The Exorcist at the Birmingham Grand – Gloriously chilling

October 26th, 2016

From the moment the lights are suddenly switched off, plunging the theatre into total darkness, to the minute the final curtain goes down, the theatre version of Williams Peter Blatty’s supernatural horror ‘The Exorcist’, currently terrifying wowing audiences at the Birmingham Rep, never lets up on the uneasy tension. The story of 10 year old Regan whose body and soul is overtaken by a terrifying entity that may just be the devil, has been striking fear into movie audiences for more than 40 years. And now it has been transformed into a truly spellbinding, horrifying theatre experience that is just perfect for those who enjoy their entertainment to be on the dark side.


copyright credit: ROBERT DAY

As someone who has never actually watched the film in its entirety, I had no preconceptions before the play, although I had certainly heard of certain iconic and notorious scenes.  I was intrigued to see how the theatre version would work, with a compact cast of 8 talented actors, and the action kept to just one house. What we get is a claustrophobic masterclass in creating tension and horror, with a cast that is clearly at the top of its game, with clear, crisp characterisations,  standout scenes that linger uncomfortably in the mind long after you leave the theatre, and a play that now stands on its own merits as a piece of impeccable, excellent theatre.

As Regan, the 10 year old protagonist, Clare Louise Connolly is chilling and heartbreaking. She fully conveys the frightened, desperate little girl, but her mannerisms and actions as she is further possessed are just brilliant. Jenny Seagrove also excels as her mother Chris, a movie actress and single parent who is trying her best to convince people that her child is possessed, and not just mad or disturbed. Her exchanges with Adam Garcia in the role of young priest Father Damien Karras are filled with a frantic desperation, as Karras tries to use reason to convince the mother that her child needs a hospital rather than an exorcism.

copyright credit: ROBERT DAY

copyright credit: ROBERT DAY

Adam Garcia is brilliant, one of a trio of priests trying to help the stricken girl. He is perfect at conveying an haunted man struggling wit his faith following the death of his mother. Peter Bowles has quiet authority as Father Merrin, and the final scene with the two priests and Regan is an emotionally draining experience. There is also a scene stealing performance from Tristram Wymark as Uncle Burke – his ultimate scene with Regan is one of ultimate terror and shock. The cast is nicely rounded out by Todd Boyce and Joseph Wilkins who are both excellent in their roles.

copyright credit: ROBERT DAY

copyright credit: ROBERT DAY

The special effects are wonderful, with perfect use of smoke and sounds to create the creepy, frightfulness that totally pervades this play from beginning to end. The Exorcist is one of those plays which creates tension in every single scene, and really is the perfect viewing during Halloween season.

The Exorcist

Vivus – The New Little Loan

October 25th, 2016

We often hear and read all about loans that are specifically for those who struggle to get finance through High Street Banks and brokers due to low credit ratings, or working self employed. We hear horror stories about high interest rates and unscrupulous lenders who pray on those who can’t get credit from anywhere else. But we hear far less about the companies who offer short term, quick solutions for borrowers who really only need a small amount of cash for a small period of time. These can be borrowers who have a perfectly good credit rating, but who need money quickly – maybe for an emergency car or home repair that needs to be done ‘right now’, but don’t really need the larger amounts that banks offer, or need to be waiting to go through the longer application process that can often come when we apply for bank loans. This is where a company like Vivus can be the answer.


Vivus is a lender, not a broker. It specialises in short term loans that can be paid back over a period of time that ranges from 10-41 days. It is for people who need that quick fix, who would then be able to pay the loan back in full as soon as the next payday comes along. You can borrow a small amount that starts at £100 and goes up to £500 and you must be able to prove that you have a regular income. The loan can be paid back at any time during the 10-41 day period. On your first loan with Vivus, you pay the loan with half price interest. Decisions are made online within minutes, and the whole idea is that you have your loan, pay it back within the timeframe, and get on with your life.

Vivus explains it thus –

“Nobody likes having debt hanging around. Our loans are designed to be paid off in one simple repayment when you get paid. But there’s more – or rather less. Seeing as your first Vivus loan is kind of special, you will only pay half our normal interest rate. Then, maybe if you like our approach, you’ll come back and try us again.”

As with every loan, there are risks and interest that is repayable, so you need to make sure you can afford to repay in the given time frame so that you do not accrue extra payments and additional interest. But, on balance, Vivus could be the answer you are looking for if you just need a little helping hand until payday.

Lobby on Hill Street Taster Evening

October 24th, 2016

Birmingham’s thriving food and cocktail scene continues to grow, and, this week will see the opening of The Lobby on Hill Street.  Located under the City’s Holiday Inn, and withing a stones throw of Grand Central station, The Lobby on the Hill offers a mixture of vibrant street food dishes that are served tapas style, with an extensive range of cocktails that take you from the classic to the exotic and unusual. Last Thursday I went along to a preview taster evening, and, I have to say I’m really looking forward to getting back there for the official launch party this week.



Guests were treated to a cocktail making class where the end result was a rather glorious Passion Fruit Mojito. Other cocktails on the menu include such the Flaming Zombie, the Bubblegum Daiquiri and the Make-Up Martini. There are also choices for those not partial to a cocktail (do these people exist?) including craft beers, fine wines and champagnes, high-end spirits, as well as a wide selection of alcohol free alternatives.


We were treated to a montage of dishes from The Hill Street Food menu which features a variety of small street food inspired dishes such as Black Country Faggot Sliders which come with a tiny glass of Pale Ale, “Make Your Own” Pot Noodle with juicy prawns and a kettle of stock, Posh Cheesy Chips with blue cheese and pancetta glaze and my absolute favourite, triple cooked chip butty with a slightly spiced chimichurri mayo. I love the fact that you can choose a selection of three dishes for just £14.







The food is delicious and of a real high quality in terms of produce and presentation. The tapas style presentation makes these great bar snacks for sharing in a group, and when they are combined with the great cocktails and relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere, you get all the ingredients for a fabulous night out.





The Lobby on Hill Street

Smallbrook Queensway


B5 4EW

Phone: 0121 634 6221