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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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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An Interview with Patrick Pryce from the BMOS Birmingham Musical Society

BMOS Musical Theatre Company returns to The Alexandra stage to bring to life Guys and Dolls, a fantastic and funny musical story of gambling, luck and love under the bright lights of Broadway. I had the opportunity to speak to BMOS member Patrick Pryce who is playing Nathan Detroit.

Tell us more about the show!

Guys and Dolls is the classic 1950’s musical, made famous by the film starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. It’s all about a gangster called Nathan Detroit who is trying to run an illegal crap game for some dodgy characters in New York, and he’s got to find a venue but he needs $1,000 but he’s broke. He’s constantly being chased by his fiancé of 14 years, Adelaide, to get married. He comes up with a scheme to bet a high rolling gambler – Sky Masterson – $1,000 to raise this money that he needs. He bet’s Sky that he can’t take a girl from the Salvation Army, Sergeant Sarah Brown, to Havana in Cuba. The hard-nosed, high-flying Masterson does take her to Havana by tricking her in saying that he will bring some sinners to her prayer meeting, but he falls in love. 

The thing with Guys and Dolls is that the show is hilarious – it’s zany, funny, it’s got all the magic numbers like Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat, Luck Be a Lady, If I Were a Bell, it’s amazing. 

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When the Universe Steps In…

… or, Queen + Adam Lambert, doing too much and getting covid.

At the beginning of May I proclaimed that my goal for the next few months would be to take it easy.

The intentions were good, but I ended up doing the exact opposite. 

That is, until the universe stepped in. 

May and June were filled with lots of positive things and brilliant opportunities. 

Work-wise, it was crazy busy, in a good way. I often find that freelancing is comparable to buses (ie. you wait for one for ages and then three all arrive at once) and this is what happened as soon as I decided to take a bit of a step back – it went nuts. I LOVE what I do it, but it isn’t the work itself that takes the time, it’s the calls, meetings, planning and set up that really sucks the minutes from the day. Admittedly, there was a period of a few weeks where I was worried that I had taken on more than I could handle. I eventually figured out the best way to move forward, got into a routine and it has been much better since, but I’ll be more cautious in the future not to take on that amount all in one go again!

On a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I was downstairs in the living room watching TV, and I heard The Bloke thundering down the stairs. He rushed into the room, almost yelling:

“Want to go and see Queen and Adam Lambert?” 

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An Interview With Gabriel Paul

Hailed “a gut-busting hit” by the New York TimesThe Play That Goes Wrong is now in its seventh year in the West End and is currently on tour around the UK. Starring as Trevor, I had the honour of chatting with actor Gabriel Paul last week ahead of the show coming to The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

How is everything going so far?

It’s been going great – we’ve been selling out! We starting in Bath on April 20th, we have been up to North Wales, back down to South End, and then to Leicester. 

What can the Birmingham audience expect from the The Play That Goes Wrong? 

It’s a play about the Cornley Drama Society who are a bunch of amateur actors and they are putting on a 1920s murder mystery. As the title of the show suggests, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. 

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Press Review: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Alexandra Theatre

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…

The smash hit West End show is at The Alexandra Theatre this week and The Bloke went along to watch. 

The Cornley Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does! As the accident prone amateur thesps battle on against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue!

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Press Review: Catch Me If You Can at the Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A clever twist on the classic whodunnit

Note: This review is for the Catch Me If You Can UK Tour 2022. It’s useful to note that this play is not associated with the 2002 Steven Spielberg film of the same name. 

Originally based on a French play by Robert Thomas, this American version was written by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert that debuted on Broadway in 1965. The UK tour is produced by the renowned Bill Kenwright.

Inspector Levine (Gray O’Brien) is called to a house in the remote Catskill mountains to investigate the disappearance of newly married Elizabeth Corban. In a bizarre development a woman (Linda Purl) arrives at the house claiming to be the missing Elizabeth but, instead of celebrating the reunion, her husband Daniel (Dallas legend Patrick Duffy) claims that she is an imposter. 

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An Interview with Linda Purl

Catch Me If You Can, a gripping psychological thriller by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert in on stage at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham this week. Starring Dallas legend Patrick Duffy, Linda Purl (Happy Days, Homeland, The Office) and Gray O’Brien (Peak Practice, Coronation Street), the play tells the story of Inspector Levine, who is called to a house in the remote Catskill mountains to investigate the disappearance of newly married Elizabeth Corban. In a bizarre development a woman arrives at the house claiming to be the missing Elizabeth but, instead of celebrating the reunion, her husband accuses her of being an imposter… 

I had the honour of speaking to actress Linda Purl recently ahead of her upcoming Birmingham shows to find out more about the play, life on the road and her incredible career on both stage and screen. 

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