Half a Sixpence at the Alexandra Theatre

Flash, Bang, Wallop! 

The Bloke and I were invited to see the BMOS Musical Theatre Company performance of Half a Sixpence at The Alexandra Theatre this week. 

A much-loved musical comedy based on the novel Kipps by H.G. Wells, Half a Sixpence tells the story of how suddenly inheriting a fortune can confuse everything you thought you knew about life.  Continue reading

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The Rocky Horror Show at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

 

The Rocky Horror Show Birmingham

The Rocky Horror Show Birmingham

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to go and see the The Rocky Horror Show at the Alexandra Theatre. It’s one of my favourite musicals (this being the third time that I have seen it), but my fifteen year old former self was particularly enthusiastic about the casting of Blue’s Duncan James in the roll of Frank’n’Furter and A1’s Ben Adams as Brad. Additionally, we were treated to pro dancer and performer (including as a pro dancer and winner on Strictly Come Dancing) Joanne Clifton, the ever fabulous Brummie Alison Hammond as the Narrator for the Birmingham shows only, and the incredible Kristian Lavercombe who was also reprising his role as Riff Raff, following more than 1300 performances in The Rocky Horror Show around the world. Indeed, he played the role in the last Rocky Horror performance that I watched and did a brilliant job.The Rocky Horror Show first began life in 1973 before an audience of just 63 people in the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, and tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank’n’Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his castle whilst on their way to visit their favourite college professor. The fact that it is outrageous and has a questionable plot doesn’t matter – the iconic songs and fishnets galore provide a brilliant theatre experience, and I couldn’t wait… Continue reading

The House on Cold Hill at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to watch a production of The House on Cold Hill at the Alexandra Theatre.

Adapted from the best-selling 2015 novel of multi-million selling author Peter James and based on his own experiences of a haunted house, the play is a ghostly thriller that tells the story of the Harcourt family – Ollie, Caro and daughter Jade – as they move from Brighton into their dream house in the country that has stood empty for the last forty years. As they begin to sense that they aren’t the only residents at Cold Hill, their new residence quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares… Continue reading

The 50th Anniversary Tour of Hair the Musical – The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Last night I was invited to see Hair at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. After winning the 2018 WhatsOnStage award and direct from a sell-out London run, the 50th Anniversary tour stars Dancing On Ice 2018 Winner Jake Quickenden as ‘Berger,’ Daisy Wood-Davis (Hollyoaks / Dreamboats and Petticoats) as ‘Shelia’ and Marcus Collins (X-Factor Finalist / Kinky Boots) as ‘Hud.’

Set in 1967, Hair tells the story of a group of politically active and sexually liberated  hippies – the ‘tribe’ – living a bohemian life in New York City. Claude, Berger, their roommate Sheila and their friends struggle to balance their lives against society and their conservative parents in ‘the Age of Aquarius,’ united in song as they rebel against the American flag and conscription of one of their own – Claude – into the Vietnam War. Continue reading

Greenday, Hot Dogs and a Bunny That Hates Me

As the weather has improved, The Bloke and I have been ‘out and about’ over the last week.

On Wednesday we went to see a performance of American Idiot at the Alexandra Theatre, a musical based around the songs of Green Day. I wasn’t sure what to expect – The Bloke is a huge fan of Green Day and our assumption was that it would be done in the same way that We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia are – incorporating the songs into the plot line. Marking the shows 10th anniversary, it was exactly that – set after 9/11 it follows the stories of three childhood friends and the individual journeys that they follow as they make their way in the world. Continue reading

Metamorphosis at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham

Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Kafka’s most famous story of a man who inexplicably finds himself transformed into a beetle gets a fresh adaptation from Bath-based company Beyond the Horizon.

Adam Lloyd-James had grown tired of the lack of creative control he had in the productions he was involved in as an actor. Out of this frustration came his company Beyond the Horizon, formed in 2015. It’s mission: to present audiences with a brand of live entertainment beyond what they usually see; something Metamorphosis definitely achieves. Continue reading

A Wicked Evening on the West End

The Bloke and I are in London to celebrate The Bloke’s 50th birthday. We’re staying in an awesome apartment and have had a whole bunch of things on the itinerary for the last few days. 

Last night we went to see Wicked for the first time. It has been something that we have both wanted to watch, and I have always been jealous of the fact that I never got to see the Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel partnership. Whenever we have come to London and wanted to see a show it has always seemed to either be sold out or too expensive and we have ended up going to watch something else instead. However, this time at least, as if the stars had aligned, we were able to get reasonably priced tickets in great seats, and I had been looking forward to it. Continue reading

A Wonderful Week and a Wedding

Last week was wonderful.

The Bloke and I watched Matilda on Monday night at the Birmingham Hippodrome. I’d heard endless good things and was intrigued to see how it transferred to the stage, and in many ways it didn’t disappoint. The set was incredible, the songs and choreography were great and some of the actors in particular (Bruce Bogtrotter, Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey) were fabulous. However, it wasn’t completely my thing – I’m an enormous RENT freak and the shows that I have enjoyed the most have much more of a rock inspired content (Rock of Ages being one of my favourites) and while the child actors were certainly talented, I found it difficult to totally understand their dialogue at times. There was also a technical hitch in the second half which caused the show to be suspended for a little while, so by the time it finished it felt excessively long. It’s certainly something that I’m glad we had the opportunity to watch, but probably not something that I would rush to see again.

Continue reading

NOISE at The Old Rep

From up-and-coming Midlands writer and director Thomas Moran and his company presentabsence Theatre comes “a new LGBTQ+ and deaf play.” NOISE follows the lives of five first-year university students in their shared flat, in particular Evan (Nicolas Ancelin) who is deaf. The play sees the development of Evan’s relationship with flatmate Harry (Dominic Holmes) and how they both deal with his impairment.

Despite their young ages and small number, the cast light up the stage of The Old REP, bringing energy and authenticity to their characters. The group work well as an ensemble, being totally believable as housemates and friends, but this is perhaps better shown through the several examples of physical theatre and montages in which all of the cast have co-ordinated their movements to fit with one another, avoiding any slip-ups (not an easy task on The Old REP’s small stage) whilst still managing to create dynamic sequences. Continue reading

A Lovely Break

The last few days have been fantastic, but I’m glad that I have a little bit of time left before I go back to work so I can recover!

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Some of the tube stations we visited

 

The Bloke and I couldn’t afford to go abroad this summer, so we decided to have a short break in London – there were a few things that we didn’t get the opportunity to do last time we were there and it’s somewhere that we both love…
I have just about managed to figure out the tube system – it works brilliantly but for some reason all the lines we wanted to use were delayed so we had to be creative in the routes that we took to get to our different destinations!

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Our first day was spent at the Victoria and Albert Museum where we toured the ‘David Bowie Is…’ Exhibition. We were lucky to get tickets – it was the last day of the exhibition and it had been sold out for a while, but MRH had bought us tickets when she’d visited a few weeks before. It was really interesting – we were given wireless headphones which linked to different songs and videos as we were walking round, adding an extra dimension to it. His costumes were highly unusual and creative (and it’s evident from the size of them that he’s a very short and slender man), but the highlight for me and The Bloke were his suit from the ‘Life On Mars’ video and some props from Labyrinth, a film that we adore. We then took the opportunity to explore the Japanese section – I love the samurai armour!

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In the evening we ate the most beautiful food at the ‘Gilbert Scott’ restaurant at the newly refurbished St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. My dessert in particular (chocolate mouse with marshmallow and toasted walnuts) was so fabulous I almost cried a little. I’ve never received service like it before – we were made to feel really special and it was such a wonderful experience.

The next day was the zoo. Both of us are animal mad, neither of us had been before and we were really excited. It’s situated near Camden, so we walked past the famous market and several Amy Winehouse tributes (her flat where she was found dead is in Camden) and arrived just as it opened. We were there for hours and only left when our feet and sore eardrums (from all the screaming kids) could take no more. I got back to the hotel and slept for several hours.

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In the evening we went to see ‘Rock Of Ages’ at the Garrick Theatre. I’ve
seen the film a million times, but had never seen the musical that it was
based on, so I was looking forward to it. It turned out to be the best production I’ve ever seen. Fabulous is not the word. It was a small, incredibly talented cast who absolutely did justice to every element of the show. We left the theatre with a buzz, and I’ve had one of the songs in my head ever since.

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The following day was spent being tourists in Covent Garden and down by the London Eye next to the Thames. I sat on a bench generally people watching (and resting my feet) and The Bloke went off with his camera for a while. It was windy but warm, I loved the calm and serene atmosphere and I had a really interesting time people watching.  Bliss.

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We returned to three sulky cats (my friend has been looking after them while we away and they always sulk at us for leaving them) and now The Bloke is asleep on the couch.

A wonderful few days… Time passed far too quickly!!