Monthly Archives: November 2016

Trollied Episode Four, Series Six~ Episode Review

When one simple scene involving the word “boo” and hysterical laughter from two lovely ladies on Customer Services is a highlight in itself, you know that Trollied are still onto a winner. Lorraine Cheshire as Sue and Faye McKeever as Linda have yet to take centre stage in a storyline of their own, but their contribution to this laugh a minute comedy never fails to impress me. Coupled with Sue’s use of a rice cake as a drinks coaster, they were a force to be reckoned with, as ever.

This hilarious instalment also saw the return of Georgia-May Foote as Holly staking her claim on Daniel (Samuel Anderson) as she stuck close to Katie (Chanel Cresswell), it seems that Daniel’s new lady is not as air headed as it may have first appeared.  Her suspicions about Katie’s interest in her beau are raised when Katie pretends that Colin (Carl Rice) is her boyfriend and that his name is also Daniel. Lisa (Beverley Rudd) and Colin are having enormous fun winding up the situation, although Lisa does experience a fleeting moment of jealousy, this is quickly overcome when Colin assures of his devotion. The fact that he is so devoted to her due to her dirty antics is typical of this pair.

Meanwhile, Gavin is still promoting his healthy eating ‘scheme’ and Shai (Nikhil Parmar) is helping him by placing footprints on the shop floor. Small foot prints, by all accounts, the template of which is from Gavin’s (Jason Watkins) foot! Much teasing ensues, including Margaret (Rita May) singing “The Wizard Of Oz” despite having claimed that it wasn’t the film she was bringing to mind when she mentioned the yellow brick road. Nobody can carry that madcap ditzy character off quite like Rita can, Margaret is the lynchpin of the show, in my opinion.

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Rita May as Margaret

The challenge between Duncan (Rufus Hound) and Gavin also made for epic viewing, kudos to the pair of them for the sit-ups accompanied by dialogue!

My only disappointment with this week’s instalment was the noticeable lack of Dominic Coleman, Stephen Tompkinson and Sarah Parish, they play three of my favourite characters. However, I do comprehend that there is a degree of realism in that they wouldn’t all be in at the same time for the same shift at all times.

Overall verdict? Still the funniest programme on telly at the moment and this series in particular is such a treat, I am ever hopeful for series seven!

Casualty ‘Not In Holby Anymore’ ~ Episode Review

When you consider The Wizard Of Oz, do David (Jason Durr), Louise (Azuka Oforka) and Noel (Tony Marshall) immediately spring to mind as the Lion, the Tin Man and Scarecrow? No? Try watching this week’s episode of Casualty and you might change your mind. In an instalment filled with flashbacks, this truly trippy episode focuses on how the department are handling the rotten report handed dealt to them by Archie Grayling (James Wilby) AKA dad of Sebastian Grayling (Rik Makarem) and AKA Lily’s (Crystal Yu) ‘type’ and more…

Jacob (Charles Venn) is not taking the role of helping the team to make improvements to the kind of level that Charlie (Derek Thompson) feels he should be, so he and Duffy (Cath Shipton) set upon a Wizard of Oz style mission. What’s at stake? Breakfast of course, the sweetest breakfast Charlie’s ever had? I shouldn’t have thought so since this one would involve Jacob, but still, the challenge is on. More than one challenge it seems, which shows the lighter and comedy side of Charlie and Duffy. In fact I think the scenes that they are being given are going a long way to proving how well suited the pair of scamps are! David, Louise and Noel are left in bewildered bafflement for much of the episode, not to mention that Noel’s role is slightly redundant with the introduction of Elle’s (Jaye Griffith) Star Wars style self-service check-ins for patients.

Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 26/11/2016 - Episode: Casualty 30 13 (No. 13) - Picture Shows: Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), Dorothy - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap

Picture Shows: Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), Dorothy – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

On the emergency side, drugs and night club crushes are at the heart of the programme. Dodgy dealings, a protective brother and drug-fuelled carelessness lead to a near-loss and the requirement for Psychiatric input. All of which was portrayed extremely realistically and I admit my heart was in my mouth when David took it upon himself to jump from a great height to be the hero of the hour. It’s a pity nobody saw him do it. Although there were plenty of witnesses about when he roared like a lion for Charlie, back at Holby!

There’s also more disapproving looks and comments from Dylan (Will Beck) as Sebastian is still not up to scratch. Looking forward to seeing how this mentorship is going to continue to play out.

 

Spotlight On… Malvern Panto ~ Sleeping Beauty Star, Amy Thompson

Sleeping Beauty runs at Malvern Theatres from 15 December 2016 to 8 January 2017, for more information and to book your tickets for this fabulous family pantomime, follow this link: http://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/events/event/sleeping-beauty-2/

Amy Thompson is a recognisable face from Five’s Milkshake, but this Christmas she is transforming into a beautiful Princess to lead the story of Sleeping Beauty at Malvern Theatres. Amy chatted to Break A Leg about the show:

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Hi Amy, thank you ever so much for talking to Break A Leg, what are you most looking forward to about panto this year?

Being back here in Malvern, because I did my very first professional pantomime here in 2009 with UK Productions and I was Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s nice to be back and this will be my eighth pantomime now. To come back here a bit more seasoned and playing a Princess is just lovely. The audiences here are lovely and the new cast are great, this is the third time I’ve played Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty is a Princess from the start, too which is nice to play, I’ve played Snow White and Cinderella and they’re downtrodden to start with and then become Princesses.

What makes you excited for this year’s panto?

I’m excited every year but I think this year we have a strong mixture of people in the cast and we all get on really well.

What do you like about playing this type of role?

My job is to tell the story truthfully and tell it well, I like getting lost in the part and playing out the story of this young eighteen year old who has had all of this building up in the background, everything had been building up to her important birthday.

My costumes are beautiful and although I don’t know what my songs are going to be yet, I’ve always had lovely songs to sing in the past.

What do you love about panto?

It’s so much fun and I don’t think it’s Christmas without panto. I love the audience reactions and the fact that it’s a lovely story to tell.

What would you say to the people of Malvern who may not have bought a ticket yet?

 This script is very truthful to the story, laced with fabulous songs and a brilliant cast, lots of comedy, something for all the family. Whether you’re three or eighty three, there’s something for everyone.

Thanks for chatting to me, Amy – can’t wait to see you strut your stuff!

 

Spotlight On… Malvern Panto ~ Sleeping Beauty Star, Rebecca Wheatley

Sleeping Beauty runs at Malvern Theatres from 15 December 2016 to 8 January 2017, for more information and to book your tickets for this fabulous family pantomime, follow this link: http://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/events/event/sleeping-beauty-2/

Rebecca Wheatley is recognisable from a number of shows on stage and screen, I know her best as Amy from Casualty. However, this Christmas she dons her fairy wings and is set to take Malvern Theatres by storm. I chatted to Rebecca about the show:

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Hi Rebecca, thanks for talking to Break A Leg, have you performed on stage in Malvern before?

I have, I done two shows here, I did Menopause The Musical and I came here with Pickwick Papers. It’s a beautiful theatre isn’t it? Really lovely.

What do you enjoy most about panto?

I just think it’s great fun, you never feel more Christmassy than you do when you’re doing panto, it’s hard work but it’s a good traditional show and I love going to a panto, too.

Have you played a fairy before?

I’ve never played a fairy before, I’ve been a nurse and I’ve been a mermaid…

What will you bring to the role of the Fairy?

I will be fun and a bit cheeky, there will be magic, sparkle and extra twinkle.

Have you been on the receiving end of the good natured hecklers before? It seems to go with the territory with pantomimes!

I’ve never experienced that before, I’m steeling myself!

Moving on from panto, briefly and onto Casualty which you last appeared in sixteen years ago, do you miss being in the show?

I loved being in the show, we were al one happy group together which gradually dispersed and I miss working with that group. There’s something special about working in an iconic show, it was a lovely job which launched a lot of things for me.

What had inspired you to become a performer to start with?

I think when I was a child I was a show off an noisy and I love making people laugh and playing characters.

Finally, what would you say to potential audience members to encourage them to come and see the panto?

It is absolutely the one thing that you have to do every Christmas, it’s tradition and it’s a lovey Theatre. There are lots of surprises and it’s got heart, fun and games and I think we all need a bit of that!

Huge thanks to Rebecca for a lovely interview and I look forward to seeing her play the Fairy for the first time, very soon!

 

 

Spotlight On… Actress, Leila Crerar

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Leila is a TV and theatre actor. She’s played leading guest roles in Doctors, Casualty, and Eastenders. She played Joyce in the 4th Series of Mr Selfridge and was in 3 seasons of BBC Wales drama series Belonging. She played Natasha in ‘Three Sister’ for Radio 3. She’s worked with a number of leading theatre directors including Rupert Goold, Steven Berkoff, Tim Caroll. She worked with the Frantic Assembly in their smash hit show ‘Othello’.

Her latest role was playing Nora for Rachel O’Riodan at the Sherman in Cardiff. She does a lot of Shakespeare on stage.

http://www.wifi4refugees.com/

Wifi4Refugee is supported hugely by people in the arts including Mark Rylance, Sara Pascoe, Dan Gillespie, Jaime Winston, author Khaled Husseini, comedien Mae Martin, David Schwimmer (to name a few) who will either be attending, performing or donating to the auction. 

The charity supports refugees in Northern France and beyond by providing them with vital WIFI (via The Refugee Info Bus – a horse box converted into a tech hub!).  Their next goal is to fund a new tech hub for refugees in Greece. Wifi and access to information is certainly something I certainly take for granted!

I chatted to Leila about her fundraising venture…

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Leila. What can people expect from the event? 

It’s going to be a really exciting night of comedy, music, poetry and film. We have award winning comedian Mae Martin performing and MCeing. Music from Dan Gillespie Sells, fresh from his UK tour with The Feeling, Lyndsey Marshal currently staring in cinemas opposite Michael Fassbender will be reading poetry written by refugees. We have some guest speakers including ex residence of the refugee camp in Calais, and World Wide Tribe…and more exciting guest to be announced. There is a live auction with lots from Mark Rylance, Steven Berkoff, Khaled Hosseini, Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes) Jaime Winstone…some of whom will be coming along. So I’m pretty excited about it.

How did you become involved? 

I had never run a marathon, collected for a charity or done any thing to raise money before I set out to Calais with my friend Nicky and a van of Two-Thousand-Pounds ASDA food shop. I was really nervous about asking for money, but I was blow away by how quickly and generously people gave. In less than a week we had two-thousand-pounds, which I suddenly realized was quite a big food shop! We spent a hilarious morning at ASDA warehouse in Enfield, while ten jolly staff members loaded two-thousand-pounds worth of tinned fish, olive oil, and sacks of rice, followed by lots of jokes about my large appetite.

We nervously set out for Calais the next day, I didn’t plan on doing more than dropping the food off and volunteering for a week, but nothing prepared me for that first visit to the ‘Jungle’, and how haunted I would become by what I saw. That was the start of UAidRefugees, essentially the idea of it being YOU Aid Refugees (You the donors) who are directly helping, I wanted to people to feel empowered to get involved. I told everyone “I will go, but we are all doing this together.” I then started a blog, continued to raise over ten-thouasand, set up small teams of people collecting shoes, clothes, tents, blankets, food and mobile phones. It got to a point when you could hardly squeeze through my hallway for bin bags. I took the donations, regularly to Calais, along with carloads of volunteers. I also created a sound installation project ‘Voice From Across the Water’ for the Barbican Papers festival, which involved listening to recordings of refugees telling their stories. One day during all this, I watched my Syrian friend squat between two shelters. “The only place you can get a signal, sometimes, if you’re lucky,” he told me, as he attempted to retrieve emails from his wife and two small children whom he had not seen in three years. There was no access to internet in the camp. I began looking at Wifi options-at the same time I heard about a new project, The Refugee Info Bus. Two long-term volunteers Rowan Farrel and Sarah Story, where converting a Horse-Box into a mobile tech hub, complete with laptops, charging stations, a printer and Wifi accessed from a retractable mast. Myself and World Wide Tribe immediately collaborated to get Wifi into the bus, and soon thousands had access to the internet. We are now raising money for a new bus for the refugee camps in Greece, so I have organized Wifi 4 Refugees fundraising event, by calling on my acting community for help, it’s been really heart warming how much support I have been given from Mark Rylance, David Schwimmer, Zoe Wanamaker, Khaled Hosseini, Steven Berkoff, Natasha Khan, Jaime Winstone among others. I am very excited about the event on the 6th Dec.

You are a well known face from our television screens, what has been the highlight of your on screen career, so far? 

Probably Mr Selfridge last year. When I left drama school I was in BBC drama series, Belonging for three years, and on Mr Selfridge I really enjoyed being part of team again, I made some great friends.

What was it like to join the cast of Mr Selfridge?

I loved it. It was funny because I got very excited about all the costumes when I turned up, then they showed me what I was wearing. I was not playing a glamorous character and basically got given a smock to wear. But I really enjoyed filming this over the summer last year, and met some wonderful people.

What led you to a performing career?

I knew when I was very young I wanted to be an actor. When I was six there was a film crew shooting something in my local Welsh valley, and they came round to ask about locations, apparently I kept walking in and out of the room acting out various mines, I remember being gutted they hadn’t ask me to be in the film. I was very lucky to have one of the countries leading youth theatre’s on my doorstep, Mid Powys Youth Theatre. My first stage performance was with MPYT on the Olivia stage at the National Theatre. I was 12 years old and I remember looking out at a thousand people, I was hook after that.

What are your career ambitions? 

There are a whole host of incredible roles I would still like to play for stage. Including some of the big male Shakespeare roles, cross casting is becoming not just a wishful dream, especially with so many incredible female directors at the helm of lots of the big theatres now, so I think there is an impetuous to explore cross casting more than before. But I also have a burning ambition to tackle a great film role. I love filming, after so many years on the stage, I find the challenges of it exciting.

Finally, what would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket to the Wifi4Refugees event? 

It’s going to be such a fun evening, I’m thrilled to have so many talented people supporting us, the night is going to be really special! And the tickets are not expensive for the entertainment available. None of us are paid to do this, so every penny raised will go directly to helping refugees connect with their families. It’s going to be cracking party.

Huge thanks to Leila for a great interview and this sounds like an incredible cause! Best of luck!

Wifi4Refugees Event is on the 6th Dec at the Rich Mix, Shoreditch, London at 7pm. BOOK TICKETS: http://www.wifi4refugees.com

Spotlight On… Director of Her Aching Heart, Matthew Parker

‘Her Aching Heart’ by Bryony Lavery will run at The Hope Theatre, Islington from the 29th November – 23rd December (excl Sundays & Mondays).
To purchase tickets please visit: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/thehopetheatre

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Matthew, first of all can you tell me about your role at the Hope Theatre and what your ambitions were upon becoming Artistic Director?

The Hope was a relatively new theatre when I took the reins two years ago. I was determined to do all I could to raise it’s profile within the Off West End scene and a big factor in that was our first in house production LOVESONG OF THE ELECTRIC BEAR which transferred to the Arts Theatre and won two Offie Awards.

Her Aching Heart is your next in-house production, what was the reason for the choice and can you share your vision for it with me?

I first saw it at Uni over 20 years ago and loved it immediately. So I’ve been waiting to direct it for half my life!! It’s a fast paced, funny and fruity romp, pastiching Gothic literature with a sapphic twist. Two actresses play 8 roles between them and keep bursting into song. It’s theatrical, sexy and hilarious. What’s not to love?!!

My vision is simple – entertain the audience and make them laugh

How do you feel the space at The Hope lends itself to the piece?

The Hope is an intimate space where you as the audience feel very connected to the actors, which is great for this piece which includes some direct address. However it also needs an ‘offstage’ area where we can see the actresses getting changed behind etc – throwing costumes around for comic purposes etc – so we are building some flats which is a first for The Hope.

When you were casting, what were you looking for in particular in the actors?

Naturally funny and charming. That’s it. Easy eh?! It’s actually really hard to show natural humour in audition – luckily we saw some AMAZING funny women and have cast two who are both hilarious AND super talented classical actors. Oh they can sing too!

What do you hope the audience will take away from the piece, what can they expect?

A fantastic night out and I hope they take away aching sides from laughing so much!

What led you into a directing career?

I have wanted to direct since primary school. I did in fact direct a devised play in Junior school. Hilarious! The teachers just let me do it and gave me time to rehearse it and perform it in an assembly. I was in it, of course. In drag. Ha!! God it’s no wonder I was bullied is it?!!!!

I was an actor in my twenties but not for long. I sort of gave up on a theatre career around 25 years old. But I finally got the courage to apply for a directing training course in my early 30s. I graduated from my directing course 7 years ago and have been directing ever since.

Any Advice for budding Directors?

Meet as many people as you can. I was lucky enough to do a postgrad training course in directing but, as brilliant as it was, it’s only half the job. Most of what I am doing now is as a direct result of making and developing strong industry contacts. So go to as many press nights as you can to meet the directors and creative teams.

And work as much as you can – especially creating your own work – it really helps hone and develop your skill set.

Try and assist where possible. I try to do one assistant directing job per year so I can keep in touch with other directors’ processes and skills.

And obviously meet new people.

And finally – don’t accept the bullshit. There is so much bullshit in this industry. Always be honest with yourself and others. It may take you longer to get there but it’ll be all the sweeter when you do.

Finally, sell the show to me, why should people come and see it?

A tongue-in-cheek musical whirlwind that parodies the best in bodice-ripping romance replete with murder, elopement and heaving bosoms a-plenty as two heartbroken women jump between the pages of the same sapphic paperback – and play all the parts between them!

Huge thanks to Matthew for a fantastic interview, I love The Hope Theatre and can’t wait to return!

Rent ~ Malvern Theatres

Rent is on a UK tour and stays at http://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk until Saturday 26 November 2016.

Star Rating: *****

When you think of the musical, Rent, written by Jonathan Larson, Seasons of Love springs to mind, immediately. However, the hard-hitting and modern styled musical is packed with a range of musical numbers which are filled with angst, heart and impact. Add to that a strong set of characters who each have their own complex story to tell, and this is a musical de force.

From the beginning, the tone was set with the powerful first ensemble number ‘Rent’ which had all the emphasis and passion the Lyricist had asked of them, coupled with stunning choreography.  The audience were able to see the set prior to the start of the show, which is very common place these days, and it was clear that nothing had been overlooked as it gave the bohemian, slum feel that enriches the story and the characters plight in their struggle with addiction, drugs, illness and poverty.

rent

The staging was quite intricate. Draw bridges were used to alter the huge main scaffold areas playing spaces creating various rooms and platforms.  A detachable metal, fire exit-style staircase was also used to great effect in Mimi’s (Philippa Stefani) song ‘Out Tonight’ where members of the cast moved it around while she was in full flow. La Vie Boheme was again a fine number, where the table was maneuvered around on casters to create different effects and working areas on the stage.

The first character impact for us was Angel’s (Layton Williams) rendition of ‘Today 4 U’.  His overall athleticism was mind blowing… to culminate in a back flip off the stage in high heels, a move ‘Max Whitlock’ would be proud of, topped a musical number that just got better and better. The relationship that develops between Tom Collins (Ryan O’Gorman) and Angel is an essential storyline and culminates in an emotional act two. Mark Cohen (Joshua Dever) was the Narrator, and all round steady influence throughout, helping the audience follow the story through his eyes at it unfolded with ease. His number with Joanne (Shanay Holmes) ‘Tango: Maureen’ was energetic and very well received by all. Maureen (Lucie Jones) was as sassy as ever and had a believable chemistry with Joanne.

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Unlucky in love Benny (Javar La’Trail Parker), played his part well and effortlessly singing ‘You’ll See’ helped the audience firstly, dislike and resent him a little, but later he showed his better nature and endeared the audience towards him. Roger (Ross Hunter) and Mimi’s relationship built and built, gaining momentum, like Trump’s presidential campaign, throughout the show culminating in a lovely rendition of ‘Your Eyes’ which moved the audience and characters alike. Early songs ‘light my candle’ and ‘another day’ were great to watch as our two characters started to enhance their relationship. As mentioned before, Mimi showed her nerve, as she climbed over scaffold and surfed the moving staircase whilst singing ‘out tonight’.

If you’re looking for a rollercoaster of a show with broad and boundary pushing storylines, this will make you laugh, cry and think until you can think no more. Enjoy!

Reviewed by Guest Reviewers: Cy Wooldridge and Garry McWilliams

Trollied Episode Three, Series Six ~ Episode Review

It’s health eating initiative time, and Gavin (Jason Watkins) or should that be Gaveroo… has been putting his hexagon together to explain his theories to the staff and ultimately, the customers. Unfortunately for the hapless Store Manager, the staff have no comprehension of what he is blithering on about and his girlfriend (and boss) Cheryl (Sarah Parish) is trying her best to be supportive in spite of herself. The friction and competition between the two is the sticking point in their relationship, but the goofy edge that the two characters have and the obvious love between them always wins through. Much as the beauty of Trollied is that it’s set in the one location, I really feel the need to see Gavin and Cheryl at their jazz tap class and Gaveroo in his leg warmers. Anyone else with me? No…..?

trollied-6-2016

Gavin (Jason Watkins) and Cheryl (Sarah Parish) are at loggerheads

Meanwhile, Daniel (Samuel Anderson) receives an unexpected revelation from Lisa (Beverley Rudd) when she rocks up late and pukes in the fruit peel bin. The reason being a hangover? No! Morning sickness! Does Colin (Carl Rice) know? No! So Daniel fills him in and Neville (Dominic Coleman) offers advice, for which he is charged a fiver. Well, this is Colin after all, the man literally takes Neville’s lunch money and the mild mannered ‘butcher’ decides to have a crack at a veggie burger that they’ve been serving up to customers. Except they’re not veggie burgers because Colin didn’t replenish the stock and has reverted to meat. The chemistry between Colin and Neville is one of my favourite aspects of the show. They’re a completely dysfunctional double act and the two actors are doing an incredible job of making these characters real. When Neville shoulders the blame and tells Colin that he is not going back to the YMCA and that it doesn’t resemble the song, I thought that was a genius line and who better to deliver it than Coleman? Oh, and Lisa’s not really pregnant… although now, she might be…

Over at Customer Services, Sue (Lorraine Cheshire) and Linda (Faye McKeever) are busy. Well, busy playing a mind reading game, Sue is predicting every sentence that comes out of Linda’s mouth, correctly! A great aside as usual and yet another brilliant double act in Valco.

Margaret (Rita May) is in charge of health checks as part of Gavin’s healthy eating promotion, she’s in charge of BMX’s, no make that BMI’s. Brian (Stephen Tompkinson) had been waiting on a diseased heart from the morgue to be biked over, but given Gavin’s disapproval, he opts for a pig’s heart instead. Still not really what was required and certainly not a customer drawing exercise. Oh, Brian!

Trollied, you are nailing it! More, more, more, please!!

 

 

MCM Comic Con, Birmingham ~ NEC

I’ve been attending Comic Cons for over ten years, on and off and been a frequent visitor in my press capacity (and fan-girl capacity!) for most of that time. MCM Comic Con in Birmingham is always one of the local events of the year for me. It’s a large-scale geek’s dream with Christmas present ideas galore if you go to the November Comic Con.

mcm

This year’s was no different and possibly the best one I’ve been to this year, and I thought that the effort that Wales Comic Con put in was a sterling one. The layout worked for me, this time, plenty of room to walk around even though advance tickets were sold out. The theatre had plenty of capacity and excellent choices of guests giving talks. Peter Davison was one of my personal favourites, Red Dwarf panel was as much fun as ever and AJ Michalka was a name I wasn’t overly familiar with, but she was fascinating to listen to. What I love about the Q&A sessions is sitting in on those that I know nothing or very little about, I learn something and pick up a new TV show or movie to look out for.

mcm-1

Giant minions over-looking proceedings were a hit with my toddler, and the UK Garrison brought a fantastic set with them as usual. You could have your photo taken in a Storm Trooper helmet or say hello to a droid. They are a integral part of every con and it’s always a bit exciting when the troopers line up for Darth Vader’s inspection – yes, I know it’s not real… or is it?

The guests in the signing  area were plentiful and varied, Doctor Who, James Bond and Red Dwarf were well represented and it was a coup to have Flash Gordon himself, there aka Sam J. Jones. The last time I saw him was in the first Ted film. Speaking of that bear, thanks so much for the Ted 2 tshirt, I love it! Another reason to like the panel sessions, there are always some fabulous give aways. Tokyo Toys are always among one of the generous benefactors and we were delighted to bring home some Top Trumps Marvel cards for our little lad, too. The Kidzone was well patronised, free face painting being a crowd pleaser, light sabre training being another and the circus skills was an ideal place to allow some of the smaller children to run around.

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Wrestling was an attraction drawing huge crowds as well as robot wars, these add extra entertainment to the billing and I hope to see more of the wrestling in future – definitely a favourite!

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Over the years Comic Cons seem to have grown in popularity and they are popping up everywhere too. The number of people who choose to Cosplay at the events always increases and that ‘makes’ a con for me. As a self-confessed geek, big movie and TV fan, as well as a gamer – I am delighted that cons exist for us to all be geeks together and have a lot of fun free from judgement. All fandoms meet in harmony and I know that some fans are brave enough go by themselves and make friends there. Long live comic cons say I, and long live MCM, too!

I had a great opportunity to network so watch out for some amazing interviews…

Here’s the link to book your tickets for all of MCM’s glorious events: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/

Photo Credits: Garry McWilliams

 

Casualty ‘About My Mother’ ~ Episode Review

Another smasher of a performance from Amanda Mealing as Connie is back at work, despite Elle (Jaye Griffiths) expressing her misgivings and pushing Jacob (Charles Venn) to talk her out of it. There’s a mystery inspector on the loose and the doctors and nurses decide to compete against one another as they set out to prove that the ED is running smoothly.

Meanwhile I was intrigued to see that Lily (Crystal Yu) is still pursuing Archie (James Wilby) and that he is equally keen to continue to see the young doctor. As a pairing, all the flaws are obvious, yet it’s remarkably easy to see why Lily has fallen for him. However, she remains clueless that he is the Inspector that the team are so concerned about. Or I imagine she’s clueless, and if she is, will his report be the catalyst that throws her into Iain’s (Michael Stevenson) arms? I hope so!

Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 19/11/2016 - Episode: Casualty 30 12 (No. 12) - Picture Shows:  Connie Beauchamp (AMANDA MEALING), Jacob Masters (CHARLES VENN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Adrian Rogers

Casualty 30 – Series 31  Connie Beauchamp (AMANDA MEALING), Jacob Masters (CHARLES VENN) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Adrian Rogers

Iain and Jez (Lloyd Everitt) were almost involved in an RTC, this episode when eagle-eyed Iain spotted a little boy by the name of Hugo (Billy Angel) climbing underneath a lorry to seemingly hitch a ride. The inevitable happened as Hugo let go of the undercarriage of the lorry and the ambulance that the boys were driving just stopped short of causing the boy more injuries. When the kid arrived at Holby City he was the first casualty of Connie’s shift. Coincidental, given that the lad was looking for Grace (Emily Carey) as he had missed her. Young Hugo had gone on a date with mini Connie and he still hankers after her. He’s also motherless, has a ‘step-mum’ he’s none too keen on and while the poor fellar is at a low ebb, he discovers he has a half-sibling on the way too. A surprise all round as the baby’s parents have only just found out, as well. Connie treats the situation with tenderness and care. Her performance convinces Elle that she made the right decision in coming back. Now, if only Connie could see her way clear to taking Grace home…

Between an ornamental ice skater presented to Grace by young Hugo, which encourages Grace to speak the word “skate” and a promise from Jacob that he’ll move in with them, Connie takes the next step and Grace is finally, FINALLY discharged. Although the poor child clearly has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of her. Plus there’s the fact that Jacob has slept with someone else and not admitted it to Connie yet. Oh, and there’s the question as to whether Connie wants Jacob to move in because she loves him and wants a family life or if it’s convenient to have a nurse to hand when she is scared that she won’t come up to scratch as Grace’s carer. Let’s not dwell on that yet… I’m sure the script writers have it all in hand and nothing will go as smoothly as we may hope for! I must add huge congratulations to Billy Angel, who made his professional debut in this episode and was outstanding as Hugo.

Photo Credits: BBC