BY SARA DARLING
SPILLAGE AT THE BRIGHTON FRINGE
Heading past the defunct bingo hall towards the (also) out of action Casablancas, I was intrigued as to where my adventures in theatreland were taking me on a freezing Autumn evening last week.
The destination was a new one for me. The deceptively named Sweet Werks was tucked away on Middle Street, but there were no sweeties in sight! It was more of a communal workspace, with a bar, which gave me time to de-robe and grab a pre-show cuppa. The audience was then led downstairs to one of the photographic studios, for an original performance of 'SPILLAGE!'
What unfolded was a hugely enjoyable one man show about anxiety, peer pressure and mental health - written and performed by UK Anti-Slam winner, Stewart Taylor; directed by Anna Carr. Putting it like that, it doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, but using spoken word, clowning and puppetry, Taylor’s energy and charisma were mesmerising in the intimate venue.
Without a stage, props were minimal, which meant all eyes were on Taylor, along with his trusty action man aka ‘Anagram’ who is an unlikely confidante and decision maker, and is pretty good at inventing words too!
The show will resonate with anyone- whether you are bogged down with a relentless 9-5 or not, and Dan plays the every-man who has lost the zest for life, Stuck in a job he hates at corporate enterprise, LAP Giles, with a demanding boss and ridiculous deadlines. The show opens as he is juggling phone calls, whilst preparing for a last minute presentation, when all he really wants is to have a coffee break.
Trying to beat the system, he tempts fate by attempting to finish his drink, and in his panic, he spills it down his front- just before he was due to go and give his presentation, which he manipulates into a ‘spillage control workshop’.
Using an elaborate over-analysis of the word ‘spillage’ as an analogy of his life, Dan switches between presenter mode where he educates and enlightens, to an inner monologue. With the outcome resulting in a finely tuned character study based on a profound reflection on his own identity in a touching, multilayered performance.
Tackling everyday pressures and their consequences, the meaning of spilt coffee is put into perspective.
ANYTIME THE WIND CAN CHANGE (BUT THANKFULLY IT STAYED CALM TONIGHT!)
BY SARA DARLING
In typical Brighton fashion, the show must go on! And even though we didn’t have our annual jolly May Festival, with all the Fringe delights that come with it, many items on the agenda were re-scheduled for autumn.
With ample venues offering suitable social distancing space, the Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) is a fine example of how to host a performance- set in the charming amphitheatre setting in Dyke Road Park. And what a show I settled on for premier jaunt into the autumn agenda. Starting with a burst of the mesmerising Benjamin Yellowitz, performing an acoustic set as the sun set.
Written and directed by Alex Podger, I was intrigued as to how a hand-crafted shadow puppet show would mesmerise adults. But ‘Anytime The Wind Can Change’ is based around a contemporary folktale about love and human kindness- with real-time narration and live music adding to the indulgence.
The story revolves around Naut and Astrid- two giants who are living separate and lonely lives on opposite sides of an ocean with a community of ‘normal size’ people who although they accept the giants, are pretty set in their mundane ways,
With just two (hidden actors) pulling their strings, the show unravels with detailed representations of seagulls, school children, sea creatures, housewives and even spoons, whilst the story unfolds with human narration stage left.
Pre-technology, this love struck pair send messages to each other on the wings of birds, as their passion increases with the torment of being kept apart. However their plan to eventually unite is thwart with disaster as the ocean is cursed with a storm which causes chaos with life on the South Island, and soon Astrid is shipwrecked, The disaster leave Naut distraught, and he has no reassurances from his island that they will help to save his love, However, Astrid is heading to seek refuge with Naut, and as she is getting closer, the islanders drift further apart.
Accompanied by a live score- led by singer/songwriter Yellowitz, the two giants are united with a joyful reminder that it’s ok to ask for help, and that the world is not as ugly as it is often made out to be.
Written and directed by Alex Podger
Puppets by The New Shadow Cabinet
Produced and Narrated by Alex Gomar
Music by Benjamin Yellowitz, Sian Herbert
Title Song by Kavisha Mazella + Arnold Zable
Check out more on uber-talented Artful Podger team here
Arts Editor: Christopher George
Andy Warhol projected an ambiguous narrative of himself, this self-editing has kept the press and public fascinated with Warhol, even 30 years after his untimely death at the age of 58.
From an early age, Warhol was aware of public image, and he based his career on the projections of religious icon, saintly portraits and movie star images that he grew up with.
Warhol created religious art for a secular culture via his celebrity portraits and use of commercial objects. His early Marilyn is now one of the most recognised artworks ever.
The religious icon and saint style portrait that he took this inspiration from go much deeper than the facade Warhol would have liked us to believe. His entrenched religious background was what he lived with and believed in to his core, deepening further close to his death with the works that he was producing.
Religious iconography is apparent from the churches he would visit as a child with his mother Julia, who was a devoted Ruthenian Catholic. The icons and saints would be placed next to each other on flat backgrounds row after row.
In his art we are witnessing the religion of celebrity that Warhol was presenting to the world in his pop art portraits. His childhood was a mix of religion and movie star portraits that he adored and which inspired his work throughout his life.
One of the key subjects for Warhol was America, where the Warhola family had emigrated to from the rural hills of Poland. Warhol, as he became by dropping the ‘a’ from Warhola, is still one of the most famous Americans, let alone artists. So it is poignant today with the struggles America is having with immigration and racial issues during the current Trump administration, that Warhol was of immigrant heritage, brought up in an impoverished ghetto in Pittsburgh.
Today Warhol would not be surprised where we have arrived in the world over 30 years after his death. During his life he was projecting and predicting much of the cultural, technical and philosophical issues that we are now living with on a daily and global basis.
This new exhibition at the Tate Modern, the first in nearly 20 years examines Warhol’s background along with his queer self.
His escape came at 12 years of age after his fathers death and a small amount of money had been left for Andy's education. The family gathered around Andy and gave the youngest of 3 boys their support and an opportunity. This opportunity created one of the most successful and famous artists ever.
Andy produced works during times of immense social, political and technical change. It could be said that Warhol was the creative vessel that modernised culture and the way we have lived the past 50 years and beyond.
Exhibiting some of his most recognisable works, the Tate Modern examines the experiment Warhol was attempting in his early career to break through as a serious artist by using commercial objects.
This was the lead up to his ground breaking screen prints that we now know Warhol for. These are the works that broke him into the art world as a serious artist from a successful but unsatisfying commercial art background.
Focusing on religion, death and identity, were Warhol’s three most used themes in his work, we get a better understanding of the man beneath the white wig.
Understanding the supermarket he created of the arts, disposing of the Mona Lisa and replacing this icon figure with the figures of Debbie Harry and the Campbell soup cans. His creation of ‘Common’ism’, where we all have accessibility to art, classifying the Coca Cola bottle accessible as much to the richest in the world, as it is to the poorest. Everyone can own one.
Several themes of the show work on the importance of the Factory. This space allowed ideas and people from all walks of life to gather, from the socialite and drag queens, to the distinguished, the celebrity and the drug addicts. All these people became the raw materials Warhol thrived on and creatively exploited throughout his career.
The recreation of the Factory, along with The Velvet Underground and NICO film clips projected allows you to immerse your senses in the visuals, the sound, the creativity and the madness of Warhol’s Factory environment.
In the last section of the exhibition we get to examine his final years and his journey back to religion, at a time when the AIDS epidemic was at its height, and mortality was on everyones agenda with death heavy in the air.
“We are all processed through life”
Andy Warhol died in1987 leaving a fascinating legacy we are still trying to understand.
12 March – 6 September 2020
Arts Editor: Christopher George
Artist and film maker Steve McQueen is recognised for his vision of story telling.
Born in london in 1969, his arts take a stark view and project the social and political landscape we live in, in a harsh and direct way.
Since 2008 McQueen has directed 4 feature films, with his Academy Award-winning ’12 Years a Slave’ portraying the abrupt and brutal reality of slavery in Southern America.
His first exhibition in London since 1999, brings together works from a 20 year period and are showcased in the current exhibition at the TATE MODERN. Paying close attention to an alertness to sensory feelings and emotions, along with emerging pain and feelings of encapsulation.
Ghostly appearances, vague and mildly disturbing imagery with uncomfortable situations, immerse your attention while viewing the cinematic film clips. Yet at the same time radiating compassion and tranquility in acceptance of the situation- resulting in an experience where it’s not what you see, it’s what you feel.
McQueen is a patient observer of feeling, thoughts and human struggles, much like the conscious spirit that’s always observing the inner and outer world. Obsessed with observation and voyeurism, his stories come via spiritual portals, where he is the vessel of communication for the stories of humans.
McQueen “The fact of the matter is I’m interested in a truth. I cannot put a filter on life. It’s about not blinking”.
An extraordinary artist of our times, and the only artist to win the TURNER Prize as well as an Oscar for his feature film works.
February 13th March - 11th May 2020
Arts Editor: Christopher George
Harold Feinstein may have admired the work of W. Eugene Smith and Henri Cartier-Bresson, but he was not a photographer who would stand back and observe, unnoticed by his subjects. In fact, in nearly every image, Feinstein’s proximity to his subject is clear. It is this physical closeness, an extension of Feinstein’s profound connection to his subjects, that sets his work apart from other street photographers from the same period.
Where his contemporaries – photographers like Diane Arbus, Walker Evans and Garry Winogrand – documented the plight of the human condition without their subjects’ awareness, Feinstein celebrated humanity with his subjects. From the glittering lights of Times Square to the streets of Harlem; from the smoke-filled coffee shops to subway cars; from city stoops to crowded beaches, Feinsteins’ desire to connect with the world around him and share the experiences he saw is evident in every composition.
A renaissance of his remarkable work is currently underway though, as evidenced by the 2019 feature length documentary Last Stop Coney Island: The Life and Photography of Harold Feinstein, which had its world premier at DOCNYC to a sold-out crowd. Thanks to this, the black and white monograph, Harold Feinstein: A Retrospective (Nazraeli Press, 2012), and numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, Feinstein is starting to receive the critical and public attention he richly deserves.
DAVID HILL GALLERY
345 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 6HA
Arts Editor: Christopher George
Loribelle's Journey as a contemporary artist began with realism and photorealism where she honed her painterly skills and came upon the particular combination of acrylic and oil paints that have become a hallmark of her creations. Photorealism soon gave way to surrealism as she increasingly sought to explore personal emotions and anxieties through art. As Loribelle puts it, her art is "...an attempt to externalise internal conflict, creating a juxtaposition of movement and stillness that forms an unsettling effect..."
Born in the Philippines in 1990, this Australian artist has fascinated audiences at home and abroad with her distinctive style and approach to contemporary portraiture. Though admittedly intuitive, Loribelle's artistic style is also decidedly cerebral, rooted in the myths, music, literature, pop culture and experiences that inspire her and make her art resonate with viewers.
Her most recent works are surreal explorations of the relationship between people and the spaces they inhabit. Inspired by her experiences as a migrant in Australia, a sense of claustrophobia is unmistakable in these works. Also, she increasingly employs disjointed bodies and hollow forms, amplifying the introspective pull of her art and compelling her viewers to confront and contend with their own emotions. Indeed, the role of the viewer is critical to Loribelle’s work. In ‘Love, Death and the Time I knew You’, she recognizes viewers as ‘meaning-makers’ without whose participation her artwork would be incomplete.
27 November – 11 December, 2019.
Arts Editor: Christopher George
Socially, politically, and economically - we are living in trying times. These difficulties create division, and division breeds competition. Both Delphian and Guts endeavour to support all art-world practitioners wherever possible, whether they reciprocate or otherwise, and to collaborate with what would be called generally their direct competitors.
Sharing a whole range of information on art-world events through their platforms, be it exhibitions to workshops, connecting people through a strong community of art world practitioners.
They believe that the art-world would be a much more open, supportive, and progressive place to work if we started working together, rather than pulling apart. Sound like an idea our global politics could work towards.
“We noticed that the art-world can sometimes be a very closed and lonely place, on one side, artists work away in their solitary studios and on the other, galleries can often close ranks to protect their interests. We wanted to show that galleries can work together on projects that bring together incredibly exciting artists from different countries and backgrounds in an exhibition that is open and welcoming to all.”
The exhibition is being presented at The Factory in Dalston, a new creative complex that consists of studios; shops by independent artisan makers; a cafe, and exhibition space. They feel that this buzzing creative hub fits perfectly in its ethos as a location for Delphian X Guts.
The work from the thirteen selected artists spans from sculpture to painting over an extremely diverse range of styles, and all the artists are tied together in their shared outlook on collaboration.
21-31 Shacklewell Lane, London E8 2DA
29th Nov – 4th Dec 2019
Arts Editor: Christopher George
Sassy Luke is known for being a master of adornment of the icons that wallpaper our every day lives. Tired old images of Queen Elizabeth II and Jesus H Christ are given a right good snazzing up with wicked humour and precise skill. Comforting, but completely new and better... and blasphemous... and riddled with treason.
But this show marks her serendipitous, yet harrowing new path for Luke. Through a mixture of poverty and luck she was charged with the task of clearing out the former 'home' of an addict. What she documented and cleared out became an entire art project. A seemingly fully functional member of society when met face to face, but the tidy up operation revealed a trail of theft from the other residents of the building in order to fund a serious habit. The poignant words above the bed, usually found in some kind of family home, are a stark contrast to the layers of hazardous filth that the artist was wading through both emotionally and physically.
This is not the exploitation of an unfortunate junkie, but a very first had documentation of the horrors of addiction and forces the viewer to think about our own addictions and how we perceive us to be different from other junkies.
This show is guaranteed to take you on a journey through a range of emotions in a beautifully uncomfortable way.
SEA SPRAY GALLERY
Saturday 9th November - Thursday 5th December 2019
Private View Saturday 9th November 6pm - 8pm
THE BRITS LOVE TEA. At any time of day!
By Sara Darling
So when we were invited to sample the best of the UK’s Afternoon Tea at the fourth annual Afternoon Tea Awards at the Rosewood in London, it wasn’t too much of a chore. Founded by Keith Newton, an afternoon tea connoisseur and businessman, it is the icing on the cake for purveyors of stylish tea and cakes.
This great British custom was started by the Duchess of Bedford in 1830 when she ordered a light meal to stave off hunger pangs between lunch and dinner, and the tradition of scones and gossip still prevails at some of the most exclusive meeting points in London.
Narrowing down the favourites from some of London’s top hotels and eateries to the top four could not have been easy. With each judge (including top pastry chefs and food writers in the hospitality industry) visiting twice to ensure consistency.
From over 60 of the UK’s finest hotels and restaurants offering afternoon tea, the cherished awards recognise the best in tea, food and service and were whittled down to four winners which were commended for their impeccable service, taste, setting and creativity,
The 4 categories showcase the most outstanding experiences from best tea service, best theme, best contemporary tea and best traditional tea, which were judged over a period of 6 months, and considered all aspects of the afternoon tea experience from booking to departure, with a strong focus on the food, tea and service.
Best Traditional Afternoon Tea – The Savoy
The judges said:
“Everything about the setting for this afternoon tea experience exudes elegance.”
“Combining exquisite food with a service which made everyone feel as though they were the most special person in the room is a real talent and made for a perfect afternoon of elegance.”
“A memorable experience which is worth every penny.”
Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea - Adam Handling at Cadogan’s
The judges said:
“Fantastic afternoon tea, with amazing food and service.”
“The tea stand was not only unique and stunning, but also cleverly designed.”
“The best afternoon tea experience I have had for a long time!”
Best Themed Afternoon Tea – The Berkeley “Prêt-à-Portea”
The judges said:
“This afternoon tea has been a true highlight for me.”
“I was incredibly impressed with both the genuineness and knowledge of the staff.”
“An astonishing level of detail…the cakes truly were art itself.”
Best Tea Service - The Roseberry at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
The judges said:
“I was very impressed with the variety of teas on offer - it looked as if the pages would go on forever!”
“I liked how much detail our server went into to explain the teas and the food pairings they would complement.”
“Fresh cups were provided with each new tea and our waiter was keen for us to try many options.”
With further notable additions: The Berkeley, Rosewood London, The Dorchester and Kona; Commended winners included Fortnum & Mason, The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe, COMO The Halkin and Le Méridien Piccadilly.
Regionally, the ‘Award of Excellence’ winners were:
Pennyhill Park, Surrey, Coworth Park, Berkshire, Café at the Palace, Edinburgh, Lainston House, Hampshire, James Martin Manchester, Laura Ashley Coventry, Laura Ashley Solihull, Foxhills, Surrey, Tewin Bury Farm Hotel, Hertfordshire
For more information, check out
A COMING OF AGE MOVIE WITH ADDED CARP OBSESSION
BY SARA DARLING
The nineties might strike a chord for the music scene- acid house, punk, emo and northern soul were rife. but in industrial, working class Yorkshire, friendships take priority. And music is secondary to this close knit group of teenagers who star in the first movie by acclaimed theatre director Bill Buckhurst.
The film begins in a sleepy mining village just outside Doncaster, in the heatwave of 1994. Bored, skint, teenagers fill their long summer holiday with sibling rivalry, teenage dramas, crushes, betrayals and first love, around the decidedly unglamorous estate where they have grown up.
In keeping with the era, youths listlessly hang out on street corners, revving up motorbikes, blagging cigarettes and heavy petting in alleyways- whilst listening to music on cassette tapes. Parents on the other hand are equally apathetic socialising at the local Miners’ Welfare Club, where the highlight is making jokes about Tony Blair.
With a mis-matched group of friends, the story sways towards the character of Trevor (Tom Varey), who as one of the older members of the gang, is ready to leave the suffocating town after one last summer. His priority is looking after emotionally fragile Pogo (Esme Creed-Miles), who has a major crush on him, and is constantly on the verge of an anxiety attack, whilst his wayward sister Cassie (Daisy Edgar-Jones), has moved into his old room and is embracing her new freedom.
Geeky Malcolm (Angus Imrie) is besotted with Cassie, but she is only interested in bad boys, demonstrated in her passionate snogging sessions with Maurice (Abraham Lewis). As a coming of age film, the unrequited love establishes how fickle teenage romance is, and how easy it is to get your heart broken.
Away from the oppressive cement of the estate, the local woodland has a pond, which rumour has it, is the home of a giant carp, nicknamed Nessie. As a last ditch attempt to make something of his life in the area, he is determined to catch it once and for all before he leaves the town to search for work.
A film about fishing might not seem super exciting, but it’s the relationships which bind the town together that make it memorable. In order to leave his legacy, Trevor initiates an overnight mission to lure the fish on an overnight fishing expedition.
Tweenagers Shane and David, are also obsessed with snagging the carp- almost as much as Shane is hooked in spying on snogging couples, and are almost a comical aside to the drama. With a particularly poignant scene when randy Shane has stolen his mothers stockings and suspenders to wear (he was told anglers wore women's tights to keep warm) and almost gets rumbled by Maurice!
Pond Life will no doubt take you back to the nineties, and is a modern, nostalgic kitchen sink drama.
Watch it on Verve Pictures on DVD now.
A curated catalogue of things to do and see - exhibitions, events, films and galleries.