Celebrated Jazz pianist Jason Rebello is one of those rare individuals in music to have worked with some of the out and out greats of his chosen genre but also with the likes of Sting and Peter Gabriel. A musician of great stature he first came to prominence at a young age and by the time 1990 came around he had recorded his first album, A Clearer View which was produced by Weather Report’s Wayne Shorter.
Alan Hewitt leans back on the chair in FACT and smiles, a man wistful with memories of gigs and stories which culminated in his book on Steve Hackett, the Genesis guitarist who has carved out perhaps the most productive solo career of all those that made Genesis one of the finest Progressive Rock bands to hail from the U.K. being enjoyed rightly by the multitude. Sketches of Hackett is a book of immense value and warmth and just chatting to him, time seems to lose its meaning as the 20 minute time limit we set ourselves becomes muddled and extended until we have broached the subject of almost every Steve Hackett solo album and his contribution to the richness of the second and third period of the Genesis era.
Patrick Maguire and Alan Anderson are part of the city’s thriving Liverpool Playwright community, a community that has had the illustrious likes of Fred Lawless (Nightmare On Lime Street, Little Scouse on the Prairie, Scouse Pacific, Hitchhikers Guide To Fazakerley), Karen Brown, Richie Grice, Donna Lesley Price, Helen Kerr (Grin Theatre) and Mike Neary pass through its doors at one time or another.
This month sees The Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool host Amanda Whittington’s play Ladies Day. First produced and staged by Hull Truck Theatre in 2005, the play stars three of Liverpool’s impressive and likeable female actors in Eithne Browne, Lynn Francis, Angela Simms and the trio are joined by Emmerdale’s Roxanne Pallet as a group of factory workers who all want different things out of life and decide to visit the world famous Aintree Racecourse. They are joined by the only male in the show Jack Lord who is sure to get the run around from this foursome of impressive women.
The Crucible is arguably one of the crowning glories of 20th Century theatre, a play so powerful that the parallels it drew on one of the sickening acts in American history, the show trials conducted by Senator McCarthy in an attempt to goad the decent people of the country in to believing that everyone, neighbour, friend, lover was part of a Communist conspiracy, was too big to ignore. Bringing together the fear and jealousy of one era, a harsh time dominated by religion and comparing the post Second World War American dogma was a piece of genius that only Arthur Miller could have done and written so incredibly well.
Sometimes talking to someone who has been on the other side of the music business for many years can be a little daunting. Someone whose pedigree of listening to music professionally for the best part of two decades stands before him and the knowledge that not only is he an entertainer but he is a man who adores music completely, in every shape and form.
In 1993, theatre-maker Mark Smith came to Liverpool to study Drama at John Moores University. A native of the Bedfordshire town of Luton; notably famous for its hats, Eric Morecambe’s football team Luton Town, of which Mark fondly talks about his trip to Wembley as a ball boy when they won the League Cup in the 1988 and two of the members of Jethro Tull, it seems that Mark was destined to stand out from the crowd.
Jamie Hampson is currently part of the cast that is thrilling Royal Court theatre goers that have been going in their droves to see Fred Lawless’ latest monster smash hit A Nightmare on Lime Street. Originally from Halewood she was bitten by the acting bug before she hit her teenage years.
Having completed her training at the famous Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (L.I.P.A.) she has gone on to become one of the rising stars of Liverpool theatre with superb performances in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Macbeth and in Nicky Alt’s You’ll Never Walk Alone to her name. Multi-talented and enjoyable company, there is seemingly nothing that will stop this young actor becoming a house-hold name in years to come.
Kaya Herstad Carney is part of the tremendous band Science of the Lamps. Born in Norway, a six hour drive north of the Arctic Circle, she came to Liverpool to study at L.I.P.A. and graduated in 2003. Her band Science of the Lamps released a self-titled E.P. a few weeks ago and it has captured the imagination of all those have listened to it. I was able to catch up with this hugely likeable, talented and enthusiastic musician for a short while after one of her Threshold meetings at the Bridewell.
Alan Stocks is one of Liverpool’s most easily recognised actors. His time in plays as diverse as Dead Heavy Fantastic, The Flint Street Nativity, Tartuffe and Scouse Pacific has made him a firm favourite with theatre audiences.
For the last few weeks he has been in the outstanding play by Joe Ward Munrow, Held, at The Liverpool Playhouse Studio Theatre with the superb Pauline Daniels and the inspiring Ged McKenna. Alan’s performance in the production is arguably the finest of his career to date. Alan will soon be seen in the musical Mam! I’m ‘Ere! at The Dome alongside Stephen Fletcher, Eithne Browne, Drew Schofield, Helen Carter, Rachel Rae, Paul Duckworth and Keddy Sutton.