Fusion Youth Theatre: Hit Like And Share – review

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For all its many miraculous pictures of cats the internet can be a dangerous place for the unwary, creating spaces for bullying and exploitation as well as opportunities for lego animation and laughing babies. It was this darker side to the web which was the focus of Hit Like And Share, a hard hitting new play by Josie Anne Gray presented by Fusion Youth Theatre at St James House on July 19th and 20th.

The play told the story of Ellie (played by Freya Tate), forced to change schools as a result of internet exploitation, who finds that in the age of the web leaving your past behind can be easier said than done. Fate brings her up against the mean girls at her new school although there are nice kids there too, led by Oliver Lewis’s heroic battle rapper Sharkey.

Ellie’s path to acceptance and self forgiveness involves even more trouble when she chooses her confidantes unwisely in the chat rooms but little sister Callie (Jessica Allan) is there to save the day.
Impressively acted by a young cast who seem happy to have something serious to get their teeth into but are easy about sharing the limelight ensemble it was a stimulating performance which I’m sure will have helped to make all the cast and audience more aware of the dangers of the internet and safer as a consequence.

In fact it’s the kind of play that all young people would benefit from seeing and understanding in a world where we live our lives increasingly in online environments.

Picnics in the Park

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Four consecutive Sundays of free live music in the bandstand in our very own park featuring

10 AUGUST
SHANNON REILLY TRIO
Smooth, quality jazz

17 AUGUST
Fantastic live band

24 AUGUST
DREAD SUPREME
7-piece Jamaican roots / jazz crossover band, exploring everything from Coltrane to Cuba

31 AUGUST
MERLIN’S KEEP SUPPORTED BY AMY NAYLOR AND ROB BYWATER
Grimsby’s favourite Celtic folk rock band, plus up and coming support

The Debt To Pleather: Smoke & Mirrors with Breakwater Theatre

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According to many people it’s a good rule in life to only believe what you see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears. I’m not sure I agree, in fact I’m sure I don’t but let’s not get all solipsistic about it. Instead we can look for evidence in Smoke And Mirrors, an evening with Breakwater Theatre comprising a set of short original plays by local authors in which nothing was what it seemed and nothing seen or heard was to be taken at face value.

Having set a theme which writers were welcome to interpret in whatever way they chose the Breakwater team of actors and directors were able to offer us an evening that was both funny and poignant, ironic and forcefully direct and which ranged in style from realism to absurdity by way of some southern gothic and a little bit of good old fashioned kitchen sink.

First up was Made For Each Other by Alex Dennistoun, a lesson in the dangers of taking other people’s words too literally and as bad an advert for the joys of speed dating as has ever been conceived. Darkly humorous in tone it featured Sara Beasley as a glamorous ingenu and Jonny Allbones as the duplicitous cad and fake fireman who takes her for a ride. Or does he? The switchback narrative kept everyone guessing right up to the final reveal.

Autumn Leaves by Ian Winter offered a more reflective and wistful take on the theme as death made its first appearance of the evening with Jeannine Ridha and Chloe Rose guiding the audience through a patchwork of reminiscence towards a promise of blue skies and the pitter patter of dirt on a polished ceiling. It was a piece which conveyed it’s meaning by means of hints and allusions and left the audience to fill in any gaps for themselves.

There was predictably little uncertainty about Death And Taxi by Emma Gee however which featured Miranda Johnson as a newly deceased mother and party animal and Della Brett as a probationary Death. The central character’s misfortune in dying in full leopard print in the middle of a five star restaurant was matched only by that of Death who found that her latest consignment for Hades was not ready to go without a struggle.

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After some excellent interval music from Harry David the second act kept up the high standard of the first beginning with You’re Having A Laugh by Catherine Scott, an everyday story of political ambition and soap opera watching, which should serve as a warning to anyone who has ever thought about investing in proper lace up shoes and running for office. The play showed how quickly even the most disingenuous can fall pray to the need for spin in a wryly comic and acutely observed take on politics and the people.

Mr Mumler, The Showman And The First Lady by John Ashbrook was a retelling of the true story of spirit photographer William H Mumler’s who made a fortune from faking photographs of the spirit world but was ruined by a court case brought by the legendary showman P T Barnum (despite the fact that he won). Sara Beasley as Mary Todd Lincoln, Mike Wilson as Mumler and a show stealing turn as Barnum from Jack Merlis brought the scene to life almost as if it had been conjured into the room before us.

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The final piece of the evening was Raven’s Edge, a gritty story of the redemptive power of love, (p)leather and Southern Comfort by Ben Parkes, performed by Joseph Parfrement, Chloe Rose and Della Brett. It’s message that sometimes the underdog can get the girl and the booze and the jacket provided an uplifting end to an exhilarating evening of new writing, performed in the excellent new performance space at The Warehouse in Freeman Street.

The evening was brought to a dramatic close by Ben Parkes proposing to his partner Joseph live on stage in front of a packed house which left not a dry eye in the house. Best wishes to both.
All in all it was a fine night of theatre which demonstrated why the work done by the talented team of directors and actors who make up Breakwater team is so important to the local arts scene and we look forward to the announcement of the theme for their next project.

In the meantime Breakwater can next be seen performing Apple Juice, a nostalgic wartime sketch by Sara Beasley about the Lincolnshire land girls as part of the Cleethorpes Classic Car and Vintage Festival taking place at Meridian Point on August 23rd.

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Classic Style: Lindy Bop dresses at home is where the heart is

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Fashions come and go but style is permanent and that’s  what the new Lindy Bop range at Home Is Where The Heart Is of Wellowgate is all about.

These are dresses to transport you back to an age when people dressed when they dressed, dresses that make you feel good every time you wear them. To see the full range visit Home Is Where The Heart Is and fall in love with style all over again!

Make Life A Little More Delicious With H’s Cakes (and get a 10% discount too)

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There’s no doubt about it – cakes are seriously fashionable. Whether it’s the good old fashioned home bakes like your mum used to make, magnificently towering show stoppers fit for Mary and Paul, or the seriously wicked and indulgent delicacies served up by professionals like our good friend Helen at H’s Cakes on Top Town Market, having been years in the doldrums cakes are now cool again.

We recently got to spend the afternoon photographing Helen’s cakes and after the shoot we got to eat the models and they were delicious.

Helen’s got an advert in Issue 28 by the way and she’s offering a 10% discount to anyone who brings the advert to her stall.

There’s even a National Cupcake Week organised by British Baker magazine (this year it runs from September 15th-21st) with loads of competitions and great prizes, for professionals, amateurs and juniors. You can get more information on entering from www.nationalcupcakeweek.co.uk

Cleethorpes Classic Car and Vintage Festival

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Fans of classic cars and lovers of style are in for a treat on August 23rd & 24th when Graham Chapman Classic Cars bring the inaugural Classic Car and Vintage Festival to Meridian Point.
There are vehicles coming from all over the country, including one of the few surviving Lloyd tourers, built in Grimsby at their factory in Patrick Street, and if you’re in the mood for a new motor there’ll also be a classic car auction, taken by celebrity auctioneer Charles Hanson, famous for his appearances on Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip.

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As well as the vehicles there’ll be plenty to see and do including burlesque from The Cats Pyjamas Cooperative, performances from actress Sara Beasley, a fantastic choice of great food and drink and lots of great music from Moll Amour, Shannon Reilly and many others.

A special theme of the festival will be Northern Soul music and there’ll be sets from top DJs Al Taylor, Stan the Man and Dennis B plus expert teacher Sharon Sullivan will be demonstrating just how to dance Northern Soul stylee!

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There’ll be a huge variety of vintage and retro fashion and jewellery on display including fabulous dresses by What Shall I Wear, retro clothing by Bill Bailey’s, tweed bags by Roobydoo’s, bracelets by Ragdoll Beads and original artwork by Madam’s Pinups and many other must have items.

All in all it promises to be one of the highlights of the summer so we’ll see you there.

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From Wilfred Prickles To Sticky Janet – The Peoples pays a visit to Elaine Drewery at Authorpe Hedgehog Care

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Wilfred Prickles was the first, the original. They disturbed his mother and the little ones when they were clearing out the stables. The rest of the family decamped but Wilfred was left behind and Elaine took him in, learned to feed him, kept him warm. He departed next spring, restored to health and ready to make his way in the hedgehog world, but Elaine had fallen for the charms of hedgehogs and although she didn’t realise it yet her life had changed for good.

Since then thousands like Wilfred have arrived at Elaine Drewery’s home in Authorpe, near Louth. Orphaned, maimed by cars or lawn mowers or bonfires, the victims of pesticides or pets or the stupidity of people, they’ve all been welcomed and cared for and most have been returned to the wild.

Elaine is the legendary ‘hedgehog lady’ and mum of Corinne, singer with Swing Out Sister and she’s been caring for hedgehogs for over thirty years now, often alone but nowadays she has helpers. Stacey and her mum Tracey come every day (frequently including weekends) from Louth to clean out the wards, prepare food, and to tend to sick animals.

To read the rest of this article just follow this link …

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