Footloose: Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore (c) Matt Martin
THIS tour of Footloose the Musical has been more than a little bit emotional for Maureen Nolan.
The 63-year-old, who found fame as part of Irish sister band the Nolans, has had rather a lot on her plate while playing Vi Moore, in the musical coming to Basildon next month.
Indeed, it was actually mid-show that she realised her marriage to Ritchie Hoyle was over. Yet she’s not missed a single performance.
“Oh yeh, that was difficult,” she sighed, in her soft Irish burr.
“I didn’t miss a day because of it [the tour] though. I was very tempted…you know when you’re just so low, and our family, we’ve been through a lot recently with cancer and illness.
“But you’re either going to pull the covers over your head and never get out of bed or just get up and get on with it. Continue reading
Footloose – Gareth Gates as Willard (c) Matt Martin
WHEN I chat to Gareth Gates – star of Footloose – the Musical coming to Basildon’s Towngate Theatre on August 21 – he is fulsome in his praise of our county.
“I love Essex,” he confesses. “It’s a great place, fun. My best friend in the world, Matt, he lives in Essex. He lives in Southend, so I’ll be staying with him probably while I’m performing.”
In fact, it transpires he even owns a house here.
Six students at Rayleigh’s Masters Performing Arts College actually have the Pop Idol’s runner-up as their landlord.
“I own a house in Leigh-on-Sea – a student house,” he explains.
“Matt [Plummer] is the principle of Masters – the performing arts college – and I bought a house literally down the road from there in Leigh for the students.
“I’ve got six students living there.”
So, he’s no stranger to Southend or even Basildon – where he has performed before. Continue reading
From pop star to kid’s TV star: Milkshake’s Derek Moran
A DECADE ago, Derek Moran – one fifth of a popular boyband D-Side- blagged his way into a screen test for a children’s TV presenting job.
“A friend of mine said there’s this TV audition tomorrow for Milkshake,” he recalls, his enthusiastic Irish accent unmistakable to anyone with a child under six.
“And I was like what’s Milkshake, you know? So, I just phoned up. They asked me if I had a show reel and I said it was on VHS – which was a little white lie. And they said, ‘oh alright just come in tomorrow and screen test.’
“So, I went in the next day, which was Friday and they put me on the TV on the Monday. It was scary. But it was great.” Continue reading
Doing it like a mother: Keri Jarvis (centre) Photo by Petra Blacklock
“We have grown up thinking we can have it all, but we don’t realise that that means ‘do it all’. And we’ve got to look good at the same time…”
The rarely-spoken about challenges of being a mummy have inspired a hypnobirthing teacher to set up a new motherhood mindset mentoring program.
Mum-of-two Keri Javis, 32, of London Road, Westcliff, has helped more than 200 women have hypnobirths – yet grew frustrated with how the support for women seemed to end as soon as the baby was born.
She said: “When my first son was born, the transition into motherhood was such a shock. Once the initial excitement of meeting our baby had faded, and everyone else went back to their own lives, (including my husband 8am-6pm, five days a week) I felt utterly blindsided. I spent a lot of time alone with Louis, because when I forced myself out to groups, I just didn’t feel a connection to the women talking about how well their babies slept or some version of how amazing it was to be a mum. Continue reading
Fabulous: Farrow & Ball
When it comes to interior design, sometimes it can feel a bit like a closed shop. Finding where those elusive but oh-so lovely paints or pottery are stocked can be a bit of a mission.
Here’s where you can find some of those high-end delights – right on your doorstep.
Farrow & Ball
Iconic British brand Farrow & Ball began in the Forties as a small firm specializing in paints made in the traditional way with traditional ingredients.
Used by royalty (Prince Harry decorated his living quarters last year with a gray-and-pink color scheme, according to a consultant for the company) it offers a distinctive palette of 132 paint colours and handcrafted wallpapers. Continue reading
Dream job: Phil Gallagher as Mister Maker
Recognise this fella?
The mummies and daddies among you probably will.
Phil Gallagher has been on our children’s TV screens for almost 20 years. The past decade has seen him bringing arts and crafts to life, in his wonky waistcoat and bowtie, as CBeebies’ Mister Maker.
And Mister Maker – plus the Shapes – will be at the Towngate on Sunday, as part of a 44-theatre tour.
But as I chat to ever-enthusiastic presenter at his home in Kent, I have to ask, just where does Phil end and Mister Maker start? Continue reading
What is your earliest memory?
When we lived in Basildon, sitting in the laundry bucket which was filled with water, which was our take on a swimming pool, in the back garden. I must have been about two or something.
Funnily enough when my parents were thinking about their wills and we were asked what we wanted from the home, the one thing that I said was I want the laundry bucket.
I still have it indoors, this big yellow laundry bucket.
Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?
It’s going to be Basildon because it’s where I grew and and because it’s where all my hopeful years were, those times where anything is possible. Continue reading