Yes I know it’s still September and we usually don’t want to be reminded of how many days there are left nor the sound of Slade as you’re idly shopping for your bits. Even those gift hamper videos that fill you with regret and feigned intent for the next year may feel premature but it’s coming folks and the proverbial goose is getting fat ( well maybe not as fat as they used to be in the same way that Wagon Wheels can now easily fit in your pocket ) and I for one am looking forward to spending my Christmas at the Epsteins.
This year will be it’s second pantomime season since its refurbishment and under the steady hands of LHK production’s Santa in disguise Lee Kelly, no one will be on the naughty list as he gifts us with his production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Seasoned Theatre producer/director/choreographer Lee has outdone himself in snagging such a Liverpudlian cast in Crissy Rock ( Benidorm), Amanda Harrington ( Desperate Scousewives), Herbet of Liverpool( Celebrity Super Spa) and talented newcomer Laura Gregory. Oh and by the way I’m also claiming ex Hollyoaks Paul Danan as an adopted scouser. Lee’s success last year with Cinderella had undoubtedly left the Epstein with a clear choice to call on him again and his delight was evident:
“To produce something at the Epstein had always been a dream of mine since I first performed here as a 14 year old. I’m really honored to get such a brilliant cast.”
I was lucky enough to catch up with Some of that very cast and in my role of Cultural Champion I was eager to hear their thoughts on what it felt like to be part of the pantomime experience and also their own relationship with the city. First on my list was the Fairy Amanda Harrington;
Being no stranger to both Panto and to living in Liverpool, Prince Charming Paul Danan was keen to tell me his reasons for choosing to return here;
Having been an admirer of one particular cast member for quite some time (I urge to all to watch Ken Loach’s Ladybird Ladybird ) Christmas came early for me as I was fortunate enough to grab Wicked Queen Crissy Rock for a chat about all thing Liverpudlian;
The excitement shared amongst the whole of the cast was obvious to see and none more so than Snow White herself Laura Gregory who amazed us all with an impromptu singing performance showing just how perfect she is for the role. Also noted with certainty having seen him the year before, is that Mike Chapman playing the Dame is worth the ticket money itself . But be warned. You’ll need to bring a nappy ( I’m definitely not making that mistake twice).
Snow White runs from 12 December – 4th January.
I’m one of those people who when hearing about a free offer or a giveaway is immediately interested and eager to get my nose in the trough so when our fair city Hosts it’s own free musical giveaway it’s a case of ” Right. I’m on my way. See you in a minute.”
Music on the Waterfront returned to the Pier Head once again and having enjoyed last years Smooth Radio concert I was eager to be entertained by this years outing and on my arrival at 5.30pm I could see the sentiment was shared by the already capacity crowd.
Kicking off the event was singer songwriter Thea Gilmore .Playing songs from her album ‘ Regardless ‘ she gave the crowd a few reasons to be cheerful in the hot teatime weather. She was swiftly followed by the gifted Mancunian songstress Josephine who’s album ‘Portraits ‘ has recieved rave reviews from Uncut, Q magazine and a host of daily tabloids and whose sound is not unlike that of Joan Armatrading.We then had another female northerner Heather Peace ( or for those who love their bit of telly,Miss Nikki Boston from Waterloo Road ). Referring to her musical pursuits in her own words as her second job seemed a modest declaration as she looked more at home singing behind a piano than in front of a classroom of deep and brooding teenagers.
The artistes changeover seemed pretty swift and any breaks between acts were filled with presentational finesse by Smooth radios DJ’ Emma B as she continued to charm the appreciative crowd. It was a real mixed bag too. From scousebrows to unabashed European style armpit waving types and infant parents to elderly couples.There were even those who preferred to taste the experience via their i pad. A real cross section of happy smiley people who were about to have the ante well and truly upped by the next artiste.
Jack Savoretti romped through a foot stomping performance getting the crowd off the ground and jumping to a bluesy americana country flavoured party he was having on the stage and it was just what the crowd had been waiting for and furthermore deserved. What followed next was a for me a masterclass in how it should be done.
With an effortless cool that makes fonzie look like a geography teacher the full line up of the Christians took complete possession of their time on stage opening with ‘Born Again’ and showing us that with their trademark slick sound and with vocals that can cure cancer they are a must see at any live event. The self proclaimed ‘token scousers’ had the crowd firmly in their pocket giving us ‘Forgotten town,’ ‘Harvest for the world’ and ‘Ideal world’ as well as an open invitation to hop on their bus to a following concert that night in Southport. If it wasn’t for my blogging commitments I’d have definitely bagsy’d the back seat of the bus.
The artistes that followed like Leddra Chapman, Tunde (Lighthouse family) and K T Tunstall all gave strong and worthy accounts of themselves but after having been treated by our own ‘token scousers’ token full band ( not forgetting Jack Savoretti’s line up ) I felt that not only had there been a missed opportunity by all the stripped down acoustic acts but an element of shortchanging of the crowd ( I know it’s a free concert and I may appear greedy but there was a perfectly good drum kit gathering dust for the most part to a crowd who were on ‘ lets have it standby ‘ )
As if to hear my plea a beautiful angel named Katie Melua sporting an oh so beautiful hat and equally beautiful guitar sauntered onto the centre of the stage with a complete band , exulting the crowd with her faultless performance. ‘ The Flood ‘ being my personal highlight of her set and familiar hits ‘Closest thing to crazy’ and ‘ Nine Million bicycles’ became a recipe for turning the elderly couples into lovestruck teenagers at a school disco.Finishing the night off as he did the previous year Russell Watson yet again brought a touch of poignancy and Majesty ( with the aid of his backing band ” The Firework display”) . His presence on stage is undeniably huge but maybe the greedy pig voice in my head would have liked to have seen a live band behind him . Leaving the Pier Head contented was easy enough to do for at least two reasons. 1)Liverpudlians could claim bragging rights for the best band of the night being the Christians .2) I was asked for my phone number by an actual real female. I’m not saying buy a hat just yet but…………..
Yes my good people, the Threshold Festival was back once again like a Renegade Master (minus the ill behavior) and was parading itself in full effect like a new brides hairdo. But what is a beautiful new hairdo without its fringe to compliment the full look because this year you all got spoilt rotten . Pan AM, Baby Blue, Maritime Museum , Siren@54st.james st and the Lomax played host to an army of performers so eager to perpatrate we had to put out an A.P.B.
I had to haul a few in for questioning and luckily for you they’ve all been released without charge.Now I’m no Columbo but I still managed to make them sing like a Canary when the heat was on and they were more than willing to slip a few secrets out.
SHEBEAT www.Shebeat.co.uk ( Maritime Museum Sat 9th 12.30. and 3.30pm)
EUPHONY3 facebook.com/Euphony3 ( PanAm Sun 10th 2.40pm)
The Kipple www.facebook.com/TheKipple (The Lomax Sun 10th 7pm)
ALEXANDRA JAYNE www.facebook.com/alexandrajaynemusic( Maritime Museum Sun10th 1.30pm)
DOMINIC DUNN https://soundcloud.com/#dominic-dunn( Vinea Sun 10th 12pm)
1.Punchline of your favorite joke?
SHEBEAT – because 7 8 9
EUPHONY3 – A flat minor
THE KIPPLE – So he gave her one
ALEXANDRA – Mascarpone (mask-a-pony) !!! (cheesy I know!!)
DOMINIC – Your Nan
2.Have you ever swore in front of your parents?
SHEBEAT – I am very sweary, can’t remember the first time… I do try not to in front of Ma & Pa but they’re ok about it and hopefully not too disappointed
EUPHONY3 – Yes and I got told off for it! I was probably about 14
THE KIPPLE- Unfortunately yes i have …. and occasionaly at them which is shockingly grim as me mum is and me dad was totally boss
ALEXANDRA – I swore in front of my mum when i was around about seven years old and she genuinely attempted to wash my mouth out with soap – for anyone who thinks that’s an urban myth then think again!! I haven’t messed with my mum since!
DOMINIC – I have but I don’t make a habit of it :) My mum said I used to fall asleep putting two fingers up to everyone when I was a couple of months old!
3.Favorite Birthday present?
SHEBEAT – Day trip to Dublin for my 19th.Can’t remember much you understand.
EUPHONY3 – Definitely my keyboard! But Michael MacIntyre tickets close second
THE KIPPLE – My VW camper Van that i never did up or got running, but i loved it:o)
ALEXANDRA – I love live music, and last year a few of my mates bought me some gig tickets – but they all happened to fall one day after the next, so I saw Mumford and Sons one night, The Black Keys the next and Florence and the Machine the day after … and the day after that I had a piece of coursework in!! So a lot of pressure to get my work done but definitely worth it!
DOMINIC – A 12 string guitar
4 What would you be a Gold Medalist in ?
SHEBEAT – Hotpants haha
EUPHONY3 –Solo synchronised swimming
THE KIPPLE –I’d be an ace third choice goalie for dutch ladies hockey team
ALEXANDRA – I realise this makes me sound about 90 years old but I reckon i’d have a fair shot at winning gold in Olympic crib.
DOMINIC –Quoting anchorman