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reviews

Read Janet's opinions on ------>

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Jake and Dinos Champan
In The Realm of the Unmentionable, Jerwood, Hastings
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"An excellent exhibition"
Gregan's Castle Hotel
near Ballyvaughan, the Burren, Co. Clare
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"Great place to stay"
Orlando Gough's Foghorn Requiem
World Premiere
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I went to South Shields for the world premiere of Orlando Gough's Foghorn Requiem. A flotilla of boats was anchored offshore while a brass band was conducted on the clifftop... when the foghorns sounded, babies started crying. A brilliant event!

Prehistoric Pie
Nothing like our home made pie in Yorkshire...
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Peter did the fertility man pastry.
Tramshed
Mark Hix's new Shoreditch restaurant
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Mark has a portrait of himself in plasticine by Henry Hudson hanging over the bar.. Roast chicken and chips v good.
Noises Off
Revival of Michael Frayn's backstage farce, at the Old Vic
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"Top night out"
What a brilliant evening - the audience was in fits of laughter. Moves to the West End on 24 March
Grand Central Rail
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Can someone explain how a railway can operate that routinely cancels trains WITHOUT ANY EXPLANATION?

Yesterday my journey from Thirsk in Yorkshire to London took four and a half hours and cost me a fortune… had to catch a cab to York and buy another ticket. There is never anyone from Grand Central around to explain what is happening.

Waitrose
Waitrose, St. John Street, Clerkenwell
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WHY DO THEY SELL FRUIT THAT IS MARKED ‘PERFECTLY RIPE’ AND WHEN YOU GET IT HOME IT’S LIKE A BLOCK OF WOOD? I bought two mangos that will never turn into anything edilble.
The Ladykillers
Stage version of the classic Ealing comedy
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"A bit creaky"

So now The Ladykillers is a play at the Gielgud Theatre in London. Apart from the annoyance of being charged a £4 credit-card booking fee – it was impossible to find the box-office number and so I was forced to book online – the evening didn't really soar. Peter Capaldi is impressive as Professor Marcus organising his motley gang of thieves, and the set is eye-catching, but there seemed to be a lack of interaction between the players. In a film, the action is driven by shooting and editing. On stage, there needs to be stuff apart from words that glues everything together and makes it sing.

 

It's fashionable to turn films into stage shows –a stage version of Sam Taylor-Wood's John Lennon biopic, Nowhere Boy, is due late next year – but they don't always improve on the original. I'm not sure I can face Gatz, the new adaptation of The Great Gatsby, opening in June. It will last eight hours, and one member of the cast reads every word of Scott Fitzgerald's novel out loud.

Neighbour anxiety
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I have just read that Liz Jones, the very thin anxious columnist from the Daily Mail, has a ‘tiny shoebox’ flat in Clerkenwell. Ex-Minister Chris Huhne and his girlfriend Carina Trimingham have also bought a flat above a pub in Clerkenwell for over a million quid. Will they be shopping at my local Waitrose?
Matilda - the musical
Tim Minchin's musical version of the Roald Dahl classic
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"Schmaltzing Matilda"

Slapstick has certainly infected musicals. I saw Matilda, Tim Minchin’s award-winning version of Roald Dahl’s children’s story, and was desperate for a moment of pathos. The action is so determinedly raucous, there’s not a moment when the leading characters catch their breath. The show would be so much more heartbreaking with fewer words in the songs and less thrashing around on stage. There’s little room for the emotions to breathe, which is a shame because the young cast are fantastic.

Edwina's Cakes
Richmond, North Yorkshire
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"Tried a snowman fairy cake"
Yum
The Comedy of Errors
Lenny Henry in his Shakespeare debut at the NT
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"Lenny on good form"

Lenny Henry is on top form at the National Theatre where his new career as a Shakespearean actor gathers momentum. I must admit, settling down for two and a half hours of The Comedy of Errors last week, I wasn’t expecting an easy evening. It starts with a turgid scene-setting historical monologue (and ends with a drab epilogue) and the ludicrous plot involves twins and a mum and dad separated for decades. But from the moment Lenny bounds on, the evening lifts off. His performance as one of the twins is captivating - all those years of standup mean that he soars through proceedings and totally owns the stage.

 

This production suffers from having everything but the kitchen sink thrown at i - set in a modern Greek resort, it’s got TOWIE babes, a police car chase with flashing lights and even a farting contest. The identical servants wear Arsenal shirts and there’s a hunky masseur. This comedy has become a broad farce - perhaps because One Man, Two Guvnors in the same genre was such a hit for the National.But a surprisingly entertaining evening.

A-line
Brilliant exhibition at Dalston Superstore by my friend Anna Bruder
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K-Swiss tennis shoes
...in black
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"Fantastic!"
Eddie Gilberts
fishmonger, fish and chip shop and restaurant in Ramsgate
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"Really good"
Troll Hunter
Norwegian Blair-Witch style comedy horror film
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"Good fun"
The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman
Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Musuem
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Great gifts!
TInker Tailor Soldier Spy
John Le Carré thriller with Gary Oldman
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"A bit boring"
The glasses were all wrong
Krishna Restaurant
Whitstable, opposite the station
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"Great superhot Indian"
One Man Two Guvnors
Comedy with with James Corden
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"Completely brilliant"
Just transferred from NT to West End
Collaborators
Alex Jennings in new play at NT
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"Pretty good"
Castor and Pollux
Rameau's French baroque opera at ENO
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