admin

3394 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

WHEN 26-year-old twin sisters Ellen and Alex Murphy began designing logos for friends and family ventures, little did they imagine that within two years they would have left their full time jobs and be partners in a thriving business. 

Both qualified with a degree in fashion and design in 2018, and quickly gained employment as designers in fashion by day and helping friends and family with logos and branding during  evenings and weekends. 

The Logo Page was set up in 2019 and the power of social media along with word of mouth and recommendations from previous clients saw enquiries and instructions soar.   A branding and design company, offering cost-effective brand identity design services from start-up entrepreneurs and independents to larger companies looking to refresh their brand.

With a burgeoning order book, Ellen was the first of the sisters to take the leap into working full time on The Logo Page in 2020 just before the first lockdown was announced, and was swiftly followed by Alex who was made redundant and saw it as a fantastic opportunity to focus on the business full time with her sister. 

Despite the initial confusion and uncertainty the pandemic brought about a whole breed of new micro businesses and entrepreneurs and Alex and Ellen were soon working 16 hour days, seven days a week to complete design requests as new businesses launched and other businesses re-focussed to accommodate pandemic restrictions

By April this year the twins, who share an apartment in Crosby, had outgrown their home office and taken the leap of finding and designing the perfect studio for them to continue to grow the business.  

Painting it themselves and upcycling as much as possible The Logo Page is now settled in the perfect creative and inspiring space which represents the business and the brand.

The Logo page quickly grew it’s presence on Instagram and currently has in excess of 11.5k followers, they have worked with more than 250 businesses locally and nationally as well as working with entrepreneurs and businesses in America, Australia and Europe.

Alex said: “Running a business with my sister is easy as we both get on so well and we are both creative people, constantly bouncing ideas around.  We have a shared vision for the future and as we grow the business, we will adapt our roles accordingly.”

Ellen added: “Great feedback from clients telling us they have increased sales and social media followings since their rebrand is incredibly satisfying for us and makes the long hours worthwhile.”

With exciting projects in the pipeline the future is a very bright one for The Logo Page and taking a leap of faith into running their own business during an uncertain economic climate was definitely the right decision at the right time for the fast growing design duo.

A NEW cocktail and sports bar has opened at The Royal Albert Dock.

The Long Shot promises to be ‘the place to go’ for live sporting events, innovative cocktails, craft beers and ‘monster’ sandwiches. 

 

Founded by Simon Thompson, owner of Present Company bar on School Lane and previously at acclaimed cocktail bar, Callooh Callay in Shoreditch, the 200+ capacity venue is set over two levels, with a large feature staircase leading to an upper mezzanine floor, and outdoor space with tables accommodating up to 48 people. 

 

Visitors can watch sports as they happen on 13 giant screens, or enjoy a game of pool upstairs where there’s also a pinball machine and juke box quiz machine for those who love to play as well as watch. 

 

Simon and his team are offering signature cocktails, a variety of beers on tap, and lesser known craft beers. Cocktails range from their take on the classic Old Fashioned with Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniel’s Apple, maple syrup and bitters, to the bar’s signature The Long Shot cocktail; a mix of Jameson Black Barrel, apricot and black tea soda. 

ORIGINALLY conceived as a series of individual pieces for an online social media project, 12 –The Rainbow Monologues is made up of a dozen of these, developed for performance in talking-heads style from the stage.

The collection brings together the work of six writers, Wes Williams, Tim Norman, Simon James, Seb Fontaine, Jay Jonsonn and Jack Bell, who have found a rich and varied range of angles to view LGBTQ+ experiences. The palette of colours they use to paint their words is indeed quite a rainbow in itself. A cast of 5 actors (Holly Murphy, Alan Harbottle, Pam Ashton, Terence Conchie and Taylor Illingworth) take turns to deliver the words in a variety of styles, under the overall direction of Dan Scott.

Some of the tales are told with wit, some with pain and passion and some with poetic reflection. One takes a whistle stop trip through the life of Alexander McQueen, another riffs around an imagined back-story to Romeo and Juliet, and a third, containing liquorice allsorts, calls to mind the style of Victoria Wood’s storytelling.

A government minister exhibits unsurprising double standards in comparing his own indiscretions with those of his wife, while a young man delivers a beautiful elegy to Fortune and Men’s Eyes.

The success of this show lies in two things – the quality of the writing and performance of the individual pieces, and the ebb and flow of emotion between them. Harsh reality one moment is juxtaposed with light-hearted comedy the next. This assembly of very different texts offers light and shade, stark monochrome and dazzling colour, and creates a tapestry that illustrates a broader picture of queer experience than any individual story could show.

In the final analysis, what 12 – The Rainbow Monologues demonstrates above all is the shared humanity that binds us together.

Review by Nigel Smith

A NEW nightclub opens on July 23 promising to bring international DJs to a unique setting. Alibi is opening in Harrington Street in the city centre, close to Victoria Street and Castle Street.

Alibi boasts a state-of-the-art Bose sound system and a custom lighting setup that owners say will give clubbers a unique experience in the city. The music policy will also be a lot more serious than most of the competition and guest DJs already booked include Weiss, Sidney Charles, KC Lights, Leftwing & Kody, Flashmob amongst others.

The club will also feature 12 booths, a stage area and a second more relaxed room. Resident DJ, Rob Cain said: “I am made up to be playing at a new nightclub that will be driven by a serious club music policy. I can honestly say in over 20 years of working in nightclubs I have never seen anything as impressive as this in a basement club. It really needs to be seen and most importantly heard to be believed.”

The club has created more than 40 jobs in the city.

Daniel Cassidy and Mary Savage in 12x8 – photo © David Munn

TRAPPED is a double bill of two short plays by Oliver Back, each of which is a two-hander. The bulk of the show is occupied by 12×8, followed after a brief pause by its much shorter companion, String.

12×8 is set, as the title suggests, in the confines of a small bedsit, occupied by brother and sister Tom and Sally, played here by Daniel Cassidy and Mary Savage. As the play opens Tom is concentrating on a large mud castle that he’s building on the table, immediately calling to mind Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters. This visual cue sets an uneasy atmosphere for a story that reveals increasing layers of the supernatural as it progresses.

It’s soon clear that the pair have been mourning the loss of their mother. What’s more mysterious is the reason that Sally is so insistent that Tom remain within the confines of the flat. When she discovers he has been out to get the mud for his project (taken it seems from the mother’s grave) she becomes increasingly concerned that someone might have seen him.

Moments of anxiety for Tom trigger episodes of mental activity for him that appear to make the room shake, accompanied by threatening sound effects. The lights flicker and the kettle blows a fuse, but that doesn’t stop Sally making the tea, because Tom’s condition is clearly able to make more than his blood boil. Whatever it is that sets this pair apart from the world isn’t just Tom’s domain though, and as we reach the climax of the piece we see that Sally too has more than the usual mind-power.

The stage is cleared of scenery and we are taken by the soundtrack into a semi-derelict building, by the dripping of water and the squeaks of vermin. Liam Powell-Berry enters from the rear of the auditorium, his confident stride and sharp suit, as much as his insistent shouts, telling us that he’s a property developer. He has come looking to meet with the building’s owner, but they are nowhere to be found. The arrival of Thomas Galashan’s eccentric caretaker sheds little light on the owner’s whereabouts, but we begin to get our suspicions. The caretaker seems to have more care for what the building has been rather than what it might become, and as he swills whiskey from a bottle that he carries in a birdcage, any hopes that the property developer may have of leaving with his dignity (or anything else for that matter) unscathed dwindle fast. And what does the caretaker intend to do with that yo-yo in his pocket?

Galashan has a plum of a character to play here and gives it some serious welly, obviously relishing the short but tightly written part. Powell-Berry is left to dissemble rapidly from swagger to supplication as things spiral into territory he really hadn’t bargained for.

Naughty Corner Productions and Silent Gutter have joined forces to stage this pair of works, and bring a familiar surrealism to them both. The temperature of the two pieces is very different, but they share an offbeat quirkiness, and both take wry fun in unnerving their audience. Directing 12×8, Emma Turner succeeds in building tension gradually over something just short of an hour. Mike Dickinson follows this by putting his foot on the craziness pedal to turn the emotional screw more tightly in the bare 20 minutes of String.

Trapped may not answer any questions except that of how long is a piece of string, but it certainly leaves the audience with a head full of new things to ask themselves.

Review by Nigel Smith

UNDER the Mask is an installation work co-produced by Tamasha Theatre Company and Oxford Playhouse, and it is in Liverpool this week as part of a short tour of theatres in England and Wales.

A small audience is seated in an array of seats dotted about on an otherwise empty stage. Everyone seems to be looking towards at least one other person. We are all instructed in correct wearing of the headphones provided and, disconcertingly, offered a box of tissues.

The lights go down and the play begins. The six-strong cast are not with us in the building – under the direction of Sita Thomas, they have been recorded in what most closely resembles a radio play, presented in binaural audio via the headphones. This is accompanied by a shifting pattern of lighting which follows the narrative, with our only other visual cues being the reactions of the masked faces of other audience members surrounding us.

Author Shaan Sahota is a junior doctor, who was plunged into the realities of dealing with the Covid pandemic very early in her career. The play follows Jaskaran, a newly qualified doctor, whose training, like those of so many junior doctors last year, was brought to an early end to enable her to be deployed in a Covid Intensive Care Unit. The 55 minute span of the piece attempts to immerse us in the experience just as she is immersed in this abrupt baptism of fire that begins her medical career.

To a backdrop of sounds recorded in actual Covid wards, the text highlights a catalogue of challenges, from being told that the training will come tomorrow, to stark warnings about wasting the valuable and scarce PPE that they must all don and doff every time they enter and leave the ward. There is a sense of urgency and panic, mixed with feelings of hopelessness at scaling a seemingly insurmountable peak. What comes across most strongly is the miasma of fear, in which a patient can be heard demanding a white doctor one moment and then wheezing his last breath just hours later.

Around and about there is a knowing nodding and shaking of heads, a couple of masks surmounted by closed eyes, and one critic (not this one) scribbling madly in a notebook. Nobody reaches for the tissues.

Under the Mask is an urgent, powerful piece of testimony written and delivered with tremendous conviction, but occasionally it lacks sufficient clarity to drive its impact home fully. To some extent the presence of a mute audience around us and the play of the stage lights over our heads distract from the finely crafted audio experience, and prevent us from forming a clear mental picture to accompany what we are listening to. Closing the eyes feels like cheating, but possibly the work might be better experienced in solitude, in a darkened room.

After 3 days of performances here at Liverpool Playhouse, Under the Mask continues its tour at Oxford Playhouse and Rose Theatre Kingston.

Star Rating: 3 Stars

Review by Nigel Smith

LIVERPOOL Chamber has announced plans for a unique awards event to take place later this year. 

The Innovation in Business Awards will be held on Thursday 18 November at the new Innside by Melia hotel in Liverpool city centre and a ‘Green Room’ experience will also allow guest businesses to share the experience live with their wider teams at a separate venue. 

The awards are designed to celebrate the spirit of innovation that has driven the recovery of many local businesses during the pandemic. Within each category, there will be a traditional award to an outstanding business in the field alongside a special award for an innovator that has confronted and overcome the challenges of the past 18 months. 

Each category will recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution in areas such as Skills and Employability, International, Environmental and Responsible Business, while there will also be awards for Young Person and Local Hero. The winners of each prize will then be put forward as Liverpool Chamber’s nominees for the national Chamber Business Awards. 

Two special prizes will also be presented on behalf of the Merseyside Independent Business (MIB) Awards, organised by Morecrofts Solicitors, which have not been able to take place in 2020 or 2021. One MIB Award will be presented to a firm with more than 30 employees and another will be awarded to a firm with fewer than 30. 

Paul Cherpeau, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber, said: “We are absolutely delighted at the prospect of the Chamber Awards returning this year. Lots of businesses still face multiple challenges as we move forward, but this does feel like the beginning of a return to some kind of normality and I think we all need to feel that positive energy right now.  

“Innovation really is at the heart of this year’s awards, not only in the awarding of separate prizes for innovation in each category, but also in the delivery of the event experience for guests. We’re also pleased to work with one of our strategic partners, Morecrofts, to deliver a cameo appearance from the MIB Awards and specifically honour the homegrown businesses that are the lifeblood of our local economy. 

“The hybrid model of a traditional event in an incredible new setting combined with remote streaming means we can maximise the safety of our guests and also allow many more team members to socialise with their colleagues, network and support their organisation on the night. It will be fantastic to see so many of our members and some new faces at the event. 

“Clearly, all aspects of this event are subject to the lifting of current Covid-19 restrictions but at all times we are committed to delivering an event which makes our guests feel comfortable and protected and we believe this format offers freedom to choose their level of participation without compromise.” 

Alison Lobb, managing partner at Morecrofts Solicitors and chair of the policy committee at Liverpool Chamber, said: “We founded the MIB Awards to celebrate independent businesses and showcase their enduring impact on the regional economy. It has become such a popular event and we were incredibly disappointed, along with our wonderful MIB family, to have to cancel it in 2020 and 2021.  

“It’s really exciting to make a guest appearance at this year’s Innovation in Business Awards and we are grateful to the Chamber for giving us this platform. We cannot wait to once again recognise local independent businesses that have continued to pursue their ambitions in very difficult times and joining fellow Chamber members for what should be a great evening.”  

The ‘Green Room’ element of the occasion will be held at Dwntwn in nearby Harrington Street and all guests from both venues will be invited to its larger, adjacent venue Alibi for an aftershow party, with complimentary guest travel from the main awards event and welcome drinks receptions at all venues. 

Clatterbridge Cancer Charity and Everton in the Community are the Chamber’s official charity partners and there will be fundraising activities on behalf of both charities during the evening. 

Any organisation or individual wishing to make a nomination for the awards should visit www.liverpoolchamber.org.uk. A final shortlist of candidates will be put to a public vote which will account for 50% of the final decision alongside an independent judging panel.  

AS theatres reopen their doors whilst still working under a variety of lockdown-lite restrictions, it’s a balancing act between restoring an air of normality whilst maintaining the safety of cast and crew and making audiences feel confident. Whilst this can be frustrating for writers, producers and performers, it can also be an opportunity to explore the concept of less being more.

Gerry Linford’s new bittersweet situation comedy, Ellen & Rigby, takes the Royal Court’s tried and tested formula of risqué humour with a local flavour, and condenses it into a rich two-hander for perennial favourites Lindzi Germain and Andrew Schofield.

Ellen is a died-in-the-wool optimist with a zest for life, but she’s unlucky in love and has some deeper emotional scars too, that she tries to forget by volunteering at her local vaccination centre. At least it serves to feed her addiction for being around people. Joe Rigby is the chalk to her cheese. A former promising wannabe pop star, who missed all his best opportunities out of loyalty to his mates, and now he’s turned his back on the world and spends his days surrounded by houseplants, with his nose in his collection of comics.

Rigby walks into Ellen’s clinic one stormy day for his first shot of Astra Zeneca, and the lightning flashes outside make him more than usually nervous of the needle. As she helps him back to his house, conveniently opposite her own, she sees the stars aligning and comes up with a desperate plan to fill the void in her love life. 12 weeks living with Ellen wasn’t Rigby’s first choice of how to spend the time before his second vaccine dose, but choice doesn’t seem to be on the menu, and this odd couple hunker down for the long lockdown haul together. Will cupid’s arrow find its target, or will this turn into a remake of Misery?

Presented with a cast of just two players to work with, Linford has employed a cunning narrative device. Much as Shirley Valentine had her wall, Linford gives Rigby his beloved houseplant collection to talk to, while Ellen unburdens her hopes and fears to George Clooney – or, at least, a lifesize cardboard cutout of him inside a cupboard door. This gives both characters unlimited opportunity to soliloquise, and often to hilarious effect.

One area where the Court really haven’t scaled down at all on this production is stage design. Alfie Heywood has created two huge naturalistic sets for the clinic and Rigby’s house, and set decoration is wonderfully detailed. Meanwhile, a soundtrack made up of mostly ‘80s music immerses us in the world of the pair’s heyday. There are also several opportunities for both actors to show off their vocal prowess, and for Schofield to dust down his guitars.

There is a good reason why this pair of performers is so beloved of audiences at the Royal Court, and why they both get such a rousing ovation when they first appear onstage. There is a great chemistry between them, and they are both masters of comedy. Germain has boundless energy and delivers her lines like a truck delivering coal – there is no stopping the flow of words. Schofield, meanwhile, is the perfect foil to this with his brilliant physical performance. He can use anything from the tiniest glance to his entire body to reduce an audience to laughter.

Linford has shown us before how he has the ability to mix pathos with his comedy and he manages to find a nice balance here, getting in some strong emotional messages amidst the laughter. Stephen Fletcher returns to the director’s chair, and has tightly honed the timing and emotional temperature so that the piece keeps smiling whilst never losing sight of the serious aspects of its story.

Ellen & Rigby is a play about all the lonely people for whom lockdown has presented a mixture of welcome contemplation and sadness and loss. It is also a breath of fresh air that lets us laugh about the events of the past year or so and share again in the brand of comedy that’s unique to the Royal Court.

Ellen & Rigby plays at the Royal Court until 31st July, with the usual dining and non-dining tickets available in a socially distanced setting at 50% capacity.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

Review by Nigel Smith

THE TV seems awash at the moment with advertisements for funeral plans and over 50’s life insurance, constantly telling us to think about what will happen after we’ve gone and what sort of legacy we want to leave behind us.

The Greatest Play in the History of the World, which reached the end of a tour this week with a visit to Liverpool’s Playhouse, asks us to think about the same things, but in a way that lifts the heart and the spirits, and sends us away feeling more connected with ourselves and the world around us.

Accompanied on the stage only by a collection of shoeboxes is Julie Hesmondhalgh. She asked her husband Ian Kershaw to write a play for her, and the result is a story that ties itself in a Gordian knot for which the solution finally proves to be extraordinarily simple.

Using various items of footwear to represent the residents of Preston Road, Hesmondhalgh introduces us to two people looking across the street at each other with an insomniac gaze, from behind parted curtains in the dead of night. Nothing else is stirring. Even the clocks have stopped, unmoving from a neatly symmetrical 04:40.

If we are rushing through life we might use the phrase that we could meet ourselves coming back. In this story, our two protagonists’ lives have slowed down so nearly to a standstill that they meet themselves at their own point of departure. In a sequence of segments that at first seem unconnected, we meet friends, neighbours, partners and adversaries, all of whom rub along in the same street. As we gradually learn of the connections between Tom and Sara and the others at Preston Road, we slowly understand that time itself has ceased to exist for a static moment, allowing them to see themselves with new clarity.

Punctuating the breaks between these segments, we hear short extracts of pre-recorded narration, describing the Golden Records, which drift through space on the Voyager space probes. They carry the selected sounds, pictures and memories of Earth and humanity that their creators chose to send, as a message to whatever intelligence may one day find them.

The final message this story is clear. What we leave behind us when we depart this life is a collection of memories in the minds and hearts of others. It is up to us to determine what those memories will look like.

Julie Hesmondhalgh is one of the finest actors you’re likely to see on the British stage today. Her gentle but immensely powerful stage presence commands attention without ever demanding it. Under the beautifully nuanced direction of Raz Shaw, she casts a spell over her audience for 70 minutes, and you could hear a pin drop. In the original (pre-covid) run of this play some items of footwear were borrowed from audience members, creating a physical link between them and the characters portrayed. Deprived of this sort of contact, Hesmondhalgh borrows words from the audience instead, with momentary shifts of lighting drawing us closer, so that we feel as though we share the stage with her.

This may only be The Greatest Play in the History of the World of Number 28 Preston Road, as its author decides to rename it as nears its end, but it is a beautifully crafted piece of work that leaves us with a great deal of thinking to do.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

Review by Nigel Smith

THE Sovini Group, based in Bootle, has been recognised as the UK’s Best Workplace for Women for the fourth consecutive year.

Great Place to Work has ranked the Group in pole position every year since the award’s inception in 2018.

The construction, property and facility services company achieved the accolade just two months after being ranked #1 Best Workplace in the UK for the third time (2018, 2020 and 2021). The Group was also named #3 in Europe (2020) and has ranked in the top 5 UK companies since 2017, and has recently been awarded Laureate status (2017-2021).

Kerry Beirne, director of people and learning said: “We pride ourselves on our inclusivity, with equality at the heart of our award-winning culture. Our commitment to fair and equal rights for all remains strong.

Since its inception in 2011, the Group has grown rapidly through a mixture of organic growth and successful acquisitions, and has recently expanded its operations to Derbyshire and the South East. 

Great Place to Work helps organisations create exceptional, high performing workplaces where employees feel trusted and valued. The UK’s Best Workplaces for Women awards enable outstanding organisations to celebrate their achievements, build employer brand, and inspire others to take action.

RECENT POSTS

WHEN 26-year-old twin sisters Ellen and Alex Murphy began designing logos for friends and family ventures, little did they imagine that within two years...

FEATURES

WHEN 26-year-old twin sisters Ellen and Alex Murphy began designing logos for friends and family ventures, little did they imagine that within two years...