Press Review: Dirty Dancing at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2021 UK tour of Dirty Dancing.

As someone who has seen the film so many times that I can still recite the dialogue and lyrics by heart, I was interested to see how it would translate from the big screen to the Alexandra Theatre stage

Dirty Dancing tells the story of Frances “Baby” Houseman, an idealistic middle-class teen who is vacationing with her family at the sleepy Kellerman Resort in 1963. Her summer is about to change when she meets the charming and handsome resort dance instructor Johnny Castle…

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Press Review: The Cat and the Canary at the Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review of The Cat and the Canary is for the 2021 UK tour.

“Twenty years after the death of Mr. West, his descendants gather to learn who will inherit his vast wealth and the hidden family jewels. Within moments, the heritage hunters turn into prey. Walls crack open, shadows loom, and dark secrets are revealed.”

On a suitably dark and rainy Monday evening, we sat down at the Alexandra Theatre to watch the latest show from The Classic Thriller Theatre Company with their production of 1920s murder mystery The Cat and the Canary.

The original play, written by John Willard, opened on Broadway almost a century ago and has since spawned three movie adaptations. The plot utilises that classic whodunnit setup and setting; assembling an ensemble cast in an ancestral mansion on a dark, stormy night, just in time for things to start going awry when a homicidal maniac escapes from a nearby asylum. Adapted for a modern audience by Carl Grose, and directed by Roy Marsden, the play offers up all the twists and turns you would expect from the genre, along with some tongue-in-cheek humour and, of course, plenty of scares!

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Press Review: Rocky Horror Show at The Alexandra Theatre

Rocky Horror Show has returned to the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham and I was delighted to watch it again, over two years after the last amazing performance. 

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two all-American college kids who meet the charismatic Dr Frank’n’Furter and the strange and kooky inhabitants of a creepy mansion when their car breaks down. With hits including “Sweet Transvestite,” “Dammit, Janet” and the iconic “The Time Warp,” it is an adventure they’ll never forget, filled with frolics, frocks, and frivolity.

It may be the same show, but there were some changes in cast members and I was intrigued to see what effect this would have on the overall performance. 

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Press Review: Heathers the Musical at the Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2021 UK tour.

Based on the 1988 black comedy starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, Heathers the Musical has arrived at The Alexandra Theatre.

It might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder to be a somebody

Directed by Andy Fickman and with Book, Music and Lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, Heathers tells the story of Veronica Sawyer (Rebecca Wickes), an overlooked teen who attempts to make her journey through Westerberg High School more bearable by becoming associated with the ‘Heathers.’ 

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Press Review: Rock of Ages at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Note: This is a press review for the 2021 tour of Rock of Ages. 

Following a sell-out UK tour in 2018/2019, musical comedy Rock of Ages returned to the Alexandra Theatre. A jukebox musical featuring over 25 classic 80s rock anthems including Here I Go Again, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Wanted Dead or Alive and Don’t Stop Believing, Rock of Ages has become a global smash-hit, with sold-out seasons on Broadway, the West End, Las Vegas and spawning a Hollywood movie in 2012.

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I Left the House…

I haven’t posted since March which probably makes it the longest period of time in which I haven’t looked at the blog since I started it over eight years ago, and I’ve missed it. 

Part of the reason why I’ve had such a long absence is that there has been very little to post about. With lockdown restrictions only starting to ease over the last few weeks I’ve continued to live a rather Groundhog Day existence that has primarily involved getting up, washed and dressed, logging in, logging out, eating dinner and going to bed. It’s hasn’t been a bad thing – my workload has grown by a phenomenal level which has kept me really busy and I wake up most mornings raring to go and excited to start the day – but it has left little time to focus on my own content. 

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A Visit to Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome Starry Night

This is no ordinary art exhibition…

What has become abundantly clear amidst the chaos and confusion of the last seven months is just how essential the arts are, with many turning to art and culture within their own homes as a form of mental stimulation, creativity and self-care.

While I certainly count my blessings, some of the things I have missed the most during lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions have been the theatre and museums. Seeing a show or an exhibition – usually several times a month – provided an often much-needed opportunity to switch off from the stresses of the day, relax and immerse myself in an amazing performance or stunning piece of artwork by talented performers and creatives.

I’m a huge Van Gogh fan, being lucky enough to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, see The Starry Night at the MOMA in New York and Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and consequently I was ecstatic when I saw that the world-renowned Van Gogh Alive Experience was being premiered at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Continue reading

Visiting Bubbleology Birmingham

Bubbleology Birmingham

I’m a big fan of bubble tea, so I was delighted when I got the opportunity to visit the Bubbleology store in the Bullring, Birmingham and try out my favourite flavours.

Bubbleology is a leading bubble tea brand in the UK, beginning in Soho in 2011 with multiple stores now across Europe and the USA, serving a variety of fruit and milk teas, create-your-own brews and skinny drinks. All their bubble teas use freshly brewed organic tea, are 100% vegetarian, handmade to order and many bubble tea options are available in light versions. A favourite in Asia since the 1980’s, Bubble tea originated in Taiwan and gained its name from the floating bubbles that are created by the vigorous shaking to blend a tea base with milk, fruit and fruit juices. Signature bubbles of tapioca pearls (also known as ‘boba’) of a flavour of your choice are added, sitting at the bottom and popping when they are chewed on. Served hot or cold, they are placed in large transparent cups with a wide straw that allow the tapioca bubbles to be consumed at the same time as the liquid.

One of my favourite things about Bubble Tea is that I can pick and choose my flavours and pearls depending on how I am feeling that day. My favourite flavours centre around cold fruit infusions including mango, passionfruit and apple, but I have always been intrigued by the beautiful ‘Utopian’ Bubble Teas that are mixed with cream and come in beautiful ranbow colours. Here are just a few examples of the types of teas that can be ordered – images were taken from the Bubbleology website.

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Thoughts of Birmingham

I was horrified to wake up this morning to the news of multiple stabbings in Birmingham last night. There is still very little information, but after a news conference it was announced that sadly one person have died and six more people have been injured, two of them critically. It appears to be an attack by a single person who selected his victims at random, with no information to suggest that it was in any way a terrorist attack, gang related or a hate crime – something that has been speculated because some of these attacks took place in the Gay Quarter of the city.

Unfortunately, this has become an excuse for many to promote racist agendas and narratives and use it as an opportunity to start making disparaging remarks about the people and the city itself. Continue reading

Sunflowers, Sunday and September

I love Sunday mornings, particularly when the sun is out after several weeks of torrential rain. It’s hard to believe that September is only a few days away – it seems barely ten years ago that we were starting August…

Sundays are often my most reflective, and looking back it has been a long rollercoaster of a month.

Over July I posted every single day for a Gratitude Challenge… and then promptly burnt myself out. It was fairly inevitable at the time – my work schedule was crazy, lots of places were still under lockdown and I barely left the house, and while I never mind my own company (preferring more of an introverted lifestyle), I think staying indoors was beginning to get to me.  Continue reading