Monday, 31 March 2014

a tale of two mums

A thoroughly lovely Mothers' Twodays if that makes sense!
Took Mum to the wonderful new Everyman Theatre in Liverpool to see Twelfth Night on Saturday.  Mike and I were at the spectacular opening just a few weeks ago and Twelfth Night has had tremendous reviews (Independent 4*,  What's on Stage 5*, Guardian, 3*).  I guess since those early reviews, items such as scene change timings have been ironed out, 'cos it was smooth running and utterly captivating.  Especially the fun, festive end seeing the cast dancing their way off stage with balloons and streamers festooning from the ceiling.

We dined first in the fabulous basement Bistro before the show then a welcome cuppa and cake after the show in the ground floor cafe where we spotted many of the cast 'off duty'!
And before I leave the subject of the Everyman - this great architectural review in Building Design last week.
And finally Mothers' Day itself - dawning sunny and warm - so after the usual shopping top up for Mum, we sauntered on down to West Kirby prom for a bit of sea air and a tasty lunch in Tankseys.  The Ham Hock soup was to die for!!  And there was even free Pimms or bubbly for any Mums present:
Leg stretch along the edge of the marine lake
then back to Mum's for slap up Sunday roast.

And on arriving back home in Sheffield - this other Mum had the most wonderful Spring-like fragrant bouquet awaiting her
such a lovely unexpected treat - thank you so much J & J  x x x

Thursday, 20 March 2014


I think I much prefer trees while they're all spindly and mysterious and bare.

These were taken on walks up into the woods the other week
and now March has turned so cold, windy and wet today - thought this evidence of the balmy Spring days we've had to be shown!!

Friday, 14 March 2014

stage by stage

Both my favourite cities in one wonderful theatrical weekend . . .

We've now come to the end of our amazing Brian Friel season at the Crucible in Sheffield.
Three very different but stunning plays - Afterplay, Translations and Wonderful Tennessee and the best ever play readings in the studio of 'LIving Quarters', 'The Communication Cord' and 'Fathers and Sons'.  All read sublimely by the actors from the three main plays.  The Communication Cord, in particular, was a totally hilarious farce set in Donegal and I have rarely laughed out loud so much.  The readings have been a brilliant experience - only downside is just getting the first Act of each play and gagging for more!

The stage sets have been incredible - but cos you're not allowed to take pictures in the theatre I can only describe them, but for Afterplay in the Studio, the set consisted of loads of old fashioned huge mirrors, so evocotive of the old cafes of Europe.  Translations, in the main auditorium at the Crucible, had a beautiful reconstrucion of an old Irish farmhouse in Ballybeg - loads of detail and great stone steps up the side of the barn.  Wonderful Tennessee is set entirely on a quayside in Donegal, as the boat to take them to the island doesn't turn up - and the huge stone quay was brilliantly built, jutting into the auditorium of the Lyceum at a jaunty angle, taking up the first 3 rows of seating.  The bright daylight reflections felt like you really were at the seaside on the wonderful west coast of Donegal with the cast basking in that light you only get near the sea. 


So next day it was over the Pennines to Liverpool for the "Lights Up" parade and opening day of the wonderful new Everyman Theatre.  And if you click on that link just now "Everyman Lights Up" you don't even have to plough through all my photos really - cos the video clip on that webpage is a marvellous 5 minute encapsulation of an amazing two days.  Take a few minutes to see it!!!!

The excitement started in Williamson Square, outside the Playhouse . . .

Drizzle didn't deter anyone and the fantastic buzz and thrum of our march from the Playhouse up along Church Street was just incredible.
OFF WE GO . . . .
and Bold Street
past the bombed out church
up Leece Street, Rodney Street and finally Mount Pleasant to the edge of Hope Street and our first glimpse in the dark of the new theatre.
The music and the beat of the many drums in the dark was so like our carnival experience round the dark streets of Ouro Preto all those years ago
There was a big screen and it was wonderful to see a recorded video of past and present actors singing the praises of the Everyman.  A group of children sang sweetly and the crowd miraculously hushed as a one for them. 
The Everyman and Playhouse huge characters twirled, the band played, a fabulous technicolour light and firework show flashed and danced all around the theatre, the lovely familiar EVERYMAN sign lit up once more and the crowd were led in a chorus of All You Need is Love, across the dark, happy Liverpool night along Hope Street.
as the key touched the front of the theatre the firework and light display just exploded into colour and sound - and such a fantastic atmosphere in the crowd
Some videos at the end so you can get a real flavour of the sounds and atmosphere.  But for now, what about the next day, Sunday, when we were lucky to be one of the first groups to tour backstage and see for ourselves the wonderful product of Haworth Tompkins Architects . . . 
So there you have it.

This is the 'Dear Everyman' video featuring actors old and new and very moving - you can see it on the Dear Everyman webpage or below

Hope you watched the Everyman video - short, sweet and with a soundtrack

That was the best theatre to theatre, city to city weekend ever!!!