Insane Root's version, taking small groups at a time on an hour's tour of both the tale and the woodland, had a wonderful energy that was accessible but still lyrical and fantastic: the journey through dark paths led separately by both children (we were in Hansel's group, he was brilliant) was the unforgettable highlight of a magical show. We were asked not to take photos, so these are downloaded, they don't convey the magic. Book by January 1st, it's like nothing else you'll see this year.
Sharp Teeth people came up with another solve-it-at-home murder mystery: Sherlock Holmes III - Murder at the Games. It's a fully audience-participation created drama, with the script created by our detecting interrogations as inspired by plot prompts and steered by six artistically presented 'case files' which some of the audience in my 'discussion room' had clearly studied shrewdly. Personally I was just in awe of their slick expertise in people skills as well as dramatic intrigue. The final reveal is satisfyingly in line with classic whodunnit plotting & immorality, and the eight performers are all delightfully kitsch. Joinable until 8 January - great fun.
So the big 3 days have trundled by, and I hope they were good for you: here's my favourite picture from today - sunny Roddenbury Hill on a family Boxing Day walk.
So as this is my official End Of Year post, even though we're not yet at the official start of 2022, here's some wind-up moments and personal awards. With Zoom-widened audiences, it's been a great year for performance of both drama and poetry, with impressive online initiatives early in the year as well as great live shows later on. My top pick of the former is Wardrobe's The Great Gatsby, for the latter, in a hot contest it's Wuthering Heights, bursting onto Bristol Old Vic's stage in November.
Folksy Theatre was my favourite, after - of course - the Poetry Cafe, an amazing finale to my 21 years of promoting spoken word in Frome, though this won't cause the finale of that genre. The HOT Poets initiative has recently produced some impressive ecological poems, and the return of live bands to local venues brought special joy: Bar Lotte deserves a special mention for fabulous Wednesday night jazz sessions, but the Raggedy Men - post-punk punks - at The Sun in November stand out as unforgettable.
Active & In Touch was inspiring but my personal pick has to be David Moss at the Silk Mill, because this gave me the cover picture for my August publication of Deja Lu. with Hobnob Press. And credit goes also to writer Claire Reddaway who kept our spirits up with her Kilter Theatre collaboration of readings in Storyopathy, which encouraged me to compile this collection.
This year was the first time for me in over 25 years with no trip abroad (these were mostly working trips, btw, leading writing courses) - but an away-weekend to Wales in May was a highlight - here's the impressive Dolgoch Falls, highlight of a camping trip to Tywyn.
So after a quick flip through some of the highlights that illuminated my 2021 like that wonderful lantern parade in Frome, here's with a memory of that night: created by Frome people under guidance of Frome artists with support from Frome Town Council and our internationally-famous punk Mayor Andy... I hope your own reflections on the year we're leaving have been - mostly - happy too.