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Viva Lewes
 

The rain seems to have set in for days now. March is looming, but it's still gloves, hat and scarf weather. TV advertisers must be delighted, as the nation squashes into the sofa and watches the sort of dross that generally passes for televisual entertainment nowadays. Not that the propagators of those insidious little half-minute-long brainwashing exercises are having a hard time, despite the broadband internet revolution. Watching TV is easily Britain’s favourite hobby. 98% of UK households own TV sets. We spend an average of three hours a day watching that pixelated screen. Most of this time is clearly wasted. How many TV shows have you watched in your life? How many of them do you remember? At Viva Lewes we have made it our mission to inform you of what you can do in your spare time in and around this town that might actually stay in the memory bank. Scratch the surface and you’re lost for choice. This week there’s jazz, there’s blues, there’s cinema, there’s classical music. We have King Kong and Godzilla, dewponds and archaeological digs. There’s theatre galore. And there are penguins, hundreds of penguins, in a subtle French documentary that’s proved so popular (and, oddly, politically controversial) that it’s being shown EIGHT times this weekend at the All Saints. Turn off, go out. Enjoy the week.

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Viva Lewes

Seagulls! Fiona McLachlans’s stadiumless ‘Downland’, courtesy of the Art Room (page 21)
 
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Viva Lewes
February 23rd - March 1st 2006
 

  • Archaeology: Downs Digging talk by Dave McOmish (12)
  • Art: Needlemakers exhibition (21)
  • Blues: John Crampton (15)
  • Bricks and Mortar: Baldy’s Garden (22)
  • Cinema: March of the Penguins (11); King Kong (14); Godzilla (17); Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (18)
  • Classical Music: Cerys Jones (8)
  • Folk: Peta Webb (5); In Bob We Trust (16)
  • Food: Seasons (24)
  • Gig: Turning Green (10)
  • Jazz: Anita Wardell (4)
  • Museum: Newhaven Fort (23)
  • Nature: Martin Snow talk on dewponds (7)
  • Photography: Photo of the Week (25)
  • Theatre: Great Expectations (6); The Winslow Boy (9); Humble Boy (13); Neil Bartlett talk (19); The Grand Inquisitor (20)

Contact Viva Lewes
Editorial (alex@vivalewes.com)
Marketing (nick@vivalewes.com)
Design & Technical (dave@vivalewes.com)



Viva Lewes

A disappointed Kong had actually wanted the grill for lunch (page 14)

 
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Viva Kids
 
Thursday 23rd February
1 of 2
 

Jazz - Anita Wardell

Jazz singer Anita Wardell is no stranger to venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, the Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre and the Sydney Opera House, where she supported the great Sarah Vaughan, so it’s quite a coup that Lewes Jazz have pulled off bringing her down to the Constitutional Club. She is an Australian chanteuse whose voice is as comfortable singing gentle ballads and big-band solos as scatting and improvising ‘vocalese’ where made-up lyrics act as melodies on jazz instrumentals. She is famed for her ability to scat at breakneck tempo without faltering.

The Times’ jazz correspondent Clive Davis has written of her “Anita Wardell is a singer who takes no prisoners. The Australian vocalist is an uncompromising exponent of bebop and has won a cult following among her colleagues in London during her time here. Think of her, if you like, as the female equivalent of Mark Murphy.” Mr Murphy himself comments: “My Anita Wardell, a gift from Australia, is now blooming like a pure white music orchid in London.” You may be talking about this one for years.

 
Where?
Lewes Constitutional Club, 139 High St, Lewes
When? 8.15
How Much? £8.50
Jazz - Anita Wardell
Lewes Jazz Club
(t) 01273 476079
(w) www.lewesjazzclub.org.uk
Anita Wardell
(w) www.anitawardell.com
 
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Viva Kids
 
Thursday 23rd February
2 of 2
 

Folk - Peta Webb, Ken Hall and Simon Hindley

Peta Webb and Ken Hall are a long-established revivalist harmony duo with a carefully researched sound. By listening to a combination of recordings of long-dead folk singers and performances from still-living traditional singers, they have managed to capture techniques, which might otherwise have died out. Their album As Close as Can Be is a bold reproduction of a number of solo and harmonised songs, completely unaccompanied by any instruments. Their speciality is Irish ballads, though they also have American and British songs in their broad repertoire. Together they run the folk website Musical Traditions, and run a London club which showcases traditional singers.

Tonight they are joined by guitarist Simon Hindley and will be selecting mainly from the American section of their repertoire, particularly drawing on the influence of brother-sister duos and bluegrass music, with its distinctive (and rarely heard on these shores) ‘high lonesome sound’.

 
Where?
The Royal Oak, Station St, Lewes
When? 8.30
How Much? £4.50
Folk - Peta Webb, Ken Hall and Simon Hindley
Folk at the Oak
(w) www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~tinvic
(t) 01273 478124
 
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Viva Kids
 
Friday 24th February
1 of 6
 

Theatre - Great Expectations

Victorian revival? Have you noticed the men in frock coats? Women in long skirts and laced-up boots? Will this trend stop at increased foot fetishism and facial hair growth requiring separate grooming supplies? Or will it go deeper? The Victorians were reformist and energetic, and uncovered their own stuffy hypocrisy long before we thought to question our shallow hypocrisy. Maybe we feel the need to get serious again. "Zeitgeist is a real thing, and I think there is a real Dickensian zeitgeist…" says Neil Murray of Northern Stage, the touring company performing Great Expectations. When asked why, he says, “people love a good story", which is either nauseatingly pat or reformist and energetic, depending on how Victorian you’ve already become. "We’re not doing anything experimental or weird," he says, though his production will use film and physicality to emphasise the novel’s Gothic atmosphere. "We’re not just putting on some old pot-boiler. It’s not a play, it’s a piece of theatre."

Mr Murray was anxious about that last sentence being quoted, but he has a point. Perhaps the challenges we face today are again Victorian, and so Dickensian. And reader, will we ever not need to hear of love that is not returned, or youthful ambition gone wrong?

 
Where?
Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex
When? Thur-Sat 7.30pm & Fri 1.30pm
How Much? £14/£12/£7
Theatre - Great Expectations
Gardner Arts Centre
(t) 01273 685861
(w) www.gardnerarts.co.uk
 
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Viva Kids
 
Friday 24th February
2 of 6
 

Dewponds

Let’s face it, the beautiful Sussex Downs are actually a desert with a thin layer of grass on top. A chalky, wet desert, but a desert nonetheless. It’s a miracle they haven’t been turned into an overspill car park for Brighton. Yet they survive, and as with all deserts must be appreciated for their austerity and the fragility of life they support. Since the age of 14, Martin Snow has been studying this desert’s oases, the dewponds found on the top of hills, away from any river, that seem to fill themselves. You can run into dewponds anywhere on the Downs. Some are concrete and look like giant lawn ornaments. Some are sand and look like UFO landing sites and one, just outside Whitehawk, features two burned out cars. Snow calls it a “sacrifice to the car gods”. Why just walk around when you can make a pilgrimage to one of these mysterious sites? What feeds them? Is it ‘the dew’? Does the water bubble up from the chalk?

The ponds are home to many species of birds, insects and amphibians. Where did they come from? Are great crested newts roaming the hills in packs, looking for reliable ponds? Are newt eggs blown around in the wind? Snow will answer these questions during his talk at Anne of Cleves House, which you can then snoop around with a glass of wine.

 
Where?
Anne of Cleves House, Southover High St, Lewes
When? 7.30pm
How Much? £4
Dewponds

Dewponds:
(t) 01273 474610
(w) www.dewponds.com

 
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Viva Kids
 
Friday 24th February
3 of 6
 

Classical Music - Cerys Jones

When you hear that up-and-coming violinist Cerys Jones will be playing works by Beethoven, Richard Strauss and Ravel in Seaford, you might conclude that her recital will be a rather conservative affair. Don’t. “Ravel’s Sonata was written after a trip to America when he had just been exposed to black folk music - what we would now call blues – for the first time,” she says. “This type of music had never been played before in a formal setting in Europe. It is, to coin a phrase, a really cool piece.” Strauss’ piece is equally passionate, and equally difficult to play. “Strauss was a big opera fan and in his Sonata he translated this sound into the violin creating the huge roaring melodies of opera. It is not often attempted.”

Jones is a star in the making, with a string of scholarships and honours, currently studying at the prestigious Julliard School in New York. “People no longer go to piano recitals looking for comforting pieces they already know. They want something that will rouse other senses,” she says. Accompanied by Sholto Kynoch on the piano she will also be playing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, another rarely played piece. “It’s a very moody, dark piece,” she says, “and like the other two was very ground-breaking in its time.”

 
Where?
Cross Way, Steyne St, Seaford
When? 7.45pm
How Much? £8 tickets on door
Classical Music - Cerys Jones
Cerys Jones:
(t) 01323 491883/893965
(w) www.cerysjones.org
 
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Viva Kids
 
Friday 24th February
4 of 6
 

Theatre - The Winslow Boy

In the 40’s and 50’s Terence Rattigan was the country’s foremost playwright with a string of successes including The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version and The Deep Blue Sea, each a carefully choreographed analysis of human pain. He knew what his audiences wanted, and even had a pet name for his typical fan – Aunt Edna. In 1956 there was a paradigm shift in the British public’s notion of what made good theatre. John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger introduced Jimmy Porter, who embodied the frustrations of life in post war Britain. The angry young man was born. And Terence Rattigan’s career was effectively over - his work deemed too stuffy and conservative.

Seaford Little Theatre’s choice of this play follows a resurgence in critical acclaim for Rattigan’s drama after well-received performances of Deep Blue Sea and Man and Boy at the Almeida and Duchess Theatres in London. The Winslow Boy deals with a posh family’s attempt to prove the innocence of their naval cadet son, accused of stealing a postal order. Sadly it is unlikely to appeal to many who weren’t already born when it first came out in 1946. Luckily there are still a few Aunt Ednas out there.

 
Where?
Seaford Little Theatre
When? 7.45pm. Runs till March 4th. Sat matinee 2.30pm
How Much? £6 (£5 matinée, 2 for one first night)
Theatre - The Winslow Boy
Seaford Little Theatre
(t) 01323 893699
(w) www.seafordlittletheatre.co.uk
 
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Viva Kids
 
Friday 24th February
5 of 6
 

Gig - Turning Green

Listening to Turning Green, you think you’ve caught a snatch of something familiar. Wasn’t that XTC? Steve Severin’s guitar? Miles Davis? The Beatles? Johnnie Lydon? The Pixies? Each reference is fleeting, before you realise you were probably mistaken. This isn’t like Oasis’ studied and plagiaristic pop sampling: this is eclectic mayhem, surreal memories thrown together in a jazzy, funky, indie jumble, experimental pop with surreal lyrics surprising you at every turn. It’s dissonant; then it’s melodic. You want to sing along, even if you don’t know the words. ‘Everything you have ever heard,’ as they put it, ‘and nothing you have ever heard… things that did happen a very long time ago which some people thought they had forgotten and some things that will most probably for the best part not happen at all’.

Whatever they are, wherever they come from, Turning Green have just made a brilliant album, What Have We Done, and they’re even better live. Pretty soon they’ll be put on the front cover of the NME, and snapped doing naughty things by paparazzi. Much later you’ll be able to tell your progeny that you saw them in the Lansdown. Not that they’ll ever believe you.

 
Where?
Lansdown, Station St, Lewes
When? 8.30pm
How Much? Free
Gig - Turning Green
Lansdown Arms:
(t) 01273 480623
(w) thelansdownarms.com
Turning Green:
(w) www.turning-green.com
 
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Viva Kids
 
Friday 24th February
6 of 6
 

Cinema - March of the Penguins

Antarctica was once a tropical paradise. But slowly, over millions of years, it froze over and almost every species of animal either moved or died off. So how are the penguins rewarded for living in these unbelievably hostile conditions? Well, in the next hundred years global warming will probably cook them in their fuzzy little tuxedoes. Which is why March of the Penguins is an important movie. Few of us know anything about the Antarctic - its beauty, its fragile ecosystems, its seasons - all the things that will probably disappear in our lifetimes as the oceans rise and the continent’s vast mineral wealth becomes vital to somebody or other’s national security interests. But for a few decades more, it will still remain a wildlife preserve spanning a greater area than all of Europe. You might even say it’s the last place on earth where descendents of the dinosaurs still rule. The whole mammal thing passed them by.

Penguins have complex social lives. And when this meticulously researched and brilliantly realised film came out, the American Right, so in denial about the global warming, seized on penguin mating and rearing as a model of family values.

 
Where?
All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? 6.30pm and 8.15pm; Sat 2.30pm, 4.15pm, 6pm; Sun 1pm; 6.30pm; 8.15pm
How Much? £4.50
Cinema - March of the Penguins
Lewes Cinema:
(t) 01903 523833
(w) www.lewescinema.co.uk
 
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Viva Kids
 
Saturday 25th February
2 of 6
 

Talk - Archaeology on the South Downs

Last year, on Malling Hill, archaeologists discovered the headless bodies of seven Saxons, whose hands had been tied behind their back. It is a murder mystery that will never be solved and an example of how archaeology can be a shockingly interesting subject. The South Downs is an area rich in archaeological finds and David McOmish of English Heritage is talking today about the diversity of historical sites in our hills and how the public can get more involved in learning about and participating in digs. “This will not be a Man from the Ministry doing a stuffy talk,” says David, who comes armed with scores of slides. “We want to make archaeology more sexy, we want to share our enthusiasm and energise local communities into learning more about how archaeology helps them to understand their heritage.”

“There is something for everyone in the Downs,” continues David, “from Neolithic finds, through the Bronze Age into the Roman and Medieval periods and beyond.” His favourite local site is a Bronze Age settlement on Plumpton Plain, ‘an abandoned little farmstead from 1500-1000 BC. It’s just fantastic.’ David welcomes any queries about local archaeology via the e-mail link below right. Heritage in the hills? We dig it.

 
Where?
Lewes Town Hall
When? 2-3pm
How Much? £3
Talk - Archaeology on the South Downs
David McOmish
(e) click here
Barbican House Museum
(t) 01273 405737
 
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Viva Kids
 
Saturday 25th February
3 of 6
 

Theatre - Humble Boy

A middle-aged intellectual, Felix Humble, comes back to his Cotswolds home for the funeral of his father, and finds his past catching up with him. His overbearing mother is having a fling with the neighbour, George; Felix dumped George’s daughter Rosie over seven years ago; Rosie has a child of around six and a half. His mother’s best friend fancies George, too. Oh, and there’s a gardener called Jim lurking in the background. Felix decides to stay the summer.

Of course the characters develop, as the playwright, Charlotte Jones, pushes the plot along with humour and some poignancy, drawing attention when she can to the fact that the play is loosely based on the plot of Hamlet. Hamlet died a young man: this very modern version of his tale deals with the zeitgeistier theme of mid-life crisis. The play premiered in the National (with Diana Rigg playing the mother) to generally positive reviews in 2001: comparisons were drawn to Ayckbourn and Pinter. An interesting choice, and we’re intrigued to see how the Little Theatre copes with this highly rated contemporary play.

 
Where?
Lewes Little Theatre, Lancaster St, Lewes
When? 8pm (play runs until March 4th)
How Much? £7
Theatre - Humble Boy

Lewes Little Theatre
(t) 01273 474826

 
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Viva Kids
 
Saturday 25th February
4 of 6
 

Cinema - King Kong

When New Zealand director Peter Jackson was 12 years old he made his first movie, a remake of the Empire State Building scene of the 1933 classic King Kong, using his mother’s fur stole as the gorilla. After finding success with homespun Heavenly Creatures he tried to finance a Hollywood version of the film in 1999 – no producer wanted to touch it. Then he directed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which finally gave him the licence to make whatever the hell film he wanted to make, whatever the cost.

And so we have King Kong, a three hour classic with amazing (BAFTA-winning) special effects, a monstrous epic starring Jack Black as a dodgy film maker who tricks his cast and crew into a trip to the mysterious Skull Island, Naomi Watts as an aspiring actress with a fine throat and Andy Serkis as the (eyes behind) the large ape which falls in love with her, captures her, and saves her from all number of prehistoric jungle nasties, including a particularly vicious T-Rex. It’s big, it’s exciting, it’s surprisingly touching. It’s so good that, as Stephen Fry has pointed out, in Denmark they named it twice. *

*Kong is Danish for King, so in Copenhagen the film was billed as Kong Kong.

 
Where?
All Saints Centre, Friar’s Walk, Lewes
When? 7.45pm (also 2.45pm Sunday)
How Much? £4.50
Cinema - King Kong
Lewes Cinema:
(t) 01903 523833
(w) www.lewescinema.co.uk
 
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Viva Kids
 
Saturday 25th February
5 of 6
 

Blues - John Crampton

Quiet-spoken John Crampton takes the stage with a 1930’s steel guitar, a harmonica strapped into a rack around his neck, and a stomp box. He looks an unassuming type. You don’t expect much from him. Then he gets started. A slow one, maybe, to get things going. Pretty soon he’s making the sort of racket you’d expect a four-man band to make, whippin’ up a pitch of frenzy that has this reviewer tempted to take the ‘g’s off all his ‘ings’. Crampton is a prodigious blues talent, a Londoner with a heart as big as the North Mississippi Delta, whose largely self-penned repertoire inevitably gets the crowd up on its feet.

Crampton made his name with the legendary Brighton skiffle band Daddy Yum Yum, then realised that he could do it all on his own. Since the late eighties he’s been gigging the world, in his own right, or supporting the likes of Van Morrison, Dr. Feelgood and Nine Below Zero. He cites Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Ry Cooder as his influences: his music is what music reviewers love to call ‘low-down and dirty’. His voice has the sort of quart-of-whisky-and-a-packet-of-non-filters quality that makes Tom Waits Tom Waits. He rocks, basically.

 
Where?
The Lansdown Arms, Station St, Lewes
When? 8.30pm
How Much? Free
Blues - John Crampton
Lansdown Arms:
(t) 01273 480623
(w) www.thelansdownarms.com
 
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Viva Kids
 
Saturday 25th February
6 of 6
 

Tribute - In Bob We Trust

Though he never really went away, Bob Dylan is back. 2005 saw a massive resurgence in interest in the Minnesotan singer, with the release of Martin Scorsese’s brilliant documentary No Direction Home and the paperback release of the equally gob-smacking autobiography Chronicles. Both projects deal with the same area of Dylan’s career, the early part, when, after a period in New York playing Woodie Guthrie covers, he started penning his own songs, became labelled a ‘protest singer’ and changed folk music forever. Then, controversially, he turned his back on the genre, alienating his fan base, and broadening his scope and appeal. It’s a fascinating tale of a man who refused to be pigeonholed, or owned, or guided, or to do anything that anyone else wanted him to do. A tale peopled by fascinating characters such as Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, John Lennon, Mike Oldfield and Woodie Guthrie.

It might have slipped under the radar of many Dylanheads, but 2005 saw a third Dylan project ‘In Bob We Trust’ a night dedicated to his music from a group of musician-fans, which did the rounds in the autumn, and is returning to Pelham House tonight. It will be candle-lit, it will be nostalgic, it will be passionate. It may just be electric. Judases.

 
Where?
Pelham House, St Andrews Lane, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £7
Tribute - In Bob We Trust
Pelham House
(t) 01273 488600
 
 
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Viva Kids
 
Sunday 26th February
1 of 2
 

Cinema - Godzilla

Reviewers think they're soooo smart when they talk about Godzilla. It’s not just a monster movie, they say. No, they tell us. Godzilla ("or ‘Gojira’ as it was originally called!") is actually a thought-provoking comment on the horrors of nuclear war. How pathetic is that? The Japanese military invaded its neighbours, and then started a war against the most powerful country on earth. The people sent their sons to fight, then had the crap bombed out of them with atomic weapons. The white devils occupied their country. But no one questioned the policies of the right wing power structure which had got them into the mess in the first place. Even now what happened in China and Korea can’t be put in Japanese text books. Japan inflicted and suffered a collective nervous breakdown in East Asia and how did they face up to it? They dressed up a guy in a rubber suit and had him knock over cardboard buildings!

Is that the best they can do? The Germans had the Nuremberg Trials, South Africa had the Truth and Reconciliation hearings, America had the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War protests, and the Japanese got this? Great movie though. Raaaaaarr!

 
Where?
Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex
When? 5pm
How Much? £5 (concs £4)
Cinema - Godzilla
Gardner Arts Centre
(t) 01273 685861
(w) www.gardnerarts.co.uk
 
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Viva Kids
 
Sunday 26th February
2 of 2
 

Cinema - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Here is an action movie for people who don’t normally like action movies, featuring a brilliant central performance by Robert Downey Junior, surely by now mainstream America’s finest contemporary actor. RDJ plays a New York thief who ducks straight from a botched robbery in which his partner is shot into a film audition where he has to act out – a New York thief who has just escaped a botched robbery in which his partner is shot. Naturally he passes the audition with flying colours – and is sent to Hollywood.

There he is teamed up with gay cop Harry Kilmer, notionally there to help him learn to method act his first role. But you never know what’s real in this film – and when the bodies start piling up and RDJ’s High School heartthrob (Michelle Monaghan) appears on the scene, the plot really starts going haywire. It’s always nodding and winking at the audience, however (they could use it in the future to explain the notion of post-modernism to school kids): debut director Shane Black has managed to produce a work which stands up with Pulp Fiction for its ability to make a shoot-em-up acceptable fare for the more discerning moviegoer.

 
Where?
Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex
When? 8pm
How Much? £5/£4 concs
Cinema - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Gardner Arts Centre
(w) www.gardnerarts.co.uk
(t) 01273 685861
 
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Viva Kids
 
Monday 27th February
1 of 2
 

Literary Club - Neil Bartlett

The Lyric Theatre is a wonderful space. It’s always a surprise when you pass though the doors of its modern blocky facade and enter into its sumptuous 550-seater 19th century auditorium. So the drama world was aghast when, in 1994, it looked like closing down, £350,000 in debt. Cometh the hour, however, cometh the actor/director/novelist/translator.

Neil Bartlett, all of the above, took on the tough job of director of the Lyric. First he raised the cash, then he put on a production of Portrait of Dorian Gray, which won accolades of public acclaim. Having started with a crowd-pleaser he staged the first English production of Jean Genet’s Splendids. He cast Julian Clary in the lead role. Clearly life at the Lyric was going to be fun. In his (presumably ironically titled) talk ‘Bringing Glamour to the Masses’ Bartlett tells of the ups and downs of his 11 years at the helm of one of the country’s best-loved institutions. Should be a scream, darling.

 
Where?
Pelham House, St Andrews Lane, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £5 (£4 concs)
Literary Club - Neil Bartlett
Pelham House
(t) 01273 488600
 
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Viva Kids
 
Monday 27th February
2 of 2
 

Theatre - The Grand Inquisitor

Theatre director Peter Brooks’ highly influential 1968 text The Empty Space starts with a definition of his art, which became the blueprint for the creative philosophy of a generation of his colleagues. “I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space while someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.”

The Grand Inquisitor, Brooks’ latest work, currently touring Britain, is about as pared down as theatre gets. It is a one-man play loosely based on a chapter of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Bruce Myers, who has collaborated with Brooks since 1970, plays Jesus Christ, who has returned to earth in Seville during the height of the Spanish Inquisition’s frenzied burning of heretics in the 1490’s. Christ is immediately slung into a cell and the Grand Inquisitor pays a visit. ‘For a long moment, he stays in the doorway, studying the Holy face. Then he draws nearer, saying: "Is it You? You?"’ Challenging stuff.

 
Where?
Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex
When? 8pm and Wed 1st March 8pm
How Much? £14/£12/£7
Theatre - The Grand Inquisitor
Gardner Arts Centre
(t) 01273 685861
(w) www.gardnerarts.co.uk
 
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Viva Kids
 
Tuesday 28th February
1 of 1
 

Art - The Art Room

Young Designer of the Year Andrew Tanner is a ceramic artist who was described by Jeff Banks as ‘the new William Morris.’ John Dilnot’s British wildlife screen-prints appear in collections in the Tate, the V&A and the British Museum. Peter Tyler’s nudes feature in the private collection of the Evening Standard’s ultra-conservative critic Brian Sewell. Louise Body’s wallpaper was commissioned by Ted Baker and described by the Guardian as ‘less like a length of wallpaper and more like a work of art’. What have these artists got in common? They are all local, and they are all featured in the latest hanging in The Art Room, Lewes’ latest and funkiest Gallery, hidden away in the Needlemakers.

And there’s more. Art Room director Dawn Stacey’s vibrant primitivist scenes from Dungeness; Charlie Day’s English take on Warhol (featuring Hilda Ogden and the lad from Kes); Victor Stuart Graham’s pieces of driftwood turned into sculptures of boats; Julia Ogden’s trendy pink humming birds. It’s madly eclectic, but somehow all fits together harmoniously. And much of it is affordable. A treasure trove.

 
Where?
The Needlemakers, Market Lane, Lewes
When? Open 11am-5.30pm Tues-Sat
How much? Items from around £10 upwards
Art - The Art Room

The Art Room
(t) 01273 474925 / 07962 407876

 
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Viva Kids
 
Wednesday 1st March
1 of 1
 

History & Heritage - Newhaven Fort

After years of neglect after WW2, Newhaven Fort was turned into a museum some years ago and today is home to a range of interactive and thought-provoking exhibitions primarily covering the role of Sussex forces during the two world wars. The museum is opening its doors for the spring season today.

The exhibits also demonstrate the site’s rich pre-20th century history. First fortified in the Bronze Age, Castle Hill has since been home to Roman, Norman and Medieval battlements. The Tudors built gun emplacements to keep out the French, and the area was also defended against the Spanish Armada. The current fort, the largest defence structure ever built in Sussex, was ordered by Lord Palmerston in 1860 – against another feared French invasion - and built by Lieutenant JC Ardagh during 1862-71. It was part of a massive south coast coastal defensive building programme which was subsequently referred to as Palmerston’s Follies, because it was never used: in most cases the guns didn’t have the range required to hit the threatened invaders and were more likely to kill the people they were supposed to protect. The gun emplacements can be explored, as well as hundreds of yards of tunnels; there is also an adventure playground to keep the under 12’s happy.

 
Where?
Fort Road, Newhaven
When? Daily 10.30am -6pm from 1 March
How Much? Adult £5.50; Kids £3.60; Family (2+3) £16.50
History & Heritage - Newhaven Fort
Newhaven Fort
(t) 01273 512059
(w) www.newhavenfort.org.uk
 
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Viva Kids
 
Extras
1 of 4
 

Bricks and Mortar - Baldy’s Garden

If you stand on Cliffe Bridge with your back to the Precinct and look straight ahead at the section of Cuilfail Hill above the road, you may have noticed the architectural landscape changing. Once it was a Thomas Baldy designed garden (hence the name). Then it was a tennis court. Latterly it was a 50’s bungalow. Now a bold, ambitious project is growing before our eyes. This is no mock Georgian Tesco-esque horror, but an ultra-modern eco-friendly 21st century house.

Designed by award-winning Lewes based architects BBM Sustainable Design, the property utilises every conceivable form of low energy sustainable architecture. Rainwater is stored, filtered and re-used; solar panels heat the water and under floor heating; insulation is made from hemp and recycled cotton; and light floods in through windows and wells created to minimise the need for artificial sources. Where feasible locally sourced builders and materials have been used, and the overall look, dressed in its non-chemically treated insulating rigid timber board wrapping, is both bold and beautiful. It’s even got worktops made from recycled yoghurt pots… Buy one, get one free?

 
Where?
Cuilfail, Lewes
When? Ready Summer 2006
How Much? Not for sale…
Bricks and Mortar - Baldy’s Garden
BBM Sustainable Design
www.bbm-architects.co.uk
 
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Extras
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Food - Seasons

Seasons is a daytime-only vegetarian restaurant, a meat-free zone. They play no music. It does not serve alcohol: a notice outside tells you not to smoke. Another inside tells you not to use your mobile phone. We arrive at lunchtime rush hour; the walls are the colour of the inside of a pumpkin.

I choose the spinach, cheese and potato pie with salad, my partner the quinoa. When we ask what this is we are given a sheet of paper with a typed description: it’s a seed, not a grain, apparently, which contains all eight essential amino acids. Then we are told that there is no gravy, which it needs or it’s a bit dry. So he opts instead for the butterbean and fennel goulash with brown rice. He is highly pleased with the taste; I keep having to add salt to mine. But I do like a lot of salt. The bill, with drinks (organic cola; ginger beer) and coffee comes to £18.50. As we leave I notice, on the bookshelf, two books are placed cover outwards, as if on display. One is called ‘Sex, Sex, Sex’. Another ‘Crude Black Molasses’. Some pleasures, I guess, are purer than others.

 
Where?
Seasons, 199 High Street, Lewes
When? Tues-Sat 10am-5pm
How Much? Typical main course £6
Food - Seasons
Seasons
(t) 01273 473968
 
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Extras
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Photo of the Week

Always controversial, always thorny, in 2005 it looked like George Galloway’s gutsy self-imposed appearance in front of the US Senate had turned him into a cult hero. Then came his Celebrity Big Brother debacle and the Sun’s carefully timed release of images of him shaking hands with the late Uday Hussein. Suddenly, it appeared, George had reached public enemy number one status: in a poll 70% of BBC listeners said they hated him. Which didn’t bode well for ticket sales for his ‘Mother of One Man Shows’ tour of the country. It was a mouth-watering prospect to think of seeing George in the flesh, being grilled by the great and the good of Lewes. But £17.50 a shot! His bad publicity caught up with him. One by one shows cancelled throughout the country as tickets failed to sell. In Lewes the box office only managed to shift 30, which they then had to refund as George decided not to turn up. Thanks to the ever-observant Simon Dale for this image, which you can also find on his blog. Feel free to send in any photos, ideas, rants or comments to info@vivalewes.com.

Photo of the Week

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Viva Lewes
 

It’s time to roll the credits again, having watched February reach its denouement: always a joy. Hope you enjoyed the issue. We couldn’t have done it without help from (in no particular order) Dawn Stacey, Dave McOmish, Kevin Orman, Martin Snow, Cerys Jones, Adrienne Turner, Roberto Begnini, Darren Baggs, Richard Coopey and Paul Bellack. Contributors this week are Antonia Gabassi, Dave Wilson, Dexter Lee, Nick Williams, David Burke and Alex Leith.

Another electric and eclectic week starts March off, including:
Thursday 2nd: Barnstormers Comedy at the Pelham
Friday 3rd: A timely showing of Gillo Pontecorvo’s classic film The Battle of Algiers at the All Saints
Saturday 4th: LedZepToo pay tribute to Jimmy Page and co at the Town Hall
Monday 6th: The Lewes Arms adult panto lot perform Sleeping Beauty

Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our entries. Viva Lewes cannot be held responsible for any omissions, errors or alterations. Please let us know if you want any event or opening to be considered for publication at info@vivalewes.com or on 01273 488882

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Viva Lewes - Next Week
Jean Martin, the only professional actor in Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterpiece The Battle of Algiers
 
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