Issue 228
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Back for its twelfth take, Flatpack Film Festival is shortly arriving at a brewery, art gallery, or — you know — actual cinema, near you. The crazy busy programme of over 100 shorts, premieres, animations and events are showing across the city, and we've picked out our faves.
Long before Donald Trump started screaming “witch-hunt,” director Benjamin Christensen conjured up a mixture of live action, animation and artwork to depict witchcraft across the ages. Live-scoring the silent film is the musical sorcery of Stephen Horne and if you’re still not sold, how’s about a live narration from League(r) of Gentlemen and Inside No.9’er, Reece Shearsmith? April 17, 7.30pm — tickets (£13-15)
As Mastermind topics go, French sci-fi comedies isn't really up there. But as this will be the UK premiere of Madame Hyde — a joyous tale of a teacher's life before and after a run-in with a bolt of lightening — it's unlikely any of your fellow cinema-goers will be any more clued up on the matter. A man who will be is director Serge Bozon, who's on Q&A duties directly after the screening.
April 21, 6.15pm — tickets (£8-9.50)
Sick of CGI shenanigans and green screen silliness? Get yourself into 2D! Seriously, it’s like the new 3D! Returning to Flatpack after performing The Odyssey in 2015, The Paper Cinema unfolds the madness of Macbeth. And “The Scottish Play” goes old-old school, with paper puppetry and live scoring, leaving all the juicy best bits: regicide, suicide and BFF-icide. April 19 to 21 — tickets (£10-14)
One of but two UK chances to see New York-based artist Rose Kallal present her new multiple 16mm film loop and sound performance Spectral Points.The loops cycle at varying speeds that people what know things are calling "a hypnotic nonlinear flow". We googled it, and it's this sort of vibe. Accompanying the films is Kallal's live electronic sound score.
April 20, 8pm — tickets (£8-10)
Among an evening of shorts, you'll find London Calling [pictured] and The World's Longest Pub Crawl — a doco about a West Mids gang o’ lads attempting to sample every pub on these isles, in a nationwide sesh. And if that ends up giving you the flavour, get booked on an on-site brewery tour, where you’ll get a pint, tasters and a pizza for 15 notes (book). 
April 18, 7pm —free entry to films

Undoubtedly, this film’s title looks set to attract viewers expecting an unfurling whodunnit of “the hipster’s stolen harem trousers.” Thankfully, Top Knot Detective is closer to what you’d get if Tommy Wiseau’s The Room had been a Samurai film. The tale of Takashi Takamoto’s quest for revenge both on and off screen looks chock-full of LOLZ, lust and all the blood!
April 21, 9.30pm — tickets (£8-9.50)
Flatpack is kind of known for its ability to party, and this year's big shebang is all about puppets, with nods to Prince Achmed, Puppetology and Colour Box, which all feature in this year's programme. Dance, make your own Moomins and sock puppets, then very probably dance some more.
April 21, 9.30pm — tickets (£5)
Flatpack Festival runs from April 13 to 22.


"Life comes at you pretty fast," said Ferris Bueller. "If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." But that's why we're here. Here, for example, to tell you that the Jekyll & Hyde have sneaky-sneaked a new cocktail menu between their most Victorian of walls and we've gone headlong into it. Sweet Gin Music is the J&H's version of one of our all-time favourite cocktails; the Clover Club. Wary of sweet drinks (this comes with candy floss syrup) we asked them to go easy on the sugars and what came back was a moreish slurp that was smoother than a cashmere George Clooney. It's pictured above with a freeze-dried raspberry crumb, but left of that was a real gem. Our first blast on the lime-topped Kissed By Fire was forgettable, but the deeper we got the more we liked it. A blend of Wray & Nephew Blanco and Koko Kanu, it creeps up on you like a shape-shifting monster waiting in the darkness of your hallway, the breath on his slimy tongue making the hairs on your neck stand up. But you know, in a good way. We had to decline the lemon meringuey looking thing in case the Uber driver refused to pick us up. Please go and drink it and report back. 


Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson made their names collaborating with the League of Gentlemen, so their taste isn’t in doubt. Despite that, the film of their hit play (which they also direct), feels oddly like a gamble. Can a stage show based around three very loosely linked spooky tales, enlivened by on-stage scare effects the Victorians would have been familiar with, work on the big screen? Turns out it can! As with the stage production, the middle story about a late-night drive gone wrong is a bit silly, but the opener, with Paul Whitehouse as a nightwatchman, and the Martin Freeman-fronted closer are both genuinely terrifying, and things are drawn together at the end with a macabre showmanship which is theatrical in the best way. One thing: why on Earth didn’t this come out at Halloween? Times & trailer


We're cynical bastards. And between us and the 17,000 of you, the prospect of a quick post-work escape room wasn't filling us with joy. But then we'd never done it Escape Hunt style. The Rolls Royce of getting the hell outta things, think weight sensors, brain ticklers and the highest end props we've ever seen in this weird world. Completing The Fourth Samurai, it would be totally rubbish if we told you what happens inside, but we will admit to there being running, whooping, high-fives, a really embarrassing bit where our excellent games master had to correct our left and right, oh, and we got out. Not as quickly as the professional escape team known as SMS (yes, professional) who hold the record, but we had seven minutes to burn. It's £25pp, for two to six people. And it's brilliant. Book


If you've somehow failed to spot Ivo Graham on Mock the Week and/or Live at the Apollo, quite frankly, you don't watch enough TV. Or maybe you're one of those people we envy without quite understanding, and you don't have a TV? Either way, Graham's taking Educated Guess his Edinburgh Fringe smasher of a show on the road, destination Glee Club. Get eyes on him on May 4 before he leaps into the comedic stratosphere. Tickets are £12.


Can't quite believe the government is spending £45 billion on the military when they could be giving every penny to Dan Silverstone, to animate their crappy crown logo. Dan, of Brum-based Pica, had a little play with our 'B' (original designs by the equally ace Common Curiosity) and you'll start to see the results in our banner from time-to-time. He's good, no? Insta, Twitter
Venue: Tom's Kitchen, The Mailbox, Birmingham, B1 1RE; website
Choice: Mango Mousse (£8) Chooser: Jamie Moss (Manager)

It's spring menu launch season, which despite some excitable sounding press releases can result in as little as the token substitution of a 'gravy' for a 'jus', or maybe some new potatoes as a roastie alternative. Not so at Tom's Kitchen, where over 80% of the menu has changed. And before you lamb hotpot obsessives completely lose your minds, the ever-so-loved sharer remains safely, unchanged on
the menu. But looking a the rest of the carte, think salt baked Heritage carrots (£8), poached Cornish plaice (£23) with the best-foraged sea vegetables available on the day and a new lamb dish with supremely sourced broad beans, peas and Lyonnaise potatoes. And the surprise winner of events given our usual penchant for lamb? The kitchen's mango mousse is bringing on summer all on its own. The thin layer of fruit on top is tart and flavour-filled, while the substantive mousse gets an injection of texture from the tapioca, those starchy little cassava grains that you'll find towards the bottom of the dish. The coconut sorbet acts as a wonderful refresher, ensuring this pud remains texturally and sensationally interesting right until the end.
Kilder opens on April 20. And if that means nothing to you, it's Original Patty Men's new place, and comes with 15 whole beers on tap. Small plates and charcuterie will be your nourishment. Find it next to OPM.
George Egg: DIY Chef is at Solihull's Core on May 18. Comedy, cooking and ridiculousness will abound. Tickets are £12.
Bournville's Food and Drink Festival is this Friday and Saturday. We'll be proceeding at speed towards Dim Sum Su.
Get all over BBC2 for the Commonwealth Games handover where we've got a sneaky feeling you might just see Victoria Square and a few faces of the familiar sort. From 11am on the day of sun (Sunday, then).

"Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace,
like a clock during a thunderstorm." 

Robert Louis Stevenson,
'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'

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WORDS: Katy DrohanRobb SheppardTom Cullen, Andrew Lowry

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