BAFTA-nominated BBC TV sitcom ‘Waiting for God’ takes to The Lowry stage.

BAFTA-nominated BBC TV sitcom
‘Waiting for God’ takes to the stage.

Waiting for God delighted TV audiences across five primetime BBC series in the 1990s. The all-new stage version is penned by the sitcom’s creator Michael Aitkens and ends its UK tour at The Lowry Mon 3 – Sat 8 July.

All the favourite characters from the original series of Waiting for God are re-imagined for 2017, starring Jeffrey Holland as Tom Ballard and Nichola McAuliffe as Diana Trent.

Facing the challenges that come with growing old disgracefully in the era of the silver surfer. Battle-axe extraordinaire Diana Trent conspires with new resident Tom Ballard to give the conniving manager his comeuppance with unexpectedly heart-warming results at Bayview Retirement Home.

When asked if he thinks social attitudes have changed since writing Waiting for God for TV Micheal Aitkens said;

“Yes, I think our views on age have changed quite dramatically in the 27 years since the series was first onscreen, When I was growing up, my parents’ generation retired at 65, put their feet up for five years and then died. But now we just keep rocking on. I have this theory that a lot of us have linked our lives to Mick Jagger’s.  So long as Mick can keep getting out there, so long as Keith doesn’t fold up, we’re okay. It’s the Jagger Syndrome: if Mick goes, a lot of us will follow the next week.

“The play is set in 2017 not the Nineties, Diana uses a laptop and there are smartphones but I think the main change is in how the audience perceives the characters. Back then, the idea that older people should think and behave like Diana and Tom may have seemed outrageous. Now they’re more of the norm and hopefully the audience will identify with that.”

The cast will also feature Joanna Bending as Sarah Chase, David Benson as Geoffrey Ballard, Peter Cadden as Dennis Sparrow, Samuel Collings as Harvey Baines and Emily Pithon as Jane Edwards as well as Corinna Marlowe and Anna Westlake.

Waiting for God is produced by James Seabright, an Olivier Award winning theatrical producer and general manager. The new stage production is directed Tony Award winning David Grindley.

Waiting for God
Date: Mon 3 – Sat 8 July
Times: 7.30pm. Wed & Sat 2.30pm.
Tickets: £28.50 – £33.50. Conc £3 off (Selected performances only)

Take That Review

Sheffield Arena – Monday 29th May 2017.  Reviewed by Mary Swithenbank Walton


This was my first live Take That gig and they didn’t disappoint.

The central stage gave an all round view of the visual displays of the stunning special effects and the boys.  Wherever you are sitting you get a good view.  The boys made full use of the whole area of the stage.  

It really was a great show, very theatrical as always.  There was so much to see and I didn’t know where to look.  The show was full of surprises throughout.  The carousel effect was stunning and magical and brought a tear to my eyes.

Although there is an advantage standing around the stage area as fans get to see Gary, Howard and Mark close up and a good view of their bottoms, however, to fully appreciate the show and effects it is better to be higher up and view from a distance.

There was a mix of songs old and new, the usual favourites. Their performance was faultless.  I’m not too keen of Gary as a blonde though!

I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprises by saying too much but if you are going to a gig you are in for a treat.  I didn’t want it to end and can’t wait to see them again. ENJOY!!




Cast announced for The View From Nowhere at Park Theatre

Random Thoughts Limited in association with Park Theatre presents
the World Premiere of


27 June – 22 July 2017


The new PARK90 season opens with the world premiere of a highly topical drama involving a scientific controversy, The View From Nowhere, presented by the same creative team behind the critically acclaimed Warehouse of Dreams at Lion and Unicorn Theatre. Written by Chuck Anderson and directed by Dan Phillips, The View From Nowhere stars Nina Toussaint-White, Mensah Bediako, Math Sams and Emma Mulkern.


Prez is a brilliant biochemist. His experiments show a leading herbicide is carcinogenic. He has an existential fight against entrenched interests on his hands – not helped by the fact that he dresses like David Bowie, and carries a chip on his shoulder as big as the sink estate he grew up on. In his heart he knows he’s right, but can he prove it?


The plot turns on the scientific fact that eight out of ten of us have minute traces of a potentially dangerous herbicide in our urine. This echoes concerns about glyphosate, an ingredient in Roundup, the leading weedkiller marketed by Monsanto, which is vital to worldwide food production. The European Commission is now considering scientific evidence on whether it is a carcinogenic agent. That decision is anticipated before the end of this year.


Nina Toussaint-White plays Rona. Best known for roles in EastEnders, Switch and Emmerdale, Nina’s stage credits include The Libertine (Theatre Royal Bath and Haymarket), The Etienne Sisters (Theatre Royal Stratford East – Nominated for Best Performance in a Musical at the UK Theatre Awards 2016) and Race (Hampstead Theatre). Other television credits include Gameface, Uncle, Holby City and Death in Paradise.


Mensah Bediako plays Prez. A veteran of the stage, his extensive theatre credits include The Bodyguard (UK tour), One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre and UK tour), Fast Cuts and Snap Shots (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Harder They Come (Barbican), Floyd Collins (Southwark Playhouse) and Tobias and the Angel (Young Vic). Television and film credits include Chasing Shadows, Mr Mzuza, Popular Unrest and The Real Kathy Hayden.


Emma Mulkern plays Sandy Jones. Theatre credits include Rough Music (Pint Sized Plays), Courting Drama (Theatre Renegade) and The Cause (ACS Random). Television credits include American Monster.


Math Sams plays Dr Tom Pennington. Theatre credits include Chimerica (Harold Pinter Theatre), Jane Eyre (Birmingham Old Rep), Being Nice (Derby Studio), Old Bag (Theatre 503), Do Worms Have Hearts? (Old Red Lion), Buried Child (Upstairs at the Gatehouse) and The Seagull (Cockpit). Television and film credits include Suicide Platoon, The Truth, Turbulence and For the Fallen


Writer and Producer Chuck Anderson has had his TV plays produced by CBS Television and MGM-TV, Hollywood. In the UK, he has authored fiction and non-fiction books. In 2014, his play, Warehouse of Dreams, about running a UNHCR camp for Syrian refugees, won enthusiastic reviews at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre.


Director Dan Phillips’ credits include the Welsh premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the new musical Something Something Lazarus at The King’s Head Theatre, The Lonely Walk Home in Manchester and April in Paris in Germany.


Set design is by May Jennifer Davies, Costume design is by Dan Street, Lighting design is by Chris Howells and the musical composer is Simon Arrowsmith.

Box office: 020 7870 6876*



Newcastle City Hall Sun 4 Feb 2018


We are delighted to announce that Erasure will return to Newcastle City Hall next year.


It’s hard to think of another songwriting partnership as golden as that of Erasure. For 32 years, without a break or break-up, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have mined a rich seam of creativity that has led to chart-conquering singles, a string of immaculate albums, a BRIT, an Ivor Novello Award and now World Be Gone, their seventeenth studio album.


It sees the duo enter their fourth decade with renewed creative charge. Instead of the heady, euphoric dance music of their 2014 album The Violet Flame, on World Be Gone the mood is thoughtful, reflective and reminiscent of 1995’s lush, experimental album Erasure.


Erasure’s buoyant grooves have often contained allusions to serious subject matter, but on their new album, World Be Gone they explicitly confront dark forces, while continuing to celebrate love’s light. ‘Lousy Sum of Nothing’ is a heartbreaking ballad for our post-truth age, with a sublime, sky-scraping chorus.


Since releasing their first single in 1985, Erasure have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. Their 30th anniversary celebrations saw them deliver a Top 10 collection of singles, a 13-disc career-spanning box set and vinyl editions of their entire back catalogue. Since then, they’ve been busier than ever. In addition to recording World Be Gone, in 2016 Vince Clarke set up his own label, Very Records, releasing 2Square, his collaboration with Paul Hartnoll, and the Reed & Caroline debut, Buchla & Singing. Andy Bell continued to explore the character of Torsten through the critically acclaimed theatrical production Torsten The Beautiful Libertine and an album of the same name. A remix album, further detailing this “polysexual semi-immortal” character was released in 2016. Bell’s solo debut album, Electric Blue, has been remastered and repackaged for release in 2017.


Erasure plays Newcastle City Hall on Sun 4 Feb 2018.  Tickets on sale Fri 2 Jun from 10am and are £43.00 and can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).


Tom Molineaux Review

Jack Studio Theatre 24 May – 3 June.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Tom Green’s new play tells the story of Tom Molineaux, who was born a slave in America. 200 years ago, fighting and beating all challengers, he won his freedom, (and a shed load of money) and travelled to England to fight. Trained in England by another ex-slave, Bill Richmond, Molineaux was soon facing the champion, Tom Cribb.

Nathan Medina is wonderful as Molineaux, full of righteous indignation and fury as he realises that the English will do anything to prevent a foreigner, and a black foreigner at that, from being their champion. The huge interest in the sport, and the money changing hands as the odds changed at the end of each round is clearly portrayed, even in this two-hander; and the brutality of bare knuckle boxing is described in eloquent, and strangely poetic detail by celebrated writer Pierce Egan – portrayed here as a charming chancer with a weakness for drink and gambling by Brendan O’Rourke. There is lots of talk of claret being spilled, and injuries that will make you wince, but no actual fighting. Instead Medina shadowboxes with artfully archaic poses and style, pirouetting and lurching around the ring in an exhaustingly physical performance. As he rants about being the best – images of legends like Ali and Frasier spring to mind.

His rise, and consequent fall into alcoholism, consumption and an early, lonely death in Ireland is punctuated by clips of modern boxers talking about their sport, heroes, and emotions after a bout. This felt a little intrusive at first, but pays off massively when they describe how it feels to lose, as Medina sits dejected in his corner.

The language is wonderfully lyrical and Green lays bare the prejudices that are still faced today, and the hypocrisy of the press and their complicit readers without preaching. Kate Bannister’s direction is crisp and ensures the focus is on the two committed actors, keeping the audience’s attention until Egan’s final guilt-ridden speech.

Full of fury and humanity, this beautifully crafted play is well worth seeing whether you love or loathe boxing. A fine tribute to an extraordinary man.

Iris Review

Marshmellow Laser Feast, The Lowry, Manchester – 26th May 2017 Reviewed by Julie Noller

I always enjoy attending productions at The Lowry, it’s a modern theatre that’s open and welcoming and the staff are always only too pleased to help. I felt privileged to have been invited to attend a special performance of Iris as part of their Week 53 celebrations. Week 53 as explained by Julia Fawcett Chief Executive of The Lowry is about showcasing art – visual art in the case of Iris. They throw open their doors and invite artists to create something imaginative in the largest theatre the Lyric.

Having spoken to the theatre and checked out Facebook and website pages, I knew the night would be going ahead after the shocking and appaling events of Monday night, I was aware that security had been increased. There is a reassuring police presence outside as well as security guards searching bags – I had emptied my Mum bag so no sticky sweetie wrappers there. There was also an abundance of staff and volunteers all ready to help anyone in need and offer a smile or joke.

The night was a celebration of the theatre, of the building, we were welcomed inside with a special wristband, programmes and badges urging us to stay curious. We were offered drinks and stood enjoying the glorious sunshine outside on the balcony that overlooks the plaza infront of the Lowry, the Salford Quays with Media city and Old Trafford close by, watching the world go by. We were encouaged to eat curious, trying a selection of adventurously styled burgers (pulled pork, halloumi and carribean). Speaking to one of the organisers of the evening, there was no way the Lowry would even dream to cancel this event but they were conscious that at only 7 minutes long they had a whole building unused and thus Tim Peaks pop up diner was welcomed in with artists including Tear and The Charlatans performing in Pier 8.

We were all called to enter the Lyric theatre and seated directly in the middle, we were a small group in terms of The Lowry audiences.The atmosphere was smokey but I assumed this was needed for the lasers. Julia Fawcett addressed us explaining week 53 objectives, praising her staff and volunteers and offering thoughts and condolences to the families and victims of Manchester Arena bombing, emotion was there for us all to see. We were then introduced to Iris creator Ersin Han Ersin from Marshmellow Laser Feast who explained they were aiming to use the arcitecture of the theatre as a stage, the auditorium as a canvas.

I had no idea what I would see, my only real experience of lasers is from attending discos in the 1990’s, would there be loud music? Would it be flashing lights? The answer is No. Iris began once the lights dimmed and the audience became so quiet,I wondered if they were all still there. I felt nervous almost as if waiting for a fairground ride, would the floor disappear and I would be rocketed skyward? No remember you’re in a theatre, nice comfy chair and the floor is still there. Music was soft and soothing reminiscent of the film close encounters of the third kind, the lasers danced across the theatre as if they were probing each person, touching each person. I know I was not the only one to raise my hand to meet the laser to touch it, witnessing my hand turning red. It struck me that Iris is encouraging us to question ourselves as much as she questions us, looking deep inside to see what we find.

My perception was that I found myself inside an adult version of a sensory room, I do have to say children will find it appealing too. The show finishes with the lights dancing around the auditorium, to me like musical notes, to my husband like a murmuration of Starlings. Then as quickly as it had started it was over, It had been relaxing to watch those red lasers.

Well done to The Lowry and I hope those audiences who get to watch Iris before their own shows enjoy their 7 minutes curiosity. I may get to witness this spectacular show again, I certainly hope so. There are other showings of Iris if you are not booked to watch a show, maybe you’re staying in Media City or shopping at The Lowry Outlet.

THE GIRLS to Tour in 2018, as London Season ends 15 July





David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers, the producers of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s new musical comedy, THE GIRLS, based on the true story, the film and the award-winning play by Tim Firth, Calendar Girls, are delighted to announce that the production will return home to Yorkshire and open at the Leeds Grand Theatre on 15 August 2018 and visit 42 theatres across the United Kingdom.

The critically acclaimed and award-winning production will complete its six-month London season at the Phoenix Theatre on Saturday 15 July 2017, and, before that, this musical comedy played sold-out seasons in Leeds and Manchester.

David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers said, “We are so proud and thrilled with this production, and we want to take it to everyone who wants to see it in the country, and at prices they can afford.”  Gary Barlow and Tim Firth added, “We are delighted with the reception our musical has received in Leeds, Manchester and now London, and are thrilled that the show will be visiting towns and cities up and down the country, so that more people can get a chance to see it and, we hope, will also fall in love with THE GIRLS.”

THE GIRLS is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies, who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands, and have to date raised almost £5million for Bloodwise.  This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary.

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth grew up in the same village in the north of England and have been friends for 25 years.  With Take That, Gary has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six times Ivor Novello Award winner.  Tim has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.

THE GIRLS is produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and The Shubert Organization.

Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will receive monies from this production.



Twitter                 @thegirlsmusical





Phoenix Theatre

110 Charing Cross Road

London WC2H 0JP

Box Office: 0844 871 7629


Ticket Prices: From £19.50


Performances: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday matinee at 2.30pm


Booking Period:  Until 15 July 2017


Running Time: 2½ hours including interval

Cast announced for Mumburger by Sarah Kosar | The Old Red Lion | 27 June – 22 July

Cast announced for Mumburger

Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ

Tuesday 27 th June – Saturday 22nd July 2017

Andrew Frame (Twelve Angry Men, UK Tour and Garrick Theatre, West End; Responsible Other, Hampstead Theatre; This House, National Theatre) and Rosie Wyatt (The Cardinal, Southwark Playhouse; Spine, Soho Theatre, winner Stage Award for Acting Excellence; One Man Two Guvnors, National Theatre) will be bringing alive Sarah Kosar’s incredible play, exploring bereavement and familial disconnection through the relationship of a father and daughter following the death of the mother. Mumburger, directed by Tommo Fowler, is a universal story with a surreal twist, inviting the audience to evaluate their individual positions on societal taboos and personal obligation

In her surreal new play about grief, parenting and alternative meat, Sarah Kosar (Spaghetti Ocean, Royal Court Live Lunch) asks how far we can be pushed by love and obligation.

Tiffany’s mum got hit by a Birdseye truck on the M25. There’s family to call and a coffin to order, but first she has to talk to her dad – and for some reason that’s the toughest thing on her to-do list. Meanwhile, an oozing paper bag on the doorstep holds a dying wish that will either bring father and daughter together, or drive them further apart.

Told through multimedia, burgers and spoken word, Mumburger explores the forms, feelings and manifestations of grief, and begs the question: how far would you go to hold onto the one you love most?

Tommo Fowler comments, As a theatrical experience, I’ve never come across anything like this play. There’s a lot I see and read that doesn’t feel like it has to be performed in a theatre, whereas there’s no other medium that can support something like Mumburger. You can smell the meat cooking, and there’s no escape from that – the audience is in exactly the same position as the characters, and the physiological response is immediate: am I repulsed, or am I hungry? And there’s nothing you can do to stop your body having that instinct. There’s so much theatre that makes you do loads of Thinking because it’s really Clever, so it’s a joy to be working on a play that just goes straight to the gut. There’s a really big challenge to theatre at the moment, which is basically: “Why should I bother doing this when I could just watch Netflix in my pants?” Sarah and I are trying to make something that demands to be experienced – something accessible and unique and, above all, entertaining.

[Sarah Kosar’s] writing is outstanding, touching on a subject that makes most people uneasy (Live Theatre UK).

West End stars grace the stage to support The National Brain Appeal

Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Ashleigh Gray to perform at

A Night For Life

Park Lane Hotel, London – Thursday 8th June 2017, 6.30pm

1 in 6 people in the UK are affected by a neurological disorder.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ashleigh Gray (Wicked The Musical), Antony Hewitt (Aladdin), Nicholas McLean (The Book of Mormon), Irvine Iqbal (Aladdin), Joelle Dyson (Dreamgirls), Lauren Chia (Aladdin), The Twin Swing, Itch + Scratch and Jon Culshaw (Dead Ringers) will be among the stage and screen stars performing at A Night For Life, an event marking the two-year anniversary of Clíodhna McCorley’s diagnosis with a brain tumour. A Night For Life follows her extraordinary story to recovery.

Ashleigh Gray comments, It’s an honour to be part of a team helping to raise both funds and awareness for The National Brain Appeal. The statistics are alarming and difficult to ignore. And having experienced first-hand the devastating effects of both stroke and dementia, it’s a privilege to be part of an Event which ultimately supports both those suffering and their families.

Antony Hewitt says, I am honoured to be a part of A Night For Life, raising money and awareness for such a great cause in order to help those in need. I’ve had friends and family who have suffered with neurological conditions and so I feel grateful for the opportunity to join together and make a real difference for a cause that has such a personal meaning to me.

ITV Sport presenter Ed Chamberlin will host the evening’s entertainment extravaganza organised by West End Producer Jimmy Jewell.

In May 2015, aged 24, actress Clíodhna McCorley was diagnosed with a brain tumour and needed major brain surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN). Following a traumatic recovery period with decisions that would affect her for the rest of her life, Clíodhna has made a brilliant recovery. One year after her diagnosis, having lost the ability to walk after her surgery, she ran the Edinburgh Half Marathon (the first time she had ever run anything) and she remains passionate about raising awareness for neurological conditions so that others, like her, have a better chance of survival.

There are over 12.5 million people with a neurological condition in the UK today. That’s more than the number of people living with cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes combined. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

A Night For Life will raise vital funds for The National Brain Appeal which fundraises for The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery – the UK’s largest dedicated neurological hospital and neuroscience centre. Money raised at A Night For Life will complete Molly’s Fund which will enable the hospital to double the size of their dedicated Brain Tumour Unit. Work is due to start at the end of June, just weeks after this important event.

Clíodhna McCorley comments I was lucky in so many ways. Due to quick diagnosis, being treated by world-class surgeons who had access to the best facilities and equipment, the brilliant aftercare by the medical staff at the NHNN and all of those who showed some small kindness to me or my family, I have come out the other side. There is not a day that goes by when I am not thankful how lucky I am to have the love and support that gave me strength and hope at a time when I had none myself. However, many are not so lucky and raising funds is crucial to helping others have the best possible outcome.

Randox Health, a global leader in healthcare diagnostics and preventative health, will be the main sponsor for the evening. Tiger Risk Insurance will be the supporting sponsor.

A Night For Life will be a night to remember.

For more information, please visit:

Websiite – Twitter – @anightforlife1 Instagram – @anightforlife Facebook – AnightForLife

Fat Friends Cast Announcement




Sam Bailey is to star alongside Jodie Prenger in the brand new stage musical Fat Friends when it bursts on to the stage with its World Premiere at Leeds Grand Theatre later this year.

Number one recording artist Sam Bailey, who rose to fame winning the tenth series of The X Factor, will join the previously announced Jodie Prenger in this original British musical. Sam takes the much-loved role of Betty, originated on screen by Alison Steadman.

I’m absolutely delighted to have been cast for the new musical of Fat Friends,” says Sam. “I loved the show when it was on ITV and I feel so honoured to be working with some very talented people – Kay Mellor and Nick Lloyd Webber in particular!! I know I am going to learn so much from working with them and I can’t wait to start rehearsals!”

Sam shot into the hearts of the nation in 2013 when the former Prison Officer won ITV’s The X Factor and reached Christmas number one with her first single, ‘Skyscraper’. She has gone on to receive public acclaim for her role as Mama Morton in the recent UK tour of Chicago.

 The award-winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator Kay Mellor; one of the UK’s most prolific writers Kay’s extensive television credits include hit series of Band of Gold, The Chase, The Syndicate, In the Club and whose stage credits include A Passionate Woman.  With original music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, Fat Friends – The Musical will open at Leeds Grand Theatre in November ahead of an extensive UK tour.

I watched every episode of The X Factor when Sam was in it” says Kay. “To me she was an ordinary woman; a mother and a wife who had the voice of an angel and a wonderfully warm personality. It was one of those rare times that I actually picked up the phone and voted. I auditioned Sam for about one minute for Fat Friends the Musical – as soon as she said my words and I looked in her eyes, I knew that she understood the character of Betty. She is an instinctive actress that will bring great depth and warmth to the character. I’m delighted to be working with her.”

Fat Friends The Musical, sees the nation’s favourite group of dieters reunited with award-winning Jodie Prenger leading the company in the role of Kelly Stevenson – further casting to be announced.

Fat Friends The Musical opens at Leeds Grand Theatre on Tuesday November 7th and runs until Saturday 2nd December


Tickets are on sale now priced from £20 to £50


Book online at or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700