Calendar Girls The Musical ~ New Cast : New Enthusiasm

I’ve been reviewing musical theatre productions since 2012. My love of musical theatre dates back to my wee small years when my parents took me to see a number of popular shows at either Birmingham Hippodrome, Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham or Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Great memories remain and the buzz I reveled in at the time and on our way home afterwards while I clutched my programme and finished off any sweets we might have had left is a feeling I cherish. Inevitably there comes a point where, as a regular theatre-goer, you’ll have seen the vast majority of productions in a variety of incarnations. I reached a stale-mate with musical theatre recently, where apart from Blood Brothers which remains a steady favourite, I’ve lacked the inspiration and will to get up and go to see musicals.

The inspirational block wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as it turned my head in the direction of the Opera and I’ve been lapping up as many opportunities as possible to go to see different Operas. However, there is another musical theatre production that I have a passion for aside from Blood Brothers. I saw this particular musical twice in the West End and had great fun interviewing one of the stars of the show too, Claire Machin, Calendar Girls the Musical from the combined force of Mr Gary Barlow of Take That fame and Tim Firth is the one I’m referring to and the soundtrack from the West End cast has a regular home in our car for sing-alongs, it’s addictive!

Sarah Jane Buckley will be missed when she leaves one of my favourite musicals, Blood Brothers!

One of the many reasons that I return to Blood Brothers time and time again is that Sarah Jane Buckley has been playing the role of Mrs Lyons and understudying Mrs Johnstone. She is incredibly believable as both characters, giving beautifully nuanced performances. She’s also one of a few performers I make a great effort to support, as she has been immensely supportive of my little blogging empire. I had fully intended to see Calendar Girls the Musical on its tour before this year, especially as Fern Britton was cast as Marie, the disapproving W.I. Leader. However, I have now got yet another reason to get out there and see it – there’s a brand new cast (although Rebecca Storm and Ruth Madoc (who was one of my childhood heroes) remain) and Sarah Jane Buckley is playing the role of Annie. It’s a part which I watched Joanna Riding and Jenny Gayner play at the Phoenix Theatre, London and which I had my eye on for Sarah Jane to play, funnily enough, I knew she’d fit it brilliantly.

I loved The Girls when it ran at the Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End

So, with midlands tour dates on their list and not only Sarah Jane Buckley on the cast list, which is a draw in itself for me obviously, but also Sue Devaney who I loved in ‘Dinnerladies’ and Julia Hills of 2 Point 4 Children fame joining the line up – I need to go and see the show again (and again!). My enthusiasm for the show has been renewed of course, but also my enthusiasm for musical theatre off the back of my palpable excitement. The buzz is back and I’m raring to see more musicals because I’m so enthused about the tour of Calendar Girls. Of course, when you’re a fan-girl, as I am, and your best-loved performer is taking on a new challenge, that in itself is always quite a moment. Sarah Jane will embrace the role of Annie and make it her own, that’s my totally biased view… I can already imagine her singing ‘Scarborough’. I can’t wait!!!

I can’t wait to see Calendar Girls the Musical again – ‘Sunflower’ is one of my best loved songs from the show

When it comes to any production, be it a musical, a play, a television series or even a film – we all have our favourites in the various roles and there’s no denying that the West End cast of ‘The Girls‘, as it was called then, were outstanding. From Sophie Louise Dann to Claire Machin to Michele Dotrice and indeed Joanna Riding – each and every one of the girls and boys in the cast put their heart and soul into the show. However, I hope that all the theatre fans out there who have a passion for the show as I do will give the new cast a chance. I think they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

With the announcement finally out there today that there’s a new line-up in the offing to get behind those buns, I’m just so happy that my musical mojo is back! Bring on a year of musical theatre trips in 2019!

If you want to book tickets for the tour, you’ll see the current cast until the gang head to Southend. I’m sorry to have missed out on the chance of seeing Fern Britton, however from Southend onwards I predict a new magic in the air for this amazing piece of musical theatre.

calendargirlsthemusical.com

Photo Credit: John Swannell

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Bobbi Brown Red Carpet Make-Over

It’s no secret that I attended the National Television Awards at The O2, London last month. Two of my buddies and team-mates joined me for the experience and we had a fantastic girls day and night out. As luck would have it, Bobbi Brown UK had re-launched a studio in the Oxford Street John Lewis store merely months before we planned to celebrate awards season.

Thanks to their wonderful PR, the three of us were treated to a red carpet make-over so that we were awards ready and the hassle of applying our own make-up was one thing ticked off our list for the evening ahead.

We were greeted by Molly, Aaminah and Kyah who immediately made us feel at ease (none of us are regulars when it comes to putting ourselves in the hands of make-up artists!) and we were quickly seated in front of the mirrors ready to put out trust and faith in these wonderfully creative professionals.

Molly immediately started to work with the colours of my dress for the evening which I was conveniently wearing for the session. You’ll see my before and after photos below, the first being of my completely make-up free face and the second being the after result.

My skin treatment and makeup from the Bobbi Brown UK range included:

Skincare – Cleanser/Toner – Extra Treatment Lotion, Treatment – Extra Repair Serum, Eye Cream – Extra Repair Eye, Face Cream – Extra Repair Moisture Cream

Skin Foundation Stick Shade – Porcelain

Corrector Formula – Creamy, Shade – Extra Light Bisque, Concealer Formula – IEC, Shade – Porcelain

Foundation Formula – Extra tinted balm, Shade – Alabaster tint, Correct & Perfect – Skin Stick – O

Powder Formula – Nude Finish, Shade – Porcelain

Bronzer – Stonestreet, Blush – Pink Brightening Brick, Highlight – Pink Glow

Lip Colour – Rose Petal Nourishing, Lip Pencil – Pink Mauve

Brows Formula – Brow Shaper, Shade – Brunette

Long Wear Eye Base – Light, All Over Shadow – Cream (Night Drama)

Lower Lid Shadow – Torched (Night Drama) Sunflare Luxe, Crease Shadow – Heat Ray Luxe

Eye Liner Formula – Black Ink/Charcol, Shade – Ogel/Eyeshadow

Mascara – Smokey Eye

Hayley Makepeace – Before Photo

My long-time very close friend, Hayley Makepeace experienced the Party Ready treatment from Kyah – you can see her make up free photo above and below is her finished look…

The result! Make-Over completed and Party ready!

Hayley’s look was achieved with the following Bobbi Brown UK products:

Skincare – Soothing cleansing oil, Treatment lotion, Hydrating eye cream, Vit enriched face base, Extra illuminating balm – bare glow

Instant Full Cover concealer, Shade – beige

Skin foundation, Shade – beige

Nude Finish illuminating Powder, Shade – Nude

Bronzer – Medium, Blush – Tawny, Highlight – Afternoon Glow

Lip Colour – Downton Plum Luxe, Lip Pencil – Pink Mauve

Brows Formula – Perfectly Defined LW Pencil, Shade – Mahogany

Eyes – Golden Bronze Shadow Stick, Crease Shadow – Taupe

Eyeliner Gel – Sepia Ink, Shade – Black Ink

Smokey Eye Mascara

Allspice Sparkle Shadow

Clear Brow Shaper

Jen Franklin – without make-up!

Jen Franklin is a close friend I met on social media a few years ago and we share many common interests. Jen was treated to a Soft Glam make-over. Check out her before photo above and the finished picture below!

The result! Jen’s Soft Glam Look…

Jen’s Bobbi Brown UK Make-Over was achieved by Aaminah with the following products:

Skincare – Hydrating tonic, Hydrating Eye Cream, Hydrating Gel Cream

Skin Foundation Stick – Beige #3

Corrector Formula – Creamy Corrector, Shade – Bisque, Concealer Formula – Instant Full Coverage, Shade – Beige

Foundation Formula – Skin long-wear weightless, Shade – Beige #3, Correct & Perfect – Skin Weightless Powder Beige #3

Powder – Nude Finish Illuminating Powder, Shade – Nude

Bronzer – Natural, Blush – Tawny Brightening Brick, Highlight – Pink Glow

Neutral Rose Luxe Lip Colour, Lip gloss – Nougat

Brows Formula – Powder, Shade – Mahogany

All Over Eye Shadow – Golden Bronze/All Spice, Lower Lid Shadow – Rich Brown

Smokey Eye Mascara

3-in-1 Hydrating Setting Spray

Here we are – ready for the National Television Awards. Thanks Bobbi Brown UK!

Crucible of the Vampire ~ Film Review

The title itself suggests that there’s a historical genre in store, however it gives little away as to the light erotic LGBT content. It’s a film packed with overt horror, underlying messages, a slightly unstable storyline perhaps yet it’s entertaining and gripping in equal measure. The characters are all purposeful and well-rounded which helps to move the action along in a dark, not entirely vampire-driven film set in Shropshire.

The backstory of the sorcerer’s dark conjuring of the female vampire shows him casting his spell on the owner of a country mansion in the year 1807. At the heart of the story is a character called Isabelle (Katie Goldfinch) – she’s investigating the truth behind the legend of the crucible and is therefore sent to the mansion by her University Professor. Isabelle is your archetypal young woman who’s blissfully unaware of the horrors awaiting her and is easily taken in. She’s a virgin, therefore she’s just the sort of meat the inhabitants of the mansion are looking for.

Karl (Larry Rew) is the owner, he’s almost a caricature of villainy. His wife, Evelyn (Babette Barat) is almost too over the top in her politeness. Their daughter, Scarlet (Florence Cady) is the most openly ‘delighted’ by the visitor. The introductions set the tone for the rest of the movie. There’s also a fairly innocuous gardener whom it’s wise not to take your eye off – played by Neil Morrissey.

Crucible of the Vampire is a hybrid of Hammer Horror and horror comedy Dark Shadows – from my perspective. There are elements that set out to scare and other scenes I can’t quite take seriously. However it’s a compelling watch with a strong cast and Director/Co-Writer Iain Ross-McNamee has certainly embodied an interesting niche.

Crucible of the Vampire is available on Dual Format (DVD & Blu-ray) from Screenbound Pictures. 

Entertainment Views Interview: Florence Cady – Star of Crucible of the Vampire

Crucible of the Vampire was released in cinemas yesterday and it looks set to be a thrilling piece of cinematography. Actress Florence Cady plays the role of Scarlet in the film and I caught up with her to find out all about the character she plays and why she thinks that vampire movies have stood the test of time.

Florence Cady as Scarlet

Thanks for chatting to Enertainment Views, Scarlet. Tell me about Crucible of the Vampire and what attracted you to be part of it?

Crucible Of The Vampire is a Gothic Vampire Thriller set in present day Shropshire in a large country house. Stylistically, it draws from classic British horror of the 1950s and 1960s, along with modern Korean and Japanese psychological horror. I was attracted to the idea of playing a strong, multi-faceted female character. It was a great opportunity to get my teeth into (excuse the pun) a complex, dynamic and varied role. I was also drawn to the idea of doing my own action scenes, including: horse-riding, fight scenes and a dance sequence. It is not often that you get the chance to play a lead role and also do your own physical work.

What are the strengths and quirks of your character?

Scarlet is a strong character both physically and mentally. She is extremely powerful and incredibly manipulative, but this is born out of her inner anxiety and feeling of isolation and entrapment. Scarlet initially appears to be a petulant child, and then she develops into a dangerous seductress and manipulative psychopath. She has a strong character arc and a deep secret. She is very volatile and becomes intensely angry at the flick of a switch, which can be quite sinister. But, she is also very playful and girlish at times. She is a dreamer, driven by her fantasy of escape. Our director, Iain Ross-McNamee was brilliant at allowing us the space for our characters to develop whilst also having a clear vision of what he wanted Scarlet and Isabelle’s relationship to be like.

Official Trailer

What’s your favourite scene from the film?

I think my favourite scenes to film were the action sequences choreographed by stunt co-ordinator, Justin Pearson. Katie and I worked with Justin to learn the fight scenes, almost like a dance sequence. It was quite exhilarating to chase each other down the corridors at night, whilst trying to get the moves in the right order, which became second nature after a short rehearsal period. I also enjoyed learning the dance sequence set in the ballroom, which was choreographed by Vikki Burns. The room had such beautiful natural light and it was a great space to work in. In preparation for the role, I went back to barre classes to refresh my ballet, and I stretched daily to ensure I was prepared for the short rehearsal period on set with Vikki.

Any particular memories from making the film?

I have lots of fond memories from making the film. It was a fantastic opportunity so early on in my career, and also a chance to escape London and live in the beautiful Shropshire countryside. One particular memory I have is of shooting the dream sequence on a gorgeous white stallion. I remember at one point the horse-handler saying to me ‘there are 18 acres of land here, and he hasn’t had a gallop in a while, so don’t get too confident!’ Luckily the horse was very well-behaved, and I manged to stay upright. It was a challenge to try and remain calm, get the horse to do as it was told, whilst looking elegant and serene.

What’s your best loved genre of film?

I’m a big fan of Film Noir. I wrote my dissertation on Women in Film Noir, looking at the on-going fascination of the femme fatale from the classic noir of the 1940’s onwards, to neo-noir from the 1970’s to present day. I’m fascinated by the elusive archetype of the femme fatale and the distinct visual style of the ‘genre’. Our film shares one of its key themes: the blurred lines between fantasy and reality, which we used to explore the dreamlike quality of certain parts of the film.

Why do you think that Vampires hold such fascination for film fans?

I think Vampires hold such a fascination for films fans because they are an archetype that instantly conjures up a strong image of a dark, brooding, charming and sexually provocative character. They also represent the disparity of how a person can appear to be one thing, but are completely the opposite. As with Scarlet in the film, at the beginning we wanted to make it feel like she was just a troubled, tormented soul driven by her desire to escape her life confined to her parent’s house. Vampires are often lonely, isolated characters and I think all humans can I identify with that feeling at some point in their life. They are also fascinating because they are superhuman, extremely powerful and can live for hundreds of years. They transcend the ordinary.

Why should we all watch Crucible of the Vampire?

You should all watch Crucible of the Vampire because it has garnered rave reviews at major festivals, including Starburst International Film Festival which called it “an engaging story that is both broodingly ethereal, visually eloquent and thoroughly enjoyable.” It is an intense, provocative and disturbing horror that will make you uncomfortable at times and challenge your perceptions, harking back to the classic British horror of a by-gone era.

Thanks to Florence for an insightful interview.

Crucible of the Vampire is in cinemas 1st Feb and on Dual Format (DVD & Blu-ray) on 4 Feb 2019 from Screenbound Pictures

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