Round-up of shows and events

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THE barriers are coming down, as Jeanne Jordan proves with her Solid Gold Country Legends show which is celebrating its tenth anniversary (Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre, April 1, 7.30pm).

Success reflects the increasing popularity of country music in this country, she feels.

“To be honest, the show was hatched in Arizona,” explains Jeanne, “where we were working on a show with The Coasters. We were travelling around, and in the States, all you ever hear is country music. My partner BJ and I had been listening to country music for years, but in England it has never been at the forefront in the way that it is in the States.

“We just had the idea ‘Wouldn’t it be great to bring a country music theatre show to the UK?’ It took a couple of years to get the show together and get the right musicians and the right staging, and then it took a little while to get the show established.

“But it has been great. We have got two shows that run side by side, Dolly The Show and this one, and they have both been very well received.”

Jeanne is Dolly in both, though in the Country Legends show, obviously the music ranges much more widely to bring in classics by performers including Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Tammy Wynette.

Jeanne admits: “Dolly is quite a difficult person to do, really. She is such a talented

person and such a larger-than-life figure. You have to really get into that personality.

“She had such a struggle when she was young. They didn’t have anything. I think there were 12 children. She had to fight tooth and nail to make it, but she was a very determined character. You see early footage of her and she is quite timid, but now she is quite formidable - but very likeable!”

The show has done well, but sadly there are still a few people reluctant to give country music a chance in the UK: “There is a stigma attached to it. People think it is all cowboy hats. But if people take the trouble to listen, there are so many different aspects to it.”

Helping the cause, though, is the breakthrough of such singers as Taylor Swift, Jeanne says - even if people don’t necessarily realise that what they are listening to is a country artist.

Tickets on 01903 206206 and www.worthingtheatres.co.uk

CHICHESTER-based harpsichord player and specialist in early music David Pollock gives the next Sunday recital at the Regis Recital Hall in Bognor Regis.

His hour-long performance will take place at the Regis Recital Hall, 46 Sudley Road, Bognor Regis on Sunday, April 3 at 3pm. David’s programme will include, among others, works by Bird, Purcell and Scarlatti.

Tickets are £6 (£5 when booked in advance on 01243 866462). Students and under-18s are £3.

David studied piano, organ and composition at the Royal College of Music and later specialised in the harpsichord at the Royal Academy of Music where he won the Croft Early Music First Prize.

Since then his career as both solo recitalist and continuo player has developed in Britain and abroad, and he has appeared at venues including London’s Purcell Room and Cardiff’s St David’s Hall. He has taken part in the international music festivals at Brighton and Edinburgh, performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and given critically-acclaimed recitals at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon.

David has promoted new repertoire for the harpsichord, including a large-scale solo work written for him by the composer Gavin Stevens, premiered as part of the Chichester Festivities.

He works with many prominent musicians in the period instrument field, and is harpsichordist with The Parnassian Ensemble, with whom he has recorded music from the reign of Queen Anne.

Further information about the Regis School of Music and its activities could be found at www.regisschoolofmusic.co.uk.

WORTHING Philharmonic Orchestra will be offering a spring selection in their latest concert (Assembly Hall, Sunday, April 3, 7.30pm).

The programme includes: Rossini – Overture to The Siege of Corinth; Walton – Viola Concerto (soloist - Alexandra Urqhart); and Brahms - Symphony No 2.

A spokesman said: “Following the thrilling performance of Belshazzar’s Feast in February 2010, this a chance to hear more music by William Walton in what is generally considered to be the greatest of all concertos for the viola.

“Our soloist, Alexandra Urquhart, grew up in Shoreham and is now embarking on what promises to be a very successful career. Completing the programme is Brahms’ generally sunny but occasionally cloudy 2nd symphony, often described as his Pastoral symphony, and a typically-rousing overture by Rossini.”

Tickets £8-15 (£3 for children plus some concessions) available on 01903 206206.

THE financial crisis gets the comedy treatment in the latest outing from Pappy’s who bring their third nationwide touring show All Business to the Komedia, Brighton on April 2 (0845 293 8480) and The Hawth, Crawley on April 14 (01293 553636).

Tom Parry, from the company, said he was delighted with the group’s success so far, particularly their most recent show - also seen in the area - which attempted a world-record 200 sketches in an hour.

“We found all sorts of ways of cheating to include as many as possible!”

Now they turn their attention to the prevailing economic mood.

“All the financial crisis and the banking crisis talk coincided with us all turning 30 this year. We found ourselves thinking about getting serious and properly getting our act together. We are now trying to turn ourselves into serious business.”

Fortunately for comedy fans, the limit of the seriousness is buying themselves “cheap suits”: “It is all just as silly as ever!”

Tom added: “We have been together in various guises for seven years now. We started performing as friends in London and then started doing other people’s nights. But we have now done five Edinburgh shows, which is great, and we are still loving what we are doing.

“And now this is our third national touring show, which I love. The idea of touring is just very romantic. When you think about it, you don’t think about the six hours in a car every day and living out of motorway service stations!”

COMEDIAN Frank Carson will be joined by fellow stars of The Comedians, Mick Miller and Tony Jo, plus former television star Lynda McMurray, on his farewell tour which visits Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre on March 31.

The show will take a look back at Frank’s career which spans more than 40 years. He will relay anecdotes, tell plenty of his trademark jokes and will be sure to include his catchphrases “It’s a cracker” and “It’s the way I tell ‘em”.

Frank will be joined by Mick Miller who is best known for his appearances on The Comedians but more recently was a regular guest on daytime chat show, Today with des and Mel and starred in the E4 and Channel 4 reality series, Kings of Comedy in 2004.

BRIGHTON’S World Sacred Music Festival this autumn is limbering up with a few performances this spring.

Indian Kathak dancer Amina Khayyam will be performing on Saturday, April 2; and Jewish husband and wife team the Strauss/Warschauer Duo from New York join forces with Brighton’s Merlin and Polina Shepherd on Thursday, May 5.

Artistic director Kate Whyman said: “Looking further ahead to this year’s October festival, it is with great pleasure that we announce the return to Brighton of the Tibetan Monks of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. The monks will be creating one of their extraordinary sand mandalas, providing workshops and giving a spectacular performance of music, chanting and dance.

“We will also be joining forces once more with Brighton-based environmental arts group Red Earth to present Chalk, a celebration of the South Downs at Wolstonbury Hill. More information about this year’s festival will follow soon.

“We can no longer rely on receiving funding so we need your support more than ever. Please do come to our events, become a Friend, make a donation - whatever feels right for you - so we can keep bringing world sacred music to Brighton and, we hope, beyond.

Saturday, April 2 offers Indian Kathak dance show One featuring Amina Khayyam (dance), Debasish Mukherjee (tabla), Lucy Rahman (vocal) and Tarun Jasani (sarod).

“One takes the ancient art of Indian Kathak dance and incorporates contemporary global influences to create a new and exciting fusion.

“Amina and her accomplished musicians will weave a beautiful and sensuous story to take you to a wonderful world of harmony and peace.”

The venue will be Sallis Benney Theatre, Grand Parade, 7.30pm. Tickets £12 (concs £9) on 01273 709709.

Thursday, May 5 offers an evening of Jewish music featuring Deborah Strauss (violin, accordion, vocals, dance); Jeff Warschauer (guitar, mandolin, vocals); Merlin Shepherd (clarinets); and Polina Shepherd (piano, vocals) at 8pm at Brighton Unitarian Church, New Road. Tickets on 01273 606312.

TALL Stories, the company who created the award-winning children’s show The Gruffalo, return to the deep dark woods at Worthing’s Connaught Theatre with the sequel, The Gruffalo’s Child (Monday, April 4 and Tuesday, April 5).

The play is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture book which won the Smarties Book Prize Gold Award and the Blue Peter Award for Best Book to Read Aloud.

The production combines Tall Stories’ physical storytelling style with new songs, humour and a touch of magic.

The story takes place one wild and windy night when the Gruffalo’s Child ignores her father’s warnings about the Big Bad Mouse and tiptoes out into the snow. En route she meets the same fox, owl and snake that her father met some years before. Each points her in a different direction, so by the time the little Gruffalo gets to the heart of the wood, she is beginning to have doubts about the scary mouse her dad has told her about. When she is about to give up and go home, she sees a little mouse and decides to stop for a mousey snack. But Mouse is not in the mood to be eaten and comes up with an ingenious plan to scare the little Gruffalo away.

THE heat of the summer will be brought to the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing on April 3 when dance company Amor Flamenco present their new show Sol y Sombra.

Brother and sister duo Jose and Ana Dueñas Leon offer dances which embody sun and shade. The music and steps reflect the heat of summer sun and the mystery of night fall.

Dynamic footwork and movement will balance the passion, sensuality and warmth which define flamenco spirit.

José and Ana, who will be joined by fellow members of their six-piece company, have been immersed in flamenco from an early age, performing at family fiestas and gatherings at their home in Córdoba, Andalucía.

They now both perform in Spain and the UK as well as running courses on flamenco dance and guitar.

Ana has been teaching for more than nine years and runs Academia Flamenca in Brighton.