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Blink and you’ll miss it: A Unique Happening at THE PRINT ROOM

webOperaErratica-Triptych_photoRichardHubertSmith-2953One of the most happening new venues for art, fringe theatre and performance in London, The Print Room in Notting Hill offers provocative and challenging spectacles and sounds.

Currently showing is Triptych by Opera Erratica:  three short operas performed against a rich backdrop of projection and design installation by artist Gavin Turk.

Although unrelated, each piece is unique and touching, beautifully performed with great humour and humanity.

Having been treated to an oblique opening act featuring disrobing erotic nuns with voices like angels, Triptych follows with “The Party”, a hilarious and daringly original piece which plays out fantasy relationships from an English Language Teaching record, which deconstructs a suburban 1950s dinner party !

The final piece tells the strange story of the disappearance of an architectural photographer and combines projections of his photographs paralleled with reference to Hopper’s painting. It is poetic and tragic.

webOperaErratica-Triptych_photoRichardHubertSmith-3492Director-librettist  Patrick Eakin Young, sound designer  composers Thomas, Christian Mason  and Christopher Mayo, with singers Catherine Carter, Lucy Goddard, Callie Swarbrick, Kate Symonds-Joy and Oskar McCarthy seamlessly and skilfully combine opera, sound, physical theatre and dance with oblique storytelling with uncompromising inventiveness.

The Print Room was reinvented just two years ago as an art and performance space by Anders Winter and her small dedicated team. The theatre seats only 80 people with an adjoining exhibition space. Past spectacles include Alice Anderson’s performance art and installations,  FLOW  a contemporary ballet  performed in a pool of water, and other surreal musical repertoires  with storytelling.

I have been amazed and moved by the creativity and uniqueness of my experiences there.

Go while you can: the performance is only running for only a few days and (rumour suggests) the building may be sold in the near future.

Blink and you’ll miss it.

On until the 7th June 2014

Tel 020722216036

Anne Tilby Jones, Trash Factory



The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

9780141194622When I recently joined an informal singing group I had no experience nor training in singing, except in the bath of course! Over the first few months we sang several folk songs and when I came across the recently produced The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs I was delighted.

I so love this book! After reading the introduction, I was more than ready to dip in to the contents. The songs are divided into sections:

  • Soldiers and sailors
  • Happy relationships
  • Unhappy love
  • Lovers’ tricks, disguises and obstacles overcome
  • Lust, infidelity and bad living
  • Rural life and occupations
  • Animals and nonsense
  • Songs of death and destruction
  • Poachers, highwaymen and other criminals
  • Traditional religious songs

My favourite is Rural Life and Occupations. Many songs give insights into country life and when I have shown some of the songs to local people where we live in Cumbria it has given our conversation a lively and fascinating element that  further stimulates insights and background.

Although I can’t simultaneously read music and hear the tune in my head, each song includes the musical notation and verse so I can play the music on a keyboard giving me the opportunity to practice the songs we eventually sing in the group.

Whatever attracts one to this book it provides a fascinating collection of songs to dip into for historical and social information – 130+ pages – plus musical notation and verse.

The book cover uses a section of a beautiful Tunnicliffe engraving of a stallion and its groom which underlies the folk theme of the songs. Did you know there is a Charles Tunnicliffe Society? If you like his work here is a link to the official website with its fascinating website index that includes masses of illustrations of his work.

A great gift for anyone interested in folk music history that we can’t praise more highly, The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs is published by Penguin at £9.99 for the paperback.  A truly classic book – it’s a permanent item on my bedside table and constantly referred to.

Val Reynolds, Editor

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