Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Dates for your Diary - Warrington's FamFest 11th-12th August 2018 - Children's Programme Confirmed

PLEASE NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED

A brand-new family festival, FamFest, comes to Warrington next month featuring a jam-packed programme on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th August, which is sure to keep the whole family entertained.

Orford Jubilee Park will be brimming with activity zones, rides and attractions, character shows, skills workshops, and a full music line-up, all guaranteeing a fun-filled weekend which runs from 11am to 10pm each day.

Head to the Kids Zone and enjoy spectacular live performances from kids' TV favourites Mister Maker and Basil Brush, along with live action shows from Beauty and the Beast, Frozen's Elsa & Anna, Moana, Rapunzel and Flynn, and The Minions.


Roll up, roll up. The circus is in town and they want you! Juggling, plate spinning, diablo throwing, stilt walking - have fun whilst learning all the skills required to be the next great circus performer in the Circus Skills Workshop.

Get crafty and put your creative skills to the test with Disney's Art Attack presenter Lloyd Warbey who will be hosting the Kids Craft Zone with lots of fun activities for everyone to join in with.

There will also be opportunities to meet a range of characters throughout the two-day family festival including Darth Vader and Stormtroopers, Ironman, The Incredible Hulk, The A-Team's Mr T and many more in the Kids Zone!

The Sports Zone will be host to a huge selection of sports activities to have a go at and get the adrenaline pumping. With everything on offer from SNAG golf and archery, to rugby, cricket and basketball. Try to be the last one standing on the Gladiator podium, or why not battle it out in the sumo wrestling ring. There will be plenty to try and suitable for all levels and abilities.

Music fans will be in for a treat with the Main Stage featuring an amazing selection of top tribute acts paying homage to stars like Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars, Little Mix, Taylor Swift, Jessie J, Katy Perry and many more! PLUS an extra special performance by Warringtonian  - and winner of BBC's The Voice 2017 - Mo Jamil.

FamFest Warrington is a ticketed event. Along with regular ticket prices, there are also upgrade options to VIP, family VIP or weekend tickets.

Ticket entry will give visitors access to Sports Zone, Kids Zone, and Circus Skills activities, the Basil Brush Show, Kids Craft Zone and Character Zone, as well as the main stage tribute artists and shows. Mister Maker & his live shows are also there, but only on the Saturday.

There will also be a pay and ride Fun Fair with lots of thrill rides and attractions to enjoy.

Visitors can also visit the Princess Pamper Pavilion where all young festival-goers can pay to have glitter hair and tattoos done by the Disney princesses.

There will also be food and drink available to purchase, including a full licensed bar, and a VIP marquee.

Founder Pete Pinnington said: "I really wanted to create an event that caters for everyone, offering the whole family a fun and memorable day out! FamFest really does have something on offer for everyone - the younger kids will love the live shows like Mister Maker and Basil Brush whilst the older ones can have fun in the Sports Zone. Plus, the Main Stage will have music that appeals to all ages and generations - with the likes of Ariana and Taylor for the kids and Lionel Ritchie George Michael and Coldplay for Mum and Dad". 

"It promises to be an action-packed weekend, tickets are selling fast so get yours now!"

So grab your deck chairs, pack a picnic and book tickets to Warrington's premier summer attraction that is the perfect day out for the whole family!

For further details please visit the FamFest website or their social media pages, which can be found on the following channels:

Website - www.famfestwarrington.co.uk
Facebook - facebook.com/famfestwarrington
Twitter - @famfestevents

Listing Details

Event - FamFest Warrington
Venue - Orford Jubilee Park
Dates - Saturday 11th August to Sunday 12th August

All under 3's go free

Day Tickets
  • Child (3-15 years) £15 (inc fees)
  • VIP Child (3-15 years) £25 (inc fees)
  • Adult £30 (inc fees)
  • VIP Adult £60 (inc fees)
  • Family (2 x adult/2 x child 3-15 years) £70 (inc fees)
  • VIP Family (2 x adult/2 x child 3-15 years) £100 (inc fees)

Weekend Tickets
  • Child (3-15 years) £25 (inc fees)
  • VIP Child (3-15 years) £35 (inc fees)
  • Adult £50 (inc fees)
  • VIP Adult £70 (inc fees)
  • Family (2 x adult/2 x child 3-15 years) £120 (inc fees)
  • VIP Family (2 x adult/2 x child 3-15 years) £150 (inc fees)
Please note: Parking is £11 for one day or £22 for the weekend. Parking should be booked in advance as there will be NO pay-on-the-day parking available.

Disclaimer: Details provided are correct at the time of writing, however I would always recommend visiting the events own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Dates for your Diary - Beauty and the Beast October Pantomime at St Helens Theatre Royal - 20th to 28th October 2018

Regal Entertainments are bringing their enchanting panto Beauty and the Beast to St Helens audiences this October half term and producers have now also revealed the full cast.

Following the success of the production at Easter 2017, the classic fairytale will return to St Helens Theatre Royal from Saturday 20th to 28th October and will star Channel 5's Milkshake! presenter Kiera-Nicole Brennan.

She will be joined by Andrew Geater, Lewis Devine, Maddie Hope-Coelho, Philip McGuinness and Si Foster.

Get ready to go on an adventure in this family friendly pantomime that tells the timeless story of Belle - the beautiful young woman who falls in love with the most unexpected of princes, who has been cursed to look like a hideous beast.

Keira-Nicole Brennan leads the cast as Belle. Keira has recently graduated from the prestigious Brit School and is best known as the host of popular children's breakfast show Milkshake! She is currently the youngest presenter in Channel 5 history after landing the role at just 19 and proving herself a hit with little viewers.


Starring opposite Keira, Andrew Geater takes the role of Beast. Andrew returns to St Helens after a successful run as Dandini in the venues Easter panto, Cinderella. His impressive vocal talents have seen him perform across the globe, including as a member of world renowned group The 12 Tenors.

The hilarious Lewis Devine is also set to return to the Theatre Royal stage taking on the role of French Frank. After leaving audiences rolling in the theatre aisles laughing with his recent performance as Buttons in Cinderella earlier this year, and as Muddles in Snow White last Christmas, Lewis is guaranteed to bring the same hilarity this October.

Returning to the role of Gaston is Theatre Royal favourite Philip McGuinness. Philip is a hit with Theatre Royal audiences and has appeared in numerous productions including Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz and Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

BBC Pitch Battle star Maddie Hope-Coelho will bring lots of sparkle to the stage as Fairy Rose, Maddie returns after her mesmerising performance as Dorothy in February's Wizard of Oz.

Completing the cast is resident dame Simon Foster who returns to the role of Potty Polly guaranteeing hilarious gags that are sure to keep audiences laughing.

Will the beast learn to love and be loved? Will the spell be broken in time for all to live happily ever after? Come down to St Helens Theatre Royal this October and find out.

Theatre manager Chantelle Nolan said: "We are delighted to announce the cast for our upcoming panto. There is a huge array of talented performers with some familiar faces as well as some St Helen's Theatre Royal newcomers. It promises to be a fab show and will be a great treat for the whole family during October half-term".

Listing Details

Show: Regal Entertainments Ltd present: Beauty and the Beast
Venue: St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ
Dates: 20th October to 28th October
Times: Daily 1pm / Fri - Sun 1pm & 5pm
Tickets: From £12* (*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat booking fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.)
Website: www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal
Twitter: @TheatreRoyalStH

Bookings can be made in person at the Theatre Royal Box Office, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm). Alternatively, call 01744 756000 or log on to www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com.

Disclaimer: Details provided are correct at time of writing but are of course subject to change. I would always recommend visiting the sites own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Dates for your Diary - A Whole Host of Family Fun at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

With the summer holidays fast approaching, The Epstein Theatre has a fantastic selection of exciting family entertainment with theatrical experiences that are certain to keep the whole family entertained throughout the school holidays and beyond!

On Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th July, the Liverpool based Theatre Company Cuckootales present an enchanting new play Pinocchio: The Boy Within. Set to an original musical underscore, the production is a modern retelling of a classic tale, which is not to be missed.

Join a tiny snail on an enormous adventure from Wednesday 25th to Friday 27th July as Olivier Award nominated Tall Stories presents their magical musical production, The Snail and the Whale.

Take a trip down the rabbit hole on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd August for an unforgettable retelling of Lewis Carroll's classic tale Alice in Wonderland. This panto-esque style show guarantees entertainment for the whole family.

Milkshake! Live "The Magic Storybook" takes audiences on a journey through the world's favourite fairytales on Sunday 5th August. Starring Milkshake! favourites; Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Shimmer & Shine, Pip from Pip Ahoy!, Winnie and Wilbur, Wissper, Milkshake's very own Milkshake! Monkey and two Milkshake! presenters.


The family fun continues into the Autumn when critically acclaimed Scamp Theatre present Stick Man on Saturday 6th October. The award-winning production is packed full of puppetry, songs and live music.

How to Hide a Lion provides a magical adaptation of Helen Stephen's popular children's book on Sunday 14th October. See the story come to life with playful humour, dazzling puppets and jazz.

The timeless tale Guess How Much I Love You comes to the Epstein stage on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th October. This family favourite is brought to life by Selladoor Family and guarantees feel good family theatre.

Heigh ho, heigh ho it's off to the Epstein we go this Christmas. It is never too early to grab your panto tickets, (oh no it isn't), and this year's festive offering from renowned LHK Productions is the fairest panto in all the land, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. With a star-studded cast to be announced very soon, it comes to the Epstein Theatre from Friday 7th December 2018 to Tuesday 1st January 2019.


Book your tickets in advance for this amazing array of family friendly theatre which is sure to sell out fast.

Listing Information

Pinocchio: The Boy Within
Date: Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th July.
Times: 23rd - 2pm & 6pm, 24th - 11am, 3pm & 7pm
Tickets: Standard £10, Concession £9, Family £35

The Snail and the Whale
Date: Wednesday 25th to Friday 27th July
Time: 25th at 4pm, 26th & 27th at 11am & 2pm
Tickets: Standard £14, Concession £12, Family £48

Alice in Wonderland
Date: Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd August
Times: 2nd at 2:30pm, 3rd at 1pm & 5:30pm
Tickets: Standard £15, Concessions £13, Family £52

Milkshake! Live "The Magic Storybook"
Date: Sunday 5th August
Time: 12pm and 3:30pm
Tickets: Standard £15.50, Children £14, Family Ticket £56

Stick Man
Date: Saturday 6th October
Times: 1pm & 3:30pm
Tickets: Adult £14.50, Children £12.50, Family Ticket (2 adults & 2 children) £50

How to Hide a Lion
Date: Sunday 14th October
Time: 1pm
Tickets: Standard £14.50, Children £12.50, Family Ticket £50

Guess How Much I Love You
Date: Tuesday 16th & Wednesday 17th October
Time: 16th at 1:30pm & 4:30pm, 17th at 11am & 1:30pm
Tickets: Adults £13.50, Children £12.50, Family Ticket £45

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Date: Friday 7th December 2018 to Tuesday 1st January 2019
Times: Various
Tickets: From £11

To book tickets please call 0844 888 4411* or go online at www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or in person at The Epstein Theatre Box Office from 12pm - 6pm Monday to Saturday.

* Subject to booking fee. All prices include a £1 per ticket venue restoration levy.

For more details check out www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk and join their mailing list. Alternatively you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter using the following channels:

Facebook - www.facebook.com/EpsteinTheatre
Twitter - @EpsteinTheatre

Disclaimer: Details provided are correct at time of writing, however listings can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Mamma Mia! at Palace Theatre, Manchester - A Review

MAMMA MIA! has arrived in Manchester, whilst embarking on its current UK tour and what a fabulous feel-good musical it is! The show first opened at the Prince Edward Theatre some 19 years ago now and also recently celebrated its 17th anniversary in London's West End. Having achieved worldwide success MAMMA MIA! is everything you could hope for in a musical and more. After watching the show last night, I can now completely understand how it has gained such popularity around the globe.

Featuring an all round wonderful cast, the show tells the story of a young lady called Sophie, played by Lucy May Barker, who throughout her life has been unaware of who her father really is. Sophie finds her mother's diary and discovers that there are three men that could all potentially be her dad, so she reveals to her bridesmaids that she has invited each of them to her wedding.

Sophie believes that she will soon know which of them is her father, however on meeting them she soon realises that it will not be as simple as first imagined. Each man has their very own individual traits and personalities, with interests and mannerisms that could also be reflected in Sophie, making her quest appear an impossible task. In turn this also leads to Sophie's mum Donna (Shona White) having to face her past and we are led through a charming, delightful and funny story that is told through the songs of Abba.

Admittedly I have never seen this musical before, nor have I ever watched the film and I was therefore intrigued by the storyline and how the songs of Abba could collectively tell a tale. This soon become apparent though and the combination of drama and well known songs had the audience both captivated and singing along from start to finish.

Photo Credit: Brinkhoff/Mãgenburg

Sophie's chemistry with Sky (Phillip Ryan) was superb and they worked extremely well together on stage. Supported by a wonderful ensemble, all acts were delivered with slick professionalism and perfectly timed choreography that just made you want to get up and dance with them.

Donna's best friends Rosie (Nicky Swift) and Tanya (Helen Anker) provide plenty of laughter and when on stage together there was a genuine feel of friendship and sisterhood. Once we were also introduced to Sophie's three potential fathers, another comedic element was established. Tamlyn Henderson stars as Sam Carmichael, Daniel Crowder as Harry Bright and Matthew Rutherford as Bill Austin, and each actor exhibited both individuality and creativeness that brought a great deal of amusement to the audience.

There were certainly some stand out performances, with Helen Anker's rendition of 'Does Your Mother Know' proving to be very popular and rightly so. This scene not only possessed fantastic vocals and some very memorable dancing, but it was also packed full of fun that made you laugh out loud.

Shona White certainly shone like the star she is, with some breathtaking performances during the show. Her character as the mother Donna Sheridan seems well suited and I loved that through her fiesty and independent personality she also exhibited moments of insecurity and emotion, which made her portrayal completely believeable. My personal favourite though was when she sang 'The Winner Takes It All' and her vocals were absolutely superb. There is no doubt at all that she can certainly hold a note, and I looked forward to each time that she appeared on stage.

A special mention also has to be given to Matt Jordan-Pidgeon as Pepper whose cheeky and confident persona provided plenty of entertainment. His beaming smile and facial expressions, superbly complimented his enthusiastic performances and made him a very likeable character.

Photo Credit: Brinkhoff/Mãgenburg
Overall I highly recommend this show and the standing ovation at the end was very well deserved. Everyone was on their feet clapping and dancing along and the aisles were full of audience members having a great time and just loving life. If a production is capable of bringing a smile to so many faces then it has absolutely done it's job. Well done to all the cast and crew involved in Mamma Mia! for not only a wonderful performance, but for the happiness you created throughout the theatre. Bravo!

You can catch MAMMA MIA! at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until the 14th July with a signed performance and audio described performance also available. Full listing details below.

Listing Details

Show: MAMMA MIA!
Venue: Palace Theatre Manchester
Dates: Thursday 5th July 2018 to Saturday 14th July 2018
Time: Show times vary, so please visit the ATG Tickets Palace Theatre Website to obtain the most up to date information.
Signed performance: Wednesday 11th July 2018 at 19:30pm
Audio described performance: Thursday 12th July 2018 at 19:30pm
Running time: 2 hours 35 minutes including interval
Ticket prices: Prices vary but range from £15 to £61.50 (plus transaction fee). Please see website for pricing.
Website: ATG Tickets

Photo Credit: Brinkhoff/Mãgenburg
Disclaimer: I received press tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. Thoughts and opinions are my own.