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.

 

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

What is different about Hull FC in 2015

The 150th anniversary of Hull FC does put added pressure on the players because it puts an extra spotlight on the club as a whole, but particularly on its main representatives on the pitch.

Added to the celebrations of their landmark year the away shirt now carries the name of a true Hull FC and Rugby League legend, which will see them expected to perform with the same drive and ambition as Steve Prescott did both in his time in the game and in his incredible fundraising efforts.

What the double header at Doncaster told us was that the future of the club is looking very bright. In 2014 we became aware of young talents such as Callum Lancaster, Jack Logan, Jordan Abdull and Harry Tyson-Wilson. Yesterday Jordan Abdull took centre stage as he swaggered around the pitch like he owned it.

However other players also announced themselves to the watching public. Curtis Naughton made people very aware of his talent with a two try display which, with his goalkicking, saw him produce a 16 point haul on his debut. Callum Smith on the right wing also had an effect as he scored a smart try against very difficult opposition.

It was also noted in the first game that the already supremely powerful Feka Paleaaesina has bulked up even more and now has a turn of pace that belighs his size and age whilst he has lost none of his power and aggression.

Jansin Turgut is a born leader, he displayed this by ordering the more senior players like Paleaaesina, Watts and Green around with real confidence and purpose and all bought into what he was saying, he is clearly a future Hull FC captain.

In the second game the clear difference is that Hull now have a genuinely frightening attack. Setaimata Sa, who arrived half way through last season, is clearly bigger and stronger and has all the silky handling skills of a major ball playing centre.

New half backs Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd also clearly possess sublime ball handling skills and Sneyd also has the sort of kicking game that should have the Old Faithful purring in the season to come.

Tom Lineham looks a much leaner, fitter and meaner proposition and Jamie Shaul is no longer the slightly built lad at the back as he looks to have added some size and yet is still lightning fast and he has added some skill to his game when going forward, as evidenced with his third try when he produced a delightful little deft chip over one defender and then beat his opposite number to the ball to dive over.

Names to look out for making a breakthrough in this anniversary year are, Jansin Turgut, Bobby Tyson-Wilson and Curtis Naughton.

Enhancing photos on Photoshop

1509678_10203180232082465_1592363539315862226_nI took this photo at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate but because this photo was taken on my phone it wasn’t the greatest quality and the colour of the main subject, the poppies, wasn’t as bright and vibrant as I was aiming for. As shown in the screen shot I changed the vibrancy by increasing the colour so that the poppies stand out more and the colour is more realistic and eye catching.screen shot 1More vibrant poppies1