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Farewell to Purgatory

By Sam Barker

Toponymically, last year’s appearance of the pop-up Lost Souls’ Bar at the end of Chideock’s Hell Lane seemed an inspired arrival. Where better to drown your sorrows in the post-Brexit, post-affordable housing, post-lapsarian world of uncomfortable convictions than a watering-hole named after purgatory at the lower end of hell?

I was going to go. I was going to walk to Lost Souls by Hell Lane at dusk and stumble back in the dark, telling myself I had nothing to fear but the ruts and idiot motorcyclists who presume the Lane is for their use only.

I didn’t. And now I can’t: I’m informed that Lost Souls has been closed, its clientele cast out into the newly renovated Clock House.

Chideock has long been a village of divisions. Before the disagreements about the road (Should, or should not, a tall plastic barrier be erected next to the pavement to dull the sound of traffic?), there were the disagreements about religion. In the 16th century, Catholic priests were banned and vagabond clergy went rogue around Chideock, hiding in folds and thickets before being caught and tortured. – So maybe bikes aren’t the only things to be feared in the dark up Hell Lane after all?

Now, though, it seems there’s a new fault line in the village: between the nihilists who would drink cheap pints in the arbitrary, uncomfortable Lost Souls Bar and the formalists who’d have a scampi and chips in the Clock House, reopened in June after catching fire and undergoing £500k of reconstructive surgery.

In theory, the establishments should be able to co-exist. In fact, Lost Souls’ – whose tenuous existence under a temporary licence never suggested endurance – has closed. Clamorous Chideock people want to get fully behind the Clock House. Lost Souls’ signage has gone. Its doors have shut. It’s been euthanized. A private party thrown Lost Souls’ venue after its death was allegedly infiltrated by an irate villager decrying its resurrection. Lost Souls must not be allowed to persist.

This seems a shame. Walking along Hell Lane to the Clock House, refurbished or not, doesn’t have the same ring.

By |October 26th, 2016|Sam Barker|0 Comments

Room With A View

Margaret Grundell has been looking at the view from the window of her ice-cream, sweets, teas and coffee kiosk on the promenade at West Bay for 48 years.
In 1968, Margaret and her husband, John, bought the lease on the kiosk and have been dispensing refreshments and friendship in winter and summer ever since. Now the kiosk is on the market, but Margaret and John, who live in Walditch, will keep it going until the sale is complete.

What have they seen from the window in all that time? A panorama of social life, a never-ending newsreel of change. And several rock-falls from East Cliff.

By |September 9th, 2016|Food & Drink|0 Comments

Film From All The World

Bridport Film Society has announced details of its programme for the 2016-17 season. It comprises a selection of contemporary films from all over the world, including Chile, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, France, Germany, Italy, UK and Belgium.

“Each year, our programming committee spends many hours watching and debating the merits of more than 60 films in pursuit of thought-provoking and inspiring choices,” said Chris Pike, BFS’s chairman. “This year’s selection is richly diverse and full of hidden gems.”

The season kicks off on Tues 27 Sept with Victoria, a thriller about two hours in the life of an immigrant worker in Germany, which develops intense suspense over an amazingly unedited single take. Other season highlights are Palio, which looks at Siena’s famous bareback horse race; Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surreal coming of age tale, The Dance of Reality; and Tangerines, a story of gentle reconciliation bridging the ethnic divide in a Georgian village.

The BFS will also host a special event on Tuesday Dec 13 as a fund-raiser for Bridport Arts Centre.

Full details available at www.bridportfilmsociety. Printed brochures available from the Bookshop, Fruits of the Earth and from the BFS stall outside the Arts Centre on Saturday Aug 27 from 10am to 1pm. Full season membership costs £35, and typically reaches capacity well before the start of the season.

By |August 26th, 2016|Film|0 Comments

Fistful of Tacos

Fistful of Tacos
Mexican street food
Behind Waitrose Thurs to Sat, 5pm-9pm
BR Rating ****

By Alison Lang

A friend mentioned to me that Bridport never used to be hip.
Well it must have had a hip replacement. The one thing I thought was missing was Mexican food, but now that’s sorted with a super van parked at the back of Punch and Judy bakery, just behind Waitrose, serving proper Mexican street food.

Delicious home-made slow-cooked pulled pork, Beef Brisket and Chipotle chicken in soft tacos and burritos with all the fixings, plus a beautiful vegetarian option with sweet potato.

It’s quite clever as a family connection allows them to use the ovens at Punch and Judy bakery when the bread baking has finished for the day. From chefing at the Bull, Avenue and the Watch House, Gerry Page and Mattias Larsson now make it all Mexican.

Grab a seat or take a taco home.

By |August 16th, 2016|Alison Lang, Food & Drink|0 Comments

The Tempest of Lyme

Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
BR Rating ****
[Until Sunday 24 July]

By John Pownall

We know that Shakespeare used a multiplicity of sources, literary and historical. That The Tempest, the richest of his texts for what the academies call ‘postcolonial’ studies, derived in part from a true tale about colonists on their way to Virginia is perhaps no surprise. That there is a Lyme Regis connection certainly is surprising, however. The source narrative begins in the Dorset seaport in the early part of the seventeenth century, just as England was establishing its fledgling empire.

What a great idea, then, to weave together the two strands; the Shakespeare with the source. This is the premise of Andrew Rattenbury’s partial re-write. The action begins inside the theatre, and then the audience, players and musicians troop out at the end of the First Act to take in the rest of the production outside, just below the bar balcony, with the backdrop of Lyme Bay. This is site-specific theatre; we feel as though we are on an island, the July heatwave persuading us that we are somewhere very far away.

The idea largely works to great effect. The two stories segue into each other nicely, the actual storm and casting away being the touchstone for both tales. The thorny and problematic issue of Caliban’s subjection is not contextualised by the colonial narrative, which for some may have been a missed trick. Nevertheless, this is a production which generally plays for laughter more than reflection, and is highly entertaining as a result.

The writer, director and players have worked hard to give a sense that this is one vision, and that huge team effort, combined with wonderful music and soundscapes from Andrew Dickson and his assembled musicians, carries the night along at pace. Visually, the production is wonderful, with rich and varied costuming, and clever lighting and staging. For a first night, it was almost pitch perfect.

Performances are uniformly creditable. Anne King is a forceful Gonzala (feminised as with many characters in the production, no doubt by force of casting issues). Val Christmas is a very funny Trincula, adeptly abetted by John Simpson as the drunken Stephano. Ariel is cleverly portrayed by six young women who play her at once as a disparate voiced spirit. Marcus Wood is a wonderfully energetic and engaging Sebastian. The love story is beautifully captured by Bramble Wallace’s nuanced Miranda, and Joe Urqhart’s charming and masterful Ferdinand. Declan Duffy plays local penman Sylvester Jourdain with cheeky panache. There is no weak link in this broad cast of players young and old.

Nicola Kathrens plays Prospera (rather than Prospero), one of the most poetically stretching in Shakespeare’s works, with great energy and vitality. At the end, the audience showed her their considerable appreciation, richly deserved as simply getting all those lines right on the first night is a challenge for even the most adept professional.

This was a wonderfully exuberant production, brought to Lyme by its own people. The moment which stood out: a very young audience member’s searching eyes in the evening sky for a storm cloud described by Trincula, straight from the script. There wasn’t a storm cloud in the sky, of course, but the boy still tried to find it, so convinced was he by the rendition of the poetry. Such stuff as dreams are made on.

By |July 20th, 2016|John Pownall|1 Comment