Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Old Town Comedy Club Review April 7th 2016

(clockwise from left) Dana, Tiernen, Bryan and Matthew crushed another one.

Evan Burgess checked out the slick work of Dana Alexander, Matthew Baylis, Tiernan Douieb and Bryan Lacey.

MC Bryan Lacey had an exuberant and positive charm that instantly ingratiated him with the audience. Building rapport was the first step, and the next was developing and curating his hold on the audience. Throughout the night we got to know more about Bryan, and he perhaps too much about us! Warming us up from the cold start, Bryan brought on Matthew Baylis.

Starting with a tentative probe of the audience’s resolve, Matthew soon found how far he could push it.  Covering some uncomfortable ground, there were no uncomfortable silences in Matthew’s monologues. All the gaps were filled with claps, gasps or laughter. Not to give too much away, but my opinion on online dating was somewhat coloured by Matthew’s experiences.

After a quick break, we got to know a bit more about Bryan. After explaining he was in training for an MMA fight, he began gently flirting with a chap in the audience. No pressure there! The lucky guy, a rower with the look of Thor about him, wasn’t too excited. But have no fear, it all worked out for the greater good: comedy. After the spark was lost, we moved on to discovering the dynamics between some couples in the audience, it was driven home to us how some guys don’t pay attention to time! One gent was 6 months out in his estimate of how long his relationship lasted... his night was not over yet.

Tiernen Douieb hadn’t been too keen on the preceeding talk of MMA, rowing and general keep fit. “I’d rather have cheese” he explained with agreement from the audience. Tiernen’s personality was perfect for the crowd. Drawing upon his life experiences, the audience felt genuine warmth towards the comic. Receiving a massive round of applause, we were to come back to a large surprise after the break.

Back on stage with his guitar, Bryan had fallen in love with the gent who had forgotten six months of his relationship. Seeing this as a sign it couldn’t mean that much to him, Bryan had written a perfectly rhyming song tailor made for the moment. Stunned, the audience knew they wouldn’t see this magic again anytime soon.

Headline act Dana Alexander had a lot to come after. She took it in her stride as she dominated the stage with her opinionated set. After what had already been said in the night, it was too late to be controversial now. But she struck the right tone and took the audience for a ride wherever her words took them. Look out for these names! Old Town Comedy Club has a habit of booking acts before they hit national success, such as Nish Kumar and Romesh Ranganathan.

Old Town Comedy Club is back on the 5th May with Otiz Cannelloni, James Dowdeswell, Ed Gamble and more! To find out about tickets, check out the Facebook event here:
Don't miss out next time! Book your ticket now.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Art Bridge II: Would you or Someone you Know Benefit?

Would you benefit from support to develop your creative career? Are you facing disabling barriers that prevent you from realising your potential? Art Shape are inviting applications from people who would like to develop their artistic practice further.
If you are interested in the Art Bridge II programme, visit our Cirencester artist surgery this Wednesday! We will be at the Parish Rooms between 10.30am - 12.30pm, Wednesday 13th April.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (The Wizard of Oz)

Dorothy (Amelia Calvert) rescues Scarecrow (Harry Apps) from the bothersome crows.  (Note it’s only Toto’s - AKA Toby’s - body double in the basket!)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (The Wizard of Oz)

If you missed the recent StageSmart production of The Wizard of Oz at Cirencester’s Bingham Hall, then you missed a treat. However, if you were one of the nearly 1000 people who did attend on the 7th – 9th April then you will know that you witnessed a theatrical extravaganza of the highest quality.

Using a minimalist set, coupled with dramatic back projection, it effectively evoked both the wide open spaces of the Kansas prairie and the magical charm of the Emerald City, with the famed yellow brick road connecting front of house with the stage.  StageSmart founder Iwan Lewis, more than ably assisted by director Benn-Llewellyn Williams, choreographer Kelly-Marie Hook and musical supremos Isaac McCullough and Rudy Percival, created a visual and auditory feast.

StageSmart was set up to encourage children from five years upwards to develop their latent talent.  Iwan said recently that he believed there was an enormous amount of potential in the Cirencester area, which was clearly demonstrated in the performances they gave.  From the youngest, at just six years old, to the main characters ranging from thirteen to seventeen years, the whole cast pulled together to produce a memorable performance.  The starring role of Dorothy, was superbly played by 13 year old Amelia Calvert with a natural confidence beyond her years.

Harry Apps (16) as the Scarecrow was both convincing and entertaining, and seventeen year old James Lee (despite being a bit rusty) played the difficult role of the Tin Man with humour and maturity.  The clear audience favourite in this production, however, was the Cowardly Lion played by Ollie Humphries (17), who brought the character to life with comic false bravado in an endearing interpretation of the role.

Sixteen year old Iona Burston, who played the lead role of Constance in last summer’s musical the Clockmaker’s Daughter, took on the part of the Wicked Witch of the West with authority and menace, whilst Emma Perry (17), playing the good witch Glinda, sensitively counterbalanced this with traditional warm pink froth and kindness. 

The spectacular finale was the undoing of the Wizard of Oz, played by Scott Adams, whose brilliantly projected maniacal, despotic persona was exposed as a complete sham when they looked behind the curtain.  It all ended happily, as these stories should.
Never work with children and animals, they say, but the performances of the Munchkins and Toto the dog (Toby aged five) certainly disproved this adage!

Review by Carlo Vuolo and Jan Sparrow

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Do You Find it Hard to get Enough Sleep? Expert Advice From Elite Health & Fitness

Mac (far right) with Cameron and Harry from
Corinium Radio on their 30 hour radio marthon.

What to do when you are having bouts of

insomnia. Develop a good bedtime routine and watch your sleep patterns improve in no time. See below for simple but effective tips on getting that good nights sleep:

1.      Drink plenty of fluids during the day and then stop drinking at about 90 minutes before bedtime.
2.      Exercise before bedtime can also disrupt sleep. It may stimulate you too much.
3.      Develop a bat cave – the bedroom should be completely blacked out when you close the curtains - the darker the better.

Do you rarely feel like this? Read on...
4.      Switch OFF  - When your eyes are exposed to light, your brain produces less of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Light towards the blue end of the spectrum is especially stimulating and, unfortunately, computer screens, tablets, smartphones and LED lighting all emit a lot of blue light. Try not to use these devices in the two hours before you go to bed. If you must use them, turn down the brightness or wear amber-tinted glasses designed to block blue light.
5.      Stay cool - When we sleep, our body temperature drops. Having a cooler room temperature helps the body cool a bit, which helps with sleep. Room temperature. 55-68 degrees is ideal, warmer and it can disrupt sleep and make it harder to fall asleep.
6.      Eating before bedtime affects sleep quality. Avoid sugar, alcohol and simple carbs, all of these affect sleep quality.
7.      Brain dump- Are you struggling to fall asleep because you are worrying about a problem, or thinking about what you need to do the next day? Put a notepad on your bedside table and, before you nod off, make a list of what’s on your mind or make a to-do list for the next morning.
8.      Brain trickery - If you want to nod off, try to keep your eyes open and stay awake. Oddly, attempting to stay awake is surprisingly tiring and helps you fall asleep. But remember that you have to use the power of your mind – you must try to keep your eyes open (you are allowed to blink), but are not allowed to read, watch television, or move about.
9.      Magnesium is known as the anti-stress, anti-anxiety mineral and is a natural sleep aid. Numerous studies have shown its effectiveness in lowering anxiety and reducing stress levels as well as helping with deeper more restful sleep.
Not all forms of magnesium are easily absorbed by the body. Magnesium citrate powder is a highly absorbable form that can be mixed with hot or cold water and sipped at work or at home throughout the day.
10.  Belly Breathe – As you lay there diaphragmatically breathe (deep belly breathe) and only concentrate on the breathing eliminate all other thoughts.
11.  Meditate – Listen to a relaxing tune or a guided meditative track. If done repeatedly this will train the brain its time to sleep.
A training session with Elite is one way to improve your
quality of sleep!
If you’re awake for more than about 20 minutes during the night, get out of bed and do some form of non-stimulating activity, such as working on a jigsaw or a colouring book (remember to avoid bright lights and computer screens). This helps to prevent you associating your bed with sleeplessness. And if the problem arises later in the night, climb back out of bed and distract yourself again.
Lying awake makes many people feel anxious, and this anxiety disrupts their sleep even more, creating a vicious cycle. If you are struggling to sleep, remember that you are probably getting more sleep than you think.

 Sweet Dreamzzzzzz

Contact Elite below: