Preview corner: What’s HOT in April
Spring is in the air and there’s lots to see and do in the town and its near neighbours. Here’s Toby Sargent, our man with the short-sleeved check shirt, caramel coloured slip-ons and ‘active waistband’ chinos, to pick out some highlights.
It was Shakespeare, the timeless bard of Avon, that said ‘April is the cruellest month,’ wasn’t it? (No, it was TS Eliot: Ed) But there’s nothing cruel about what’s on this month. Quite the opposite, in fact – a cornucopia of great evenings out, catering for all tastes and all ages.
Beginning with the White Rock Theatre, it’s good to see Opera South East presenting Mozart’s Magic Flute on 7 and 8 April. They’ve got an excellent reputation and we’re lucky to be playing host to them. Later in the month (24/4), you can see the Vienna Festival Ballet present Rossini’s Cinderella, which is described as a ‘combination of pure classical dancing and a touch of pantomime.’ From the realms of stand-up, the theatre is also presenting performances by the Russell Brand and Russell Kane – on consecutive nights (18 and 19 respectively). And for the youngsters, there’s the Chris and Pui Show on 12/4 (me neither, although they’re huge on CBeebies, apparently) and The Little Mermaid (29/4), which comes to Hastings ‘following a sell-out tour of China.’
But if all that leaves you thinking that the White Rock is trying to shake off its lowbrow image, don’t despair – the breaking news is that the execrable Honey G is starring in this year’s pantomime in December.
At The Stables, you can enjoy Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution between 7-15 April. We recently featured the company’s chairman, Chris Lacey, in one of our profile pieces, and he explained the theatre’s strategy of choosing three ‘popular’ pieces to put on for every more ‘challenging’ one. This is firmly in the former category, and it will be interesting to see how the non-professional actors get on with it. HOT’s theatre critic will be reviewing the first night.
Along the coast at the De la Warr Pavilion (DLWP,) watch out for The Jesus and Mary Chain on 6/4. This band have been delighting and offending audiences for more than 30 years and, frankly, defy any obvious categorisation. This, however, is what the DLWP’s PR monkeys have come up with: ‘With strong Velvet Underground influences and a despondent but melodic wall of noise . . their ‘win or die trying’ attitude and thrashing guitar sound (and) adrenalin fuelled 15 minute live shows, that often ended in violence and riot (and) inflammatory interaction with the thrill hungry crowd, provoke utter chaos.’ Highly recommended, although hopefully performing for more than 15 minutes.
Later in the month, the DLWP feature Count Arthur Strong who also, in an entirely different way, fails to sit very comfortably in any entertainment pigeon hole. If you’ve heard or seen him on BBC, you’ll know what to expect.
I’ve written before, as have others on HOT, about the stylistic and cultural glory that is the Kino Teatr in St Leonards’s Norman Road. This month I’d be inclined to pick out Marie White who is playing there on 15 April and is described as ‘reminiscent of Tracey Chapman and Macy Gray, her voice will leave you spellbound by its versatility and range. With a poetic song-writing style that alternates between emotive and tear-inducing to irresistibly dancey.’ Or what about Steve Furst – In Character on 22/4? You may know him from Little Britain, The Wright Stuff, Matilda or the Orange Cinema Ads. He’ll be presenting his new one-man-show at the Kino for a special one-off performance.
And finally, don’t forget that the end of April is followed every year by . . the beginning of May, and that means Jack in the Green will soon be with us again. So a heartfelt shout-out to The Electric Palace Cinema in the Old Town High Street who’ll be showing The Wicker Man on 30 April as a curtain raiser for the revelry.
This is just a snapshot of what’s going on in April. As always, there’ll be hundreds of other gigs, events and happenings in this brilliant town. And if there’s one that you want us to publicise in our What’s On section, or even in this clapped-out monthly digest, just let us know.
Also in: Arts News« Volunteers wanted Hastings Fringe 2017
Arts Forum Auction »