In the dexterous hands of acclaimed playwright Patricia Cumper MBE, Chigger Foot Boys accomplished what a good theatrical production should by being bold, entertaining and enlightening.
Over the next six months there are surprisingly thoughtful blockbusters, huge home-grown comedies, boundary pushing sci-fi and grand, epic fantasy. I've earmarked what I think are the seven stand-out films for the rest of 2014 that absolutely demand to be seen at the cinema.
How does it rank against the other three films? Well it's possibly the best TF movie since the 2007 original. Long, yes; occasionally incoherent, (Mark Wahlberg seems to ignore full stops in his script), and it features some awful CGI - the enemy robots are made from gravity-defying blocks that appear to have no weight or heft, making them look like a bad video game cut scene.
Cut to this year's Wireless in Finsbury Park, and it probably ranked lower than both my previous experiences. I went on the Friday and when I say it was bad, I mean emphasis on the B, A and D. Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Iggy Azalea headlined (if you can call it that).
Conceived and rehearsed in secret, Great Britain, a play about phone hacking at a British tabloid, was suddenly announced last week and then on Monday, just days after the hacking trial verdicts were passed down, the show opened.
I had no idea what Booiakawas about. Aquaterra's trusty website sold it as "Fresh from LA! An intense cardio workout incorporating vibrant dance moves of Latin, Brazilian, Jamaican, Reggaeton and hip hop styles..." and true to it's advert, it was indeed a fusion style dance cardio workout.
Lana Del Rey's new album may superficially seem like more of the same. Certainly Del Rey has picked up where she left off on Born to Die. Her haunting, raspy vocals are still there, as are the depressing lyrics of a disillusioned woman looking for a life she craves on the wrong side of the tracks.
'Of Horses and Men' is extraordinary, quirky, adventurous and inventive. A tale of love and death, wonderfully absurd and unique...
Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Oakland, California resident wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. It's a sign that he needs to be a better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday it is, a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their four year-old daughter.
Lance-Naik Qayyum Gul of the 40th Pathans is the other main character who animates this tale through the warp and weft of which runs Empire. Along with his friend and subordinate Kalam, he fights for the British in the Great War. At Ypres, he is saved by his friend but loses an eye in combat. He is nursed back to health in Brighton and returns to Peshawar.
David Leon was born in 1980 in Newcastle upon Tyne. A decade ago he made his film debut in Oliver Stone's Alexander, and went on to feature in hit BBC drama Cutting It, and Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla. I spoke to the actor, producer and director about playing DS Joe Ashworth in hit ITV drama Vera; working with national treasure Brenda Blethyn, and his thoughts on being a pin-up.
For those of you who've been paying attention (there will be a short quiz at the end of this blog), you will know the importance the lovely Miss Yau places on a good name for a fitness class. And in this, amongst many other things - that woman is an oyster of wisdom, I tell you - she is absolutely right.
Now, aside the brief period I went vegetarian when I was 8 years old for 6 months because my neighbour ripped a butterfly in half, I've always been a fan of meat (insert innuendo), and mostly importantly, steak.
As one of the oldest arts, opera has an air of magic but gravity too. But that doesn't mean it is for a stuffy, serious audience. Far from it and Phyllida Lloyd's production of La Bohème for Opera North is, if anything, wonderfully contemporary, punchy and oozing with youthful optimism, tragedy and of course, romance.
'A Touch of Sin' links together four overlapping stories based on recent reports in the Chinese media.
For a 20 week limited run, The Pajama Game moves into London's West End, and boy is it a welcome visitor. With theatreland have a tricky time, and new shows not fairing so well, it's time to send in a classic to reignite what the West End is all about.