Wife After Death- Review

Hull’s Chameleon Players are back at the Northern Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) with another treat for theatre-goers with their take on the classic Wife After Death by Eric Chappell.

The production deals with the funeral of Dave Thursby, a lovable rogue actor who has a few skeletons in his cupboard which he managed to keep very well hidden until his untimely death.

Most of the action revolves around Dave’s two best friends Harvey (played with great distinction by Allister McNulty) and his wife Vi (played with great poise by Paula Branton) and the dialogue between these two is very dynamic and builds up the first impression of the recently deceased man with great composure.

Laura (played with great attitude by Kathy Smith) is the widow and she fits beautifully into the dialogue with her entrance which is a credit to her timing and the way her entrance is set up by Branton and McNulty. The ensuing conversation with her talking about her dead husband which causes a few heart flutters on stage.

The strong acting by Branton and McNulty expertly develops the other characters even before we see them and when we do they are exactly as you expect them to be.

Kevin (played with great elegance by Steve Willis) is the dead man’s long suffering agent and when he enters you know what to expect and the building-up to the point of him looking in the open coffin is superbly skilfully handled by Willis and McNulty.

Harvey is the writer who has written a lot of work for the dead man and the life and character of a writer are expertly delivered by McNulty in an outstanding performance with fantastic wit to go with it.

The character of Jane (played with wonderful presence by Joanne Gallagher) is very strong at first but is unraveled expertly on stage as the revelations which are a big part of the production keep coming.

The entrance of Kay (played with excellent conviction by Sharon Burton) changes the whole dynamic on stage with a fantastic development of Dave’s dim and distant past which nobody will see coming.

Despite all the tragedy about the death of the popular entertainer and the shocks in stall there is a wonderful sense of comedy timing about the whole thing.

Everything is beautifully ramped up just before and after the interval and you honestly wonder which way everything is going to go.

The background is changed in the 2nd half after Harvey has an idea of what he’s going to do in the near future but then comes the biggest shock of all which is a very hot brick which is superbly handled by the whole cast.

The final piece in the jigsaw also fits in extremely well with everything else that has happened and brings the whole production to a predictably unpredictable ending.

Wife After Death is on stage at NAPA on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November as well with tickets available on the door, you would be very well advised to go and enjoy this treat of a production.

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Hull FC Community Champions Launch

Super League club Hull FC have launched their Community Champions initiative at their #BeAHero day breakfast event at The Deep.

The purpose behind the initiative is to help underprivileged children turn their life around through the power of sport.

The club have set a target of raising £15,000 by the end of today and increasing that to £50,000 by the start of the 2016 Super League season in early February.

The presentation was made by Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson who revealed some frightening facts explaining: “Some of the areas of Hull are in the top 1% of deprivation in the country.

He also said: “44% of children in those areas of Hull live in poverty.”

The idea for the initiative is to give children complementary Season Pass memberships through the Hull FC Foundation, they will be picked up on match days, taken to the KC Stadium, given food and pre match entertainment, see the match and taken home afterwards.

Children aged 5 to 19 will also be given access to education and training to further help their future development.

Alan Johnson MP for Hull West and Hessle is supporting it and made an appearance at the breakfast launch and spoke about the importance of sport to help children he said: “This is a fantastic gesture from Hull FC and a worthwhile campaign that will allow us all to become Community Champions and reach out to young people in our region to give them the opportunity that otherwise would pass them by.

He also said: “I am extremely proud to be to be an ambassador for this project which will make a difference to the lives of many young people and I’m sure will leave a legacy in terms of promoting fans and players of the future and healthy and happy lives.”

Hull FC and former New Zealand international Iafeta Palea’aesina will be another ambassador for the initiative.

Another club community champion Jon Hilton gave a talk about his background and why he is also supporting the initiative with an impassioned speech which resonated with all who were present at this emotionally charged event.

FC Voices representative at the launch Lisa Jewitt said: “It’s a great initiative, FC Voices are proud to commit to this and help raise the money the club needs for it.”

The club need people to spread the word and get people and businesses to commit to this and leave a lasting legacy for the generations moving forward, people and businesses can pledge anything from £5 upwards and the club will match the donation.

The initiative will also be run in memory of former Hull FC and England youth player Bradley Parker who tragically died in a car accident earlier this month.

People can pledge by calling Ash Foster on 01482 327200 and you can find out more and pledge online at   www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hullfc

Journalism and the Monarchy- Reflection

The session about reporting on the royal family was another eye-opening and very interesting power point presentation from our newlywed lecturer and was our last teaching session of this semester.

We learnt that the nations relationship with the monarchy has totally changed since the silver jubilee in 1977 and is indeed absolutely unrecognisable from the days of the Queen’s coronation.

However it was mooted that the media seems to want to take the British people back, Canute fashion, to our more royalist past.

We were made aware that at least a quarter of Brit’s believe we would be better off without the royal family, more than 50% want an end to its state funding and 2/3rd want the royal household opened up to more scrutiny.

Apparently media now reports on members of various royal families in much the same way as it reports on celebrities.

It was asked whether journalist’s celebrate or just report on royal events like the jubilee, a royal wedding or a royal birth which threw up some interesting discussion about what would be expected of us in that situation.

It was somewhat expected when we were told that there are strict rules and regulations when it comes to reporting about the royal family and that they have PR Officials who oversee the families media activities and that someone like BBC Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell spends time nurturing professional relationships with press officers.

A royal rota allows a small group of journalists to follow the public engagements of Queen Elizabeth 2nd, the Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry ‘Close Up’ reporting for TV, Radio, Print and Online on a pool basis.

Almost all TV footage of the Queen is filmed on behalf of the main UK broadcasters by a palace appointed camera person. You can request interviews but they don’t usually do them they normally do documentaries.

There are two press offices, the one at Buckingham Palace represents the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal.

The Clarence House/St. James’ Palace press office represents the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Finally we learnt that if we’re ever researching a royal story we should start with the websites of the royal press offices where most questions will probably be answered.

Fracked Off- Review

New Hull- based theatre company Radio Faces treated Kardomah 94 to the first showing of their new confrontational comedy Fracked Off on Saturday night.

The production, which is explained with the title, is a genuinely funny romp in the countryside showing off truly quality writing with bags of character and hysterical laughter along the way.

With great dialogue from writers Mark Bones and Mike Foston the story moves at a very good pace and the relationships between the four main characters Tonto (Jack Holt) Panda (Luke Gillingham) Annabelle (Sarah Hicks) and Janice (Tiolina Puteh) are clearly defined and draw the audience into the world of the anti-fracking urban warriors and the ladies who have a clear interest in the field where the protest is happening.

Throw in a slimy newspaper reporter called Flip Greasley and an angry farmer who is the father of Janice and you have the perfect concoction for a delectably riotous comedy which will capture the heart of all who see it.

The playing out of the would-be relationship of Tonto and Janice is quite heartwarming and the efforts of Panda to try and get fresh with fire-brand Annabelle provide a beautiful balance to the story and definitely keep you guessing about what’s going to happen next right the way through.

The scenes which show when trouble could erupt with police and TV cameras supposedly in the area are handled quite expertly by the actors, and the Jack-the-lad approach of Panda and the great attitude of Annabelle make great comedy look like almost effortless normality.

The show will now move on to the studio theatre at Hull Truck on 6th and 7th April 2016 for its next outing and there is talk of a possible tour of the East Riding to take this production to some of the places where fracking is still an issue, it’s a chance that anybody would be well-advised to take to see it.

 

A Little Jaunt West to East- Day 2

We set off in very good spirits on Sunday morning, excitement about getting home later in the day obviously mixed with the familiar excitement that we all get on match day anyway.

Start day 2

After a while walking on the Trans Penine Trail we could see the Humber Bridge in the distance, seeing our first glimpse of home seemed to increase our pace despite our inevitable tiredness.

This time we were accompanied by sheep on the trail and, although there wasn’t as much as the previous day with the cows, there was still a significant amount of the smelly stuff for us to dodge round while keeping up our tremendous pace.

Finally we reached Brough and were only too happy to leave the trail behind for a while and walk on a harder surface which made the walking so much easier.

Thankfully during the early morning the weather was a little bit cooler than it had been the day before but it didn’t last terribly long and we were soon taking fluids on board to cool down.

You remember I said early in part 1 that carrying your supplies in a rucksack on your back could make you ache, well it also causes you to sweat down your back a lot too but I decided to keep my tee shirt on because I know I’m still a bit too fat to show my torso in public although I am getting into better shape at the gym now so maybe next year 😉

We kept walking at a very good pace and we were soon through Melton and then most of the team decided they needed to check the plumbing at a garage so we were delayed for about half an hour because said garage only had 1 toilet so they all had to take it in turns.

We went through North Ferriby, which needs saving, at a good rate of knots and Alison’s sister met us and brought supplies of Haribo Starmix and bottles of water which were soon, very gratefully, snapped up.

We reached Home Farm at Hessle much earlier than had been anticipated so this gave us time to have a very nice and very welcome long break to go to the toilet and have food and drink.

Whilst we were there Darren and Jodee turned up in the minibus and said we needed to not walk so fast because they were falling behind because of a problem with packing away one of the tents.

Being only 5 miles from where we needed to be we were in the mood to take it a little bit easier but we also wanted to finish quite soon and have plenty of time to recover before the match.

Having stopped at The Fiveways pub we then started again and next stopped at The Three Tuns on Boothferry Road and received some donations in the buckets that were being carried.

Bucket pub crawl

As our bucket collection carried on to Silver Cod, The Three Crowns and the Albert Hotel we were chased down Anlaby Road by two Castleford fans so they could put money in the bucket for us, showing the true colours of all genuine rugby league fans as they did so.

Eventually I had to leave my fellow walkers in the Albert Hotel and head to the media suite at the KC Stadium to get logged on the WiFi ready to write my match report.

As I had promised I met the rest of them for a photo opportunity outside the main reception at the stadium as we finally basked in the glow of the summer sunshine and our achievement.

At the stadium at last

The fun and games didn’t finish there for us though, I made my way painfully to the press box at the very top of the West Stand and started reporting on the Super League game Hull FC v Castleford Tigers but had to be down at the North West corner of the stadium just before half time.

In that corner I saw Tom Lineham denied what looked like a legitimate try and the lads trudged off trailing 6-14 at half time, then came our moment as we were introduced to the crowd and the picture of us outside Castleford Tigers home ground the day before was flashed up on the scoreboard as we started our lap of honour.

Lap of Honour

As we walked around the stadium we had Hull FC and Castleford Tigers fans applauding us, shaking our hands and hugging us and even giving us a standing ovation showing us how much this remarkable band of people had achieved since the day before, making the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

To complete a perfect day my beloved Hull FC came back and secured a stunning 21-18 victory in quite dramatic style.

I’m never going to forget this challenge and, indeed, look forward to doing it all over again hopefully next year. The friendships that have been built during this weekend will, I’m sure, last for a lifetime.

I am proud to say I did this and even prouder to say that everybody involved in this genuine adventure are all very good friends, the once in a lifetime kind of people.

A Little Jaunt West to East- Day 1

I wasn’t in a very good mood on Saturday 11 July 2015 because I had to get up at 5.00 in the morning and I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, but get up I did with a feeling of a bit of excitement and a bit of tension about what was coming.

Alison Gardner arrived at my flat at 5.30, I’d had breakfast before she got here, and when it got to 6 o clock we set off to the Holiday Inn on the marina which was where we were being picked up at 6.15, carrying plenty of food including chocolate, fruit, breakfast bars and, most importantly, jam sandwiches.

Being stocked up is always a good idea but it can’t half make your neck and shoulders ache carrying loads of food and drink and other stuff in a rucksack on your back.

The minibus was actually early, Darren Palmer picked us up at 6.10, and we went to several other places to pick up fellow walkers, eventually we turned up opposite Darley’s pub to pick up Lisa Jewitt early, and then Darren realised we had missed picking up two other walkers so we dashed off to get them and then came back to find Lisa waiting.

An hour later we were in Castleford outside the Mend A Hose Jungle, home of Castleford Tigers, ready to start our trek back to Hull and the game between our team Hull FC and Castleford Tigers in the Super League.

Start

We set off just after 8 o clock in the morning in bullish mood wondering what the weekend might bring, rugby league was obviously going to be a major talking point but so were practicalities like toilet breaks and eating and drinking.

It depends which way you look at it but it seemed a blessing at first that the sun was out and we were nice and warm and dry and that seemed to lift the already excited mood although maybe not quite as much as the best pair of walking shoes ever seen in Yorkshire.

Footwear

We set a really good pace and were soon walking through places slightly earlier than expected then we had a well earned mini-break in Selby and I was thankfully able to eat and take my medication for my type 2 Diabetes, there was also another photo opportunity.

Selby

After Selby we kept up a punishing speed as thoughts turned to lunchtime and there was a genuine desire to reach a nice country pub so we could sit down, relax and cool off in the shade out of the scorching heat which was by now starting to affect us quite a bit.

Fortunately we found the Fox and Pheasant which is a lovely, traditional country pub and had plenty of ice to put in the drinks, the landlord was obviously very pleased to see a party of 11 charity walkers come in on a Saturday afternoon when there was only one local in at the time.

Fox and Pheasant

A toilet break and a couple of drinks, and nearly toasted jam sandwiches, later and we were ready to carry on walking in the incredible heat and humidity which had dehydrated us in the morning.

Following the Trans Penine Trail is a definite challenge, especially when there’s cows and a bull where you’re walking along the bank of the River Ouse and, of course, they don’t exactly have to aim in anywhere particular when they go to toilet, we were trying to dodge round piles of it for a rather long, uncomfortable distance.

Eventually we got within about 7 miles of the campsite at Newport where we were due to stay that night and left the cows and bulls behind, and the muck, and we had a short break along with Darren and Jodee Sylvester who had come out in the minibus and told us that they had erected our tents and said what a lovely campsite it was.

After a bit more food and drink we set off in confident mood knowing we were coming towards the end of our trek on day 1 and soon came across a sign welcoming us to the historic East Riding of Yorkshire.

Crossing the Border

After completing 30 miles on foot we found we couldn’t walk any further due to a lack of a pavement to walk on and we weren’t going to take any chances on a fast road where cars were travelling easily in excess of 50 or 60 MPH so Darren and Jodee came back out in the minibus to pick us up and take us the last 3 miles to the campsite.

While waiting for the minibus Lisa rang a pub in Newport called The Jolly Sailor and booked us a table for a meal that evening.

On arriving at the campsite we were given a round of applause and a collection soon appeared which the campers had taken for the charity, Life For A Kid, who we were doing this challenge for.

Some of the walkers cracked open cans of lager and Phil Newsom became our official entertainer as he belted out several tunes as he played them on his iPad.

After a shower and a rest we were all ready to go to the Jolly Sailor for the meal we had booked for 8.30, disappointment didn’t really do our feelings justice.

Getting there at 8.10 they weren’t ready for us so we said we would wait in the bar and have a drink, at about 8.45 they came into the bar and took our orders for what we wanted to eat, I ordered a Cumberland Sausage in a giant Yorkshire Pudding with peas, mash and gravy.

About 9 o clock we were told our table was ready and we could go through to the restaurant so through we went.

We were then waiting what seemed a long time so first Lisa and then Jodee went and spoke to them as we grew hungrier and more impatient and I worried because I was breaking out in a cold sweat and my Diabetes was starting to take effect making me feel quite feint.

The response of one of the staff to Jodee telling him we had walked 30 miles that day and were very hungry as a result beggared belief as he replied “Why would they walk that far in one day?”

To say we were disgusted at hearing this is something of an understatement but finally, after waiting more than half an hour we got served with our meals.

To say I was disappointed with the meal itself is also a rather big understatement, it was a cheap frozen Yorkshire Pudding, the type that you can get three for £1 from Asda, as opposed to the home cooked ones that the pub advertised, there were also 3 small frozen sausages that had obviously just been stuck under a grill for a few minutes, instant Smash rather than the proper homemade mash from proper potatoes that they advertised and a tin of peas with a bit of gravy.

Unfortunately by this point I had no option but to eat it because I was so hungry I was feeling sick and, as I’m sure everybody is aware, hunger and Diabetes isn’t a good combination.

After a thoroughly deflating evening we went back to the campsite and collapsed into bed, although I must say that trying to sleep on the floor in a tent isn’t the most comfortable way of spending a night although I did get more sleep than the previous night as sheer exhaustion took over.

End of Day 1

Hull FC 10 St. Helens 17, Champions Show Resolve and Grit to Secure League Points

Another emotional evening graced the KC Stadium as Hull FC and reigning Super League champions St. Helens battled it out for two vital points in the race for the top 8 but, once again, the whole evening belonged to the legacy left by the great Steve Prescott MBE who represented both these sides in a glittering career.

The game was given a fitting start as Steve’s sons brought the Steve Prescott Cup on the pitch and received a standing ovation from everybody present.

The first territorial advantage went to the champions as Kirk Yeaman knocked on inside his own half but Hull’s scrambling defence held them at bay after the ensuing scrum.

The game soon developed into an arm wrestle as both sides went to and fro from end to end but with no real breakthrough coming despite the free-flowing nature of the proceedings.

The first try came in the 20th minute after the home side made a hash of clearing up a rushed kick and former Hull player Shannon McDonnell pounced to cross, the conversion from Lewis Charnock gave the visitors a 0-6 lead.

A mistake by Jordan Rankin dropping the ball under no pressure 15 meters from his own line gave Saints a scrum and chance to attack which led to a harsh penalty which was kicked by Charnock in the 25th minute to give them a two score lead.

After that another dropped ball, this time by Fetuli Talanoa gave the visitors another scrum on the Hull line but a dropped ball by them eventually gave possession back to the black and white’s.

However Hull seemed to be on a mission to give Saints as much possession as possible when Yeaman again knocked on in his own half.

Once again after some fractious play the early arm wrestle developed again until a penalty to the home side led to some sustained pressure and former Saints man Leon Pryce eventually went through a big gap in the champions defence to bring his side back into the game, Marc Sneyd added the conversion to bring the score back to 6-8 in the 37th minute.

An early mistake in the second half by Hull led to some sustained pressure on their line but again the defence was very well organised and withstood two sets without conceding.

Eventually a high tackle from the home side led to a penalty and, uncharacteristically, Saints went for the kick and Charnock duly obliged to make it 6-10 in the 45th minute.

A penalty to Hull gave them some pressure on the Saints line, this was immediately followed by a scrum on the 10 meter line as Saints knocked on but despite sustained pressure the champions held firm until another knock on gave them a relieving scrum and chance to get away from their line.

Another penalty to the champions was spurned as Charnock slipped as he pulled the trigger and hooked the ball badly.

Eventually in the 57th minute some more pressure pushed the visitors defence too far and teenager Jordan Abdull forced his way over in the left corner, Sneyd missed the touchline conversion to leave the scores level as the game headed into the final quarter.

Hull were starting to take control and started throwing the ball around like in the previous two weeks and were asking plenty of questions of the visitors defence.

However a rare attack by the Saints saw a try scored by Tommy Makinson to regain the lead for them in the 62nd minute, the winger then added the touchline conversion to stretch the lead to 10-16.

Once again the arm wrestle took hold of the game again as it moved into the final 10 minutes until another Hull attack led to a try claim which was harshly disallowed by referee Matt Thomason.

Shortly after that moment another Hull ensued as they were given a penalty on the Saints 10 meter line but an organised defence held them out until another knock on by Talanoa relieved the pressure with little over five minutes to go.

After a shocking decision by referee Thomason not to give a scrum after a clear knock on by St. Helens they went straight down-field and former Hull player Jordan Turner secured the points with a drop goal in the 80th minute.

Penalties Hull 5 St. Helens 4

Goal Line Drop Outs Hull 1 St. Helens 0

Man of the Match Mark Minichiello

Attendance 10,320