Theatre Review: A Christmas Carol

Show_AChristmasCarol

Last night I had the opportunity to see one of my favourite on-screen father figures – the inimitable Jim Broadbent – on stage for the bargain price of £10 thanks to an exceptionally lucky friend ordering us tickets at just the right time.  Thank you Sophie!

In keeping with the season we went to see the man himself star in Dickens’ Christmas classic – A Christmas Carol.  The tale is retold annually on television where we are reminded that the true meaning of Christmas is to love and be loved and that material possessions mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.  (A little ironic then that top price tickets to learn this valuable lesson at the Noel Coward theatre won’t even give you enough change for a coffee from £100.  But I digress.)

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Five Star Theatre Review: The Play That Goes Wrong

the play that goes wrong

December has been, by all accounts, a fairly cultured month.  I recently saw a great play and who better to share it with but you!  My mum was coming to visit for a few days and we wanted to take in as many sights and sounds as we could cram in to the space of a weekend.  Enter my friend Danielle who recommended The Play That Goes Wrong which is currently playing at The Duchess Theatre.  Danielle and I met when we worked in a theatre up in Scotland and her passion for the arts has led her to the bright lights of the West End where she now works.  She’s seen the play a thousand times and still gets a belly ache from laughing at the gags which, in my books, is a sure fire sign we’re onto a winner.

The play itself is the first presentation of  newly expanded Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society.  For the first time in the society’s history the troupe have secured sufficient actors to reach for the stars with the premiere of ‘Murder at Haversham Manor’.  Boasting an all-star wannabe cast of amateur actors – half of whom appear to have been strong-armed into participating in the show – the play has a constant spell of bad luck from the off and despite the best efforts of Duran Duran megafan and chief electrician, Trevor and put-upon director Chris, the spell fails to lift despite the cast’s best efforts to keep calm and carry on.

The humour is completely farcical and it’s impossible not to laugh at the thespians’ misfortunes as they bravely battle to ensure the show must go on.  Anyone who’s ever been in an am-dram society will recognise the characters from pseudo-saucepot Sandra who’s convinced it’s first stop Cornley, next stop Hollywood (provided she doesn’t collapse under the weight of her own ego.) Then there’s serious veteran ac-tor Robert who rates himself above all others and poor old Dennis who valiantly tries to remember his lines with only the very occasional glance at the notes he’s written on his hand.  My personal favourite has to be stage manager Annie.  An underdog of sorts we witness something of a metamorphosis from the shy and retiring behind the scenes troubleshooter as she blossoms into the leggy love interest all the boys are after – much to Sandra’s disgust.

I heartily recommend a trip to see this play.  We laughed from start to finish and even though, as the title suggests, you know things can’t possibly end well I still spent the entire show willing the hapless troupe a little more in the way of luck.  We sat in the stalls and had a great view. I can’t speak for the rest of the venue but there is no restricted view in the stalls area, even from the back row which is great.  You can pick up tickets via the Duchess’ website (linked above) or, if you’re planning on booking before 23rd December head here to bag a ticket for a tenner for selected performances as part of lastminute.com’s 12 Days of Christmas offer.  In the meantime, whet your appetite with a behind the scenes teaser from the actors themselves.  Break a leg chaps! xx

A fond farewell

My final day at home is here and there’s little more to do than pack my life away into a couple of suitcases before heading to the mainland tomorrow afternoon. Wee buns, eh what? Hmm…

My last few days at home have been a real treat. I’ve managed to see lots of friends, meeting for coffees and drinks – a great opportunity to catch up and say ‘So long (for now)’ properly. A less positive experience for my liver and sleep patterns but totally worth it nonetheless!

Not looking too shabby, considering it's kicking out time!

Not looking too shabby, considering it’s kicking out time!

Last night, I got a great offer on tickets for a satirical review show of 2013 which was on at the Lyric Theatre in town. It covered everything from ‘fleg’ protests to politicians not declaring expenses and other discrepancies to planning permission and the peace process. It was entirely NI-focused so those not from these shores would probably have missed the local humour. You’ll just have to take my word for it: it was brilliant! It was the perfect final dose of Norn Iron wit I needed to last until I’m next home for a visit. If you’re a local to these parts the show’s running for another few days. Use the promo code ‘Hangover’ when you’re booking your seat to get a 2 for 1 deal if the offer’s still on.

I’ll leave you with a little video from the Forget Turkey cast, aptly entitled Interested in working in the media?

Notepad at the ready – I need all the tips I can get! 😉