Press Release ~ THE DEEP BLUE SEA, DUDLEY LITTLE THEATRE ~ 7-10 March 2018

THE DEEP BLUE SEA by Terence Rattigan
Dudley Little Theatre (7-10 March 2018)

The third of Dudley Little Theatre’s four seventieth anniversary plays is The Deep Blue Sea, a classic drama by renowned playwright Terence Rattigan. Written and set in 1952, the play follows the progress of Hester Collyer through one day which could change her life forever.

Hester has turned her back on her comfortable but exceedingly dull lifestyle as wife to a respectable high court judge, Sir William Collyer, to embark upon an affair with former RAF fighter pilot Freddie Page, a hero of the Battle of Britain but now a little lost in post-war civilian life. For ten months they have masqueraded as husband and wife in a gloomy and squalid flat in London. But now the cracks in their relationship are beginning to show as the difference in their backgrounds and attitudes becomes ever more apparent. With an end of the affair on the horizon, Hester finds herself lost between two worlds – between the devil and the deep blue sea – and can see only one very desperate way out of the situation…

The Deep Blue Sea will be performed at Netherton Arts Centre, Northfield Road, Netherton DY2 9ER from Wednesday 7th to Saturday 10th March. The performances begin at 7.30, with the doors and licensed bar opening at 7 each evening.

Tickets cost £8 (£7 concessions) and can be bought at the door on the night or via Dudley Little Theatre’s website at www.dudleylittletheatre.org
Alternatively phone Chris on 01384 872583 or 07582 318017, or Rebecca on 07954 424555.

The Deep Blue Sea was previously performed by Dudley Little Theatre in 1984 and has been voted back onto the Netherton stage by audience and members to form part of DLT’s seventieth anniversary season.

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Trollied, Series Seven, Episode Eight ~ Review

It’s the series finale! That’s crept up on us faster than you can say Serves You Right! Do Gavin (Jason Watkins) and Cheryl (Sarah Parish) reconcile? Will Lou (Sally Phillips) find another job? Is Linda (Faye McKeever) set to get back with Nev (Dominic Coleman)? Will Lisa (Beverly Rudd) ever open her till? Read all about it here:

Eye Contact

Cheryl and Gavin were headed for splitsville last week following Gavin’s confession about his reasons for hiring Lou. However, things are looking up, quite literally as apparently she’s started making eye contact again! Will the wedding be on again?

Linda’s Lament

Linda (Faye McKeever) has started mooning after Neville again! Yes, Neville! However, Sue (Lorraine Cheshire) is quick to tell her to leave him alone. Wisely, despite her protest that her happiness should come before Nev’s, Linda tells Nev she hopes he and Meg have something special, like they did.

Best Man

Brian (Stephen Tompkinson) insists that he will be Gavin’s Best Man and has Margaret (Rita May) listen to his speech. Which is rather like an essay! Poor Brian, he’s got no insight whatsoever and he certainly isn’t going to be Gavin’s best man!

New Night Manager

There’s a new Night Manager! It’s Lou!! When Cheryl talks to the clueless soon to be ex employee she finds reasons to keep her on and also reconnects with her reasons for loving and wanting to marry Gavin. So, the wedding is back on!

Stag & Hen

Lisa and Colin (Carl Rice) are getting stuck into planning the stag and hen dos, with Katie (Chanel Cresswell) trying her best to reign it in and organise a more sedate offering. When the unwitting newly-weds-to-be arrive in the canteen for their surprise do they’re first treated to a quiz. However, the raucousness soon breaks out at the hands of Lisa and Colin and the photographic evidence is hilarious! Surely we’ll have a series eight as there’s still a wedding to come, now!

 

 

Two Doors Down, Series Three, Episode Four ~ Review

It’s Beth’s (Arabella Weir)  birthday in BBC Two’s Two Doors Down and a low key jaunt for a pub meal has been organised, with the birthday girl, Eric (Alex Norton) and the boys about to set off, it was inevitable that Christine (Elaine C Smith) would rock up. Of course she goes with them and has a comment to make at every turn. Here’s a few highlights of one of the funniest episodes so far (and that’s saying something, this show is comedy genius at its highest possible level):

Musical tables

It’s up to Beth where they sit when they arrive at the pub, because it’s her birthday they’re celebrating. So naturally they have to sit where Christine wants to sit!

A bit fishy

With three member of the party wanting fish and only two left, someone has to choose an alternative. Well Beth shouldn’t because it’s her celebration, and Christine isn’t going to change her mind either. The result? Eric is served an empty plate so that Beth can share hers! Happy Birthday Beth!!

Detox(ish)

Colin (Jonathan Watson) is also in the pub (where else would he be?!) and his wife is away on a detox spa break – although she’s not really detoxing. Who would believe that Cathy (Doon Mackichan) could stay off the booze anyway? A detox break is wasted on her, as she would rather get wasted!

Pished

Colin’s well and truly ‘pished’ so he’s all over Eric, especially in the loos! Plus he’s a liability generally and the gang can’t wait for a taxi to arrive to take him home.

Bye bye birthday cake

Just as Colin is about to leave (reluctantly) in his taxi, the boys produce a birthday cake for Beth and their drunken friend heads straight back into the pub. Naturally he manages to create a disaster with the ‘Tesco’s Finest’ cake and it lands on the floor. In fact the mess reflects Beth’s celebrations – it’s a farce, the funniest farce on television!

Neighbours: Hit and Run ~ Review

Welcome back Chloe Buckles, guest reviewing her beloved soap operaNeighbours for me and in this case she’s selected the late night special! Here are her thoughts…

If you were a solid watcher of Neighbours in the 90’s then Monday evening’s 10pm one-hour special of the UK’s favourite Australian soap was the place to be without a doubt! Nostalgic, with some familiar faces of ex-cast, the show put on its best impression of a movie and encouraged us to get reminiscent of the 1990’s.

We kicked off with a Spice Girls intro instead of the usual opening titles, starting up the full themed 90’s party atmosphere as we headed off into Toadie’s (Ryan Moloney) 21st birthday party, seeing the return of familiar faces Stu Parker (Blair McDonough), Lance Wilkinson (Andrew Bibby) and Stonie Rebecchi (Anthony Engelman) – dressed as Teletubbies, naturally. Toadie won the party of his dreams from Lassiters, and of course the whole neighbourhood was invited! Plus there was an appearance from fan favourites Angie and Big Kev (Lesley Baker and Don Bridges)! There were some excellent costumes, but I enjoyed Paul Robinson’s (Stefan Dennis) “I came as myself in the 90’s” and Gary’s “a man in his 90’s”. The party atmosphere was somewhat disrupted though, by Stu who had a message to give to Toadie from Sindi (Marisa Warington) – the co-conspirator on the whole Andrea/Dee plot a few months back. When Toadie did catch up with Sindi, it was to be told that Andrea is back in town, watching him and wants to speak to him. I can’t imagine Sonya (Eve Morey) is going to be happy about that.

Unless you’ve been under a rock over the last week you won’t have missed the big news that Izzy Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaighte) is back in town, and she made her usual dramatic entrance – being knocked over by a car, that Susan (Jackie Woodburne) was driving! Karl (Alan Fletcher) and Susan have been picking at each over and bickering of late, ever since Karl returned from Thailand with a smuggled durian fruit and tried to pass the smell of it off on Susan at customs. Bad move Karl. Since then we’ve watched the couple bicker over the smallest of things and Karl become obsessed with wanting to be involved with a new wing being built at the hospital. In fact, in this episode, he’s cleared out the couple’s retirement fund. Susan is understandably cheesed off! Now, with Izzy’s return, are the couple set to hit to rocks over her, yet again? Izzy definitely manages to cast a spell over Karl in this episode, making him question whether Susan was in a fit state to drive after their disagreement. And it quickly becomes apparent when Izzy’s discussing with daughter Holly (Lucinda Armstrong Hall), that she has a plan up her sleeve involving the Kennedy’s. Izzy is definitely one of those characters you love to hate (or just love!) and having her back on the show is such a treat! As Susan said, “Isabelle has never done anything in her life without an agenda.”

Elsewhere, Tyler (Travis Burns) and Piper (Mavournee Hazel) aren’t in the partying mood with Tyler’s up and coming murder trial and have chosen to spend their last night in the city. Piper quickly confesses to Tyler that she has a plan – to go on the run! This move, to me, seems very out of character for Piper, who until recently was always very independent and unlikely, I think, to be altering her whole future for her boyfriend. But then, perhaps love makes people do silly things! Tyler is reluctant to agree but eventually concedes and the pair put on their (unconvincing) disguises to start their new life together. Elsewhere though, best friend Xanthe (Lilly Van der Meer) has had to admit that the pair are planning to run away and suddenly police helicopters are dispatched and Tyler and Piper are on a dramatic chase, desperate to get away. Tyler jumps a rooftop, telling Piper that she needs to go back to her family. However, Piper isn’t listening and follows him – leaving us all on a literal cliff hanger (or roof hanger). Will Piper manage to hold on? Or is it all over for her?

Overall, this episode left me wanting more – and it’s been a while since I felt that way about Neighbours. A fleeting appearance from newbie Rafael (Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas) who it looks as though has unfinished business with Paul Robinson (who hasn’t…?) is just another small hook we were given into the up and coming weeks storylines. Personally I can’t wait to see what havoc Izzy is going to play on the Kennedy’s, and if we’ll ever see an end to the Andrea/Dee storyline – I’m still holding out hope that Dee is alive!

You can catch Neighbours at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5.

 

Picture credits: Channel 5

Dear Zoo ~ Stafford Gatehouse Theatre

Dear Zoo is on a UK tour, book your tickets at a venue near you, here: Dear Zoo Tickets

Star rating: *****

Written by Rod Campbell, this is one of my son’s ultimate favourite books! It had to go everywhere with him when he was pre-toddler age and he knows it inside out, now. The transition to stage has been made smoothly and beautifully, with every great element of the book translated into a superb theatrical production.

The story is told by Ben, Sally and Sam the Zoo Keeper, they guided the young audience through the popular tale brilliantly. There was plenty of audience interaction and opportunities for the children to join in with songs, counting and to help regale the story.

In the various colourful crates, we see Ben receive a number of unsuitable pets from the Zoo following his letter to them, asking for a pet. There’s an elephant, he’s too big, a giraffe who’s too tall and a very naught monkey. The animal characters are either portrayed by puppetry or performed by members of the cast – every animal is engaging and for the little ones and they each have their own musical number too!

This show is the perfect running time and there’s no interval so momentum isn’t lost. If you’re looking for a family trip to the theatre, this is one of the best. As a first visit to the theatre, it’s definitely the most ideal for all young ages.

BAFTA Film Awards 2018

For the full list of BAFTA award winners, follow the link: BAFTA Film Awards 2018

What a night, eh? From Joanna Lumley’s take-over as presenter to the display of unity from the female guests who wore black to the criticism of Kate Middleton for failing to wear black – it was all going on at this year’s film BAFTAs.

2017 saw some films of outstanding quality, I’ve been tempted by genres I might not otherwise have engaged with too. Who took home the trophies was of real interest to me and there were some hot contenders in each category.

Fun, games, and gossip aside, it truly was a remarkable evening celebrating some of the best in the film industry and there were many deserving winners. Here are a few of my highlights:

Animated Film

Coco is such a ground-breaking Disney movie, it was thoroughly deserving of the award for Animated Film. I often feel that Disney thinks outside the box with its choice of film subjects and this one definitely conforms to my theory, whilst retaining that Disney magic.

Leading Actress

Frances McDormand fascinates me, every nuance of her performance regardless of role, is measured and beautifully believable. I have yet to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – it’s top of my list to catch up on though. As an actress in every level and for all of her credits, as well as this particular role – McDormand was the obvious winner.

 

Leading Actor

I actually shouted out Gary Oldman as the winner and clapped like a seal when this was announced. Darkest Hour is a moving, stunningly shot film and Gary Oldman enhances it with the most uncanny performance. Oldman is a talent de force, however would he have sprung to mind as ideal casting for Churchill? No! An inspired choice, though. Bravo!

Supporting Actress

I, Tonya is on my list to see at the cinema this weekend, so I’m unable to comment on Allison Janney’s performance, completely. However, from the clips that have caught my attention, I had already got her pegged as the winner in this category. I can’t wait to see the full movie, I have a feeling I will want to give Janney a standing ovation in the auditorium. She’s a marvel!

Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name – how glorious is this movie? The observational sub-text and exploration of the abstract is captured in cinematography which adds a new dimension to the story. As an adaptation it’s one of the finest screenplays I’ve seen and fully deserved the win.

Films on my hit-list for 2018
  1. I, Tonya 
  2. The Shape of Water
  3. Black Panther
  4. The Incredibles 2
  5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
I’m excited to see Margot Robbie in I, Tonya!

 

Call The Midwife, Series Seven, Episode Five ~ Review

Call the Midwife – there’s always something to cry about, I say it every week and this episode was no different. Jam packed full of emotional exchanges and scenes so beautifully filmed that each one made an impact. Here’s my personal highlights of one of my favourite episodes to date:

Picnic Panic

Violet’s (Annabelle Apsion) planning a communal outing for a picnic and in her usual panic about getting everything just right. Thankfully it’s a great success and what a gorgeous setting it was too! I loved Fred (Cliff Parisi) putting the signage on the poster the wrong way up!

Small Pox (or is it?)

When Ade Babaaro (Jordan Peters) goes into hiding having been thrown off the boat he was working aboard, he’s quick to stop anybody from touching him in case he’s infecting them with Small Pox. When Reggie (Daniel Laurie) find him and decides to take pity on him, Fred and Violet are anxious in case he’s caught it. However, when Phyllis (Linda Bassett) draws Ade’s whereabouts out of Reggie, she soon discovers that the suspected Small Pox is Leprosy. Cue a mission to get the right help and a cure for the poor chap!

Tokophobia

Learning that fear of giving birth is called Tokophobia in one of the most harrowing yet exceptional scenes ever was one of the absolute highlights of the episodes for me. Brilliant, I can’t articulate it any clearer than that!

Seeing the light

Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) has her operation scheduled for her cataract removal, I can’t help but feel that this storyline will make for more tear-jerking moments yet. There’s nobody better than Judy Parfitt to carry this story, either.

Barbara’s Back!

Barbara’s (Charlotte Ritchie) back to stay! That made the episode complete for me, one of my favourite characters and Richie is an amazing actress. Exciting times!

Weekend Watch ~ 17th – 18th Feb

My telly viewing at the weekend is inevitably varied, with so much to choose from I’m often recording as many television channel as I can cram onto the Sky box which I make an effort to catch up on in the week. However, last weekend I was on it like a car bonnet and managed to plonk myself in front of all of these beauties:

All Together Now!

I thought this week’s instalment was quite an emotional one – the quality of the vocal ability on the top two acts was incredible and absolutely stunning. For a bit of fun, a sing-along and some exceptionally talented individuals – this show offers the lot. I’d like a series two please!

The Voice UK

So it’s battle round next week and I’m ready for ’em – the team building rounds feel like they’ve dragged. However, it was a joy to see Olly Murs complete his team with such a class act, has he got the winner? We’ll see… I’m excited!

Casualty

What’s inspiring me about BBC One’s Casualty is the current NHS crisis which it’s dealing with superbly well. No shying away from issues which are affecting so many as staff shortages lead to chaos. Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) is leading the revolution from the inside – it’s probably heading in the direction of trouble! It’ll be intriguing to watch it play out, however a huge pat on the back to the writers and cast for this eye-opener.

Dancing on Ice

A double elimination and the announcement of announcements – Torvill and Dean are going to perform together again for Dancing on Ice viewers’ delectation, I can’t wait and squealed with delight! Guess who’ll have their nose glued to the box that night? The double elimination saw Antony Cotton and Donna Air leave the competition, the right two to go in my opinion. I’m not sure if Antony would have regained the momentum he had started to pick up and Donna’s performances had felt rather stagnant. I’d be happy to see any of the remaining contestants lift the trophy.

Hold the Sunset

I might be the controversial one here, but I loved this! Alison Steadman was on form as Edith with John Cleese a great match as Phil. You can never go wrong with Jason Watkins in the cast and as Edith’s son, Roger, this is a different character for him. Add Rosie Cavaliero to the mix and you’ve got a winning formula on your hands. I would agree that it was a slow start, however the one liners are there and the visual comedy, too. I’m looking forward to episode two.

 

Milkshake! Live The Magic Story Book Tour ~ Telford Oakengates Theatre

Milkshake! Live is on UK tour – check out all the dates here: Milkshake! Live Tour Tickets

Star rating: *****

If your child is a fan of the early morning television programme, Milkshake! which appears on Channel 5 or if they are fans of the popular characters whose shows are shown on the programme – they will LOVE The Magic Story Book Tour. With two presenters who are familiar from the television programme and a whole host of famous faces from a variety of children’s telly favourites, this is a show set to delight.

We were in for a treat with the gorgeous Amy Thompson and Olivia Birchenough in charge and taking on the roles of many fairy tale characters as they guided Milkshake Monkey on his quest to be a Fairy Tale Prince. What was notable about both presenters was their superb acting ability and Thompson in particular is extraordinarily exceptional at performing with a different accent. Her Geordie wolf was a particular favourite of mine!

With each fairy tale visited by Milkshake Monkey and the girls, cam a different children’s television character. Fireman Sam, Noddy, Bob the Builder, Shimmer and Shine and loads more – whatever your child’s taste, I guarantee it will be catered for. It was also glorious to visit Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Dick Whittington, I’ve missed panto season (oh yes I have!) and this was just the tonic.

You can catch the show at many venues around the UK, is one of the hottest tickets for the kids and big kids in the family.

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