HT Mashup: Reviews

Coastival reviews

We're setting the ball rolling with a few reviews of the excellent Coastival events. Want to add your review of one you saw? Drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

John Shuttleworth
Imagine spending a whole evening with a loved, but achingly tedious uncle – a man whose idea of style is beige Farrah slacks, an acrylic polo neck, and a 70s-style leather blazer; whose idea of scintillating conversation is to describe in detail how he carefully saves and categorises his junk mail (soffits and fascias getting their own folder); and who – good God, can it get any worse? – insists on playing you his terrible songs on his portable keyboard, throwing in cringeworthy references to 80s bands, good and bad, as he goes? 

Just how much would they have to pay you to spend a precious Saturday evening – and Valentine’s, to boot – in this man’s company? You’d think quite a lot, but a capacity audience at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre actually handed over £14 a head for this dreariness, and loved every minute: because John Shuttleworth is the alter ego of that master of observational comedy, Graham Fellows. 

I couldn’t quite figure out what I was laughing at most of the time – just why is John’s meticulous description of wife Mary’s setting up a room for a lodger, complete with hospitality tray with a nice sachet of hot chocolate, and a new bin (although she hasn’t quite decided yet between three possibilities, ranging from £1.50 to £3) so deeply and satisfyingly hilarious? Forget the analysis – it just is. Next time John Shuttleworth visits Scarborough, I’ll be first in the queue to listen to his musings on life, the universe and shepherd’s pie.
Jeannie Swales

Monad
The reverberating sound reaches you long before you can see the screen. Not a car engine but something insistent and sinister, adding to the shivers in this creepy underground cavern. The Aquarium Top car park oozes atmosphere, its history as a funfair ghosting across the echoing space.

Video director Andy Hylton has captured that creepy chill for his installation Monad. On screen, a series of slo-mo images reveals people in that same car park – a man in a parka, a woman, a child with teddy bear – making their way through the gloom. It’s beautifully staged and lit in cold blues and yellows, and the soundtrack adds to the sense of foreboding.

What’s going on? We humans have a need to make sense of things, so we invent a story. The trick here is that the story depends on where you start watching in the loop. Is the child in danger? No, here’s his mum. Or is she? Who’s in the car that pulls up by the startlingly red pay machines, the shot lingering on a very Edward Hopper montage? Is that man lost, or stalking?

Hylton said he wanted to create a sense of loneliness and detachment, and he’s certainly succeeded. The shifting storyline created as you watch is cleverly done, and the occasional addition of sound from real cars all around completes the sense of immersion in this place.
Janis Bright

Waves installation
Viv Mousdell’s creation, filling the space at the back of St Martin’s Church, draws on Virginia Woolf’s stream of consciousness novel The Waves. It’s a pretty simple notion: a video projection on to white sheeting, with accompanying soundtrack. But the execution is fantastic, creating a mesmerising spectacle.

The sequence starts, as Woolf did, with a luminous sunrise. The sea moves, while the sound is of breathing … or is it just the waves in their rhythm? Back and forth, the waves move over suspended bands of cloth, creating a 3D effect of the sea rushing in. More cloth on the floor lets the ripples come bubbling out towards you. Soon the sea is a crashing turmoil. Then, suddenly, it lets out its breath once more and retreats. Then calm.

We went to this installation fresh from a showing of Turn of the Tide, the great 1935 film of fishing families at work in Robin Hood’s Bay. In one scene, the men in their workshop strike up a round of Eternal Father, Strong to Save – ‘always has a good bass’. Here inside the church, the spirituality of the piece is inescapable, and the quiet at the end could have been a little longer to ponder the arm that quells the restless wave.
Janis Bright

Restaurant Review - Castlegate Taberna

It’s a few years since the tapas craze hit these shores with a vengeance. In the 1990s, all over Britain, people were ordering patatas bravas and boquerones by the slack handful.

The problem was that the Spanish custom of lingering over bar snacks before dining at midnight, never quite gelled with the British love of the mid-evening three-course restaurant blow-out. You ended up going home feeling hungry, or waiting endlessly for the next dish to arrive. Now, at last, the problem has been solved by a small taberna in, of all places, Pickering.

Let’s get something said right away: the Castlegate Taberna serves not only the best Spanish food I have eaten in Britain (and I’ve had plenty), the food is consistently the finest to be had in this neck of the woods. The tapas format allows for variety, innovation and change.

On our last visit we had asparagus salad, gnocchi, puy lentils, calamares, scrambled eggs with green garlic stalks, smoked salmon and a whole lot more, washed down by a bone-dry Spanish white. Every dish was well thought out, fresh, interesting and delicious.

The service is excellent, the price reasonable; give yourselves a treat and get out to Pickering – you won’t go home hungry. Roger Osborne

Restaurant Review - Scarborough Tandoori

Fishie on a dishie

This must be Scarborough’s oldest Indian restaurant. It’s certainly got that venerable air, though happily the decor is modern – flock wallpaper a distant memory. It’s got bigger over the years too, providing a spacious atmosphere where once it was narrow and gloomy.

The fare is standard Bangladeshi, reliably good without ever getting too interesting. Four fish dishes catch the eye though, these are proper Bengali styles but using familiar types of fish like cod.

We tried two. Palak macher churchory is pieces of meaty cod cooked with ginger and spinach, and it’s tasty. The highlight though is moni puri machli massala, a type of fish found in Bangladesh cooked in masala sauce with lemon and garlic. Great stuff!
Puds are less exciting. You might think who cares after all that nan, ladies’ fingers, pickles and the rest.
But if just one of our local restaurants could produce a decent kulfi ice cream it would be worth an outing just for that.

Scarborough Tandoori, 48-52 St Thomas Street, Scarborough,
Tel 01723 352393

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