Thursday, August 09, 2018

Street life with castle, beach, murder-mystery & more...

Nunney Street Fayre on Saturday, as you'd expect from the spelling, is an extravaganza of stalls selling cakes and summer-festival style attire, interrupted at intervals by cider & prosecco bars and ice-cream vans - but with a magnificent USP: ruined Nunney Castle, in the centre of the village and surrounded by a moat. Here the awesome Acoustic Cafe team gave us a day-long stream of live music, on two stages so no set-up breaks, and you could lounge on the grass listening to fabulous folk, blues, and punk classics for hours... I was there for five, fortified by fizz, leaving then for a theatre date. Here's the punky Raggedy Men but I also really enjoyed the other bands and individual artists, especially Splat the Rat ranging from In Hell I'll Be In Good Company to gentle Bees Wing... (thanks Stephen for the snap)
So a swift bike-ride home got me back in time to de-hippify for the rather posher environs of Corsley Manor, to join friends for the Illyria production of The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Oliver Gray, who designs and directs the summer season, warns in programme notes that four actors on a tiny stage in a complex tale involving multiple characters is 'ridiculous' but of course it's the ridiculousness of this clever quartet we love. Liv Spencer's haughty Holmes, Nick Taylor's broad-Yorkshire Watson, Rachel O-Hare and Lee Peck in multiple roles were all hilarious, even in the scariest moments as the unlikely story unravelled. With the villain finally triumphantly identified, Dr Watson - not unreasonably - asks what the motive could conceivably have been. 'That is of no concern to me,' the great detective huffs, 'I am only interested in problems of the present and the past, not those of the future.' Not just a riotous romp, a sly critique of genre detective stories too...

Next day was the first Sunday in August so Frome had its monthly Independent Market - the seaside one, with a beach and donkey rides in the marketplace, and Mojo Moves from Rare Species street theatre leading a startling-energetic aerobics session - think human-glitter-ball in shocking-pink lycra romping like a baby hippo on speed.
For calmer enjoyment, there was the Busking Stage - here's Kevin Brown and Duncan Kingston playing blues.
Sunday early evening jazz is back at Cornerhouse: Simon Sax and friends gave a great jam session, with songs from Nicki Maskell & Graham Dent on piano. Midweek highlight was Lazy Daze, a charismatic trio - great rapport & fabulous original songs superbly played.

Ending this busy post with an update from Frome Unzipped, with my first serious, with-a-reading style, launch on Tuesday at Hunting Raven Books where lovely Tina set the bar high in her introduction but audience response was brilliant:  questions good and comments fabulous. (Thanks Tina for the sneaky shot of me holding forth.) I've been delighted by all the feedback, on facebook ('a cracking read'- thanks Mike Grenville) and from people I meet around - like, 'I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I am!'... I do hope everyone who buys it feels that way...
And Pete Lawrence has just posted a chat we had for the Campfire Convention: you can listen to the 'Firecast' here:

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