Showing posts from 2015

Elf! the Musical

I went to Elf the Musical fully aware I wouldn’t be seeing the best musical ever written, but ready for some Christmas fun. And that’s exactly what was delivered. I wouldn’t give it any awards when pitched against other musicals (not even close), but Elf the Musical is probably the most unapologetically Christmassy entertainment you’ll find on any stage.
The musical is incredibly true to the film, which is potentially both what makes it great and what lets it down. Was it ever really going to beat the film so many name as their favourite at this time of year? Especially a film so well-known and so ‘quote-able’. However, all of the classic lines and the heart-warming story are there.

The musical had a huge cast, considering there are only a few named characters, and this really added to the ‘party’ feel of the bigger, Christmassy group numbers. ‘Christmastown’ was a great opening, and set the mood for the show ahead. The elves were hilarious, with each actor giving their elf a personali…

10 things I love about December

December is such an exciting month, full of merriment and friends and family, and of course it features Christmas. Here are my ten favourite things about the final month of the year:
Family time. My family are great, simple as.Advent calendar chocolate for breakfast. Why does chocolate taste ten times better when it’s been hidden behind a cardboard and foil window?Christmas songs. I know they’re cheesy, but I love them.Christmas carols. I love singing them at the top of my voice in Christmas services.Giving presents. There’s nothing nicer than being able to treat the people you care aboutChristmas decorations. Everything is so bright and sparkly!The gatherings. The chance to get dressed up and have a good old catch-up with friends and family.Christmas jumpers. They’re so warm and so cheesy: perfect.The mood. People seem so excited, and happy to be heading off for a break from ‘normal life’.The traditions. There’s something so cosy and comforting about family Christmas traditions.

What a…

Think Before you Tweet

I’ve ‘almost’ written this post so many times. As a fact in itself, this makes me sad.
Each time I’m prompted to write it, I take a step back, and just note it down.
Because I don’t want to make it clear each time exactly what I’m reacting to.
The particular discussion/topic doesn’t actually matter.
What matters are people’s reactions to it.
On the one hand, the blogging/social media world is a tight-knit community.
People make great friendships. People share great content. People applaud one another’s successes.
But every now and then – and unfortunately it’s fairly consistent – there’s drama.
This is to be expected to an extent. After all, no one is happy all of the time, and arguments and disagreements happen.
The majority of the time, people are mature enough to accept that it’s ok to have different opinions.
Sometimes, these opinions are harmful or upsetting to one or multiple people. Sometimes, it’s impossible not to respond.
The problem that I’ve seen time and time again thoug…

Hello, December

Hello, December.
You’ve raced towards us, this year.
I always look forward to December.
I’m a summer girl through and through, but December holds a special place.
It’s so Christmassy. Bright. Festive. Busy. Full of family. Full of friends. Full of excitement.
I get an overwhelming mixture of emotions in December.
I had a couple of strange ones.
In one, I was home after my first term of university, where I wasn’t happy. That December/ January, my sister was really poorly. I didn’t like that year.
In another, I felt nauseous. A lot. I was convinced I had some kind of bug, but couldn’t figure it out. Chewing gum (the minty taste) kept me going through social outings. That was third year of uni. A couple of months later, it became clear that had been the first signs of my anxiety taking hold.
In another December, I was struggling, probably at one of the worst parts of my panicking. I had to leave the room during a family gathering. I ate next to nothing of Christmas Dinner. The period prompted my …

Billy Elliot

I can’t quite believe it took me so long to see Billy Elliot. Despite the fact I love musicals, and go to the theatre so often, I hadn’t seen a classic which ranks highly in many people’s favourites. I put that right a few weeks ago, when my lovely friend Anthea came for a day trip to London, and we headed along to a matinee.
I think I was slightly apprehensive pre-show for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I love the film so much, and it’s so fantastically made, that I wondered how the stage version could compare. Secondly, having heard people rave about the show for years, I wondered whether my expectations had been set too high.
It’s safe to say my apprehensions were unnecessary.

Billy Elliot the musical has all of the heart of the original film, and manages to sustain that same juxtaposition of beautiful story of a young boy’s dreams against the political backdrop of Maggie Thatcher and the miners’ strike.
The show opens with Billy watching news reel clips, placing the show immediately wit…

A Reflective Mood

Recently, it was the anniversary of a particular event, or series of events, that happened at a time when I was probably struggling the very most with my anxiety.
What the event was doesn’t matter, nor do the specific ins and outs of what happened, but what I wanted to try and put into words was how these dates felt, this year.
Firstly, I felt sad. I felt sad that what should have been a really happy occasion and memory is tainted by the way my anxiety made me feel. It completely took over the event, leaving me crying in my room, and escaping for long walks with my dad.
Secondly, the emotions and feelings came flooding back. I sat in my room remembering the events. The transportation there and back made me feel trapped like I would never be able to get out. And every minute felt like hours.
I was convinced everyone was watching me, noticing what a nervous wreck I was, noticing me trying to slow down my breathing and stop my whole body tensing and shaking.
I was convinced I would be letting …

Ghost, Guildford School of Arts

Having missed out on seeing Ghost, the Musical when it was in London and touring, I was excited about getting the chance to see it performed by the third year Musical Theatre students of Guildford School of Arts this month.
The Ivy Arts Centre at the University of Surrey boasts a lovely auditorium, and the stage was set with some industrial-looking steps at the back, and three hanging gauzes, or curtains, all of which were moved around and used as set throughout the performance. Other items, such as bankers’ desks, and the sofa and fridge in Molly and Sam’s apartment were swiftly moved on and off the stage by cast members. For a show hosting so many scenes and locations, the set design and props had been carefully thought through.
As expected, the cast as a whole put on a stunning performance. The culmination of their years at the university, this musical showcased the standard of talent that will be moving forward into the industry. Choreography by Claira Vaughan allowed chorus members…

Sleepless Nights

Everyone loves it, and the health and wellbeing benefits are well-documented.
But I’m just a bit rubbish at it.
I’ve never been a big sleeper. For as long as I can remember I’ve been an early-riser. Even if I’d had a late night, I’d be up bright and early.
That in itself isn’t a problem; I’m a real morning person, and find my mornings to be so productive. However, as the years carried on, and as times became a bit tougher and my anxiety began to make itself known, any chance of a good sleep BEFORE the early wake-up went out the window.
That’s when being an early riser becomes a problem. Because even if I hadn’t calmed my thoughts enough to fall asleep until 3am, I’d be wide awake at 6am.
Once or twice, that’s ok. But when you’re going night after night after night of between three and five hours of sleep, it starts to take its toll.
I know some people can barely function without a full eight hours of sleep, and that’s definitely not me. I sometimes look back at periods where my sleep h…

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon has made it into my list of Top Five Favourite Musicals.
Possibly even my Top Three.
I was blown away by the originality, comedy, music and cast of this phenomenal show, and I’m going to attempt to sum up why.
A religious satire, The Book of Mormon is the story of two young Mormons, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, during their mission trip to Uganda. Whilst in Uganda, they attempt to introduce the people they meet to Mormonism, whilst also going on personal journeys, questioning and learning more about their faith.

Firstly, let’s establish the fact it’s from the creators of South Park – if you’re not up for that sense of humour, there’s no point booking a ticket. Is it sometimes crude humour? Yes. Does it push the boundaries? Yes. Do you sit there thinking ‘I shouldn’t be laughing at this’? Yes. But is it clever, satirical and absolutely hilarious? Yes, yes and yes. It’s offensive, but it’s universally offensive; every character is a parody, and all groups are laughed…

Changing my TV Habits

I’m changing up my TV habits.
The thing is, I realised fairly recently quite how many hours I spend watching TV shows and it is honestly shocking. It’s my default to ‘put something on in the background’, and whilst I still do this with YouTube videos or music, there’s more of a feeling of being able to dip in and out of things.
A TV series is a commitment.
Once I’m into a programme, I need to watch every episode. I need to know when the new season starts. I need to watch the latest episode before anyone on Twitter spoils it for me.
And the problem with Netflix is there’s always a new series to watch. And all of the episodes are ready and waiting. Binge-watching has almost become a sport.
The release of a new season of Orange is the New Black leads to the update tweets of how many episodes people have stormed through by the end of the first morning. And it can be hard to turn down that temptation when the next episode is all cued up and ready to go.
You don’t even need to move; it autoplays …

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Musical

Growing up, I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I loved the book. I loved both films (although I have more love for the original).  And so when the stage show began I was a little apprehensive. It hadn’t been long since I’d seen Matilda, which was so incredible I didn’t want to risk seeing a Roald Dahl show which just didn’t quite live up to expectations…
However, my parents and sister went to see it, and I got a bit jealous hearing them going on about how much they’d loved it. So I booked my seat.

Let me start with what I enjoyed. The show is incredibly true to the book. The visual effects are fantastic. The set is stunning.
The characters were larger than life, just as in Dahl’s stories, and the five children in particular carried this off very well. I had a soft spot for Verruca Salt, because she’s always been my favourite, horrible child. The story is the one we know and love, with no attempt to embellish or alter. This I was happy with, as I’d have been a bit heartbroken to h…