Bristol Old Vic and the Grinning Man

1-img_0389-001It’s shameful really, isn’t it? I’ve lived in Clevedon for over four years and I have only just had my first visit to the Bristol Old Vic… well it won’t be the last!

If you live in or near Bristol, I am sure you are very well aware of the beautiful theatre in King Street – close to Harbourside and many wonderful pubs and restaurants. As you can see from the ticket pack above, the theatre is celebrating 250 years this year, and you get a real sense of that history in the street outside and also inside the venue. It’s a gorgeous traditional space, managing to be  intimate and impressive at the same time. The backstage bar area is large, comfortable and modern. Staff members are friendly and the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed. Work is underway on improvements to the front of house, but this doesn’t in any way diminish from the pleasure of a visit.

I booked online for the evening performance of The Grinning Man this week and I must say that the booking process was really efficient and a pleasure to use. I chose tickets closer to the top end of the scale than the bottom, to be on the safe side on our first go, but I think next time I’d be more than happy with cheaper options.

The play itself is well worth seeing. It’s a macabre musical, based on the Victor Hugo book L’Homme Qui Rit  – The Laughing Man. Victor Hugo, of course, wrote Les Miserables, and this is from the same stable. So the story has treachery, cruelty and love, brought to the audience through a wonderful production incorporating puppetry, excellent acting, music and singing. The audience loved it and there was a standing ovation and much applause at the end. I’m not going to tell you more however much you ask! I’m sure you’ll easily find detailed reviews online and elsewhere, but I think knowing too much about plots in advance can spoil surprises, so that’s all you are getting from me. If you can get to Bristol before the end of the run on November 13 2016, do so! If the production moves to other theatres near you I hope you manage to see it at a future date!

I’ll leave you with that thought as I’m heading to the website right now to sign up as a Friend of the Bristol Old Vic

 

Neither there nor here – in Clevedon

Please, please please get to Clevedon in the next few days if you can to enjoy the fabulous Theatre Shop and Neither There nor Here by the wonderful Fine Chisel theatre group.

We’re just back this minute from a wonderful evening drawing on traditional tales, mumming, puppetry and song and I am so glad we ventured out this evening. You’ll find pathos, drama, Black Shuck and murderously angry yew trees, all in a little theatre shop in Queen’s Square Clevedon!

A truly marvellous evening. Thank you Theatre Shop and thank you Fine Chisel!!

{Here’s a view from the Mendips, with Kenn in the mid ground. No view of Parrot – sorry lads!}

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The colours of Clevedon…

There’s lots going on in Clevedon just now, thanks to The Theatre Orchard and their Theatre Shop.

We got to the pier too late to enjoy the ballet, but I love this shot: slightly misty and nostalgic. It really looks suitably Victorian to me!. You’ll need to imagine the music and the appreciative applause of the crowd…

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It’s fabulous to have so much extra going on locally, and it’s already clear that lots of people are visiting. I’ve seen Living Spit – who will be performing during the theatre season – before, and really enjoy their shows, and there is much more going on besides. So good to have performances in the community, as it really brings people together. Something, as they say, for everyone! Just have to make sure I get my tickets before everything sells out…

And, if there weren’t already enough reasons to grab your camera and mooch around the village and it’s environs, the shows add an extra buzz to the place.

In the sunshine, the colours of Clevedon really stand out. Here’s a small selection of my photographs, which I have just uploaded to my RedBubble shop – and if you really like them you can buy them on cards, prints, posters, phone cases, mugs, and even duvet covers and scarves!  Please feel free to browse!

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Catch it if you can – pop-up theatre in Clevedon

Clevedon from Poet's walk

What a nice morning: we popped into Clevedon, and joined the queue to see the Theatre Orchard production of The Devil and the Shopkeeper in a disused shop on Queen’s Square.

I had heard about the production through Twitter – having been sceptical, I am becoming convinced of the value of following local organisations to find out what’s on – and as I’m always keen to see local live performances I was determined to see one of the shows.  Everything was great, from the cheery, chatty queue waiting to get in, the equally cheery and chatty theatre people handing out flyers, the novelty of the setting, the skill and humour in the writing, music and performing. I won’t give away the plot – just go and see it yourself if you can! The mixed age audience all seemed to love it, and the applause was long and warm and donations were willingly given at the end.

If you are local and catch this blog today (Saturday 22 March) there’s still time for you to catch the 3.00 pm performance, otherwise they are back next Saturday 29 March at 11 am and 1 and 3 pm.  The show lasts less than half an hour, but packs a lot of entertainment into that.  Which leaves time to shop, have a coffee, or stroll along the sea front.

Well done to all involved – including the sponsors – for bringing such accessible and worthwhile theatre into the community.  I’ll defintely be keeping in touch with The Theatre Orchard to make sure I catch future productions in the area, and I’d recommend that you do too.