Saturday, 31 December 2011

Hare and the Tortoise

This morning we finally got to see the Hare and the Tortoise at the Studio. The last time I had tickets Phoebe was sick and we didn't think friends or actors would appreciate a vomiting bug for Christmas so I rearranged. Obviously that means I've paid twice but it was still worth it.

As you may have noticed by now I'm not the best at reviewing plays. My main problem is I don't like to be negative because I want to support drama and I usually rate the actors tremendously and wouldn't want them to be upset.

It's especially hard for me to review children's theatre because, well, I'm 36. And I rather like a bit more of a plot than three year olds do.

In the case of the Hare and the Tortoise the plot is understandably limited. There was a Hare, who did everything too fast, and a tortoise, who somewhat predictably didn't. The set was funky, acting great (especially the gurning), and the accordion playing was good. Although I don't exactly have a benchmark for that one.

The play culminated in, you guessed it, a race. You can probably work out who won.

The best bit of attending any kind of children's theatre for me is the audience. The girl in front of us found the whole thing hilarious and the children joined in to help the Hare count which would have been very helpful if some of them hadn't got the number six in the wrong place.

I spent some time watching the other parents sneakily glancing at their children to see what expressions they were wearing. Just like we were doing. Phoebe's face was often of glee. So the plot clearly didn't need jazzing up for the primary audience.

When they turned the lights off at the end Phoebe said "but now I can't see anything". She's nothing if not logical.

So the girls definitely enjoyed it and that's what counts. Tilly likes pretty much any experience that doesn't contain peril. Phoebe immediately said:

"Can we watch it again?", "When is something else on at the theatre?" and "I absolutely loved it". They can write that review on the flyers if they like.

So "when is something else on at the theatre?". Well in the Sheffield Theatres Spring programme there isn't. Not if you are three anyway. Unless you count the Chuckle Brothers and despite whatever our builder says I just can't.

Looks like we might have to look further afield for something to take her to. Buxton has tonnes of stuff on. Although the plot to Percy the Park Keeper isn't exactly a roller coaster. I guess if I need a lift I'll just look at the girls' faces instead.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Kelham Island etc etc

I've been awake since 2.30am. Probably not the best time to try and recall stuff for a blog entry, but in the absence of getting any sleep I may as well attempt it.

Last Christmas it all went wrong on the Barefoot book selling front. The snow stopped everything. This year nothing has been cancelled and finally my book selling has helped with paying for presents.

So it didn't snow. But boy did it rain. When I turned up at Kelham Island Museum to set up I was gutted to see where I'd been positioned and joined in chuntering with the rest of the stall holders near me. It seemed hard to believe that the fun fair would entice customers to take the trek down to our little building, even with the draw of grumpy traders wearing thrown together Victorian garb. In honesty though we had it better than some. At least I was warm and dry and my stall hadn't blown into the river.

Having said all that I did pretty well despite the unabating rain and I had great fun chatting with customers and stallholders. We all cheered up by a couple of hours in. Plus the girls came along with Mum, Dad and Paul and seemed to have a lovely time. Tilly was just as enthusiastic about the printing press as finding the Victorian characters wandering about. Shame it rained though. More of a shame though was that I didn't get to go shopping. The items on sale were fantastic. The girls bought me a new handmade pewter tree decoration. I love Christmas and them of course.

The following week I did Sharrow Vale market, my favourite one in Sheffield. It rained there too, torrentially for the first hour. But it stopped eventually, I traded well and really enjoyed myself. Although when it became impossible to see at 3.30 I did have less customers. It's hard to choose books in the dark. And taking the gazebo down was a bit of a trial.

I was just walking P back to the car when we passed Father Christmas taking down his grotto (the girls had been in to see him and Paul said he was lovely). Phoebe smiled, waved and shouted "Bye Santa". That's the best type of Christmas market you can get.


I am absolutely fed up of sickness. Poor Phoebe has been being sick repeatedly since 2.30am. I think we are up to seven times.

We are both knackered and obviously our trip to the theatre to see Hare and the Tortoise is cancelled until the New Year. Tilly will be really disappointed when she gets up. Our lovely pre-Christmas week is turning out to be crap. Please don't let any of the rest of us get ill. I can't afford to rearrange the pantomime on Friday and am desperate to see John and Mel too. Grrr.

Sophisticated Night Out

I went out with some mums from school last night. Not mums I know very well really so I was quite proud of myself for going. Of course it sent me into turmoil about the usual issue of not having anything to wear (even Boden winnings don't seem to have helped) or for that matter any style whatsoever. The mums in question are pretty much effortlessly classy. Or at the very least extremely confident and therefore able to look like they are effortlessly classy.

I, of course am no in the least bit classy. I tried hard and wore what Boden clothes did fit me. Then I put make up on. I forgot to apply lipstick. Almost right though.

When I got there I remembered how beautiful they all are. One of them remarked that it was a great excuse not to wear flat shoes. Mine were flat. And frankly pretty muddy.

I'll use the excuse that Phoebe was being particularly clingy when I left the house. So much so I ended up letting her get into bed with Tilly (not an avenue we've been down before but any distraction is a good one sometimes). Of course the only excuse for me looking a little shabby on a classy night out is that, well, getting dressed up just isn't my forte.

The night itself was pretty lovely. And I didn't get drunk which is a bonus. It's never advisable with people you don't know very well. And I only dropped my bracelet in the gravy once. There's hope for me yet...

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Lemonheads

I know, I know I've not been blogging. I apologise. There's been vomit, sleep deprivation, book selling and some going out but none of that is an excuse. I'd best catch up, which could take a while as I still have entries I want to do from some weeks ago. I'll start at the most recent and work backwards but my memory is a bit fuzzy. Just warning you that anything related to an event from a week ago is likely to be sketchy. But last night I can remember.

Paul and I went to see the Lemonheads. That was after we had the obligatory argument that we always have before trying to leave the house simultaneously without children. We both left in the same taxi so it must have got sorted.

I loved the Lemonheads twenty years ago. I know it's a cliche but when did that happen? As we were driving there we talked about which songs we'd love them to play (although we thought it unlikely as they were there to do the whole of 'Shame about Ray'). Paul wanted 'Being Around' and for me it had to be 'Outdoor Type' which has been one of my favourite songs for a very long time.

Evan Dando came out and sang those songs straight away in that order. He was brilliant. His voice was just the same as ever and I was happy. I looked at him and thought what a beautiful man he was. Apart from the fact that he was wearing a fleece.

A woman behind me threw a drink over my shoulder. She was very apologetic. It wasn't like that twenty years ago. Something to do with the middle aged nature of the audience, many of whom were wearing V-necked sweaters.

About three songs in he started to look haggard. His eyes spent most of the rest of the gig looking at the ceiling, probably while he was trying to stop them rolling back in his head. He said very little which always irritates me and by the end of the album he was noticeably struggling. After that he whizzed off stage at some speed, then returned very quickly seemingly having perked up a bit. Hmm. And he still didn't take his fleece off.

They sounded the same. We sang and danced along. And I, in my now motherly way, worried about him. His songs, especially the lyrics, are clever, witty and classic. He can sing beautifully (well mostly) and played as well as ever. Which frankly was a bit of a miracle in the circumstances. I'll never understand how musicians can do that. It was an experience I wouldn't have missed but that made me sad. Because I naively want everyone to be lovely and well. And well, I would say, he is not.

Paul recently went to see Smashing Pumpkins, a band he has always loved but never seen. Billy Corgan said nothing throughout his gig either and despite playing fantastically it really wasn't worth the staggeringly high cost of the ticket. As a consequence we've decided to give live musical reminiscence a miss for a while. It's too disappointing. Apart from Billy Bragg that is, but that's another blog entry altogether...