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9:00am Thursday 6th June 2013
12:48pm Wednesday 1st May 2013
11:30am Friday 19th April 2013
Sadly a poor, indeed pathetic, audience on Saturday at the Wiltshire Music centre – after all, it’s modern stuff. And, equally inevitably, a highly rewarding evening from a group of supremely talented musicians.
11:00am Friday 19th April 2013
10:50am Friday 19th April 2013
10:40am Friday 19th April 2013
You have to hand it to the mature ladies – Tim Firth’s release of his witty play to attract older, bolder, riper flowers willing to bare their all in aid of Cancer Research is prompting some superb am dram productions.
10:30am Friday 19th April 2013
10:20am Friday 19th April 2013
2:59pm Thursday 28th March 2013
This tells the turbulent tale of troubled and playful Lili Adler, the young aspiring daughter of a wealthy German-Jewish refugee, who is desperately seeking a slice of happiness and independence, much to the subtle protestations of her controlling and manipulative mother, Eva.
3:14pm Thursday 28th March 2013
2:00pm Thursday 14th March 2013
A LITTLE-known Haydn, some bubbling Bartok and one of Dvorak’s most delicious slow movements, all from the soul of the Doric String Quartet, saw only a mere handful of empty seats. Strange how life can change from concert to concert.
2:00pm Saturday 2nd March 2013
Even if Webern and Lutoslawski are not to everyone’s taste, it was sad to see the Music Centre merely half full for what turned out to be a solid performance by a group of Polish musicians capable of making an important contribution to today’s music scene.
1:10pm Friday 15th February 2013
2:00pm Friday 15th February 2013
1:00pm Friday 15th February 2013
12:00pm Thursday 7th February 2013
THE Family Theatre Festival at the Theatre Royal Bath opens on Saturday, offering two weeks of inspirational theatre from the UK, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Germany for family audiences across the egg theatre, the Ustinov Studio and the Main House.
11:00am Thursday 7th February 2013
12:00pm Friday 1st February 2013
9:00am Thursday 17th January 2013
3:00pm Wednesday 16th January 2013
4:00pm Wednesday 16th January 2013
4:00pm Thursday 20th December 2012
1:00pm Thursday 13th December 2012
3:00pm Thursday 13th December 2012
1:00pm Wednesday 5th December 2012
12:00pm Wednesday 5th December 2012
10:30am Friday 23rd November 2012
FOR those who don’t know – and there will be some – The Sound of Music centres on the story of Maria, whose joy in music means she can’t help singing at every opportunity, even in the quiet confines of a nunnery.
11:00am Thursday 22nd November 2012
12:00pm Saturday 10th November 2012
ODDITY Theatre are currently hard at work rehearsing their Christmas pantomime Jack And The Beanstalk, which runs at The Athenaeum in Warminster from December 21-24. Pooling a talented cast from all corners of Wiltshire and Somerset, they are opening up the opportunity for other talented people to get involved with creating the programme, and win two tickets to the show. All you have to do is create a simple black and white line drawing that can be coloured in, to be part of the pull-out puzzle section in the programme. Open to artists of all ages, your entry should be drawn in black ink on A4 paper and be your own original work. The winner will be given two tickets by Daisy the cow so they can see the Christmas Eve performance, as well as a copy of the programme containing their picture. Entries must be delivered to the Athenaeum box office on High Street, Warminster, by 1pm on December 1. On the back of the picture put your name, address and contact number and mark the envelope Oddity Picture Competition. Tickets for the show are on sale now at the box office or at www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/26297 or www.theath.org.uk
11:00am Friday 9th November 2012
ROGER Spottiswoode's excellent adaptation of William Golding's novel, directed by Gareth Machin, recreates highly dramatic events at Salisbury Cathedral between 1325-1327, when the plan to construct a tower and spire causes great consternation. Mark Meadows is brilliant as Dean Jocelin, who believes that God has chosen him to complete this immense project as a beacon for the world, despite the misgivings of those who denounce it as monumental folly. No other stone structure of such height has ever been proposed. As hovels and shacks in the Cathedral Close shelter the huge workforce and their dependants, and there are complaints about brothels, drunkenness and murder, is the Dean’s vision without substance, or can his dream be realised? The spire may be seen as Jocelin’s folly, or God’s folly. Even the Master Builder is alarmed. “I believe you are the Devil himself,” he tells the Dean. As votive candles illumine the dimness, skilled masons conjure breath from stone and the project progresses, the pressure of weight upon the pillars and foundations is matched by Jocelin’s escalating personal stress as the work claims fatalities and finance runs out. Scott Brooksbank, Paul Slack and Sarah Moyle all play dual roles in this totally absorbing atmospheric drama. Dorothea Myer-Bennett, Jonathan Newth, Jonathan Oliver, Vincenzo Pellegrino and Duncan Wisbey complete the highly accomplished cast. Lighting by Philip Gladwell and sound by Tom Gibbons enhance a truly stunning, must-see production.
12:00pm Friday 9th November 2012
THIS latest production by the exciting and innovative theatre company Gonzo Moose tracks the story of young Charles Dickens, the budding City reporter, eager for journalistic success. When Dickens stumbles upon a story that could make his reputation the audience is taken on a whirlwind tour: down dark alleyways, into glum public houses and across muggy marshes of a very dark and different London to bring us to the denouement of this fast-paced and thrilling adventure. Honours have to go to the actors. Their ability to play over 20 roles, with vitality, humour and panache, in 80 minutes is no mean feat. Through excellent characterisation, the actors transport us back to dingy Victorian London. Vaga-bonds, pickpockets and convicts litter the mucky streets seeking their fortune, colliding with Dickens and giving the audience a good giggle along the way. The mix of improvisation, clowning and physical theatre works well, making this a visual spectacle for all the family to enjoy. In addition, the multi-purpose stage set, music and lighting was utilised well, added to the atmosphere and helped to move the multiple scenes along. Gonzo Moose spent a week at The Pound working on the technical development of the show before its three-night run. The arts centre’s programme manager Michael Cainen said: “It’s fantastic to have an exciting company such as Gonzo Moose using The Pound to develop new work and it brings a very different energy to the arts centre.” Gonzo Moose have certainly proved themselves to be a theatre company to keep a beady eye on.
4:00pm Friday 9th November 2012
DAVID Halls, director of music, conducts the Cathedral Choir, soloists Charlotte Ashley (soprano), Richard Hooper and Alistair Watson (baritone) and pianists John Challenger and Timothy Hone in Brahms’ Requiem with piano duet for Remembrance-tide. This is one of the rare occasions when the entire choir of boys, girls and men can be heard in concert in the Cathedral. The programme also includes a new work by Bill Mival, commissioned to celebrate Canon Jeremy Davies’ ministry as Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral from 1985-2012. Tickets, £12.50/£10 from 01722 320333 and at the door.
5:00pm Friday 2nd November 2012
YES, some people need upsetting, and Phil Courage's production took plenty of risks as the defiant WI calendar girls bared their buns for charity. But there was a brave and desperate principle at work in this warmhearted drama – the idea that something, anything – has to be done help those many loved ones lost to cancer. No wonder Tim Firth's play is so well-loved, for its affectionate picture of female friendships and its warmly humorous Yorkshire grit. The Bradfordians used their rich talent pool of women of a certain age, led by Lynne McCaffrey as Chris and Sue Bolden as Annie. As these friends end with an embrace on ‘John’s Hill’, so does the play never loses sight of the larger picture, with its struggles and its triumphs, the landscape, the seasons and the passing of time. The calendar, which was such an amazingly successful fundraiser in reality, celebrates diversity and maturity in many ways besides the literal bodies of these mature women. The unveiling of Miss September (Karen Payne), for example, was genuinely funny. Mousey Ruth (Tina Scudder) learned how to see off the objectionable and we cheered her on too. A brave show, which made for a very enjoyable evening, one that sent you home smiling at the unexpected. The show runs until Saturday at St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon
1:00pm Wednesday 31st October 2012
THIS tells the tale of a tender friendship that develops between a recently widowed lady, Daisy, and her chauffeur, Hoke. These two unforgettable characters in some ways couldn’t be more different, and yet in other ways, they are completely the same: equally stubborn, proud and bound by social expectation, Daisy and Hoke make an incredible on-stage pair. However, this play is not as simple as it first appears. Set in Atlanta, against the backdrop of the American Civil Rights Movement, it harbours heavy themes of racial prejudice and social discrimination. Flashing images of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and angry posters advertising the Klu Klux Klan, add to this dark undertone and remind us of what Daisy’s growing relationship with Hoke represents. This was a fantastic performance by Gwen Taylor, Don Warrington and Ian Porter. The cast worked incredibly well together and set the scene beautifully. The stage set was simple and practical but there were moments of magic – with tables and chairs disappearing off stage without anyone lifting a finger. In addition, the scenes in the car were cleverly portrayed with witty music and excellent graphics. This is a heart-warming production about the value of unexpected human relationships, the beauty of diversity, friendships and family – well worth seeing and a treat for all the family.
3:24pm Tuesday 30th October 2012
The combination of Imogen Cooper’s warm, sympathetic piano accompaniment and the passion and fervour of Wolfgang Holzmair, a baritone possibly without equal, provided an evening of rare quality and unbridled emotion.
5:20pm Tuesday 30th October 2012
3:00pm Thursday 18th October 2012
11:00am Thursday 18th October 2012
2:00pm Thursday 11th October 2012
1:00pm Tuesday 9th October 2012
Celebrating their own 10th anniversary, and 15 wonderful years of the Wiltshire Music Centre at Bradford on Avon, the Doric String Quartet cemented that relationship on Saturday with a performance that maintained their already high standard – but, for me, with a programme that could have been much more appropriate. For starters, Haydn’s String Quartet in F Minor does, as Terry Barfoot’s erudite programme notes say, lay greater emphasis on harmony and rhythm rather than melody. The simple result is that no matter how well it is played, and despite the Doric’s excellent use of emphasis and dynamics, it becomes tedious – and that despite a slightly quirky element. The Doric injected meaningful vigour into Bartok’s String Quartet No 1, memorable for a viciously energetic cello of John Myerscough which became a dependable bedrock. For the second half, Beethoven’s String Quartet in C Sharp minor, not really a work to become emotional about or in which to luxuriate, again displayed the poise and stature that the Doric now have. They must be mindful, however, that, delightful as they are to listen to, they are tending to become rather annoying to watch. For instance, their second violinist may well wear out in one evening a pair of shoes – such are the gyrations of his feet. If they videoed themselves for later viewing I am sure they will see what I mean… A glass of sparkling wine and a little birthday cake for yet another full house was a fitting end to an interesting evening – despite the lack of anything musically celebratory.
10:00am Tuesday 9th October 2012
NOT everyone who likes music enjoys reading, not everyone who loves books listens to music, not all music lovers can stomach indie folk, and while Patrick Gale is a bit of a Marmite author, Pietro Grossi an almost unknown Italian writer. The fact that The Bookshop Band manages to take those five elements and combine them into a magical evening of delights is a huge tribute to its interpretive and musical skills, and the members’ powerful personalities. The band was born a couple of years ago, out of an off-the-cuff thought by Nic Bottomley, owner of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, and has done a bit of a Frankenstein. It introduced a whole range of books and its musical take on them, while the readings that interspersed their songs, from Patrick Gale and Pietro Grossi, were superb. I love hearing an author put their voice to the words that echo in your mind as they come off the page. Ben Please, Poppy Pitt and Beth Porter coaxed melodies from the harmonium, ukelele, guitar, cello and voice to create a similar magic. Patrick Gale clearly had plenty of fans among the audience. Hopefully, thanks to the Mr B’s pop-up shop in the foyer (that’s 21st century-speak for a bookstall) many will have gone home clutching Mr Grossi’s novel, or novella, thanks to his lyrical and passionate performance. He’s as easy on the eye as he is on the ear, too. The novels which inspired the songs in this evening were many and varied: my favourites were those born out of reading The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (by Mark Hodder), Rough Music (Patrick Gale) and The Paris Wife (Paula McLain), and I’ll have to read at least one of those for the first time. Perhaps the band could read a few more cheerful books, the programme was a little top-heavy on the sad and soulful side but, then again, their style of music does lend itself to the contemplative and minor musical modes so well. This is a great way to introduce the Music Centre to a wider audience. I heard many appreciative comments from readers who hadn’t realised their passions could cross over into music so easily.
12:00pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012
RICHARD Harris’ play is all about mistrust, betrayal and revenge in the aftermath of a motorist's fatal heart attack. The Phoenix Players provided memorable entertainment in Sandra Gilbert's production, with fine performances by the cast of four. Joanna Parry was superb as Julia Darrow, a graphic designer embittered after the car crash in which her lover died and she was badly injured. Aged 37, she is discontented and depressed. Sally Lovejoy, as Ann, her kindly counsellor, finds communication difficult, but Julia discovers unexpected rapport with Margaret (Marlene Poole), a former nurse who happens to be the widow of the deceased. Colin Wilkins was excellent as Barry, an unsophisticated, lonely odd job man pathetically eager to please Julia, and bewildered as her mood swings from gratitude to antagonism and rejection. The play is a thriller in which chilling realisation, rather than edge-of-the -seat excitement, prevails. Lighting , by Alan Wrixon and Will Thomas, contributed greatly to the production's success. An effective well furnished, interesting set, with plenty of detail. was designed by Colin Wilkins and Nigel Margetts. Who would be murdered, and by whom? We were kept guessing until the final scene.
3:49pm Thursday 27th September 2012
Penelope Keith is at the centre of the emotional storm in Good Grief, a new adaptation of Keith Waterhouse’s comic novel which premiered in the Theatre Royal, Bath, on Tuesday and continues until Saturday night.
Your Say Your Times
It has been heartening to see the coverage of the new Wiltshire Council market being opened in Trowbridge and, as a Wiltshire Council market trader of long standing, I wish it every success. New markets are needed in these straitened times and it is only right that stallholders at new markets are offered special reduced rates. − Name and address suppliedRents rising on quiet »
I have an office in the small trading estate at the top of Westwells Road, Hawthorn Hill, near Rudloe, in Corsham. Traffic flow on Hawthorn Hill – and, as a consequence, office access – is currently in a state of chaos, thanks to work being carried out by Bardon Constructing. − Geoff Fry, NestonOver by Christmas »