Monthly Archives :

February 2016

Finge’s Fashionista

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So, as the fictitious forecast correctly predicted we had some sizzle sunshine on saturday morning, and about time too! There were many a short short, plenty of  shades and sun hats galore, but one particular bonnet that caught my attention was that of a Miss Ava Amande. I caught her just outside the sewing shop checking out some fabric that looked remarkably similar to her glamorous summer frock. With a loose knit wooled jumper, and co-ordinating red wedges, this black and red combo  is just genius for our changeable summer/autumn weather. Upon asking her what she was doing on her travels to Ventnor she revealed that she was in fact a Shakespearean actress, playing the role of the queen in the Fringe festival’s ‘Shakespeare’s Richard II & Marlowe’s Edward II.” ! So fringer’s, top tip for saturday… BE A QUEEN.


They’d Give Pitch Perfect a run for Their Money

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Winter Springs certainly wowed the woodlands on Tuesday night, with encore upon encore, the crowd would have happily had them play all night! The fabulous 6 piece band describe themselves as a “Harmony led, folk/pop, singer-songwriter collective” and have been compared to the likes of Bon Iver and Fleetfoxes. 

In an interview after the show I congratulated the group on their fabulous set and shared with them a cheeky review note I’d made during the show …

“A happy version of Bon Iver/Daughter that would definitely give the cast of ‘Pitch Perfect’ a run for their money!” – Winter Springs

Of course that mustered a little giggle among the group and myself, but jokes aside, as a band, Winter Springs have some s.e.r.i.o.u.s harmony magic that’s too good to miss!  So if you were deterred by the gloomy grey of Tuesday night, not to worry! You’ve got another chance to catch this fabulous folk pop band. They’ll be performing at the Woodland stage from 10pm-10.45pm on Friday 14th and also have their brand new EP ‘Summer is Coming’ on sale at the Exchange.

This is not one to miss, if you like 5 part harmonies, mad mandolins and singers sippin’ on chai tea, Winter Springs are a must watch for the week.

Playing again at the Woodland Bar on Friday @ 10pm. 


Why You Gotta Harp On

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Fancy a bit of harp? Silly question, of course you do. We are very proud to be able to welcome the wonderful 2 Blondes and A Harp.

Fronted by the beautiful Glenda Clwyd and Lowri-Ann Richards, a duo that have been featured in composer Mason William’s (Classical Gas) top 10 performers poll for BBC Radio 6 International. If you’re looking for an eclectic combination of masterful arrangements, beautifully sung songs and a slice of pizazz, you’ve found the right act.

Their choice of music is not something one could put a finger on, featuring covers from Coldplay to Bessie Smith, Led Zeppelin to Judy Garland, Welsh folk to Lady Gaga!

The cabaret act drags the harp kicking and screaming into the 21st century! Be sure to catch them tomorrow and Saturday evening from 8.30pm at The Ventnor Arts Club.  

What Can Vegans Even Eat?

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The Keep Smiling Vegan Café is a mystery machine of happiness at this year’s Ventnor Fringe. Their unmissable van, decorated bright blue with a large sun painted on the front, will be situated in front of The Observatory Bar. 

    I myself, have recently turned vegan and personally find it tremendously difficult to pick up a filling meal that hits the spot. But fear not! The Keep Smiling Vegan Café will be providing an extensive menu of handmade vegan yummies, ranging from an all-day vegan breakfast to mouth-watering chilli nachos with fresh tomato and lime salsa; all served with a warm smile.

    A variety of their scrumptious goodies are handmade, adding that secret ingredient of TLC. Their menu boasts a comprehensive assortment of homemade food, including carrot cakes with lemon and walnut toppings, bliss balls and a personal favourite of mine, sweet and crunchy syrup and apricot flapjacks. 

    The van’s popularity is evident as their stock is already flying off the shelves (not due to the tremendous winds we’ve been having recently). 

    Whether you are a diehard vegan or simply a health enthusiast, I would strongly recommend heading over to The Observatory to enjoy the blissful weather we’re having for this year’s Ventnor Fringe 2016!


By Hollie Hayes

WEDNESDAY at the Ventnor Fringe! (Yoga with Maitri / Tilly Twist / Ceilidh / Carnival)

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Wednesday at the Fringe brings all the fun of the carnival! Caroline is our girl on the town, she’s been to meet some of the people walking in the procession as well as free fringe performer Tilly Twist, Yoga with Maitri and Karen Tweed from the Sailors and Shipwrecks fancy dress ceilidh.

Click the link to listen: 



WEDNESDAY at the Ventnor Fringe! (Yoga with Maitri / Tilly Twist / Ceilidh / Carnival) by The Ventnor Fringe on Mixcloud


Margaret’s a Shady Lady : Review

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Shady Margaret & her wardrobe malfunctions is exactly what it says on the tin. The evening is a cabaret consisting of a band of misfits and talented performers all mixed together to create on spectacular and peculiar evening. 

    If you have already seen the performance, or are planning on seeing it this week, expect to see eleven theatrical performances of singing, dance, spoken word, theatre and even burlesque. The show for me was entertaining from start to finish, beginning with a disgruntled magician known by the name of “Boris” performing an array of magical mishaps and comical blitz, and ending with a captivating live burlesque strip *wolf whistle*. A personal favourite from the evening was what can only be described as a backwards strip tease from the wonderful Alison, who executed the sauciest segment of the evening. 

    What can the audience expect to see? Who better to answer that question than the producer of Shady Margaret himself!

    Lewis Wheeler said: “Something bizarre. It depends on where you draw your lines of your bizarre. For some people it’ll be very bizarre for some people it’s not. A lot of dancing, a lot of clowning, funny stuff, and something hopefully to take away and think about as well.”

    Whether you’re a fan of theatre or open to something new, this will be right up your alley. The cabaret implores audience participation and encouragement, which is wholeheartedly received by the performers. I would strongly recommend the occasional whistle and cheer!

    This peculiar performance will be shown again this evening at the Victoria Street Studio, 9pm. Be sure to pick up a ticket from the Exchange! 

By Hollie Hayes

Better Than Rio

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Today’s the day – it’s carnival time! In its 127th year, Ventnor has the second oldest carnival in the country and I have witnessed thirty five of them having spent my childhood being dressed as a clown, a pirate and a little Dutch boy to name but a few, and paraded round the streets of Ventnor. This may sound like some twisted punishment but it’s all part of healthy development as a

Ventnorian child.

    These rites of passage us townsfolk go through can be a grueling physical and psychological test. I still pity my mother as I remember her dragging my brother and me around the streets in some sort of handcart, the sweltering heat causing the grease paint to run down her face as she pulled on. Or the psychological anguish of going to the costume shop only to find they had just hired out the Boo-Boo costume, and being made to parade as a frankly odd pairing of Yogi Bear and a parrot. All these things make us strong.

    I’ll be steering away from the red noses and clogs this year and taking a somewhat more restrained approach, but I’ll still be in the crowd waving and cheering as the multi-coloured pageant goes by. The Carnival still holds a special place in my heart.

    In the lead up to the carnival you’ll find me hanging out at Parkside, where there’s going to be chance to see some great music and poetry and maybe a spot of yoga too. Come join me.

    The day is a special one in the hearts of many of us here in the ‘nor. I’ve rarely seen a town that embraces the strangeness, and throws itself full force to celebrate summer. So baring these things in mind, I want you to clap and cheer and throw your tuppences with a smile as the cavalcade go by.

    In essence the carnival hasn’t changed much over the years, you’ll still experience frankly bizarre sights and sounds as the town gets its party on and takes to the streets. However, with the introduction of the Fringe this most ‘Ventnor’ of days has been extended with even more excitement.

    After the main procession has passed and you’ve waved your light saber or fairy wand to the point of arm ache, make your way down to the Observatory bar for our Fringe Carnival Party and find refreshment – the sea breeze will no doubt give you the second wind to carry you through the evening.

    So grab a drink, and be dazzled by fireworks glittering over the sea to the sounds of our resident DJs. Welcome to Ventnor.

    The children’s procession is scheduled to start at Midday and the main procession starting at 7pm.

By Matt Hitt

Film Festival

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That’s right, Holy Grail stuff baby, the one and only Isle of Wight Film Festival is back and better than ever. Founded in 2007 as a local competition, it has now expanded into an international festival showcasing an extremely high standard of work from across the world. Drama and Documentary Feature films compete for the coveted On The Wight Best Feature Film Award, whilst shorts contest for the Rapanui Best Short Environmental Award, Whatever Pictures Best Drama Award and the Amnesty International Best Human Rights Award. Films are being shown daily on an HD pop up screen in the Sacred Cinema.


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Rain deterred not one bystander among the many Fringe friends yesterday evening.

A short but sweet rundown of VFRINGE so far and hello and how are all from Festival director, Jack Whitewood. This was then followed by a surprise performance. If you missed it here’s the lowdown…

Artist and organiser of the Undecided Art Collective, Rachael Berry, along with Ventnor’s own Laura Reid (of The Ventnor Darlings) performed a new release. Kindly created for yours truly, we are very grateful for that spontaneous set as we now have our 2015 podcast and review show jingle! Better yet we have all your lovely voices cheering away too.

The evening was filled with the warm fringe-tastic feeling this festival seems to curiously create. 

Then a stunning set by our own Poppy Janella; a writer, performer, radio interviewer and fashion guru. #poppydoeseverything #PFRINGE

Theatre Breakdown

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The week has flown by at a dizzying speed and the weekend is already upon us. Have you enjoyed the week thus far darlings? I thought you might have. 

    That can only mean one thing, it’s time to shake off those aches from the dreadful Ventnor hills and get grooving on the dance floor. With that Friday feeling it’s time to swear your allegiance to all that is theatre as the day is chock-a-block with theatre and dance all around the “ghetto” (OFSTED approved). 

So let’s get started!

    The first performance to kick us off this joyous day of theatre is Good Night, Little Bear (3pm, Victoria Street Studio). If you missed them yesterday then fear not, the amazing story of one little girl and her polar bear will be with us for the entire weekend. Though with the increase in global warming and greenhouse gas emissions it would be a wise idea to head down sooner rather than later.

    Next up we have Nothing To Wear (4pm, Parkside) and The Austerity Games (6pm, Pier Street Playhouse). If you want to be star of the show and get yourself involved I would strongly recommend for the ultimate audience participation experience.

    He’s a gangster, a loveable rogue and isn’t the manic recurring nemesis of Batman. Bane, come on down! This four-part performance tells the story of a hitman, Bruce Bane, as he tries to find out who’s after him. Though the show is split into four parts it can be enjoyed both as a journey or a stand-alone performance, so make sure you pick up copy of the Fringe programme for more details. 

    Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others buy tickets to Twelfth Night at Holy Trinity Church, 8pm. After their successful Richard II and Edward II last year, Scena Mundi Theatre Company have prepared yet another weekend special for all you Shakespeare fanatics out there in a condensed format of 1 hour. 

    Lastly, if you’re a fan of something a little different, a dark and funny drama awaits at Pier Street Playhouse, 8pm, entitled “Hidden Mother”. The award winning Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company’s latest piece depicts the disastrous tale of two patients in a British mental asylum convinced of a glamorous lifestyle.  

    There’s an awfully busy day ahead of you, fellow Fringers. The early bird catches the worm, so make sure you pick up your tickets from the Exchange!


By Hollie Hayes