Why You Should Go See The Full Monty


I joined hundreds of excited women at Hull New Theatre last night for the opening night of “The Full Monty”. Well, what an exciting and entertaining evening it was. The evening passed far too quickly as the show was engrossing, funny and the cast seemed to love the audience atmosphere and played up to them.

Set in the steel city of Sheffield in the 1980’s the story is of a group of former steel workers, all unemployed, and all in need of earning some money. After seeing the response of the local women to a visit to their local club by the ‘professional’ Chippendales, the guys decide they can do this stripping lark too!

The play follows the guys through the painful rehearsals until ‘Horse’ realises one of the moves is like an Arsenal set piece. All of a sudden the guys ‘click’ as to what is required and begin to shape up into a dance troupe.

This is a soap star laden cast led by Gary Lucy (most recently Luke Morgan in Hollyoaks, also Eastenders, The Bill and Footballers Wives) as the hapless Gary. Behind with his child maintenance and desperate to make up the money. Andrew Dunn (veteran of many Hull Truck productions. Brassed off, Holby City, Casualty, Midsomer Murders) plays former supervisor Gerald. He’s the one who can ballroom dance, and doesn’t tell the Mrs he’s been unemployed for 6 months. Louis Emerick (Mick Johnson in Brookside and, recently, Mike Thornberry in Coronation Street) plays Horse, great mover and looks hysterical in his long johns. Also in the cast are Joe Gill (Finn Barton, Emmerdale), Kai Owen (Casualty, Waterloo Road, Doc Martin, Hollyoaks), James Redmond (Finn in Hollyoaks, Casualty), and Gary’s son was played by Fraser Kelly (a Scunthorpe local).

This production has been very well cast. The guys all worked brilliantly together. Their comic timing was perfect and they had the mostly female audience whooping, clapping and cheering all through the show.

Now if you don’t like nudity, don’t go to see The Full Monty! The first half ends with the guys auditioning the new ‘strippers’ and James Redmond removes his trousers to reveal his bum to the audience and a surprise between his legs. I was surprised the women in the front row didn’t have a heart attack!

See more: what’s on at Hull New Theatre

The first half flew past. It was fast paced and great fun. The set was industrial, and very well used to show the derelict steelworks, the Job Club, Gerald’s house among other scenes by the carefully placed props.

Director Rupert Hill (Eastenders, Holby City, Coronation Street being a few of his acting credits) directed the cast superbly. Written by Simon Beaufoy, The Full Monty was slick, gritty, rude and full of adult humour.

The second act passed as quickly as the first. Before we knew it, the time had come for the guys to perform at the local working men’s club. The costumes were familiar to those seen in The Full Monty movie, on came the guys to that classic Tom Jones hit “You Can Leave Your Hat On”. Of course the audience joined in, clapping, cheering and encouraging the guys. “You can leave your hat on”; well, 99.9% of the audience were certainly pleased the didn’t leave their hat on!

A standing ovation was well deserved for the entire cast and the audience left with heads ringing of Donna Summers’ “Hot Stuff”, James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, “Je T’aime Moi Non Plus”, and Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing”.

This was a fantastic night at the theatre. The audience of mostly women of all ages had a blast and everyone left on a high. Should you go see The Full Monty? You bet you should go. It’s a FIVE STAR show, gritty, touching and still topical. Don’t miss it. Girls, go with your mates and have a great time. Wolf whistle if you can and cheer the lads on.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical


A brand-new production of the much-loved glittering hit musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical, will extend its UK tour to Hull New Theatre next year.

The show, which will star Strictly Come Dancing winner Joe McFadden, will tour the UK and Ireland from September 2019 and will be produced by Mark Goucher and Jason Donovan.

It marks Donovan’s first time as a producer, having performed in the cast of the original West End production and two subsequent UK tours.

Based on the Oscar-winning film, Priscilla is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for Alice Springs to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance.

Joe McFadden will play Tick/Mitzi, Laurence Olivier Award Winner Miles Western will take on the role as Bernadette and Nick Hayes will play Adam/Felicia.

They are joined by Daniel Fletcher (Bob), Miranda Wilford (Marion), Kevin Yates (Miss Understanding), Jacqui Sanchez (Cynthia).

The Divas will be played by Nikki Bentley, Claudia Kariuki, Rosie Glossop and the cast is completed by Jak Allen-Anderson, Natalie Chua, Emma Crossley, Jordan Cunningham, Martin Harding, Justin-Lee Jones, Nell Martin and Edwin Ray.

The iconic hit musical has more glitter than ever before, featuring a dazzling array of stunning costumes, fabulous feathers and a non-stop parade of dance-floor classics including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, I Love The Nightlife, Finally and many more.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical will tour to Hull New Theatre from Monday, 30th March 2020 to Saturday, 4th April 2020. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday, 12th April. Book at the Hull City Hall Box Office, call 01482 300 306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk to book online.

7 Autism Friendly Places to Visit for a Fun Day out in Hull & East Yorkshire


    As World Autism Awareness Week comes to a close, I thought it would be important to write this article as in 2018 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The key to making the world a more accepting place is understanding, and as awareness spreads, companies and businesses across the country are becoming more accommodating. Here in Hull & East Yorkshire we are fortunate to have a plethora of forward thinking companies who offer fun and exciting activities and events that accommodate for people on the autistic spectrum with special SEN sessions. I’ve been in close liaison with several parents and charities within the local area to bring this brief guide to help spread awareness of these sessions, and hopefully make a difference in your child’s social life.

    The Deep

    Opened in 2002, ‘the world’s only submarium’ is an iconic building in Hull’s skyline. Home to 5,000 animals including stingrays and sharks, The Deep is a brilliant place for both learning and entertainment. The aquarium welcomed over 850,000 visitors in its first year, making it busier than London Zoo. With them being an international player in marine conservation by working on pioneering research schemes to protect the future of our oceans, The Deep’s ethos spreads from being helpful to the sea to being helpful to the community around it: ‘We are committed to accessibility for all visitors, we are continually updating and adding to our wide range of tools and information to ensure an accessible family day out.’

    Maria Bell: ‘The Deep are autism friendly. They invited us to speak with the staff as volunteers for National Autistic Society & parents. They wanted to be inclusive for everyone & there are many provisions to help a visit, including a social story on the website & Youtube.’

    The Deep offers a great SEN session called Tranquil Tuesdays which is held on the first Tuesday of the month (excluding school holidays). The session is from 3pm until closing and features all the sounds being turned down along with the lights being brighter. So if your little one has a keen interest in the ocean and sea life, The Deep is a great opportunity for a fantastic day out of enjoyment and learning.

    Find out more information and see what’s on at The Deep

    Odeon Luxe

    Coming straight from the recommendation from the parents within the autistic society is the newly renovated Odeon Luxe located on Kingston Park. While the cinema offers a luxury experience for a fraction of the price of other cities, Odeon have a very strong message when it comes to accessibility. They believe the world of cinema should be for all and for that to be achievable, understanding and compassion has to accompany it.

    To promote social inclusion, the cinema offers specially adapted Autism Friendly Screenings of new releases one Sunday morning each month in which the lights are kept on at a low level, the sound is quieter than usual, no trailers or advertisements are shown, and an allowance for increased levels of movement and noise. They also accept the CEA card which entitles the holder to one free companion ticket, making it a little cheaper for carers.

    From my own experience in visiting with my younger brother, the staff are very patient and understanding, and are happy to explain anything in more detail to him if he asks.

    Find out more here

    Rock Up

    Rock Up is the indoor climbing experience for thrill seekers of all ages, who’s goal is to bring the outdoors inside and make climbing accessible to everyone. Located in St Stephens Shopping Centre, Rock Up have been great supporters of the autistic society and put on helpful SEN friendly climbing sessions every month to provide an opportunity for children with specific needs to enjoy their facilities in a quieter, calmer environment.

    This allows for children on the spectrum to engage in exercise in a more relaxed and fun environment and ultimately provides a different kind of day out. The sessions are run in a calm and quiet environment with no music and a limited capacity every 1st and 3rd Saturday in Hull.

    Find out more here


    One of the latest additions to the leisure offerings at St Stephen’s Shopping Centre, Funstation is the perfect attraction for the kids. Packed full of great arcade games, it also offers a unique mini bowling experience for your little ones plus laser action games for the bigger ones.

    Kelly Kendrew: ‘I wanted to arrange a birthday party for my son who is autistic. When I mentioned it they said they would be willing to help by reducing the noise and offering quiet spaces, plus they said the menu could be altered. It was genuine awareness and a willingness to adapt to the needs of the children.’

    See information on Funstation

    Life For A Kid Foundation – Sensory Room

    LFAK’s aim is to help children under the age of 16 by offering funds and equipment to help them lead a better life. The Sensory Rooms foster an atmosphere of relaxation for the children when they visit. This is a good principle for the children’s emotional health and it will give them a chance to explore their feeling and to become interested in their environment. This claiming environment is a place where parents/carers will have time to bond with their children, providing a restful and peaceful experience in today’s busy and sometimes stressful lifestyles.

    Dawn Christmas: ‘They have given us a lifeline, we can take [our son] somewhere he loves. We can use the gym and nothing is too much trouble. The services are available to all.’

    See more information here

    Swimming at Haltemprice Leisure Centre via Maxi Fun

    Another session I have personally attended is SEN swimming sessions at Haltemprice Leisure Centre in Anlaby. The sessions are set up by Maxi Fun, a local group for children with special needs, and run every Friday evening at 7.30pm until 9pm. The staff are aware and open minded, making the experience worry free and relaxing. Also being surrounded by other parents and carers is a great social experience. I always feel homely and welcome when I attend these sessions with my little brother.

    Alison Lilley: ‘The children enjoy the sessions they go to. It’s fun and also good exercise, plus the parents can chat and socialise with others. There’s hoists, facilities and trained staff on hand to help.

    Find out more here

    Inflata Nation Beverley

    These sessions are designed specifically for those on the autistic spectrum and their families to enjoy. They wanted to offer something different for those with autism to take part in and be an activity that their whole family can enjoy alongside them. These sessions also provide an opportunity for families to meet other families facing similar paths in a fun and safe environment.

    Sally Norton: ‘We explain the children have additional needs when we book and it’s never a problem. The staff often go in to play with them & closely supervise. The main thing is we are not made to feel any different & accepted anytime.’

    The number of participants is halved, the music is turned down, a parent/carer can enter the arena FREE of charge with every participant. There is complimentary juice and biscuits for all participants following the session. Sessions take place Saturday morning at 9am

    Find out more here

    The Boys Are Back as 90’s Boybands Set to Visit Hull’s Bonus Arena


    The Boys Are Back! Catch 5ive, A1, Damage and 911 at Hull’s Bonus Arena on 28 February

    The boybands, originally made famous during the 90s, shot back into the limelight on ITV’s The Big Reunion television programme. Now they’ll be joining forces on a significant UK tour early next year.

    Tickets for The Boys Are Back tour featuring 5ive, A1, Damage and 911 go on sale next
    Wednesday at 9am.

    5ive, consisting of members Sean Conlon, Ritchie Neville and Scott Robinson, are known for their hits ‘Slam Dunk Da Funk’, ‘Keep On Movin’ and ‘When The Lights Go Out’. They won the Brit Award for Best Pop Act and also won MTV Europe Music Awards and Smash Hits Poll Winners Party titles.

    A1 are a British–Norwegian boy band that formed in 1998. In the UK, they scored two
    number ones and six other top 10 hits. Adding to this, they also won a BRIT Award for British Breakthrough Act in 2001. They achieved two number ones with the hits ‘Take On Me’ and ‘Same Old Brand New You’.

    Damage are a British R&B band who achieved success in the 1990s with 11 hit singles, including four top 10 successes on the UK Singles Chart. They have sold 2.5 million records worldwide.

    911, made up of Lee Brennan, Jimmy Constable and Simon ‘Spike’ Dawbarn, were formed in 1995 and released their debut single ‘Night to Remember’ in May 1996. This was followed by their debut album The Journey in March 1997, which was certified Gold. In their five years together, 911 scored 10 UK top 10 singles. They sold 10 million singles and 6 million albums around the world.

    Ticket prices start from £22.50 each with VIP meet and greet passes available at £59.50.
    Booking fees apply.

    Tickets go on sale at 9am on Wednesday, 10 April from www.bonusarenahull.com or call
    0844 8440444. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

    £130m Albion Square Development Given Go-Ahead


    Planning approval has been given to the estimated £130 million Albion Square development in the heart of the city centre.

    The mixed-use development sought by Hull City Council will feature high-quality retail, housing, leisure and enhanced parking facilities set around an enclosed courtyard.

    It is also intended to house a brand new ice arena.

    The 1.7-hectare Albion Square development site encompasses the Edwin Davis Building, the former BHS and Co-Op building and the Albion Street car park.

    The outline planning application, which was approved today, includes plans to retain the BHS Three Ships Mural, as well as two internal handmade Alan Boyson murals.

    Councillor Daren Hale, portfolio holder for economic investment and regeneration, said: “The Albion Square development is a key site in the council’s long-term strategy for the city centre.

    “Featuring high-quality and modern retail spaces, accommodation and leisure facilities, the development will have a massive impact on the city centre economy and other city centre businesses.

    “The council has pushed, and continues to push, for investment and change in the city centre that can benefit our high streets and responds to the changing demands on city centres.

    “We are delighted that the council’s vision for Hull could be realised – it’s a truly exciting time.”

    Why You Should Go See Annie


    I’ve been so excited to see this show…The West End production of Annie is in Hull this week and I had a chance to go see the performance last night at Hull New Theatre (HNT).
    I took along my 6 year old for a mummy-daughter date and we both thoroughly enjoyed it 😊.

    Here’s why the production is not to be missed!

    It’s a fabulous performance and I was so impressed with the junior cast as they were fantastic. The dancing and choreography was truly amazing and I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. There were laughs, excitement, and such a burst of energy up on stage.

    We were Team Chrysler last night and they were the best 😀. There are 3 different teams performing as the children in the Orphanage, the other 2 teams are Team Empire State and Team Rockefeller and I’m sure they’ll be equally as fabulous.

    The girls’ singing, acting, and dancing were just so impressive. They opened up the show in Miss Hannigan’s Orphanage and belted out the famous ‘Hard Knock Life’ which exceeded my expectations in every way; I wasn’t prepared for how good the children were going to be. My favourite, little ‘Molly’ (played by Orla McDonagh) was fantastic; she had such a fun character and seemed to perform with ease – as did the rest of the children! On the opening night, Annie was played by Tasha-Faye Katsande and she was fantastic. This wasn’t a surprise to me, however, as I noticed on the program she had already performed in the West End production of ‘Matilda’. She was clear, confident and had a great voice.

    The set was simple but very effective with its use of props. The production set the scene well, starting in the orphanage and then moving onto the streets of New York. The set accurately depicted when times were difficult in New York, with unemployment rising as the closing of factories across the city became the norm. The show as a whole was so professionally put together and performed.

    My daughter and I previously saw Anita Dobson at HNT in the production of Cinderella and I loved her performance, so I was looking forward to seeing her again in Annie. She brought Miss Hannigan’s character to life; a drunken misfit in charge of an orphanage who hated little girls – Annie most of all. I personally loved how she put her heart and soul into how much she loathed the kids with her solo ‘little girls’, it was such a laugh! Miss Hannigan’s character gave a lot of laughs throughout and Anita’s dancing was just brilliant. I was in awe how effortlessly she performed – after all, she is a pro!

    Daddy Warbucks, played by Alex Bourne, is a self made billionaire. Wanting to give back to the community he, along with his secretary Grace Farrell (Carolyn Maitland), arranges for an orphan to stay with them for 2 weeks over Christmas to enjoy the delights life and money have to offer. Annie is the lucky little girl and Mr Warbucks quickly becomes smitten with Annie and her positive outlook on life. He and Grace decide to adopt Annie only to find her heart is set on finding her biological parents who left her with a promise they would come back for her. Wanting what is best for Annie, Mr Warbucks spares no expense when trying to trace her parents. This attracts all sorts of people wanting to get in on the cash at the expense of Annie’s wish for her forever family. Thankfully Annie has Mr Warbucks to look out for her.

    The songs were brilliant, everyone felt nostalgic listening the the classics and couldn’t help but sing along. Musical numbers included ‘Tomorrow’ which was sang beautifully by Tasha-Faye and then the rest of us at the end! Others were ‘I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here’, ‘You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile’ and ‘Easy Street’ were among my favourites.

    The story played out really well on stage. I was worried that my daughter would lose interest as she hasn’t seen the film. Whilst she didn’t seem to follow the whole story without explanation, she was still thoroughly entertained by the singing and dancing. She thought the kids were amazing and she loved seeing Sandy the dog running around on stage in a few of the scenes.

    After seeing this performance it’s reminded me how awesome the story and films are and I will definitely be introducing it to my kids. I’m sure it will quickly become one of our regular watches when chillin’ on the sofa 😊.

    Annie is running until Saturday 6th April at Hull New Theatre, make sure you don’t miss out!

    Bonus Arena to Launch New Restaurant Named After Van Morrison Song


    Guests visiting Hull’s newest entertainment venue will soon be able to eat prior to events in a brand new restaurant.

    The Moondance restaurant – situated on the first floor of the Bonus Arena – will be open from this weekend’s sold out Ant Middleton show.

    Moondance, named after a song from Van Morrison who officially opened the venue in August 2018, will be open prior to the start of events taking place at the Bonus Arena.

    Menus have been created by the Bonus Arena’s in-house food and beverage team and will be prepared in the venue’s kitchen using as much locally sourced produce as possible.

    The restaurant – which is decorated with iconic photographs of acts who have graced the Bonus Arena stage – will only be open when the arena is hosting an event. Places must be booked in advance.

    Related: See what’s on at Bonus Arena

    Dan Harris, General Manager at the Bonus Arena, said: “We are delighted to now open our restaurant which will serve delicious meals prepared by our own chef in our own kitchen. We can cater for groups or individuals who are looking to make their visit to the Bonus Arena extra special.

    “We felt it was fitting to name the restaurant in honour of Van Morrison, who opened the Bonus Arena last summer and lyrics from Moondance feature on the wall of the restaurant, alongside photographs of some of the artists live on our stage.

    “The restaurant will open for the first time this weekend for Ant Middleton’s visit and we are taking bookings for all of the events in our calendar.”

    To book a meal in the Moondance restaurant contact Lottie Aldridge on 01482 456238 or email Lottie.aldridge@smg-europe.com

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