Elkie’s a singer

We loved her thirty-five years ago so we absolutely knew we’d be in for a treat seeing Elkie Brooks live at the Theatre By The Lake in Keswick tonight – but to say that we enjoyed the night would be a colossal understatement: the star was the brightest and best in the firmament.

“I’ll be 71 in a couple of weeks”, the beloved entertainer confided, with that familiar gravelly voice that sends shivers up your spine. “I love you”, some bloke shouted. “I like you, too”, Elkie shot back, before storming into rocking the socks off a house full to bursting – breaking every known law of physical capability for most forty year olds let alone someone over seventy. This lady’s movement and energy defy description.

Known as one of Britain’s best loved entertainers, this power-house of a woman has ginorrrrmous presence and a repertoire that had us crying one moment and grinning like hyenas the next – with a band (vocal, drums, sax, guitar and bass) that was thrillingly felt as well as heard in every nook and cranny of the house!

Pearl’s a singer; Gasoline Alley; Lilac wine; We’ve got tonight … we didn’t want it to end. Knockout. Simply fabulous. Unmissable. Utterly outstanding. Wow – Elkie’s a singer!

Snow Queen

A visit to our favourite theatre tonight – delighted, as ever, by the sight of a large assembly, enthralled.

The beautiful Snow Queen’s inordinate vanity seeks to secure superiority by blasting ice upon and around everyone else. She aims to destroy life’s seasons and any potential for happiness in others. But mirrored beauty – and mirrors themselves – are subject to cracks and blemish, to an ultimate sense of aloneness, fear and imperfection.

Love, the freshness of spring, summer playtime and the colours of autumn, family, flowers, flight, fright, friendship, loyalty, manure, rivers, seas, scent and sight and sound and taste and touch, youth and old age, foolishness and wisdom – all have their rightful place within properly rounded richness of living. So before we set off for home we were so glad to learn that the terrifying old Snow Queen could actually play the flute – and had decided, by the end, to join her music to that of all the others. Good decision.

Stranger-worlds melding

Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.

Mary Oliver
A Poetry Handbook

Small studio theatre tonight. Excuse me. Thank you. Excuse me. Sorry. Good evening. Excuse me. Thank you. Sorry, me again. Thank you. You know the kind of tired tension always present in a chattering audience arriving, finding its way to the seats – and the lack of connection between people come from none of us knows where? Of course you do. We all do it and think it, too. From the busy car park to the clambered-into chair. What are you lot doing here? As though we weren’t expecting other-goers.

Then lights down. Books. Small table. Chair. One man. One woman. Anthology. Brusque meets beauty. Poetry. Conversation. Conflagration. Connection. And suddenly everyone in the entire crotchety assembly seems to allow and to forgive and to know each other, for this little while at least. Intense, involved and involving. Earlier distractedness fading. The arts. Stranger-worlds melding into this new world before the ice cream and then again, more powerfully, for the next little while thereafter.

Poetry’s prophecy. Vivifying. Warming. Securing. Nourishing. Vital. In every soul’s small and demanding studio theatre.