In Valentine’s month, we’ll help readers fall even more in love with their city in an issue brimming with thrilling culture, foodie inspiration, fascinating interviews and of course – the best dates and gifts to spoil your partner with on February 14th!
YOUR MONTHLY FIX OF
Valentine’s delights Cambridge’s most romantic gifts & experiences
TABLE TALK The best of the city’s supper club scene
CULTURE SHOCK Daring theatre, cult club nights & A-list artists
DISCOVER WHAT NOT TO MISS THIS FEBRUARY, WITH OUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CAMBRIDGE LIVING the bridge The view from
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Short but sweet
ebruary might be the shortest month of the year, but it’s shaping up to be a good one here in Cambridge. After a sleepy January, the local culture scene is set for a burst of energy, with thrilling theatre, great gigs and exhilarating exhibitions. In celebration of its first birthday, we catch up with the team behind cult LGBTQ+ night Club Urania, who talk community and creativity on page 10. We also hear from the creators of Home X : a pioneering theatre show blending storytelling and gaming technology – check it out on page 17. On the food front, Elisha gives her top tips for budget-friendly dining around the city, sharing mouth-watering memories of nasi goreng at Cambridge Market, steaming bowls of ramen on Regent Street and lots more (page 47). We also dive into the city’s supper club scene, discovering fine dining in a car park, exquisite Réunion cuisine around a chef’s own dining table, and imaginative menus from the Rubbish Cooks – who use ingredients destined for the bin to create tasty dishes. Read all about it on page 42. There’s also Valentine’s gifts, interiors inspiration, interviews aplenty and lots more inside – enjoy the issue and see you next month!
Cambridge Edition Magazine Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB22 3HJ, 01223 499450, cambsedition.co.uk • All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of the publishers. • Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Cambridge Edition or Bright Publishing Ltd, which do not accept any liability for loss or damage. • Every effort has been made to ensure all information is correct. • Cambridge Edition is a free publication that is distributed in Cambridge and the surrounding area. EDITORIAL Editor in chief Nicola Foley 01223 499459 email@example.com Assistant editor Miriam Balanescu Editorial assistant Alex Fice Editorial director Roger Payne Deputy chief sub editor Matthew Winney Sub editors Harriet Williams & Ben Gawne ADVERTISING Sales director Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 firstname.lastname@example.org Ad manager Maria Francis 01223 492240 email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS Mark Box, Lawrence Brown, Charlotte Griffiths, Anna Taylor, Angelina Villa-Clarke & Elisha Young DESIGN & PRODUCTION Senior designer Lucy Woolcomb Junior designer Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman Ad production Man-Wai Wong MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck
EDITOR IN CHIEF
FIND US @CAMBSEDITION | CAMBSEDITION.CO.UK
04 Starters This month’s indie wish list, plus our favourite social media pics of Cambridge 07 Culture Club Exhibitions to inspire, theatre highlights, street- style portraits and big-screen must-sees 33 Half Marathon In anticipation of next month’s race, we find out more about the charitable side of the event 35 Food & Drink Bargain eats around the city, secret supper clubs, new openings and more 49 Valentine’s Treat your significant other to one of these amazing experiences or great gifts 51 Weddings Sensational suppliers for your big day, from cake makers to venues
56 Eco Cambridge Meet Sew Positive, the local charity using sewing and sustainability to support mental health 59 Charity Spotlight Little Miracles tells us about the help it gives families of children with additional needs 63 Interiors Create more living space with stylish extensions and garden studios: we show you how! 75 Property Strutt & Parker advises on the latest fluctuations in the Cambridge housing market 77 Retirement Living Helpful advice on those considering the next step for themselves or a loved one 82 Gardens Anna’s gardening insight for the month, including floral Valentine’s gifts that don’t hurt the planet
Illustration by Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman, inspired by an Instagram photo taken by @tansybranscombe
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LOCAL LIFE 3
THIS MONTH’S MUST-HAVES FROM LOCAL INDIES WISH LIST February
1. Senate Eden Green, £375, Beaucroft Watches An elegant timepiece that features forest green and tasteful touches of polished rose gold 2. Stoneware Plant Pot Blue Large, £14, Iris & Violet Need a home for an extra-special plant? Check out this gorgeous glazed stoneware plant pot by Madam Stoltz 3. Naked Clay Ceramics Dipper Trinket Dish, £16, Kettle’s Yard Cute-as-a-button dishes that will bring a splash of colour to your home 4. Blue Glass Candlestick Holder, £15, The Manor Gift Shop These glass candlestick holders will jazz up your dinner party or mantelpiece in a jiffy 5. Bold Stripe Eco Dinner Candles, £29 for 6, Angela Reed Perfect for special occasions around the dinner table, these unique candles also make a wonderful gift 6. Blue Hand Felted Wool Slippers, £25, Ark Potter around in these hand-felted wool slippers, sure to keep your feet toasty and warm 7. Faceted Gem Adjustable Ring in Slate Grey £15 Lilac Rose Add a touch of old-school glamour to your outfits with this stunning, deco-style ring with a slate-grey gem and 14-carat gold-plated brass band
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DISCOVER THIS MONTH’S UNMISSABLE EVENTS, FROM CLUB URANIA TO HOME X the x factor STAY AFLOAT Culture Club
OUT THERE Crossing boundaries international and technological at once, Home X is a mesmerising marvel. Read about the Junction show on page 17
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Arts & Culture THE MUST-SEE EVENTS AROUND CAMBRIDGE THIS MONTH
MUSIC TO MY EARS Cambridge Junction is offering plenty in the way of gigs this month. Highlights include The Magpie Arc, a band from Sheffield and Edinburgh with music rich in folk-rock influences from the 60s and 70s – see them on 11 February. On 18 February, soul band Stone Foundation bring their groovy sound to the live stage. The group has produced ten albums and worked with Paul Weller, Peter Capaldi and many more. Saffron Hall, meanwhile, plays host to the London African Gospel Choir on 4 February. They will be singing a reinterpretation of Paul Simon’s Graceland , adding a fresh and joyous touch to the seminal album which was originally inspired by and created with South African musicians. On 5 February, there’s a chance to hear the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a stunning evening of music, with works by Grażyna Bacewicz and Dvořák. Bassoonist Julie Price will also take centre stage with Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto and Elgar’s Romance . This month at Stapleford Granary, don’t miss Canadian musical duo Madison Violet – aka Lisa MacIsaac and Brenley MacEachern. The pair grew up on rural Cape Breton Island, and since the late 90s have been creating music that reflects their heritage while incorporating contemporary sounds. Together, they have produced more than ten albums, each melding a winning combination of storytelling with folk, pop, indie, bluegrass and country. Their latest album, Eleven , is thought to be the most candid and personal yet. Discover their remarkable sound on 10 February.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @CambsEdition to get reminders and stay in the loop about what’s happening throughout the month! WHAT’S ON
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One year of Club Urania QUEER JOY AS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE LGBTQ+ NIGHT APPROACHES, WE CAUGHT UP WITH DIARMUID HESTER TO FIND OUT WHAT IT HAS ACHIEVED OVER THE LAST YEAR WORDS BY ALEX FICE
“When people think about queer performance, they often think of the likes of RuPaul – which obviously has a place – but queer culture is richer than one commercial example on the Beeb.” Club Urania offers a more alternative line-up of queer performance that’s often mesmerising, sometimes bizarre and always diverse. Each show includes an open mic, which allows locals to come and try their acts on a supportive audience. “We’ve had some interesting performers come forward, some of whom have gone on to play the main stage at Cambridge Pride,” says Diarmuid. “We’re happy to be broadening people’s perspectives on queer culture, as well as offering a space where people can try out new things.” Club Urania’s organisers have also worked hard to ensure their nights are as accessible as possible. “We provide live captioning – we do this every single night, regardless of whether it’s a big event in J1 or one of the smaller nights in J3,” explains Diarmuid. “We’ve also got variable pricing, with a ‘pay what you feel’ option – so nobody’s turned away for lack of funds.” Having succeeded in what it set out to achieve, Club Urania is keen to keep growing as it moves into its second year. In April, Club Urania will be collaborating with the disability arts festival – I’m Here, Where Are You? – and there’s talk of a queer arts festival under the banner of Club Urania in Cambridge this summer. For its organisers, another long-term priority will be to create a permanent physical space for Cambridge’s queer community, such as a bar or cafe. “We’re eager to continue collaborating with people and groups to try and achieve a place where local LGBTQ+ groups can gather and feel welcome at any time – not just once a month,” says Diarmuid. Club Urania returns on 17 February, featuring a show by class act Katie Greenall, who will be testing out her new work-in-progress show, Blubber . For more information and to get tickets, head to junction.co.uk
Club Urania first landed on Cambridge’s nightlife scene in February 2022. It set out to provide a space for Cambridge’s queer people and their allies to meet, watch performances by members of the LGBTQ+ community and dance the night away. It joined a legacy of queer club nights such as Dot Cotton and the more recent Rebel Rebel, promising to create something almost otherworldly, where all expressions of gender and sexuality would be welcomed. One year on, Club Urania has a cult following – attracting newcomers and regulars (self-professed ‘Uranians’) to its events at Cambridge Junction, which run once a month during its spring and autumn seasons. These take the form of either a more intimate, cabaret-style affair or a large-scale club night with live DJs and dancing until 3am – both of which have become instant hits with Cambridge’s LGBTQ+ community. “When we started, we didn’t have much of an idea about who would like the thing we had imagined. As it turns out, a lot of people did,” says Diarmuid Hester, who helped create Club Urania with Ema Boswood (arts producer at the Junction), Rosie Cooper (director of Wysing Arts Centre), Hannah Wallis, Chloe Page, Celia Willoughby and Roeland van der Heiden. “Many were really eager to have another queer space – one that would come back every month; others were interested in seeing a diverse range of LGBTQ performance,” he continues.
FOR EVERYONE Accessibility and inclusivity are important to the organisers, with live captioning available at all shows
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We’re happy to be broadening perspectives on queer culture
@ HARRY ELLETSON
LEADING LADIES AT THE CORN EXCHANGE AND CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION Don’t miss!
SELF ESTEEM Cambridge Corn Exchange, 21 February, 7.30pm, £23
SUZANNE VEGA Cambridge Corn Exchange, 23 February, 7.30pm, tickets from £35.50 The leading lady of folk revival is back in town with a show that promises to transport audiences to New York through stunning songs and effortless storytelling.
LIGHTHOUSE Cambridge Junction,
28 February, 7.30pm, pay what you feel For some homegrown talent, don’t miss this captivating solo piece by Hazel Lam, which fuses dance, circus and performance art to explore modernity and feminine movement.
Rising star Rebecca Lucy Taylor (Self Esteem) comes to Cambridge this month, performing hot hits like Prioritise Pleasure , I Do This All the Time and F*cking Wizardry . A must-see!
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HOLD THE STAGE
Start off the month with a dose of Miss Marple in The Mirror Crack’d , which finishes its run at the Cambridge Arts Theatre on 4 February. Join Agatha Christie’s mystery-solving heroine as she attempts to untangle a web of lies and deceit following a vicious murder in the sleepy village of St Mary Mead. Coronation Street ’s Susie Blake stars, supported by Sophie Ward ( A Very British Scandal ) and Joe McFadden ( Holby City ). Relatively Speaking offers heaps of light relief at the Arts Theatre from 7-11 February. It follows a convoluted misunderstanding that sees the hapless Greg approach an unsuspecting couple, believing them to be the parents of his girlfriend – to whom he wishes to propose. What he doesn’t realise is that they’re not his girlfriend’s parents, but instead her former lover and his wife! A great play by Alan Ayckbourn, this entertaining romp is perfect for a cold winter’s evening. Musical lovers are in for a treat at the ADC Theatre from 7-11 February, as the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society performs Sunday in the Park With George . Written by James Lapine, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, it depicts the life of artist Georges Seurat as he navigates his life and the everyday world, trying to create something truly special… If you’re in the mood for even more Agatha Christie, don’t miss The Hollow , also at the ADC from 14-18 February – a classic murder mystery about love, revenge and money, featuring witty characters, shock twists and a trademark Christie ending that guarantees to please. At Corpus Playroom on 22-25 February, the ADC brings you a new play exploring the traditional Chinese belief that a person cannot rest in peace and enter the next life if their soul is not brought back home after death. Fallen Flowers centres on the souls of four women who have been victims of human trafficking THEATRE ROUND-UP
PHIL WANG: WANG IN THERE, BABY! CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE, 30 MARCH, 7.30PM, TICKETS FROM £25 Touted as a comedian at the top of his game, Phil Wang promises a stand-up masterclass that will leave you cheering for more.
and have lost their sense of where they come from – but are guided home by a mysterious girl. Incorporating classic poems, folklore, traditional dance and music, this play is a thought-provoking examination of Chinese culture and society. Meanwhile at the Town and Gown, Thirst – a debut solo performance piece by the actor, writer and activist Callum Hughes – is a love letter to sobriety and a celebration of all things alcoholic. It takes a stark look at alcoholism in its various forms, while offering a joyous and uproarious look at life, family, theatre, religion and the positivity of the pub. From 15-18 February, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story offers a show that admits to being ‘as hilarious as it is tasteless’. Starring Linus Karp of Awkward Productions, the show joins Lady Di in heaven as she shares a fantasy version of her life. Combining drag, multimedia, audience interaction, puppetry and a lot of queer joy, it’s a unique celebration of the people’s princess that uses comedy to highlight her groundbreaking stances on social and queer issues. DRAG PRINCESS Watch a fictionalised biography of Princess Diana written and performed by Linus Karp in Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story
THE MAGICAL MUSIC OF HARRY POTTER CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE, 17 APRIL, 7.30PM, TICKETS FROM £28 A chance to hear the spellbinding soundtrack to one of the world’s most successful film franchises performed live in concert!
SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR: CHRISTMAS KITCHEN DISCO CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE, 29 NOVEMBER, 7.30PM, TICKETS FROM £33 We know it’s a long way away – but planning this far ahead will feel worthwhile when you’re dancing to Murder on the Dancefloor come November!
@ ALI WRIGHT
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ALEX FICE SPEAKS TO COMEDIAN MICHAEL AKADIRI ABOUT HIS JOURNEY FROM JUNIOR DOCTOR TO TOURING COMIC, AHEAD OF HIS UPCOMING SHOW AT CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION NO SCRUBS Laughter is the best medicine
“As healthcare workers, we have more credence when we talk about these issues, because it’s a system we work for,” he continues. “You’ve got comics speaking truth to power, who also work in the system themselves and understand real life – it’s a wonderful cocktail that gives you an insight into what’s really going on.” Now at a crossroads in his medical career, Michael has decided to take a year out to see whether comedy could be more than just a hobby. “The next stage of my training would be a six-year contract in order to become a consultant in orthopaedics,” he explains. “But because the comedy has been going well – better than I would have ever dreamed – I’ve decided to give myself a year to focus on it; I want to see for myself whether this could be a career. I don’t want to be 60 years old looking back on my life and thinking, ‘Oh, if only I gave that a shot.’ This is my time to find out.” Michael’s debut show, No Scrubs , will be touring all year and is coming to Cambridge Junction on 18 February. Get your tickets from junction.co.uk
all laughing – not at the story, but at the way I was telling it. I thought that perhaps there was something in that – the fact that I seemed to be able to turn something actually quite harrowing into something light-hearted.” To test his theory that he might have a knack for stand-up, Michael signed himself up to an open mic night at a comedy club. After a successful first attempt, Michael felt encouraged to keep gigging and developing his skills. Inevitably, his experience working in the NHS has provided ample material and is a consistent source of interest to audiences. “I think there’s an appetite to find out what it’s really like to work on the front line,” says Michael. Could it also be that this hunger for medical gags also stems from a need to process the fact that our much-loved health service is on its knees? “They say the best art comes from pain,” comments Michael. “I think that there’s definitely a space for laughing at the pain we’re suffering. Comedy is also a good tool for getting political and punching up at the government for the situation that the NHS is in.
British comedy has a long history of doctors swapping their stethoscopes for stand-up. From Harry Hill and Graeme Garden to Dr Phil Hammond and Adam Kay – whose bestseller This Is Going to Hurt has triggered a new wave of NHS-centric humour – the list keeps growing. One of the latest to join the pool of medic- cum-comics is Michael Akadiri, a junior doctor who spent the last five years working full-time for the NHS. “When I was studying medicine at university, I never considered going into comedy,” says Michael. “Looking back, I did enjoy coming up with a funny line, but the concept of comedy as a career didn’t cross my mind at all.” In 2017, however, Michael’s world turned upside down. In his first year working as a junior doctor, he was summoned to the coroner’s court to give evidence after the death of a patient. “There was no foul play at hand; I talk about it openly in my show,” he says. “I remember recounting the experience to my colleagues, and how my mum was a bit melodramatic when I first told her I’d been called to court. As I was telling my colleagues this, I noticed they were
JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED Michael Akadiri lifts the curtain on the medical world
© GARRY CARBON
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LLOYD GRIFFITH: ONE TONNE OF FUN
A FAMILY AFFAIR February is a month for family shows, with a line-up of great performances featuring bubbles, beatbox, the Bard and brilliant storytelling! Starting off the fun, there’s a family-friendly adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet by the group New International Encounter over at Cambridge Junction. Featuring two actors, one musician and seven items in a suitcase, the ensemble offers a creative retelling of this famous fable – in a way that’s funny and accessible for younger ages. See it on 5 February at 11.30am or 2.30pm. On 12 February at Cambridge Junction, The Bubble Show promises a mesmerising blend of magic, stories, science and bubble art. Eran the Bubble Man is an international storyteller, actor and bubble artist who has performed all over the world, dazzling audiences with bubbles of all
2 FEBRUARY 7.30pm, £22.50
varieties – even ones involving smoke and fire! Tickets sell fast, so book early. Also at the Junction, The Mighty Kids Beatbox Comedy Show guarantees to be an absolute hoot for children and the young at heart on 13 February. Led by award-winning comedian Jarred Christmas and world champion beatboxer Hobbit, the show is packed with interactive jokes, beatboxing, epic sounds and plenty of silliness! Stapleford Granary will be hosting its ever- popular Storytelling Sunday series – with Granny Dumpling on 12 February and The Many-Legged Musicians of Bremen on 19 February. Delivered by puppet maker Andy Lawrence of the Theatre of Widdershins, this is a treat for all ages featuring charismatic narration and beautiful, imaginative handmade props.
ROBIN MORGAN: SNIP SNIP, B*TCH 4 FEBRUARY 7.30pm, £12.50-£14.50 TOM HOUGHTON: ABSOLUTE SHAMBLES 4 FEBRUARY 7.30pm, £15.50-£18 MARK WATSON: THIS CAN’T BE IT 9 FEBRUARY 8pm, £23.50 TOM STADE: THE HIGH ROAD 10 FEBRUARY 8pm, £21.50 TOM WARD: ANTHEM 11 FEBRUARY 8pm, £15 JOSH PUGH: SAUSAGE, EGG, JOSH PUGH, CHIPS & BEANS 20 FEBRUARY 8pm, £15 TERRY ALDERTON: IT’S TERRY 23 FEBRUARY 7.30pm, £19 PAUL FOOT: SWAN POWER 24 FEBRUARY 8pm, £12.50-£16.50 CARL HUTCHINSON: WATCH TILL THE END 25 FEBRUARY 8pm, £18
The Cambridge Footlights’ annual showcase, the Spring Revue , brings together two hours of sketches old and new, performed by this year’s graduating members. You’ll be entertained by some of Cambridge University’s best comic talent and potential future stars, walking in the footsteps of such comedy giants as Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Richard Ayoade and more! Join the fun from 21-25 February at the ADC Theatre. FOOTLIGHTS SPRING REVUE 2023 SPRING INTO ACTION
@ MICHELLE SPIELBERG
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HOME X DISCOVER THE SHOW THAT’S USING PIONEERING TECHNOLOGY AND AN INTERNATIONAL APPROACH TO BREAK DOWN BORDERS AND EXPLORE THEMES OF BELONGING LIKE NEVER BEFORE SHOW SPOTLIGHT
VIRTUAL REALM Performances from Hong Kong and Cambridge meet in a digital world
A live digital performance mixing music, dance, gaming and virtual reality (VR), Home X pushes the boundaries of theatre as we know it. Conceived by director and composer An-Ting Chang, creative technologist Ian Gallagher and 3D designer Donald Shek, Home X brings together in-person and online audiences for a mesmerising journey into a rich virtual world of flora, fauna and fantasy.
It combines the live performances of two actors – one in Cambridge Junction and one in Hong Kong – whose movements are captured and transposed into a digital environment.
A live audience at the Junction will be able to watch the two characters explore this world on a screen, while an online audience engages with the performance from the comfort of their own homes: entering the virtual world as avatars, they will be able to interact with other audience members and the performers using gestures and emojis. They can even complete gaming objectives such as planting seeds or cutting down trees to drive the plot forwards. Captivating visuals will be accompanied by a mesmerising soundscape, reflecting the inter- disciplinary approach of Home X ’s creators. “I believe it’s extremely important to learn from artists in other disciplines,” says An-Ting. “My professional life started with mixing classical performance with theatre. In more recent years, I have started to combine technology and
audiences, as it allowed them to interact with each other and the performance itself.” Home X takes these ideas and techniques a step further, offering audiences a hybrid in- person and digital experience. “What we learned from previous work is that the digital environment presents opportunities to cross physical boundaries to other parts of the world,” says An-Ting. “In Home X , performers in Hong Kong and the UK dance together via virtual reality, and musicians play together through
for most of my professional life,” says An-Ting. “At home in Taiwan, I am perceived as a foreigner – but people also see me as a foreigner in the UK. I came here to pursue my artistic dream, but I wonder if at some point I may have lost my roots. “Home is a universal concept which resonates with most people, whatever their background,” she continues. “I felt it was important to include the voices of people sharing their ideas about home and leaving home.” This led An-Ting to incorporate interviews with around 30 people from London, Cambridge, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Iraq and other places around the world: “Through hearing different perspectives about home, you get a sense of a universal oneness, and an eagerness for people to break down barriers and preconceptions. One of our interviewees from Cambridge said something I really love, which is that ‘we are all migrants of the earth’. That’s what we are led to explore through the piece.” Home X will be performed at the Junction on 15 and 16 February. Digital audience tickets are available from junction.co.uk . To find out more about the project, head to homexvr.com
digital interfaces. The audiences in the UK see one performer in-person and the other in the virtual world on the projection screens. The digital audience sees both performers in the virtual world with
storytelling in a way that sparks the imagination of audiences and widens their understanding.” Her first digital work, Augmented Chinatown 2.0 (an app that is available to download from the App Store
Home is a concept which resonates with most people
them. It’s very fun to see the performers react to the virtual environment and the other live performers on the empty stage. It really drills in the question of what is real and what is not!” By establishing a direct, live link between the UK and Hong Kong, Home X draws attention to the increasing interconnectedness of the modern world. As the title suggests, this raises interesting questions about the concept of home – a theme that’s explored throughout the performance. “I’m originally from Taiwan, but have worked in the UK
and Google Play), taught users stories about London’s Chinatown through augmented reality combined with audio, drama and music. During the pandemic, An-Ting also worked with a team to develop a virtual 3D gallery with an immersive performance inside, which won Arts Council England’s Digital Culture award for storytelling. “We were looking to create a collective experience for the digital audience,” she explains. “What we found was that gaming technology offered us the best way to engage with online
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FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS IN SAWSTON, STEVEN MACKINTOSH HAS FORGED AN IMPRESSIVE ON-SCREEN CAREER – MIRIAM BALANESCU GETS TO KNOW THE FORMIDABLE ACTOR DRAMA KING
leather on, some fangs in and pretend to bite people,” he jokes. “I wouldn’t want to literally just get stuck doing the same thing. There’s always a new aspect of each role you can find pleasure in. “There have been memorable experiences that weren’t necessarily memorable pieces to watch,” continues Steven. “There’s a disconnect sometimes between the experience you had and the work that results. Sometimes it can feel incredibly difficult. It can be challenging to make a great piece of art.” Though the chameleon-like dramatist has run the gamut of roles, there are some undercurrents. “I did find I was gradually drawn to darker stories – the literature I read, the music I listen to – not always, of course!” he urges. “I’m interested in less obvious work that plays with the margins of things rather than the centre ground.” It is a well-known fact that, with the advent of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and now ITVX, the landscape of the entertainment industries is shifting. And for those who have long worked within it, like Steven, its evolution has been unprecedented. “When I first started, there weren’t even four channels on television,” recalls Steven. “We’re still in a transitional period where I think everybody is trying to figure out exactly what the new landscape looks
STAR TURN Alongside Toni Collette, Mackintosh received rave reviews for the 2018 TV series Wanderlust
M aking his very first television appearance in 1983, Steven Mackintosh has essentially grown up on film and TV. With the eyes of the world upon him, his transformation from early teens to now is all recorded. “Every year, when The Muppet Christmas Carol is wheeled out, I have to look at myself and go, ‘Wow, that is so long ago,’” he laughs. “I always remember Michael Caine saying that one of the more depressing things about being invited for a lifetime achievement award is that it’s all very flattering, but they put up a trailer of the highlights and – for him – all he watches is his age progress. “Some of it will be seen briefly and then disappear,” he continues. “But some things really have a lifespan.” Before making a break for drama school in London, Steven attended his local Sawston Village College in bucolic surrounds, where bike rides with his friends and making swings that flew over the river were ‘a big deal’. But quickly, he realised the academic track wasn’t for him. His mother, always part of the backstage crew on theatrical productions, had fostered this thespian passion in him from a young age. “Drama was somewhere I was continuing to thrive,” he says. “That’s why my parents made the brave decision to take me out of school and to an audition in London.”
His roles have been multifarious, from a cannabis-growing crook in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels to a vampiric overlord in the Underworld franchise. Recently, Steven took on the villain role in ITVX’s flagship programme The Confessions of Frannie Langton , enthralled as the joint lead in Toni Collette’s Wanderlust , and chilled as a conniving adoptive father in Kiri . In these roles, the actor has had to become comfortable with tapping into the darker side of humanity, especially as John Langton, a former
like, particularly for the terrestrial TV channels who have been used to the standard way of everybody watching live together. “It’s a very strange, transient business,” he muses,
slave owner who tries to scientifically prove that Africans are the inferior race. Post- abolition, the man attempts to navigate a new world. “As Steven Mackintosh, I see him on paper as a
When I first started, there weren’t even four channels
explaining the well-worn pattern of a fresh crew and cast congregating over a fixed period for filming, before saying their goodbyes. There have been countless highlights so far, he says, from The Mother with Daniel Craig and Anne Reid, to The Buddha of Suburbia , where ‘I was able to live out my rock star fantasies’. Up next, Steven teases that he will be making many more appearances on our television sets and cinemas this year – here’s to another four decades of incredible work.
deeply unpleasant man,” says Steven, “but I suppose playing him I had to understand what drives and motivates him. He’s a man that’s trying to survive, really.” And, with over 40 years in the industry, the decades have brought roles of varying seriousness and levity. Among the best- known is his Bafta-winning turn in Care , about a boy raised in a children’s home suffering abuse. “It meant a lot to me. I invested a lot in it. And then on the flip side with Underworld , I was able to put some
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FROM SMALL TO BIG SCREEN, HERE ARE YOUR FEBRUARY ON-SCREEN ESSENTIALS
Hugh Jackman, Vanessa Kirby and Laura Dern play unhappy families in this harrowing tale of mental health struggles and domestic rifts. Where to Watch: UK Cinemas When: 10 February THE SON
A collaboration between Apple Studios and innovative studio A24, this tantalising Julianne Moore-led drama creeps into the darker corners of New York City. Where to Watch: Apple TV+ When: 17 February SHARPER
Plunge into Naples’ shadowy past in Mario Martone’s freshest feature, detailing his hometown’s criminal underworld. Where to Watch: UK Cinemas | When: 17 February NOSTALGIA
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Jeremy Pope plays a young man battling prejudice in the Marines in Elegance Bratton’s latest flick. Where to Watch: UK Cinemas When: 17 February THE INSPECTION
Out to split some sides and tickle some funny bones, Barbara (Gemma Arterton) is a woman on a mission in this Nick Hornby
adaptation. Without giving too much away, it’s a funny one. Where to Watch: Sky When: 9 February
IT’S A JAM-PACKED SEASON AT THE CAMBRIDGE ARTS PICTUREHOUSE – DISCOVER WHAT’S NOT TO MISS Picturehouse Picks
BROKER Filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with this adoption saga, hailing from a Japanese custom where unwilling mothers can leave newborns in so-called ‘baby boxes’. Featuring Parasite ’s Song Kang-ho, expect twists and turns as a mother leaves her child only to change her mind and discover them vanished. 24 February
THE WHALE A teacher tries to rekindle his relationship with his estranged daughter in one of the most talked about releases of this year. Darren Aronofsky’s latest was both lauded and scorned for its controversial – and complete – transformation of Brendan Fraser, making it one of the year’s unmissable watches. 3 February
WATERSPRITE YOUNG PROGRAMMERS: FLEE Watersprite, the UK’s largest student film festival, is nearly here! A series of pop-up events are taking place in the lead up – one an intro to documentary. Selected film Flee pushes the genre’s boundaries, as a journey from Afghanistan to Denmark is told through animation. 20 February
NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: OTHELLO One Shakespeare play we can only say we love not wisely but too well is Othello , which will be streamed live from London as a theatrical treat this February. Its star cast boasts Giles Terera ( Hamilton ), Rosy McEwen ( The Alienist ) as well as Paul Hilton ( The Inheritance ). 23 February and 7 March
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L ocal bands are the lifeblood of Cambridge, from the unstoppable songsmith of Katrina and the Waves’, Kimberley Rew, to fresh talent like Mumble Tide, creating a thriving and diverse sonic neighbourhood. One group that might well already be on your radar are Local Hotels, a recently formed post-punk quartet whose sound sits somewhere between Nick Cave’s brooding back catalogue and early 2000s indie rock. Helmed by lead singer Brian, its members first amassed during lockdown, finding each other at a time when each – with their own separate history of band-playing – wanted to get back into music. With a few strokes of luck Local Hotels were born, and started to compose their own songs, socially distanced, by sending each other recordings. Since, the group has been turning more than a few heads and are set to perform at The Blue Moon this month to raise money for Cam Skate, which is hoping to use the funds for a skate park on Donkey Common. “It’s a kind of serious hobby, I suppose,” says bassist Frank Bowles. “We don’t look to making any money from it or anything like that, we just do it because we really enjoy doing it.” In fact, Frank has a long-running career as an
the pandemic, I don’t think we would be where we are today,” he insists. “Since we were stuck at home, it made us work out how to record things properly with computer software and send files to each other.” Describing their energy as post-punk, influences stem from the music they grew up listening to in the 80s and 90s. “We put a bit of dub into it as well,” Frank adds “We try to make it a little bit dancey too, and we try to insert a bit of – not quite funk – but getting there.” After Frank writes the bass lines, he sends them over to Brian to work his magic. “He’s a singular individual,” says Frank, “and his lyrics are really interesting. They all tell strange stories.” Local Hotels are regulars at The Blue Moon, where Sophie Littlechild has been busy booking a dazzling array of eclectic events for eight years. “It was a tough start, we didn’t have a stage or lights or anything, but having grown up in Cambridge I was not going to let us lose another music venue,” she explains. “This place has long been part of the music scene. Many people fondly remember playing here. We try to ensure it is accessible to everyone so that, as well as working with long- standing promoters like
ON THE SCENE
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PROVING YOU NEED LOOK NO FURTHER THAN YOUR OWN BACK DOOR FOR MUSICAL MARVELS, LOCAL HOTELS WILL PERFORM AT THE BLUE MOON IN AID OF CAM SKATE THIS MONTH
Green Mind, any upcoming band or promoter can put on a show.” Part and parcel of championing great music is nurturing all the subcultures that go with it. Cam Skate is a cause many in the music community feel strongly about. “My son is a keen skater,” says Frank. “The skate community has been really good for him, especially during the pandemic. He was at sixth form and didn’t have a good time at all because of schooling from home. It’s quite a wide span of people and he has made strong friendships through it with people from many walks of life and different ages.”
WORDS BY MIRIAM BALANESCU
landscape designer and nurse, Brian an ex-masseur, Rich a copywriter, while David works in UX (user experience). “We’ve got quite varied life skills.” The Blue Moon is just one of a host of independent venues in Cambridge pivotal to sustaining the city’s creative community. “They’re welcoming to anybody,” enthuses Frank. “You can just rock up and play there. Frank suggests that Cambridge’s busy band scene is a result of the increasing ease of writing and recording music, made accessible through technology. “Without SKATING BY Local Hotels are gigging with Ember Rev to fundraise for Donkey Common skate park – a cause that’s close to the band as well as the alternative music scene as a whole
archivist at Cambridge University Library: “An interesting job if you’re into old stuff,” he laughs. “We are all a pretty mixed bag, mixed bunch of people,” he explains, noting that guitarist Paul is a former He’s a singular individual and his lyrics are interesting. They all tell strange stories
See Local Hotels at The Blue Moon on 11 February at 8pm
CAMBSEDITION.CO.UK FEBRUARY 2023 23
The brand developed by Cambridge BID to deliver projects and events that entertain and animate our city
CAMBRIDGE WINDOW WANDERLAND 2023 Brightening up a gloomy part of the year,
illustrations and paintings of the city. “I have recreated the Mathematical Bridge. My artwork hopes to capture the theme through the peace and tranquillity of Cambridge while we coincide and live next to the river. The bridge connects all beings of life and is symbolic of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, as our living planet is slowly becoming more accepting.” @embullmandesign INCLUME Inclume is a creative architecture and design studio based in Cambridge. Its work often uses paper as a tool for creating immersive, wondrous objects in a fun and dynamic way. “Our playful take on the theme encourages passers-by to pause and take interest in the installation. It acts as a reminder that we as humans get distracted by our urban surroundings, often unaware that we share the planet with around 8.7 million species of plants and animals!” inclume.co.uk SA’ADIAH KHAN Sa’adiah loves to work with vibrant colours, playing with chaos and control through her creative work to explore wellbeing, healing and self-development. Collaborative work is one of her specialities, delivering workshops in
Cambridge BID’s Window Wanderland art trail will bring a splash of colour to the city streets from 27 January to 19 February. Both residents and businesses have signed up to show off their creative skills, offering window displays unified by a theme of ‘The Living Planet’. Cambridge BID has commissioned five artists to create displays for large-scale windows on Station Road. Look out for these at Mills & Reeve (Botanic House), Ibis Cambridge Central Station, Clayton Hotel, 50-60 Station Road and the WeWork building. Find out more about the artists below! ANDY LI Andy is a photographer and PhD student in genetics at the University of Cambridge. His research seeks to understand mitochondrial DNA inheritance and the genetics that govern mitochondrial function. “During my PhD, I have taken many images of cells under the microscope and thought it would be fascinating to link the scientific past of Cambridge with the Window Wanderland theme of ‘The Living Planet’. ayzli.com EMMA BULLMAN Emma creates sets for theatre, film and performance, as well as selling her own original
LIVING PLANET Scour the city for fabulous fenestra over the course of the month – see what you can spot
schools, workplaces or personal and community development projects. “I have led Cambridge residents in two workshops and curated a range of play-based experimental art. From this, I have taken inspiration to create colourful abstract pieces representing sea, land and air.” @sadisoularts EWA PANDERA Ewa’s artistic practice combines drawings, printing, ceramics and video. Recent work seeks to represent the vegetation that existed before humanity, and will take over after we disappear. She wants to bring organic, untouched forests back into the urban landscape. “I have combined iconic Cambridge landmarks, like King’s College, with the overtaking vegetation. The message is that nature and science can work together to solve the problems facing our living planet.” pandera-art.com Visit windowwanderland.com to register as a window maker, or to download a map of the locations taking part
RESTAURANT WEEK 2023
13 - 23 Mar
“We are thrilled to once again showcase the exceptional talent and creativity of our local chefs and restaurateurs,” says event organiser, Natalie Cargill, digital marketing project manager. “Cambridge is home to some of the most talented and innovative culinary minds, and we are excited to give people the chance to experience their incredible food at an affordable price.” Participating venues will be announced closer to the event, so stay tuned!
We’re excited to announce the return of Love Cambridge Restaurant Week, taking place 13-23 March. This highly anticipated event brings together the best of the local food scene for ten days of diverse cuisine, delicious flavours and special menus. From traditional pub fare to contemporary fine dining, there’s something for every palate and budget. Diners can choose between £10, £15, £20 and £25 price points, plus a £5 cafe or £30 fine dining option.
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Cambridge PHOTOGRAPHER MARK BOX SHARES SOME OF HIS FAVOURITE PORTRAITS FROM THE STREETS OF CAMBRIDGE THIS MONTH – CAN YOU SPOT ANYONE YOU KNOW?
It’s not every day you spot someone walking around casually sipping a cocktail from a pineapple in the street!
Humans of Cambridge is an Instagram photoblog by local photographer Mark Box. It began as a ABOUT THE PROJECT lockdown project and has turned into a sensation, featuring an ever-growing number of Cambridge’s colourful characters on the @humanofcambridge grid. Mark is out most days snapping, and can usually be found in the Market Square, on King’s Parade, Burrell’s Walk and Garret Hostel Bridge – your best bet for being papped is to head out around lunchtime wearing something suitably eye-catching!
Warm, happy smiles all around from this colourful human... love the jumper!
Say hello to @margeauxapple all the way from the US of A. This super cool human was great fun to shoot with: stylish and funny!
26 FEBRUARY 2023
It’s nice meeting people when I’m out and about ‘spotting’. And when I saw this human’s coat and hat, I had to stop her for a quick shoot. Glad I did, there’s something about exchanging smiles that makes everyone’s day
The ever-so-fashionable @toby_ hoten once again demonstrates how to be suave
I think anyone would be this happy with their pink snail jumper, love heart sneakers and matching pink golfing doggy socks…
I’ve said it before, I’m like a magpie when it comes to anything shiny, and @joadleine12 caught my eye with this fab jacket and a funky little satchel. I love the diversity of people and what they wear
CAMBSEDITION.CO.UK FEBRUARY 2023 27
Book Club NEED A NEW READ TO CURL UP WITH? THESE DELIGHTFUL DEBUTS WILL SEE YOU THROUGH THE LAST OF WINTER
WORDS BY CHARLOTTE GRIFFITHS
The Things We Lost BY JYOTI PATEL
away from home in the north of England and relationships with friends old and new. Though his mother has kept secrets to protect her son, it slowly becomes apparent that some truths are better out than in – and Avani’s journey through an abusive childhood and navigating her tricky relationship with her brother will leave you heartbroken for the losses, cheering her on as she steps closer to where she should have been had her husband survived. This is spectacularly written and totally absorbing, rich with layers, nuance and emotion, and packed with beautifully descriptive prose. It will make you feel the losses, hunger for beautifully described Gujarati dishes and cross your fingers for a swift sequel.
This debut novel from writer Jyoti Patel landed the 2021 #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, and it’ll only take a few pages for you to understand why. Teenage Nik knows it’s best not to ask his mother Avani about what happened to his father, who died suddenly before Nik was born. Yet when his beloved grandfather Rohan passes away, everything changes, including the family’s unspoken rules about what’s best left undisturbed. Nik’s questions now need to be answered so he can learn the truth about the shadows that have hung over his family for as long as he can remember – while also juggling the everyday demands of life in London and the accompanying watchful aunties, university studies
Spectacularly written and totally absorbing, rich with layers
28 FEBRUARY 2023 CAMBSEDITION.CO.UK
PRELOVED BY LAUREN BRAVO
If you spent the festive break clearing out your cupboards or – whisper it – putting aside unwanted gifts to immediately take to the charity shop, put your feet up for an afternoon and settle down with this debut from journalist Lauren Bravo. Newly and unexpectedly redundant former senior account manager Gwen is turning 38. She has several months’ worth of payout in her account, giving her a buzz of illusory wealth, but knows she needs a reason to leave the house while she gears herself up to re-enter society. First things first, Gwen clears her home of emotional baggage. Remnants of her relationship: menswear, CDs, whisky stones and engagement ring. While donating the items to her local charity shop, she decides to sign up as a volunteer. In a short space of time, she’s part of the team: sorting, steaming, screeching with laughter at inappropriately donated ‘personal items’ and regaining her sense of self. The main plot is interspersed with beautifully written short stories about the origins of the items on the shelves: who loved them, who was given them, what their previous owners felt about them, why they mattered – and slowly the stories weave together to reveal a shimmering whole. This is a glorious book about second chances, starting over and finding joy in unexpected places. It’ll have you clearing out your cupboards and maybe even volunteering at your local charity shop – who knows where it might lead you?
If you’re hoping to get going on your garden this season, the new year doesn’t really get going until the first shoots appear. To Stand And Stare is the first book from star gardener Andrew Timothy O’Brien, who has been sharing advice and wisdom via Instagram, his podcast and his incredibly popular online coaching courses for years – and he’s finally been persuaded to distil his hard-learned wisdom into book form. His wonderfully written words provide a unique and captivating blend of mindful musing on horticulture and botany, ecological awareness and practical gardening tips and pointers, assessing each situation from the ground up. The resulting chapters will help even the most time-starved gardener make something of their outdoor plot – and maybe even find their soul in the process. Packed with helpful infographics, easy-to-follow suggestions and all-year-round advice for not just what to do in your garden, but how to be while you’re out there, this is the perfect book to gift to a new gardener, or present to someone desperately in need of a diversion. BY ANDREW TIMOTHY O’BRIEN TO STAND AND STARE
A GREAT THYME Garner some green wisdom from this social media sensation and online garden coach
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