Thursday, 18 July 2019

Last Minute Rent

On Sunday night the Shaw Theatre played host to a one night only production of RENT. Staged as part of their celebration of Pride, this production came from Last Minute Musicals, their aim is to get a show from the page to the stage in a week.

This is some ask. I’ve seen Rent many times, both in the West End and in various provincial productions, I play the soundtrack from the Broadway version quite a lot – especially when doing the gardening. (You should see my Tango Maureen with a flymo – actually on second thoughts, probably not).

Ok so we were missing the multi-levelled set, so Mimi couldn’t swing down with full acrobatics during Out Tonight, but that didn’t matter – because they had an awesome cast with fabulous voices who brought this show to life. Every one of them threw themselves into the performance with gusto, the complicated rounds were perfect – it beats me how they pulled this off in a week and I’m still marvelling at their La Vie Boheme.

One of the cast admitted to me prior that he was both nervous and exited in equal measures, which I think had to be true for all of them, but in the end there was nothing to fear and the whole audience rose up as one at the end. I’ve not seen such unanimous response in a long time, in a well-deserved standing ovation that I think touched them – but they had well and truly earned it.

Well done to the team who put this on.

Friday, 31 May 2019


George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead has been adapted and brought to the stage. 

Playing live! or should that be un-alive? This is zombie territory after all.

Currently playing at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington until the 8th June. It is most certainly a comedy horror, and is presented in glorious black and white, which amazingly works very well.

So, without giving too much away.  It is 1968. The undead are coming, and they are hungry. 

They want brains for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they’ll get them.  Somewhere in a rural farmhouse deep in Pennsylvania a bunch of strangers are forced to hide out the night and hope to survive. But can they? Will they? Only one way to find out.

There are special seats for the brave to sit in among the action on stage in what they refer to as Splatter Zone 1. Are you brave enough to book these?

It’s the only production officially authorised by the Romero estate, so what are you waiting for, if you like your zombies fresh, now’s your chance.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek Workshop

Last week as I'm sure you must have been aware was Mental Health Awareness Week. There were a number of events taking place at work for this, one on Friday was a creative writing workshop to explore writing as an aid to well-being. UK Poetry Slam Champion, Toby Campion was invited in to run the workshop, and we engaged in a couple of writing challenges.

The first exercise was a free writing period. You just write, and keep writing even if all you are writing is complete gibberish or "I'm writing, writing, writing that I'm writing", just so long as you do keep writing.

Another exercise involved writing for 4 minutes 30 seconds at a time across five different titles, that were issued at the end of each time period. You switched, and wrote. It's amazing exactly where the mind goes when you do this.

At the end we were invited, if willing, to share one of the pieces that we had written, about a third of us did. There was no pressure to do so, but since I did I thought I would also share that 4 minute 30 second piece here - putting it out there - something to reflect on. Make of it what you will.

What On Earth Have We Done?
DJ. Kettlety (17/5/2019)

What on Earth have we done? Created a monster, that's what. It's out of control. It's taken over everything. It's on the rampage, we've got to find a way to stop it now before it devours everything.

It's too late, I know that. The beast is already loose out there, consuming everything in its path, gorging its hunger on our misery and sorrow. We did this. We did not take stock of our actions. We all stopped listening to the warnings that were there in front of us. All of us are guilty. Our own arrogance let this thing out.

It's too late. We can't kill the beast now, it's bigger than us. It's taken over. It's won. We are but fodder for its appetite now. It's all over.

Friday, 26 April 2019

When the Doctor wasn't the Doctor

There have been a few occasions when the Doctor just wasn't the man you thought he was.

Despite several broken needles I've been dedicating a special panel on the tapestry to when the Doctor was not the man you though he was.

William Hartnell played the Abbot of Amboise
 in The Massacre (of St Bartholomew's Eve)

Patrick Troughton played Ramón Salamander 
in The Enemy of the World

Tom Baker played Meglos in the story of the same name

Guess who's next to be added to the list?

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Plastered at Easter

Just after Christmas I wrote that I was keeping some old selection trays to use as plaster moulds (Post Christmas Box Sets) 

It has taken until Easter for me to mix up some plaster and start taking the moulds. 

I think I must have mixed the plaster too thin as after several days it still feels damp and a couple broke when I took them out of the moulds. 

These can be stuck back together, and I still think they have promise when painted up.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Keeping the stitching alive

From time to time I make visits to some of the local charity shops, you never know there may be some interesting bits and pieces that are good for model making. You might even be lucky and pick up some old models, model mags or craft materials that have been donated.

It was on just one such visit recently that I ended up spending quite a considerable sum, having made an extraordinary discovery. It started with a few packets of tapestry wool on display, a nice price and as I get through quite a lot and it is always good to have a wide pallet I am not bothered by what colours or shades that are on offer.

I was then invited to view a much larger donation, one they thought would take them years to shift at the rate they could package them up in a way that would be sold.

For me this was my lucky day. Four cases of Anchor Wool and some in a sack. Almost a complete a palette of colours 

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Theatre Review: Thrill Me

Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story at Hope Theatre UPSTAIRS

Review by Marc Major

Set at a parole hearing in the 1950s, and using flashbacks to the events leading up to 1924, this is the story of Nathan Loeb; a love story without boundaries.

Told partly in dialogue and interspersed with bursts of songs, it is hard to categorize this play, is it Comedy Horror? is it Black Comedy? or is it an LGBT RomCom?.

It will have you glued to your seat wondering what the next twist will be, while you go through a roller-coaster of emotions in your head.

The Hope Theatre in Islington is a very 'compact and bijou' space above a pub, with what has to be said is an eclectic but friendly team of barstaff; that said what little space there was, was very well used, the props designed to be easily re-purposed as the story unfolded.

A sterling and believable performance by Bart Lambert (definitely one to watch out for in other productions in the future), supported by Jack Reitman as his charismatic lover and play-pal Richard.