guildford

The Physics House Band may not sound like your average band name – but then this foursome are not your average band.

They create avant-garde compositions that capture everything from jazz to prog to psych to doom-metal, all combined together with a furious energy transcending to their mind-bending live shows.

DARKNESS AND LIGHT – The Physics House Band

Their recently completed third record explores further into the expanses of intense darkness and light, involving soft ambient synths, angular guitars and saxophones.

The bulk of the record was written over a two-week period in a secluded farmhouse turned studio on Start Point, a Devonshire headland located between the English channel and the Celtic Sea. The record is a reflection of that time, as the cabin fever drew ever closer.

Find out what it all means when The Physics House Band play at the Boileroom, Guildford, on Monday (22 July).

IT’S tribute time at G Live in Guildford, two salutes to major artists on stage next week.

The ELO Experience, emulating Jeff Lynn and The Electric Light Orchestra, heads to the venue on Wednesday (24 July) followed the next day by The Estefan Experience, a tribute to Latin songstress Gloria Estefan.

SOUNDS OF THE 70s -The ELO Experience re create the sounds of the Electric Light Orchestra

The legacy left by Jeff Lynne and The Electric Light Orchestra barely needs any introduction – suffice to say that between 1972 and 1986 they achieved more combined UK and US Top 40 hits than any other band, including 10538 Overture, Evil Woman, Living Thing, Diary of Horace Wimp, Don’t Bring me Down and, of course, Mr Blue Sky.

As for the Queen Of Latin Pop, the real Gloria Estefan sold over 100 million album and won 26 Grammy Awards. The tribute show will feature a 12-piece band with Cuban-themed singers and dancers and songs like Get On Your Feet, Conga, 1-2-3, Rhythm is Gonna Get You, Anything For You, Dr Beat and many more.

First it was a massive bestseller, then a blockbuster film starring Emily Blunt, so there’s a lot of pressure on former EastEnders star Samantha Womack as she takes the title role in the stage version of psychological thriller Girl On The Train.

But the woman who played Ronnie Mitchell in the Albert Square soap is undaunted by taking on the character of Rachel Watson.

SUSPENSE – Samantha Womack and Adam Jackson-Smith, who plays Tom Watson, rehearsing Girl on the Train

“The good thing is this is the only part I’ve ever done where I can look absolutely terrible,” she laughs. “I don’t have to put any makeup on – she’s permanently hungover or drunk anyway… I’ve never done a part where I can be that relaxed. I can turn up in a pair of cargo pants and just walk on stage!”

But Samantha does think the theatre version of Girl On The Train can offer something the film couldn’t.

“It’s hard to do a novel like this and do it justice in a film because you have to make it feel like ‘real life’, and you don’t have so much access to inside someone’s head in a film,” she explains. “I think it really needed a bit more of that. I think in the play we’ve got a little bit more of that in.”

She said that she read Paula Hawkins’ novel when it came out and was “captivated” but adds: “I didn’t want to reread it and contaminate the play as I wanted to treat the show as its own thing.

“The opportunity to take on a role like this is incredibly exciting. I’ve been fascinated by thrillers for a long time and this kind of storytelling, like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, offers us a voyeurs journey into a world which is dangerous and full of suspense.”

For the uninitiated, Samantha goes on: “It’s a thriller and a dark drama about coercive control, abuse and fixating on perfection and all the characters are imperfect and damaged in their own way.

“I play Rachel, who has been in an abusive relationship, lost her job and she also can’t conceive so drinks a lot and has a sketchy memory. She sits on the train drinking vodka and fixates on a couple she can see from the window about their perfect life.

“Next the policeman turns up and the woman she has been watching goes missing and due to her memory blackouts she can’t remember if she was involved in the disappearance and becomes paranoid.”

It’s a complex character to portray and she adds: “Rachel has taken a little while for me to get right because she is quite rude and disillusioned and provokes everyone she meets but the audience still needs to champion her which is a difficult balance but she is really lovely to play.

“I suppose everyone you play, you have to like, or understand at least. She’s someone who’s lost her way and been manipulated for a long time and had the misfortune to not have a baby, and so you find her at her lowest point, but what’s quite nice about her is that she’s quite firey and when she’s drunk she’s unpredictable.

“She’s a very good anti-hero. I liked reading about her, and when she’s drunk she’ll say out loud what other people won’t normally say and I love playing a character like that.”

The Girl on the Traincomes to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from Monday (8 July) until Saturday 13 July.

THE Mantic Muddlers needed a big sound for their new album, Tall Tales and the Gospel Truth, so they recorded all 12 tracks in a kitchen…over one weekend.

“It was a challenge but we did it,” says frontman Jacob Davies. “We recorded it live and absolutely have not manipulated anything. We did about four takes of every song and picked our favourites.”

Of course it wasn’t just any kitchen, but an industrial one in a former day centre for people with disabilities – next to a rail line with trains going past and vibrating the building every 15 minutes.


Roots, rattle and roll with The Mantic Muddlers (l-r) Laurence Evans, Jacob Davies and George Mercer

“Yeah, at one point a train rumbles past at the end of a track,” laughs the singer and guitarist. “But actually it was brilliant. The kitchen is full of shiny surfaces and the acoustics are great.

“We went there once to rehearse and we thought ‘this is a big sound’. There’s no carpet and everything is solid, there’s a wooden floor, metal furniture and cookers and sinks, lots of natural reverb. It helps to lift the playing.”

The result is Tall Tales & The Gospel Truth, the roots trio’s second release, following a six-track CD in 2017, but Jacob insists the new album is their true debut.

“This one that feels more like us,” he explains. “The intention was always there, from the first few tracks, that it would be an album. We’ve let them develop and grow and worked really hard on them.”

The Hampshire outfit have been a settled three-piece for about three years, the singer’s musical partners being double bass player George Mercer and violin player Laurence Evans.

George has provided rock solid basslines since he and Jacob were in a heavy metal band in school, but Laurence’s one-man string section is a more recent addition after he approached the others after a pub gig. 

“He came up and said: “I can play violin”, so I invited him round my house…and two notes in I was nearly crying, it’s such a unique instrument. I was like “yes!” and he was in the band from that moment,” says the frontman.

Laurence’s strings skill has been honed from a young age playing in the school orchestra and a mixed background ranging from Frank Zappa to Stephane Grappelli. “I started with classical, but got into jazz and always loved improvising,” he explains.

Jacob admits: “Musically we’ve come from different places. Me and George come from a rock and heavy metal background, whereas Laurence knows what he’s doing!

“But where does metal come from? Rock ‘n’ roll. And where does that come from? Eventually you get back to the blues, gospel, soul and slave music. They all have the same energy and, for me, it’s all about the energy.”

Whatever way you describe it, The Muddlers’ roots, rattle and roll sound has won them plenty of fans and upcoming gigs include the Twisted Village Festival, the Big Top tent at Victorious in Portsmouth, and a recent support slot with the legendary Johnny Mars.

The official launch gig for Tall Tales & The Gospel Truth will be at the Star Inn, Guildford, on Thursday (27 June), which was booked before they’d even recorded the album.

“Well, it’s quite good to put your back against the wall sometimes,” says Laurence.

FROM broadcasting legends to ballet, Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is to host a series of one-off shows from Wednesday to Saturday next week, 19-22 June.

First up is John Sergeant, former chief political correspondent for the BBC and ITN political Editor who many people remember better for his quirky performances on Strictly Come Dancing.


John Sergeant reveals a collection of anecdotes from his life at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre next Wednesday

In An Audience with John Sergeant on Wednesday, the audience will hear stories and anecdotes from the Have I Got News for You, The One Show, QI, Room 101 and, of course, the world of politics.

Two ballets will then take over the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre stage. Coppélia (Thursday) tells the story of an eccentric toymaker and his beloved doll, while Giselle (Friday) tells how Giselle, a peasant girl, falls in love with Count Albrecht, who has told her he is a villager named Loys. Her discovery of his true identity has devastating consequences.

An Evening with Sir Michael Parkinson (Saturday 22) sees a visit by a man who has interviewed more than 2,000 of the most important cultural figures of the 20th and 21st centuries. He’ll discuss as many of them as they get through in conversation with his son Mike.

Can you imagine a world where the country sound of Hank Williams meets the guitar riffery of AC/DC? Well, you don’t have to because Hayseed Dixie have got there before you.

In fact the act started back in 2000 when John Wheeler and Mike Daly combined their musical talent after a whisky-fuelled stint in their Tennessee studio.

Hayseed Dixie


Fifteen albums later (consisting of both original material and reinterpretations of previously
rendered songs) Hayseed Dixie have more than half a million records around the world and played over 1,200 live shows in 31 different countries. The next comes at the Boileroom in Guildford on Thursday 20 June.

ONE OF several singers billing themselves as “the world’s number one Elvis tribute artist” brings his latest show to G Live, Guildford, on Saturday 15 June.

Taking Care of Elvis – The King Is Back will see musician, singer and songwriter Ben Portsmouth perform the songs of his hero.


Ben Portsmouth performing the songs of The King

Ben had Elvis’s DNA in his blood from an early age. His father was an avid Elvis fan and he grew up on a diet of Presley songs before starting his tribute act in 2005.

In August 2012, he won the Elvis Presley Enterprises Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest which took place in Memphis, the first artist from outside the USA to win this title.

THREE sisters arrive at their remote childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral.This is the setting for Shelagh Stephenson’s The Memory of Water, which comes to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, from Tuesday 21 May to Saturday 25 May.

Having grown apart, the siblings argue and joke as they sort through their mother’s belongings and gradually confide about the realities of their own adult lives. But it’s when they move on to childhood recollections that they discover they remember things differently, leading to a series of dramatic and devastating revelations.

Theatregoers should expect tears and laughter from a cast which includes Juliet Cowan (Cuckoo, EastEnders, Shameless), Nicholas Bailey (EastEnders) and Stewart Wright(People Like Us, Love and Marriage).

IT WON’T come as any surprise to fans of Julian Clary that he still likes to cause a bit of outrage – more than 30 years after he first started baiting audiences in the 1980s. But he says he’s a bit more choosy about his targets nowadays.

“It’s one of life’s pleasures, in my opinion,” he laughed. “It’s one of the reasons people come to see me – they want to see if I’ll go too far. It livens up their otherwise dreary lives I expect. It gets the heart rate going, much like fairground rides or watching a horror movie.”

However, Julian, who turns 60 this month, recalls that this was even more true when he started out in comedy as The Joan Collins Fan Club.

“Yes, because prejudice, ignorance and fear were rife back then,” he explained. “I felt if you talked about the mechanics of gay sex, for example, it would be shocking to them but it would demystify it. They would leave better people than when they arrived.


PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES – Julian Clary is always ready to shock his audience

“That’s changed now. Well, it’s not just me, it’s just, you know, we’ve all grown up. The world’s a better place these days.”

Instead, the Surrey-born comic says that while people may be less easily shocked in 2019, they seem to be far more easily offended.

“It’s funny… the other night I wanted to put something on Twitter. It was about the Duchess of wherever she is, the Duchess of Sussex, being pregnant. My husband said, ‘Yes, but who is the father?’ and I thought, probably years ago I could’ve put that on Twitter and we’d have all chortled. Now, I thought, ‘Well, I just can’t because it’s going to cause outrage.’

“There’s this new word ‘snowflake’, isn’t there? I would blame social media I think, where there’s people who spend all day arguing. Be very careful what you say.

“It’s different, a different sort of controversy. If it was really controversial that I was an ‘out’ gay man on television, then that’s something that I would feel more self-righteous about. Implying that the Duchess of Sussex is putting it about is probably not true at this stage of their marriage! So I can’t really feel self-righteous about that.”

Julian says there’s precious little chance of people actually being offended at his shows. He explained: “I’ve been around the block a few times and if people buy a ticket to see me, chances are they quite like me or they’ve been before. So there is a warmth and affection, but there is a sort of expectation of the boundaries being pushed a bit. So I’m happy to oblige!”

However, no one will necessarily be able to avoid his roving eye and sardonic wit.

“I wander around now, so you’re not safe anywhere,” he said. “I’ve always found people’s lives are more interesting than mine, and so I’m interested in talking to people and improvising, really.

“I did a straight play quite recently, Le Grand Mort, and it was really enjoyable, but I really had to stop myself from talking to the audience. It was in a very small theatre at Trafalgar Studios.

“I wanted to talk about someone’s hair and their handbag and the shoes they were wearing, and you just can’t apparently. I’m told that, when acting in a play, you are expected to say the same words in the same order every night. Who knew?”

So what kind of audience participation can be expected in his latest show, Born To Mince?

“Well, I’ve been reading a lot about gay aversion therapy recently, so I had this idea that we could try heterosexual aversion therapy and get some men out in the audience, wire up their genitals, and show them pictures of Coleen Nolan.

“If there’s any twinge of arousal they’ll get 40 volts through the testicles…it’s what passes for entertainment these days.”

You have been warned.

JULIAN Clary’s Born To Mince tour reaches G Live, Guildford, on Tuesday 28 May.

BEING a blind comedian is tough, but being a blind father is possibly tougher. Just ask Chris McCausland, who’s done both.

“The most challenging parts of life as a comedian for me are all the logistical ones, travelling the country to different venues and even getting to and from the stage at a show,” he explained.

“Obviously, I’ve found solutions to these aspects of the job over the years. Once these issues have been overcome the actual on-stage, stand-up part of the job is the easy bit.”

FUNNY MAN – Comedian Chris McCausland is bringing his Speaky Blinder show to Guildford

Being a dad has raised a few more issues for Chris, who lost his sight as an adult.

“As my daughter has got older and more communicative, being a blind dad has got easier in lots of ways,” he said. “But there was a really difficult period when she was a one-year old, where she was mobile but silent, crawling about on the floor hardly making a peep!

“Looking back, maybe I should have put a bell on her, or a Bluetooth tracker so that I could ask Alexa to find her!

“Now she’s five though, the toughest thing is probably things like not being able to help her properly with her reading and her writing. How many other kids in her class have already got better handwriting than their daddy?”

Chris is now a Surrey resident, having moved to the county from Liverpool in 1996 to study at Kingston University. As a northerner married to a Brazilian, he says there’s often a culture clash – especially their different reactions to temperature.

“Whereas my wife will still require a winter coat in 22-degree sunshine, I struggle to function in anything warmer than about 26,” he said. “This obviously creates a great deal of conflict when the central heating comes into question.

“I talk about this in the show, but I think there is a good chance that one of us may one day be found dead in the hallway with one arm reaching out towards the thermostat, with the other one of us having skipped the country.”

Chris’s stand-up career started at a new-act night in Balham in 2003, but within a year he had won a string of awards and come third in Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny competition.

He’s since made many TV appearances and is a regular on the CBeebies series Me Too! But he said his career high point has been filming Live at the Apollo for the BBC.

“Not only was it the biggest career opportunity that I’ve had, but it was also the biggest actual gig that I had done, getting to play in front of 3,500 comedy fans at the Hammersmith Apollo,” Chris recalled.

“I’ve lived near London for over 20 years and have been to see lots of my music and comedy heroes perform on that stage, and so to get to do the same was a dream come true, really.”

Chris brings his Speaky Blinder show to the Bellerby Studio at Guildford’s G Live on Thursday 16 May as part of his later UK tour.

He added: “After this tour is over, I plan to write a book about my own experiences of losing my sight, being a comedian, and becoming a dad.

“They say that everybody has got a book in them, and I reckon I must have at least two. I also plan to become Prime Minister, destroy Facebook, and form the world’s most successful rock band…”