Last night we were entertained to the max, when Ethan, Megan and I had a wonderful night out to Hull New Theatre, where we saw the award-winning stage adaptation of David Walliams’ bestselling book “Gangsta Granny”! It was a fantastic play filled with lots of trumping, crime, mischief and laugh out loud jokes. We had sparkle, dancing, creative scene changes and a whole load of absolutely fantastic acting that kept us engrossed throughout!

It was most definitely worth some bedtime rebellion on a school night!

If you don’t know the hilarious and captivating tale of Gangsta Granny then where have you been?? It is brilliant and filled with some right good British humour! It follows the story of an 11-year-old boy “Ben”, who is doomed to spend Friday nights with his “boring old Gran” whilst his parents pursue their Strictly Come Dancing dreams. He dreads the games of scrabble, the array of cabbage inspired delicacies, but mostly though, it’s the thought of ending his week with a “boring” old lady that smells a bit funky!

But what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret – and he soon discovers that Friday nights are about to get a whole lot more exciting than he could ever imagine, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny.

I loved the British humour throughout and each character was played incredibly well. It was a brilliant, family friendly evening and one of those performances where you really feel a part of it – right in there feeling the heart of the whole thing! It was so good to see such a favourite come alive in that way and share it with Ethan and Megs.

We all loved the props, the set, the dancing, jokes and persistent cabbage trumps! We loved the real life granny scooter – “bezzing” (yes I know that’s not a real word!) around the stage and the humorous antics of “Mr Parker” and Ben’s parents. We loved the cheeky character of his Granny and in between all of those laughs and action packed moments, we also loved how it captured our hearts to see the fun and beauty of a relationship grow between a boy and his Gran, when they finally found a shared passion and adventure!!

I would, without a doubt recommend this to everyone. It is so much fun to be a part of and thanks to the Birmingham Stage Company we can now cross “dance with the Queen” off our bucket lists after such a brilliant finale! But don’t take my word alone… I’m a “boring old(ish)” mummy! Here’s what my kids thought of it too – Ethan is 7 and Megan recently turned 6!

Ethans Review: 

“That was so so so funny! I really loved it and thought their acting was just so good – they were all really good and it was so cool how they looked like they were in the car and the water but not a real one! And I loved the stage – yes the stage was so magical because it had all hidden things that turned into stuff and it was marvellous how they did that.

I would give it 1,000 stars – it was really good!!”

Megan’s Review:

“I liked the trumping the best (*of course!) and the dancing cat and Queen were really funny! I didn’t know the Queen could do the floss but that was the real Queen and she can so I will be telling everyone that!

I’d say it was the best night, not becuase we stayed up late, not because I loved it like Ethan and laughed my head off too. I will tell all of my friends they have to see it because the trumps are sooooooooo funny and they have a dancing cat!”

If your kids find trumping Granny’s and trumping Queens funny and, if they like dancing cats and seeing the Queen do the floss, then the exciting tale of Ben’s “Gangsta Granny” with all of its secret plans and plots, is certainly not to be missed. It was a lot of fun and you will certainly not regret a night out to catch a piece of the action down at Hull New Theatre this weekend! Birmingham Stage Company have done a fabulous job of this well loved tale and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

Gangsta Granny is showing until Sunday the 8th July and tickets are on sale now from £15.50! Book at the Hull City Hall Box Office by calling 01482 300 306 or visit their website www.hulltheatres.co.uk.

*This was complimentary press visit in exchange for a review. 

 

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They say that laughter is the best medicine, and after what has been a gloomy period in life recently I was in desperate need of some that I assure you! But when I accepted the invitation recently to see “The Play That Goes Wrong”, I had no idea just how much I would be laughing my head off, and what an overdose of the ‘laughter medicine’ I would be getting into!

Last night laughter filled the air, and we were well and truly overdosed on humour and comedy ,and entertained to the max at the incredibly funny, and down right brilliant performance of “The Play That Goes Wrong” at Hull New Theatre!

I haven’t been to Hull New Theatre since it’s fairly recent refurb, and I must say it is looking grand! It was exciting to be there and the atmosphere last night was most joyful right from the start – it was relaxed, feel good and I cannot tell you how clever and absolutely side splitting hilarious it was! Antics of the play began in the foyer, had some audience participation, contained moments of Improv, and there were jokes and surprises left right and center – as well as up in the box!

The Play That Goes Wrong is a highly physical comedy packed with finely-tuned farce and Buster Keaton inspired slapstick delivered with split-second timing and ambitious daring. The play introduces The ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call.

From start to finish it was clever, impeccably timed and ridiculously entertaining, and quite possibly the funniest theatre production I have ever seen. My friend and I howled with laughter, and it made for the perfect girls night out (or a date or just for the fun of it!).

Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields (all members of the Mischief Theatre Company), are the masterminds behind this epic play, and if you love things like “Fawlty Towers” then this will be right up your street! If not then I dare you to go and try not laugh!

I could, with pleasure, go and see this many more times! I have already said to Mr Smith that it is a must see for him as he would LOVE it, and that we need to try to go again later this week. I can just imagine us both sat there laughing together like my friend I did, because this play creates that type of laughter where tears are rolling down your cheeks, your sides hurt, and you can barely breathe! It is a night out that is good for the soul, and better yet is clean and generally good old original humour!

I cannot thank the cast, writers and producers enough for such a spectacular performance, evening, and all those extra laughter lines! Bravo guys – it was magnificent!

Tickets for The Play That Goes Wrong at Hull New Theatre from 21 -26 May are on sale now. Book via the Hull City Hall Box Office, call 01482 300 306 or visit their new website www.hulltheatres.co.uk 

*Thank you to Hull New Theatre for inviting me along for a piece of the action – it was so good to laugh that hard! 

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Last night waves of Joy, high energy and incredible singing and dancing crashed through the Bridlington Spa, as strictly come dancing champion Joanne Clifton took to the stage with A1’s Ben Adams to co-star in the sensational musical of “Flashdance“!

I have never seen the movie (and from what I hear it might not really be my thing) but I was no stranger to the 80’s classics “What a feeling”, “I love Rock & Roll” and “She’s a maniac” that shook up the theatre! The whole thing was full of energy, laughter, awesome 80’s gear, and spectacular dance moves.

It was a musical performance that the entire cast and producers should be incredibly proud of.

Flashdance The Musical

Flashdance tells of the inspiring story of 18 year old Alex – a welder by day, “Flashdancer” by night – who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer.  When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream.

“Alex” – played by Joanne Clifton – was such a great character and had wonderful presence on stage. Her moves were impressive, and I spent half of it with my jaw dropped at how effortlessly she took to the floor! The chemistry between her and “Nick” was lovely to see, and it was exciting to see their relationship unfurl with the story.

The whole cast were seriously amazing, and everything was executed with top class performances throughout. The singing was brilliant, and the set, whilst simple, was used effectively and I just loved how inventive it was.

Whilst I hear the film is a little racy in places, this was not. The story line was presented in a tasteful and mostly clean way.

What we loved…

First things first … the choreography in this musical is phenomenal! Like seriously amazing. And this is what truly stands out from start, right through to the grandest of all finales! I could not believe how those super stars could move, and what amazing shape they were all in. It was beautiful!

The music, singing and dancing were all so brilliant and I loved that it oozed so much talent!

Being a babe of the 80’s I personally loved the bright 80’s costumes, and style of the whole show. It has since ignited my love of the 80’s again, and all things retro, and today my Youtube playlist has reversed back 30 years!

Overall it was just a whole lot of fun to watch. Of course the music and dance is what stands out here, but not previously knowing the storyline, I loved that too. Tales of friendship, romance, hard work and family – The sacrifices people make to fulfil their dreams, as well as the mistakes they fall in to in trying to make it big too! Overall it captures the love and support that fuels people to succeed, and the help of friends/family to get there. It was truly inspirational and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it unfurl!

What I didn’t …

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this musical, because on the whole I was blown away with how absolutely amazing it was throughout. But being LDS I would have to say that there was a little bit of language I found awkward, and of course it covered topics about drug use and dancing semi naked for money! If you are not a prude like me then these things will probably not be an issue at all for you, but as I know I have readers who are – I am putting it out there now!

I wouldn’t take kids to see it, or even younger teens, because it really isn’t for them. But for a night out with the girls or ya mum, then grab it with both hands and get yourselves there! It is really good; full of energy and well loved 80’s classics, and produced in a very tasteful way too.

Flashdance The musical was spectacular, with one of the best finale’s I have possibly ever seen. It was so much fun to be a spectator of, so with limited tickets, I would highly recommend you get yourself to the coast as soon as possible to catch a glimpse of this classic and memorable musical!

*Thanks to Brid Spa for the invite to see this – all thoughts are my own! 

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On Saturday I had one of the best moments of the year so far, when Ethan and I travelled to London for the day. We had a date in the capital and it was a fab being there and hopping on and off the tube trying to find our way! The main focus of our visit was to go see Pinocchio at the National Theatre on the South bank, but we of course manged to squeeze in a few of the sights and some sushi too!

Pinocchio

Whats makes us real? And how often are we led by others ideas, and bound by the strings of their opinions and control?

Do we live our life in all of its pleasures instead of with some honesty, accountability, balance and thoughts for others?

The moral lessons of life, love and family run deep in the story of the puppet boy that desires to be real, without really understanding what that entails. Brought to life on a giant set, with magnificent life like giant puppets, song, magic and edge of your seat action, both Ethan and I were hugely impressed and loved the stage adaptation of Pinocchio!

Pinocchio is the spectacular new production brought to the stage by an extraordinary team including John Tiffany the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Dennis Kelly the writer of Matilda the Musical. It features unforgettable music and songs from the Walt Disney film including I’ve Got No StringsGive a Little Whistle and When You Wish upon a Star in dazzling new arrangements.

From the moment the lights went down it was filled with magic, wonderment, adventure, illusions, familiar songs and to me – great symbolism and life lessons. Ethan’s jaw dropped and he was fixated on the set…the lights and the giant puppets. He marvelled at it all and told me afterwards how magical and amazing it was and how he loved it so much. He even had the opportunity on the way out ro chat to the light and sound guy who truly inspired him for a career in technical theatre!

It is a fantastic musical to take children to, truly enchanting, and the way it was created for stage was spectacular.

The adults and set were all done on a giant scale to help you feel the smallness of Pinocchio in his character as a little puppet. And each scene was captivating as we followed his new life which he has magically entered, the choices he has before him and the paths life takes him on, often influenced by the deceit of others.

It rather similar to the film and yet full of surprises too. I found it really interesting to see that the main human characters of the show were all played by giant puppets, and yet the only “real puppet” was actually played by a “real boy”!

Each of the puppets were so impressive and breathtaking and so fabulously made. They were very life like and had amazing stage presence. It all felt so life like and drew us in, and certainly helped put Pinocchio into proportion.

I really loved it all, but especially the depth and lessons that ooze out of the story through song, dance and general performance. It left me afterwards pondering on many of the lessons in life that it explores, and I suppose generally evaluating my own choices. I always love shows that leave an impact!

One of my favourite scene’s (aside from the ones with high energy singing and dancing), would have to be how they created the whale and underwater part of the story. You may remember from the film that Gepetto is swallowed by a whale and Pinocchio goes into the sea to find him. This part of the show absolutely fascinated both of us as to how the lighting and effects so perfectly gave the illusions of being under water. Jamie Harrison (who also worked on Harry potter and the cursed child in London’s West end), certainly knows how to amaze and enchant audiences of all ages!

Being in a London theatre on a date with my biggest of kiddies was an adventure in itself, but seeing a musical of such depth and amusement, with wonderful magic and mind blowing artistry was just amazing. Everyone involved did a brilliant job and as a result we have been on a high all weekend. It was an outstanding day, filled with several extraordinary moments, and I keep doing little jigs around the kitchen whilst singing “I got no strings”…

The Lyttelton theatre and all on stage, gave a magnificent show, and it was lovely to enjoy a day together that made us truly feel alive and joyful!

Pinocchio run at the Lyttelton Theatre at National Theatre London until 10th April! I would highly recommend it as it is so amazing. If like us you have a family railcard, then trains to London can be Mega cheap even from Yorkshire for a quick day trip of fun and some theatre adventures!

*Thanks to National Theatre for inviting us to review this spectacular show! 

 

Family Fever
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