffic on the roundabout, the generator to keep the structure inflated and general people noise from both the Udderbelly and people milling around. It was quite memorable, however, first of all one of the microphones wasn’t working so quite a few scenes were played out with one of the cast shouting whilst the others were conversing normally – it broke things up a bit, but the level of professionalism was immensely high and they incorporated this handicap into the sketches. The background noise quietened down, and then the roof started coming down, until it was so low we had to be evacuated. After 5 or 10 minutes they got it sorted out (apparently a carrier bag blew into the fan – which was why it suddenly went quiet) and we started again. This was probably one of the best shows I’ve seen during the fringe – the level of professionalism that the cast showed throughout a troubled performance was incredible. I’ll look out for them again.

More Festival delights

It is still Festival time, and as Richard mentioned the other day, we’ve made a real effort to see some of the many fringe shows:

  • Open Wide – A comedy sketch show with 2 actors covering topics from Justin Timberlake appearing on a history program, to Hitler being investigated by Columbo and the Sweeney. Not the funniest show I’ve ever seen but had some good sketches
  • Final Cut: Lightning Documentary Challenge – showing short films (2 minutes each) produced by teams in 24 hours covering one of the fringe acts appearing on Saturday. Some great films and even better an opportunity to catch some more fringe acts – the Pet Sounds v Sgt Pepper show looked good, and we even had live music from The Top Bananas whilst the judging was going on. Some of the films are now available on youtube
  • Catchy! The Great plague musical – A cross between a Carry On film and a pantomime. Smutty, funny and with some great tunes to hum along to. And a bargain at £8 for a good 2 hours worth of entertainment. I’m still not sure if the guy sitting next to me sneezing during a musical about the plague was a good sign though.

The festival continues for another 10 days or so and we’ve got a couple more shows to attend.

Festival so far

It’s festival time, and although we’re not doing much in the Brighton Festival itself, we have a punishing schedule in the Brighton Festival Fringe—which, I’m told, is the “England’s largest arts event, and the 2008 Fringe is the second largest Fringe Festival in the world”. Citation needed, indeed.

So far we’ve been to…

  • X-Files Improv with Dean Haglund, who turns out to be the long haired blond geeky one in the X-Files. A small turn out (30 people?), but a huge amount of fun. Essentially, an X-Files episode is created using audience suggestions, and it worked really well. A top act.
  • We spent an hour or so of a boiling hot day in The Last South: Pursuit of the Pole. Yes, there were initial technical issues with the sound, and yes the venue suffered from being on a roundabout on bank holiday Monday with motorcycles roaring passed, but this didn’t distract from a great play. It was Scott and Amundsen on stage, writing their journals, in step with each other, but with very different experiences. Touching, funny, etc.
  • Up to the university we dropped in on a professorial lecture, namely “Alcohol: a simple molecule with complex consequences for emotion and behaviour“. We learned about the experiments on memory and behaviour under the effects of booze, and it was eye-opening. I didn’t know, for example, that drinking enhances your memory (but only for events before the drinking starts). Naturally, there was a wine reception after.
  • And tonight we went to see Mike Leigh in conversation with Amy Raphael, discussing his films and watching bits of some of them. We headed back home to sign up to LoveFilm to get his back catalog.

One negative: the £1 per ticket booking fees are evil, especially as the booking system isn’t finished and the web sites are frustrating to use. And on top of that “internet booking fees” should be made illegal. But, there’s no competition, so we pay. I’d rather have to pay than not have it at all, is what it comes down to.


Valentine by Sioux Hurman
Originally uploaded by Jane Dallaway

I bought my first ever open house art purchase during this years Brighton Festival.

She is called Valentine and was painted by Sioux Hurman.

I spotted this picture the day I first visited the Shadow Box Open House in Tidy Street. She is just so vivid and eye catching. I dragged Richard back with me the following week, just to make sure he didn’t hate it and that if I bought it, I could have it on display and not tucked away at the back of a cupboard somewhere…

He approved, I bought her and on Sunday I collected her, and brought her home. She is now happily hanging on the wall in our hallway.

Brighton Festival

Well, it is festival time again here in Brighton, and so today I headed off in search of the Streets of Brighton, open houses and more of the 41 places installations.

Despite having lived in Brighton for 5 festivals, I’d never ventured into an open house until today – and I’m converted. I visited 3 and found them all to be of a really high standard. The first was Rod Clark.

Rod Clark's Open House

The second and third were both down Tidy Street. They were Shadow Box and SQ1.

The Shadow Box Artists Open House

I will be visiting more of them.

I managed to catch a few different street performances, the Deep Sea Jivers performed by Swervy World and Eco Pirates performed by Desperate Men.

Desperate Men

Tonight we went to

Tonight we went to see The Two Terries (Terry Jones and Terry Pratchett) on stage at The Dome Concert Hall. We didn’t really know what to expect, and given that the Terries had never met before tonight, I guess they didn’t either.

For us, the worst thing it could have been was very very Literary — but it turned out to be mostly anecdote telling followed by questions at the end. There was a host to keep things moving, so all in all it was sort of like a chat show.
An entertaining chat show. For example: Terry Jones telling us about what life in the 14th century would have been like for a food taster to the Pope; or how the restaurant where the Mr Creosote scene from The Meaning of Life was being used the next day for a wedding; or how Terry Pratchett may or may not stumble around hotel rooms at 5am trying to avoid peeing in the wardrobe.

One of the stranger things: Terry Jones showed us the scar he acquired after being in hospital. Apparently the surgeon took a photo of Terry while they were working on or around his intestines…and then emailed him the photo (warning: that link not for the faint hearted or those eating).

The DVD of Monty Python and the Holy Grail sounds good at least for the subtitles for “people who don’t like the movie”, and we’ll have to go check out some of Terry Jones’ books. Jane already has pretty much all of the Pratchett books already.

Oh, brilliant moment: when it came round to time for questions, the first person stood up and said “This is a question for Terry” 🙂