A BRAND new sequel makes its debut at The Court this summer with Dave Kirby’s comedy: Lost Soul 2 – Smigger’s Wrecked Head.

The original Lost Soul began at the Royal Court in 2007, looking at the lives of Smigger, Pat, Donna and Terry as they dealt with modern life passing them by while they yearned for the good old days.

50,000 people came to see Lost Soul the first time around and the Royal Court will no doubt be hoping that the generation who spent their youths in the soul music clubs of the 1970s and 80s are up to reliving it all over again.

The original cast are back for the show, which begins a few months after the original Lost Soul finishes. Jake Abraham, Lindzi Germain, Catherine Rice, Andrew Schofield and Lenny Wood all return to their roles while Gemma Brodrick (Yellow Breck Road) and Bobby Schofield (The Miracle Of Great Homer Street) are added to the cast. Bob Eaton will direct again and the set design is by Jocelyn Meall.

Smigger’s having a mid-life crisis. All he wants to do is roll back the years and dance to 70s’ soul music with Donna, Terry and Pat. But since the grandkid came along, Donna hasn’t been interested in their usual Sunday nights in town (or much else). 

Their daughter hasn’t helped, lumbering them with the baby most weekends while she’s out with the dad. Well, maybe the dad (it’s a one in four chance). Smigger’s had enough, his head’s wrecked and he’s not having it any more. 

Dave Kirby said: “Twelve years ago, Lost Soul opened at the Royal Court. Two more runs and over 50,000 jubilant people later I finally got round to writing a sequel after being asked about 50,000 times!  The mid-life crisis theme continues with real characters, real humour and a real buzz about the script, all woven together by the original cast and great 70’s soundtrack. Look forward to seeing another 50,000 jubilant people.”

Lost Soul 2 – Smigger’s Wrecked Head runs from Friday 7 June to Saturday 6 July 2019. Tickets and information are available from or on 0151 709 4321


THE UK’s largest cathedral will be home to the Earth this weekend as a prelude to Liverpool’s popular River Festival.

Gaia, a 23ft replica of the Earth featuring accurate and detailed NASA imagery, will hang from the Anglican Cathedral’s Well – and for one of the first times anywhere in the world, the installation will rotate to bring the artwork alive. The rotation is 360 times faster than our real planet, turning once every four minutes.

In Greek mythology, the name Gaia means the personification of the Earth.

It will open to the public on Saturday 25 May – a week before the free maritime festival takes place on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June.

It has been created by renowned British artist Luke Jerram, and will be complemented with a sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones.

The installation will be in place for four weeks (until Sunday 23 June) and a programme of free events and talks will take place beneath the suspended globe.

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “We know how incredible the moon looked in the cathedral last year, and a rotating earth is going to look equally as captivating.

“The environment and climate change is high on the news agenda and as well as being stunning to look at, Gaia will be a thought-provoking piece of art which will allow us to appreciate the fragility of the world we live in.

 As 71 per cent of the earth is water, it is appropriate this artwork forms part of Liverpool’s River Festival. This year is very much a celebration of the heritage of iconic port, and how it has put Liverpool on the map as an arrival and departure base for culture, music, food, drink and art.”

These include interactive storytelling for youngsters, a piano recital by award-winning pianist William Bracken, poetry readings, performances by the Liverpool String Quartet, songwriter and singer Lizzie Nunnery will present new material inspired by Gaia, unique play sessions for children and their parents or carers will take place as well as a relaxing yoga session.

There will also be a number of autism-friendly ‘quiet-hour’ sessions, where visitors can view the earth in peaceful surroundings.

A ticketed event will see Britain’s first astronaut, Helen Sharman CMG OBE, take part in a special ‘in conversation with’ event on Sunday 2 June. Helen will talk about her experience of space travel and the intense preparation that went in to her launching into the history books in May 1991. The following day, Helen will take part in a private event for school children. This event also forms part of Liverpool’s RISE programme which celebrates extraordinary women.

For full details of the programme and to book tickets, visit Viewing times for Gaia differ each day, so refer to the website for the latest information.

The artwork forms part of the ‘Changing Tides’ creative programme, which last year saw the Museum of the Moon installed in the Cathedral attracting 60,000 visitors to the venue in just two weeks.  This year’s programme celebrates the port of Liverpool as an arrival and departure base for exemplary culture, music, food and wine from all over earth.

For full details of the programme, including locations of events and times, visit or follow @riverfestlpool on Twitter, or River Festival Liverpool on Twitter and Instagram.



MORECROFTS Solicitors has extended its charity partnership with the For Ava Foundation for a further year.

The decision followed a vote by the firm’s staff and was announced at its annual Ladies Evening, which was held at One Fine Day and welcomed more than 80 guests.

The For Ava Foundation supports children, young people and their families who have a cancer diagnosis or a condition that requires them to undergo a bone marrow or stem cell transplant at Liverpool’s Alder Hey or the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Alison Smith and Morecrofts’ managing partner Alison Lobb

The charity is named in honour of seven-year-old Ava Stokes, who has twice survived cancer and had to spend much of her treatment in isolation. That difficult experience inspired her family to provide other families with ‘Be There’ boxes containing treats and practical items to help make their lives a little easier.

Guests at the Ladies Evening were entertained by magician Simon Southerine and enjoyed exhibitors including Pop Up Fashion Boutique, Liverpool Cheese Company, Beauty & Holistic, dot-art, Angela Power, Lou B Lou, Owen Drew Candles and Alison Smith Aloe Vera.

Ava’s mother, Kelly Stokes, said: “We are thrilled Morecrofts’ staff have chosen us as their charity of the year once again. We have really enjoyed working with them to raise awareness and funds to allow us to support more children and young people with illnesses that require them to undergo a bone marrow transplant. 

Alison Lobb, managing partner at Morecrofts Solicitors, said: “The Morecrofts ladies evening is always a fantastic event, and judging by the number of businesswomen who attended, it has become a firm favourite in the networking calendar of the Liverpool City Region.

“Seeing so many of our friends, clients and contacts in one place enjoying themselves is a pleasure for us, and not only an opportunity to chat in a relaxed environment, but also a chance to introduce them to each other.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to not only provide excellent legal services, but also to connect other businesspeople.

“Many thanks to all our fantastic stall holders, who also donated raffle prizes, raising funds for the fantastic For Ava Foundation. I am delighted we are supporting them for another year.”

CILLA Black famously topped the TV charts with her hit show Surprise Surprise, but the Scouse singer was left gobsmacked herself on one occasion by a musician who is returning to Liverpool for a special concert later this month.

Kenny Clayton, a pianist and composer who has worked with stars such as Shirley Bassey, Matt Monro, Charles Aznavor and Petula Clark, toured with Cilla in the early 1970s as her conductor and musical arranger.

But Kenny, who is playing with Liverpool’s Brazilian-jazz band Baiana at the Hope Street Hotel on May 29th, almost came to blows with Cilla’s husband with a joke that was cheeky to say the least.

“We’d been playing a six-week season in Scarborough and, as tradition dictates, on the last night the leader tries something different, a prank or something bit special to celebrate the end of the run,” Kenny recalls. “I was conducting the musicians down in the orchestra pit and because of the way it was built I realised the audience and Cilla could only see me above chest height so I dressed immaculately in my dinner jacket and shirt but not much else.

“The musicians were all men and long-standing friends and so appreciated the absurdity of me conducting them dressed in my undies like that, but at the end of the show – to my horror – Cilla decided to walk to the edge of the stage to talk to the audience.

“I’ll never forget her face. She said: ‘I’d like to thank my musical director Kenny Clayton who….. hey, he’s got no clothes on!”

Back in his dressing room, Kenny, 83, got an angry knock on his door from Cilla’s husband Bobby Willis.

“Bobby was one of the most delightful men I’ve ever met but, let’s put it like this, he was not in a very happy mood at that moment,” Kenny recalls. “But I explained what had happened and they both saw the funny side. I guess you could say it was an early Surprise Surprise!”

On Cilla, Kenny is full of praise.

“She was a great singer, one of the real greats,” he says. “What people don’t give her enough credit for was her charisma and her stage craft. When she walked onto the stage you could feel the audience’s grasp of breath. She would have an audience in the palm of her hand.”

Kenny met Liverpool-born Baiana singer Laura by chance in the L’Escargot club in London and after an impromptu performance was greeted with yells for an encore, both realised that there was a special chemistry between them.

Flame-haired Laura discovered her unique voice in while living in Rio and falling in love with the sophisticated sounds of the Brazilian city’s nightclubs and dancehalls. The band also features some well known Mersey-based musicians including Micky Dunne of the Manouchtones on guitar, ex Wave Machines drummer Vidar Norheim and in-demand bassist Jesse Eigan.

For their Hope Street Hotel show, Kenny and Baiana will be exploring what they call the “Scouse American songbook” which will see them celebrating the great standards of Brazilian jazz as well as breathing new life into some of Lennon and McCartney’s most melodic compositions.

The gig comes by public demand after a show there last year, which featured a new composition by Kenny – who worked for a time with George Martin at Abbey Road studios – about John Lennon. That  gig sold out and tickets for this one are going fast.

“I loved the Beatles and John especially and I’ve always loved playing in Liverpool,” Kenny added. “I can remember playing at the Empire many times and staying at the Adelphi. I have fond memories of a nightclub called the Wookie Hollow, which had a little bridge inside it over a pool. Happy times.”

It’s the Rio Thing takes place at The Hope Street Hotel on Wednesday May 29th at 8pm. Tickets £10.
To book call 0151 709 3000 or email

More details—a-night-of-brazilian-jazz/115-15/

Little Shop of Horrors at Storyhouse, Chester, 2019

By Nigel Smith

HOWARD Ashman and Alan Menken’s stage version of Little Shop of Horrors has acquired wide appeal through its deceptively small-scale cast and orchestrations. In his new production for Chester’s Storyhouse, director / choreographer Stephen Mear really capitalises on the intimacy of the show. The adaptable auditorium is used here in its 500-seat thrust stage configuration, which gives the show an immersive audience experience while setting some interesting design challenges.

Several of the creative team are making welcome returns to the Storyhouse stage. Musical Director Alex Beetschen and his band can occasionally be glimpsed through the window of Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist, which forms the background to Jess Curtis’s gloriously detailed 1950s set, pulling the story backward to the musical era that it draws so much from. Outstanding sound design from Ben Harrison fills the space with their music, and perfectly balances with the voices, so that every syllable of Ashman’s witty lyrics is sharply defined. The opening company numbers ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘Skid Row Downtown’ really set the tone and pace for the entire show. It rattles along with well-judged pacing and time seems to slip by effortlessly.

You probably already know the story… The other-worldly carnivorous plant, Audrey II, brings fame and fortune to Seymour, a hapless florist’s assistant, while at the same time feeding off his blood. Eventually Seymour embarks on a murderous spree to satisfy the plant’s voracious appetite. Meanwhile, Seymour and the human Audrey move in ever decreasing circles in their unspoken love for each other.

Joshua Lay and Michelle Bishop make a great couple as the downtrodden Seymour and his seemingly unattainable sweetheart Audrey. They are splendidly supported by Cindy Belliot, Emily-Mae and Tanisha Spring as the all-singing all-dancing trio of Chiffon, Ronette and Crystal. Tony Timberlake may present a shabby appearance as the cynical florist Mushnik, but there’s certainly nothing shabby about his performance. Meanwhile Stephane Anelli has enormous fun with his larger than life characterisation of Orin, the slick-haired, motorcycling demon dentist. A very clever piece of design here is Orin’s bike, which cunningly doubles as his dentist’s chair.

The entire ensemble has been very skilfully cast, and all deliver immaculate vocals along with their sharp dance moves. Of course, there are two performers who we don’t get to see until the curtain call… Ryan O’Gorman provides a persuasively velvet voice for the bloodthirsty Audrey II, and puppeteer Brett Shiels brings the uncontrollable pot plant vividly to life. Particularly impressive is the extraordinarily realistic lip-syncing that O’Gorman and Shiels achieve, making it hard not to believe it’s alive.

Curtis’s designs include an array of costumes that are perfectly in period, and her set reaches out into the auditorium in a cobweb of tangled wires and tendrils.

The story is undeniably kitsch schlock-horror, but with so much attention to detail it makes for a first-class evening’s entertainment, sending the audience home wearing huge smiles.

Little Shop of Horrors is at Storyhouse until 2nd June


SCHOOLS across Liverpool have been saluting the differences that bring us all together as part of the city’s first ever Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

From Monday 13 May students and pupils across the city have been taking part in a host of special events designed to raise awareness about conditions such as Autism, Dyslexia, Asperger’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The young people will be taking part in specially-themed assemblies, meeting and speaking with neurodiverse young people and their parents and carers and providing facts and dispelling myths about the conditions.

The week-long celebration was created by 16 year-old neurodiversity champion Siena Castellon and is being supported by the national ADHD Foundation.

According to the Department for Education, 15 per cent of students in the United Kingdom have a learning difference, potentially one in five of the whole population. The campaign will acknowledge and celebrate the many positive aspects of being neurodiverse. It is about recognising strengths, creativity, innovation, and the ability to think differently to find unique solutions for the challenges that face today’s society.

The campaign, which is supported by the Department for Education, CEOs of national charities and leaders in industry, asks schools to pledge to celebrate difference and highlight the intelligence, success and employability of all those school children with special education needs. It urges students to recognise their colleagues as ‘the dreamers, the pioneers, and the trailblazers of tomorrow.’

Nationally more than 300 schools are taking part in the celebration week, with 38 of these being Liverpool schools.

Cllr Pam Thomas, who is Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for an Inclusive and Accessible City, said: “We need to appreciate that human beings are diverse. It’s a bit too easy sometimes to only think of people who are like ‘me’.

“We often put labels on people and identify them as having a problem when we should not be doing that. People have different characteristics, attributes and features and that’s a positive thing. We are all human beings and we need to celebrate that.”

Charlotte Dowson, who is a Year 11 student at Archbishop Blanch Church of England High School in Wavertree, and is taking part in the celebrations, said: “I think that celebrating something as complex as neurodiversity is an incredible thing. We will be putting up posters, talking about the benefits of being neurodiverse and passing on the message to other students through special assemblies. Not everyone is the same, if we were life would be very boring. Difference is a strength and nurturing it is something that should be encouraged.”

For more information about national Neurodiversity Celebration Week, visit:

FOLLOWING a successful debut in 2018, Liverpool BID Company’s Celebrating Castle Street will return to the city’s Commercial District on Friday, May 31 (noon – 7pm), with a celebration of food, drink and entertainment on one of Liverpool’s most popular streets.

As part of the BID’s Food and Drink Week (May 27-June 2), those visiting Castle Street can expect a street takeover by some of the city’s best restaurants, cafés and bars, including the likes of Gino D’Acampo – My Restaurant, Liverpool Gin Distillery, Heritage, Castle St Townhouse and Olive, who will venture out onto the pavements to showcase the impressive and growing food offering of Castle Street. Live music and arts and crafts stalls are also on the day’s menu, as well as a Prosecco bar on the balcony of Liverpool Town Hall and Exchange Flags’ popular Bite event.

Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, and chair of the Liverpool Visitor Economy Network (LVEN), said: “Celebrating Castle Street was a huge hit last year, with incredible participation from our BID levy payers and fantastic engagement from the general public. With so much on offer in terms of food and entertainment, there really is something for all ages and tastes to enjoy, on what is one of Liverpool’s most iconic streets in the heart of the Commercial District.

“Castle Street continues to evolve and grow in status with new bars and restaurants joining us in 2019, and a great mix of local independents and popular chains sat side-by-side. Come and see what’s new as well as reacquainting yourself with some old favourites on this bustling street.”

Food & Drink Week will also see the launch of the inaugural Chefs Awards – an opportunity to champion the shining lights in the city’s food arena, with categories celebrating the best in pub food, ethnic food, vegetarian and bakery, along with an award recognising an up and coming chef to keep an eye on. Working in partnership with Liverpool Hospitality Association, the winners will be selected by renowned chef and chef patron of The Art School Restaurant, Paul Askew.

For more information about Food & Drink Week and Celebrating Castle Street, visit



AS LightNight Liverpool returns this Friday 17 May, the city’s one-night arts festival is exploring the theme of Ritual with over 100 free events. A Friday night like no other, the festival invites audiences to enjoy an unforgettable culture crawl of the city’s best arts and culture offerings.
Many of this year’s events reflect on Ritual as a way to connect us to the past. Ancient ritual, celebration and ceremony rooted in historic tradition, the mystical and the magical, each forms part of our faith, our community togetherness and ceremony. Some are the basis of folklore and legend, the foundation of our favourite stories.

Wicker Woman Ceremony, Blackburne House, 19:00-22.15
Coach House Theatre Productions, LJMU, Brazilica, Opera Viva and Bring the Fire Project provide the setting for The Wicker Woman, a three-act ceremony across the course of the night challenging the nature of rituals and gender over time, symbolically setting women free. Tying in with light, dusk and then the dark, the Wicker Woman is released from her shackles in a breathtaking night of performance.

Híbridos, the Spirits of Brazil, Victoria Gallery & Museum, 17:00-22:00
A multi-screen immersive AV installation by international artist duo Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon. Híbridos, the Spirits of Brazil is a sumptuous, cinematographic meditation on sacred Brazilian culture, taking audiences on an ethnographic exploration of diverse sacred ceremonies progressing through a sensorial realm of movements, dance and music.

Chant Workshop, Liverpool Cathedral, 19:00-19:40
Participate in learning the ancient art of Gregorian Chant as sung daily by monks all over the world. After a brief introduction to reading chant you will learn two chants, the Kyrie & Sanctus from the ancient Missa de Angelis. The sanctus will be included as part of a new commission by David Terry in which the workshop participants will perform alongside the excellent chamber choir Liverpool24.

Ancient Egyptian Rituals & Mummification, World Museum, 18:15-19:00 & 19:15-21:00
The Ancient Egyptians ritualised the daily workings of life and death. Death was ruled by mummification rituals and life was ruled by the movements of the stars, which even influenced the positioning of the great pyramids. Explore the process of mummification though World Museum’s handling collection, and the ancient knowledge of the night sky with an interactive map installation.

Music, Movement, Ritual, Adornment, Walker Art Gallery, 17:00-22:00
Performances by LIPA students at intervals throughout the evening, featuring garments by students from LJMU School of Art & Design.

Exhibition: Arrival City. FACT, 16:00-23:00
A portrait of Liverpool, and more specifically Toxteth, as a city of immigration. Come and learn more about the project and share your own stories and experiences to become part of this collaborative archive. Liverpool’s historic status as an important port city makes it one of the most unique ‘arrival cities’ in the UK, with many layers of history still making up the identities of people who have lived here for generations. This past has influenced the architectural character of the city – we walk through streets named after celebrated anti-abolitionists and past grand buildings paid for by slave-traders.

Early Settlers & the Calderstones, Museum of Liverpool, 17:30, 18:30 & 20:30
Glimpse into the lives of the first people to settle here and gain some understanding of a society and culture far removed from our own at this series of talks. Connect with a people who did not see the divide between the supernatural and natural worlds as we do today.

LightNight at Merseyside Maritime Museum, 17:00-22:00
A full family friendly evening of creepy crafts, stories of folklore and legend, ghostly goings on, terrifying tours and more. Hear the creepy coincidences in the untold story of the Titanic and Liverpool, what ties Spring-Heeled Jack and Sherlock Holmes to Liverpool and discover the tale of smugglers and Mother Redcap.

Tony Conrad: 10 Years on the Infinite Plane, Tate Liverpool, 19:00-20:30
Head to the Wolfson Gallery for a special commissioned performance of Tony Conrad’s audio-visual meditation. Pairing hypnotic film loops with droning strings, this is a rare chance to see a pioneering work of minimalist cinema and sound.

Brunt Boggart: A Tapestry of Tales, Snuffwidget & the Crow Dancers, Blackburne House, 20:15 – 20:45 & 21:00 – 21:30
Snuffwidget and the Crow Dancers combines a backdrop film of ritual dance, folk fiddle and drum music with live narration of a story taken from the book Brunt Boggart: A Tapestry of Tales by David Greygoose, published by Pushkin Press 2018 and nominated for the Cilip Carnegie Medal.

Open House at the Athenaeum, 17:00-22:00
Founded in 1797 by famous Liverpool figures including Roscoe and Case, for two centuries the Athenaeum has played host to the rituals of friends meeting and exchanging information. Home to a famous library of over 60,000 items, its Reading Room has been called ‘one of the handsomest rooms in Europe’. One of Liverpool’s most beautiful spaces, it opens its doors to the public only rarely.

LightNight 2019 celebrates the 10th year of the free independent festival, produced by Open Culture and is always a memorable night. Guides, containing the full festival programme, can be viewed online at or purchased at selected stockists.

TO celebrate the nation’s favourite takeaway, Deliveroo is pulling out of its delivery bag its biggest stunt to date in Liverpool – a replica ‘Great Wall of China’ made entirely from over 2,000 recycled takeaway boxes.

Standing taller than a double-decker bus and at over seven meters in length, Deliveroo’s ‘Great Wall of Chinese’ experience will be situated directly in front of the Chinese Arch in Liverpool, the location of Europe’s first ever Chinatown.

The walkable-wall experience opens to the public from 21st May and will contain over 100 different prizes, hidden inside small fortune cookies.  Other prizes can be won by grabbing some free tickets from Eventbrite or taking a photo on Instagram and tagging #greatwallofchinese.

Joe Groves at Deliveroo said: “What better way to celebrate the nation’s favourite takeaway than to create an edible installation next to the original and most revered Chinese landmark in the UK. It’s thanks to our amazing restaurant partners in Liverpool that we have been able to create the Great Wall of Chinese”.

Listings Info:

Dates: 21st and 22nd May

Time: Midday – 7pm

Price: Free. Tickets available

Location: Nelson Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 5DR


RED Door in Berry Street venue has given it’s terrace a substantial makeover to create ‘A Summer of Eden’ – an exclusive rooftop retreat, where guests will enjoy cocktails and unrivalled service amongst sumptuous surroundings.

The cosy and welcoming rooftop oasis, complete with a firepit, white-washed walls and lush greenery  has also introduced a brand new creative cocktail menu, featuring expertly made creations, such as The Poison Apple – a ‘colour-changing’ mix of rhubarb and ginger gin, apple Manzana verde, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, vanilla foam and a blue pea flower shot, all to a soundtrack of chilled disco tunes.

Managing Director of Red Door, Lee Lynch, said: “We are delighted with our new look terrace.  We wanted to create a space where guests could relax and enjoy superb drinks and cocktails in  welcoming surroundings.  Hail, rain or shine,  our all-weather terrace is always inviting and our mix of live music and DJ’s creates a great atmosphere for our guests!  We are looking forward to making many summer memories in our own little piece of heaven over the coming months”

A Summer of Eden by Red Door is now accepting bookings. Opening Thursday, Friday from 5pm and Saturday, Sunday from 2pm.

For more information and to make a booking, contact and follow @edenlpool on Instagram.



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