Sushi is really popular these days, with chains such as Yo! Sushi and Itsu across the country. You can even pick up box of sushi in your local supermarket. Sushi can ofen be a healthy choice, especially when opting for fish or vegetable-based types. As sushi is one of my favourite types of food, I was really excited to take part in a sushi making class offered by Yo! Sushi. You need to book in advance and can either pay on the day or use a voucher from a supplier (like Buy a Gift for example). A class costs £30 for one person or £50 for two. You don’t need to bring anything along as Yo! provide all the ingredients and equipment needed, including gloves.
Set in the Second World during the Blitz, Their Finest is a deliciously heartwarming and rousing piece. Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) initially needs to earn money to support her artist husband Ellis. The British government is aware that morale is ebbing and so plans to boost spirits with public information short propaganda films. Applying for what she assumes is a secretarial post, Catrin is tasked to work on films writing women’s dialogue (or “slop”). The film is based on Lissa Evans’s 2009 novel Their Finest Hour and a Half (which flows better as a title). The adapatation by Gaby Chiappe is directed by Lone Scherfig, who also directed 2009’s An Education.
Ballet Black is a ballet company of dancers of black and Asian descent. Relatively new, Ballet Black was started in 2001 by Cassa Pancho with the aim to provide opportunities for ethnic minority dancers. There is more information available about the company’s history here and an article about members of the company here. This performance at the Barbican in London is the premiere of their new Triple Bill: The House of Dreams, Captured and a new take on Red Riding Hood.
Kay Plunkett-Hogge is a cookery writer whose work include writing a book for the Leon chain and recipes for Cook Yourself Thin. Her latest book, with the appealing title Adventures of a Terribly Greedy Girl, is an autobiography detailing the author’s childhood in Bangkok, and her international career spanning across England and America. Being so well travelled, Plunkett-Hogge’s culinary influences come from a range of countries. Plunkett-Hogge has had an amazingly exciting, busy and jet-setting life so far, making her memoir a joy to read.
E.V. Crowe’s new play has a seemingly simple premise : women sit in a room and hand stitch pieces of cloth. Yet as the pay develops, we begin to question the nature of time, history and the past in this cleverly constructed piece which is also peppered with humour. The Sewing Group is both directed and designed by Stewart Laing.
Famous for the harrowing novel (and later film) Room, Emma Donoghue’s latest novel is set in eighteenth century Ireland and explores the phenomenon of “fasting girls”. Stretching across the sixteenth century to as late as the twentieth, “fasting girls” claimed to be able to live without food. One such example is Sarah Jacob in 1860s Wales. “Fasting girls” drew attention from the religious and medical professionals as well as the general public as they seemed to live on air, light or plain water alone. Quite often the motivation was attributed to religious fervour, although anorexia and monetary gain were also reasons. And quite often, a “fasting girl” was put under surveillance and discovered to be a fake or coerced into not eating. Donoghue’s protagonist Lib Wright is an English nurse who undertakes a two-week observation on the eleven-year old Anna O’Donnell in rural Ireland. The Wonder is set not long after the Great Famine and during the pre-harvest “hungry month” of August.
ML Stedman’s novel gained traction as a sad, sentimental novel that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. Derek Cianfrance’s adapation of the 2012 bestseller promises a similar emotional journey as it follows the lives of newly-weds Isabel (Alicia Vikander) and Great War veteran Thomas (Michael Fassbender) in Australia. The film is also known for being where Vikander and Fassbender started their relationship.