Category Archives: Reviews

Viv Gordon

I’m not alright, but that’s alright? “I am Joan” review by Claire de Sully, Strode Theatre May 19th, 2017.

In her book Wilful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan (entrepreneur, chief executive and author) says “All that evil needs to flourish is for good people to see nothing - and get paid for it”. And so it goes: Child abuse in the Catholic Church, Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews and other groups, reckless subprime mortgage lenders that brought the world’s financial system to the brink and the Rochdale child trafficking ring (recently dramatised on BBC1), all share a simple fact: “It was Read more [...]
history of britain

Jenni Murray’s A History of Britain in 21 Women and a chance to add our own chapter? Review by Claire de Sully

A History of Britain in 21 Women has been a great companion for me as it demonstrates how, for these women, dogged determination, ambition alongside single mindedness can see you through to fulfilling your purpose in life, no matter how mighty the obstacles are placed before each step you take. For me the power of this book is that it is as much a history of people than solely a female perspective. Often the stories around these extraordinary women involve men: husbands, lovers, fathers, male Read more [...]

After the story ends – a review of Tree House, Strode Theatre Studio, November 16th by Claire de Sully

"After Cathy" - Radio 4's documentary on homelessness - followed a year in the life of three people who find themselves down-at-heel. We hear stories about a primary school teacher, with her two young children, forced into emergency housing, a businessman (who once worked alongside Richard Branson), and a folk-singer struggling with alcoholism. It's easy to be drawn into these real-life encounters, this is audio documentary at its most powerful, words hang as true life stories are spliced together. Read more [...]
The Hunters Lodge Backroom Bar

The Hunters Lodge – the Pub that is what it was.

Roger Dors has featured at The Hunters Lodge (near Priddy, Somerset) since 1946, obtaining the publican licence in the early 1970's following  in his uncle's footsteps. Much is the same as it always was, dimly lit, bare stone floors, open fires (required the entire year owing to solid walls and no central heating in the bars).  There are lots of nooks and crannies here, bar and back rooms . I challenge you to remember which door leads to where.  It's popular to those who like to pothole I'm Read more [...]

The Magic of Mary Poppins at the Bristol Hippodrome – review by Claire de Sully

Upon learning that the Musical Mary Poppins was coming to Bristol, I felt an urge to go. The child in me and the child with me – my 7 year old – couldn't resist the draw of this timelessly beautiful piece of cinema history transported into a magical theatrical dimension. Disney and Cameron Mackintosh announced earlier in the year that they were bringing back Mary Poppins - the West End show - last staged 11 years ago.  Back then it ran for three years with more than 1,250 performances. The Read more [...]

Sensational revelations may put to rest the tragic relationship of 20th century’s enduring literary giants.

Wells festival of Literature audience is set to hear sensational revelations about one of 20th century literature’s enduring tragic relationships.   Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes – two literary giants – were married in 1956 until her suicide in 1963. The unanswered questions surrounding the demise of their emotionally charged relationship, leading to her death, has provided an afterlife in itself and was something Hughes spent half a lifetime trying to bury. Details of the yet unpublished Read more [...]

Unlocking potential with the love of words

I had the opportunity to attend a rather special event, on behalf of the Wells Festival of Literature.   This was an annual celebration for children’s literacy charity Beanstalk held at the House of Commons. Beanstalk recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one reading support in primary schools to children who have fallen behind with their reading. The consequences of the literacy gap in children and young people is significant, including an estimated  cost Read more [...]

Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra’s descent into the madness of Symphonie Fantastique – review

I went for Ravel (and it met all expectations), but it's Berlioz's insane Symphonie Fantastique that has blown me away.  This piece is a descent into hopeless and insane unrequited love ending with not only the composer's imagined death, but his afterlife in hell surrounded by hideous witches - representing the object of his desire presumably or desire itself. It was part written when the composer was on drugs which might explain a lot. You have to see an Orchestra play this live to really Read more [...]
Harvey Bassett as Blowtorch - Nightflyer by Martin Malcolm

A Dark Night Out – Review of Nightflyer by Martin Malcolm

In his play Nightflyer Martin Malcolm has given young people a voice - yet it isn't pretty, it is remarkable. The setting is a typical end of week night out - could be any town or city centre really - this one is Bristol's city centre. So what should these teen-adults do when one of their mates has collapsed, is fitting, unable to stand and get the night bus home? As they hopelessly try to solve their problem, there is an edgy tension created by a body lying on the ground unconscious, vomiting Read more [...]

The people’s bridge, a people’s play: Preview of “Walking the Chains”, written by ACH Smith and staged by Show of Strength, Passenger Shed, Bristol from Sunday Jan 11th to 25th

It has been a long time coming for someone to piece together the story behind one of the most audacious engineering feats the world has seen. The extraordinary tale of how Clifton Suspension Bridge came into being is told through ACH Smith’s words and Elizabeth Purnell’s toe tapping music, under the direction of Robin Belfield, to celebrate the bridges 150 year anniversary. Produced by Show of Strength – with creative producer Sheila Hannon, designer James Helps, and a multi-talented Read more [...]