Friday, 10 October 2014

Yarn Caster 2014 draws to a close

It's the last weekend to enjoy Yarn_Caster 2014 and explore the project's Yarn_Caster Trail around Lancaster's historic sites, including Lancaster City Museum, Maritime Museum and the Judges Lodgings.

Discover some of Lancaster’s hidden gems by following a delightful trail of woolly wonders around the city and marvel at the amazing artworks, lovingly handmade by the members of our local community.

All of the events and knitted artefacts you'll find around town have been created to coincide with British Wool Week and will be distributed to local charities when the display closes.

Catherine Bleasdale, who works at Lancaster City Museum and was part of the team behind the project, tells us they started gathering ideas and wool back in April to crate the artefacts for this project. While some have suffered a little in recent downpours, the effort put in is obvious, so why not take the trail and see what's been created.

• The official web site for the project is here, or you can follow YarnCaster on Facebook or Twitter

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Say Hello To 'A Farewell To Arms' at the Dukes

The Dukes will present romance against a wartime backdrop when the very first UK stage adaptation of Hemmingway's masterpiece 'A Farewell To Arms' is performed in Lancaster from tomorrow, Friday 10 October until Saturday 25 October.

Based on Ernest Hemingway’s real-life experience of World War One in Italy, A Farewell To Arms tells the story of Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver for the Italian army, and his relationship with English nurse Catherine Barkley.

The couple discover the redemptive power of love and experience the loss of innocence as they attempt to cement their relationship in a time of devastating conflict.

In this unique stage adaptation of a classic Twentieth Century novel, The Dukes has joined forces again with imitating the dog, one of the UK’s most original and innovative performance theatre companies, who will fuse video projection, beautiful stage design and original music to recreate Hemingway’s powerful tale of love and the brutality of modern warfare.

The play’s director, Andrew Quick, a founder member of imitating the dog, who lives in Lancaster, said: “imitating the dog are very excited to have obtained the rights for Hemingway’s wonderful novel and to be the first to produce the first stage adaptation of the much loved classic in the UK.

“The company fell in love with the novel many years ago and knew that the creative possibilities of creating something very special with our unique theatrical style could be endless.

“imitating the dog will create a magical and highly accessible version of the novel for all audiences.”

A Farewell To Arms is supported with complementary regional producing organisations, Lancaster’s Live at LICA and Cast, Doncaster. Following its Dukes premiere, the play will tour nationally and also to Italy.

The production is suitable for anyone aged 14 plus and will feature scenes of an adult nature.

Performances are at 7.30pm daily (except Sundays), with matinee performances at 2pm on October 16, 22 & 25. There is a post show talk-back free to ticket holders on October 15. Ticket prices range from £8 to £18.50.

For more information and to book, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Local Cinema Round-Up for 8th to 16th October 2014 by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

 A mix of new releases this period. There is a welcome horror with Annabelle (15), romantic drama with The Best of Me (12A) and fantasy adventure with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (12A). In addition there are two performing arts movies with One Direction: Where we Are (U) and The Royal Ballet: Manon (12A).

Also this period we have the return of two family favourites Earth to Echo and How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Films no longer being screened in this region include The Riot Club, A Walk Among the Tombstones and Pride. In addition it seems likely that the films Lucy, Sex Tape and Before I Go to Sleep will shortly be coming to the end of their season.

Movies of note at the moment include the psychological thriller Gone Girl and the ballet Manon Live


Director: John R Leonetti
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard
The film is set in California in the 1960's where a young couple move into their new home. The wife Mia (Wallis) is pregnant and has a hobby of collecting dolls. The husband John (Horton) is a medical student and he gives a creepy pigtailed doll to Mia to add to her collection. Yet the doll is possessed and with its acquisition comes a series of disturbances including slamming doors and the malfunctions of an elevator. Mia gives birth and the newborn is also threatened by these disturbances. The film is the prequel to 'The Conjuring' but was shot with limited budget. It borrows heavily from other horror movies and comes complete with cookie neighbour and helpful priest. However despite a rather stilted dialogue and lack of originality, it successfully builds suspense to become quite an effective horror movie.

Before I Go to Sleep
Director: Rowan Joffe
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Anne-Marie Duff, Mark Strong
A movie based on the best selling 2011 book by S J Watson. Christine Lucas (Kidman) suffered a head trauma thirteen years ago, with the consequence that she starts each day with no memories of the past thirteen years. She does not recognise her husband, her doctor nor even her own face. To try make sense of her world, she starts to keep a video diary and in this way can begin to get some continuity in her thoughts. However this reveals that her husband Ben (Firth) and her doctor (Strong) are concealing something from her. This film is a psychological thriller which successfully builds suspense with twists to the plot and some false trails. An enjoyable thriller.

Earth to Echo
Director: Dave Green
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Teo Halm, Ella Linnea Wahlestedt, Reese C. Hartwig, Jason Gray-Stanford
A construction project is destroying a neighbourhood when a group of friends start to receive strange signals on their phones. They search for the origin of the signals and discover an alien who has become trapped on earth. The film tells the story of the youngsters as they battle the government and help the alien return to his home. It is hard not to compare this film with 'E.T.' However the movie is really about the youthful friendships rather than an extra-terrestrial. A entertaining if rather average family film.

Gone Girl
Director: David Fincher
Certificate: 18
Cast Includes: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
The film is based on, and is pretty much true to, the best selling book by Gillan Flynn. It is the fifth wedding anniversary of the Dunne's. Nick Dunne (Affleck) goes for a drive, and returns to find his wife Amy (Pike) is gone and the house ransacked. He reports her as missing to the police and initially he is treated with sympathy. However as time passes he becomes a prime suspect. The film is told in a broken time-line and we see in flashbacks that the marriage had started to fail. However is Nick guilty of murdering his wife? The film is a psychological thriller with the plot taking a sharp turn in the latter half of the film. This is an excellent, must see, movie.

Director: Luc Besson
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
Lucy (Johansson), a rather average American woman visiting Taiwan, is kidnapped by gangsters, abused and made to smuggle an experimental new drug which is sewn into her stomach. However a beating received by one of the gangsters causes the bag to rupture and she absorbs the drug, with the effect of increasing the efficiency of her brain. This leads her to outgrow her physical and mental limitations as she develops vast intellect and formidable psychic powers. Lucy can now take her revenge. This is a fun film with the story told from Lucy's point of view. However as her powers develop the revenge part of the movie becomes very one sided and the film sacrifices action sequences for a quest to understand her evolution into something that is beyond human.

Director: Robert Stromberg
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Angelina Jolie, Miranda Richardson, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley
In part a re-telling of the tale of sleeping beauty but from the point of view of the villain of the story, Maleficent (Jolie). Maleficent was driven to evil following an act of betrayal which cost her the ability to fly. She battles to save her shadowy forest kingdom and plots revenge by placing a curse on the infant Aurora (Fanning), daughter to the king. Aurora herself becomes caught in the conflict between forest and human kingdoms. This is a rather dark fantasy for a Disney film, but a great tale with powerful characters and impressive special effect.

The Equalizer
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Bill Pullman, Marton Csokas.
A big screen adaption of the 1980's TV drama series which starred Edward Woodward. Now Washington takes on the role of McCall, a black ops commando who faked his own death so he could retire to an uneventful existence in Boston. McCall is a childless widow, working in a superstore and with a fondness for reading. He befriends Teri (Moretz) a young woman who works as a prostitute. However she is beaten and hospitalized by Russian gangsters. McCall decides to use his skills to retaliate and as a result finds himself the target of a Russian team led by a psychopath Teddy (Csokas). Washington is a consummate actor who plays the role with skill and conviction. However the whole is essentially a violent vigilante movie. Entertaining and believable but the film does not break any new ground.

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon
A Walt Disney adaptation of the 2010 novel by Richard C Morais. The Kadam's are an Indian family that were displaced due to political rioting. They arrive at a quaint but rather conservative French Village and decide to open an Indian Restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. However just across the road is a classical, Michelin starred restaurant Le Saule Pleureur run by Madame Mallory (Mirren). This leads to fall-outs and ultimately sabotage between the two institutions. Meanwhile Hassan (Dayal) the master cook of the Indian restaurant begins a flirtation with Marguerite (Le Bon), the sous chef of Mme Mallory's restaurant. This is a well acted and endearing movie with plenty of laughs. Entertaining but lacking suspense.

The Maze Runner
Director: Wes Ball, Douglas Cumming
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien
Thomas (O' Brien) awakes with no memory to find himself trapped with dozens of other boys inside an enclosure with towering walls. He subsequently discovers this to be a gigantic maze. He integrates in the society of boys, becoming one of the runners, a sub group who try to map the maze and find a way out. Attacking the boys are Grievers which are giant spider like creatures who also inhabit the maze. Thomas has dreams about an organisation called W.C.K.D. and he must uncover his purpose and find a way to escape. The movie is a decent adaption of the best selling novel by James Dashner, the first in a trilogy. The acting is strong and the depiction of the maze and its grandeur is very impressive. The movie is aimed at young adults but it contains some violence and the whole has a rather joyless atmosphere. The ending was somewhat complicated, designed perhaps to pave the way for the forthcoming sequel.

What We Did on Our Holidays
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkins
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly
Doug (Tennant) and Abi (Pike) are a married couple on the cusp of a divorce. Despite this, they decide to take their three children to Scotland to attend a family gathering to celebrate the 75th birthday of Gordie (Connolly), Doug's father. In conversation, the children let slip to the wider family the details of their life in London and the parents arguments. Hence tension and family feuds ensue. The characters of the film are based on the TV series 'Outnumbered' and the film is in part comedy sitcom and in part an emotional 'roller-coaster'. Despite fine acting (with Connolly in particular fine form) the final third of the film seemed a little flat.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Appeal after Morecambe collision sees five year old girl injured

Police are appealing for information after a collision in Morecambe in which a five-year-old girl was seriously injured.

The incident happened at around 5.45pm yesterday, Monday 6th October, on Euston Road in Morecambe.

A Citroen Xsara car is believed to have been travelling in the direction of Morecambe Town Centre when it was involved in a collision with a five-year-old girl.

The girl was taken to Alder Hey Hospital and is thought to have suffered a serious break to her right leg. The road was closed for more than two hours following the collision.

Sergeant Finn Quainton of the Road Policing Team said: “We are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the collision to get in touch so that we can establish how this incident occurred.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log number 1042 of 6th  October.

Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.