I love London. I’m lucky in that I live 90 minutes away on the train and, when booked in advance, tickets are pretty cheap. The Bloke and I used to visit three or four times a year before the pandemic, usually staying overnight. We would take a section of London that we had never visited before and I would map out ideas of things to see and do.
Now that there aren’t any more restrictions, I have very tentatively started to visit again. Our last trip was last September for my not-quite 40th birthday, and I went on a shorter trip with my mum a little while ago.
I have noticed a huge difference in the last decade of how Instagram has become an integral part of the marketing strategy for many cafes and restaurants. Flower walls, neon signs, even highlighted sections on menus advertising ‘Instagram-worthy’ dishes and drinks have appeared.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A feel-good show full of fun and nostalgia
Note: This review is for the UK 2022 tour.
Featuring rock ’n’ roll songs from the million-selling Dreamboats and Petticoats albums, we see the return of Bobby, Laura, Sue and the gang in the third instalment of the smash-hit musical on stage at the Alexandra Theatre this week.
With a healthy dose of nostalgia from the start, we follow the story of Norman and the Conquests as they take on a summer gig at Butlins, Bognor Regis, and the interweaving sub-plots of the band members and their friends. Bobby (David Ribi) and Laura (Elizabeth Carter) are struggling with a long-distance relationship while Laura reluctantly embarks on a summer season in Torquay, Sue (Lauren Anderson-Oakley) feels unwanted and overlooked by flirtatious husband Norman (Alastair Hill) after giving birth to their baby. Band manager Ray (David Luke) is unsure of his career as a hairdresser and convinces girlfriend, Donna (Samara Clarke) to join them at Butlins. Including songs such as C’Mon Everybody, Blue Moon, Mony Mony and Keep on Running, we are taken on a trip down memory lane as the characters navigate their way through the trials and tribulations of young love while wanting more from their music careers. There is plenty of chemistry and all are talented vocalists, each getting the opportunity to shine in both the individual and group numbers.
The acclaimed novel by C.S. Lewis has been brought to life on stage with the production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Directed by Michael Fentiman and based on the original production by Sally Cookson with original Set and Costume design by Rae Smith, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe tells the story of Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter, wartime evacuees who discover the world of Narnia inside a wardrobe.
Direct from London, the acclaimed production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is coming to the Alexandra Theatre stage in Birmingham this week and I had to opportunity to have a quick chat with cast member Samuel Buttery, who is playing the role of Mr Beaver. When we spoke they were on a train on the way to Birmingham.
It sounds like you’ve had a really busy time!
It’s be so busy! I think this month we’ve been to Edinburgh, Plymouth, Canterbury, Glasgow and now Birmingham. It’s a lot!
What can the Birmingham audience expect from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe?
I think they can expect something heartfelt. It feels like a communal endeavour without being poncy and too insincere. I’m lucky in that everyone in the cast and company is really nice and we have formed really close bonds, and the play ends up being about community and togetherness and what happens when goodness can win.
Based on the classic 1987 Paramount Pictures Corporation motion picture starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, James Dearden (who also wrote the screenplay) has adapted the definitive movie thriller into a new stage play.
Fatal Attraction tells the story of lawyer Dan Gallagher (Oliver Farnworth), who has a weekend affair with the seductive Alex Forrest (Kym Marsh) after meeting in a bar while his wife, Beth (Susie Amy) and daughter are out of town. While initially perceiving it to be a short fling and wanting to return to his normal life, he soon discovers that Alex isn’t willing to let him go…
I started February with the best of intentions. I had just completed a No Spend Challenge over January and was feeling a massive sense of achievement, so set myself a whole series of goals over February. One of them was to blog at least twice a week… and now it’s March and to say I failed spectacularly would be an understatement.
However, despite the storms and constant rain, February was fast-paced and pretty exciting at times with lots of both short and long-term unexpected opportunities.
Ever heard the analogy about waiting for a bus for ages and then three all arrive at once?
Based on the classic Paramount Pictures Corporation motion picture, James Dearden’s intoxicating new stage play of Fatal Attraction, brings the definitive movie thriller to Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre. I had the opportunity to have a chat with Oliver Farnworth – who plays the lead male role of Dan Gallagher – ahead of the show arriving in Birmingham this week.
Fatal Attraction is coming to the Alexandra Theatre. What can the Birmingham audience expect from Fatal Attraction?
I think the title ‘Fatal Attraction’ will be fairly familiar to a lot of the audience. The notion of the ‘bunny boiler’ was born from the iconic ‘80s film with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close playing the two protagonists. There will be a familiarity with the original story which is obviously very tense and twisted, a gripping psychological thriller. With any adaptation you wouldn’t necessarily want to go and see a film word for word put on stage, so there is very much a theatrical adaptation. James Dearden the writer has been on board and he’s updated the script – there’s a bit more of a twist in the ending. I’d say he’s brought it into more modern day as far as there are more questions around culpability and motives, blame and consequence, It’s very much a classic thriller but brought into an updated, modernised stage version using lots of theatrical licence, twists and tricks. But fans of the original won’t be disappointed – we’ve kept a lot of the original content. There’s a lot to enjoy.
By week 4 I knew we would have to do a much larger shop, but I wanted to challenge myself even further. Inspired by the YouTube budget eating challenges from June from Budget Eats and Atomic Shrimp, I wanted to buy an entire weeks worth of groceries for as little as possible and eat just what I had purchased.
January is the quietest month in terms of birthdays and events
I needed something to kickstart a frugal mindset that I hope will carry me through the rest of the year.
I set myself some rules for the month:
Money can (and should!) be spent on rent, bills and essentials like groceries, toiletries and petrol.
Money can be spent on parking should an activity be free. The reason why I am including this is that we have several press reviews at the theatre coming up over January, and while the tickets are complimentary we pay a few pounds for parking.
Should I need to go somewhere, I am allowed to spend money on bus fare, but not on a taxi unless it is an emergency (Note: I never learned to drive, hence why I am including this).
I am not allowed to spend money on non-essential items, including new clothes, books, takeaways, snacks, meals out, taxis, drinks at the pub etc.
Week 1 was surprising. I figured that after the excess of Christmas the best way to cut back on spending was to start with food, and that’s exactly what I did. I spent £9.91 on groceries – mainly fresh fruit and veg – and combined that with the food left over in the cupboards, fridge and freezer. We had no takeaways, didn’t eat out anywhere and had no snacks at all. We also spent £10.50 on parking when we went to the theatre (we’re on the press team so the tickets were free), taking it to a grand total of £20.41. When looking at everything we would normally spend in a week, we saved about £111.
We continued into week 2 with the same criteria and mindset. I did a food shop again from Aldi, this time spending £8.25. We still had staples left over – potatoes, pasta, rice, frozen fish – and random boxes of frozen party food etc, so I followed the same pattern I had from the week before. I made three meals a day, utilised leftovers and got a little bit creative with some meals – who knew that vegetable samosas would go so well with homemade soup??
Based on the 2003 movie starring Jack Black and with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes, School of Rock tells the story of Dewey Finn (Jake Sharp), a wannabe rock star who impersonates a substitute teacher in a prestigious prep school. Upon discovering the musical talent of his young students he forms a band in an attempt to win the Battle of the Bands contest.