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Twopence to Cross the Mersey……Epstein Theatre -28th March

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We all enjoyed the evening’s performance at the Liverpool Epstein Theatre a few nights ago and celebrated 21 years of ‘Twopence to Cross the Mersey’ with cast and leaders in the Liverpool entertainment industry.

It was a delightful play set in one of Liverpool’s most depressing eras but made gripping and edge of the seat entertainment worthy of the standing applause.

Written by Helen Forrester and telling the true to life story of her own past, the superb cast performed the story with emotion and pure dramatic energy.

Desperate to find employment, Helen Forrester’s father, who had recently been declared bankrupt, arrived in Liverpool at Lime Street Station in 1931 with his wife and seven children one cold January morning.
He remembered Liverpool as a bustling wealthy city, the place where his family had once made its fortune and where he would now re-build his.

Times had now changed though and the harrowing story of life and survival began for the whole family. It is this story of what happens to the family that carries the audience along in a seemingly magnetic way that is not without its humour. You empathise with the young Helen who’s full burden of looking after a family of nine rests on her shoulders.

It cost two pence to cross the Mersey in 1931, a journey which would have taken her to the security of her Grandmother’s home on the Wirral, but it might just as well have been a million pounds such was their poverty.

A brilliant play not to be missed and by attending a performance, you will help raise vital funds for North West Cancer Research. If you miss this performance here, then catch it at Southport Theatre, St Helens Theatre Royal and the New Brighton Floral Pavilion Theatre such is its popularity after so long.

Written by Rob Fennah and directed by Bob Eaton.
http://www.twopencetocrossthemersey.com

Express Hot-Yoga in Liverpool steams away!!!!!

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Yes, you too can experience the ‘hot yoga’ classes in Liverpool, so called because the temperature in the room regularly hits 35c, which apparently helps the release of toxins.

Liverpool’s newest, warm-up, chill out is overflowing with eager new recruits, keen to replicate that bottom!… or be adjusted with invigorating ‘hands-on’ or occasionally with ‘body-on’ assistance.

This has taken Liverpool by storm and sports centres are thriving with the influx.
Like Thai massage, physio or sports massage that pushes and pulls, presses and massages and leans on and lies on and stretches from one position to another, until the benefits are duly felt; hot yoga certainly reaches the parts other yoga sessions don’t.

Liverpool Yoga Hub, 21 Old Hall Street, L3: at yogahubliverpool.co.uk, offers all you need for an afternoon workout session or even a workout during your lunch break, a session time which has become extremely popular in the last few weeks.

I can tell you, the concentration it takes to maintain a warrior pose in 40 degree heat should be enough to flush out any lingering work issues from your mind and it’s a great way to begin a health conscious year.

The founders behind Liverpool’s Yoga Hub know why they offer Express Hot Yoga sessions every lunch time for the stressed-out employees of the city’s business district.
Designed to keep you energised and motivated for the rest of the day, the prescribed cardio and mental workout, all in a 45/60 minute session can be tailored to your timetable with beneficial life enhancing results.
Practised in India, yoga is very much hands-on and very physical, so if you’re up to having one arm pulled very firmly towards a back wall while pushing your body hard in the opposite direction then for £9 a session, Liverpool Hot Yoga is for you.

Just keep breathing says the experts, you can cure anything with your breath. You see, the experts tell me, that you use concentration, and forcing your breath through different channels ….the whole basis of yoga, releases the blockages, genetic, mental and physical, until you receive a yogic awakening.

So, get up close and personal for an extensive- push, pull, press, hold and grasp, the Liverpool yogi way.

I did, and I’ll go again as soon as I can move my arms and legs again properly.

The Panto season comes to an end so let’s see how they faired and not pretend!

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The panto season has now ended.
As we look ahead to an exciting and busy 2015, I reflect on an extraordinary season of panto-mania and look forward to the new era of Easter panto’s that have now taken over some of our theatres in a brilliant coup to attract the younger audiences into the world of theatre.

Comments from theatre goers these last few weeks have been more or less about not being able to get hold of tickets. The message here is ‘book early’ as the PR manager of the Floral Pavilion New Brighton stated “tickets have been on sale for nearly a year” and the same applies to the Everyman Theatre where lots of people were unable to claim a seat on the night of their choice.

On reflection, I started off as usual at the St Helens Theatre Royal with Jack and the Beanstalk, and my review a few weeks ago, says it all. Surprisingly, a few nights later, we were sitting in the Epstein Theatre next to Kurtis Stacey from Emmerdale who was playing Jack at the Theatre Royal. Kurtis, I’m sure, was watching muscle man Dan Osborne in his brilliant role as Jack in the Epsteins rip-rawing version of Jack and the Beanstalk which bore no resemblance to the St Helens version. Suzanne Collins might I add, played the wicked Flesh Creep and made an excellent Joan Collins look-alike!

A few days later it was New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This was a spectacular family pantomime with superb, memorable singing from Wicked Queen, Coronation Streets Kelly,Tupele-Dorgu. The Seven Dwarfs certainly surprised the audience with a parade onto the stage from the back of the stalls. Good-heavens!…..small people clambouring onto the stage. These were indeed real dwarfs much to the surprise of the little people around me who had never experienced this.

Next we boogied down to the Everyman for the rock ‘n’ roll panto, Little Red Riding Hood which gave us plenty of non stop excitement, singing and showers. The talented cast showed off their combined musical, singing and acting skills as usual…Well Done! Guaranteed a night to remember with this production.

Amidst all this, a jaunt to the Unity Theatre surprised us all with the traditional tale of Rumplestiltskin. This classic fairy tale brought to life the imagination and captivated the family with a show filled with song, dance and audience participation fun! Action Transport Theatre gave us a performance of quality and at £8 a ticket a good two hours entertainment value.

For the adults there was a bonus treat with another year showing the Dave Kirby’s, Barry White Christmas play at the Echo Arena. Back by popular demand and a full audience on the night I attended. I was surprised by the full audience with theatre goers around me laughing just before the punch lines having experienced the whole show before. A showing next year may well see a trend here.

Overall, productions made us laugh and gave us all a great sense of well-being at the end of an exhaustive and busy year. What was noticeable was the deriviation of the storylines, some of which just had a hint of the traditional story.
One young reviewer told me that, out of all the performances in Merseyside, Rumplestiltskin was the best. Clear, concise, good and evil in battle, with an hypnotic magical beat of unusual songs to hum on the way home.

Me, well, nothing beats the Everyman’s Laughing Gnome ….”Ha ha he…he he he… I’m the Laughing Gnome and you can’t catch me.”

It would be great to have a Theatre Night like Light Night, with free entrance or half price tickets for one night of theatre entertainment. Revenue in the city would surely be generated from the many eateries and this would certainly be a crowd puller.

If you are already planning your culture diary for 2015, then take the advice of the promoters and book your performances early for the best times and prices.

Take a look on-line at some of the fantastic shows coming up with the Easter panto’s at the Epstein and St Helens Royal or even, at other venues such as the Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park. Knowsley have the children’s show ‘Milkshake’ ‘Wind in the Willows’ and ‘American Wrestling’ to name a few. This last show is back by popular demand. The wrestlers provide two hours of non-stop entertainment for all the family. There’s even a chance to meet some of the superstars and get your photo taken next to these wrestling giants. Kids love this night out!. Tickets are a sell-out. This venue, is local, has massive free parking, and good entertainment that reaches the people!!!!! It would be rewarding if the inner city theatre establishments ship a few productions to Bootle and use the parks, sports centres and hidden theatre space there for the local populace to experience a culture at a fraction of the price. That way, Culture in the city will begin a rebalance, as statistics show a real trend towards a particular, regular theatregoer that ain’t from Norris Green, Speke, ……
At a recent Juletide, event some of the aged residents had never been to a play in Liverpool so I decided to do a good deed and book them in at my expense! My good deed for the year.
Finally, a big thank you goes to all the theatres for still supporting the Liverpool Culture Champions, our word goes far and wide.

Don’t miss Faulty Towers at the Floral and book a seat at the funniest restaurant in town.

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