Jazz Breakfast – 12 February 2017
The Village Hall was full to pretty much overflowing for what has now become our traditional February start to each year’s community arts programme.
Long time Crowhurst favourite Mike Hatchard delighted with his usual range of instruments and styles, and he was joined once again by Crowhurst’s own jazz maestro Paul Eshelby on trumpet and keyboard.
While each had their own sets, it soon became clear that Mike and Paul have developed their musical and comic relationship since last year in what was a feast of scintillating music and mocking repartee, both of which were highly enjoyed by the audience.
Crowhurst Community Cinema: Brooklyn – 10 March 2017
This was every bit as beautifully shot as we expected, and there were honestly a few appreciative gasps from the front at certain breathtaking scenery, especially the massively contrasting Ireland/America panoramas.
But what wasn’t expected was that there would be so much humour. Of course, with Julie Walters as the landlady, there was going to be character comedy…. somewhere in between Mrs Overall and Mr Rigsby! But there was a light touch and a bit of slapstick and plenty of wit threaded through this often poignant coming-of-age tale.
A delicate balance, very effectively handled. And the most exquisitely understated closing scene since Casablanca.
Crowhurst Community Cinema: Seven Samurai – 12 May 2017
An eager group of film buffs turned out for this three hour epic. More humour than I expected; in-depth character portraits; stunning scenery filmed so sensitively that you could feel the colour; birdsong or rain as a constant soundtrack; and slices of warrior-action that was never grotesque. Suddenly, all the plaudits and recommendations made sense, it was mesmerising cinema.
Jazz Evening – 3 June 2017
A late addition to our 2017 calendar thanks to a fortuitous space in the diary of Mike Hatchard and Herbie Flowers (following a performance at the Hastings Jazz Festival).
Mike’s a longstanding Crowhurst favourite, Herbie’s famed for his ’60s and ’70s roles in Blue Mink (six top twenty hits), T-Rex for a couple of years, and then forming instrumental rock group, Sky. He was also a wide-ranging session musician, playing with Elton John, David Bowie, David Essex and Paul McCartney among many others. By the end of the 1970s, his was the bass on something like 500 hit recordings. Perhaps the most iconic is the irresistible bass line on Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side.
A delight for Crowhurst audiences, who appreciated the Jazz and the repartee, and got the chance to chat with the musicians afterwards.
The Rude Mechanicals – 21 July 2017
A balmy Friday afternoon saw the Rudes’ van turn up on Crowhurst Rec and the stage gradually rise on the soft grass next to the tennis court. By 5 o’clock, the sounds of scales and trilling and strumming were wafting across the valley. By 6, villagers were arriving to set out their pitches with chairs and picnics, and by showtime, the camp was filled with an excited crowd, lighted lubricated.
No spoilers here – if you didn’t catch the play last Friday, we highly recommend you check their website to see where else they are performing. A rip-roaring show, packed with comedy and jazz, pathos and satire, signature walks and hyperbolic eye make-up.
There are thwarted lovers and scheming fathers, garden-fence leaping and daydreams of elopement to Tunbridge Wells, then layers of disguise and misdirection for the fast-paced farce of wrong bedrooms at the end. All held together by the warm and steady butler, playing it straight and wearing his love and loyalty on his sleeve, the timbre of his voice a great big hug.
This year’s prize for most vile character goes to the reptilian undertakers, their tongues flicking in and out as they size up their clients; and the award for cheekiest audience interaction goes to Georgina, who “borrowed” a great big glass of wine from the front row… down in one.
There’s also a star turn for Count Death, a regular Rudes’ character, swishing his cape with his Latin-strut across the stage, singing (bellowing) “DEATH!! La tango de la mort!”. Has to be seen to be believed.
the barbican string quartet – 30 July 2017
A packed Village Hall for the return of these supremely talented four musicians, who boast in their programme that they perform in London, Paris, Berlin and Crowhurst! (Indeed, they debuted here.)
Gina Beukes: International soloist, orchestra leader and chamber musician, now principal viola in Flanders Opera
Philip Noite: Former leader of Orquestra do Algarve and current member of the London Symphony Orchestra
Richard Holttum: Former member of the London Symphony Orchestra
Moray Welsh: Internationally renowned soloist and chamber music player, former principal cellist with the London Symphony Orchestra
Philip Glass Quartet No.2
Schubert Quartet No.13 A Minor
Shostakovich Quartet No 8
A thoughtfully constructed programme took the audience through romance, beauty, anguish and isolation. A little knowledge of the composers’ backgrounds offered extra insight, but the music conveyed the stories without any narrative support.
Something else was evident without explanation… the magical and intimate relationships between the four performers. As well as the obvious acoustic and scale differences between a big orchestra and a quartet, this group show a particular playfulness and mutual respect. My neighbour did not know the that they all work and play elsewhere and only come together occasionally, purely for the joy of performing quartet pieces. But she said she could see their easy and informative glances, the delight on their faces, their mutual encouragement, experimenting and challenging each other. With truly superb results.
Woodland Arts Festival – 24 September 2017
In glorious and fortuitous early Autumn sunshine, Quarry Wood was filled with more than 150 people enjoying all sorts of arty, crafty and nature activities, marking our 100th event.
The newly created Enchanters’ Dell was framed by a giant cob web, including a giant spider, and huge dragonflies dangled from the leafy ceiling. You could make your own insects out of twigs and leaves and feathers, make a crown out of acorns, make bird feeders out of pine cones or weave dream catchers; the gnarly Field Maple became dotted with clay faces, and the floor filled with natural art masterpieces.
The Viking Camp held Forest School activities, led by qualified Forest School practitioners. There was a fire, of course, and kids were taught how to create a spark and take it to tinder. They were drilling and whittling, peeling and colouring. Even the grown ups were having a go.
Dotted around the woodland were mysterious little doors and cunning rhyming clues to solve the Wind in the Willows trail. At 2 o’clock, there was a Fungi Trail, a slightly lesser display than a few weeks before, but informative and eye-opening nonetheless. By the gate, next to Mr Toad’s Gypsy Caravan (and some rather striking carved wooden faces), there was a chance to make peg dolls and grab a bite to eat.
Overlooking the two main work spaces, the Quarry Wood Hub had display boards with lots of photos to celebrate the Arty Farties’ 100th event, from the Woodland Festival in 2002 to the Family Fun Day in 2013, and looking ahead to their October family film, Wind in the Willows, and ongoing Poetry Competition. There was also an array of information about the history and management of Quarry Wood, and a mini-encyclopedia of the nature to be seen in this tiny little reserve.
And tucked just in front of the gazebo, folk duo Glashin created a magical atmosphere with guitar and clarinet and gentle harmonies. Local young musician Fionn Johnson played guitar in between their sets, and joined them for a three-hander at the end.
This event was provided entirely free of charge to all comers, courtesy of grants to Crowhurst Community Arts from the Village Fayre Committee and Broadstock. Many thanks to them. Also thanks to all the other local people who took turns to run activities: Sarah Miller, Nikki Romano, Claire Webber, Liz McCall, Caroline Johnson and Judy Linfield who ran arts; Jill Ferguson, Jon Green, Nick Hartnell and Simon Leader for Forest School; John Saunders and Pete Cochrane for car park duty; Will Kemp and Ian Tomisson for gate attendance; Stirling Dethridge for the loan of the magnificent carved wooden heads; Chris Newton for the marquee; the Stainsbys for the car park field.
And thank you to everyone who came along and helped to make this such a successful and lovely day. We hope you learned a little and enjoyed a lot. See you all soon at future Arty Farty events and maybe wandering around our tranquil and beautiful little community-owned nature reserve, Quarry Wood.
Click here for even more pics.
Crowhurst Community Cinema: Family Film
The Wind in the Willows – 8 October 2017
Following on from the Wind in the Willows Trail at the Woodland Arts Festival and the wonderful Mr Toad in his caravan at the gate, here was the 2006 live action film version of Kenneth Grahame’s beautiful book.
Matt Lucas was a terrific Toad, the legendary Bob Hoskins was a gravelly Badger, and Mark Gatiss was Rat (before his star-turn as the sinister Mycroft in the the latest Sherlock adaptation).
Plus, for the younger members of the audience, there were colouring sheets and little sweetie bags.
Family cinema is something we plan to continue. Watch this space, and get in touch with any recommendations!
Jane Austen Night – 20 October 2017
In conjunction with St George’s Church
The Village Hall had become a set from a Regency drama. The walls were adorned with period drapes and framed silhouettes, tables were laden with flowers, bowls of fruit and, delicious, home-made, rustic loaves. Tight breeches and military uniforms were much in evidence, couples took turns around the room and ladies in bonnets avoided a touch of the vapours through the vigorous application of their fans.
Several courses later, and we had been treated to readings from Mr and Mrs Bennett, Lizzie Bennet, Mr Collins, Sir Walter Elliot and a tormented Colonel Brandon. These fine folks were introduced by a rather well-read yokel in a fetching, rustic smock. To complete the flavour of the evening, the Crowhurst Regency Dancers made their debut with the Regency Reel. After a polished performance, a few ladies and gentlemen from the audience took to the floor to the amusement of all. The evening concluded with more frantic use of the ladies’ fans as the, now famous, clip of Mr Darcy cooling his smouldering looks with a dip in his pond was shown on the big screen.
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours,
and laugh at them in our turn?” – Mr Bennett, Pride & Prejudice
– Paul Johnson
More pics on the St George’s Church Facebook page.
Crowhurst Community Cinema:
The Magnificent Seven – 17 November 2017
In November, the Community Cinema offering is always enhanced with food and fancy dress. This year, we had a special double bill, screening Seven Samurai in May and then the Hollywood remake in November.
Who knows how many cowboys can fit into the Village Hall. Well, we didn’t actually count, but it was packed. Checked shirts, cowboy hats and ponchos galore, the hall transformed with saloon doors, giant cacti and a saddle stand. A spicy chilli, guacamole and nachos. And even a Samurai, just for continuity!
Marion Frost won the costume prize for her extraordinary commitment with a terrifically scratchy beard. And the swing doors probably would have won a scenery prize if there was one, look at those cowboys swaggering through it…
A wonderful festive sing-along. Many thanks to John Sheppard on keyboards, Garri and Julie for hosting, and to everyone who came along and joined in.
A whip around at the end raised £71 for Snowflake, a local charity supporting homeless people during the winter.