Digital Switchover Starts Tomorrow

From 6am Wednesday 7th September 2011, you must to a perform a first time installation retune (sometimes Factory Reset or Shipping Condition) on your Freeview box or television set if you use the Fenton transmitter.

If you don’t perform a retune you will lose BBC2.

This is because the old multiplex 1 BBC service will be replaced by the BBCA multiplex on the old analogue BBC TWO frequency.

On Wednesday 21 September 2011 will see the second stage of switchover, which provides the final Freeview configuration, including Freeview HD for Fenton transmitter.

“ËœExtra Sensory Pasquale’ – Comes To Stoke-on-Trent

With the passing of the Summer Solstice, it is now perhaps time to tune into your psychic powers, and who better to help you than comedian Joe Pasquale.

Joe, will embark on his ESP ““ Extra Sensory Pasquale tour of the UK on 1st October 2010 taking in 33 towns and cities around the UK, the shows hits Stoke-on-Trent’s Victoria Hall on October 26th .

The ESP tour will give Joe the chance to demonstrate his developing ESP powers! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in the Chinese year of the Tiger, Joe Pasquale has been honing his psychic skills with the legendary Zen Master, The Emperor Wang, (otherwise known as Kevin Bloss) and it’s time for Joe to hit the road and open his third eye, and engage the audience in amazing experiments that will answer age old questions, like, why do we only use 28% of our brain power while the other 31% lays dormant? Why do birds suddenly appear”¦ every time you are near?

“I’ve always been quite intrigued by that sort of thing, and the way mind readers use it ““ but I really just take the mick out of it, and people love it. To be honest it’s not something I really believe in, although when I was in the Scouts we used to go around collecting jumble and we got a lava lamp and a Ouija Board from one lot. Me and my mate Kevin and some others went into a church and contacted a ghost called Colin, which was a bit spooky, but we don’t know if it was real or just somebody pushing the board around! We quickly got rid of the board and put it back in the jumble.”

EXTRA SENSORY PASQUALE is a show for all the family, even those separated at birth who have now found each other after many years and then realised they can’t stand each other!

And just to confirm the suitability of the show – here’s a quote from eminent Austrian psychic, Professor Alf Wiedersehn, “I saw Joe in TK Max – Legendary Stuff.”

Bleak House At The New Vic

I was intrigued when I heard that The New Vic planed to stage Charles Dickens classic “ËœBleak House’.

It has to be a very large project, the book is 998 page’s long with many story lines intertwined into what is a masterwork of Victorian social comment and values. Things would have to be lost to make it work in a theatre, and things have, but what’s left is what’s important to the book and Dickens keen observations shine though.

Adapted and directed by Theresa Heskins, the story revolves around the Ester Summerson (Emma Pallant) , her relationship with her wards of court, Ada Clare (Kirsty Wood) and Jack Carstone (Jack Blumenau), and her longing to discover her own background witch she has never known.

The play itself is presented in the form of a detective thriller, with Inspector Bucket (Nicholas Tizzard) firstly working on the death of a copier of legal papers, a secretive man known only as Nemo – Latin for no-one (Martin Hyder). This is complicated by the murderous shooting of one of Nemo’s customers, Tulkinghorn , a lawyer (Stephen Finegold).

With such a play, and with such a story line, it demands the cast at times to play more then one part. Hear, most of the 11 strong cast take on three or fore parts. Kirsty Wood by the second not only changes part but also gender. She not only plays Ada but also Poor Jo, a young boy street sweeper befriended by Nemo before his death. Wood is one moment the angelic Ada, the next a bedraggled street urchin, being dragged in and of costume by other members of the cast and flinging herself to her mark on the floor. Delivering lines and trying to do up buttons at the same time, you feel strangely relived for her when Poor Jo carp’s it from a dreadful infection, a true star and a real trooper.

Another great part is taken by Andrew Dennis, who’s parts include Krook and Mr. George. He is a well know face on TV, being seen in after drama Doctors and Red Cap. He plays a first class cart horse to, another trooper, and good with a sward. At one point you think he as been set fire to.

As for other members of a strong cast Morgan George plays The Lord Chancellor, Dennis Herdman plays Guppy, Dido Miles plays Lady Dreadlock and Charlotte Palmer plays Hortense.

Now for the surprise, and I’m not kidding you hear, this is a real Bleak House world. The New Vic as done it’s up most to bring you something different. There’s a rather impressive walk though promenade starting in Buckets office, with the Inspector asking for your help in the investigation up the corner, I have read the book more then once so informed him of the murderer. You move thought a schoolroom, that is lost in the adaptation, windows looking into Bleak House itself, the Nemo murder site, Krook’s room with Krooks giving you a bit stick, witch of course is given back. Then you can engage that mad old girl and her birds in a strange conversation if you so wish, its all rather good fun for everyone. Never mind Harry Potter World in Orlando, get yourself over to Bleak House World, Basford, just as good and it won’t cost you your life savings neither.

As for the outcome of the rather fine play, you come out with to things to remember. Don’t trust the French and the only people that gain anything from a long court case are the lawyers involved.

Bleak House runs at the Vic at the New Vic until 24th July and its rather very good indeed. Ticket are the normal down the earth £9.50 to £17.50. They are on to be picked up at the on site box office, ringing them up on 01782- 717962, or going to the web site www.newvictheatre.org.uk.

Longton Festival

As part of the citys on-going centenary celebrations there are a number of events taking place through out the summer.

This afternoon saw Longton take centre stage with the Longton Festival. The Strand was closed off for the afternoon and the usual traffic jam was replaced with fairground rides, market stalls and street entertainment.

A handful of vintage vehicles were on display outside the town hall. Local bands and school children were performing on the stage at the end of the Strand. The event was organised by the Longton Traders association

Councillors Abi Brown & Tom Reynolds were amongst the crowds enjoying the afternoons entertainment and sun.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Uth Rocka & Hoppa were both on display at the festival but a little disappointingly they were parked up on one of the side streets, where most of the people walking around enjoying the afternoon would miss them.

Also spread out around Longton there were representatives from Stoke-on-Trent Museums, Keep Adderley Green, various health groups, Tesco were supporting the event and promoting their free FA Tesco Skills Sessions and there were a number of charity stalls.

Tom Reynolds said, ‘the traders association have done a great job organising the event and pulling everyone together to make it happen.’

Girls Night Out At The Regent

Girls’ Night Out is a brand new production of Dave Simpson’s phenomenally successful play, touring UK venues during the summer of 2010. It plays at The Regent Theatre between Tuesday 13 & Saturday 17 July, bringing a night of fun entertainment to women of all ages during our troubled times.

It is a revival of the very successful play that toured the UK ten years ago, now in a brand new production, rewritten for our times.

Girls’ Night Out is a story of love, laughter and men in thongs, together with a great pop soundtrack that will have you dancing in the aisles. Jane is preparing for the biggest day of her life and that wouldn’t be complete without a traditional hen night with the girls. Meanwhile Tony and the boys are putting together the final touches of their make or break ladies only show. Both funny and touching, we follow the boys from rehearsals to performance, as they prepare for the forthcoming “ËœFeast of Flesh’ contest, which could turn them from has-beens to heroes overnight.

The production features a cast of talented young actors including Amanda Bellamy, Harry Capehorn, Danielle Corlass, Shirley Darroch, Rachael McGuinness, Joe Ransom, Ian Sharp, Bethany Turner, Mark Willshire and Owen Woodgate.

Theatre Review: The Hairy Bikers Big Night Out – The Regent Theatre

OK, I need to declare a conflict of interest here, I am a keen amateur cook and I love the Hairy Bikers me!

As I love cooking I thought I would give our regular reviewer a well deserved night off and do this one myself.

Si King and Dave Myers, loving known by the nation as the Hairy Bikers rode onto the Regent Theatre stage as you would expect, with the roar of 1000cc bikes.

But, the bikes that entered stage left and right were the two portly frames of the stars astride two good old Raleigh Choppers [hands up who had one!].

I must admit to feeling some apprehension before the show. I was worried how the boys would transfer their comical interaction from screen to stage. I mean, on Television you get the luxury of many takes until you feel you have got it right. On stage you get but one chance.

I needn’t have worried. The duo just simply oozed a natural, easy, laid back comedy delivery.

It was slapstick bordering on the slightly adult [like their food, most definitely naughty but nice!]. It was just damn well bloody funny!

The Hairy Bikers took the audience on a journey from their early lives through the medium of photo, video and stories told.

We learned how the guys met and how they managed to get some unsuspecting producers to sanction a pilot and eventually a series charting their adventures on a 1000 mile tour. Riding, cooking and laughing their way through.

Of course there had to be some live cooking. Two great dishes one in each half, served to two unsuspecting couples.

The highlight for me were their tales of adventure. The funniest of which were the tales of misfortune and in particular the injuries sustained by Si King.

I know it was rude to laugh, but by god, how we did.

Dave Myers proved himself to be the master of the hilarious one-liners.

The theatre was packed, the audience laughed out loud. A standing ovation from some was guaranteed.

So, if you do get the opportunity to go and see this show, do not hesitate for a single second. Just go, laugh and have some fun safe in the knowledge that the boys are funnier live than on TV.

And that takes some doing.

Here are the dates where the Bikers are performing at theatre within easy driving distance:

17th May 2010 Leicester De Montfort Hall 0116 233 3111
21st May 2010 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre 024 7652 4524
22nd May 2010 Birmingham Alexandra Theatre 0844 847 2302
23rd May 2010 Buxton Opera House 0845 127 2190
27th May 2010 Salford Lowry 0843 208 6000
28th May 2010 Salford Lowry 0843 208 6000
11th June 2010 Dudley Town Hall 01384 812 812
25th June 2010 Llandudno Venue Cymru 01492 872 000 [treat your man/woman to a romantic night by the sea!]

Tickets available at www.bigwheeltickets.com

Have a click on the Hairy Bikers website, it’s well worth a look!

Hendrix alive and playing at the Oxford!

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter

Well, okay, maybe he’s not alive, but he’s live, or his spitting image is, in the shape of a similarly talented Brummie axeman.

The nationwide act is called Are You Experienced as renowned as the best tribute to the legendary guitarist, including similar on-stage antics to those he once performed that apparently culminates in setting the guitar on fire at the end of the set.

From 8pm you’ll be able to get in the Oxford Arms to get a seat for the show, and it’ll cost you a fiver on the door, or you can reserve tickets while they last for four quid a piece by calling Ross on 07956 378428.

If you’re stuck for something to do with your evening and ever wished you had the chance to see Jimi Hendrix, you can get the closest possible thing to it in the unlikely suburb of May Bank tonight.

You will find the venue at the following address:

The Oxford Arms
Moreton Parade
May Bank
Newcastle, Staffs.
ST5 0JD

Festival a great success – thanks to a little help from my friends

Performers at the Piccadilly Circus Festival

Performers at the Piccadilly Circus Festival

By Matt Taylor

Anyone who came along to Hanley on Saturday will know that the new Festival that took place was a huge success.

Throughout the day of Piccadilly Circus, over a thousand people came along to see the various performances on stage that ranged from songs from Les Miserables to home-grown rock bands displaying their own material. And this was accompanied by the ale tent which proved very popular, as did the Hog Roast which sold out by 5 o’clock.

Why am I telling you this? Because there are many unsung heroes of Saturday afternoon, and what I’d like to do is give them the thanks they deserve. So here goes:

Personal thanks to Sarah Smith, who was responsible for signing up, and then organising the theatre groups, Jill Lawton, who manages the Unicorn for me, but who made it her mission to ensure the day was a success beyond the realm of duty, my girlfriend (sorry fiancee, slap) Laura for putting up with me being like a bear with a sore head for the last three weeks and for all her help, Charlotte and Bamf from Stoke Sounds, who were instrumental (sorry) in planning the live bands and ensuring they went to schedule on the day, Steve Degg for his wonderful presentation skills on stage as compere, not forgetting the work of the great Trent Vale Poet.

Further thanks got to all of those who helped on the day, and who performed on stage, off stage, or were involved somewhere somehow on the 4th July, it wouldn’t have happened without you:

Darren Teale (of Junction 15 video productions) for filming the event, and also working the bar when everyone else had given up.

Jo Teale for working the bar despite never having pulled a beer in her life.

Will Haywood and Holly Smith for their help with the bar, and Will for supplying drums for use by all sorts of people.

Adam Hunt, Andy, Ross Lawton for their help setting up the marquee and putting it down again at around midnight – pure dedication.

All the staff behind the bar and even customers collecting glasses inside the Unicorn! (Kate, Shaun, Sarah, Mark (nice outfit) and Will and his Mrs).

Five Towns Theatre

Ben Cardall, close up magician

Stoke Youth Musical Theatre Company

Alsager High, the Salsa in the Street teacher, Clough Hall High, the belly dancers.

Sue of Indecision, for lending us her gazebo when the rain came down in buckets.

All of the bands: The Control, Molotov Revival, The Decision, Heart of the Sun, Cock’s Entry, Mistaken for Strangers, The Black Apples and The Coach Trad Jazz Band.

Gareth Powell and Phil Wagg who did brilliant acoustic sets, plus Kenny Gilmore (Malawi pop star!) who made a guest appearance, along with Sarah Banks, a previous finalist in Stoke’s Top Talent.

DJ Hushmore AKA Lawrence Shaw

My mum, for help and support, and my brother for his tireless skills on the bar.

Titanic Brewery for supplying cooling for the beer tent, and CAMRA for supplying the cider bar.

And if there is anyone else I have forgotten, thanks, and I am sorry!