Thursday, February 25, 2016

Right here, 'Right Now' - February fusion of art, music, and drama.

It was the Frome Tattoo Convention last weekend and Cheese & Grain was filled with ink artists and their human canvasses, all demonstrating the dedication and skill as well as the creativity of their craft. Here's Ghis Melou at work, and Dean Oatley showing the developing work of tattoo artist Jerry Burchill from True Gent Tattoos. Fascinating to watch, and a great group of friendly people.

Hunting Raven Books opened its doors on Monday night for the Frome launch of Debby Holt's 'wickedly funny' new novel The Soulmate.  Debby is always a class act at these events ~ theatrical experience as well as seven novels now ~ and we were entertained by quotes from JB Priestley and Shakespeare as well as wit, anecdotes, and a short reading. I look forward to a longer one now.

Right Now is the first of a French-Canadian season at the Ustinov Studio theatre in Bath, a surreal dark comedy from Catherine-Anne Toupin translated by Chris Campbell. By turns hilarious, erotic, macabre, scary, and sad, it's the tale of a couple who find they've got neighbours like some flats get mice. After an opening glimpse of their struggling relationship, this bizarre trio bursts into their lives led by Juliette - Maureen Beattie awesome in a role that makes TV's predatory Dorien seem a girl guide. Together with her seductively genial partner Gilles (Guy Williams) and their enigmatic son Francoise (Dyfan Dwfor, shape-shifting from gauche to dominating) they upend the lives of Ben and Alice - Sean Biggerstaff and Lindsey Campbell hugely empathetic as the hapless couple hooked into psychological games. An outrageous play directed with dazzling precision by Michael Boyd, with great set & lighting from designers Madelaine Girling and Oliver Fenwick enhancing the capriciously changeable moods. Highly recommended, on till 19th March. (Oh, and you'll never, ever, guess what happens right at the end....)

Every week is live music week in Frome: on Sunday we had bluesy duo Nobody's Business at the Archangel in the afternoon, and the vibrantly funky Flash Harry at the Cornerhouse in the evening.
Roots Grain Bar on Wednesday had two great acts - Irish rock-bluesy solos for  Ian O'Regan and 'darkly sensuous' duo Bonne Nouvelle. And River House Cafe offered something a little different from their usual cocktails on Thursday - an entire supper based on vodka. How did that turn out then? Under the care of 'Tender Loving Kitchen's Jo Harrington, the Vodka Infusions pop-up supper club was a great success: superb food and great ambience, and vodka shots between every course.

I'm off to the Isle of Wight now for a weekend talking about writing at Skyros Holistic Holidays close-to-home retreat The Grange.  The programme notes for that excellent play Right Now identified the perfect situation for a writer as resentment and resilience, defensiveness and defiance but sometimes a break is good too. Weather forecast promises sun..

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