Monday, November 28, 2016

Chocolate shoes, a hippy Tempest, punk music & retro art

Frome's Chocolate Festival was on Sunday and the Cheese and Grain almost split at the seams with excited tasters and buyers from stalls selling everything conceivably chocolate from bars and boxes to Thomas the Tank engines and high-heeled shoes - including chocolate candyfloss and chocolate limoncello (my favourite). Big sticky licky-fingered congratulations to Jo Harrington for an amazing enterprise.

The Grain bar Roots Session this week featured two excellent acts - punky ukelele-&-cahón trio The Wochynskis with vocals from Carl Sutterby, and 'velvet-voiced' Steve Loundon's band now featuring Charlotte Egmore.
And now to the theatre. The Tempest, despite its redemptive ending, is a difficult play. Prospero has born an understandable grudge in solitude for many years, he's a control freak and often frankly nasty. Neither of his fairy servants feel well-treated and none of the new arrivals on the island are people you'd like to spend much time with, though you have to as this play runs for nearly three hours. Credit then to Frome Drama Club for a brave new version, in which director Steve Scammell gender-swaps three key roles and gives Prospero an almost Lear-like tragic decline in powers at the end. Modernising a Jacobean play is always tricky but Raggedy's lovely costumes helped and there were some moving moments: the dance of the two fairies during Caliban's Be not afraid... speech was my personal highlight. Polly Lamb's watchful Ariel stole every scene she entered. Congratulations all for the team effort.

BlackSwanArts is currently enjoying a retrospective look at 30 years, 30 artists, celebrating 'artists and makers who started their careers at the Black Swan, returning with a mix of ceramic, jewellery, painting, pottery and printmaking.' It's a charming exhibition, most of pieces delicately playful - and an admirably vibrant interactive art chest from Stina Falle.
I ended my week with a family trip to Dorset and a marvellous walk along the chesil beach and ridgeway at Abbotsbury, included here via the slightly-dubious connection with TE Lawrence who as well as being an officer, archeologist, and diplomat was also of course a writer, and whose cottage is here. We didn't see it actually, because after a seven mile walk we preferred the pub, but the whole area is fascinating historically as well as beautiful. 

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