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Cirque Enchantment at The White Rock on 21 January

It’s 2017, so what’s HOT in Hastings in January?

Got the decorations down yet? Still battling through the Christmas charcuterie (that’s DFL for any old cold meat that’s been lurking in the fridge since the binge-spend of mid-December, by the way)? Well, the fun needn’t stop on New Year’s Eve. There’s always loads going on in Hastings. So we sent Toby Sargent, our man with the five reduced-to-clear mince pies in his pocket and an unexplained stain on the back of his raincoat from Saturday’s Hogmanay party on the East Hill, to find out. Here’s his rundown of what’s hot in January.

January is traditionally something of a curate’s egg for the performing arts. Tourist visitors are at a very low ebb and the weather is seldom likely to inspire folk to leave their cosy firesides and the reassuring companionship of the telly. But the show must go on and regular venues have to try to do their best in the face of it.

Smut and tribute bands

The White Rock Theatre, for example, falls back on smut and tribute bands. The former in the shape of Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown (6 January) with what the theatre’s PR describe as his ‘outlandish views on news, women and gender,’ and an ‘adult panto’ called Puss and Dick, two days later. This last one was hailed by the magazine The Stage as ‘like a Carry On film made by a rugby club.’ Both are proudly badged as being rated 18+, so be warned.

The tribute bands are Frankie’s Guys (13/1), The Take That Experience (20/1), Chicago Blues Brothers (27/1) and Think Floyd (28/1). I’ll leave you to work out which real bands are the subject of these tributes.

Spiralling rents and forced relocation

Something more out of the way at the White Rock is Cirque Enchantment on 21/1. This is described as ‘stunning choreography, breathtaking vocals and mesmerising circus performers, brought to you by acclaimed Creative Director, Stuart Glover.’ It sounds interesting, as does Cathy on 25 and 26/1. This is a play by Ali Taylor reflecting on the personal and social impact of spiralling rents and forced relocation, for a family living on the edge. The echo back to Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home is clear and just as persuasive 50 years on, I suspect.

The production comes from Cardboard Citizens, a theatre company and charity that have been making theatre with and for homeless people for 25 years. Tickets are on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, with all proceeds going back to the company to help them continue their work. What’s more, there will be a forum session afterwards to ‘provide an interactive theatrical debate which empowers the audience to take issue with (the) subject matter. After watching the play, you will have the opportunity to discuss, disagree and even change the outcome.’


The National Theatre’s production of Amadeus, starring Game of Thrones’s Lucian Msamati as Salieri will be carried ‘live’ at the DLWP on 2 February

Meanwhile the De La Warr Pavilion will be hosting an RSC beam-back performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, starring Simon Russell Beale on 11/1 and another – this time from the National Theatre – of Amadeus, starring Lucian Msamati as Salieri on 2/2.

Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus, which premiered in 1979, is an ‘enhanced’ telling of the rivalry between composers Mozart and Salieri. When turned into a film five years later, it won an Oscar for best picture. The stage version, it should be noted, is significantly different to the one on screen. Definitely worth a visit.

Fascinating and challenging

And, since we’ve crept across the threshold into February, you can still book tickets for Ross Noble’s stand-up show on 1/2 at the same venue. And if Mr Noble is going to showcase his ‘outlandish views on news, women and gender,’ we can be fairly sure they’ll be the polar opposite of those that were espoused by Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown at the White Rock the previous month.

Returning to this month, however, we find the usual fascinating and challenging programme of work at the Kino-Teatr in St Leonards. Films getting an airing include Oliver Stone’s Snowden (6,7 and 12/1) and A United Kingdom (8, 11 and 12/1), while from 20-26/1 (except Sunday) there’s La La Land with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone giving terrific performances in Whiplash director Damien Chazelle’s intriguing musical romance. It’s tipped for a hat-full of Oscars, so worth a look.

Every pause, every nuance in tone, had, and has meaning

Live performance at the Kino this month includes a rare treat: Julian Sands in a Celebration of Harold Pinter. I’ll let the Kino’s website explain:

‘In 2005, Julian Sands was approached by the Nobel Prize winning playwright and poet Harold Pinter, to prepare a selection of his poems for a special presentation in London. Pinter “apprenticed” Mr Sands, spending hours sharing his feelings on how his work should be delivered. Every pause, every nuance in tone, had, and has meaning. A bond was established between these two artists- one that gives a distinctive and very personal voice to Pinter’s words. This extraordinary collaboration became the foundation for a wonderfully rich, humorous, and fascinating solo show directed by John Malkovich- A Celebration of Harold Pinter.’

It’s been performed all over the world and promises to be a very special event (13/1 at 19.30 and 15/1 at 14.00).

Tiny sliver

I can’t, of course, fit in more than a tiny sliver of what’s on in Hastings during any month, so do look at the What’s On grid too. And do check with venues for timings and updates of programmes. And if you are involved in something that’s being performed in our town and its surrounding area, let us know and we’ll try to give it a free plug in HOT.


Posted 12:15 Wednesday, Jan 4, 2017 In: Hastings Life

Also in: Hastings Life

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