⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 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.
Bat Out of Hellis a rock musical with with music, lyrics and book by Jim Steinman. Steinman was a prolific songwriter, with hits including Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me Now and Air Supply’s Making Love Out of Nothing at All, but is probably best known as the composer of the songs for Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album trilogy. These are predominantly the musical numbers that feature throughout the show.
Alice in Wonderland is a retelling of the Lewis Carrol classic, with a young cast of performers from BOA (Birmingham Ormiston Academy).
Creatively reimagined, Alice in Wonderland focuses not on Alice herself, but the experiences of her three daughters as they navigate the eclectic and bizarre world of their imaginations. Alongside the well-known characters of the story – the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and the Queen of Hearts – we are introduced to plenty of weird and wonderful personalities, from talking doors and playing cards, to a crab, Pat the Guinea Pig, Bill the Lizard and a rather hilarious cook.
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!
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.
Note: this review is for the 2021 UK tour of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Jamie is Back!
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie returned to the Alexandra Theatrelast night and this has been a show I had been particularly looking forward to. Jamie was the show that was in house when the pandemic restrictions began in 2020 and The Bloke and I were stood in the foyer, programme in hand, when it was announced that the show was forced to close before the performance had happened. Over 500 days later, the return of the show to a sold-out audience felt like a coming home celebration, and I was delighted to see most of the same cast returning.
Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. He is going to be a sensation.
With Music by Dan Gillespie Sells and the Book and Lyrics by Tom Macrae, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is based on the true story of Jamie Campbell – the star of BBC3 2011 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 – and has been a huge critical and success since it premiered at the Sheffield Crucible in 2017.
The show tells the story of Jamie New, a 16 year-old who has aspirations of becoming a drag queen.
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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As with most areas of social media, I was seemingly behind the rest of the world in realising the power of Instagram as a marketing tool. I’ve actually had an Instagram account since 2015, back in the days when (at least, from my perspective) the platform was primarily a place to share some nice photos, add a snazzy filter and throw in a few hashtags. I’ve had moments over the years where I have made attempts to do something with my Instagram, but it was easy to become disheartened when I didn’t see immediate results. If I’m honest, after a while I paid it little attention. Continue reading →
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.