On The Beach – Seals At Donna Nook

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Time to wrap up warm, mix up a thermos tea and head off down the coast road bright and early because November and December are the months when the grey seal colony at Donna Nook comes to the shore so that the cows can give birth to this year’s crop of pups.

After suckling their young for about three weeks the cows will mate again and then return to the sea, not returning until the following November. About a week after their mothers leave and driven by hunger the pups will shed their white coats and head for the sea.

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We headed down to the beach at the weekend to watch and get some pictures. According to the official counts there are about 650 bulls, 1400 cows and more than 1200 pups present at the moment and it’s a wonderful spectacle.

If you’re thinking about paying a visit you’ll find all you need to know at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website. They do a fantastic job of monitoring and protecting the colony and providing access and information for the public. They’re at www.lincstrust.org.uk

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THE FUSION CREATIVE WINTER SHOW MARKS A YEAR AT ST MARTIN’S

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It’s about a year since Fusion Creative moved into St Martin’s Church on the junction of Sutcliffe Avenue and Scartho Road and in that time they’ve gone from strength to strength, with thriving drama groups, a ukulele orchestra, a more than eighty strong choir and a host of special performances from poets and musicians and art and graffiti exhibitions.

They also offer regular craft sessions, knit and natters, circus skills training and they’ve got an exciting new local history project – Nunsthorpe Stories – in the pipeline.

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On Saturday night they presented their winter show, featuring the Junior Drama Group performing Little Star, a portmanteau murder mystery from the Senior Drama Group, Christmas Carols ukulele style and to cap it all a rousing performance from the Community Choir.

A fantastic show it was too, enjoyed by a full house, and here’s to the next year and also to the Fusion Christmas Fair which is on Saturday December 3rd from 10am-6pm and includes the chance to become a part of Fusion’s King Arthur project in 2017 by pulling a sword out of a stone.We’ll see you there.

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The Flint Street Nativity at The Caxtons

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Blue Remembered Christmas

The Flint Street Nativity
Caxton Theatre
November 25th – December 3rd

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and down at the Caxton Theatre the crowds gathered last night for a seasonal show full of laughter, joy and a little sadness as the Caxton Players performed Tim Firth’s Flint Street Nativity.

Many of us will have fond memories of this drama from the original 1999 TV play featuring the likes of Frank Skinner, Stephen Tompkinson and Jane Horrocks but whatever you do, don’t let that put you off going to see this production, because this is a show that benefits immensely from live performance and you’ll have to wait a long time to see anything this funny and telling in town.

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As adults playing children the cast lead the audience through the excitement and terror of a primary school nativity play, complete with classroom rivalries, distraught teachers, and the parents who remain unseen until the end of the show but are still ever present thanks to the influence, benign or otherwise (mostly otherwise), that they exert over their children’s lives.

There are plenty of laughs along the way – including some great slapstick and some of the most inspired vulgarity you’ll hear in a while. Anybody who thinks bad language is neither clever nor funny hasn’t seen this show. Comedy highlights include the arrival of twin Messiahs (and the accidental decapitation of one of them), the escape and recapture of the school newt, a foul mouthed donkey and the children’s encounter with the contents of their teacher’s handbag.

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The key to the play’s success is that it allows us to see the adult world through the prism of childhood but it’s not all laughs and ‘Oh my, the things they say”. There is also a pervading sense of compromised nostalgia and of innocence in the process of being lost as the youngsters’ conversations reveal how much of the adult world they have witnessed, how much of their parents’ lives they have misunderstood and more tellingly how much they have understood at least as well as, and probably better than, their elders. These are not children enjoying the blissful ignorance of youth that we might wish upon them. I’m not allowed to quote Larkin’s This Be The Verse in these pages but I can at least reference Crosby, Stills and Nash’s words about teaching your parents well which seem equally relevant. The parents in the play seem remarkably unwilling to learn however. Ain’t that the way of the world.

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It’s a real ensemble piece and with all the cast working so hard for each other it seems wrong to single people out for special praise so I’ll just say that George Mansfield is astonishingly funny as Herod/Joseph, Helen Riley excels as an archangel who wants to be Mary, Ian Hammond has exactly the right air of bewildered naivety as the narrator and Gary Fox, as the severely damaged Frankincense, has a compelling air of vulnerability and neglect.

It would be remiss not to add that Phil Whitfield as The Ass makes the absolute most of his swearing song. Special praise must also go to director Nadine Bennett-Wood for drawing so many disparate narrative strands together into a coherent whole.

So if you’re looking for some festive theatre that isn’t a panto (oh no it isn’t) then we highly recommend The Flint Street Nativity at the Caxtons.

Miss. Miss. I’ve finished, Miss.

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

ALL ABOARD FOR ANYTHING GOES AT THE MEMORIAL HALL

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It’s 1934 and SS American is about to sail from New York to England with a passenger list containing assorted aristocrats, clergymen, Wall Street magnates and showgirls. Cameras flash. The band plays. But not everyone is all that they seem.

Welcome to Anything Goes – the classic Cole Porter musical currently being presented at the Memorial Hall by Curtain Up Productions under the direction of David Wrightam.

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It’s one of Porter’s greatest shows, much revived and revised over the years, but still possessing the cool art deco shine of the era of the great ocean going liners and packed with sly wit, occasional smut, terrific dancing and of course some of the greatest songs ever written. In its present form it features not only the title number but also You’re The Top, It’s Delovely, Friendship and Let’s Misbehave. You’ll go a long time before you hear this many showstoppers in one night.

The first thing you notice about Curtain Up’s production is how great it looks – both set and costumes have that 1930s glamour down to a tee – and the show is staged with considerable ingenuity, allowing transitions from the deck to cabin interiors with the minimum of fuss and maximum style.

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All the cast are in fine voice, the choreography is a sharp as you could wish and the orchestra, under Keith Weston, approach their task enthusiastically but with enough subtlety to allow the vocals and lyrics to shine through.

As Reno Sweeney, notorious torch singer and femme fatale, Hayley Wrightam almost steals the show and the fact that she doesn’t do so is testament to the fine performances by the cast as a whole with special congratulations going to Andrew Bailey as Moonface Martin – Public Enemy Number 13 and Scott Smith as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, whose duet with Reno to Let’s Misbehave is one of the highlights of the night. Sarah Hagerup as Bonnie is another standout – as mollish a moll as any gangster could ever wish.

Altogether this show is a must see for anyone who loves musicals. Highly recommended.

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Anything Goes is at The Memorial Hall from Wednesday 16th – Saturday 19th November at 7.30pm daily and with a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm. Tickets available from Cleethorpes Tourist Information at Cleethorpes Library or by phone on 01472 323111.