Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels

Hard to believe it’s been 30 cracking years since that loveable double act, Wallace & Gromit first graced our screens and quickly gathered a cracking following of fans of all ages. They’re one of my favourite animated duos of all time, in fact my little family and I met Gromit at Blackpool Pleasure Beach last year! Are you a fan of Wallace and Gromit too? If so, read on!

Carrot Productions team up with Aardman Animations for Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels UK tour in Spring 2019

The 38 date tour will feature live orchestral accompaniment from a professional orchestra drawn from members of the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic orchestras among others.   

In May and June 2019, Carrot Productions will tour Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels to 38 major venues across the UK, including London’s Barbican Centre, Manchester’s The Lowry, and Birmingham Symphony Hall.

Speaking about this new venture for her organisation, Carrot Productions’ Managing Director, Rachel Whibley, said: “We are so delighted that Aardman have granted us exclusive rights to launch this tour in the UK. With six years’ experience behind us of presenting The Snowman to thousands of satisfied audience members across the country, we are well placed to deliver this wonderful Wallace & Gromit programme. It will be a pleasure to present such a high-quality show in partnership with the inspirational team at Aardman, providing huge fun for audiences of all ages”.

Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels features Wallace preparing to perform his musical masterpiece My Concerto in Ee Lad with help from his faithful companion Gromit. This interactive experience features specially created animations as well as live orchestral accompaniment and escapades from the Picture House Orchestra and presenter Matthew Sharp. The show also exclusively features a screening of the all-time classic animation, The Wrong Trousers, again with live orchestral accompaniment.

Sean Clarke, Head of Rights and Brand Development, Aardman added: It is wonderful to see Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels going on tour in 2019, the 30th anniversary year of Wallace & Gromit! Carrot Productions have produced a fantastic show, featuring live orchestral music for one of Aardman’s best loved shorts, The Wrong Trousers, and we look forward to audiences across the UK having the opportunity to enjoy this unique musical experience.”

Carrot Productions are an innovative organisation: over the years they have commissioned several new works – both music and animation – to perform alongside The Snowman. They are relishing the opportunity to cover further new ground with this ambitious Wallace & Gromit tour.

Aardman, the world famous, four times Academy Award® winning animation studio, are creators of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Creature Comforts and Chicken Run among others. Nick Park’s Oscar-winning The Wrong Trousers was Aardman’s first 30-minute film and is one of the most successful animated films ever made.

Presenter Matthew Sharp is an internationally renowned musician, actor, director and performer.  He is recognised as both a compelling classical artist and a fearless pioneer, with his adventures in music and across disciplines described as ‘unrivalled’ and ‘unprecedented’. Booking for the tour is now open via the Carrot Productions website https://www.carrotproductions.com/

(c) TM Aardman/W&G Ltd. All rights reserved.

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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!

Highlights of 2018

I’m late with last year’s highlights but suffice to say that 2018 was a fantastic year for shows of all genres. A great mix was on offer for Entertainment Views to attend and there have been so many wonderful memories made along the way. Here are just a few of the stand-out opportunities I had…

Iolanthe (ENO)

Gilbert & Sullivan’s operettas have been on my radar for years and I’ve watched many of them, however I had never seen Iolanthe nor the wonderful ENO performing one of their famous operettas. So – the chance to see Iolanthe performed by the ENO at London’s Coliseum was too good a chance to miss. With Yvonne Howard giving an outstanding performance as the Fairy Queen and a cast de force, all I can say is bring on its return! Iolanthe Review

Hotel Transylvania 3

What a movie! My movie of the year for sure! If you’ve never seen the other movies in the franchise it doesn’t matter, you can dive into this one and soon get the gist of the hilarious plot and get to know the madcap characters. A great film for grown ups as well as kids.

Falstaff (Garsington Opera)

Opera is one of my new loves and Falstaff was one of my first experiences of a non-operetta style. It starred Yvonne Howard who (as you already know) is one of my all-time favourite performers and Henry Waddington was exceptional in the lead title role. Garsington offers beautiful surroundings and a unique setting – I hope to return this summer.  Falstaff Review

Falstaff by Verdi;
Garsington Opera at Wormsley;
13 June 2018;
Sir John Falstaff – Henry Waddington;
Conductor – Richard Farnes;
Director – Bruno Ravella;
Designer – Giles Cadle;
Lighting Designer – Malcolm Rippeth;
Movement Director – Tim Claydon;
Photo credit: © CLIVE BARDA/ArenaPAL;

Coventry Comic Con

One of my favourite Comic Cons returned for its second year and it was a glorious set-up as expected. Plenty of stalls, activities and cosplayers as well as a great spacious layout. Our who family love this one and can’t wait to go again this year. Coventry Comic Con Review

Blood Brothers

I adore Blood Brothers, it’s one of my all-time favourite musicals and for the past couple of years one of the best actresses (in my humble opinion) has been playing Mrs Lyons and understudying the role of Mrs Johnstone – the brilliant Sarah-Jane Buckley. I was lucky enough to see the show a few times in 2018 and look forward to seeing it again this year, although a few cast changes are afoot… Here’s one of my latest reviews: Blood Brothers Review

This Morning Live! 

I am a huge fan of This Morning and for those who know me well, you’ll be aware that I am also a massive fan of Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes. In Birmingham we’re really lucky to have the This Morning Live! show at the NEC and it was a superb experience. From shopping to cooking masterclasses to meeting the presenters themselves (I only managed to meet Alison Hammond this time around but she is amazing and so lovely) – I couldn’t recommend the show more. This Morning Live! Review

Sixties Gold Show

I’ve long been a fan of The Searchers and I’ve supported them on solo tours on many an occasion – however this was the first Sixties Gold tour I’d been to. It was one of the biggest highlights of my reviewing year and I’m really looking forward to the next one. It was such an amazing night, buzzing! Sixties Gold Tour Review

BBC Good Food Show

I’ve been interested in going to the BBC Good Food Show for years, I finally grabbed the opportunity to attend their winter show and it was everything I hoped it would be! I’m looking forward to attending the summer show this year. BBC Good Food Show

Claire Richards solo gig

I adore Steps, I have so many favourites from among their epic back-catalogue, however I am also loving Claire Richards as a solo artist. She’s got such a powerful voice and her versatility knows no bounds. A superb gig at Birmingham Town Hall showcased her talent, the album is out very soon and my review of her gig is here: Claire Richards Review

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Malvern Theatres)

Malvern Theatres has long been top of my list of midlands-based theatres and their production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a brilliant cornucopia of mad-cap stereotypical panto antics. Su Pollard was a revelation and stole the show. A well deserved five stars! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Review

The Future of Entertainment Views

On a final note, I wanted to update all of my valued readers and subscribers on the direction that 2019 will most likely see my small corner of the internet, taking. You can find a bit about this particular rambling on my https://entertainmentviews.co.uk/about/ but I wanted to use this post to chat a bit more about blogging and me. As an established blogger juggling a young family as well as having a bash at hanging on to a day job too, I’m often asked all of the questions I’m about to answer…

When

In 2013 I branched out as an independent theatre blogger, reviewing shows at the local theatres I’d built up a relationship with on behalf of an established review site which sadly no longer exists. Break A Leg Review was born at around the same time as I discovered I was pregnant so my progress was slow to begin with, although I kept up with it as much as possible. I worked full time in a day job with the NHS and my morning sickness was as backwards as I can be, in that it appeared in the evenings!

Where

I was reviewing in and around the West Midlands as that’s where I’m based and I had managed to secure a place on press lists at most of the theatres that I frequent. In 2015 I was lucky enough to connect with London theatres and due to suggestions from the various people I was interviewing, meeting and liaising with – I added movie and television reviews to the mix as well as music too. My blog took off in ways I could never have imagined during that year.

Why

I made the decision to reach out to London theatres (and many other venues around the UK) as well as add other types of review to my blog because I had become a mum in 2014. That’s the quick answer. Becoming a mum changed my life in thousands of ways. To begin with, I was so consumed by the tiny little boy in my life that I considered giving up my blog. However, having returned to my day job on a part time basis while I searched for a different career that would suit motherhood and the juggling, I was considering blogging and therefore working from home, as a viable option. I ended up in another NHS job working unsociable hours instead, however so draining on my mental health was this new job, that it became even more of a goal to be able to work from home.

How

I took yet another NHS job to keep the bank account happy and which made my mental health happier (for a limited period of time!) and worked hard throughout 2016 to try my hand at other things such as social media management and website creations. I might have been working part time in the NHS but with my other work (blog included) mounting up – it felt like the right time to take the plunge and work solely from home. Timing was good as 2017 was my little boy’s last full year at nursery before he started school in 2018.

And…

Truthfully, it worked for a while and was even enjoyable at times. I branched out into entertainment PR and dabbled in many areas. However, what I learned was that working from home and making a career out of blogging is not my thing. I still love to blog of course, but I don’t want my blog to be the be all and end all. The family dynamics change once your little one goes to school too. I found I couldn’t just pop off to London and I didn’t want to. I lose 6 hours a days for 5 days a week of my lad’s company during term time and I love being able to drop him off at school and pick him up. The smile on his face when I’m waiting at his classroom door is more moving than any theatrical performance I’ve reviewed.

What’s Next?

2018 saw me start another job with the NHS (it’s what I know!) and that works at the moment. I like leaving the house to go to work and although it’s been a slightly awkward transition for my boy as he got used to me being at home, we’re all getting on with it.

2019 sees me being less of a critic and more of a cheerleader as I share all my positive experiences with you. I also have a few new ventures on the horizon which will hopefully help my much-desired career changes to take shape – but at the heart of everything are my boys – my husband and my son.

Have you tried to combine blogging with parenthood and career juggling? I’d love to hear about your experiences too! 

Festive Greetings from Entertainment Views

It’s CHRISTMAS! Yet another Christmas season is upon us closely to be followed by the back of 2018. How has it been for you? Upon reflection this year’s been one of change in many ways:

  • I changed the name of the blog to Entertainment Views which was a bold move but one that’s enabled me to branch out and take opportunities which were offered due to the wider range of genres of entertainment I could cover.
  • I returned to a day job! Having been freelance for just over a year it seemed to be the right time to return to stability.
  • Connor (my little boy) started school – which limited my availability for taking opportunities outside the midlands on the regular basis I’d become used to. It pulled me up sharp but now I have a firm direction in mind for my little ’empire’.
  • As a family we’ve been invited to review so many fantastic family fun entertainment activities and we’re having a ball. I love being able to have the boys on board with me. It makes such a difference!

I’d like to say a huge thanks to everybody who got involved in the Entertainment Views Awards this year. What a terrific response! It was great fun putting together the videos used to announce the results and I am so lucky that so many guest presenters came on board to help. Especially given the time of year I was asking them for their blood, sweat and tears! Check out the results here: https://entertainmentviews.co.uk/entertainment-views-awards-2018/

If you watched the short video I made to announce the winner of Best Stage Play (well done Alice in Wonderland (Kew Gardens)), you’ll know that this was our last annual awards – at least for the time being. Life moves on and I have plans to make a few changes in the new year. As you know, aside from my brilliant aides; Hayley Makepeace and Jen Franklin, I run the awards as a one-woman-band so I need to have the time to devote to making it the best it can be. Never say never and watch this space, though… I’ve also been so fortunate to have sponsors every year which means the winners have trophies – it makes it so much more than a mere online vote and I know that little touch is appreciated.

One thing I can guarantee is that my blog will continue to be knocking around the blogsphere, the diary is filling up for next year with plenty of comic cons, gigs, family events and opera on the radar already. I’m also expanding the movie and television review section so stay tuned!

All that’s left in this Queen’s speech (I have a crown you know… it might be a plastic one from Claire’s Accessories but it’s a crown, nonetheless!) is to say a huge great big stonking THANK YOU to everybody who stuck with the blog as it took the transition this year. Your support is invaluable, please carry on chatting to me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – it stops me taking to myself… occasionally… Have the best Christmas and a very happy 2019!

Bobbi Brown Studio Re-Launch, John Lewis & Partners, Oxford Street

Entertainment Views Awards 2018 public vote closed on 1st November and we’re very excitedly preparing for the cyber ceremony which is due to be broadcast across our social media channels on 15th December 2018. With our guest presenters lined up to announce the winners in the fourteen categories it’s all systems go.

Awards season is upon us, the first round of The National Television Awards 2019 public vote has also closed recently too. Entertainment Views will be in attendance and while we can’t wait to see who’s wearing who, we also look out for make-up choices on the night. Styles vary from year to year – bold colours, neutral shades and always synchronised with the colour they’re wearing on the red carpet of course.

On 18th October Bobbi Brown Cosmetics re-launched their new studios at John Lewis & Partners, Oxford Street and with their assistance, team Entertainment Views will be getting the red carpet look ahead of the National Television Awards ceremony at London’s O2 on 22nd January 2019.

Here’s the press release from the re-launch, why not book yourselves an appointment and see what the new space has to offer:

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are taking their consumer experience to the next level with a bold re-design. Carefully conceptualised through the consumer’s eyes, this new space ensures a seamless journey of discovery and play, with a primary focus on bringing the best possible service and experience to the heart of Oxford Street. The re-imagined studio space will feature the first ever private Makeup Room within a central London department store, hosted by a colour brand.

The Makeup Room offers the flexibility of personalised appointments and beauty services, converting to a fully private room with a screen to close off the space if required.

In addition to the new design, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics will launch three new services, exclusive to John Lewis & Partners, Oxford Street.

To celebrate the launch of this innovative new space, the esteemed Bobbi Brown Pro Artists made guest appearances during the month of October, giving customers the opportunity to book personalised makeup lessons and receive bespoke tip and tricks based on their beauty needs.

We are excited to report from The National Television Awards in January with our glam new looks courtesy of Bobbi Brown make-up!

 

The Amityville Horror ~ Five Scary Moments

Halloween is creeping around the corner, so what better excuse do you need than to turn the lights off, light the pumpkins and get ready for a fright in front of a classic horror movie? The Amityville Horror is one of those classics, it’s spawned many sequels and spin-offs and I always feel there’s a part of this film’s content and format in every good scary movie.

With a first class cast including James Brolin, it’s a must-see and should have a place on everyone’s Halloween hit list.

Synopsis: When George and Kathy Lutz and their children move to Amityville Long Island they believe they have found the perfect family home. But the house has a shocking history and within its walls a demonic presence lies in wait that will turn the Lutz’s lives into a living nightmare.

Sounds like a scare-fest? Here are my top five scariest moments in The Amityville Horror

  • The first alert for me that this is going to be a frightening ride is when the babysitter (Amy Wright) is locked in the bedroom closet and it seems like nobody has done it, it’s just ‘happened’. She’s supposed to be taking care of the Kathy’s (Margot Kidder) daughter Amy (Natasha Ryan) and I spent the whole fall-out of that scenario waiting for something to happen to Amy.
  • Amy’s pretend friend Jody gave me the chills, the supposed nature of the imaginary buddy is sinister in the extreme. Jody’s introduction is one of the key points of the film for me.
  • Red eyes outside Amy’s bedroom! Kathy spots them and they are enough to make any horror aficionado jump!
  • Kathy’s nightmares about the details of the killings that took place take in the house they’re living on take the scare-factor to another level. It’s clever because it’s gritty stuff, yet engaging on some level too. Although at that point I’d be running for the hills.
  • The music has to be one of the vital tone setters and ‘game changers’ for me, the accompaniment to the paranormal activity is the epitome of evil. One of the best horror soundtracks. Lalo Schifrin composed for the film and there’s an interview with him on the new Blu-ray edition of the movie.

Do you want to add The Amityville Horror to your Halloween horror must-watch list? Grab a copy on Blu-ray:

 

Seven Spectacular Family Shows to see this Autumn in the West End *Guest Post from TickX*

Our impressively sunshiny-summer has come to an end, meaning it’s time for families to head back to the office and back to school. Luckily, London’s theatre playground has a whole host of family shows to cheer up the Autumnal months, featuring well known classics and one-off specials. Whether it’s a midweek treat or a weekend adventure, head to the West End this Autumn with our sizzling pick of shows to see with the kids.

1. Matilda

The Roald Dahl classic gained its second wave of fame with the movie release in 1996. It was then reimagined as a stage adaptation by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin and premiered at the Cambridge Theatre in 2011. The musical version of the gifted girl brings to life all the memorable characters before your very eyes; the vain and fraudulent Wormwoods , the adorable Miss Honey and the terrifying Miss Trunchbull, with a brand new cast set for September 2018. After scooping up a record number of Olivier Awards for a musical and receiving wide critical acclaim, Matilda the Musical is beloved by audiences of all ages.

The show is running at the Cambridge Theatre until October 19th, set to welcome its eighth million spectator after a stellar run in the West End. With magic and madness, Matilda is the perfect mid-week treat to get you to the weekend, and will now be showing at an earlier time of 7pm on weekdays to better accommodate families.

2. Lion King

It feels like this show has been around for a long time – and it’s simply because it really is that good. Similarly to the Disney film released in 1994, the award-winning musical pulls on heartstrings as it tells the tale of lion cub Simba and his quest to overthrow his uncle to become the rightful king of the pridelands. Set against the backdrop of the Serengeti Plains, the rhythmic African music and sing-a-long lyrics created by Sir Elton John and Tim Rice for the movie are brought to live in the evocative live score, while the colourful creative costumes are nothing but impressive. Children and adults alike will be immersed into the world of the Lion King, as characters such as Zazu, Timon and Pumba, Rafiki, the hyenas and more are played out on stage in a novel approach to children’s theatre.

The epic musical more than justifies its extensive run at the Lyceum Theatre. As the cool weather creeps in this Autumn, the Lion King guarantees to warm your soul.

 

3. Aladdin

Alternatively, swap African plains for Arabian nights and head to the Prince Edward Theatre for an enchanting magic carpet ride. Aladdin is another example of a Disney classic creatively remastered for stage, bringing all the best elements from the 1992 film to life as never before imagined. While some reviews have suggested the musical is a panto-in-disguise, there has been no doubt that the spectacular sets, special effects and jewel-encrusted costumes translate the magic of Agrabah to stage.

Furthermore, young children will be captivated by the larger than life characters such as The Genie, while the elder among us will revel in the plot’s synonymity with the Disney animation. Plus, any show that features hits such as ‘A Whole New World’ and ‘Friend Like Me’ is certainly worth its salt. The exotic escape is the perfect way to tackle the beginning of the new school year and the end of summer, uniting radiant colours, a golden lamp and youthful nostalgia to transport you away.

 

4. School of Rock

Nothing cheers kids up for going back to school than the School of Rock. This musical offers something a little more grown up than the likes of Disney, but is still very geared towards families and children aged eight and over. Based upon the 2003 movie starring Jack Black, School of Rock the Musical follows struggling and unemployed rock guitarist Dewey Finn as he poses as a substitute teacher to make some money. Finn realises his students are musically-talented, and so sets forth in spawning a school rock band who are to compete in the Battle of the Bands. The fun and rebellious West End production features music by theatre royalty, Andrew Lloyd Webber, combining songs from the film and new original numbers. Undoubtedly, the best part of School of Rock is the pocket-sized talent on stage, where the child cast can really rock out and impress audiences.

 

5. Wicked

The prequel to the ‘Wizard of Oz’ has become a global sensation. It follows two protagonists; Elphaba and Glinda, who grow up to become the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the South. From their perspective, we learn what lead them into their distinguished roles, cultivating a story of friendship and rivalry, love and betrayal and importantly, Elphaba’s lapse into ‘wickedness’. Children will fall in love with the beautiful score created by Academy-award winning Stephen Schwartz while adults will cherish it’s associations to the 1939 classic starring Judy Garland as ‘Dorothy Gale’.

This Autumn, the gravity-defying musical will be celebrating a whopping 12 years in the West End, after surpassing its landmark 5000th performance at the Apollo Victoria Theatre last month. It has gained such uniform approval that there have even been talks of making it into a movie – just be sure to see it on stage first.

 

6. Paddington in concert

On Sunday 14th October, the Peruvian bear will commemorate its 60th anniversary with a live 60-piece orchestral accompaniment to the 2014 film ‘Paddington’. George Jackson will be commanding The Novello Orchestra with Nick Urata’s cheerful score, inducing the perfect introduction for young children to classical music. Moreover, the cute and charming film inspired by Michael Bond’s children’s books won the hearts of adults too, making it a great afternoon out for all the family. Hollywood stars Julie Walters and Nicole Kidman contribute to the film’s star-studded cast, while Ben Whishaw provides the voice for Paddington. It received plenty of praise and critical acclaim, founded upon its ability to transform a treasured classic into a modern movie with appeal for today’s kids.

The production is a one-off event set just before the busy half term. It promises to entertain and charm at the Theatre Royal, and even feature guest stars Nick Urata and Paddington!

 

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Enter a world of spells and sorcery this Autumn with the eighth installment of the wizardly-wonderful Harry Potter series by JK Rowling presented on stage. It famously secured the most Olivier Awards for a play despite only opening in 2016, and has been described as a ‘triumph’ (The Daily Telegraph) and ‘magical experience’ (London Evening Standard). The creatives behind Parts 1 and 2 of the Cursed Child include multiple award winning Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, responsible for writing and directing the play respectively, worked closely with Rowling to ensure the stage adaptation is as spellbinding and captivating as the book. It tells the tale of Harry Potter, 19 years on, tackling demons from his past. Similarly to the literary saga, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child live has proven popular across generations, with audiences of all ages leaving the Palace Theatre in awe.

Written by Aminah Barnes on behalf of TickX, a ticket search engine comparing events such as theatre, gigs and club nights across the UK.

 

Downton Abbey Movie ~ Is It Too Late?

I’m a self-confessed fan of the popular ITV series Downton Abbey, to the point of fan-girling, checking out the fandom activity and feeling fairly bereft when the Abbey closed its doors at Christmas back in 2015. News of a movie to enable Downton’s enthusiastic following to take another peek into the upstairs and downstairs goings on was met excitedly, by me and by fellow fans of the Fellowes drama.

However, as the years have rolled by with (from what we mere members of the public could tell) not so much as a sniff of a script and longstanding cast members almost continuously cagey when asked questions about a possible movie by the media, the question mark over the potential movie hovered precariously. As a blogger who predominantly covers theatre I was delighted to discover so many of my favourite actors from the drama series treading the boards. Phyllis Logan toured with Noel Coward’s ‘Present Laughter’ which in turn offered a superb opportunity I might not otherwise have had.  I took a trip to Chiswick to carry out an interview and enjoyed coffee and croissants with Ms Logan while I was at it, she’s an actor who has been high on my radar since she played Lady Jane in Lovejoy. Her colleague, Lesley Nicol opened my eyes to fantastic and extremely worthy charities, so I was over the moon (bears!) to interview her for my blog, too. With the vast majority of the show’s famous faces being kept busy in various ‘jobs’ (just check out the credits that Lily James who played Lady Rose has wracked up!) the movie seemed a distant and not so urgent thought.

Phyllis Logan appeared in the UK tour of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter in 2016.

When the announcement of impending filming broke, not so long ago, and just over 2 1/2 years after the festive finale, my initial reaction wasn’t to jump for joy. What year are they planning on setting it in was top of my list of queries. Are we picking up straight after their new year celebrations therefore following Mr Carson’s (Jim Carter) journey of enforced retirement or will we pick it up long after life has changed for Downton’s inhabitants? I’m the first to admit that my over-active imagination already sees the Carsons living a different life and has Mrs Patmore paired off with widowed hanger-on, Mr Mason (Paul Copley).

With the Downton Abbey film’s release date now set for 20th September 2019, my humble opinion of a movie following long after momentum has been lost has shifted. I think it was the Instagram post from Michelle Dockery (the ever-popular Lady Mary – follow her: https://www.instagram.com/theladydockers/ to check out the post I’m referring to) that not only cemented in my mind that this IS happening, but also transported me back to the good old days when social media buzzed with anticipation of the next series of Downton Abbey. I recalled the Duchess of Cambridge visiting the set while the final series was in production, the excitement surrounding that was palpable. So maybe regaining some of that old Downton Abbey-inspired joy will be just the ticket for 2019?

One thing’s for sure, I’ve moved from sceptic to eagerly awaiting and hope beyond hope that Fellowes won’t let us down! In fact, I have one plea to make – do what you will with all of the characters but please let Mrs Patmore be happy!! Back in the day I would have begged for Lady Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) happiness, however unless a curve ball is coming our way, it seems that her future was looking rosy by the time we bid au revoir to the Crawley family.

Bring on 20th September 2019, then…

 

Photo Credits: ITV & Nobby Clark 

 

An Evening with Brian Blessed ~ Town Hall, Birmingham

Star rating: *****

My first experience of the ginormous, booming personality that is Brian Blessed OBE involved him dressed as a rotund, fluffy cat! Old Deuteronomy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats was the show he was appearing in and I don’t think anybody else has been able to touch the paw print he has made on the role. I’ve also read numerous articles about his mountaineering exploits and as a mother, I am familiar with his voicing of Grampy Rabbit in Peppa Pig and Eduardo Enormomonster in Henry Hugglemonster for Disney Junior.

An evening with this extraordinary gentleman promised to be informative, fascinating and barmy! It was all of those things and more. It’s difficult to believe that he is 82 years old! The energy and joie de vivre he brought to the stage was immense. Peppered with the odd expletive and belch, we were taken on a journey through Blessed life and career, and it was one hell of a ride.

Blessed has one of the most unique and easily identifiable voices, it lends itself to storytelling like no other and he drew the audience in. There were times when you could almost hear a pin drop. It was a joy to hear about his childhood, growing up with Sir Patrick Stewart whom he does a remarkable impersonation of. Equally fascinating to learn of his first encounter with Coronation Street legend, Bill Roache, who was renowned in the repertory company where Blessed was a member, Roache was in fact renowned for not being able to act! Add his unwavering teasing of Sir John Gielgud to the mix and I could barely contain my mirth.

It was certainly an evening well spent in the company of a truly marvellous multi-talented man, and in case you’re wondering, there’s not long to wait until he shouts out the much anticipated line “Gordon’s Alive!!!”.

 

 

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