The Story of Guitar Heroes is an awe-inspiring, dynamic show which transports you through time: from the 1950’s with artistes such as Chuck Berry and Hank Marvin from The Shadows, including gifted legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, through to modern day players such as the great Brian May and the electrifying Steve Vai, to name but a few!
Presented by guitar virtuoso Phil Walker – this show’s extraordinarily talented band uses over 30 guitars to recreate and accurately reproduce the sound and ambiance of each guitar hero. Featuring video footage of historical moments, with state-of-the-art lighting and delivered with a light-hearted vibe – this makes for a truly sensational and enjoyable evening.
Now in its 5th year, The Story of Guitar Heroes has become increasingly popular not only with many guitar players and musicians, but with people and families of all ages.
I caught up with Phil to find out more about this fantastic show….
Tell me about the show and the concept
The show is what I would call a live ‘rockumentary.’ We pay homepage to some of the greatest guitar heroes of all time. Rather than a lool-a-like show, what we do is recreate the sound and ambience of around 30 guitar heroes as accurately as we can. We have really focused on the detail in recreating their sounds, to the extent that we even use the same model of guitar as the particular guitar hero used (hence needing so many guitars to do the Show!).
What can the audience expect from the production?
There is a full live band on stage, video screens (with some really interesting footage) of guitar heroes and their stories, as well as a fantastic light show. We use over 30 guitars to recreate the sound of each hero we pay homage to. The show runs on a timeline so we start in the 1950’s with people like Chuck Berry and Hank Marvin and make our way through time to guitar heroes of today such as Brian May, Slash and Steve Vai.
When did you first become interested in the guitar? My Dad was a guitar player in the sixties and he decided to pick the guitar up again, after having a break from it, when I was around six years old. My Dad always had The Shadows and Eddie Cochran records on, and when I saw the guitar that was it – I was hooked!
Who are your guitar heroes?
I grew up listening to The Shadows so Hank Marvin was a big guitar hero to me (and still is). I’m also a fan of Albert Lee and Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits, as well as a country player called Brad Paisley. This list could go on….haha!
Have you any favourite venues on tour?
I quite like playing in some of the really old style theatres. It makes you wonder who has actually stood where I’m standing.
What is your all-time favourite riff and why?
I really like playing the fast part of the end solo in Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits. You don’t use a plectrum so you have to be so accurate or it just doesn’t sound the same.
If you could go to a gig with any five guitar heroes who would they be and why?
Hank Marvin because I have so many questions from when I was growing up. Mark Knoplfer because he just seems so down to earth. Brad Paisley because he has a great sense of humour and he wears a cowboy hat. I would also wear a cowboy if I was with him. I wouldn’t if I was on my own, I’d feel silly!! Haha David Gilmour. I would ask him if he misses any of the guitars he has just recently sold. Jimi Hendrix because he is just the coolest looking guitar player that has ever been and who wouldn’t want to be seen with Jimi Hendrix!
What are your ambitions for the show in the future?
We are hopefully going to be playing some festivals in the not too distant future so that will be something to look forward to. I would also love to take the show overseas, possibly America then I could go and visit the Fender factory!
The ‘Delhi Downton’ has closed its doors, which means that Sunday nights will be a little dull now that Beecham House is no longer filling a prime time spot. However, the good news is that its available to purchase on DVD. Did you watch the series? What were your thoughts? Were you as gripped as I was? Here’s my review of what became a must-watch for me:
Gurinder Chadha’s Beecham House grabbed my attention from the opening scene, it was fairly obvious that one of the main actors in the show was not going to die – however the fact that John Beecham (Tom Bateman) was shot in opening scenes had me on the edge of my seat from the outset. Three years later and we see that Mr Beecham has not succumbed to his wound and arrives at a spectacular Delhi Mansion with a half-cast baby in tow whom he appears paternal towards. In India in the late 18th century, the period in which the series is set, France and England were battling it out to reign supreme. This historical undercurrent runs through the whole series.
Beecham certainly appears to have an eye for the ladies, and he’s already been established as a heroic figure having saved a group of rich Indians from bandits in the opening sequence. His past career involves working for the East India Company where his brother Daniel (Leo Suter) is still a Soldier – however what he’s looking for now is to trade.
Beecham is also keenly aware of his mother’s imminent arrival, the bold and forthright Henrietta Beecham who has travelled all the way from England to stay at Beecham House having not seen her son for years. Lesley Nicol plays her and is predictably superb as the meddling matchmaker. Bessie Carter (daughter of Jim Carter (yes that’s Mr Carson from Downton Abbey) and the multi-talented Imedla Staunton) plays Henrietta’s companion, Violet and she’s got her heart set on a proposal of marriage from Beecham – although that does not appear to be forthcoming. Especially as he also has another beautiful lady on his radar, Governess, Margaret Osbourne (Dakota Blue Richards).
The scenery is breath-taking, the costumes are eye-catchingly spectacular and the casting is on point. Twists, turns and all the ingredients for a watchable period drama and its easy to see why the Downton reference is made. Enjoy it, it’s a treat indeed.
Here are a few words from cast members Tom Bateman and Lesley Nicol:
What attracted you to the role?
For me it always comes down to script and characters. I was sent the first three scripts and I really wanted to know what happened next. I got very invested in all the characters. There’s a great line that John says which is, ‘I’m not here to build walls’ and I thought the idea of working with two very different cultures would be very interesting.
Why is John Beecham so appealing to play?
I’ve never played a character with so much weight to him, and that appealed to me straight away. My characters are normally quite energetic, but John is very strong, quite hard and you don’t really know who he is at first. He internalises, he’s a man of mystery. He’s got a baby but there’s no mother and he doesn’t tell anybody anything about that, which instantly makes you think something’s going on because otherwise why wouldn’t he just tell people who the baby’s mother is? He’s inherently a very good man who’s trying to do the right thing, but he’s been through the wars. He’s also very forward-thinking. He left the East India Company because he didn’t agree with the way they did things which, at the time, was very bold. A lot of people just went along with it and didn’t question it but he refused to be part of it. For someone to stand up against the norm makes them very intriguing to me.
Is the series an ensemble piece?
It’s called Beecham House and there are quite a few Beechams – me, my mum, my brother, plus the wonderful Bessie [Carter] who plays a family friend, [Violet Woodhouse]. There are lots of other characters associated with the house, who are inspiring to work alongside. What I loved about it was that we all had great stories. Even characters who have slightly smaller roles in terms of being on screen, they have a falling-in-love story or a political story. Every moment they appear is very rich. Nobody was sitting there going, ‘I wish I was in it a bit more’. It was wonderful.
What’s John’s relationship like with his family?
He’s being pulled in lots of different directions by lots of different people: his mum, his brother, a love interest or two! Just give the guy a break! He starts the series on his own, and by the end things have changed a lot. He thought he’d lost his brother forever, he hadn’t seen his mother for years, he was very independent, then they all come together again.
What do you think viewers like about period drama?
They look beautiful, they’re very rich in composition. You’re instantly in another world. And horses! You don’t get to see horses that often. But for me, the reason I love filming period dramas, is that they instantly make you act differently. People don’t talk about their feelings as much. They don’t say, ‘Oh, I really fancy you’. And you don’t touch each other. So you have to find another way of expressing those feelings which is really fun. There was a scene in Vanity Fair in which Olivia [Cooke] and I can’t say how we feel, because it wasn’t done, but my character is going to [the Battle of] Waterloo and it was so rich and dramatic. You’re torn between what you want to say and what you’re allowed to say. And it oozes sexiness because you’re watching and going, ‘God, just kiss her!’ It’s like Mr Darcy and Lizzy Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. You know they’re going to get together but it takes six hours of anticipation to get there.
What was it about the character of Henrietta that attracted you to the role?
It was a number of things, actually. I was very attracted to the fact it was a different kind of role for me. This character gave me something meaty and very different from what I’ve been doing. I absolutely love India. I did a movie there ten years ago called West is West, so to go back was a huge draw. Gurinder was another big draw and I knew they were getting top people on board for cast and crew, and it’s ITV primetime, so what’s not to like! It was a lovely thing to land on the doorstep.
Who is Henrietta?
She’s John’s mother. On the face of it she’s a very respectable, god-fearing, upper middle class woman, very conservative. She comes over to India on a very long boat trip with her companion Violet who’s played by Bessie Carter. They have this hideous journey and when they arrive they’re completely poleaxed because everything is so foreign to them.
What’s Henrietta’s relationship like with Violet?
Well Violet is unmarried and desperate to find a husband. She’s the daughter of a dear friend and so Henrietta asked her to come along as her companion and Violet does that very well. They play cards together and have a very good relationship. But the bottom line is that Violet does want a husband and as far as Henrietta is concerned, John is a very good-looking and a kind man with a certain amount of wealth with an amazing house, so she’s very much hoping to position John and Violet together so that they eventually get married and come back to England.
It appears that John has secrets at Beecham House?
When they arrive they’re introduced to Margaret Osborne [played by Dakota Blue Richards]. They don’t know who Margaret is but she looks very settled in his company and they think, ‘hang on a minute!’ So they’re not very nice to Margaret. Then other women turn up and there’s a baby and they’re very confused about who’s who and what’s what.
Is John pleased to be reunited with his mother?
They haven’t seen each other for 12 years so he’s totally different from last time she saw him. He’s older, wiser. She has two sons and they’re both in India. There’s definitely a base love that they all have for each other. But Henrietta is challenging, there’s no doubt about it, and he’s not been quite ready to tell her everything that’s going on in his life when she turns up. She has to try and deal with all of this information and she’s not easy to be around because the whole experience has thrown her so much.
What’s happened to John’s father?
He was a bad’un and got taken to Australia. He was a gambler and a drinker. He gets mentioned occasionally but he’s absent so there’s a sadness there because she was left on her own which was awful in those days. Her brother took her in, then he died. So that’s one of the reasons for coming to India, as she’s all alone.
What are Henrietta’s character traits?
She is tough, but she’s from a very narrow world. And suddenly she’s in a household with dozens of servants, the food’s all wrong, she gets bitten by mosquitos, she will not wear anything cooler even though it’s baking hot. It’s a different religion, it’s all completely foreign to her. But what’s nice about this character and the arc of her journey is that she does learn and adjust.
Did you do any research into the politics of the time?
I did actually because I didn’t know this period. It’s earlier than I’m used to. I read quite a lot, I did a bit of digging because I wanted to know what it would have been like for her. There weren’t many white women in India at that time. The white men often formed liaisons with Indian women so Henrietta was the outsider in every sense really. I found the political element quite fascinating. About the East India Company and the corruption and the bad behaviour of that time. John Beecham is trying to form a business, but he finds it hard because everyone is terribly suspicious and there are people trying to derail him. But what I like about this series is that all the characters are on a journey. Henrietta and Violet are. The staff in the house are because they have this man turn up who they don’t know and it changes their household completely. Everybody is having a major shift, whoever they are.
Beecham House is drawing comparisons with Downton Abbey, partly because it’s about the servants as much as the landlord of the house. What do you think about that?
People are comparing it but I don’t think it’s any more comparable than that really. It’s a different period, a different country. It’s a house with servants and people upstairs but it’s a whole different tone, a whole different feel to it.
Make sure you get your hands on a copy of Beecham House on DVD, it’s gripping viewing and was released on 22nd July.
An eye-opening, epic new feature documentary Sharkwater Extinction from Rob Stewart, the award-winning director of Sharkwater and Revolution takes us on one man’s mission: to protect sharks from extinction and save the oceans before it’s too late.
More than 150 million sharks are being killed every year. The oceans are in danger. Sharks play a hugely important role to the environment. Who is the real enemy: shark or human?
We join the courageous filmmaker and renowned activist on a hugely inspirational, thrilling but hazardous journey, as he dives deep into oceans and travels across four continents to investigate the eye-watering scale of corruption, destruction and danger that the multi-billion-dollar pirate fishing industry and vast illegal shark fin trade bring.
Sharkwater Extinction stands as Rob Stewart’s legacy as he was tragically killed in a diving accident, in the final stages of shooting the film in January 2017. His parents Brian and Sandy Stewart have dedicated themselves to completing the film.
This thought-provoking, stunningly filmed documentary captured my interest from the get-go. My fascination in conservation and admiration for activists such as Rob has heightened in recent years. The damage we’re doing to our planet and the oceans have been highlighted and continue to be brought to our attention. Rob’s film digs deeper and plunges us into an underwater world where extinction is so horrifically imminent. As a film-maker he shows empathy, determination and overwhelming enthusiasm. I feel like I have watched everything first hand through Rob’s eyes as the perspective combined with his energy enhance the viewing experience. This film will shock you with seemingly endless revelations and heart-breaking truths. If you’re like me, it will also spark an admiration for a creature whom I usually associate with the signature tune from the Jaws movies. A fitting tribute to Rob Stewart, thanks to his parents, whom I have an interview with which they kindly gave their time to me, for:
What was it that prompted Rob’s interest in conservation? Was it a passion of his from a young age?
Rob always loved the outdoors and exploring. He was captivated by the underwater world from a very young age – and a self proclaimed “fish nerd”…! We were so fortunate to have traveled a lot as a family and every new location offered new wildlife to explore.
He was always first into the water! And was always trying to catch everything he saw….we once had to pull him out of a beautiful fountain with koi fish that he jumped into trying to catch them.
He saw his first shark at age 9 and instantly fell in love with these majestic creatures that seemed, to him, like the last of the dinosaurs.
Not surprisingly he studied biology in university, started his photography career there and went on to become an underwater photographer.
On an assignment to the Galapagos, he discovered illegal longlining, indiscriminately killing sharks with the marine reserved and became determined to bring awareness to the issue….when traditional media didn’t work, he decided to make a movie believing that if people knew what was happening it would bring about change. Sharkwater was the result – and from there Rob became a filmmaker, activist and deeply committed crusader for protection of sharks and the planet.
You’ve released the film in his memory, was this an easy decision and how did you decide when the right time would be?
Rob had shot over 400 hours of footage and left very detailed notes on his vision and plan for the film. Wanting to complete the project was never a question but we had to make sure we had enough footage with Rob and could find the right editor to pull it together.
Once we went through all the footage and saw what we had – we knew it was possible – and from that point, Editor Nick Hector began work assembling the film.
How has the film been received? Are you pleased with the response?
We’ve had an amazing response to the film – it celebrated its world premiere at TIFF to an audience of 1800 people and a 10 minute standing ovation. From there – it has gone on to premiere at over 30 international film festivals garnering numerous awards and rave reviews. It still maintains a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes!
It opened in theatres across North America and has just started its theatrical release in the UK. It will release on ITunes and platforms and on Amazon Prime Video in July.
What is most rewarding is that people leave the film excited, wanting to know how they can help…how they can continue Rob’s mission.
What do you think of the work that your son has done and the progress he has made in raising awareness?
We are, of course, so proud of Rob and all he has accomplished. He changed the world. He brought the issue of shark finning to the world stage and taught people that sharks were important – not menacing dangerous predators. The film changed public policy and launched numerous non-profit organizations. He continues to inspire a new generation of conservations, filmmakers and biologists.
REVOLUTION was the first film to talk about Ocean Acidification and the risk to coral reefs and the oceans.
Rob also had the most infectious, inclusive approach to his work – he believed that conservation should be fun – that fighting for what you believed in was something cool – and that eveyone was capable of making a difference.
Is there a personal highlight for you in the film?
The fact that we were able to get the film completed and get Rob’s message out is really the highlight. Even people that didn’t know his work loved the film and even shark people learned something they didn’t know before. It’s an important film that Rob wanted everyone to see.
Also – people don’t know the many ways they are unknowingly consuming shark – through mislabeled fish products, pet food, cosmetics, fertilizers, and livestock feed. It was important to Rob to get that out – to encourage people to ask questions and to insist on more full disclosure and accuracy in labeling. At every Q&A we do – people ask how they can check their products and what they can do to ensure they are only using those that are shark free….
What had he planned to do following the release of the film? Are you continuing with the work in his memory?
Rob always had several projects going in various stages of development. We plan to get them completed.
We have established the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation which will ensure Rob’s mission continues – in addition to projects Rob had started, the foundation will support and encourage other filmmakers doing work inspired by Rob, continue to advocate for the protection of sharks and the oceans and launch a “Shark Free” campaign to ensure that consumer products do not contain shark.
Huge thanks to Rob’s parents for this wonderful and insightful interview. The movie is available to download digitally today and all the info you need can be found here: Sharkwater Extinction
Dinnerladies from the genius mind of the late, great Victoria Wood remains one of my firm favourite sitcoms to this day, all these years on. The man who played Victoria’s character, Bren’s love interest, Tony – is the brilliant Andrew Dunn. Andrew is playing the role of Gerald in the UK tour of The Full Monty so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to chat to him about the show.
Thank you for chatting to Entertainment Views, Andrew tell me about The Full Monty and the character you’re playing.
If you’re familiar with the film, you’ll know the story. It’s set in Sheffield and set around six out of work steelworkers who get together to become male strippers. I play Gerald, he hasn’t told his wife that he’s been made redundant, he goes out ‘to work’ every morning – but he has nowhere to go and its all an act to keep up the pretence.
What do you think the strengths of the show are?
The subject matters dealt with are relevant today. It’s a feelgood piece of theatre but as the writer, Simon Beaufoy says, he’s amazed that it’s a feelgood piece when the subject matter is depression.
How does it compare to the movie version?
Unlike the musical version the play is just the same as the film. We have the dole queue scene where the lads start dancing to ‘Hot Stuff’ and we do the full monty at the end. There are big lights on stage which are supposed to ‘blind’ the audience at the end but there have been times when the audience haven’t been blinded by the lights!
What have audience reactions been like so far?
Well they’ve bought a ticket to see it because of what they think they’ll see at the end! We get standing ovations and the audience are always on our side. It’s a fun show to do, that’s why I’m still touring with it. The audience get into it and they follow the story to the end.
I can’t not mention Dinnerladies as I still love the sitcom now, what was the best thing about being part of the series?
All the people I got to work with, there’s one episode where I’m standing with the late Dame Thora Hird, Dora Bryan and Eric Sykes. I grew up watching them on television. People wanted to work with Victoria.
The series has maintained its popularity after twenty years….
Yes, and its been shown on Gold channel which helps. We also toured theatres with it and it was amazing to see that young children were watching it and giving us pictures they’d drawn of the characters. People still stop me in the street and quote lines from it. I don’t think that she thought about the future but the way she wrote things meant that the humour is still there and relevant.
Back to The Full Monty, why should everyone buy a ticket to come and see it?
It’s a feelgood piece and a great night at the theatre, come along and have a good night out!
The all-important link to check out the tour dates/venues and buy tickets to see The Full Monty, is here: fullmontytheplay.com/
Amy Thompson is a household name in the Entertainment Views HQ home, as a presenter of Channel Five’s Milkshake, she is a firm favourite with my five year old son. We have also seen her in pantomime twice, where she never fails to dazzle. Amy is currently treading the boards in the UK tour of The Full Monty, I was delighted to hear that Amy had added another credit to her list and couldn’t wait to hear all about her latest role.
Thanks for chatting to me, Amy – tell me about The Full Monty and the character you’re playing.
It’s always a pleasure to chat to you, Helen. The Full Monty play is written by Simon Beaufoy, he’s adapted it for the stage and it’s based on the original movie version. I play Mandy, she’s Gaz’s ex-wife (Gaz is played by Gary Lucy). Gaz owes Mandy child maintenance money, or there’s a chance he will be stopped from seeing his son. Mandy is with a man called Barry, he’s safe and secure. Life with Barry is different to life with Gaz. There’s still love there for Gaz though, so there’s still a chance for Gaz if he can get his act together. The reason Gaz needs the money is so that he can pay Mandy, so she is definitely part of the reason Gaz and his mates decide to become strippers.
What inspired you to go for the role?
Milkshake! are very supportive of me going off to do other things when there’s an opportunity and I still film the Milkshake! at the same time. I’m a Yorkshire girl and my background is in theatre so I’m going back to my theatrical roots. The Full Monty came along and offered me the chance to do something different.
How do you feel the show translates years after the movie was released?
The subjects that are handled are still relevant today, although it’s a fun show there are many serious issues dealt with. There’s unemployment, depression, homosexuality, body image etc. From a political point of view it’s relevant too.
What’s your personal highlight of the show?
I love the fact that I get to watch the amazing Andy Dunn (who plays Gerald) on stage, that’s a highlight for me every show. He’s an incredible actor and has worked with Hull Truck Theatre, the same as me.
Does it feel strange to be on stage as opposed to in front of a camera?
Not at all, because I started off in theatre and always thought that would be where I would be working. Milkshake! came along ten years ago (in March) and I love that I can do television and theatre. I also do pantomime every year too, I played Cinderella last season.
Any particular ambitions for the future? Are there any roles you’re keen to play?
I’d love to do more theatre and get into musical theatre, which is really difficult to get into. Les Mis is one of my favourite shows. I’d like to do something different where I have the opportunity to play a variety of characters.
Last year, Coleen Nolan encouraged a group of famous ladies to bare all in aid of Breast Cancer, would you be tempted to join in if it’s organised again and they ask you?
How funny you should mention this as I appeared in pantomime with Michelle Heaton last season and she did this. She told me about what it meant to her and I’d definitely do it if I was asked, it’s for a great cause.
Amy thinks you’ll have a great night at the theatre if you book a ticket to see The Full Monty on its UK our – here’s the all important link: fullmontytheplay.com/
Crucible of the Vampire was released in cinemas yesterday and it looks set to be a thrilling piece of cinematography. Actress Florence Cady plays the role of Scarlet in the film and I caught up with her to find out all about the character she plays and why she thinks that vampire movies have stood the test of time.
Thanks for chatting to Enertainment Views, Scarlet. Tell me about Crucible of the Vampire and what attracted you to be part of it?
Crucible Of The Vampire is a Gothic Vampire Thriller set in present day Shropshire in a large country house. Stylistically, it draws from classic British horror of the 1950s and 1960s, along with modern Korean and Japanese psychological horror. I was attracted to the idea of playing a strong, multi-faceted female character. It was a great opportunity to get my teeth into (excuse the pun) a complex, dynamic and varied role. I was also drawn to the idea of doing my own action scenes, including: horse-riding, fight scenes and a dance sequence. It is not often that you get the chance to play a lead role and also do your own physical work.
What are the strengths and quirks of your character?
Scarlet is a strong character both physically and mentally. She is extremely powerful and incredibly manipulative, but this is born out of her inner anxiety and feeling of isolation and entrapment. Scarlet initially appears to be a petulant child, and then she develops into a dangerous seductress and manipulative psychopath. She has a strong character arc and a deep secret. She is very volatile and becomes intensely angry at the flick of a switch, which can be quite sinister. But, she is also very playful and girlish at times. She is a dreamer, driven by her fantasy of escape. Our director, Iain Ross-McNamee was brilliant at allowing us the space for our characters to develop whilst also having a clear vision of what he wanted Scarlet and Isabelle’s relationship to be like.
What’s your favourite scene from the film?
I think my favourite scenes to film were the action sequences choreographed by stunt co-ordinator, Justin Pearson. Katie and I worked with Justin to learn the fight scenes, almost like a dance sequence. It was quite exhilarating to chase each other down the corridors at night, whilst trying to get the moves in the right order, which became second nature after a short rehearsal period. I also enjoyed learning the dance sequence set in the ballroom, which was choreographed by Vikki Burns. The room had such beautiful natural light and it was a great space to work in. In preparation for the role, I went back to barre classes to refresh my ballet, and I stretched daily to ensure I was prepared for the short rehearsal period on set with Vikki.
Any particular memories from making the film?
I have lots of fond memories from making the film. It was a fantastic opportunity so early on in my career, and also a chance to escape London and live in the beautiful Shropshire countryside. One particular memory I have is of shooting the dream sequence on a gorgeous white stallion. I remember at one point the horse-handler saying to me ‘there are 18 acres of land here, and he hasn’t had a gallop in a while, so don’t get too confident!’ Luckily the horse was very well-behaved, and I manged to stay upright. It was a challenge to try and remain calm, get the horse to do as it was told, whilst looking elegant and serene.
What’s your best loved genre of film?
I’m a big fan of Film Noir. I wrote my dissertation on Women in Film Noir, looking at the on-going fascination of the femme fatale from the classic noir of the 1940’s onwards, to neo-noir from the 1970’s to present day. I’m fascinated by the elusive archetype of the femme fatale and the distinct visual style of the ‘genre’. Our film shares one of its key themes: the blurred lines between fantasy and reality, which we used to explore the dreamlike quality of certain parts of the film.
Why do you think that Vampires hold such fascination for film fans?
I think Vampires hold such a fascination for films fans because they are an archetype that instantly conjures up a strong image of a dark, brooding, charming and sexually provocative character. They also represent the disparity of how a person can appear to be one thing, but are completely the opposite. As with Scarlet in the film, at the beginning we wanted to make it feel like she was just a troubled, tormented soul driven by her desire to escape her life confined to her parent’s house. Vampires are often lonely, isolated characters and I think all humans can I identify with that feeling at some point in their life. They are also fascinating because they are superhuman, extremely powerful and can live for hundreds of years. They transcend the ordinary.
Why should we all watch Crucible of the Vampire?
You should all watch Crucible of the Vampire because it has garnered rave reviews at major festivals, including Starburst International Film Festival which called it “an engaging story that is both broodingly ethereal, visually eloquent and thoroughly enjoyable.” It is an intense, provocative and disturbing horror that will make you uncomfortable at times and challenge your perceptions, harking back to the classic British horror of a by-gone era.
Thanks to Florence for an insightful interview.
Crucible of the Vampire is in cinemas 1st Feb and on Dual Format (DVD & Blu-ray) on 4 Feb 2019 from Screenbound Pictures
Duffy and Chuffy fans who tune in regularly to the BBC One drama, Casualty will be in for a few surprises. The popular Nurse, who’s already in the throes of dealing with her diagnosis of Clinical Depression and Anxiety, is set to behave uncharacteristically and become a worry to her husband, Charlie (Derek Thompson) for more reason than one.
Entertainment Views caught up with actress Cathy Shipton who plays the troubled Nurse.
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Cathy – we’ve seen Duffy diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety, which she hasn’t revealed to Charlie yet. What are you able to tell us about the latest storyline?
You’ll have just seen the episode with the CQC inspection where Duffy was called in by Charlie even though she’d just done a twilight shift. Charlie’s been working days while Duffy’s working nights so they’re on parallel lines and not communicating very well. During Duffy’s interview with the CQC Inspector you might have noticed she’s a bit jaded in her response, she’s knackered though and almost pulled a 24 hour shift as well as al the while losing confidence in her abilities.
The miscommunication between Duffy and Charlie almost led her to make a fatal error on that extra shift…
Yes, but did she mishear Charlie’s instructions because of her anxiety which has made her slightly unfocused?
So her way of dealing with the altercation with Charlie was to call Bill!
She calls Bill and he meets her at the pub. What you’ll see next at the start of the subsequent episode is Bill and Duffy in a hotel room at a Boutique Hotel! The room is littered with all their clothes, Duffy wakes up not knowing where she is and Bill walks out of the bathroom in a robe!
Is this the beginning of the end for Duffy and Charlie?
Duffy tells Bill to get out and is clearly angry that it has happened. She’s trying to get away and ends up called back to settle the invoice just as a guy runs out to alert them to the fact his girlfriend’s been in the hotel swimming pool and can’t breathe.
And of course, Duffy is a Nurse….!
Yes, so Duffy goes to attend to the hotel guest and upon calling 999, she’s met by Ian and Ruby who are questioning as to why she’s at the hotel. Duffy says she’s been attending a conference there but she cant look either of them in the eye.
Will she tell Charlie the truth?
Duffy’s been AWOL over night so Charlie’s been worried about her and wants to know where she’s been. She tells him she had to clear her head and needed space and admits that she spent the night in a hotel. He’s trying to make it up to her by suggesting they do things together, like swimming at the hotel she’s just spent the night at. Duffy is desperate for him not to be nice to her though!
So it hasn’t taken long for Duffy and Charlie’s marriage to hot the rocks, but is Duffy’s behaviour a ‘side-effect’ of her state of mind? We’ll have to wait and see! Thanks as always to Cathy for a fantastic interview, looking forward to seeing where this storyline will take the character.
Actress Su Pollard has long been a favourite performer of mine, both on screen and in her various stage roles. As a pantomime villain she’s second to none so I was delighted to hear she was going to play the Wicked Queen in Malvern Theatres’ pantomime this year, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Here, Su tells me why she thinks that pantomime remains a popular tradition at Christmas and we chat about her appearance in the ITV reality television programme ‘Last Laugh In Vegas‘.
Thank you for talking to Entertainment Views, Su – what do you love about pantomime?
I like panto because it’s a real tradition and I believe that traditional theatre should keep going as long as possible. In the same way that people love Shakespeare, so many people love panto. You’re never too old to get into the spirit of it all. I like it when the kids are screaming and that they’re allowed to be noisy, in other instances they’d be expected to be on their best behaviour. If I don’t make at least one child cry then I think I’ve failed in my job! I love it when a child gets carried out, result!
So you enjoy being the baddie then?
Oh I do love playing the baddie and scaring the children, but it’s important that everybody goes home happy and feels they’ve had value for money.
Do you agree that being able to introduce children to theatre from a young age is important?
Absolutely, it’s great that parents can bring their children to see a panto and not have to tell them to ssh! Of course you have to be careful that they don’t behave the same way when they’re introduced to Shakespeare and other shows! I was playing the Nurse in Rome and Juliet years ago and I had to say “oh Miss Juliet, Tybalt has died” and someone shouted “hi de hi!” I just had to move swiftly on, I did smile to myself a bit.
Do audiences shout “hi de hi!” to you when you’re on stage in panto?
Yes, all the time, I don’t mind if they do it, I try to say something mean back to them as there’s a part in the show where the audience are encouraged to say it – although I won’t say where in the show it happens.
How do you keep the energy going throughout the pantomime season?
People often ask “how do you do it?” but you pace yourself and you learn how to in rehearsals, because that’s where you learn what you’re supposed to be doing and you know what you’re in for.
Have you got a favourite pantomime?
My favourite pantomime and story is Aladdin but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a very close second. There’s no veering off from the story and the pureness of the fairy tale and I love the fact that good triumphs over evil. It teaches people that in life you can never get away with being mean. As is shown with the Wicked Queen as something bad happens to her as a result of her being mean.
Stepping away from pantomime for a moment, I have to mention ITV’s Last Laugh in Vegas, it was an amazing show which I thoroughly enjoyed – what did you get out of the experience?
I loved doing that show because I’ve never wanted to do anything like Big Brother, but at the end of this one, although it was a very similar format with us staying in the house together, we got to do a proper show. To me it was a culmination of what we were going out there to do, we got on really well there was no back-biting, we were going out there to do the best we could and have fun. The unfortunate thing was I left my mobile phone in the path of a sprinkler back at the house – there were sprinklers on all day for the plants – I put it in a rice box for two days but it did no good. Other than that it was enormous fun!
Finally, what would you everybody to encourage them to buy a ticket to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Malvern Theatres this season?
It’s VFM which stands for Value for Money! You’ll have a fabulous night out and get exactly what you want, great singing, amazing costumes, plenty to join in with. It’s got something for all the family so buy a ticket and come and see us!
Huge thanks to Su for her time – I can’t wait to see her in action – oh no I can’t!
Football and theatre unite as part of Football Remembers
Michael Greco is set to play war hero and football manager Billy Holmes alongside Harry Potter’s James Phelps who is changing a wizard wand for a rifle as he moves from the Battle of Hogwarts to the Battle of the Somme.
Other cast members include award winning actors Paul Marlon (Communion, Dangerous Mind Of A Hooligan, Essex Boys Retribution) and Scott Kyle (Outlander, Kilo Two Bravo, The Angels Share) as well as Victoria Gibson and Helena Doughty who some of the more keenly eyed readers may recognize for their connections to both the football and theatre world. All of these line up under the stewardship of multi award winning director Adam Morley who will present The Greater Game as part of Football Remembers, a pan football initiative set up by the FA, Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and PFA which will support a range of projects commemorating the Armistice and conclusion of the First World War Centenary.
The Greater Game tells the true story of some of the footballers who signed up to fight in the Great War, focusing on lifelong friends Richard McFadden (James Phelps) and William Jonas (Steven Bush) who travelled from Newcastle to London to play football for Clapton Orient, before swapping England for France to ‘fight for King and Country’ – a fight neither one would survive. More than a story of football or war, The Greater Game is a story of love, friendship, sacrifice, triumph and loss.
“a mix of harsh reality and tender and cherished moments” ★★★★★ Guardian Series
After a 5 star run at the Southwark Playhouse in 2017, The Greater Game has been re-drafted and is set to come back even stronger for a run at the Waterloo East Theatre from October 30th to November 25th. Some nights have already sold out to the show critiques raved about:
“Make the effort to see this, it is well worth while” ★★★★★ West End Wilma
“It is very rare you get a chance to tell a true story where the families of the fallen are directly involved’ said producer and O’s legend Peter Kitchen ‘even more so when it is such a touching yet funny true story’. ‘The last show got a standing ovation every night and word of mouth lead to over 4k people seeing the first production, which we are all very proud of, so to get the chance to tell this amazing true story one more time and do justice to the men and woman who sacrificed so much 100 years ago is a real honour”
The show was written by Michael Head on the back of his 5 star show ‘Worth A Flutter’ which is currently being considered for a West End Transfer following a highly successful run at The Hope Theatre.
Michael said; “to get the chance to tell this story, to touch so many and bring an audience to tears and fill the theatre with laugher was a real pleasure and this time everything is set to be even stronger than our first run”.
I’m a self-confessed Harry Potter fan so I was delighted to be able to interview James Phelps about the play, here’s the result of our chat:
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, James, tell me about the piece and your character…
Its about Clapton Orient who were in the 2nd Division of English football at the time of WW1 and really could have gone onto great things on the pitch before the war. However, once the war started almost all of their players and staff signed up to fight. They were the first English side to do so in such numbers.
I play Richard McFadden who was their top goal-scorer. In fact, when researching the role I read the Daily Express had called him the ‘outstanding player on the field’ when he played for the Southern XI vs England and scored the winner.
What was your initial impression of the script?
When Adam Morley (the director) sent me the script I read through it and loved it. I laughed, cried and after finishing, it made me want to know everything. I couldn’t believe it is a true story, the script really has the banter of a dressing room but the truths about war and life back then.
What are the key factors a script must have to entice you to do it?
I want to care about the people in the story, what they do, what happens to them. And if you are still thinking about their stories hours or days after you know its a good one.
What do you feel your character’s strengths and weaknesses are?
He was a real life hero, not just on the football pitch, and even before he went to the front. He rescued a pair of kids who were drowning in the River Lea, a man from a burning building. So that’s his strengths, but I’m not sure if he had many weaknesses.
Did you have prior knowledge of the Battle of the Somme from a historical point of view?
Yes, I am a bit of a history buff. I went on a school trip to the Somme, Passchendaele , Ypres, many years ago now. But the memories of it have never left me, seeing how many graves there are, names on the monuments of those with no known graves. In fact I have two great uncles whose names are on the Menin Gate. I think it has only been as I have got older I appreciate even more what they all went through and how truly terrible it must have been.
What do you think the challenges of this piece are?
For me, it has been the accent for the character I play, Mac. He was born in Scotland and moved to Blyth in the north east till he was 22 when he moved to London. So I’ve had to learn a Newcastle accent with a slight Scottish hint to a few words. I actually went up to Blyth to hear how the locals speak as I am so determined to get it right. I also decided to lose some weight for the role, and get into shape as footballers would have been in the 1910s. My diet hasn’t seen any sweets or fast food for quite a while.
What can the audience expect from the production?
They can expect to see a production that tells the true story of friends that go to fight for King and country. The impact that it has on their families and friends back home and what a great sacrifice they give.
Sell the show to me, why should we all come and see it?
I think it’s a great way to honour the 100 year anniversary of the end of WW1. The play will take the audience back to this time and the day to day lives of these people as war was breaking out, showing how although this was the worst conflict in history, they still stayed together as a team and friends. It isn’t a show saying “look how bad war is”, the audience can decided that for themselves; we want to show what happened and how this really should have been the war to end all wars. I hope the audience comes away from it still thinking about these people’s stories and appreciating what they did.
Huge thanks to James for his time, I learned all about the Battle of the Somme during History GCSE so I think this will be a very interesting piece to watch. Wishing all of the team well with the production!