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Posted on 2:16am Wednesday 23rd April 2014
Original 'Happy Days' creator Garry Marshall brings this new musical adaptation of the hit TV show to the stage as this brand new production arrives in Birmingham at the Hippodrome this week. I headed over to press night to review the show and to see if this is a show that will indeed be helping say goodbye to those grey skies, or if musical theatre has finally 'jumped the shark'...
Posted on 12:38am Tuesday 22nd April 2014
Stars of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Vincent and Flavia, return to the Midlands stage this week as they bring their latest dance spectacular to the Birmingham New Alexandra. Their previous show, last years 'Midnight Tango' was a real success, will their latest offering prove to be as successful? I headed over for press night at the Alex to see if Vincent and Flavia could still quickstep up the same magic...
Posted on 10:20am Thursday 17th April 2014
Yes, we’ve all heard the phrase “you’re only as old as you feel.” And, I tend to agree with it. I am living life to the fullest in my memory. Nonetheless, there are things that make me “feel” old, emotionally. There are so many contemporary examples that I feel compelled to make a list. Heck, we all like lists. And, as it’s turned out, I can’t even complete the list in one column!
Posted on 6:59am Tuesday 22nd April 2014
The Easter holiday has arrived! The good news is you get three weeks off uni, you get to go home, see your family or maybe go on holiday, yay! It also involves eating copious amounts of chocolate and definitely not feeling guilty about it. The bad news... You probably have lots of assignments and, of course, the dreaded task of revision for the exams that have crept up on you come out of nowhere!
Posted on 12:00pm Thursday 10th April 2014
One of my enjoyments in life is getting to know all sorts of people, from all walks of life, places, and all ages. My boys often get embarrassed when I strike up conversations with strangers but I love what I learn from people. And, often, these encounters lead to cool opportunities and opened doors. My second career is thriving largely due to this outgoing side of my personality for which I’m very grateful.
Posted on 6:00am Thursday 10th April 2014
SPRING is erupting all around us, and the hedgerows and nature reserves are starting to produce vibrant flowers and foliage that make the countryside such a joy to visit at this time of year.
Posted on 11:57pm Wednesday 9th April 2014
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical colossus makes a triumphant return to the Midlands this week as it arrives for a two-week engagement at the Birmingham Hippodrome. I headed over to the show's press night to see if this touring production, which I previously gave a 5 * rating to, remains as enchanting as impressive...
Posted on 12:47am Wednesday 9th April 2014
The Touring Consortium Theatre Company, accompanied by the Jackfield Brass Band, bring their latest production to the Wolverhampton Grand this week with 'Brassed Off', based on the hit 1996 film of the same name starring Pete Postlethwaite and Ewan McGregor. I headed to the press night to review the show.
Posted on 2:04pm Monday 7th April 2014
The UK's leading female impersonator returned to the Wolverhampton Grand this week as he brought his One-Man, Twenty-One Woman solo show along, having recently played the theatres' pantomime dame in their 2013/2014 pantomime 'Sleeping Beauty'. I headed to the Grand to check out the frocks and the fun...
Posted on 3:33am Thursday 3rd April 2014
The Midlands Theatre event of the Spring arrives in Birmingham this week as one of the undisputed greatest musicals of all time arrives at the New Alexandra Theatre for a three-week engagement. I headed over to the shows Gala press night to see if the something coming is something good... (that's a pun from one of the songs, you see...)
Posted on 11:56pm Tuesday 1st April 2014
Another vintage show arrives in the Midlands this week as I fancy-footed my way over to the Wolverhampton Grand to review the new touring production of this all-American dance musical classic...
Posted on 4:39pm Tuesday 1st April 2014
I like to engage with pretty much anyone I meet wherever I am or wherever I go. It may be in a foreign country such as on my recent trip to Africa or simply sitting next to someone on a chair lift when skiing. If the person is young, I’m especially interested in the choices they will be making and I often ask personal questions about whether they are in a relationship or not. If I sense they are open to these questions, I will probe further.
Posted on 12:06pm Monday 31st March 2014
Disney's cultural behemoth Frozen arrives on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD this week, just as it is announced as having become the most successful animated movie of all time. I take the films Blu-Ray for a spin and see if it has earned the hype...
THEATRE PREVIEW: 'Something's Coming' and it's going to be BIG as 'WEST SIDE STORY' comes to the Midlands
Posted on 2:29pm Friday 28th March 2014
Birmingham gets ready for a Manhattan musical makeover as one of the most celebrated musicals of all times takes to the stage at the City's New Alexandra Theatre next month. I preview the colossal 'West Side Story'...
Posted on 11:00am Thursday 27th March 2014
One of my favorite mantras is that the job of being a parent is being our kids best parent rather than their best friend. As strongly as I believe in that, I also believe we can be cool to our kids by doing things that support being their best parent. This may seems at odds, but truly it’s not.
Posted on 1:05am Thursday 27th March 2014
Owen Sheers highly respected production, featuring a company consisting mostly of genuine ex-servicemen and women recounting their experiences of wartime trauma, comes to the Midlands this week. I headed to press night at the Grand, where the show is running until Saturday, to gauge its impact...
Posted on 2:25pm Tuesday 25th March 2014
One of my unexpected highlights of last years' London Film Festival, Disney's delightful biopic comes to DVD and Blu-Ray this week, I review the films home release to see if it retains its magic on the small screen...
Posted on 1:51pm Monday 24th March 2014
Its always good to think and plan ahead. Here is a little tip to help you save some money if you are someone that uses the postal service. There is such a lot of helpful advice and useful tips on many issues on the Citizens Advice website.......why not look us up.......read on..
Posted on 11:20pm Sunday 23rd March 2014
This week I had the pleasure of attending press in London for Marvel Studios' 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier', the latest in the studios slew of blockbusting superhero spectaculars. I review the film, which is in many ways the best Marvel release yet, and even got to have a chat with star Scarlett Johansson about the character at the films press conference...
Posted on 3:16pm Friday 21st March 2014
Beetroot is such an easy to grow vegetable. When planned, successional crops can see you through from early July to mid May the following year. The swollen roots have an earthy taste and can range in colour from deep red to golden-yellow and even pale white. The traditional red colour associated with common beetroot is from a combination of pigments; betacyanin and betaxanthin. There are even varieties that have concentric pink and white rings! When harvested at the right times, the roots and leaves can all be eaten making it a very economical vegetable to grow.
Posted on 2:54am Thursday 20th March 2014
Another beloved movie musical takes to the stage this week as the recent, critically acclaimed West End production of 'Singin' in the Rain' comes to the Birmingham Hippodrome. I headed over to press night to review the show and see if I would be showering it with praise or coming out feeling a bit damp...
Posted on 10:00am Wednesday 19th March 2014
If you’ve been following my columns over the years, you’ve followed my parental journey as my boys got older, as I got older, as I re-married, and as I’m doing more and more in new and old media. It’s been quite a trip and now I’m going to take another fork in the road.
Posted on 3:57pm Friday 14th March 2014
One of my favorite sayings about being a parent is that you must be your kid’s best parent, not their best friend. Far too many parents are concerned about being their kid’s buddy, being liked by their kids, and by their friends. Sure, it’s cool to be in the good graces of our children, but that is NOT our job. Our job is to educate, raise, and equip our children to live good and productive lives. Our job is not to be their entertainment director and master of good times.
Posted on 6:00am Thursday 13th March 2014
FEBRUARY has been a damp month but as we move into March the first glimmers of spring have started to appear. One of the most stunning has to be the blast of pale white blooms of the snowdrops in the wet woods of Hurcott.
Posted on 7:18pm Wednesday 12th March 2014
We have been very busy since our last update, preparing for the 2014 Regional Contest. Last Sunday saw us take to the stage in Bedworth in the Fourth Section. For those of you who don’t know much about the world of contesting, the areas involve all bands playing the same test piece and being anonymously judged by two adjudicators (who have to sit all day in a small tent-like construction!). With a draw taking place for order of play, it is a brass bander’s version of the F.A. cup, only much more competitive. The top three bands, as decided by the adjudicators, qualify to play at the National Finals in Cheltenham.
Posted on 3:32am Wednesday 12th March 2014
It's a theatre double feature! The most curiously named new musical in years officially opens this week as the Tony Award-winning 'Urinetown' arrives in London. I headed down to London to check the show out this weekend, and the result is my most comprehensive and detailed Theatre review ever!...
Posted on 2:01am Wednesday 12th March 2014
Former star of 'Starsky and Hutch' Paul Michael Glaser stars as Tevye in one of the world's favourite musicals, brought to life in this new production directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Harwood. I headed over to press night at the Birmingham Hippodrome to review the show...
Posted on 9:00am Wednesday 5th March 2014
Titles are supposed to be the hook to a column, book, or movie. Maybe if this were a Spielberg movie starring Hugh Jackman, “Epiphany” would be a great title. I chose this title simply because it is what jarringly happened to me this past weekend, as again I’m writing my column on an airplane.
Posted on 2:01am Wednesday 5th March 2014
The Welsh National Opera bring the splendour and majesty of Verdi's 'La Traviata' to the Birmingham Hippodrome this week. I headed to review this lavish, sumptuous production which also acted as my inaugural opera experience...
Posted on 1:04pm Tuesday 4th March 2014
It is just possible that your energy company may owe you some money. There is £400 million sitting in Energy Companies accounts waiting to be claimed! To find out if you can claim back some of this money......read on......
Posted on 12:32am Wednesday 26th February 2014
I headed over to the Black Country Living Museum on Monday to check out the Press Launch for the Touring Consortium Theatre Company's 'Brassed Off', which will be running at the Wolverhampton Grand this April. Live brass music, traditional fish 'n chips, a trip down the mines and a tour on a vintage double decker were all part of the fun!...
Posted on 7:45pm Saturday 22nd February 2014
The ever-versatile Denise Van Outen brought her one-woman show to the Midlands this week at the Wolverhampton Grand, co-writing and being the sole star of this original piece on love, life and nostalgia. I headed over to review the show and see if it is a worthwhile trip down memory lane...
Posted on 9:39am Wednesday 19th February 2014
I am writing this column, again on a plane, two weeks after returning home from my incredible trip to 13 countries, 21 cities, in 38 days (mostly in India and Africa). I’m on a very short flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. It’s a piece of cake in comparison to the 17-hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta, Georgia, which was just one leg of my trip home. Heck, there’s only a one-hour time change. We were 10-12 hours ahead on the other trip.
Posted on 6:00am Thursday 13th February 2014
THE year so far has best been described as wet.
Posted on 10:00am Wednesday 12th February 2014
Going from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to various stops in India is about as stark a change as one can imagine. Dubai is a 42-year-new country with unlimited resources and a tiny (indigenous) population of 1 million, while India has been around since well before the birth of Christ and its 1.2 billion inhabitants account for 18% of the world’s human beings.
Posted on 12:00pm Thursday 6th February 2014
I’m currently sitting in a hotel room in New Orleans, on the 26th floor, where I’m attending a conference about and for dads. A disturbing dream woke me up in the dark of morning as I hear the sounds of train-horns in the distance and know the Mississippi River is lazing by in one direction and Bourbon Street is in the other direction.
Posted on 12:10am Tuesday 4th February 2014
TV star Robert Powell brings Agatha Christie's Belgian super sleuth Hercule Poirot to the Midlands boards this week as the queen of crime's first ever play continues its successful UK tour. I headed to the Wolverhampton Grand for press night to review the show, and hopefully solve a murder in the process....
Posted on 11:31am Monday 3rd February 2014
My recent trip overseas resulted, as most such trips do, in many unexpected and enlightening experiences. It was an extraordinary adventure. What I truly did not expect was what happened back at home while we were gone.
Posted on 11:37pm Thursday 30th January 2014
Get your stilettos at the ready guys and girls as one of the most irrepressibly entertaining musicals ever rolls back into the Midlands this week as Priscilla comes to Wolverhampton. I headed over to the Grand to see if the show still had al its fizz, spark and fabulousness...