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Water at The Tricycle

The Tricycle has come up with some real gems in the past, but somehow ‘Water’ misses the mark.  It has great innovative touches and uses new technology like computers, video and such.  But perhaps these detract from the content of the play which flits about in time and lost me more than once.  The content is admirable.  Like the Royal Court’s ‘Heretic’ it addresses, amongst others, the issue of global warming and also personal relationships.  But the result is somewhat bitty and a play that doesn’t carry you along with it has to be deemed somewhat of a failure.  That said, it did get some quite complimentary reviews, so maybe it’s me that missing something!  However, don’t be put off the Tricycle – whatever it shows it remains one of London’s best little theatres.

Jeannette Nelson, Theatre Critic

Jeannette is a bit of a culture vulture who enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, but her main interest is the theatre. For several years she ran theatre discussion groups for which her MA in Modern Drama together with teaching skills stood her in good stead. She prefers to concentrate on the many off West End and fringe productions as well as that real treasure of the London theatre scene, the National.


Intelligent Opera at the King’s Head, London

La BohemeThe Laurence Olivier award for best opera in 2010 went not to a production at Covent Garden or the ENO but the Operaupclose’s ‘La Boheme’ which started life in a small room above the Cock Tavern in Kilburn, transferred to the excellent Soho Theatre in Dean Street, and then back for more sell-out performances at the Cock.

The Company has produced several more small operas in the space of very few months.  Most of them are at London’s only fringe opera space, the King’s Head in Islington and currently showing is an absorbing Pagliacci, not only beautifully sung but wonderfully acted as well.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Olivier award for 2011 didn’t go to the same company, that is unless the big guns get lobbying. London's Little Opera House

Check out the King’s Head’s website for the full programme of innovative and intelligent operas.

Jeannette Nelson, Theatre Critic

Jeannette is a bit of a culture vulture who enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, but her main interest is the theatre. For several years she ran theatre discussion groups for which her MA in Modern Drama together with teaching skills stood her in good stead. She prefers to concentrate on the many off West End and fringe productions as well as that real treasure of the London theatre scene, the National.


Two LONDON plays – Mogadishu and Frankenstein

Currently playing at the Lyric, Hammersmith is an excellent first play by former teacher Vivienne Franzmann,  called Mogadishu.

MogadishuSet in a sink school, it is fast moving, witty and poignant.  The central character is a liberal teacher (always write about what you know!) who is wrongly charged with assault and racial abuse.  A group of excellent young actors play the schoolkids in whose hands her fate lies.  Unlike other reviews I’ve read of this play, I’m not about to give away the plot – if it were a book it would be a real page turner.  This is certainly one to catch

The National’s Frankenstein has to be one of the most written about productions of the year so far and has the added twist of the two leads alternating in the roles of Dr Victor Frankenstein, the mad scientist, and his creation, often in B horror movies referred to as the monster, but here, in a text more in keeping with Mary Shelley’s novel, simply called the creature.

Everything you may have read about Benedict Cumberbatch or Jonny Lee Miller is true – they are truly superb in the lead roles.

The lighting is electrifying, as is the set and the production, directed by Danny Boyle.  My quibble is that the adaptation of the text by Nick Dear is a little clunky and some of the acting of the rest of a cast somewhat wooden.  But nothing can really take away from the power of the piece.

Not surprisingly it has sold out, even for the next set of performances, but will be shown as a one-off in selected cinemas as now happens quite frequently with National Theatre productions.

Worth trying to catch, it really is some experience

Jeannette Nelson, Theatre Critic

Jeannette NelsonJeannette is a bit of a culture vulture who enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, but her main interest is the theatre. For several years she ran theatre discussion groups for which her MA in Modern Drama together with teaching skills stood her in good stead. She prefers to concentrate on the many off West End and fringe productions as well as that real treasure of the London theatre scene, the National.


London Theatre Review: The Heretic

Richard Bean’s ‘The Heretic’ showed great promise in the pre-opening hype, just like so many plays these days of which a great number disappoint.  I’m happy to say that this play lived up to the hype;  well, almost.  The first three acts were superbly crafted, funny, and rang so very true.

Diane - The HereticThe heretic is Diane played by Juliet Stevenson, an academic who does not agree to be swallowed up in the maelstrom of global warming enthusiasts. Instead she sticks to the rigour of her scientific findings in her limited field where she can find no evidence of rising sea levels.  There are many highlights, and so many memorable quips, but the prize must go to a filmed interview with her, and Maldives politician and Jeremy Paxman for Newsnight.  Or perhaps to the scene which involves her choice of union representative, a toy polar bear.

The HereticThe last two acts flag a little and get a bit silly.  But only a bit.  I criticize really in the context of the brilliance of the first three.

The play is shortly ending its run at the Royal Court.  But there is perhaps hope that like that theatre’s last runaway success, Clybourne Park, it may transfer to the West End.

The Heretic website

Jeannette is a bit of a culture vulture who enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, but her main interest is the theatre. For several years she ran theatre discussion groups for which her MA in Modern Drama together with teaching skills stood her in good stead. She prefers to concentrate on the many off West End and fringe productions as well as that real treasure of the London theatre scene, the National.


A Secondhand Life

Until recently secondhand was not fashionable, shopping until you drop was. Now, with worsening times on the horizon recycling may well become more the norm. Some of us have always been into second hand to some extent and we were interested in Val Fieth’s account of her Second Hand Life and her favourite websites.

I am child number 5 of five children born in the war and we grew up with second hand things.

I dreamed and prayed for a shiny new Pink Witch bike but neither God nor my parents heard my prayers, and I got a second hand blue non distinctive bike. I was so very disappointed then, being about nine but now I love the whole concept of recycling. We made everything from things we found. Including bikes. I bought my two year old daughter a much used and loved two wheeler bike with no stabilisers on which she rode confidently before she was three.

My house is second or eighth hand and I drive a second hand car. Both of these very important things have been so welcoming to so many people. I have driven my car to many places and I have even slept in it, cosy and warm and even in a second hand sleeping bag.

When my daughters were young, I wanted them to have music so I advertised for a piano in the local paper and three people phoned me. I rang a local brother and my sister to see if they wanted one and they said “Yes please” so I bought all three pianos. Another brother happened to be staying who lived in Australia so we rented a van, collected them all delivered the other two. I bought one daughter a lovely flute and the other one a clarinet.

I have been a guest at some wonderful places such as both Houses of Parliament, The Mansion House, 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace and to all of these I have worn secondhand designer clothes. These were very exciting and I wondered who had bought them first and where these clothes had gone. I had two lovely outfits for my daughter’s wedding and rehearsal dinner.

My dining room and kitchen tables are second hand and very many people have sat around these tables, eating, drinking, talking, laughing or playing games. I have some big tablecloths from Oxfam.

I worked very hard in LETS, Local Exchange Trading Schemes, where we didn’t use money as such but green currency so we had spending and/or bartering power to sell and acquire things. I have lots of single bed linen in exchange for my photo cards.
Quilting is such a beautifully creative hobby. We took lots of quilts made from second hand fabric, to a poor village in Mexico where we were building a clinic.

I made lots of damson, plum and raspberry gin to give as gifts and I was very appreciative that a local pub saved me screw top bottles.

I buy recycled paper. During the time when I took many photographs, I bought a second hand Press camera from a friend on the local paper. I had exciting learning experiences during those film years, challenging myself.

From my greenhouse have come hundreds of plants because people gave me their old pots and I could put my seedlings in them. I spent many happy hours there listening to my second hand radio. My crumbly dark rich home made compost is a veritable triumph.

Children’s clothes and games from jumble sales, charity shops and car boot sales have been very welcome to many people. I bought lots for my American granddaughter and sent and took them over. Sent some to my friends in Bucharest. Bought more for my new English granddaughter. It makes spending and giving so much more fun. Many lovely little girl’s outfits have been bought.

I have many books on many subjects and many of these have been enjoyed by generations of people as they are over 100 years old. I bought many second hand books from Amazon and gave many people the book I Hope You DanceI Hope You Dance

I love web sites like and am frequently amazed when I look around at all of the things I have acquired. I once could be moved around London from all of my flats by a friend with a car, and that included my 100 year old Singer treadle sewing machine.

I think that is a wonderful idea. I saw the film “The Age of Stupid” and I would like to be even better at recycling. Sadly my bike was stolen from my garage recently so I must find a second hand one.

My pond gives joy to many people. All of the original fish were gifts, and some more have been born here. The sleepers surrounding it once lay under the railway lines.

Who wore these clothes? Where did they go? Who did they meet? Who used this press camera? To take what exciting photos? Who lived in my house over the years? Who drank the wine in the pub and I have the small bottles to fill with pink gin as gifts? What a story my sleepers could tell. Who else played music on our instruments?

Val Fieth, Contributing Author


Coping with a Diagnosis of Cancer

Thursday JANUARY 8TH 2009 – The day Caroline Edmonds’ life changed forever: little did she think that within a week she and her family would be coping with a diagnosis of  Follicular Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Grade 1 stage 4, a form of cancer

Caroline Edmonds

Caroline had been treated for a stomach ulcer for many years, occasionally suffering from terrible pains and then suffering bouts of nausea. It all came to a head that Thursday; Caroline had severe pains all day and was unable to sleep. Gary took her to the out of hours doctor who then referred her to the QE2 hospital in Welwyn Garden City, where she received morphine and was sent home. After a sleepless night of being violently ill, she returned to the doctor the next morning, who then referred her back to the hospital. She was finally admitted to hospital not knowing that she was to spend the next two weeks in there, including her 47th birthday three days after being admitted.

Caroline says “I felt like a fraud, as between bouts of pains and nausea, I felt fine”. During her first week in the hospital she underwent test after test, CT scans and what felt like every blood test known to man. It was in the afternoon of Wednesday, 14th January that the Consultant informed her that she had a suspected malignant lymphoma and needed to undergo surgery. On the night before her operation on Friday the 16th she said “The pains all over my body were so severe, I think every lymph node had enlarged. I really thought I was going to die”. She had nurses writing letters to her family as she feared that she would not make it through the ordeal.

During surgery they removed the tumour, surrounding tissue and part of her intestine. A week later Caroline received the news that she had been dreading; it was what they had suspected and further tests showed the cancer had also spread to her bone marrow and chest.

All this came as a blow to Caroline and her family, as she was self employed falling sick meant she would be unable to earn money to help support the family. Caroline along with her husband Gary have run a graphic design business – Edmonds and Hunt Advertising in the Hertford area for over twenty eight years. They have one son, Sam who is currently busy with his GGSEs.

Caroline is an active member of her son’s school PTA, Friends of Sele School. She attended every possible meeting and helped out at the various fundraising events. She is also a Councillor for Bengeo Parish Council. If this was not enough of a shock for the Edmonds to deal with, they also tragically lost Gary’s father the day after Caroline came home from the hospital. The family now not only had the worry of Caroline’s health, but also had to sort out the logistics that come with a bereavement.

On 1st April she started her first of eight sessions of chemotherapy. One every three weeks for a whole day. One of Caroline’s side effects was hair thinning; fortunately she didn’t lose it all. She was also put on steroids. “During the first week after each session of chemo I had to take 24 tablets a day, gradually reducing until the next session where it all started again” she said. The course of chemotherapy finished on August 28th and a month later she was told it had been successful. The doctors said if she could get through the next year and it returned they would put her on the same chemo therapy treatment again. This form of cancer is not curable, but is controllable. Should the cancer return before September 2010 she would have to undergo a far more aggressive treatment.

Throughout the pain and stress of being diagnosed and treated for Follicular Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she tried to carry on as normal as possible but to make matters worse as Caroline was recovering and finally able to return to her business full time, the recession hit. Suddenly after being in business for so long and never having to look for work, she has had to look at reinventing the way she does business.

The first thing she did was join the world of social media and online marketing. She designed a web page, started using Twitter and created a Facebook page. She recently also started blogging. “Times are tough out there for graphic designers, but you have to look at what is trending, embrace it and move with the times” she said.

Caroline is an example to us all and is proof that even if you are dealt a bad hand, it doesn’t mean that you have to lose the game.

For more information of Follicular Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:

For more information on Caroline and her business:

Brigitte Houghton, Contributing Author

UPDATED 12 March 2011


Caroline has asked us to let readers know she is willing to talk to anyone who feels they would benefit from talking to her about their cancer experience. You can reach her by email at




I Did It! So Can you! Give Up Smoking!

Cigarette stubsI was a 20-30 a day cigarette smoker from the age of 16. I shudder to think the condition of my lungs at 46 years old, 30 years later.

Smoking was enjoyable, mostly. A crutch to bridge the periods of boredom, the uncomfortable pauses in social events, to cover nervousness and to take away appetite, the relaxing effect after a meal. I used it and abused my body. Not that I ever thought much about that aspect.

Two things happened that brought it home to me just how unsociable smoking was to those who didn’t. One couple who socialised in their kitchen/diner would always put the extractor fan on when I lit up. I didn’t really notice because we were in the kitchen weren’t we, until someone else pointed it out and that made me so selfconscious I didn’t smoke in their house from then on.

On another occasion, on the way home from babysitting I realised I had left my handbag behind. I ran back to fetch it, and found my friends had opened all the windows and doors and were spraying odour killer around. I was horrified and somewhat ashamed that they felt so strongly about the smell of smoke.

So I could go for short periods without smoking when necessary which to me was almost as good as giving up.

However gradually my friends stopped smoking, and I was virtually the only in our group who puffed away. I began to feel selfconscious and the disapproval was palpable so I started to go outside to smoke.

All this happened years before the current smoking regulations came into force but I was determined to stop. And as Mark Twain said, it was easy, I did it lots of times!

I tried herbal cigarettes, herbal tablets, hypnosis but in the end it was sheer willpower, self disgust and exasperation that finally tipped me into the smoke free habit, together with using chewing gum loaded with nicotine. I gradually managed to reduce and have now been totally smoke free for more than 15 years.

In truth I would have much preferred to use a more natural product and when I heard of the new Rescue Chewing Gum I really wanted to tell everyone about, but especially anyone who is really desperate/keen to junk those cancer sticks.

Chewing gum really did help me, I felt calmer. Recent research has shown that chewing gum helps to relieve nervousness, improve alertness and reduce stress. Research also shows that chewing gum for an hour in the morning seems to reduce the appetite to some extent. But the reason why I am so interested in the Rescue Chewing Gum is the natural ingredients used, each piece of chewing gum has a liquid Rescue centre – the famous combination of five flower essences discovered by Dr Bach almost 80 years ago.

Suitable for vegetarians a month’s supply comes in a handy portable box ideal for taking Rescue on-the-go. Rescue Gum costs £3.95 and is available from Boots, Holland & Barrett, Lloyds Chemist, independent pharmacies and health food stores as well as grocery stores nationwide. For more information visit

Why not buy some on your way home tonight and take the decision to stop smoking – It’s No Smoking Day tomorrow, let Rescue get you going!

Tips to help:

Keep an eye on your progress – keep a chart, by day

Keep your hands busy – get going on those word puzzles, sodoku, whatever that are in every paper these days

Give yourself targets of really positive treats – a weekend break, an active goal – climb that mountain! Yes, you’ll feel more energetic as all those toxins slowly leave your body

Acknowledging a dependence on nicotine and tobacco is a crucial first step and can be the all-important catalyst that smokers need to seek professional medical help and succeed in become smokefree.

There are Stop Smoking Services provided for free by the NHS. This support has been shown to increase a smoker’s chances of stopping by up to four times, compared with going it alone.

Why not join the million smokers who will use tomorrow to try to quit. It could just work.

Or perhaps you know someone who is desperate to give up smoking and might benefit from some help? You could make it your Good Samaritan deed for today! and tomorrow …. why not for the next twelve days! If you help just one person to quit smoking wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

Good luck!

Kate Campbell, Contributing journalist


Our contribution is to GIVEAWAY a month’s supply of Nelsons Rescue Gum to TEN In Balance readers.

To enter the draw send an email to with NELSONS RESCUE GUM in the subject box and your contact details in the text area. Make sure your entry reaches us by 18 March 2011. One entry per household. The draw is restricted to readers resident in the UK.


Royal Wedding Day Survival Kit

Nelsons are giving away a Royal Wedding Day Survival Kit including this beautiful clutch bag worth £40 to an In Balance reader.Royal Wedding Clutch

Kate will have a team on hand to help her wedding day run smoothly but Nelsons are giving away a wedding day survival kit cleverly disguised inside this beautiful clutch to ensure any bride can be a Princess for the day.

38% of people find that weddings are the most stressful celebrations, so have a few of these Nelsons essentials tucked away in your clutch to help the big day go smoothly.

The Wedding Day Survival Kit includes:Nelsons Lip Balm

  • Rescue Balm Is an intensive moisturising lip balm with natural flower essences that keeps lips luscious and smooth ideal for wedding day beauty! And perfect if you want an effortless come-hither pout for your new husband whilst underneath you’re feeling nervous about the big day. The size and ease of use makes Rescue Balm perfect for any handbag.
  • Arnicare Arnica Cooling Gel Nelsons Arnicare Gelcontains natural Arnica which can be massaged into aching legs and feet after running around planning the wedding.  It can also help relieve tired legs after a night spinning round the dance floor, but if your husband is a less than graceful dancer, it can’t stop him treading on your feet, so watch out!
  • Nelsons Pure&Clear Blemish Gel Nelsons Blemish Gelshould be kept on hand to target blemishes immediately as they appear. It contains extra strength Tea Tree which targets and calms the problem area and as it’s a clear gel it can be applied under your make-up and be applied as often as you like, so nothing but cheesy grins will appear in the wedding photos.
  • Clutch bag Nelsons Wedding Clutchwhich is the perfect accessory for any Princess bride

10 Runner-ups will receive the handbag essential Rescue BalmNelsons Lip Balm

All products featured above are available from Boots, and

Rescue Balm costs: £5.88      Arnicare Cooling Gel costs: £4.85         Pure & Clear Blemish Gel costs: £8.00

Nelsons was founded in London in 1860 by a young pharmacist who had studied homeopathy with Hahnemann. Nelsons homeopathic medicines are renowned as being safe, non-toxic and non-addictive and prepared in laboratories licensed by the Department of Health to stringent quality standards.

We have no hesitation in recommending their products – we have used them for many years.


To enter the draw for the Royal Wedding Day Survival Kit in a Clutch Bag worth £40, send an email to with Royal Wedding in the Subject Box and your full contact details in the Text area.

Entries must be received by latest 29 April 2011.

One entry per household.

The draw is open to residents in the UK.


Vitality Show – The Winners!

This year’s Vitality Show 24-27 March promises to be even more interesting than ever and four In Balance readers will be using the double tickets they won in the Giveaway Draw.

L McClelland London
C Edmonds Ware
L Chambers Slough
D Criscuolo Guildford
Well done girls, have a great time!
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