August 18, 2011


Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience

Anyone exhausted by the thought of reading the seven books or sitting through all the films can now get their fix of Harry Potter compressed into just 70 minutes. Dan and Jeff of the CBBC television channel, who recently won a Best Entertainment Olivier Award for their show Potted Panto, have now recreated a spectacular event full of brilliant songs, ridiculous props, a fire-breathing dragon, lashings of Hogwarts magic and even audience participation in a game of Quidditch. First performed in 2006, Potted Potter now returns for a fifth-anniversary tour and, after a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, has come to the Garrick Theatre until 29 August, before moving on to Buxton, Leeds, Taunton and Great Torrington in early September.


The Digital Decomposition of 10 Ruston Close

It was at 10 Rillington Place in Notting Hill that the notorious serial killer John Christie carried out most of his murders in the 1940s and early 1950s, burying several of his victims in the garden. He even managed to frame another man, Timothy Evans, for some of the crimes. The events proved so traumatic that the street name was changed to Ruston Close, the house demolished and the area redesigned. Now John Wild has drawn on this disturbing history to create a powerful interactive installation at the Great Western Studios (until 6 September). A photograph of 10 Ruston Close will be projected within the gallery and also made available online. For each person who looks at it, a single pixel will be removed, meaning that the image will slowly decompose in response to the number of views it receives.


Art for the Nation: Sir Charles Eastlake at the National Gallery

Described by a contemporary as "the alpha and omega" of the Victorian art world, Sir Charles Eastlake (1793-1865) developed his talents in Rome before returning to London in 1830 and becoming well known as a painter of genre scenes and religious works. In 1850, he was elected president of the Royal Academy. As well as having an important role as a writer, translator and editor of seminal art-historical texts, he went on to become the first director of the National Gallery, from 1855 to 1865: there he purchased a large number of acknowledged masterpieces. This exhibition at the gallery (until 30 October) illuminates his life and career by juxtaposing material from the archives with some of his acquisitions for the collection.


Comics and Conflicts

This event at the Imperial War Museum on 19 and 20 August forms part of the Children's Literature Festival accompanying the exhibition Once Upon a Wartime: Classic War Stories for Children. The conference will include films, discussions and masterclasses. Panels will explore themes such as Representing Trauma, Ethnicity, Nationalism and Representation and the Image and Reality of War. Featured artists include David Collier, who re-enlisted in the Canadian Army at the age of 40 and described his experiences in Chimo; Zeina Abirached, whose Le Jeu des Hirondelles draws on her childhood during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1980s; Pat Mills, creator of Charley's War, the story of an underage British soldier in the First World War first told in Battle Picture Weekly; and Belfast-born Garth Ennis, who boldly addressed the conflict in 1980s Northern Ireland in his Troubled Souls series.


Little Brothers

This poignant photographic exhibition, which continues in the Community Gallery at the Birmingham Museum until 23 October, uses stark black-and-white images to chart a hidden world that most people never get a chance to see. Who really knows what daily life is like in a drop-in centre for poor and homeless people? Determined to find out, Stuart Manley and Shaun Mallen of the SM2 Studio in Wolverhampton spent time in a local centre run by the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd Ministry and came back with these extraordinary pictures.

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