Press Review: Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Fun, witty and heart-warming with plenty of sole

From the pier of Port Isaac, Cornwall to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical is loosely based around the true story of the surprise chart-topping Cornish singing sensations and their smash-hit 2019 movie.

Directed by James Grieve with the Book by Amanda Whittington, Fisherman’s Friends tells the story of a group of fisherman in a traditional Cornish village who sing folk songs and shanties to raise money for the local lifeboat. They are spotted by passing visitor Danny (Jason Langley), a former A&R Executive from London who is immediately captivated by the music and convinces them to record a demo to send to Island Records. But is the British public ready for an album of sea shanties and traditional Cornish folk songs?

Yes, they were.

And after watching Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, so am I.

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The End of an Era

The world has felt a little strange over the last few days.

I watched as events unfolded last Thursday live on TV. With the announcement from Buckingham Palace that The Queen was under medical supervision at Balmoral, the BBC suspended all programming around lunchtime, changed into black outfits and began preparing us without actually saying it out loud. It was when the plane carrying William, Edward, Sophie and Andrew landed in Scotland that I think we all knew, and the announcement was made at 6.30pm from the Palace that Queen Elizabeth II – our longest reigning monarch – had passed away at the age of 96, just months after celebrating her Platinum Jubilee.

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Press Review: Fame at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the Stage Experience performance of Fame at The Alexandra Theatre.

Back after a two-year hiatus, the renowned Stage Experience returned to The Alexandra Theatre with their latest production of Fame. 

Based on the 1980 iconic film which spawned a popular television series, Fame follows the final class of New York City’s celebrated High School for the Performing Arts through their struggles, fears and triumph as they navigate the worlds of music, drama and dance

Showcasing the very best in local young talent, the Alexandra’s annual Stage Experience is open to anyone aged 9-24 years old who have a passion for performance, wardrobe, stage management or behind-the-scenes technical skills. Over the last few weeks, 60 young performers and 10 technicians from all over the West Midlands have intensively rehearsed to bring their latest production to life. 

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King Kong is Back!

Fifty years after its first exhibition, a key piece of Birmingham history has returned to the city. 

The brainchild of Birmingham property developers Cordia Blackswan in collaboration with Hockley Social Club, a seven metre (22ft) statue of King Kong is on display at the the new King Kong Park on Great Hampton Row in the Jewellery Quarter. 

Created by artist Nicholas Monro, King Kong was commissioned in 1972 for display in Manzoni Gardens in the Bull Ring. Following the brief to make it ‘city oriented,’ the 18ft fibreglass statue (chosen because of its association with New York City), quickly became a popular icon but was sold four months later once sponsorship funding dried up. After being displayed elsewhere in Birmingham and then at markets in Edinburgh and Penrith, it now resides in a garden overlooking the Penrith Hills. 

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Press Review: Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ An evening of hilarious and unadulterated chaos. A joy to watch!

Note: This review is for the UK 2022 tour.

Based on the beloved 1970’s sitcom by Ray Allen starring Michael Crawford and directed by the award-winning Guy Unsworth, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em tells the story of the accident-prone Frank Spencer (Joe Pasquale). His wife Betty (Sarah Earnshaw) has exciting news, but he’s preoccupied by possible newfound fame as a magician. Joined by Betty’s mother Mrs Fisher (Susie Blake), her boyfriend Mr Luscombe (Moray Treadwell), and priest Father O’Hara (James Paterson), there are plenty crossed wires, misunderstandings and mishaps as Frank and Betty attempt to host a dinner party and do an interview with the BBC. 

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Date Night in the City

Part of my Happiness List for July is Date Night – spending time with The Bloke for no other reason than just because. An opportunity presented itself recently to go out into Birmingham and do just that.

Those of you who have followed the blog for a long time will be aware of my obsession with the musical RENT. It has been something that has been a big part of our relationship – he has ‘No Day But Today’ engraved on the inside of his wedding ring, we walked back up the aisle to ‘I’ll Cover You’ after we got married, he even went along with it when I wanted to go and find Antony Rapp when we went to watch it in London in 2016 (read about the whole adventure here). While it’s our favourite show it’s rare that we get the chance to see it, so when an ad appeared on Facebook that there was a performance at the Blue Orange Theatre in the Jewellery Quarter that evening we booked tickets and decided to turn it into a pseudo-spontaneous date night. 

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An Interview with Hayley Ria Christian: Midnight Train to Georgia

Capturing the essence of the Multi Award Winning Ms Gladys Knight, Hayley Ria Christian performs the magic of Gladys Knight’s hits in Midnight Train to Georgia, appearing on stage at The Alexandra Theatre on Thursday 7th July.

I had the opportunity to have a chat with Hayley about the show, her love of Gladys Knight’s music and her own experiences throughout her amazing career.

I’m so excited about the show! Tell us more about it!

I created the show in mind of Gladys Knight’s story, with hits that you know she did, but also the hits that you’re thinking “ooh! I didn’t know she did that one!” too. She did a lot of covers, but also a lot of people have done lots of covers of hers. I want to introduce people to the original music and share the love. 

Hayley Ria Christian in Midnight Train to Georgia

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Creating a Happiness List

In light of recent revelations about changes that needed to be made and breaking out of the little bubble I have built for myself, I decided to start by breaking everything down and working out what it was that I actually wanted to do to make those changes in a productive way. 

I was talking to my sister-in-law recently and she suggested creating a Happiness List. It was quite a profound idea – thinking about what it is that creates happiness and actively working towards it. 

It’s sometimes difficult to remember that we are responsible for our own happiness – there is nobody else that knows us as well as we do – and a Happiness List is a great way to take charge and create a personal level of accountability.

I thought I would give it a try…

Image: Ivan Samkov on Pexels

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Breaking Out of the Bubble

At the halfway point of the year I have found myself reflecting on the last six months. At the beginning of January, when everything was feeling fresh and exciting with lots of new possibilities, I set just a single goal. Hitting the ground running I threw myself into making it happen, and so far it has. Unfortunately, the quest to achieve has started to have a detrimental impact in an unexpected way, and so I have decided to make a few changes.

I love my job. Genuinely. I love, love, love it. I get to work with fascinating people, learn new things and don’t have the confines of working for someone else. I don’t have a daily commute, my schedule is my own and I can take time off to suit my own lifestyle.

At least, that’s how it should be. 

Image by Andre Furtado – Pexels

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Press Review: Guys and Dolls at the Alexandra Theatre

 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A fun production for all the family!

Directed by Stephen Duckham, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, Guys and Dolls is the latest production from the BMOS Musical Theatre Company, an amateur performing arts group with members of all ages from across the West Midlands. 

Revered as one of the classics, Guys and Dolls tells the story of Nathan Detroit (Pat Pryce) who needs $1,000 to host a crap game. In an effort to raise the money, he bets gambler Sky Masterson (James Gordanifar) that he can’t take the virtuous Sister Sarah Brown on a date to Havana, Cuba. Meanwhile, Nathan is also being chased by his fiancé of 14 years, Miss Adelaide (Jo Smith), who is desperate to get married and settle down…

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