Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood  Theatre Royal Stratford east.  This afternoon Dec 30th 2010

                    The production actually started on time with a trio of performance arts pigs warming up the holiday audience  with lots of sing- songs, obligatory shouting, clowning around and prompts to shout.  The mood was set.

                     The Wolf   (Michael Bertenshaw) and Granny  (Derek Elroy)  are shocking and delightful . I would have been happy for the pair of them to carry on playing to us mesmerised ones. They look like the grown up actors in a budget sixth form end of year spoof.  With ‘ Glee’  and ‘ X Factor’  and  ‘Britain’s Got Talent’  we are used to wannabees popping up and showing off.  It was a bit like that with the rest of the cast; a solo spot here and a music mic  there.  It also takes confidence and experience to pull in an audience or maybe today’s audience was slow to respond.

The music is fantastic. Elroy’s singing voice is lovely.

             There is much to commend the performance. Often there are excellent choreographed sets with agile actors displaying their craft. The attempt at a pentecostal church gathering  is miserable and lacking joy despite Atkinson’s energy. The costumes are interesting. The lighting and effects are superb. At one crucial point the Wolf takes on King Kong’s scale. The children in the audience hide under scarves and coats. Here we have a taste of the true darkness of fairy tales. Short-lived because what follows next is a waste of time.

               After the interval Red Riding Hood meets Alien, meets Dr Who, seemingly meets Arts Grant funding criteria, maybe,  where demonstrating the internal goings- on of a Big Bad Wolf’s stomach is deemed educational and worthy.  Who knows what the paying audience made of it?  Where’s the axe whan you need it?

               Overall it is a great afternoon show.  Recommended. Something to look at, something to be puzzled about, a challenge to follow as the deviation from the path takes us into the variation on a tale. Bravo to Chloe and her red hood to die for. Perfect in his acting Marcus Ellard is on his way up. There are special offers on tickets at the moment. Open Stage 2012  volunteers are there to meet you and invite you to prepare next year’s pantomime.  And recognising all the extra characters who hide behind doors and trees like squirrel and baby owl I applaud the blatantly obvious Beyonce-inspired foxy dancer who is unable to steal this particular show. Very very watchable.

                    I never knew until today that the panto is described in places other than Stratford as “the black Red Riding Hood”. White Narnia’s on over the road.

Just want to thank Corinne at Stratford management and Joy at Words of Colour. Never had the best seat in the house ever!

Gawd ‘elp us

Watched Joanna Lumley going up and down The Nile. Only seen the first part. Kinda irritating. Used to doin’ telly white English lady out in the midday sun, talking to the indigenes like they are kiddies, never interviewed a woman, and then she who must be adored pondering about the loveliness of living in the desert doin’ the Nomad style. Oh perleeze!  And then in her wisdom voice really wondering if we’ve got it right in the West.

Well for a kick off if she uprooted to her house of twigs she wouldn’t be allowed to show her bosoms and lady legs, nor have a voice, and deffo have no ambitions. Woman remember.

She would be so better off testing the alternative life by joining in with the Eira family, drop the for- sensitive- skin facial wipes, slap on the moisturiser, ride out on a snowmobile and herd the deer. Bit of nomadicity and chunk of the West. Suit you better madam.

I can’t stand all those programmes where city dwellers opt to leave the “Rat Race” and join in , well try to join in, the country life and endorse the baking of home-made bread and berry picking as the superior way to go. In righteous union, they don their Ugg boots, slag off supermarkets and spend their redundancy dosh in village shops where sell by dates are an emblem of fussy townsfolk and frozen chips a sin against nature and manure mountains. Grrr. Give me a paid smiling greeter at Adsa anyday.

Never mind the happy clans of nomads and soil worshippers; let’s keep an eye on Irish townsfolk managing a mismanaged water disgrace.

Reindeer and snowmobiles

Was happy to watch BBC Alba “The Eira Family” in Sapmi   oop North tonight to see the herding of reindeer. What photography and scenery! BBC Alba on Sky often has fascinating programmes but you have to search for them in advance as I see no pattern in the programme schedules: They do repeat on BBC i player.  So there was a guy on his snow mobile teaching his 2 year old son to snare (white ) grouse to sell whilst at the same time making calls on his mobile. Twas all good just for the film-making. Let’s remember courtesy of Age Concern and Documentary Film Group, Shacklewell Lane in Dalston I qualified as a documentary film-maker. Now I look at fades and voice-overs with a keen ear and eye! Believe me that film course was an opportunity I’ll never forget. Still grateful. I paid not a penny. Lost some self love but that grew back in a flash.

Community Channel on Sky is pretty good too with all its short films out of the community. Good stuff in docu form coming up in the new year namely “Biggie and Tupac”, “Child Miners” and “Who you callin’ a N****r?”,  “Divorce Iranian Style” and not least “Eat The Kimono”. All eddicashonal.

This is couch potato land! Not for long though as I mean to get along to a green gym c/o BTCV in Haringey as well as other healthy living options.

plea for visibility

To the schedules manager

Dear Madam, Sir,
I am a patron of the Rio Cinema and advertise your events in my Up Your Street newsletter to seniors.Recently I enjoyed the screening of Tom Hunter’s film but was dismayed to see the accompanying film as “Brief Encounter”. This film is never off telly and I do appreciate that going to the cinema is a social outing for seniors in our community. The Pheonix, N.2. recently showed “Casablanca” as a free showing aimed at seniors I’m sure and that comes on TV over the Christmas….again.
I wonder what principles inform  you when you choose films for OAP Wednesdays. We seniors range from 55 upwards and in the senior category of course there are major generational and cultural differences.
Tea dances which are not dedicated to seniors are often advertised in a way that makes everyone know they are organised for 70+ seniors. It is high time the younger seniors who were the followers of fashion, the Reggae stompers, the Greenpeace pioneers, the Dylan troubadours, the generation after kitchen- sink drama, the mods and the rockers were asked what they would like instead of war archives and romanticized tales because there is a serious gap when it comes to events for these deserving pensioned people!

Performing Arts

All that fuss about the finale of the X Factor and pornographic movements by dancers promoting a burlesque film. The young fit human body is a gem to be shown off. Dance movements aren’t pornographic. The viewers minds have been tainted by their having seen whore-puppets gyrating for cameras and insulting the value of women. There were no visible genitals or couplings going on on stage. The lighting and choreography were superb. Class act. Check out the Christmas perfume adverts and get worked up about them; thin women crawling around the floor, pouting and whispering and all that before 9pm. People see the same dance movements on music videos before the watershed. Offensive? No. Mesmerising? Yes. Entertainment? Big time. Remember Elvis being banned because he moved his pelvis naturally.

Make you laugh…first time I heard a dj call Beyonce and Shakira “Bouncy and Shaky”. Ha ha. True tho cos they do bounce and shake every toned bit of their sculpted supple dance bodies. Takes hard work, physical training, and total concentration.

Those X Factor dancers are top of their game and we should applaud them. I thought the finale was a resounding climax to a well-produced family programme on a par with “The London Palladium” back in the day when kids sat on the floor in front of the telly gawping at The Tiller Girls!

A Nine month review of Up Your Street

What did Up Your street readers get up to in the last nine months?

Here is a small selection.

They acted in radio plays in Newham, rehearsed and took part in plays with “You Me Bum Bum Train”, and Bow Women’s Theatre.

They joined free photography classes in Hackney and film-making courses in Dalston and Leyton: felt-making and flower-making workshops in Stoke Newington and Walthamstow.

They line-danced, did Pilates and went to tea dances in Leyton, Stratford, Islington and Stoke Newington.

They supported Traveller Month in Hackney by attending workshops and a fashion show.
They were on telly in ‘Songs Of Praise’ and adverts.
Their days out included narrow boat trips, the Clipper Thames services, Eastbourne, Margate, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and pantomime shows to name a few.
And they volunteer at Theatre Royal Stratford east as well as at the Hermitage Community Moorings in Wapping.

Gillian Lawrence  researches events and activities which are mostly free around the perimeters of the Olympic and Paralympic Games site. She emails the list and promotes on shop windows, blog sites, face book etc.

Up Your Street an information-sharing service for seniors in our community.

Season’s Greetings

Isle Of Dogs, east London, docklands. Orkney (Maxwell and Sutherland)

Missed Red Riding Hood on Monday with the Open Stage TRSE 2102  volunteers due to the lurgy.  Twas a packed and rowdy house so I heard. Good. Then my germ-carrying stopped me in my tracks today as I made my way out to the Rio Cinema in Dalston to see Tom Hunter’s film about Woodberry Down Estate back in the day called “A Palace For Us”. Gutted. Mind you I would have had to leave rather than seeing the second half of the  programme when “Brief Encounter” would have been screened. Ugh!  Dreary posh unrequited love romantic never sexually tense film seen twice and that’s enough.

Then a text came through inviting me to tune into Radio 4. Glad I did.  Here was a fine example of oral history narrated by Alan Dein and produced by Neil McCarthy. I was interested in listening because of my once active involvement  in oral history recording at the Hermitage Community Moorings, Wapping and my own fervent interest in the history of people in London, bein’ a Londoner, like.

Under a headline project called “Lives in a Landscape” the BBC 4 programme was billed as “The Hall” and was to be about the community hall at St John’s on the Isle of Dogs, east London, known by its indigenous population as “The Island”. The hall is home to “tango queens, Moslem worshippers, bingo addicts and locals who fancy a pint”.

We can almost write the script for the hundreds of projects grown up since the Olympics and Paralympics which pertain to “My Story”. There’s film workshops, newspaper courses, community heritage projects and photographic comps too. because we all have a story to tell. Great change is afoot in the docklands and in our neighbourhoods and the recording of the effects of the change help alleviate a metropolitan uneasiness in which individuals feel swamped and unheard.

Alan’s narrative was ace:It had to be because we are listening to the radio. The working class  characters and retirees loved their community space and evidently put it to full use. The Bangladeshi participant hinted about the Moslem community having been there for two generations but that needed more exploration as the programme tended towards the usual history of the white working class in its old sense.  Yep I heard the old West Indian talking into the mic! The guy described the loss of trees as the area was modernised. Interestingly he said how he has seen the developers encroach into The Island such that the community he knows is whittled down to become inevitably  an island within an island.

The hall is a sanctuary where some of the local people can share stories, play scrabble and bingo and feel that they are continuing a life they knew when they were younger, when the community was an inclusive family-defined and generated entity.

I would relish the edit-outs!

Thank you for that Alan Dein. It was refreshing radio. I think Wapping volunteers are right behind you.

This morning my Ebay win came. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CD “Mavis In Las Vegas” with the “An Orkney Wedding With Sunrise”. Just sheer beauty that is with all the strings and bagpipes and the creation of the harsh storm weather through Maxwell’s skill. The Orkney people put me off the genius that is Sir Peter. Their scowls and negative mumblings never intrigued me enough to find out more about the man; I had enough to do standing up in the wind. The guy is openly gay but not as in Gay Gordens. That’s one point against him. Secondly he’s an “incomer” Whoa!  Big crime. Need I say more. Just finished reading Luke Sutherland’s “Venus As A Boy”. Sutherland hits the nail on the head regarding life in Orkney but as I lent out the hard-back book, I can’t do the clever quoting.  “Wouldn’t you rather see for yourself?”

Just realized I travelled in my today blog from island to island.  Edgy…

Up Your Street for in and around Wapping. Issue 10

Sat  Dec 11th     free 10-7pm ‘Tatty Devine ‘ boutique sale on Brick Lane No.236

Mon Dec   13th   free 11-3pm all week St Katherine’s Dock Christmas Food Market on Pier Front. Food tasting too.

Fri      Dec 17th   free The White Swan and Cuckoo, Wapping Karaoke night.Good inexpensive food and John Smith bitter

free noon. John Scurr Centre. Seniors Christmas buffet. Phone Patricia for a place. All welcome 02077903113

The following entry is courtesy of and I usually only promote free or very cheap events for seniors. Here is something too exciting not to promote.
Sat.  Dec 18th,       £8 2-4pm  Join long-term local resident Brian Grover for a guided tour of London’s oldest enclosed docks. Discover the surviving warehouses, workshops and monuments that still bear witness to the Port of London’s heyday. Learn about the lives of the dockers themselves – their working practices, how they fought for their rights, and the mark they left on the surrounding neighbourhood.
Contact & Booking Details
Website: Click to Visit

Tues  Dec  21st        Free informal coffee morning  11 am ‘A Sense of Place’ project on Hermitage Community Moorings 16A Wapping High St. Check before-hand .02074812122

See You in 2011. Happy Christmas!

Check out for a 2 min film about interesting current London events.

Wapping food

Was chatting to Theresa of The White Swan and Cuckoo and we negotiated that volunteers on “A Sense of Place” at Hermitage Community Moorings, 16 Wapping High Street could enjoy a free cuppa with their meal. Good on you, Theresa. Businesses are holding their heads up high in an economic downfall so reaching out to your neighbours is noted. Volunteers are often students and seniors so enjoy that freebie!

Check for comments from the public about eateries and inns in Wapping.

What a winter sun at 8 am this morning. On local roads traffic had to crawl just to be careful of that golden orb. Photographing commuters were out digitally pipping the yellow sun’s glint on bare trees.

The world turns.