About Cheryl Barrett

Cheryl has a love of theatre and writes reviews for Sardines magazine. She has written and directed one act plays, murder mysteries and comedy sketches. Since writing her first solo pantomime Dick Whittington, she has co-written six other pantomimes with Bob Heather - all are published with Lazybee scripts. Cheryl has also facilitated after school and youth club drama workshops for children, storytelling sessions and drama workshops. As well as travel and socialising Cheryl’s hobbies include singing jazz - she is currently studying under acclaimed jazz singer Brigitte Beraha. More information can be found on www.starnow.co.uk

The Stiletto Workout

A friend recently asked me if I wanted to do a stiletto workout for women who want to keep fit and put the glamour back in their lives. I’m all for a bit of glamour so I read the poster which claimed; ‘Girls can do what boys can, but we do it in heels!’ – I was intrigued. The poster also suggested that doing this workout would ‘bring my sexy back and coax out that hidden diva within’.

It’s been quite a while since I reached the dizzy heights in stilettos, I resorted to flat shoes a few years ago with the usual knee and hip pains associated with walking in high heels. Taking my past experiences teetering around in high heels into consideration – I had a sudden image of me wobbling around to Dizzy Rascal on 5 inch heels, bumping into someone and setting off a domino effect of other wannabe divas – I deliberated. Would a stiletto workout suit me? I reasoned that if I wanted something different to a gym maybe I should try belly dancing or Zumba classes instead, and googled a few in Cambridge and the surrounding areas. I was quite surprised at just how many dance and exercise classes there are.

However, the following day I read an article in the Daily Mail (Saturday October 6th) about Bristol Clinician Martin Bell’s ‘Perfectly Poised’ class, which involves filming clients walking in their heels. He then analyses their walk and, as well as encouraging them to stand straight and avoid slouching, gives them exercises to help strengthen weak muscles and ease pain. The part that interested me was that Mr Bell doesn’t advocate women ditching their high heels entirely. He claims that they just need to walk in them properly. This was good news. Most short women, like me, prefer to wear high heels. They not only give extra height and make me feel sexy – I always felt more confident in high heels.

The Stiletto Workout has been featured on Gok Wan’s ‘How To Look Good Naked’ tv programme and is getting rave reviews. With Christmas fast approaching and the need to lose weight, shape up and get fit I rose up to my full four feet ten inches and decided that the Stiletto Workout would make an interesting change from pounding away on a cross trainer once a week.

The Stiletto Workout instructor, Gemma Lisa Wingrove, aged 24, has been dancing since the age of nine. She has undertaken a number of fitness training courses including Fight Klub, which uses free standing punch bags and some ‘wicked tunes’ and is also a mentor for a healthy eating food plan called ‘Danceloss’. Gemma explained that the 60 minute Stiletto Workout session included conditioning exercises designed to improve women’s ability to wear heels comfortably and confidently, a seductive dance routine, a catwalk runway and a finale performance to unleash the newfound diva. Ever one to rise to a challenge I signed up for the introductory class – after all, I have nothing to lose except my balance, a spare tyre and a couple of stone.

From Whichever Angle, it’s a Great Venue!

I visited the Angles Theatre a couple of times last year and was pleasantly surprised. Situated in Alexandria Road, the Angles Theatre is the local Arts Centre in Wisbech. It is housed in a Georgian building and has an interesting theatrical tradition stretching over 200 years, and one of the few working Georgian theatres in the UK. Built in 1793, it was used as a theatre for over fifty years and then became home to a grain store, the Town Library, a school and a tent maker’s. Nowadays the auditorium is owned by the Christian Spiritualist Church.

Locals know it as an arts venue and with the reintroduction of live theatre over twenty years ago, Angle’s 105 seat auditorium is once again hosting events and showcasing talent from the world of music, dance, poetry, theatre companies and other performing arts projects. It also has regular events such as live music and quiz nights. I was given a tour of the theatre and brief history of the building before relaxing in the licenced bar. There is a pay and display parking area a few yards from the theatre which is free after 6pm.

The Angles Theatre has moved on quite a bit from the halcyon days of it’s 18th Century provincial theatre roots, especially as they were only used for two months every two years. Future productions include the award winning musical/comedy The Drowsy Chaperone, which is being staged by the Wisbech Operatic and Dramatic Society from 15-19th May. The Flatlands Comedy Club are staging ‘Searching For Doctor Branovic’ from 17-21 July. RATz will be performing their annual pantomime again in December.

Several local clubs use this venue and include The Cynthia Maxey School of Dance and RATzcool of Musical Theatre, both of which foster local talent. Last December I was invited along to see my pantomime, Dick Whittington performed at The Angles Theatre by RATz and was blown away by the talented young cast. Although it is a thriving theatre Angles is almost self-funding and relies heavily on volunteers in a variety of ways as front of house, back stage crew etc. Patrons include a few famous names from the world of theatre and music, Sir Derek Jacobi CBE, Dame Cleo Laine OBE and Jo Brand.

The young stars of tomorrow meanwhile have plenty of opportunity to learn and develop their skills here. From Mon 30th July – Weds 1st August there is a junior summer workshop for 5-10 year olds. The musical challenge workshop for 10-18 year olds is the iconic musical Happy Days and runs from Mon 13th-Fri 24th August. Both of these are reasonably priced and culminate with performances. It all sounds like great fun – I wish there had been something like this when I was younger.

Angles foyer area also plays host to various displays, including the recent exhibition by William Ironside, of Fenlands Photography. There were thirty or more A3 colour prints of recent theatre shows (including the RATz production of Dick Whittington) and travel photos from locations including Arizona, Greece, Hawaii, Italy and Japan.

If, like me, you are only in Wisbech for the day then the High Street and market place have a wide range of established speciality shops and well-known shops with plenty of eating places. I love walking down old streets admiring the architecture and trying to absorb the history. The North and South Brink in Wisbech are known for their Georgian streets and little has changed over the years resulting in film crews using these wonderful locations in various productions. Part of the BBC TV period drama David Copperfield was filmed here.

With something for everyone the Angles Theatre provides an invaluable service to the community of Wisbech, and is well worth a visit.

Check the website for listings and productions at www.anglestheatre.co.uk

Images reproduced from fotolibra.com and anglestheatre.co.uk