In 2010 we tried out a cabaret in the spring, we had the Rudes in the summer, and a three day musical extravaganza in the autumn…
Shoo Shoo Babies – 16 April 2010
A full house of Crowhurst patrons were delighted by this show, the first cabaret to be put on by the Arty Farties.
The Babies came with a strong reputation for glamour, humour and excellent singing of show tunes, jazz standards and classic pop songs. They enhanced their reputation in all departments. The show was fast, furious and great fun with well judged changes of musical style and mood and costumes and settings, all done with a strong streak of tongue-in-cheek humour and pathos. Their rendition of Eleanor Rigby was the most poignant and musically accomplished one could imagine.
Their two three quarter of an hour sets were built round a delicious three course meal organised by Katie Spall and design and decoration of the venue by Di Stainsby, assisted by all the members of the committee.
A really complete evening’s entertainment which sent off the audience still buzzing into the night.
The Rude Mechanicals – Ik’r’us Inc – 16 July 2010
Review by Ray Nard
Combine a balmy summer’s evening with a perfect crescent moon that even Spielberg could not have conjured up, the sound of sticks slapping, horns honking and our very own Quarry Wood reporter, Paul Johnson, dosey-doeing across the Recreation Ground, then it must be that time of year when The Rude Mechanicals bring their totally unique form of magical-realist open-air theatre to the village. In previous years we have had everything from the flooding of the Thames to colossal cockerel codpieces to stretch our imaginations and this year it was strap-on wings which, like virtually every other prop in their latest production Ik’r’us Inc was entirely imagined. But what imagination! Pete Talbot, writer, director, composer and programme seller to boot, seems to have a masochistic relish for tough theatrical challenges.
Set in 1955, the antics of Daedalus H. Gildersleeves, a travelling door-to-door salesman who had progressed from selling encyclopaedias and vacuum cleaners to selling dreams, his moody Elvis lookalike son Ikarus and the simple country folk of Dreamsville Indiana, were the medium for the exposure of so many human frailties and aspirations. As always with The Rudes, the thought provoking messages of the performance were tempered with great humour but this year there seemed to be a lot more musical content than in past productions. The artful body language, authentic commedia slapsticks and the merrily byzantine plot were made even more vivid by superb doo-wop singing and taut instrumental playing by the six strong multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist cast of which Georgina Fields saxophone playing was my personal highlight. There was also some brilliant acting from the professional cast led by Rudes’ stalwart Grant Stimpson (who you might have seen selling his soul in commercials for Stella Artois) and Rowan Talbot as the Harley-revving Ikarus (who did a mean line in motorbike sound-effects).
It may have been my imagination, but on a perfect evening for outdoor theatre, the audience seemed fewer in number than in previous years, but those who did attend, with or without their picnics, enthusiastically enjoyed this most excellent and entertaining show. There were laughs. There were rude bits. There were ad-libs and there was poetry too. I haven’t had as much fun in a field since The Rudes were here last year. So, if you can say ‘I was there’ and enjoyed the show as much as I did, spread the word and let’s attract a bumper audience for 2011.
– Ray Nard
A Musical Weekend – 19, 20 & 21 November 2010
From Emily’s first haunting note of The First Cut is the Deepest to, 41 hours later, Mike’s final saxophone passage (what’s more, accompanying himself on the piano!), those who attended the Arty Farties’ Musical Weekend were served a spicy dish of musical goodies.
Friday Night is Music Night lived up to its billing as a showcase for local talent. From Emily and Dave’s lovely ballads, Bob Andrews’ classical but accessible piano pieces, to Hratch and his trio’s charming folk and mainstream songs. Then Louise Winter and Lucy Ashton, accompanied by our old friend Andrew Daniels, rounded off the evening with a feast of musical theatre and opera extracts, sung with great technique, skill and humour. And virtually every act included at least one person who had at some time lived in Crowhurst!
Saturday brought us the rock and roll of the film Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John giving us all those classic r&r songs and strutting their stuff, much to the delight of the appropriately attired audience, which noisily, and somewhat tunelessly, sang along with.
On Sunday’s Jazz Breakfast, Mike Hatchard gave us a potted history of jazz piano illustrated with brilliant expositions of past piano greats from the structured compositions of Scott Joplin to the improvisations of George Shearing. This was followed by a second half of a typically amusing and musically divers set of cameos and stories illustrated in Mike’s unique way.
All in all, a great weekend!
– John Spall