Friday, 28 February 2020

Beauty and the Beast at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool this Easter

*Please note that this show has now been postponed

Get ready to be swept off your feet this Easter as the timeless classic Beauty and the Beast brings magic and adventure to the Epstein Theatre.

This enchanting, family-friendly panto production will run from Friday 10th April until Sunday 19th April and Regal Entertainments Ltd have recently announced a fantastic line-up of stars.

Channel 5 Milkshake's Amy Thompson will appear as Belle opposite Timothy Lucas as the dashing but troubled Beast.

They will be joined by Philip McGuinness as dastardly Gaston and Lewis Devine as French Frank, along with James Lacey as the hilarious Potty Polly and Sarah Walker as Fairy Rose.

Amy Thompson is no stranger to Beauty and the Beast having previously played Belle for Regal Entertainments at St Helens Theatre Royal.

The TV and stage actress's other panto credits include Sleeping Beauty (Malvern Theatres, Pavilion Theatre, Mansfield Palace and Floral Pavilion, New Brighton), Aladdin (Blackpool Grand), Cinderella (Blackpool Grand and Sunderland Empire), Snow White (Rhyl Pavilion) and Little Red Riding Hood (Hull Truck Theatre).

Timothy Lucas takes on the role of the Beast, doomed to roam his castle in hideous form until true love frees him from a wicked curse.

The Liverpool Theatre School-trained actor has recently appeared as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz at St Helens Theatre Royal. His other panto roles include the hilarious PC Noodle in Aladdin, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and the notorious Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

Meanwhile Philip McGuinness returns to the role of the preening Gaston after playing it to acclaim at St Helens Theatre Royal. His other panto roles include Tin Man and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, Captain Hook in Peter Pan and the villainous Abanazer in Aladdin at St Helens.


Lewis Devine makes a welcome return to the Epstein after winning the hearts of audiences playing the hapless Buttons in Cinderella at Christmas.

His career started at an early age when he first appeared on the first series of ITV's Kids Stars in Their Eyes, which he won with his impersonation of Donny Osmond. His panto credits include Muddles in Snow White and the title role of Peter Pan, both at St Helens Theatre Royal, and French Frank in Beauty and the Beast at Stockport Plaza.

Liverpool actor and producer James Lacey takes on Dame duties as Potty Polly. James has more than a decade of panto experience on his busy CV and in addition to that was the body double for Richard Madden in Sir Kenneth Branagh's big screen Cinderella.

And dancer and choreographer Sarah Walker will bring all-round sparkle as well as twinkle toes to the role of the goodhearted Fairy Rose.

Beauty and the Beast is directed by Andrew Geater and produced by Regal Entertainments Ltd.

Producer Chantelle Nolan said: "Beauty and the Beast is one of the most magical fairytales with its beautiful and kind-hearted heroine and a troubled hero to root for, all surrounded by a brilliantly colourful cast of larger-than-life characters and with an important message for theatregoers young and old.

"I'm delighted to be working with such a fantastic group of actors, and I can guarantee Epstein audiences are in for an egg-stra special treat this Easter."

Beauty and the Beast tells the timeless story of Belle - the beautiful young woman who falls in love with the most unexpected of princes.

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 the Epstein Theatre this Easter and find out.

Listing Details

Show - Beauty and the Beast
Venue - Epstein Theatre, Hanover Street, Liverpool
Dates - 10th April until 19th April 2020
Times - Times vary, so please visit the website to obtain the most up to date information.
Tickets - Tickets start from £13

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 please check out www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk to join their mailing list. Alternatively you can follow them on Facebook or on Twitter @EpsteinTheatre.

*This post has been written based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but is subject to change. I would always recommend visiting the venues own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Hale Barns Carnival 2020 Announces Three Headline Concerts

Three headline acts have been announced for Hale Barns Carnival 2020 - and due to high demand, a third evening concert has been added to the increasingly popular community festival.

Last year organisers were thrilled with a record number of visitors to the event, which raised more than £100,000 for the local community.

This year's event takes place across the weekend of Friday 17th July, Saturday 18th July and Sunday 19th July 2020 - and this year's event boasts its biggest headliners yet, including Motown royalty.


Organisers are delighted to announce this year's headline live acts performing at Hale Barns Carnival 2020 are Motown Legend Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, opera vocalist Russell Watson, and Seventies pop rock band Bay City Rollers.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas are heading to Cheshire for an exclusive festival performance, they will entertain audiences with their vast Motown back catalogue on the Sunday evening (19th July), accompanied by a full band.

Martha, who was seen on Celebrity Masterchef on television screens in 2019, will be performing at Hale Barns on the weekend of her 79th Birthday. Fans can look forward to live performances of her smash hit songs including Nowhere to Run, Heat Wave, Jimmy Mack - and the best selling Motown single of all time, Dancing in the Street, which was later covered in the 1980's by Mick Jagger and the late David Bowie.

A very special Proms with Russell Watson officially opens Hale Barns Carnival 2020 on the Friday evening (17th July). Salford-born Russell Watson is the UK's best-selling classical artist, and this year marks the 20th anniversary since his debut solo album The Voice hit the number one chart spot and catapulted the singer into the music industry spotlight.

Russell will be joined by his band performing a specially curated set of full proms classics, including massive anthems, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Nessun Dorma. The Friday Night concert will be supporting local charity The Seashell Trust, with all profits from the evening being donated to the charity.


The following evening (Saturday 18th July), tartan pop rock sensations the Bay City Rollers will be shaking their shang-a-lang following an extensive tour of Japan and Canada.

The band will be flying back into the UK especially for the Saturday night concert. Fans of the tartan army are guaranteed a show-stopping evening as the band perform their back catalogue of greatest hits including Bye Bye Baby, Shang A Lang, Remember and Summerlove Sensation.

Gates open at 6pm for the live concerts on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the concerts starting at 7.30pm.

Tickets for the evening concerts are now on sale. All 100% of the evening concerts will be donated towards community projects and charities. One ongoing project supported by the event is to help fund a building project to create a new community hall in Hale Barns, which will provide a platform to showcase local talent and run adult learning and youth projects.

The live concerts are once again complemented by a two-day free Hale Barns Carnival family event on the Saturday and Sunday (18th and 19th of July).

The daytime programme will feature more than 100 attractions including falconry displays, pop-up theatre, craft activity tent, traditional fun fair rides, supercars, makers' market, food village and bars. Daytime entry is free from 12pm until 5pm.

Organiser Max Eden from Hale Barns Events commented: "Hale Barns Carnival is back bigger and better than ever before. Due to phenomenal demand and the incredible support of the local community, we are adding an extra date making the event three days for the first time ever.

"We're incredibly excited that the incredible queen of Motown Martha Reeves; operatic sensation and local lad Russell Watson; and Seventies tartan rockers the Bay City Rollers are joining us at the Hale Barns Carnival 2020. Each concert promises something completely different to enjoy and experience first-hand.

"With a bigger concert stage and even bigger acts, we want to make this the best Hale Barns Carnival we've ever had - and I still can't believe we've got a real Motown legend coming to Hale Barns, it's just wonderful. We're also looking forward to once again inviting visitors to enjoy the daytime festival atmosphere free of charge. Come and join us for a weekend of live music and family fun - it's the Summer event you won't want to miss."

Further announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

For further information you can visit the Hale Barns Carnival website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.halebarnscarnival.co.uk
Facebook - www.facebook.com/HaleBarnsCarnival
Twitter - @HaleBarnsEvents #HBCarnival

Listing Details

Hale Barns Carnival 2020
Friday 17th July 2020 - Proms with Russell Watson
Saturday 18th July 2020 - Bay City Rollers
Sunday 19th July 2020 - Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Venue: St Ambrose Fields, Hale Road, Hale Barns, WA15 0HE

Free daytime activity on Saturday and Sunday (18th July and 19th July) from 12pm to 5pm
Evening concerts (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) - gates open 6pm / show starts 7.30pm

Weekend pass available to cover all three concerts for £75*
Solo concert tickets available at £30* per evening

Tickets can be booked online at www.halebarnscarnival.co.uk

*Subject to per ticket booking fee.

**Disclaimer - This post is written based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of publishing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Enjoy the Perfect Sweet Treats from Swizzels this Valentine's Day - A Review

After what has felt like the longest January ever, we are now finally in February, which means that I can begin to get excited about Valentine's Day. My husband and I have now been together for 18 years and we never go over the top on this special day, but instead we set a small budget of around £10 each just to get a card and a little gift for one another.

I do get a bit excited about it though, as over the years we have made it into a bit of a challenge, with the rules being that it has to be something we have never bought each other before and there has to have been a bit of thought put into the gift. This means that the usual teddies, mugs and heart covered socks that you find in every supermarket are out of the question and at the start of February we start to have a think about what we are going to buy.

I was therefore really excited to learn about the Swizzel's range of Valentine's Hampers and Gifts, that are the perfect treat for any lover of sweets. There is a fantastic range of gift ideas to choose from, all at really reasonable prices. Featuring a choice of hampers, personalised gifts, Valentine's Love Hearts and vegan friendly options too, there is definitely something to suit all tastes in this fabulous selection of Valentine's gifts.


Swizzels Matlow are well renowned in the world of sweets and are a 90+ year old family owned sweet factory. Their flagship brands include Love Hearts, Refreshers, Double Dips, Rainbow Drops and Drumsticks to name just a few. They have a whole host of gift ideas that are suitable for a range of different occasions such as Valentine's Day, Birthday's, Christmas and even Weddings. Fortunately for me, I have recently been sent two products from their Valentine's range to review and I couldn't wait to get started checking them out (and eating) some of their delicious sweetie treats.

Firstly is my favourite in the collection, which is the Personalised Love Hearts Tube. My husband and kids always make a point of the fact that we can never usually find my name on anything, with the only exception being a bingo dabber that my son spotted on Llandudno Pier once. However, thanks to Swizzels I now have something that has my name on it and I will be honest when I say I absolutely LOVE it!


This Personalised Love Hearts Tube costs £9.99 and is available here on the Swizzels website. It contains 25 mini rolls of Love Hearts, making it the perfect gift for that special someone in your life. The added benefit of there being 25 rolls is also the fact that the recipient may be willing to share them with you too.

The packaging can be personalised with a name or message, which I think stands out as a really thoughtful and unique gift. I would definitely be very happy to receive one of these on Valentine's Day and for less than £10 it won't break the bank either.


I was also sent the Swizzels Retro Red Sweet Hamper which at only £7.99 is an absolute bargain of a Valentine's gift. Featuring well known family favourites that are sure to put a smile on the recipients face, this hamper is jam packed to the brim with a 500g assortment of classic sweets that include a combination of Love Hearts, Refreshers, Drumsticks, Parma Violets, Double Dips, Double Lollies, Fizzers and Fruity Pops. Contents do vary, so quantities of various sweets may differ from the image below.


It comes beautifully presented in a bright red box, with a printed gold bow that certainly makes it looks the part. The dimensions of the hamper are approximately 25cm in width, 17cm in depth and 5.5cm in height, which as you can see from the photographs, is plenty of room to fill with these delightful sweets.

There is also a great selection of other gifts to choose from including vegan friendly and vegetarian options, large wicker hampers, personalised treats and there is even the option of building your own hamper package where you can personally select your favourite sweets.


Overall, I have been really impressed by Swizzels Valentine's Range and feel that there is a great selection to choose from, with enough to suit all tastes and budgets. The personalised gifts make a great unique present for that special someone, whilst the hampers will be well received by Swizzels sweetie lovers. I think the products offer good value for money and are nicely presented, making them the ideal Valentine's Gift this February.

If you would like to find out more about the range of products for sale, then you can visit the Swizzels website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.swizzels.com/shop/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/swizzelsmatlow/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/SwizzelsMatlow
Instagram - @swizzels_sweetswizzels_sweets

There is also a special discount code available at present and if you enter the code V15 at the online checkout then you can receive 15% off. This code is valid from the 1st February to the 14th February 2020, making it the perfect time to visit the online Swizzels store.


*Disclaimer - I was gifted the Personalised Love Hearts and the Hamper for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.