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Fine Time Fontayne comes to Hepworth

THE FABULOUSLY named Fine Time Fontayne is every bit as much fun as you would imagine.

THE FABULOUSLY named Fine Time Fontayne is every bit as much fun as you would imagine.

He’s spent a lifetime in theatre, radio and TV and that light-hearted monicker belies serious talent.

You can check out those skills for yourself next month when he kicks off a new season at Hepworth Village Hall.

There is a real buzz about the series of live music concerts held at the hall and a new website to match.

First off is one-man band Fine Time Fontayne who is a multi-talented musician, actor, writer and director.

“I’m as versatile as Carnation,” he says.

That versatility has seen him play everything from the title role in a rare production of King John staged by Northern Broadsides, to TV’s longest running soap, Coronation Street.

What Fine Time will actually be presenting on September 11 in Hepworth is The Richard Matthewman Stories.

The stories were written by another Barnsley boy, Ian McMillan and Martyn Wiley and recorded for BBC Radio 4 by Fine Time.

They trace the life of Richard Matthewman from his early years in a Yorkshire mining village in the 1960s to becoming a teacher, marrying and moving down south.

It could almost be Fine Time himself. Fine Time, born with the good Yorkshire name of Ian Crossley, grew up in Wombwell and moved to the steel city of Sheffield in the 1960s where his mum and dad ran a pub.

He worked his way through the city doing various jobs, psychiatric nursing, grass cutting for the local authority, even a spot of soldering for Viners.

Art college proved not to be his thing, but music was. He learned piano and cello and spent weekends in a Sheffield pub listening to the smoky voice of Joe Cocker.

Theatre swiftly became a passion, first with the Crucible Vanguard Company in the late 1970s, then with a string of appearances with theatre companies and on TV.

Little wonder then that when Ian and co-writer, the late Martyn Wiley, came up with a sort of Everyman series of stories about growing up in South Yorkshire, Fine Time felt instantly at home with them.

His was the voice that gave them life and a cult following in the 1990s on BBC Radio 4.

Over the years he has developed them into a one man show that is both poignant and hilariously funny.

“The first time I saw the scripts I recognised this character complete with trilby sitting in Mad Geoff’s hairdresser’s shop serenading the customers with Three Coins In The Fountain,” said Fine Time.

“I read this thing and was gobsmacked. It was my Uncle Jack.

This just happens to be the same Uncle Jack who was a club singer rejoicing in the name of ... Bing Crossley.

Seems that a Fine Time with names is a bit of a tradition.

Tickets for the show, which starts at 8pm, are £10 and you can buy them online at www.hepworthlive.com.

You can also use the website to check out the new season of concerts at Hepworth which start on September 25 with the Angie Palmer Band.

More on this later.

 
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