I have spent most of this morning wandering around the house and singing at the kids in my best operatic voice (they obviously loved it). I was so touched and moved last night by the iconic story of Evita, that it has left me wanting to sing from the rooftops (or at least across the Village green), and wondering what happened to Eva Perón and Argentina following her seemingly premature death (Spoiler?!).

I had the pleasure of seeing Evita at Hull New Theatre with one of my lovely friends, and we were both absolutely blown away by the incredible talents and storyline. It was such a beautiful performance, from a cast made up of some of the best that musical theatre has to offer and I just loved the fact it was a true, historic story, filled with such beautiful music and song by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Evita tells the true story of Eva Perón, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Perón, and her journey from a humble beginning in Los Toldos, to stardom in Buenos Aires. An ambitious actress, she tries her luck in Buenos Aires and ultimately builds a successful career and image there and throughout Argentina. Eva Perón is attracted to powerful men and following a military regime seizing power in Argentina, and a bad earthquake, her path crosses with Colonel Juan Perón at a charity gala, where he soon becomes her next quest, partner and then later her husband.

Following his climb to minister of war, an arrest and his subsequent win in the 1947 elections, Juan Perón becomes the new president of Argentina with Eva becoming first lady. Here there is no stopping her ambitions and desires, which eventually lead her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’ by the Argentine people.

Lucy O’Byrne (The Sound of Music, Les Misérables) plays the iconic role of Eva Perón, with Mike Sterling (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Juan Perón. Award-winning West End leading man, Glenn Carter (Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar – on stage and screen, Les Misérables) takes to the stage as Ché. They were each magnificent, as were Oscar Balmaseda (Magaldi) and Cristina Hoey (Mistress).

Following the political, social and historic scenes of Argentina through the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s (as well as the love story and dynamics of Eva and Juan), Evita is such an interesting and powerful story, that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing. It has left me wondering why I have never seen until now!

The performance was absolutely spectacular and brought the story of Argentina under the Peróns  to life in such a wonderful way. I cannot put into words how beautiful everyone’s voices were (especially Lucy O’Byrne), and how real the set felt. It is such a captivating piece and all I can say is that I have never been so moved in a theatre (aside from The Lion King) than I was last night. The whole thing was simply beautiful, and we loved it.

Evita has been captivating audiences for the last 10 years, and now its here in Hull/East Yorkshire. I would definitely recommend it if you love musicals and history, but be prepared to be blown away! If you have the time, then get yourself down to Hull New Theatre this week – Tickets are available  from 6-10 November 2018 and are on sale now. Book at the Hull City Hall Box Office by calling 01482 300 306 or visit the website www.hulltheatres.co.uk to book online.

*Thank you to Hull New Theatre for inviting me along to review this. I was given complimentary tickets in return for an honest review! 

 

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Last night Keith Jack (runner-up on BBC1’s Any Dream Will Do), Mica Paris (one of the UK’s most respected female singers with top 10 hit singles and albums worldwide) and Jorgie Porter (Hollyoaks/I’m a Celebrity), took to the stage alongside a whole cast of incredibly talented individuals, and raised their voices (and the roof), here on the Yorkshire coast over at Brid Spa, in the hit musical “FAME”!

Based on the 1980 phenomenal pop culture film, “Fame – The Musical” is the international smash-hit sensation following the lives of students at “New York’s High School For The Performing Arts” as they navigate their way through the highs and lows, the romances and the heartbreaks, and the ultimate elation of life.

The story follows a group of teens from audition through to graduation as they work to achieve their musical, drama, and dance dreams, all whilst figuring out their place in the world and trying to put their personal spin on their chosen Art! It explores the different economic backgrounds and learning abilities of the students, and the impact this had on their progress at school. It was a great story, portraying an indepth look at the real cost and sacrifice of “Fame”, and what lengths some will go to, to try and get it!

The cast worked well together and there was a wonderful mix of personalities, dance types and emotions. One of the highlights for me, that I loved a lot, was the jazz music that accompanied the whole thing (the musicians were unbelievable) – it brought a great and quirky vibe to the performance. And the choreography? Well of course that was on point too – energetic, and everything you would expect for a classic like FAME!

Whilst exciting and energetic…all singing all dancing and very feel good, it is not for the faint hearted! With scenes of drugs, sexual innuendos and the odd profanity I found some of it a little cringe and eye popping too, but aside from these points, I really enjoyed the overall story and the dynamics between the characters. The exploration of adolescents (with all of its challenges and struggles) was both funny and incredibly sad and heartbreaking too. It was fun but thought provoking, and I really liked that mix.

Finally the singing – oh the singing!!! I was blown away by the magnificent vocals of Stephanie Rojas (who plays Carmen) and Keith Jack too – My oh my can that man sing! All of the cast had remarkable singing and dancing abilities, but these in particular really struck me as sounding incredible and just stunningly beautiful in everything they sung. Mica Paris – who joins the cast as Miss Sherman –  took it to a whole new level with her vocals and was simply unbelievable, leaving the whole theatre in complete awe (and me wishing I could sing like that!).

I was excited to see Jorgie Porter on stage, and doing something different to Hollyoaks! I was pleasantly surprised to discover what amazing ballet skills she possesses – She played Iris well and was a natural on stage. I found her American accent was very good too and both herself as Iris, and Jamal Kane Crawford  as “Tyrone”, worked really well together and brought a lovely bit of romance!

Despite the lighting (that really stressed me out for some reason) this was a high energy emotional rollercoaster and I really enjoyed watching each characters story unfurl and their abilities evolve, as they progressed through life at “New York’s High School For The Performing Arts”. I have always loved musicals and stories set in and around performing arts schools, and I loved being able to go to the opening night last night with one of my friends for a girls night out! It was a lot of fun and overall, very well done!

Fame – The Musical is suitable for children aged 12+ and will be here in East Yorkshire until Saturday the 20th October 2018. Tickets can be bought here – https://www.bridspa.com/events/?eventid=109202 and I hope you have a lot of fun seeing it! 

*Thank you to Brid Spa for inviting me to the opening night – It was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it too! All thoughts are my own, and I have permission to share these images! 

 

 

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On Tuesday evening, one of my new besties and I headed to Hull Truck Theatre to see their latest hit – Abigail’s Party. Set in the 1970’s, it is written by Mike Leigh and directed by Amanda Huxtable, and is a really comical (and rather disconcerting) portrayal of social dynamics and relationships, that left us both wondering one two thing’s – Who the heck is Abigail and what actually happened at her party?!

I am not old enough to remember or know much about this original classic, but having studied recently about Sociologist Erving Goffman and his dramaturgical theory of us all playing parts and never truly being ourselves around others, I was intrigued by the whole story and theme of Abigail’s Party.

The saying of “we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors” really comes alive in this play, as does this idea of us all playing parts around others and how drink can quickly hinder this! I loved the topics it explores and the way the characters brought them to life. Beyond the comical surface of this play (and those brilliantly strong characters), it was filled with real life issues and evidence of “playing parts” in society, and it was this aspect of it all that I really enjoyed seeing unravel.

The play is set in Beverly’s rather modern and sophisticated 70’s lounge, and consists of just 5 incredibly well plated character’s (with reference to others). Whilst these characters come and go throughout, there is no set change, giving focus to the characters and their stories. I liked the simplicity of this and the excitement to settle back into my seat as a spectator into her home to see how things unfurled in the second half.

Beverly tries hard to be a model of middle class behaviour and taste – She enters in a cobalt blue floaty dress and sparkly heels, behaving and looking the epitome of middle class, and then opens her mouth to reveal what we would class today as an “Essex girl”! Her marriage to Lawrence (a workaholic estate agent) seems pleasant on the surface, but you soon begin to see the cracks forming. Whilst they attempt to put on a good show to try and impress their new neighbours, it quickly becomes apparent as the drinks, nibbles and snobby comments flow that they have a very sad and dysfunctional marriage and life together.

Her first guests are nurse Angela and husband Tony (Tone – a computer operator). Angela is excited for a new home and life in a “posh” neighbourhood, and is eager to please Beverly, but whilst Beverly tries to impress (or even dominate her), it also becomes clear that Beverly fancies her friends husband Tony, which fuels more snide and blatantly rude comments fired in her husbands direction. Whilst this element is very funny too, it also becomes rather sad too that none of them are really and truly happy in their costly lives and relationships – all trying to impress and keep up with others.

And then they are joined by Sue – a divorcee and long standing resident of their street, who is much more reserved and a seemingly vulnerable character. She is what would be seen as true middle class, and yet whilst the cheese and pineapple sticks are circulated and awkward pauses are filled with sneaky cigarettes, she becomes the butt of many comments and jokes. The reason being that the real party in this play isn’t what is happening in front of us, but rather it is happening back at her house, where her teenage daughter Abigail and her mates are having the time of their lives!

I enjoyed all of the characters – they each brought something witty and unique in their own right, and each one was played wonderfully. “Tones” really made us laugh, and I liked seeing how Beverly begins to evolve into a monstrous person, with no thought or regard for those around her. As she drinks more and more, her character becomes all the more forceful and jugey, often thrusting unwanted drinks and cigarettes onto her guests, belittling them and winding up her husband. She is really funny and plays the party well.

But my most favourite was definitely Sue! I liked her vulnerability and element of snobbiness and uneasiness around the others. I liked her disapproving looks and general awkwardness to be sat there at her bossy neighbours home (that obviously had a vibe of not being quite up to standard) with people she wouldn’t dream of mixing with under normal circumstances. I really felt for Sue as the other guests mocked her life, along with how anxious she was about her daughter Abigail’s party! She was fantastic!

I really enjoyed this play and despite us leaving with many unanswered questions and wonderment about the whole ending, it is definitely worth going to see either with friends or on a date! It is funny and brilliant and the whole theatre was laughing out loud throughout!

Abigail’s Party is on until Sat 20 OCT. It starts at 7.30PM with Matinees at 2pm on the 6th, 13th, 17th & 20th OCT. It is 2hrs 20mins (inc interval) and Tickets cost £10 – £24.50 

*Thank you to Hull Truck theatre for inviting me along to review this play. All thoughts are my own & Photo credit goes to Paul Floyd Blake

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Last night I took Megan with me to the press night of “Madagascar The musical” at Bridlington Spa, and of course she absolutely LOVED it! One of our goals this year was to take the kids on dates with each of us regularly, so that we could spend one on one time with them, and so they could have fun solo with mum or dad. We felt it was a good way to be able to talk with them, as well as create special memories too. And so, when I received the invite to review Madagascar The Musical, I knew it would be ideal for our budding zoo keeper and a “mummy-daughter date” and it really was!

Madagascar The Musical – Starring X-Factor Winner Matt Terry

I think at some point of life we have all seen the hilarious and much loved film “Madagascar”? With it’s cheeky plotting penguins and hypochondriac giraffe, it won our hearts many years ago as fine choice family film (and lets not forget the humour of king Julien’s character and his epic partying)! It is without a doubt a favourite here too for us all, and the stage adaptation is just as enjoyable for both kids and adults alike.

Based on the hugely popular DreamWorks animated motion picture, Madagascar The Musical remains true to the plot and follows all of your favourite crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar. Starring X-Factor Winner Matt Terry as “Alex the Lion”, this show was filled with swag, brilliant singing and dancing, and very impressive plotting puppet penguins.

I loved the character of Gloria (her voice is incredible), and Megan loved “Alex the lion” (but didn’t like the lightning effects). Matt Terry played it very well and his voice (as well as all of the others) and performance was fantastic.

The character of King Julien had everyone in stitches, and the costumes of all of the characters were simply outstanding. The set is imaginative and colourful and it oozes comedy and high energy throughout. I love the bond of Alex and Marty, and the friendship portrayed between them and the others, is a wonderful message for any child.

There were little kids and big kids surrounding us in the Spa, and everyone was fixated and laughing throughout – it really was a great family experience. Younger kids will most definitely be blown away with the lifelike costumes and puppetry, and older kids will love the plot, singing and jokes.

And us adults? Well, for me it was lovely to see a much loved film come to life on stage and bask in its humour and adventure with my little girl – I loved King Julien and I loved attempting to “floss” with Megs during the finale while we laughed our socks off! We both had a wonderful night and went home singing and laughing all the way!

So why not join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and those hilarious, plotting penguins as they bound onto stage in the musical adventure of a lifetime. Filled with outlandish characters, adventure galore and an upbeat score, you’ll have no choice but to “Move It, Move It!”!

And….If you’re not quite sold yet, then check out this video for a sneaky peak at how amazing it truly is –

What you need to know:

This brilliant family show is now on tour, and is currently being performed at Bridlington Spa. It is here until the 22nd of September and Tickets start from £29.50 for Adults and £17.50 for children. It starts at 7.30pm and ends around 9ish (with a 30 min interval) which isn’t too bad for school nights!

*Thank you to Brid Spa for inviting us to this. Tickets were complimentary in return for an honest review. 

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