An evening under the stars with (John Travolta!)

Last weekend we spent our Saturday evening with Starry Night Cinema at the gorgeous location of Oriel Plas Glyn Y Weddw in Llanbedrog. The film of choice: The iconic Saturday Night Fever starring an extremely youthful John Travolta. Lauren tells us all about her evening….

 

Once I saw the summer schedule launched for Starry Night Cinema, I knew which film would be the top choice for me to attend; I’m ashamed to say that i’d never seen this iconic film – the film that launched John Travolta’s carreer and who’s famous soundtrack helped popularise the already growing genre of disco music. And while I could rent the film online or even order the DVD to sit in front of at home, I could not miss the opportunity to spend the evening amongst beautiful surroundings, in the fresh air and under the stars- with good friends and lovely food.

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Around 7:30pm when we arrived, people already settling down and finding their perfect spot to watch the film

We arrived at the venue not long after the suggested start time of 7pm, and many of the attendees had already set up their picnics on the benches on the rolling lawns outside of the gallery. Seeing that there was no bench space left we decided to set up our picnic up the hill in front of the big inflatable screen onto which the film would be projected in a couple of hours time. We found a lovely spot to unpack our cheese and biscuit selection, and cracked open the bubbly! Advantage of settling where we would eventually watch the film: laziness (no need to move once start time approached) Disadvantage: there were considerably more midges! Happily the lovely Starry Night staff had some bug spray to lend us, and we managed to deter the little insects!

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Posh picnic at it’s finest!

The photos don’t do the view justice. The sky was a little cloudy but we had been granted some lovely warm weather that evening, considering around 11am that day it had been raining we had done very well there. The afternoon sunshine had even dried the ground for us too. We had perfect weather conditions.

Behind the pop-up screen and peeping out from behind the trees you could see Cardigan Bay and the coastline of Pwllheli, and it was even clear enough to see Criccieth and beyond in the distance. To our left the distinctive and historic building of Oriel Plas Glyn Y Weddw sits at the bottom of the hill. Well worth a visit in the daytime not only to view its impressive interior, but also to see the gorgeous art exhibits held within, mostly by Welsh and local artists.

As we happily enjoyed our evening picnic, the atmosphere was relaxed and happy. We could smell the popcorn being sold by the event staff by the entrance and if it had not been for our copious amounts of picnic food we might have indulged in a traditional cinema snack too!

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Approaching dusk and the ampetheatre was filling up

 

The light soon began to fade as we approached sunset and the film’s start time, so after eating our fill of food we packed up our picnic before it got too hard to see and settled into our deck chairs, conveniently laid out specially for the occasion. There was a choice of two areas to sit; on the stepped stone seating of the ampetheatre, or behind on the grass on deck chars arranged neatly into rows by the Starry Night staff. For the unprepared and without something to sit on (like me when I attended last year) there were small padded seats available to rent for a very small fee. Last year I thought i’d be okay just sitting on a blanket – My numb bum did not thank me for it! This year the deck chars were a vast improvement on that. My top tip if you’re thinking of attending: bring a cushion or rent a padded seat to sit on – you wont regret it!

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The sun set and the film began!

The sun went down and thankfully the night still remained an nice temperature. There was a short introduction to the film by the staff, and an encouraging invitation to embrace the urge to dance and sing along with the film (which I was very happy to hear!) And the film began, beaming John Travolta’s youthful 6 foot high visage onto the amazing backdrop.

In the opening scenes, there are some very revealing shots of Travolta getting ready to go out for the night, and these were met with some excited whooping from the crowd, setting the tone for a great night of audience participation! Upon viewing John’s generous on-screen …ahem.. *package*…my friend Maxine next to me declared aloud ‘I LOVE the 70’s!’

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Now I’m a sucker for cheesy music, and the soundtrack did not dissapoint. From the outset the crowd were thoroughly enjoying the music, at some points I was happy to see people getting up to show off their best disco dance moves along with the film

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About halfway through the film, I heard the ‘call of nature’ so to speak, and thankfully Oriel Plas was open for the film-goers to use it’s facilities. I negotiated my way down the hill by the light of my phone torch, and passed through the cafe, happy to see it was still open and available serving food and drinks for the attendees if they fancied it.

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A slice of disco in the Welsh countryside

From our position quite far back the sound was still crystal clear, I remember taking a moment to appreciate how well the sound was carrying, then realised the ampetheatre was probably built for this purpose, It served the film well anyway, above the merriment of the crowd we didnt miss a word. The film was sufficiently fun-filled and at times a bit gritty, and VERY 70’s. It made me decide my next birthday party was going to be 70’s themed. How I wish I could travel back in time and go out on a night like that!

We had a wonderful evening under the stars, and if you get the chance to go we thoroughly reccomend it. There are a few more dates this summer, (see schedule below) you can book via Starry Night’s website. Follow tham on facebook too for up to date information on upcoming events!

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Please note that the film on Monday 14th of August has changed to ‘La La Land.’

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I always love to hear recommendations from you of places visit or things to do on Pen Llŷn, so either comment on this blog, write on our facebook wall or tweet us your suggestions! And don’t forget to tag us in your pictures, especially if you are enjoying a night out at Starry Night Cinema! Tag us in your food pics on instagram!

Don’t forget you can download our mobile phone app for FREE on the Apple and Play stores, search ‘We Love Llŷn’ or click here.

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Kill for a Seat – Comedy at Dylan’s Criccieth

I bet you’ve never seen a stand up comedy show with a castle and a sunset in the background before… Dylan’s got the recipe right when it comes to views, windows – and a fantastic events schedule.

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We were greeted by a beautiful sky on a calm but chilly friday evening

In my 25 years of living in Pen Llŷn, I’ve been to several comedy shows. I’ve had to travel to places like London and Manchester for it, but I’ve seen quite a few! I’ve even been to comedy clubs in Amsterdam and California too, so you can call me a fan for sure. But I’d never think this wonderful art form on stage would come so close to my home.

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When I saw on Dylan’s schedule of events that there was a comedy night coming up, I booked a slot for myself and my friends as soon as possible. There were no details at the time of what it was or who was performing, but I adore comedy, especially stand up, so I thought I’d give it a go. I naiively thought that it was just some sort of local act trying out their skills on a familiar and friendly audience, I had no idea that Dylan’s had gone all out in securing some brilliant comedians from all over the country. For £9 a ticket, we got so much for our money!

 

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We arrived at 8:30 for the 9pm start having just caught a quick dinner at Mei’s Fusion (see my previous blog post – I wasn’t lying when I said I’d be back!) We were greeted by the most beautiful sunset sky over the castle – Dylan’s views of Criccieth never fail to impress. As it happens the posters on the door into Dylans were the first time I had seen the title of the show – ‘Kill for a Seat’ – which turns out to be a fantastic travelling comedy club setup etstablished in 1994 and organized by the one and only Silky, also the words ‘SOLD OUT’ – made us feel especially excited.

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The eldeflower ‘mocktail’ is brilliant with a cheeky shot of gin added in…

We grabbed some cocktails from the bar and found our seats. The room was packed with a jovial atmosphere, I got the impression a lot of people had just had a lovely meal next door in the dining area of Dylans and were happy, full, and possibly a couple of drinks in- the comedians couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere and audience. I was delighted to discover that there were four acts in store for us, and the show began with the beautiful sky outside still glowing pink providing an amazing backdrop. Tiernan Douieb, our first act and compere, commented on the view observing that it was very rare that he was upstaged by a sunset. Tiernan brought the energy from the very start, chatting to and bouncing off members of the crowd and cosying up the room by getting us all acquainted. Tiernan was getting some wonderful energy from the crowd (although some more than others!) from the outset so when it came to introduce the next act, the crowd gave them a warm (and loud!) welcome. Jonathan Williams is as close to home grown talent as I think we may ever experience. Hailing from Felinheli (near Bangor) this ‘local’ boy was very familiar with the area and this worked to his advantage as he entertained us with some observations and quips about the local area and it’s people.

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Tiernan opening the show

We had a short interval in which table service was provided by the lovely waiting on staff, and a large wooden slab full of slices of Dylan’s well known and delicious pizzas was handed around to the crowd. Even though I was full from my meal earlier I still managed to enjoy a slice!

Our next act was Kevin Caswell-Jones. Kevin hails from Wrexham though you wouldn’t have known it from his slightly soft-spoken but distinctly posh accent. We soon learned that Kevin is a nurse by day and a comedian by night, (or perhaps the other way round knowing how NHS shift patterns vary!) Kevin had an air of experience about him, like he was completely comfortable on stage (how true that is from Kevin’s perspective I have no idea) and kept the crowd laughing throughout his routine.

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Table service meant we could order a naughty dessert… This one’s the ‘trio of desserts’: Pannacotta, Messy Mon, and Tiramasu… there’s always room for dessert!

One more interval to keep us well hydrated and it was time for our headline act. Silky kept up the momentum with skill moving fluidly back and forth from the sophisticated to the silly, at one point had the whole crowd in stitches acting out the many uses of a £30 guitar stand. (You have to see it to understand the hilarity – but trust me- it worked!) Between bantering with the now very tipsy crowd and joking about his own life he had us laughing from start to finish. Silky rounded off the evening in style by singing (and might I add – playing his beautiful guitar extremely skillfully) a couple of his funny songs. The first was a soulful but catchy lament dedicated to police community support officers, and the last was an upbeat song that described life from the point of view of a dog with playful accuracy, ending with a hilariously abrupt punch line that brought the rolling energy of the show to a raucous pinnacle.

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Silky entertaining the crowd

The whole room was enjoying themselves from start to finish, I know myself and my three friends enjoyed the show thoroughly, we’re looking forward to the next!

Dylan’s do have more comedy nights planned, I will be watching their facebook page like a hawk, from the wonderful success of this night I’m sure tickets will sell fast the next time round.

If you’d like email updates when ‘Kill for a Seat’ might be returning to the area, you can sign up for the mailing list here!

You can also find Dylan’s schedule of events here.