Review: The Lost Present, Brewery Theatre

5 01 2013

Ed Patrick and Vic Llewellyn work in the Lost Toys department alongside their gorilla Gorgeous and the dog Delightful. Vic doesn’t like Christmas because years and years ago he lost a present down Avon Gorge and Ed in solidarity won’t open his until they can open them together.

Gorgeous wants to be a chef but has no frying pan and Delightful wants to be a footballer but has no football.

It is surprising how much plot, action, music and fun two men (and a gorilla and a dog) manage to fit into 45 minutes, a testament to the writing of Mike Akers.

The music and fun part isn’t that surprising as Ed is Bristol’s international rock star Kid Carpet, who has performed his kiddy disco punk folk shambolica most recently with Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals, a rock musical theatre show for children and families.

Vic, last seen in Bristol in The Mysterious Vanishment of Poppy and Dingan at the Tobacco Factory Theatre, helps Ed and Gorgeous and Delightful with their quest.

There is dancing and cutting and wrapping, sticking, tea drinking and the search for presents. There is also lots of singing and music from various implements you would normally find in a workshop.

The children and adults loved it and the creativity and plot were pleasantly surprising, the latter even robustly so. You may be very surprised to find that it is a treat to solve the mystery of the lost present, whether you are three or older. Even my almost two-year-old had lots of fun at this performance at the Brewery Theatre.

By Joanna Papageorgiou

The Lost Present

The Lost Present is at the Brewery Theatre until Sunday, January 13. Click here for more information.

This week in Bristol, Oct 29 – Nov 4

29 10 2012

Monday: Peter Hitchens & Howard Marks, Festival of Ideas
A lively debate in store about drugs between a journalist who believes all drugs are dangerous and a former international drug smuggling Welshman.

Tuesday: The Unthanks, St George’s
The mesmerising Northumbrian folk sisters perform their latest project, a live soundtrack to director Richard Fenwick’s documentary film, Songs From The Shipyards.

Wednesday: Paco Peña, Colston Hall
The guitarist, composer, dramatist and producer presents Quimeras, the story of a group of migrants who have come to Spain from Africa in search of work.

Wednesday: Ellen and the Escapades, Louisiana
Will the Leeds band perform their cover of R Kelly’s World Greatest, which soundtracked much of the BBC’s coverage of the London 2012 Olympics?

Thursday-Sunday: Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals, Brewery Theatre
A half-term treat from the St Werburgh’s musical superstar as he returns to the Brewery Theatre with his Noisy Animals, a rock show for children and grown-ups too.

Thursday: Bristol Culture mayoral hustings, Colston Hall
The five leading candidates in the running to become Bristol’s first elected mayor will go head-to-head in Hall 2. Follow the action via the hashtag #colstonhustings.

Thursday: The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey, Tobacco Factory Theatre
Homer’s epic tale retold through illustration and puppetry, with cinematic projection and trickery transforming cut-out paper puppets into living characters and landscapes.

Friday: Death Cafe, 40 Alfred Place
“A safe, relaxed space in which fears and joys of death and mortality can be freely shared in confidence along with tea and delicious homemade cakes.”

Saturday: Alt-J, Trinity
The Mercury-nominated band who make songs about triangles sound irresistibly sexy. Their name, ∆, is the Mac keyboard shortcut for Greek letter Delta.

Saturday-Sunday: Film 4 FrightFest All-Nighter, Watershed
Watch five films back-to-back between 9pm and 7am, including the world premiere of Blaise (below), a Bristol-made short about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse.

My Bristol favourites: Kid Carpet

28 10 2012

Kid Carpet is bringing his wonderful children’s show, Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals, to the Brewery Theatre between November 1 and 4. It is a perfect half-term treat, with the dance music maestro creating, in his own words, “some kind of performance theatre rock show cinema amalgamation, something more than just a music gig for kids”.

Here is a review of the show from earlier this year.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the Tobacco Factory Theatre website.

Here are Kid Carpet’s top-five Bristol favourites:

Steepest Hill: Vale Street, Totterdown
When we’ve got friends staying who are new to Bristol we nearly always take them for a breathtaking drive down what we know as Steepest Hill, Vale Street in Totterdown, the steepest residential street in Europe. You can’t see the bottom of the road from the top, like a fat man who can’t see his… car parked at the bottom of the hill.

Purdown / Snuff Mills / Oldbury Court – The Frome Valley
The Frome Valley offers loads of green space and structural oddities just outside the city centre. From St Werburgh’s take a walk past the city farm and Boiling Wells site, over Purdown, past the crazy radio mast and the big yellow house over the hill. Walk under the M32 and down to Snuff Mills, a woodland with the Frome river running through it, boasting weirs, rope swings and an ancient train track through a cave. Continue walking up a stream and into Oldbury Court, a massive park with the best play area that I’ve seen in Bristol. You might see a kingfisher. You might step in a dog poo. Come back via the swan, heron and duck lake in Eastville Park. Stand and admire the beautiful practical ugliness of the motorway as it curves away above you towards the city. See the local kids riding makeshift ramps on bikes, boards and scooters. Walk over the motorway footbridge at sunset and enjoy the view of Bristol centre. You can wave at lorries if you like. Loads to see and do.

The house with the nose on it – Crazy Jane’s nose
On the corner of Kensington Road and Roslyn Road in Redland is a house with a big old nose on the outside wall. I don’t check up on it all that often and sincerely hope it’s doing alright. Is it a sculpture or the house’s own olfactory protuberance? A big old nose. Right there on the wall.

Trains at Ashton Court
Up at Ashton Court there is a model railway. Perhaps the most lovely thing in the world. The Ashton Court Railway is tucked in behind the top carpark, cafe and golfy bit and runs on some Sundays and Bank Holidays between March and October. You’ve just missed the last one this year but it is so amazing that I urge anyone to go and check it out in the spring. I’ve been only once and will be back as soon as possible. It’s a proper station with two platforms, a signalman, a tunnel and loads of steam, diesel and electric trains run by a crack team of grandads in overalls. Please have your tickets ready and wait at the platform where the next train will be departing shortly. Ooooweeeeeeessshhhhhh.

Miners Arms / Duke of York
I’ve got split loyalties with my local pubs. Shall I go to the Miners Arms on Mina Road or through Mina Road Park to The Duke of York on Jubilee Road? I loves ’em both see. The Miners is a spit and sawdust old man’s boozer. Quiet, good beers, pool table and a cracking pub quiz. The Duke (below) is a bit more flamboyant, comes with graffiti, a skittle alley, a big yard and a games room.

Review: Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals

15 02 2012

“Kid Carpet? Never heard of him.” So say many of the animals who Kid Carpet meets in his children’s show, playing throughout February half-term at the Brewery Theatre. If you have heard of Kid Carpet, but don’t have a youngster to take with you, probably best to wait for one of his proper grown-up gigs.

For those with a little person, however, if you have heard of the Bristol electo-pioneer or not, take them by the hand to North Street. You will have a brilliant time, even singing songs together about whether you have the gumption to do a poo in the woods.

Despite being aimed at ages three to eight, following its early outing at the Cube last year, my 12-month-old daughter has now seen this show twice. If she could talk, she would tell you that she loves it. Especially the packing up at the conclusion. She also loves putting away her toys in a toy box, but hers doesn’t contain the delightful surprise that Kid Carpet’s box contains.

The story of Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals is loose, but who cares? Suffice to say, Kid Carpet features in security guard, rock star and jovial raconteur roles. There are also animals, and they are indeed noisy.

With the help of a video camera, models and stop-motion animation that Aardman would be proud of, we follow Mr Carpet, aka Ed Patrick, on a journey with his animal friends through the woods to take part in a dance contest.

Along the way there are songs about g-g-g-g-gorillas, bears in baths, mute hedgehogs, toy instrument swapping with carefree abandon, and a final dance contest to get the young audience on their feet and grooving.

The show was formed out of the songs that Patrick naturally made up when his son was born, as many parents do, from walking down the road to putting socks and shoes on.

His stated aim was to make “some kind of performance theatre rockshow cinema almagamation, something more than just a music gig for kids”. And he definitely succeeds; my daughter could tell you that (once again, if she could talk).

Despite Kid Carpet professing in the programme to know “nothing about theatre, children’s theatre, children’s music, and their audiences and markets”, this is a hugely enjoyable and inventive show. Kid Carpet. Remember the name.

Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals is at the Brewery Theatre until February 18. Click here for more information. And visit for all things Kid Carpet.

This week in Bristol, February 13-19

13 02 2012

Frozen Planet talk   Monday, St George’s
Bristol’s BBC Natural History Unit has once again done wonders with its latest series, Frozen Planet. This special talk and showcase is by executive director Alastair Fothergill and series director Vanessa Berlowitz.

Phantom Limb   Monday, Rise
Bristol band Phantom Limb release their new album The Pines today, and to celebrate are playing a special show in Rise where they promise to give away some exclusive live bootleg CDs. Phantom Limb are also playing the Fleece on Thursday.

Romeo and Juliet   Tuesday – Thursday, Bierkeller Theatre
A bold retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tale at Bristol’s newest theatre from the Thrice Three Muses company, which sees more than 20 actors in an interpretation featuring Romeo as a young lady and upheaval as Juliet falls for the Montague daughter.

Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals   Tuesday-Saturday, Brewery Theatre
Inventive and charismatic (check out this video of a song which will feature on upcoming Bristol-set movie Eight Minutes Idle), Kid Carpet is one of Bristol’s best-loved musicians. His multimedia kids show, with a bear on drums, has to be seen to be believed.

English National Ballet’s Strictly Gershwin   Tuesday-Saturday, Hippodrome
Stick the word ‘Strictly’ in front of a dance show and you’ve got a hit on your hands. Following a sell-out season at the Royal Albert Hall, this is the production’s first touring show, “a dazzling celebration of George Gershwin and the sparkling age of Hollywood”.

The Eateasy   Thursday, 40 Alfred Place
The second instalment of “Kingsdown’s edgiest eatery-cum-drinking-hole” is once again open after-work drinks and snacks. “Swing by for decent drinks and purse pleasing plates of goodness. Come to chat, nibble and imbibe or settle in for a proper stuffing.”

Skrillex   Thursday, Academy
Making music to get your liver all a quiver, Skrillex has taken the dubstep world by storm, also completely turning Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance inside-out; his remix of Bad Romance is mindboggling. This live show also features a DJ set from Zane Lowe.

Billy Connolly   Saturday-Monday, Colston Hall
The Big Yin’s current stand-up tour is hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, with the latest addition to the cast of The Hobbit leaving the stage early at two shows in a week due to hecklers. Don’t worry, Billy, Bristol loves you.

Red Bull Hill Chasers   Saturday, Park Street
Park Street will be closed to motorised traffic on Saturday evening in order that battle can once again commence to see which bicycle is best at getting up a steep hill at speed. This year, the course has been shortened and more pinch points added.

Best Bristol gigs 2011

28 12 2011

1) Laura Marling, Bristol Cathedral. October 26.
Still only 21 years of age but with songs and a voice that bely her youth, Marling is a true star and in these awesome surroundings, her star was truly able to shine. The poor sightlines in the cathedral and bottom-crampingly uncomfortable seats could be forgiven, for this was without doubt one of the very best and most special gigs Bristol has seen for a very long time.

2) Anna Calvi, Trinity. October 31.
The Mercury-nominated singer songwriter played the Trinity as a parade of ghouls and ghosts staggered around Bristol on the night of Halloween. Guitar solos and haunting vocals were her speciality, all the while as she stood rigid, stage left, with her red flamenco-style ruffled shirt, slicked back blonde hair and bright red lipstick.

3) Janelle Monae, Academy. February 24.
Confetti canon explosions, a dancing brass section, capes, hoods, fake noses, balloons, tuxedos, more glitter. Janelle Monáe’s album The ArchAndroid from last year was incredible enough, but nothing prepared you for such an astonishingly vitalic show, with so much happening on stage that it was often difficult to know where to look.

4) Kid Carpet, Cube. July 9.
Not a typical gig for me, but then becoming a father in February means that this year has not been typical for me either. This was my daughter Mersina’s first ever gig and it was brilliant. From the opening salvo of g-g-g-gorilla, Kid Carpet had both children and parents enthralled, helped by his trademark plastic instruments and videos.

5) Unthanks, Arnolfini. March 22.
This was a treat at a venue not known for live music. Rachel and Becky Unthank smiled and whispered to each other on a stage, singing in a lilting north east accent with gorgeous harmonies. This was bewitching concert from an immensely likeable band in a venue that it would be great to see host more live music.

Preview: Bristol Acoustic Music Festival

5 01 2010

Next weekend sees the return of the Bristol Acoustic Music Festival to St George’s, featuring lots of top Bristol talent.

The three-day event, taking place on Friday the 15th, Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th, is a perfect use of St George’s and a great chance for bands the likes of which do not usually get a chance to play there – Babel, The Cedar et al –  to perform and marvel at its famous acoustics.

(Or the famous acoustics which I keep hearing that it has, because I’m not an expert on the subject. I do know that what I hear in St George’s is always infinitely better to what I hear in the Academy, but that’s not always to do with the acoustics.)

I digress. One act I would very much like to see is Kid Carpet (right), who is last up on Friday evening. I’m not sure how you can play Fisher Price keyboards acoustically, but I look forward to seeing him try.

Says St George’s: “An outstanding weekender of terrific tunes and unexpected twists. Acoustically ace.” And it’s all sponsored by Bath Ales. Bonus.

Also, try to see Stanton Delaplane and his euphonium on Sunday evening. Completely by chance, I saw him play at the Cascade Steps at the Harbour Festival a few years back. Anyone with a euphonium that’s an integral part to their sound gets my vote.