Same Time Next Year

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February 17th 1951. East coast liberal accountant George and high school dropout Doris wake up together in a chalet at the Sea Shadows Inn beneath the all seeing and mildly disconcerting eye of a portrait of Harry Truman. On the wall is a Californian flag which refuses to hang straight. Somewhat awkwardly the two exchange life stories and gradually come to realise that they are falling in love. The only problem is that they are both happily married to other people who they have no wish to hurt and are parents of three children each.

So they agree to meet up once a year to spend the weekend together, sharing stories good and bad about their spouses and families and bringing each other up to date on family news. Over the course of the next twenty five years we see them grow and change as Doris goes back to school and becomes a successful business woman and George turns Republican.

Each year there is news to share, some good, some less so and as the world changes around them, leaving George in particular uncomprehending and resentful, and as Truman gives way to Eisenhower et al the couple find solace, friendship and the comfort of carnality in each other’s company.

Some things remain the same however and that flag never does hang straight.

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Canadian playwright Bernard Slade may not be a household name these days but a new production of his best known work, Same Time Next Year, at The Caxton Theatre, opening on Saturday October 15th offers a terrific evening of bitter sweet comedy handled deftly by director Steve Labourne and the cast of John Ferguson as George and Hayley Browne as Doris.

Together they bring the characters to life with compassion, joy and keen ears for the nuances of dialogue which make the play more than just a series of conversations. They also have the happy knack of varying the pace just enough that the action, (essentially just two people talking in a room), never seems to drag, but at the same time does not fall into the trap of histrionics or sentimentality.

Along the way there are plenty of laughs – mostly of the laconically ironic school – but there’s some excellent physical comedy as well, particularly when Doris arrives heavily pregnant (in the late 1960s I think) and if you’re looking for an excellent evening’s entertainment then this is definitely as show not to be missed.

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Same Time Next Year is at The Caxton Theatre from October 15th – October 22nd

To book tickets
Visit www.caxtontheatre.com
Or call into the Grimsby or Cleethorpes TIC
Or contact them by phone on 01472 323111

We Shall Overcome at The Minster

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There was some joyous music and poignant words to appreciate on Saturday night (October 8th 2016) as The Minster played host to a concert of music and poetry in aid of the second annual We Shall Overcome week.

We Shall Overcome was founded in 2015 and has already spread to become a worldwide grassroots movement of musicians, artists and organisers aimed at expressing anger at the human cost of austerity while doing some positive good in their local communities.

The Grimsby concert featured readings by Carolyn Doyley and the Franklin College Young Voices and music from The Life & Times Of The Brothers Hogg who played a set made up of tunes from their new album, Celestial Emporium, plus some old favourites from the first.

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The line up was completed by the Fusion Creative Choir, playing their first big public gig, whose excellent set included favourites like Hallelujah and of course Pete Seeger’s theme tune for the evening, We Shall Overcome.

Admission was by donation of either cash or groceries and the event raised nearly £300 plus a huge collection of much needed stock for the Grimsby Food Bank.

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You can find out more about We Shall Overcome at their website

Alexandra Rex at Fusion Creative

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Uneasy Lies The Pretty Little Head That Wears A Crown

King Robert is dead. Storm clouds gather in the North. The only legitimate heir to the throne is exiled across the eastern sea. But this is not Westeros. This is Lincolnshire, albeit a mythical, mediaeval Lincolnshire created by playwright Josie Moon for her new play, Alexandra Rex, which was premiered last night, (Saturday October 1st) at St Martin’s Church by members of the Fusion Creative adult theatre group.

The play centres on an attempt by the Lords of Lincolnshire, led by the ruthless but conflicted Ashby, to bring Princess Alexandra back from Rotterdam to act as titular ruler of the Kingdom while the aristocracy carve up the wealth of the territory for themselves. Unfortunately for their lordships the young queen/king is not the pushover they had anticipated. Regular visitors to Fusion Creative may recall a recent evening with poet Helen Mort at which she dealt at length with this kind of issue and the possibility of claiming compensation.

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Aided by a quirk of Lincolnshire law the new queen decides to do things her own way and, influenced by the stories she is told by a group of refugee fisherwomen from the Yorkshire Coast, she begins by declaring a new capital offence of rape, sticking to her guns even when it means plunging the kingdom into war. Even when it comes to getting blood on her own hands, this is a princess who does not back down.

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The production showcases the growing confidence of the Fusion team and the deepening darkness and subtlety of Josie’s writing. It features fine performances by the whole cast, but especially from Charli Parkin as Alexandra, Matty Gray as Ashby and Emma Middleton as the leader of the refugee women, and it is to be hoped that this will just be the first of many performances.

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There are plenty of exciting events on the way at Fusion Creative including a visit from acclaimed poet Hollie McNish on Saturday 12th November and you can find out all about their other events and regular clubs by going to www.fusioncreative.org.uk or by visiting their Facebook page.