16 April 2014

Internationally acclaimed LEO lands in TOM, aka The Old Market, Brighton and Hove

Celebrating their 3rd birthday at the beginning of May, TOM aka The Old Market in Hove actually are getting very excited about their largest show ever, LEO a spectacular dance performance starting tomorrow 17 April 2014.

TOM's 3rd birthday

Since 2011 TOM has been run by the creators of ‘Stomp’ Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, who are not surprisingly passionate about great shows.

Initially inspired by Fred Astaire's Ceiling Dance, LEO is the internationally acclaimed and touring gravity-defying one man performance.  Playing only in Brighton UK, it promises stunning visual illusion, skilled acrobatics and high tech video projection with a funny and touching storyline.

LEO has already performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as in New York, Moscow and Hong Kong, where it has garnered praise and awards as jaws have collectively dropped to LEO's “off the wall” antics.

Travelling to the UK specifically for this run at TOM, LEO is the unusual journey of an otherwise ordinary man whose world becomes physically unhinged.  We first discover Leo, alone with his small suitcase, whiling away his time in a simple room.  As time passes we watch as he becomes increasingly aware that all may not be what it seems. As Leo’s reaction to his situation changes from alarm and insecurity to curiosity and eventual playfulness the audience becomes involved in his journey of discovery.

Leo exhausts himself playing within his new reality until he again realizes that he is alone. Then his suitcase offers him a totally unexpected way to make himself comfortable and at home. This path leads Leo to new unexpected adventures through worlds both ephemeral and imaginary until he finds himself, once again, alone. With his confidence now shaken, he begins to accept that he needs to break the bonds of his confinement, this room holding him hostage. In his search for release, Leo not only calls on all that has gone on before but enlists the aide of a most unlikely ally - himself.

Having explored his dreams and desires and exercised his lust for life, Leo’s final odyssey is the most important of all, a quest for freedom.

After this first performance tomorrow night the audience are invited to the launch of TOM's new membership scheme, for ‘TOM’s Friends'.

Those joining TOM’s Friends will receive a range of benefits including: 15% Discount on all ‘TOM’s’ shows and 10% off at TOM’s Bar; free cloakroom when available; and one special ‘TOM’s Friends’ event per year, exclusive to members.  The launch is free to attend and starts at 8:30 pm.  

26 March 2014

Some Super Super Craft action this Saturday 29 March and a Fairy Tale Fair in April

~ Etsy Craftivists ~
This Saturday 29th March 2014 from 11am - 6pm crafters curated by Brighton's Fairy Tale Fair will set up camp in the window of Super Super.

Super Super, 7 Kings Road, Brighton is located on the seafront between the Queen's and Thistle hotels (near Pool Valley) and is a super friendly creative hub.  On Saturday the window will be taken over by some Brighton creative sorts for some LIVE craft action.

There will be a line up of 14 Brighton Etsy members where every hour, two new people will take their place in the window to make something, ending with at least 14 pieces of work.

summer fair 2013
Each piece will be raffled with the profits going to the local disability led arts organisation Carousel.

summer fair 2013
The crafts will be on display at Super super as part of their window display for the WHOLE of April.  The theme will be around Etsy's brand colours of blue and orange, so we're unlikely to miss it.

summer fair 2013
Raffle tickets will be on sale until the end of April with tickets available at the upcoming BTN Etsy talk at the Old Market, Hove 7th April.

Then on Saturday 12th April 2014, the Brighton Fairy Tale Fair will be taking place again between 10.30am – 4pm, free entry.

Head to Patcham Methodist Church, Ladies Mile Road, Patcham, Brighton for some handmade crafts, jewellery, Easter gifts, craft workshops, vintage tearoom and face painting.

summer fair 2013

~ Brighton Fairy Tale Fair 12 April 2014 ~
If you are unfamiliar with the Fairy Tale Fair, it is a whimsical themed craft fair that takes place in Brighton.

The fair comprises of around 35 stalls selling a range of handmade crafts.  These include gifts, jewellery, knitted items, cute characters, cushions, cards, prints, accessories, vintage style items, hair pieces, bags, decorations, beads and much more.  There will also be face painting, and Alice in Wonderland themed cakes, Easter treats with tea and coffee served on vintage china.  From past experience the items are very appealing with a good range from some very talented people.

Click on The Fairy Tale Fair to find out more about this craft fair and the organiser / talented jewellery maker behind it, Claire Montgomery. 

23 March 2014

New Fringe Venue The Blue Man - eat tagine and be entertained

~ The Blue Man restaurant, Brighton ~
~ The Blue Man, Brighton ~
Inside The Blue Man

The Blue Man is a North African restaurant in Brighton that has been around for about ten years.  Having (relatively) recently relocated to Queens Road by the clock tower, it is now situated in the most central location you can get.  This year it will be a Fringe venue for the first time and they are plunging right in with a programme that covers music, theatre, cabaret and lots of comedy.  Intrigued to check out their menu, I also wanted to find out more about it as a Fringe venue and which shows will be performing there.

The Blue Man platter
Booked in for dinner with my Cardiff fella we arrived at the beautifully carved wooden door of The Blue Man last Sunday at 7 o'clock.
Seated upstairs we ordered a platter and lamb tagine so that we could try a range of dishes.  The platter arrived piled high with salad, lamb sausages, halloumi and dips, which looked unbelievably tempting.  As I dipped in I realised the salad was an exotic mix of grated carrot, pomegranate and rose water that combined a satisfying crunch with delicate flavours.  The other winner for me was halloumi served with grilled apple and glazed in honey that disappeared without me stopping for breath.

Full up from the munch the lovely people at The Blue Man had reserved us a table downstairs to check out their Sunday Open Mic.  Listening to around five different musicians we heard a diverse selection of original humourous songs, deeply moving blues and hand clapping 90's influenced rock.  Already a regular fixture, this Open Mic is attracting some great talent and is definitely worth going to.  The venue itself has an intimate, warm and welcoming vibe and is the kind of venue that will be perfect for some Fringe action.

Bottom of spiral staircase

Expected to be their most popular offering The Shakespeare Heptet Fringe Show will be playing folk / blues style music set to the Bard's sonnets.  That's New Wave, Fence Post Blues with percussive soundscapes, three part harmonies, bass, and a 12-string guitar.  With only two dates it's likely to be busy 16-17 May 20:30 £5 (£3) [2hrs].  Other interesting offerings include a funny feminist, a thin fat guy and a play about the Dutch spy and femme fatale, Mata Hari.

Muffragette @marybourkecomic
It's a show about feminism without all the boring preachy bits and it's also very funny too.
"One of the best female acts in the country" (GQ)
"Savage and Lyric" (New Statesman)
"An hour packed with fine routines and beautifully written gags" (The Scotsman) 3-4, 10-11, 18, 25 May 20:30 26 May 20:00 £5 [1hr30mins]

Matt Dwyer
Matt Dwyer: Thick and Thin @comedymattdwyer
Matt Dwyer has experienced both sides of the fat-coin. Previously weighing in at over 26 stone (165kg) he is now, quite literally, half the man he used to be after losing around 13 stone (85kg).
In this funny and honest show, he explores the changing nature of his identity and the differences between being a plus-sized freak and a 'normal' person.
A must-see for anyone who has ever considered losing weight!
Matt Dwyer: Thick and Thin
7, 14, 21, 28-29 May 20:45 Free, ticketed [45mins]

Aletia Upstairs
Mata Hari @AletiaUpstairs
“I’ll know how to die.” As Dutch spy and femme fatale, Mata Hari, is awaiting death by firing squad, she reflects on her life.  Based on verbatim letters and interviews, this illumination of a legendary woman is interspersed with songs and dance by South African, London-based cabaret performer Aletia Upstairs. Directed by Dean Stalham.  "This is one of those little Edinburgh Fringe gems… Upstairs is joyful, sulky, sexy and seductive as Mata Hari. Do go and see this if you can." ***** (ScotsGay)
8 May 20:45 10-12 May 21:45 £6 (£5) [1hr]

Twitter @bluemanbrighton

8 Queen’s Road BN1 3WA  Tel:  01273 726 003

The Blue Man lamb tagine and platter

22 March 2014

Unity Studio and School - Creating a holistic community with yoga, reiki and dance

Rosie Davis, Writer and Photographer shares her impressions of a studio in Brighton, where you can learn as well receive treatments designed to promote healing and improve overall wellbeing.

~ Unity yoga, Brighton ~
Unity studio and school creates a peaceful and relaxing space away from the hustle and bustle of Lewes Road.  

When I first arrived at the purple facade of Unity I was instantly drawn in, there was something very different about it compared to the other buildings and vibe around me.  Opening the lilac coloured door, my first impression was ‘where am I?’.  Taking my first step into the studio I became oblivious to the fact that I had just stepped off Lewes Road.  The mixture of wooden floorboards, white ceilings, purple accessories and floor to ceiling mirrors made it instantly comfortable and homely.  Inside a safe haven emerged where yoga, dance and holistic practices were being taught with teachers and students attracted from Brighton and beyond.

Unity Studio, Brighton
Unity Studio and School offers a range of holistic courses, classes and treatments and was founded 15 years ago by Sevanti.  The school has an international following, which has led to the opening of a dedicated studio in 2012.  

Passionate about dance and yoga Sevanti explains, "I wanted to create a studio which feels nourishing, homely and welcoming. I have added plants, buddhas and attractive furnishings with a warm colour scheme to allow people to feel they are stepping into somewhere special and sacred.  I have created a peaceful space outside in the sunny courtyard garden for summer, and light the fire inside for winter days and nights.  My vision is for the studio to be inclusive of the whole community, I want everyone to feel welcome here".

For Sevanti it all began with Yoga Teacher Training back in 1996, after which she moved into healing and related bodywork. The next step for Sevanti was to become a Reiki Master, where she then fused her teaching and therapies to form her established company.  Her enthusiasm for her chosen path has guided her to establish diplomas in Yoga Teacher Training, Holistic Massage (MTI), Unity Partner Yoga ™ Teacher Training and Reiki.

Unity Studio class
Invited to the studio to take photographs of the Holistic Massage Diploma (MTI) and act as a guinea pig for the students this gave me a privileged insight into Unity Studio.  The massage diploma, like the other courses are limited to 10 spaces enabling Sevanti to give the best teaching possible.  I found myself alternating between taking photographs and receiving massages from some of the students.  Sevanti demonstrated first and then the students followed, with Sevanti observing and offering advice and help as needed.  Other workshops relate to holistic massage, Reiki treatment and Unity Partner Yoga™, a beautiful and connecting form of Yoga that is choreographed and in particular, is very close to Sevanti's heart.

The next training course at Unity will be Reiki Level 1, taught over two days, for £175.  Reiki Level 1 covers the history and background of Reiki, anatomy and physiology; as well as aura, chakras, healing on oneself and others.  Unity also runs daily classes taught by experienced teachers.  There are classes in Hatha Yoga, Vajrasati Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Pregnancy Yoga, along with an affordable holistic and cranio-sacral clinic.

I left the studio with ruffled hair, a fragrant smell of grapeseed oil and a big smile on my face.  Accessible by bus, car (there’s free parking two streets down), bike or a gentle stroll.  This is a place where you can become part of something healing, meet like-minded people, with a selection of classes and where you can take your interest in yoga or holistic treatments to a deeper level.

Next training and workshops:
Reiki Level 1-30th April and 1st May at Unity, Brighton
Unity Partner Yoga™ Workshop-4th May at Yotopia in London
Unity Partner Yoga™ Workshop-6th June at Unity, Brighton
Unity Day Retreat-29th June at Whitecliffs CafĂ©, Saltdean

To find out more information about the studio and school visit being-in-unity.com or call on 01273 778400.

Rosie tweets @RosieDavisred

21 March 2014

New Farm Shop opens today at Brighton garden centre by the racecourse

 ~ Wessex Mill, French Bread Flour and
Scone Mix ~ 
Today saw the opening of a brand new Brighton Farm shop, celebrating local, small producers, organic and fresh produce, this is a foodie heaven worth heading up the hill to check out. 

~ Brighton Farm Shop ~
Romanesque vegetable
Dartford Lamb's Piccalilli
Ouse Valley Aioli and
Watercress n Rocket Pesto

The shop is situated at the back of the Garden Centre, is right next to Brighton racecourse and has been set up by the owners of the highly successful Polhill Farm Shop in Kent.
With over 17 years of experience, John Horan, Ian Pettit and Philip Allford have brought a potted version of their established store to Brighton.

Glynde gluten free, organic cake
STAS chocolate egg
STAS chocolate
Barbers Vintage cheddar
Basil infused Olive Oil
from Spain

Kids pasta
Ian Pettit, one of the partners
of Brighton Farm Shop
Supporting independent farms and growers, they also specialise in select dairy produce including Barber's vintage cheddar and home-made cakes, like A Taste of Dreams gluten-free organic cake from Glynde in Sussex.  There are juices, pasta sauces, Wessex flour, Ouse Valley sauces and STAS chocolate.  
Produce will be updated seasonally, with new product lines to be added from the Sussex area. 

This weekend 22-23 March 2014, there are special offers on certain products and when you spend more than £20 you will also receive 200 g of complimentary Lindt chocolate (while stocks last).
Brighton Farm Shop, Warren Road, Brighton,
BN2 9XX.
Email brightonfarmshop
Lindt chocolate

9 March 2014

Broadway Baby gives us the heads up on this year's Brighton Fringe

~ Thief by Liam Rudden ~
  Having just launched a brand new website I thought it a great opportunity to catch up with Pete Shaw at Broadway Baby, find out what they've been up to and get a few tips for this year's Brighton Fringe 2014.

First, a bit of background about you Pete and Broadway Baby.  How long has it been going, why and where is Broadway Baby going next? 

The history of the site goes back to 1996 in a very different form.  Originally launched as a site for actors to publish their CVs online for free, I'd written all sorts of code to link credits with shows so it would grow organically into a sort-of IMDB for theatre.  To be honest, there wasn't massive take-up for this service, but when I started adding reviews to the site in 2004 the game changed.  Ten years on Broadway Baby has become the largest reviewer at both the Edinburgh and Brighton festivals and we've just started to expand into the USA and Broadway.

Which have been the funniest, quirkiest and best performances that you've ever seen and why?

I guess my favourites are the ones that surprise me; the unexpected delights.  I once saw a USA school production of Les Miserables which I was fully expecting to hate, but which totally blew me away - helped a great deal by the fact they ambitiously had 70 in the cast, and could actually sing.  Then there was the first time I saw Lights! Camera! Improvise!, which after an endless list of improv shows I wasn't looking forward to, but the ingenious concept of the show still marks it out as one of my favourites of the genre.  There have been less successful shows, such as one physical theatre piece performed by a man a bit too mature to carry off the graceful veil dancing that his show mostly consisted of whilst wearing little more than a smile. It was when he went off stage and announced the second half would involve audience participation I made my exit. Having scanned the room and realised there were only three of us, I figured the odds were not looking good.
Worbey and Farrell

Which five performances are you interested in seeing / looking forward to this year and why?

One show I know I'm going to enjoy is Worbey and Farrell.  Their prestigious talent on the piano is juxtaposed with their marvellous self-effacing comedy.  

I'm a sucker for a Sondheim musical, so good to see Company on at the Brighton Little Theatre.  It's one of the composer's best works, and I really hope they can do it justice.

Another musical that is on my must-see list is Hedwig and the Angry Inch, playing at the New Venture Theatre this year.  If you've not seen it before and if you like a ballsy show with heart, it's a good option.  For good value I'd recommend The Big Bite-Size Late Breakfast, a collection of 10-minute plays.  They pack a lot in.
The Big Bite-Size Late Breakfast
For a bit of late night filth, EastEnd Cabaret at Komedia are a safe bet.  Raucous songs served up by diva Bernadette Byrne and half-moustachioed musician Victor Victoria.  Yes, pure filth, but I love it.

For theatre I'm intrigued by Liam Rudden's new show Thief.  Rudden's a playwright that has delivered in spades in his previous productions, so I have high hopes.

What else are you looking forward to?

Glad to see the return of the Spiegeltent to Brighton. It adds a real sense of the festival actually happening when you see that on Old Steine.

Any tips?

As with any fringe festival, my biggest tip is to take risks.  Buy a ticket to a show because you like the poster, or the description made you smile, or just because it's on in the venue you're having a coffee in next. Take risks because the people creating the shows are taking risks.  Sometimes the show doesn't pull it off, but fringe ticket prices are affordable enough for you to forgive them and try another.
East End Cabaret -
Bernadette Byrne and Victor Victoria

2 March 2014

Brighton Fringe 2014 programme launch and an early doors selection

~ Brighton Fringe 2014 ~
In Brighton you know spring has arrived not just because of the number of people sat on the beach when the sun comes out, but because the Brighton Fringe and Festival programmes are launched!

Already available online (since 26 Feb), the printed brochure will be available around town from 5 March 2014.  Containing details of 720 events at 186 different venues and spaces, it will again be running for the slightly longer period of 3 May to 1 June 2014 (yay!).

The events are organised and performed by a diverse mix of over 3,000 people, from artists, comedians, musicians and singers, to writers, thinkers and the odd buffoon.  In the Comedy section alone there are over 200 shows.

Performr app

Now in its third year (and my favourite pop-up venue), The Warren will be back, this time hosting over 70 shows in 3 performance spaces.  If you can, I highly recommend you check it out, here's a link to The Warren at St Paul's church programme. Another great venue is The Marlborough Theatre, which this year has a programme of 30 events, including their first-ever Street Party on the first Saturday of May.  With an outdoor stage providing snippets of alt music and off-beat theatre, food available from Brighton's street diner and booze from the pub all we need is a bit of sunshine to make it absolutely perfect.  For more info click on The Marlborough Fringe Street Party.

In true Brighton Fringe style there will be some unusual performances, including Flush at The Old Market’s toilet; a Victorian-style bathing machine on New Road hosting a new one-on-one relay play, called Host by Tim Crouch; a miniature replica of the iconic Tate Modern, believed to be the world's smallest temporary art gallery, housing 60 of the UK's most talented yet disabled / marginalized artists at Tight Modern on the seafront and Performr, an app based on Grindr will lead audiences to Pink Fringe performances.
I am a Poetato

Spiegeltent will be back at the Old Steine with a large number of shows of different genres from spoken word to music, and Fringe City, will be showcasing performances on New Road every Saturday 1 - 5 pm.

Brand new this year and supported by Arts Council England, WINDOW is Brighton Fringe’s Arts Industry showcase programme created to develop and encourage artists ready for the next step in their career. WINDOW events are new works created in the last year and selected by a panel of industry experts.  There are twenty shows available with such curious titles as The Sleeping Trees' Treeology, The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everyone with an Internet Connection and Invisible Giant.

2014 will also see a standalone Family Guide for the first time, this year there are over 200 child-friendly events listed (and counting)!  John Hegley will be performing I am a Poetato at Komedia; there will be a new play based on stories by Rudyard Kipling, called Just So; The Fishing Museum’s Fringe of Fun will have puppet shows and treasure hunts; Thumbelina, winner of Fringe Review’s outstanding theatre award in 2013 will be back and the Family Picnic in Pavilion Gardens will return on Saturdays too. The Family Guide will be published on 7 March and will be available in The Argus, The Primary Times, Brighton Fringe Box Office and at information points. There will also be more events for older children listed on the Brighton Fringe website.