Weekend Watch List ~ 24th & 25th March 2018

Telly at the weekend is a must for all of us at Entertainment Views HQ, we all enjoy a relax in front of the box and last weekend there was plenty to keep us all entertained. Here’s a few of the top picks from our chilled out couple of days as couch potatoes:

Milkshake!

This is usually the start of our weekend, Saturday morning kids television and I love it as much as my little boy does! Milkshake! is a great ‘magazine’ style show which includes an episode of a number of different children’s television favourites. Thomas the Tank Engine, Peppa Pig, Noddy, Shimmer and Shine, they’re all there keeping the smallest member of the family amused. The presenters are all bubbly, energetic whirlwinds, Amy Thompson is the favourite in our house, though.

Pointless Celebrities

Grange Hill week on Pointless Celebrities! I think this should be a monthly thing, it was fantastic to see all the old favourites, including Mr Robson who hasn’t changed one iota. An amazing episode and worthy winners, too.

The Voice UK

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and I have no idea who will win, there’s no front runner in my humble opinion. Some of the judges’ picks for the final have been a surprise, there are three artists in the final line up who may appear too similar to one another and therefore would they stand the best chance? If I were to back a team at this point? Team J Hud!

Casualty

Robyn (Amanda Henderson) and Glen (Owain Arthur) got married and then tragedy struck! Argh!! I suppose it was always going to head in that direction when the episode kicked off with Glen having a scan due to his worsening condition. At least the pair made it up the aisle without a hitch… almost. It was certainly a lovely moment with Duffy (Cathy Shipton) and Charlie (Derek Thompson) part of the big day. I know there’s been plenty of excitable fan comments about the ‘selfie’ that Duffy insisted on, too!

The Durrells

I’m late to the party with this one, The Durrells has long been a favourite of my husband’s however I’ve really got on board this series. I like the comedy elements and the absurdity. The location is pretty extraordinary too. I now need to binge watch the episodes I’ve missed. See you on the other side! I have a connection to the show because I have visited Jersey Zoo many times as a child so I’m delighted to have ‘discovered’ this.

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Entertainment Views Interviews: Matthew Gould, Director of The Gulf

The European Premiere of The Gulf by Audrey Cefaly coming to Tristan Bates Theatre from

17th April – 5th May

Book tickets here: The Gulf Tickets 

This honest play looks at two women on a small fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico and what makes their relationship tick.

Kendra, played by Louisa Lytton (Eastenders, BBC1; Strictly Come Dancing, BBC1; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the British Shakespeare Company), and Betty, played by Anna Acton (Doctors, BBC; Casualty, BBC; Eastenders, BBC; The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Gillotts Theatre) are stranded on a boat together and forced to confront their differences.

The Gulf is a rare scenario yet it doesn’t home in on what you expect.  It is unusual in its lack of social commentary and its focus on the everyday problems they face.

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Director, Matthew Gould chatted to Entertainment Views about the production:

Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Matthew. First of all, I’d love to know when you’re working on a two-hander, how does your directional approach differ to working with a larger cast?

I think my approach becomes less focused you have fewer balls in the air. When I say less focused I don’t mean on the script but with two actors it can be about exploration and tangents and trying ideas because you have the time. With a larger cast you still encourage and have all of the above but you have less time to really look at them.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

The Tristan Bates Theatre is very intimate and is usually played end on. Having said that the current artistic team is encouraging companies to try different things and when we decided to do The Gulf in the round the idea was enthusiastically welcomed by the theatre. In the round itself can be an intimate experience for all involved. In certain therapeutic circles during training the practice of ‘The Gold Fish Bowl’ is used having a ‘client’ sit on a seat and the trainee therapists sit in a circle round the room listening to the session. This creates the idea of eves dropping on a moment in time which is what the audience are doing as they watch The Gulf.

What do you feel the strengths of the script are?

The strength of the script is that it shows you the ordinariness of Betty and Kendra’s life and the struggles that that brings to them as a couple and as individuals.

What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?

I believe the audience will see a lot of their own relationships in the conversation and that whatever the sex is of two people in a relationship the life choices and difficulties we all make are very similar to those of Betty and Kendra.

Finally, why should everybody come and see it?

Primarily people should come because seeing two women in a play with no-one else on stage is rare. It’s not a combination that is very common in theatre. However it is a play that finds humour in the everyday, humour in the suffering and sadness in the ordinary.

Huge thanks to Matthew for an informative and insightful interview.

Brighton Rock ~ Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Star rating: *****

Adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Esther Richardson, Brighton Rock is a hybrid of dark, sinister eye-opening gangland activity and overt, harrowing vulnerability. Punctuated with dramatic, rousing live incidental music from on-stage musicians, Hannah Peel (who also composed the music), James Field and Laura Groves.

Set in and around Brighton with the pier featuring as the focal point, the original story was written by Graham Greene in 1938. The text is fuelled by slang which is used with regularity by the mob at the hub of the piece. This takes some adjusting to, however it only took a few uses of terms such as ‘Polony’ and ‘Milky’ to become accustomed to the patter.

Pinkie, played by Jacob James Beswick summarises the key points of the story from the beginning, all of the early revelations involve death, thus setting the tone of the production. Pinkie is heading up on of the local mobs since the recent demise of the previous leader. Pinkie is out for revenge for his fallen leader and ‘Fred’ is going to pay for the ‘mistake’. It also becomes clear that ‘Fred’ is not who he seems, although whoever he is, he’s sure of one thing – he’s going to be the victim of intended murder. Meanwhile, Ida (Gloria Onitiri) is enjoying a break by the sea, however her fleeting involvement with ‘Fred’ leads her to turn detective. As the story takes the predicted murderous twist, we follow the antics of young Pinkie and his gang as the teenage ‘thug’ races against time and pressure to exonerate himself, simultaneously damaging the lives of everybody who have the misfortune of coming into contact with him. Along the way we meet Spicer (Angela Bain) who is read to retire from a life of crime, Prewitt (Shamira Turner), a lawyer whom Pinkie comes to rely heavily upon and innocent, naive sixteen year old Rose (Sarah Middleton) who falls head over heels in love with Pinkie, to her detriment.
As an ensemble, the cast are a strong, tight unit, their smooth movement across the stage is the epitome of symmetry, kudos to their movement director, Jennifer Jackson. Jacob James Beswick gives a stand out performance as Pinkie, the character made me feel uncomfortable due to his unpredictable nature. Sarah Middleton brought a notable sense of light and shade to the characterisation of Rose, the chemistry with Beswick was palpable at times. Shamira Turner demonstrated almost chameleon-like qualities as she played a myriad of both male and female roles to a superbly high standard. Meanwhile, Gloria Onitiri positively shone as Ida, I have previously seen her as Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmations so I was familiar with her work. Not only does she offer a tour de force performance, fierce yet sympathetic, her singing ability is extraordinary, what a velvety toned voice!

The lighting is atmospheric, brooding and frames the action-packed drama, whilst the set is multi-functional – offering a variety of locations and easily manoeuvred to create different spaces. The simple yet effective structure looked quite spectacular when lit up to replicate Brighton Pier itself.

My experience of Cheltenham Everyman Theatre itself was a poignant one, it being World Theatre Day. From the friendly, helpful staff, to the ornate interior of the auditorium, it all combined to make an unforgettable visit for all the right reasons.

For a fast-paced and thought-provoking evening at the theatre which simultaneously offers very real, believable insight into gangster life, this piece has it all.

Book to see the show here

This review was produced exclusively for Cheltenham Everyman Theatre as per their Marketing Department, they have given full permission for me to share my article, here. 

 

Disney On Ice Worlds of Enchantment ~ PREVIEW

Tonight the Entertainment Views family are off to the Genting Arena in Birmingham to see Disney On Ice Worlds of Enchantment! We are Disney nuts so we can’t wait to see the show and from our past visits we already know we will be in for a magical treat.

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“Enter the dazzling world of Disney magic, live on ice! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favourite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment.

Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney/Pixar’s Cars race across the ice like you’ve never seen before! Dive into adventure with Ariel in The Little Mermaid’s enchanted undersea kingdom. The toys are back in town when Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and the Toy Story gang escape from the rambunctious tots of Sunnyside Daycare in their most daring adventure ever! Plus, enter the wintry world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa and pals Olaf and Kristoff from Disney’s Frozen, as they learn that true love comes from within. What’s more, don’t miss the chance to warm up at the Fit to Dance pre-show party!

From wheels to waves, icy wonderlands to infinity and beyond, your family’s favourite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment.”

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If all that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s a Fit to Dance education programme associated with the show, so before you sit down to enjoy the best of Disney performed before your very eyes – you and your family can get up and get pumped ready to cheer on all of your favourite characters!

Find out more about Fit To Dance, here: Disney On Ice Fit To Dance

Book your ticket for Disney On Ice tour, here: Disney On Ice Tickets

Entertainment Views Interview with: Yvonne Howard

I’ve been a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan’s operas for a number of years, The Pirates of Penzance captured my young imagination at the tender age of 10 years old and I’ve now seen every opera they’ve written. Opera on a wider scale, I’d not encountered or considered, until I saw the ENO’s production of The Mikado when it was shown on Sky Arts last year. A performer by the name of Yvonne Howard was playing the role of Katisha and I was transfixed by her, a singer who’s voice I connected with instantly, yet also an actress of such incredible versatility. Referring to Google, as one is wont to do to seek out her previous credits,  I was soon delving into the world of opera and embracing it in a way I would never have believed I could or would have done. 

Interviewing somebody who inspires me so much is always exciting for me and I loved chatting to Yvonne about the current production she’s starring in, Iolanthe at the London Coliseum and also asked her what advice she has for potential performers. 

Photo Credit: ENO Website

Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Yvonne  – first of all, tell me about your character in ENO’s production of Iolanthe.

It’s a pleasure, I’m playing the Queen of the Fairies, she’s a bit of a battle axe in some ways but she’s a good hearted battle axe . How Cal McCrystal, our director has conceived the idea of her is that she’s a mixture of the morals of Queen Victoria , so she’s very moralistic and wants everyone to stick to the rules and obey but she also does have a big heart because she’s been in love herself and we hear that in her aria. So, she wants everything to be proper and right but fails a bit herself. She doesn’t really have a sense of humour, she’s straight-laced, but there’s humour around her.

Is the Queen of Fairies a role you’ve wanted to play? 

No, not at all actually, when I was at school I understudied the role of Phyllis. When the Queen of the Fairies was offered to me I thought “it’s very low will I be able to sing it?” but then when I met Cal McCrystal (the director) and he talked about the whole show and the designs, and I met Paul Brown (the designer) who sadly has since died I just loved the whole idea. It’s good fun.

Do you find something different in the role and the show each time you perform it?

Yes, because the audience gives you that, we’ve had absolutely pant-wettingly loud audiences, we’ve had some who aren’t sure if they’re supposed to laugh because they’re at the opera. The amount of laughter and the atmosphere in the theatre changes every night and of course we all feel different every performance.

Have you got a favourite moment or scene in the production? 

Well, apart from the fact I get to fly – I love the flying! Otherwise, not really, I love the whole thing.

What would you say to encourage people to come and see it? 

Tough! It’s almost sold out, we were told that the final matinee performance only has nine seats left!

So, what would you say to encourage people to come and see it if it’s performed again? 

Come, do not miss it – if you’ve never seen opera before it’s a really good foot in. If you’ve seen G & S before but you think it’s a bit light-hearted, come and listen to the quality of the music and the singing. The designs are exquisite, the direction is hilarious but also quite poignant in places. Give it a whirl, don’t come with any biases.

Photo Credit: ENO Website

What would you say to people who are usually musical theatre goers but haven’t been to an opera before because they don’t think it’s for them?

This would be a brilliant one to come to because although the singing is of a classically trained ilk, I’ve done mostly opera but I’ve crossed over and done musical theatre and good music is good music whatever it is, I think. We’ve made opera into this genre that’s for other people, I was brought up thinking that, but it really isn’t. I’ve never paid as much for a ticket to go to the opera as I have to go to a football match, a rock concert or a west end musical. It’s a shame that people lack the confidence to dare to dip their toe in the water, because it really is for everyone. I come from a very ordinary background, I was born in Stafford, Dad at that time was a panel beater. If you love good music and you love a good drama then come and watch an opera and you’ll get both. Iolanthe is a good introduction for anyone who might be daunted or think that opera is ‘stuffy’, this certainly isn’t ‘stuffy’. If you want to make going to the cinema your first go at opera, you can – although it’s not the same as seeing it live. There’s nothing like hearing the human voice live.

Speaking of your cross over into musical theatre, you’ve appeared in Carousel – would you be keen to perform in another musical or to return to Carousel if you could? 

Oh yes, I would love to do Carousel again and I would love to sing the Mother Superior in The Sound of Music.

Do you have a preference between opera and musical theatre? 

Well, as a classically trained singer my career has mostly been in opera, but you also do oratorio as well as recital repertoire where you can sing seven or eight languages in one evening. I just love good music, although my career has been on the classical side.

Finally, what would you say to anybody considering a career as a performer? 

Whatever you do be true to yourself, work blinking hard, be really nice to your colleagues – it’s so important because you need them. You’ve got to be able to trust your colleagues when you’re on stage and be able to help each other out. So, work hard, know your stuff, don’t be difficult, if it’s what you want to do go for it but not at the expense of anyone else.

Huge great big thanks to Yvonne for giving her time to me for this interview, she’s a fellow midlands girl too which made it all the more poignant. I adored Iolanthe and Yvonne was absolutely amazing, the review is here: Iolanthe Review

If you can grab one of literally very few tickets left for the remaining performances of Iolanthe at the London Coliseum, do it! You won’t regret it, click the link: Iolanthe Tickets

 

 

Requiem, Episodes Four, Five & Six ~ Review

Feelings on BBC One’s Requiem? It’s still creeping the daylights out of me! However, my over-riding feeling is that it’s been shot to appear like a movie and that watching the episodes back to back would create a very long yet highly engaging movie. Here are a few highlights from the final three episodes:

Upon reflection…

As the pieces start to fit together, mirrors continue to feature as one of the methods of communication favoured by the spirits (for want of a better term!). One of the most horrific uses of mirrors came when Hal (Joel Fry) was driving and spotted something so awful in the rear view that he crashed his car. Then he went missing, and when he reappeared in the series, he was feasting on sheep! Yes – it got weird and weirder!

High spirits

When Matilda (Lydia Wilson) comes to realise that whatever is wreaking havoc can be found in the caves she takes her life into her own hands to face the consequences of throwing herself into their path. What follows is entirely unnerving as she has no recollection of what’s just happened. The plot thickens.

Danger

David Morgan (Brochan Evans) is walking into danger when he is babysat by Stephen Kendrick (Brendan Coyle) and Sylvia Walsh (Tara Fitzgerald). As Matilda uncovers the truth about their involvement in her disappearance and that they were responsible for the death of another child before she was taken. It’s a race against time to get to David, but he’s part of the plan to lure Matilda to the truth, albeit unwittingly.

The Truth

Walsh, Kendrick and the Satlows (Pippa Heywood and Simon Kunz) are all at the heart of the mystery, with their claim that they require a child’s innocent mind in order to contact the ‘spirits’ who they believe will bring marvels beyond wildest dreams. Walsh finally confesses that this was always about Matilda though and while David is asleep under the influence of a ‘sedative’, Matilda is sent to confront the reason behind her kidnap. Meanwhile Walsh, Kendrick, the Satlows and Nick (James Frecheville) has been dragged in to join them. We see an extraordinary transformation occur in Matilda’s eyes as she falls prey.

The Reality

It feels like not much has changed at all given the build up to the finale, however, once Matilda gains consciousness when ‘the cult’ have fetched her back – we become aware that something is unfolding and there is unrest in the house. First, Matilda approaches Nick, who is apologetic for his part in it. The episode is mostly based round what we don’t see as the ‘cult’ are nowhere to be found.

The reunion with Rose (Claire Rushbrook) in hospital is glorious, beautifully played out, similarly with Matilda’s brother, David – it’s implied that they will be a family again. However, once Matilda is alone in the hospital toilets, we see the dirt on her hands and there’s a sinister turn. Leaving way for a second series? I hope so!

Verdict

Writing of this calibre has been lacking in recent dramas and Requiem had me glued to the screen, running for a hiding place and gawping, frozen in abject horror at times. Cast superbly, directed like a film rather than a television drama and with a plot packed with twists, turns and uncertainties. If you purchase this on DVD (see image below for the link) you won’t regret binge watching, it’s a seamless series.

 

Entertainment Views Interviews: Star of Don Giovanni, Gavan Ring

Mozart’s Don Giovanni is currently touring the UK and playing the title role is Gavan Ring. Entertainment Views chatted to Gavan about the production…


Tell me about Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni has been often been described as Mozart's 'blackest' opera and it's easy to see why; the story 
centres around this immensely powerful and wealthy man, Don Giovanni, and his last day on earth. He has 
abused his privileged position throughout his life (most notably with women) and the ghost of the father of a 
woman he has raped comes back to earth to drag him to hell at the finale! It's heavy stuff!

What are the challenges of the role?

One word: stamina. The sheer size of the role and the intensity of performing it is hugely taxing - it's not that it's 
tremendously difficult to sing from a technical/vocal point of view, it's the sheer volume of material that you 
have to get through. Don Giovanni is a character who goes at 100 miles an hour from the off and he is always on stage so there is very little, if any, room at all for autopilot or cruise control - you have to be 'on it' at all times!

What do you feel the strengths of this opera are?

For me, this is one of the earliest and best examples of total symbiosis of music and drama - the music in Don 
Giovanni intelligences the drama in a way that, for me, was only ever achieved again with Verdi or Puccini. It's 
total opera!


Why do you feel that Mozart as a composer has stood the test of time?

I have always maintained that Mozart is the musical or operatic equivalent of Shakespeare - every line is driven 
with dramatic intention so the result is that his works are always alive and awaiting an audience response. 
Mozart rarely, if ever, wrote anything for the sake of it, especially his operas, so the quality of drama coupled 
with the most fantastic music is the perfect mix for something that will last and thrive throughout the ages.

Have you any favourite composers?

Mozart is my favourite - his music is life-affirming in my opinion. I love nothing better than kicking back with a 
fine ale or good single malt and listening to one of his piano concertos, string quartets or operas.

What led you into a performing career?

A number of things really but the principal driver behind my desire to become an opera singer was that it was 
something I enjoyed and found myself to be reasonably good at. I am very much a believer in the idea that, if life gives you the chance, you should pursue a career you enjoy because you're going to be working for a fair bit of 
time so you might as well do something which you don't mind getting up for in the morning!

What can the audience expect from this production?

Don Giovanni is a character who we all know in some shape or form, even if we haven't seen the opera or read 
the original story of Don Juan. We see his like everywhere and the awareness of the existence of such characters has probably never been more acute given the #metoo and #timesup movements lately. I think audiences can 
expect to come viscerally face-to-face with Don Giovanni; audiences can immerse themselves in the currency of 
this incredible drama, which, of course is brought to life vis-a-vis some of the greatest music ever written. 

Why should they come and see it?

I think this production of Don Giovanni has been excellently put together; we have an international cast of 
incredibly gifted artists, an orchestra to die for, a sumptuous production which is drop-dead gorgeous to look at 
plus an overall musical and dramatic interpretation of Don Giovanni which is sure to keeps one's pulse racing
from start to finish!

Book your tickets to see it for yourself: Don Giovanni

Photo Credits: WNO

Iolanthe ~ London Colieseum

Reviewer: Helen McWilliams

Star rating: *****

One of the first operas I was taken to see when I was a child was Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance starring Paul Nicholas and Bonnie Langford. I was aged 10 years old at the time and yet I remember it as if it were yesterday. My love of Gilbert & Sullivan took root and I’ve watched most of their masterpieces (I’ve even performed in The Pirates of Penzance, albeit in an amateur capacity). Iolanthe was the last on my little list, I HAD to see it at the Coliseum. It didn’t disappoint, in fact if I could sneak in again on 7 April, I would!

Before the curtain opened we were entertained by the sarcasm and wit of Captain Shaw (Clive Mantle) who appeared as the resident Fireman, his job being to undo the pyrotechnical mayhem caused by the Queen of the Fairies’ wand! In fact it was surely no coincidence that he was both fireman and warm-up man! The tone of the show was already set, however a cursory peep at the audience from a random flamingo on stage right firmly established the overall atmosphere of the piece. Not to mention there’s a sheep in one of the boxes… standard patron of the opera?

Set between Fairyland and the House of Peers, we witness Fairy Queen (Yvonne Howard) call disgraced Fairy Iolanthe (Samantha Price) back from the banishment she has endured as the result of her ‘unlawful’ marriage to the Lord Chancellor (Andrew Shore). With Iolanthe’s return to fairyland comes a surprise in the form of her half fairy (from the waist up)/half mortal (from the waist down) son, Strephon (Marcus Fansworth) whom she conceived with her husband. Strephon is a shepherd, excitedly anticipating his marriage to Phyllis (Ellie Laugharne). Just to complete the circle of bizarre coincidences, Phyllis is the Lord Chancellor’s Ward! The introduction of the peers completes the picture and how do they make their appearance? On board a rather resplendent train (filing through from one side to the other!), their different personalities are abundantly clear. One of them has a dog who completely drew my attention, so effective, enhancing the comedy elements which fuel the piece, in the best possible way.

The overall production is underpinned by slapstick, flying fairies, comic timing de force from the full ensemble and of course, the glorious score of Gilbert & Sullivan brought magically to life by (in my humble opinion) some of the most talented operatic performers.

Musical highlights are difficult to pinpoint as the entire opera captured my imagination. However ‘Tripping Hither, Tripping Thither‘ was a lively number with eye catching choreography (by Lizzi Gee) and Phyllis and Strephon’s duet ‘None Shall Part Us From Each Other‘ offered a perfect opportunity to showcase their chemistry. ‘Oh, Foolish Fay‘, the Fairy Queen’s aria was beautifully performed by Yvonne Howard, her face is so stunningly expressive and her story-telling capabilities shone in this number.

The set, designed by the late, Olivier nominated Paul Brown is engaging, frames the action like an elegant picture postcard of years gone by and offers the most exceptional backdrop as befits the Coliseum stage. Cal McCrystal’s direction meets my own expectations of how a Gilbert & Sullivan opera should be portrayed, I’m eager to see him direct more of them.

Samantha Price in the title role is quirky, girly and comedy seems to be her forte, plus her vocal ability is astronomical. Andrew Shore wowed me as the Lord Chancellor and ‘Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest … ‘When you’re lying awake’ was also a personal highlight. Marcus Farnsworth and Ellie Laugharne were perfectly cast as the young lovers, Strephon and Phyllis. Ben McAteer and Ben Johnson made a tremendous double act as Earl of Mountararat and Earl of Tolloller. Llio Evans was beautifully whimsical as Celia with Joanne Appleby feisty and flirty as Leila. Barnaby Rea as Private Willis makes an idyllic love interest for the Fairy Queen, their ‘love story’ although brief and flighty really tickled me.

Iolanthe closes on 7 April 2018 and, as the Queen of the Fairies herself, Yvonne Howard, tells me in an exclusive interview (Interview: Yvonne Howard) – it’s almost sold out! Try to beg, borrow or steal a ticket here: Iolanthe Tickets

Photo Credits: Clive Barda/Arenapal 

Requiem, Episode One ~ Review

Well, I’ve only just come out from behind the sofa and been able to look at the television again! Have BBC One got one creepy ghost story on their hands or what? It wouldn’t have been out of place throughout October, in fact! Halloween eat your heart out, pardon the ‘pun’ of sorts!

What a gripping, harrowing and visually disturbing drama. However, I am hooked and although I don’t want to look at the television screen, in fact as soon as I hear that incidental music I don’t want to look – but then I do, of course.

Here’s the facts so far: 

Matilda Grey (Lydia Wilson) is a rather brilliant cellist and she’s living a bohemian lifestyle with music obviously at the centre of her world. She plays in a duo with her pianist friend Hal (Joel Fry) and they’ve got a concert looming.

Before we’re introduced to Matilda we see a gentleman in a stately home driven to jump off the roof by a force of what could only be described as ‘evil’ from a mixture of mirrors and ghostly sounds.

So, then we meet Matilda’s mum, Janice (Joanna Scanlan) and I was quite delighted because I think she’s awesome. There’s an arrangement for mum and daughter to meet for lunch the next day, but that’s not gonna happen!

The concert rehearsal’s underway but before curtain up mum’s gone weird after a series of events while she was getting ready for the big night. The upshot? Mum appears in a half made-up state looking pretty scary and daughter follows her to a car park where mum brutally commits suicide with a knife.

*** Pause for looks and gasps of horror *** 

Papers and cuttings in mum’s home send Matilda and Hal to Wales and Matilda is keen to pursue the case of a missing girl called Carys whom she believes has a connection to her mum’s sudden suicide.

Once in Penllynith they seek out Carys’s parents and it’s not long until Matilda is experiencing disturbing supernatural connections.  Especially when she spends the night in the house of the gentleman who jumped off the roof, for he is the late Uncle of an Australian character called Nick (James Frecheville) and Nick extends an invitation for Matilda and Hal to stay in the house which he’s inherited.

Verdict: Wow! What a cast (still sorry to have only seen Joanna Scanlan for such a short time), I can’t wait to see more of Claire Rushbrook as Carys’s mum, and I gather Clare Calbraith will also be making an appearance (they were both in ITV’s Home Fires and I LOVED that). There is a cast de force in this hauntingly shot piece of drama. I was on the edge of my seat and fully expect every episode to have me in the same unstable state. Kris Mrksa, what a writer!

Catch up with it herehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05td9zp

…but be warned!! 

Photo credits: BBC Pictures

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