What Sounds New – An Interview

My world is flurry of festivals this week. Festivals here, festivals there, festivals in the unlikeliest of places – crypts, cafes, woodland, concert halls. I went down to the kitchen during the night for a glass of gin, and there was a festival happening in my cat.*

The festivities to which I refer are not those giant, camping in a damp field, paying £9 for a beer, constantly fighting the need to urinate, crouched under a campervan at 2am and talking of ‘the sins’ type of affairs.

No, I speak of the local kind. Lots of music, unconventional venues, and the ability to go home at the end of the night instead of fighting your way into someone’s tent while saying “it’s alright, I’ll just curl up at your feet, you won’t even know I’m here!”

This bank holiday weekend’s roll call includes Rochester Sweeps Festival, Canterbury’s City Sounds, Smuggler’s Pop Up Festival in Deal, and the Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival.

All are worthy of your time and dancing but it is Sounds New that has earned my, and your, attention today.



Sounds New was born way back in 1997, and was revamped in 2011. The strap line is “an essential platform for the music of our time”, comprising eight days of contemporary music and poetry at various locations in Canterbury’s two universities, as well as in city centre cafes, galleries and churches.

Its reputation for presenting new music from across the world without elitist restrictions is well established, and it has received rave reviews from The Guardian and The Telegraph in the past.

Okay. Okay.

We’re all thinking it – ‘contemporary music’ sounds dangerously broad and potentially twee. I’ll admit. I was dubious when I heard about it. Because…..what exactly is it?

I asked a few friends what those two words made them think of. Answers included pan pipes, avant garde classical, wind chimes and a child hitting a bin with a stick. Helpful. Helpful.
I needed assistance. I would need to speak to someone in the know. And so to my former stomping ground, the University of Kent, where I met deputy director of music and member of the Sounds New artistic board, Dan Harding.
Dan is a jazz man trapped in a British suit. He looks like a pressed professor, but inside he’s a hive of excitement, bursting to talk about every kind of music under the sun and then compare notes about it on Twitter. 

Dan in his element- the Colyer-Fergusson concert hall

Having started on the piano aged three (that’s just showing off), Dan has been teaching music ever since leaving university (despite swearing he’d never teach). When he moved to Kent in 2008, word soon got out that he was, in his own words, ‘a contemporary music fiend and a bit obsessed” and he was quickly enlisted to serve on the Sounds New artistic board.
Tinkling the ivories

In true jazz style, we settle into the booth of some dark rum shack** and sink a few Dirty Martinis*** while the beer-swilling bar flies snap their fingers to a scratch cut of Coltrane’s finest****, and we talk shop.


“I love contemporary music because it is fearlessly inventive,” he explains, fizzing with excitement over his frothy latte. “My passion is jazz – jazz is a monster that plunders and recognizes no musical boundaries. You have people mixing hip hop with jazz, you had prog-jazz, classical. It doesn’t recognize pigeon holes.

“You’ve got to keep inventing,” he almost implores. “You have to keep it new.”

I cut right to the chase: just what IS contemporary music?

Dan pauses. I feel stupid. That was a stupid question, wasn’t it? Oh God, it’s such a stupid question. I may as well have asked “how do instruments know what sound they are supposed to make?”

“Contemporary music is the music of our time,” he says.
I’m about to pound the table and insist that it must be more complicated than that, when he continues…….I really must stop reacting in the middle of people’s sentences.

“It spans everything from that very inaccessible classical music – you know, squeaky strings, and odd musical languages and effects – to current pop, rock and jazz.

“Classical music no longer sits in an ivory tower above all other genres. It rubs shoulders with them, and they plunder from each other. It’s about inventiveness, not the same thing preserved for years.”

It strikes me that I’ve been a bit fixated on finding a precise way of explaining what contemporary music is. This is, I realize, because I assume that my readers won’t be comfortable without an exact definition of what they’d be listening to.
But that’s stupid. This is not the age we live in anymore, where we have to buy before we try and end up wasting a tenner on that Babylon Zoo CD because that Levi’s advert LIED TO US. We now live in a digital age where discovering new music has never been easier through the likes of Spotify and YouTube. But still, people are often afraid to wander from their comfort zone.
Dan concurs. “As people, we tend to play it safe with our music choices. We put our money down on the same thing because it is a safe bet. We forget what we did when we got into music in the first place; we tried different things, and sampled our friends’ tastes.
“As a result, music can become a victim of its own success – once you have been successful, you are commissioned to do more of the same so that consumers know what they are getting, and that hampers creativity. 
“But music that is always progressing is the most interesting. I like the idea of hearing new things in music, and not just another performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. At Sounds New, we could put on crowd pleasers at the festival and give people another chance to hear Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. But we want give people the chance to experience something they haven’t heard before.”

With so much on offer so regularly across the country, there is an obvious appeal in a festival that promises something new every year. At the same time, doesn’t the board worry about competing with other festivals and events?

“From our point of view, there really isn’t another festival like ours in this area,” he explains, and he’s not boasting. “That was very important for our identity from the start. 

“You don’t want to be treading on the toes of other festivals, or putting on something where people say ‘I don’t need to go to Sounds New because I can exactly the same thing ten minutes down the road’. 
“We are lucky that Kent is a culturally rich county to live in – there is rarely a weekend without something happening in Kent, so you can’t have all the time to yourself. You may not get 100 per cent of the audience, but it is also a strength as you are part of bigger music scene. We put on several things that appeal to a variety of audiences, and we hope they will sample a few different acts over the course of our festival.  
Copyright Neil Sloman/Sam Bailey

“Collaboration is key. Along with the music happening in Deal, and at Revelation St Mary’s in Ashford, we are all working to let people know that there is a solid and diverse music scene in this part of Kent.”

Browsing the Sounds New catalogue left me more excited about this festival than any of the others I will sample in the coming days and weeks. Such a gutsy celebration of the new has to be worth a punt, and after all, the best festivals the ones in which you wander from tent to tent, stage to stage, busker to busker, picking up new sounds.

If you love music, or if you are bored of it, go and enjoy something from Sounds New. It might rekindle a long lost desire, or inspire you towards something completely different

That is how we all started with music, isn’t it? By trying something new.

***********************

Here are some Sounds New highlights
(Full programme here)
  • The Ice Breaker ensemble with BJ Cole perform a piece by the master of ambient, Brian Eno, against background footage of the moon landing. (Far out)
  • The London Sinfonietta culminate a four-day residence at Christ Church College University with a performance of Protest Songs, in which both the music and the ensemble respond to social and political themes. (Fight the power!)
  • A 70th birthday performance from world-leading saxophonist and free-jazz legend Evan Parker. (I can play the saxophone. Not well. Or at all. But I can)
  • The Brodsky Quartet who have collaborated with the likes of Bjork, Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney. (Their version of Hyperballad? TAS-ty)
  • The 12-strong vocal group Exaudi combine renaissance music with the new. (Haunting)
  • Sarod maestro and composer Wajahat Khan, who descends from a 400-year old family of celebrated musicians in India, and has performed to great acclaim in over 40 countries worldwide. (I had to look up what a sarod was but now that I have, I want one)
  • Piano in the Woods – in 2012 a piano was placed in private woodland and improvised performances have taken place on it every month since, responding to the instrument’s changing state. Saturday marks its final performance from regular pianist Sam Bailey while lithophone virtuoso Toma Gouband playing stones and other found objects alongside it. An photo exhibition of the various performances and collaborations will also be on display at the Sidney Cooper Gallery during the festival  (I won’t be able to see this one, as I am away, so you all have to and then describe it to me an exquisite detail)
  • A new favourite of mine, folk instrumentalists Arlet make camp in Mrs Jones Kitchen alongside The Leon String Quartet, with dual compositions promising to scale folk, jazz and classical influences. (They almost sound French, but really REALLY good French. You’ll want to drink wine and then skip)
  • There are also many, many excellent poets at different events throughout the festival. Please support them and enjoy their work as well as the music.


*Django IS a jazz kitty. He has an odd gait, so he walks in three paw time. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA he calms my dark places.

** The Gulbenkian Theatre café in broad daylight
*** Coffee and a diet coke
**** A group of student drinking water who would NOT stop playing with their phones’ ringtones.

A Few Wise Words

It isn’t often I spend a weekend listening to beat poets, seeing tales of the Stour River acted out in a 13th century Franciscan chapel, wondering about who I am in a yurt, searching an island of lost souls, or debating the extent of Al-Qaeda’s control in the Middle East.

This is probably because I spend most weekends seeking out the legendary Emerald Gin that is fabled to flow behind the bins at M&S if you are pure of heart and strong of stomach.
But even when I take a break from such frivolity, the A Few Wise Words Festival isn’t on in Canterbury every weekend. If it was….it wouldn’t really be a festival. More of a thing that happens. But I digress!
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury


For those not yet in the know, A Few Wise Words is the spring-time sibling of the larger annual Wise Words Festival (which debuted in Canterbury last September). I was invited to attend its first outing, which ran from Friday 4th April to Sunday 6th April in Canterbury’s beautiful Greyfriars Gardens, and around the city streets.

A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
The Wise Words concept was born in 2010, when arts organisation Workers of Art decided to create an event that brought the streets of Canterbury alive through poetry and literature-inspired activities, using the city as its canvas and the people as its inspiration.

What started as a community poetry project with interactive arts event in the city centre eventually grew into a full spoken word festival in 2013. Do read all about its first outing here…
Twas a big hit with audience, so much so that some just couldn’t stand to wait a whole year for another dose of wordy wisdom. And so, A Few Wise Words was launched to bridge the gap.
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, CanterburyA Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
Workers of Art creative director Beth Cuenco said: “It is lovely to have something happening in spring – a time of renewal. So, we have seized this opportunity to create a smaller festival that is a space for us too to learn and test some of our more innovative ideas.”
So, here we are and there I was – at a festival of words, of many words and witticisms, presented to us by an eclectic mix of poets, performers and philosophers, journalists and wordsmiths, musicians and musettes*.
I decided to start my #AFewWW experience at the deep-end – with the Friday night Spoke N Word session in the festival yurt (yes, they had a yurt!), featuring various poets warming up ahead of the evening’s big Slam Poetry event at the Gulbenkian Theatre.
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
I will level with you: I don’t often go to poetry readings. There are so many incredible poets out there, but having been a journalist and a writer of sorts for several years means I have more often than not been subjected to the awful ones. The sort of ‘poets’ who scamper up to you, cooing “Oh I hear you’re a journalist, you must review my book! Oh I hear you do am dram, you must listen to my performance poetry! Oh I hear you’re alive, please read these eight poems I wrote about my dreams for the next 30 minutes.” Listening to them is like enduring a leg cramp while reading a gas bill.
However, two minutes into the Spoke N Word performance, any fears of such torture were allayed. Five minutes in, and I wondered “really, why the hell don’t I go to more spoken word events?”

A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury

Every poet was eloquent and diverse, and the cosy crowd in the yurt lapped it up. It was then the turn of the headliner Dizreali, an awe-inspiring rapper and poet from Bristol. To say he was good would be an understatement. To say I was left chewing on my own fist at the sheer amount of his talent would be about right.

A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury, Dizraeli
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury, Dizraeli
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury, Dizraeli

Whether poetry is your personal creative cup of tea or not, it was still an inspiring evening. Determined and passionate young people such as these make you want to be as good, or better, at what you do. And at least they have the nerve to their work out there rather than leave it wallowing in their notebooks. Unlike some of us…But Wise Words do not live on poetry alone! No, they come in many forms – lyrical, theatrical, topical or practical.

The full programme was a solid mix of poets, performers, and speakers. You could learn the virtues of how and what we eat, discovering writing through chronic illness, new ways of living and learn of the restorative powers of poetry for incarcerated women. You could also try your hand at guerrilla knitting (oh yes), and there were further headline performances from sensational poets Hannah Silva and Danny Chivers.
In addition, organisers tweeted each day about extra last minute ‘pop-up’ events to enjoy around the city, and Twitter was on fire with RTs from supporting businesses, visitors and participants. The revolution truly was live.
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
With such a packed programme it was hard for me to see everything on offer. Luckily, my arch-nemesis/friend Miscriant was also covering the festival, and has some excellent write ups on events I missed. Please read her posts, for they are most good.
But I was able to visit a few other non-poetry related performances on my travels. The young pupils of The Spires Academy led the way in The Stories From The Stour on Saturday afternoon, with the talented youngsters using different sections of the stunning Francisican chapel and its grounds to stage various tales based around the River Stour.
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, CanterburyA Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
Good Morning Sunshine, The Earth Says Hello! was a particularly eccentric break from the norm. Organised by Playne Face Theatre, a section of the festival gardens was transformed into the island of no return for visitors to explore and search for clues to pieces of a salty-sea story based around Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury

Names had to be guessed, hearts had to be unlocked, rings had to be tossed and souls were set free – it was very much my cup of tea. So much so that I might have pushed someone into the river who was in danger of getting to a clue ahead of me. Or maybe I dreamt that.

A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
I spent Sunday asking myself a lot of questions. And not the usual kind, such as ‘what was the name of that late night TV show I saw once in the 1990s, with adults in animal costumes? Like alligator costumes…and there were puppet cockroaches too…..Gophers, that was it!”

No, this Sunday the festival provide much finer brain fodder.

There was an excellent talk from Julian Baggini on ‘The Ego Trick – Who or What is the Real You’ Julian Baggini – “The Ego Trick. What and Who is the real you?” Julian Baggini – “The Ego Trick. What and Who is the real you?”in the yurt. This was a fascinating talk about the concept of the self, and if such a thing even exists. Are we just the some of our parts, like a cart or a phone, or are all our parts attached to a thing called a ‘self’ or a ‘soul’ underneath? A simple question inspired the most debate: if you could live your dream life and be your dream person on the condition that you would forget absolutely everything about your current life and personality, would you do it?
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury, Julian Baggini
My evening ended a little early, for I could not stay for the peddle-powered cinema. But I was able to listen to noted foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn on Syria, Iraq and the rise of Al-Qaeda following 9/11. This was a glorious debate from a highly intelligent and experience journalist, giving us an insider’s look at the value and motives of the ‘war on terror’, and how the crisis in Syria is perceived by those caught in the middle.
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury, Patrick Cockburn
Before that talk I was not aware that since 9/11 and the start of the ‘war on terror’ that Al-Qaeda – at the time a fairly small group – has allegedly grown to  control an area in the Middle East the size of Britain. Food for thought…
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury, Patrick Cockburn
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury, Patrick Cockburn
It was at the end of the weekend, as I nestled on a cushion in the yurt, sipping my travel wine**, that the value of the festival really hit home. I felt very lucky to have enjoyed such diverse debate and inspiring performances in my home town, without having to take out a second mortgage to do so. I also met some lovely people, and engaged in furious wordplay on Twitter (Tent puns – they are the future).
The good news is that Wise Words will be back in September, and I strongly urge/beg/seduce you to visit and support it.
This is a festival to cherish and to be part of. We have a great deal of talent in our fair city and, thankfully, people  who want to celebrate it. 
*Okay, there were no musettes. Apparently no one wants to cavort around to the music of a small bagpipe popular in the French courts of the 17th Century, no matter how much I yell.
**I never go anywhere without it in the event that I suddenly need to be charming and drunk
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury
A Few Wise Words, The Demon Gin, Canterbury

The Goods and The Goose

Forgive my absence in the last week, I’ve been very VERY tired and drunk.

Actually, I’ve been meaning to post this offering for a while. For a brief moment, a few weeks ago, there was sunshine so I set about town with my camera to capture some charming snaps of Canterbury life.

Long story short, I’m not allowed in the library anymore and I eventually ended up at The Goods Shed. This is a picture heavy post, so brace yourself and your relatives. 

The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin

Now that spring is springing, it seems like a good time to bombard you with photos of all things fresh and Kentish. There are also cocktails, so you have to go right to the end of this post to learn more.
I don’t need to tell you why you should visit The Goods Shed, because you probably already know; it has been a favourite of national food writers, visitor guides and anyone with a brain and a mouth since it opened in 2002.
The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin

 The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
For those who don’t know, it is a daily farmers’ market, restaurant, and food hall in one, housed in a former railway shed next to Canterbury West train station. The market opens from 9am to 7pm Tues to Sat and 10am to 4pm Sun, while last orders for the restaurant are 9.30pm (all closed Mondays). You can roll off a train and head straight to breakfast, lunch, dinner or liquor.

The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin

At the centre of the hall lies the fruit and veg market offering locally grown, seasonal produce. Don’t kid yourself that you’re paying a premium for British goods here – you’ll fork out more for lower quality exports at the supermarket, I kid you not.

Oh don’t believe me about the prices do you?!

 Then what do you think of THIS???

Oh CHRIST, sorry that’s a picture of my nephew dressed as The Gruffalo.

Hang on….hang on….Ah HA!

The Goods Shed Canterbury, The Demon GIn

YEAH. You’re probably feeling pretty bad about yourself now, aren’t you? Yes, the market keeps close track of how its produce shapes up against store prices, and you can’t argue with the figures. Or the pictures.

The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon GinThe Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
Fresh veg aside, the hall also features a butchers, a fishmongers, cheese maker, charcuterie, Italian bakery, sandwich counter, mini-café with take-away dishes, general store, a wine merchant and a beer shop (oh the beers, I tell you…).

Pop-up traders also make an appearance every now and then, selling everything from cupcakes to crockery, and the regular stall holders often host evening and seasonal events.

The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon GinThe Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon GinThe Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin

The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
The restaurant overlooks the market floor and turns out exceptional food using produce straight from the stalls below. Tables and chairs are also dotted around the market floor and outside so customers (and traders) can sit with a coffee, cake, beer, sandwich or cabbage (I frequently have all five at once) and shoot the breeze. It’s very much a community.

The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon GinThe Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
The Goods Shed Canterbury, farmers market, restaurant, The Demon Gin
There is no good reason not to come to The Goods Shed and support the local traders. You will eat and drink well, whatever you buy.
But there was talk of cocktails, I hear you mutter.
Well, another reason for my post is to tell you about a new addition to The Goods Shed, in the form of the lovely cocktail and snack bar Wild Goose (open until 9pm Tues to Sat, and 4pm on Sun).
Owner Lucy, originally from Deal, trained and worked as a chef in London but snapped up the vacant spot at The Goods Shed when it recently became available. You’ll see from the menu that she offers breakfast, little dishes, coffee and – most importantly – cocktails. 


Wild Goose, The Goods Shed Canterbury, cocktails, farmers market, The Demon GinWild Goose, The Goods Shed Canterbury, cocktails, farmers market, The Demon Gin
Wild Goose, The Goods Shed Canterbury, cocktails, farmers market, The Demon Gin
The mixes are unique to Wild Goose and therefore go unnamed. I opted for the caraway vodka, dark rum, pineapple puree, black pepper and cardamom syrup with lime and bay leaf. It was satisfyingly aromatic and not overly sweet, which I like, and was refreshing in taste and also in concept – an individual mix rather than a laboured favourite churned out en mass.
Wild Goose, The Goods Shed Canterbury, cocktails, farmers market, The Demon GinWild Goose, The Goods Shed, Canterbury
Wild Goose, The Goods Shed Canterbury, cocktails, farmers market, The Demon Gin

While there, I also tried their chicken liver pate, and received a generous jar of silken delight accompanied by a peppery green salad and toasted farmhouse bread. I look forward to sampling their breakfasts one morning.
Wild Goose, The Goods Shed Canterbury, cocktails, farmers market, The Demon Gin
Wild Goose is a lovely addition to The Goods Shed and adds to my list of excuses to come here more often. I shall be bringing visiting friends hot off the train here, while grabbing all the other essentials for a good weekend.
Well…I say weekend. Generally everything I buy from The Goods Shed has been consumed the instant I get home and into loose trousers.

Wild Goose, The Goods Shed Canterbury, cocktails, farmers market, The Demon Gin

Why You Should Never Wear Anything On Stage

I’m one third of the way through the run of The Canterbury Players latest production – Hobson’s Choice, in case I haven’t screamed this enough.

I may have previously mentioned that I was going lose an extra 5lbs before opening night.

This was because my character is required to wear Victorian dress, and because my chest was not pleased about it.
I was all cocky in the costume shop, having tried on several outfits that either swamped me or refused to even think about fastening over my heaving bosom. Finally, I found a pretty lilac number that looked just the ticket. But it was a little…snug. The director expressed concern…
Director: “Are you sure it isn’t too tight? You have to act in it for a long time, you know.”
Me: “Pfft, it’ll be fine! It just about fits me and I can easily shed a few pounds before the show for comfort’s sake. It’s only tight now because I’m massively hung over and bloated from beer.”
Director: “Oooookay. You’re really sure?”
Me: “Come on, I just lost 20lbs! I can lose another 5lb easily.”
Well I DIDN’T, okay?! I didn’t, I spectacularly didn’t and now my costumes are trying to kill me. I didn’t gain any weight and I’m still the thinnest I’ve been in ages, but that is little consolation when you are gasping for breath and listening to buttons and ribs snap with every miniscule movement. We’re talking boned jackets, pinched waists and sleeves so tight that if someone held a gun to my head and said “do the YMCA now”, I would be fated to die.

Just look at what I (and Becky) have to wear! LOOK!

Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin)

Don’t look

Even Hobson himself is horrified.
Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin)
None of you will notice my pain should you see me on stage; I’m a woman, I’ve been acting like clothes are comfortable on me since I was 9. But behind the scenes is a different matter. Dress changes are normally an ordered civilized affair, but everyone else’s calm has been violently disrupted by me hurtling into the (mixed) dressing room muttering “fuck it fuck it fuck it” as I fling corsets and rip skirts from my abused body.

But it’s not all bad on the physical front, costume torture aside; I get to pin my hair into pretty curls like a real live girl. I might keep this look for a night out, and when I am in need of sweets that I don’t wish to pay for.

Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin)
Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin) 

You’ll see from the picture that this is one of the few shows in which I get to act with the beau (can you see how happy he is about it?).

Not only do we share the stage, but we also play a couple. Which means beau will do his scary ‘romantic’ face (smiling with VERY wide eyes), and I will have to fight the urge to be sick on his shoes.

Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin)

Gracious!

In truth this has, as ever, been a very enjoyable production to work on and the weeks of rehearsals, set building, and line-juggling have paid off, thanks to the very talented cast and crew. But let’s not forget the most important person in the show. Me. ME. I may not be (do the finger quotes) ‘the lead’, or ‘the director’ or ‘sober’, but don’t you forget for one minute that it’s ALL about me, up there, having to share the stage with Miscriant AND the beau and other people I just plain don’t like*.

So there’s still time, gentle readers, there is still time to come and see it! There’s still time, big shot movie director with nothing better to do, to come to The Whitstable Playhouse and see Harold Brighouse’s much ad’mired comedy brought to life. There is still time to muse out loud “good GOD that woman’s curls looks amazing. I shall have her for me’ next film, and for me’ wife!”

A night at the theatre will soothe your soul.

Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players (The Demon Gin)

By the way, it’s more than likely that a door will open at some point when it isn’t supposed to and the whole audience will see at least one actor scratching themselves. Just go with it, it’s am dram. 

*I do like them really**

**I DON’T