2/31 Wait… you didn’t know?!

2. 20 facts about you

I have a feeling that this is going to be a tricky prompt… ten I could have managed but 20 facts just about me?! Well, here goes:

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My Queen… Amen!

  1. I’m addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race and love pretty much all of the queens that have walked through the ‘You Better Werk’ room doors.
  2. My favourite colour is duck egg blue.
  3. I own more pairs of socks than I care to admit.
  4. I’m a bit of a Netflix addict – entire mornings can disappear if I’m not careful.
  5. I love singing and dancing.
  6. When I’m at home, I’m often found in pyjama’s… I mean what’s the point in wearing your outdoor clothes, indoors?!
  7. I began and completed WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge in 2014.
  8. People find it odd that I don’t drink tea or coffee…
  9. If money was no object, I’d go to see a West End theatre show every single week.
  10. I have a very close family, which means the world to me, and am even related to Howard Carter, the guy who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.
  11. My Great Nan reached 104 and a half years young… the half is very important at that age.
  12. I’m obsessed with Mi backpacks. So far, I’ve got a peacock feather one, a gumball one, a galaxy print one, a duck egg blue polka dot backpack and one with elephants all over it.
  13. I’m commonly found wearing Converse hi-tops… wearing heels is for special occasions.
  14. For RuPaul’s BOTS, I temporarily dyed my hair blue. I loved it so much that I’m planning to dye it permanently blue – hopefully two tone, using cobalt and duck egg blue (of course!)
  15. Through my last job, I was sent on press trips to Iceland (Ice Age 4: Continental Drift), Norway (How To Train Your Dragon 2) and Slovenia (Postojna Cave), interviewed a robotic cockatoo (Nigel from Rio 2, with actor Jemaine Clement in another room) and even photographed the stars of TV on the red carpet at the National Television Awards.
  16. I have a BA (Hons) in Human Resource Management.
  17. I love afternoon tea… especially quirky ones such a Spanish or Thai themed.
  18. Working in children’s media means that I get to see many of the new films before they hit the cinemas and I’m a big kid who loves everything Disney, so I end up enjoying every single screening… sometimes even more than the kids that are actually there.
  19. I love unicorns, rainbows and mermaids. I even wanted to be a mermaid growing up… still do!
  20. Primates are my favourite animals (well, and dolphins and marine life of course), but I’ve been lucky enough to meet the famous Primatologist, Dr Jane Goodall three times and even helped her present awards.
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At the most recent Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots Awards with my flatmate, Féaron, where we got to meet Dr Jane’s beloved Mr. H, which travels around the world with her.

I’m feeling positively Emerald! – Wicked: My Review

WICKED_Groupline_900x600 Dear fellow Ozians… As Wicked celebrates its ninth year in London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, becoming the 10th longest running show currently playing in the West End, I went along to find out more about this green phenomenon that has already played over 3,500 performances in London alone!

Based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 global best-seller ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’, this musical shows you a different side to the story in the legendary classic, The Wizard of Oz, and tries to make the audience understand why things may have turned out the way they did. When we think of Oz, the trio of witches or the wonderful Wizard, we instantly picture the 1939 film starring the fabulous Judy Garland as none other than Dorothy, who makes some unlikely friends as she tries to make her way back home to Kansas from this magically unusual land. Unbeknownst to many, this film is actually an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel published over a century ago, called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – so this 156 page story has inspired many other books, musicals and films since its release in 1900! Photos from Blog Which leads me to the thrillifying wonder that is Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz! From Chistery’s first excited screech signalling the opening number, right through to the last note sung in the finale, I was transported to a crazy land where anything is possible and, quite frankly, anything goes! We go back to a time before the Wicked Witch of the West, otherwise known as Elphaba, was born and even then, it was far from plain sailing for the Thropp household. Now with her sister, Nessa-Rose (later known as the Wicked Witch of the East) wheelchair bound and without a mother to care for them, their father sends them off to boarding school. This is where the story really gets started!

I’m not going to give you a run through of the entire show as I don’t want to spoil anything, but what I will say is that the soundtrack for this musical is absolutely flawless! Every single song is on point and the lyrics really are an extension of the story. Plus, I feel like many of the songs are incredibly relatable to so many individuals at so many moments in their lives (but I guess this could be put down purely to interpretation). But, for example, the lyrics in probably what is the most widely known Wicked score, Defying Gravity, are the empowering words “Something has changed within me, something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules, of someone else’s game… It’s time to trust my instincts, close me eyes and leap”. This can be applied to so many realisations that inspire people to create a new start for themselves… it’s so Ozmopolitan! Approved_Wicked_DefyingGravity_FullStage_7510 I also loved all of the clever little references made towards one of the most famous adaptations, The Wizard of Oz – the flying monkeys; lion, tin man and scarecrow; a nod to the saying “lions and tigers and bears… oh my!”; Glinda’s transportation bubble; the poppy field; the Wicked Witch of the East’s stripy socks and jewelled slippers; Dorothy and her famous dog; as well as the most iconic Dorothy saying of all time “there’s no place like home”.

Another thing I’d like to quickly touch on is the theatre itself. Built in 1929 as a cinema, this grand stage has been the platform for many hit musicals including The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and of course Starlight Express. But you can really tell that Wicked has taken over this venue and it’s not just clear in the first shop in the main entrance either. The entire foyer is lit with a green tint, the theatre’s largest shop (and the majority of the other merchandise booths found throughout) are called the ‘OzDust Boutique’ and the most divine little bar found upstairs, is called ‘The Elixir Bar’. I mean there isn’t a thing these guys haven’t thought of!

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Now just wait a clock tick… it is evidently clear as to why Wicked has been seen by over 47 million people across 13 different countries, and has won over 100 awards internationally. This year, Wicked won the coveted This Morning Audience Award presented by the Olivier Awards, which is the only award that is decided by us, the viewing public. Wicked went up against Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, Billy Elliot The Musical and Jersey Boys, and a few weeks before the winner was announced, costumes from each show-stopper were on display in a small shop just off Covent Garden. I can’t believe how tiny some of the waists are on the dresses – how do they take a deep enough breathe for some of the notes they belt out?! 2015-04-11 14.26.21 I really did enjoy my one short day in the Emerald City and left the theatre feeling very empowered, as if I could conquer the world! Also, to have two women as the lead characters (and with such powerfully fine-tuned voices, capable of giving so much light and shade, and conveying emotion perfectly) was refreshing, too. I want to send the hugest congratulotions to the cast and crew for putting on astounding performances eight times a week! Now, if you haven’t seen it… what are you waiting for?! Go and get your tickets and rejoicify in the magic that is truly WICKED!

Interplanet Janet

#356: You get to design your own planet: tell us all about it — the weather, the seasons, the inhabitants. Go.

Planet theatre 😀 it would have a mixture of weathers but would be predominantly sunny. It would be mostly autumn as I love the crispness of the season. The inhabitants… all who love the fabulousness of the theatre!

It builds character

#308: Tell us about a favourite character from film, theatre, or literature, with whom you’d like to have a heart-to-heart. What would you talk about?

It’s a shame the prompt didn’t mention TV as, of course, my first thought was Sheldon Cooper (from The Big Bang Theory) – although I’d love to talk to Jim Parsons (the actor) both in and out of character!

That said, I think I’d have to choose Elphaba from Wicked considering I’m a huge west end theatre geek! We’d talk about how she became the strong female she is now (*spoiler alert for anyone who doesn’t know the story*), if she would have wanted to do anything differently and what she’s got planned for the future.

The artist’s eye

#178: Is there a painting or sculpture you’re drawn to? What does  it say to you? Describe the experience. (Or, if art doesn’t speak to you, tell us why.)

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I’ve never been one for visiting art galleries – whenever I think about going into London, I automatically think of West End theatres and visiting museums, such as the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum (THE fun days-out places from my childhood!). I think an interest in Art, is mostly determined by your surroundings when growing up – if members of your family have a passion for it, if you attend a school that specialises in Art (mine was sports… not that I turned out particularly sporty) and the area you live in. When I think of my family, I think theme parks, pub lunches and package holidays – so art culture wise, it’s just not us.

That said, the types of art I do like (as I don’t have one in particular) are things such as The Big Bang Theory pop art, Egyptian art on papyrus paper, or something more simple like beautiful gerberas or butterflies!

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Images: TBBT – www.defanafan.com. Papyrus painting – bazaar-egypt.com.

From Here To Eternity Review

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On the 3rd July something spectacular is going to take over a cinema near you… so be prepared for a musical like no other! Welcome to From Here To Eternity!

Based on the classic James Jones’ novel of the same name, From Here To Eternity takes you back to the year 1941, where many people believed that the safest place to be, furthest away from the already raging war in Europe, was Hawaii. Following an American military base in the lead up to the attacks on Pearl Harbour, we are not only invited into the lives of the G Company soldiers, but more intimately four individuals, who ultimately fall in love with people they really shouldn’t have!

It kicks of with a malihini, which is the Hawaiian term for an island newcomer, named Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (played by Robert Lonsdale), who we learn is not your average soldier. For me, he stood out the most, not because he is effectively the lead male, but because of his absolutely phenomenal vocals! I am a huge West End theatre geek and I knew, as soon as I heard ‘Fight The Fight‘, that I needed the soundtrack to this musical in my life. I just have to find out where I can get my hands on it now…

Siubhan Harrison, who in my eyes plays the lead female, compliments Roberts vocals beautifully in her portrayal of Lorene, a kind-hearted woman caught in an unescapable situation. Another cast member who I feel also deserves a mention is Ryan Sampson, whose character Private Angelo Maggio, provides the majority of the comedy – it would certainly have been a different musical without him!

The staging was great as well, as you weren’t focused on the set changes one bit, so without realising, you’d seamlessly entered new rooms and scenes! There were also fantastic slow motion scenes throughout, which the incredible cast made look like a piece of cake… although I’m sure it’s far from it!

Even though this isn’t your typical “feel-good” musical filled with daisies and sunshine, it certainly leaves you thinking about what these men had to go through, especially in relation to the recent 70th Anniversary of D-Day. I left this special cast and crew screening wanting to meet and thank the brave soldiers (both survived and passed) for the sacrifices they’d made in order for us to have the world we do today.

Tim Rice’s incredibly timeless musical is set to play in over 250 cinemas across the UK and Ireland. I highly recommend catching this film, especially if possible at a Cineworld as you’ll be given the opportunity to purchase the glossy programme as if you were at the theatre – I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed as it’s packed full of history, exclusive interviews and amazing photography! I must admit, halfway through the show I was so drawn in that I’d completely forgotten I was in a cinema screening, as opposed to a theatre! Don’t get me wrong though, I LOVE West End theatre like there’s no tomorrow, so I’d never want it to be replaced, but it did leave me with this thought – “welcome to the future of affordable musical theatre for all to enjoy”…

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Watch the theatrical trailer here!

NB: words not written or at all edited by a third party – these are my own views and opinions, no one else’s.

Unconventional love

#133: Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your life.

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This was a pretty tough thing to answer, as there are quite a few things in my life that I love unconventionally… singing (everything), primates (of all kinds), conducting interview junkets, blogging, a wedge of Choccywoccydoodah traditional chocolate cake or the ginger cake, the list goes on! However, one thing that will always be a huge passion of mine, giving me goosebumps and bringing a lump to my throat, is musical theatre! I simply have a deep love and appreciation for the performers’ demanding line of work. My all time favourites, which I think will remain with me for my entire life (in no particular order as that was way too hard to decide), are The Lion King, Les Miserables and Wicked. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been to a musical and come out with negative thoughts, but these three I could easily watch week in, week out!

Image: www.cafepress.com

Local flavour

#82: Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.

Hertfordshire, located just outside of the capital, provides visitors with easy access to the heart of the London as well as being close enough to wander through the streets of the iconic towns, Cambridge and Oxford. Since this county is considered a Green Belt, with half of it owing to countryside, you’re never far from a peaceful river valley, a flourishing farm or a dense woodland area for you to explore on foot, by bike or even by canoe!

Restaurants

Aside from your chain restaurant favourites Pizza Express and Chiquito’s, for fab tasting food guaranteed every time, head to Raj Vogue in Cheshunt. You will never have had an Indian meal like it – tender lamb chunks, covered in deliciously spiced sauces, alongside perfect garlic rice and a melt in the mouth garlic naan… Oh and can’t be forgetting the fresh mango chutney!

Attractions

For the thrill seekers, there’s the Lee Valley White Water Centre, which was one of the venues for the London 2012 Olympic Games. For family fun, head to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo as they’ve got big cats, giant pachyderms and teeny, tiny insects! Not forgetting theatre-goers, there’s always a good night to be had down at the Broxbourne Civic Hall in Hoddesdon… I should know, I’ve been in one!