Disney On Ice Passport to Adventure ~ Arena Birmingham

Disney On Ice is on UK tour with Passport to Adventure – click here for tour dates and to book tickets: Disney On Ice

Star rating: *****

Disney is a firm favourite in our household and having been to Disneyland Paris this year (third time for my husband and I, first time for our three year old son) Disney on Ice seemed like the ideal outing to keep the magic going until we can return to the place that our boy can’t stop talking about!

What the Passport to Adventure show brings you is four different films brought to life by incredible ice dancers in character costumes. Providing the ‘narration’ are Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and a hapless Goofy who delighted our child with his antics. It’s a non-stop cornucopia of Disney hits and scenes played out in the most extraordinary style.

The shows we were treated to included: The Lion King, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and Frozen. We were also joined by Judy Hops and Nick Fox from Zootropolis, before the main event – they were getting us all on our feet in a Fit to Dance session. Which is a brilliant idea and was embraced by all in the arena.

The Lion King featured some exceptional skating, with jumps, tricks and one skater in a Pumba costume – no mean feat! Peter Pan included flying in their section, naturally, as well as another member of the cast in a cumbersome outfit – dressed as Nanna the Dog. The Little Mermaid showcased superb ensemble dances with ‘Under The Sea’ being a particular favourite, plus there was a giant Ursula taking up the rink as she glided out in a clever move. Frozen remains as popular as ever, and what better show to perform on the ice than Frozen? It’s where Olaf belongs isn’t it? Even if he is still singing about ‘Summer’! Of all the tales told, I felt that the setting, scenery and stunning performances provided us with the perfect finale.

We can’t wait to return to Disney on Ice, next year and see what Mickey Mouse and his friends have in store for us. It’s such a fantastic family fun event and one of the highlights of our year.

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Out Of The Blue ~ Women In Comedy Festival, Manchester

Star rating: ****

Stand Up Comedy is as subjective a performance as Music, Plays, Musicals, you name it, everybody will have an opinion on it and what suits one person’s taste might not necessarily suit the next person’s. It’s a brave individual who takes up a career in Stand Up Comedy, however Sallyann Fellowes has just done that having left careers in both the Police and as a Nurse behind her.

Her one hour long show ‘Out Of The Blue’ made a shorter debut at the Edinburgh Festival this year and was incredibly well received at Women In Comedy Festival in Manchester this week.

It’s clear from the outset that Fellowes has a dry, quick wit and she’s not afraid to pick on members of the audience either. She brings visual elements to her piece and the occasional prop breaks up what could be one hour of talking to the audience about her weird and wonderful experiences as a Nurse, a Copper and indeed her dalliance with internet dating. However, props or no props, I could have listened to more from this talented new Comedian and I feel she has a lot to offer the Stand Up Comedy ‘world’.

I have also worked in the NHS so I could identify with a few of the gags, however you don’t need to have worked in the NHS or indeed the MoD to find the humour in her stories. From the list of in-joke abbreviations in the Casualty Department, to the presentation of a library card instead of Police I.D. – if you listen to the content of the tales, you’ll be able to find an alternative situation in your own life where such silliness, mayhem and chaos has ensued.

Sallyann converses with the audience articulately and is able to get them ‘on side’ from the start. Her material contains stories which she builds upon superbly and I was belly laughing on more than one occasion. She’s one to watch, that’s for sure – a new talent who’s sure to fly out into the blue.

Milkshake! Live The Magic Storybook Tour ~ Stafford Gatehouse Theatre

Milkshake! Live is touring the UK theatres and you can find out where to see the Channel Five Television programme live on stage, here: Milkshake! Live

Star rating: *****

This show has been on my son’s radar since it’s regular advertising on Channel Five each morning. It’s a favourite of his and the selection of programmes all meet with his approval, so it’s win/win!

At each tour venue there are two of the Milkshake! presenters telling the story of The Magic Storybook with the help of backing dancers and other familiar television favourites. We had Derek and Olivia leading the magic in Stafford and their energy could not be faulted, it was clear that the vast majority of the young audience were well aware of who they were and that alone engaged them straight away.

The story which features Milkshake! Monkey at the hub, revolves around the Monkey’s quest to become a fairy tale Prince and to have his story forever captured in a magic book. Along the way he encounters television characters such as; Fireman Sam, Wissper, Shimmer and Shine, Noddy and Winnie and Wilbur to name a few. Each character features in a song, dance and the audience are encouraged to get up and get involved.

Yes, this show works because there are so many television characters that it blows the young minds of the gathered crowd, but it’s also a simplistic story with a message at the heart of it. Plus every character that’s introduced is also providing a message for the children.

My three year old plus one and I were thoroughly impressed with this fun extravaganza and recommend the show to everybody – whatever your age!

This article is also shared on TV & Movie Scene

 

Sarah Jane Buckley ~ My Mrs J (Blood Brothers ‘Review’)

This isn’t a review as such, more of a collection of thoughts following another fantastic trip to see Blood Brothers. This time I made my ‘debut’ in the audience in De Montfort Hall, Leicester and I wasn’t there in my usual capacity as a reviewer. The opportunity to see Sarah Jane Buckley, (who usually has a breakdown on stage eight shows a week as the well to do Mrs Lyons) play Mrs Johnstone was too good to pass up and words can’t describe how excited I was to finally be able to see her in the role.

Had I been officially reviewing I would have given the show five stars, without a shadow of a doubt. Blood Brothers is one of my all-time favourite musicals and I still jump at the end of the show, every time! Of course, I cry too – great big fat tears because of the sorry ending which we are being led towards from the opening scene and because the music is so beautifully moving. Last night I was moved to tears because Sarah Jane was so spectacular as the leading lady.

Mrs Johnstone is the lynchpin in the story, there wouldn’t be a tale to tell without her, after all. The musical numbers that she sings are classics, from Tell Me It’s Not True to Easy Terms and every actress who’s taken on the coveted role has put their own stamp on the part.

Sarah Jane played the role with brashness yet gentility, she was straight-talking yet with an obvious heart of gold and she magnificently highlighted every nuance and trait which Mrs J encompasses. Not only was her characterisation remarkable in itself, but Sarah Jane’s vocal ability appears to know no bounds. I particularly noted how incredible her version of A Light Romance, was. I often feel that the song blends into the background as our attention is focused on Linda and Eddie, however I was drawn to Mrs Johnstone and the stunning rendition of the song being performed.

Tell Me It’s Not True is, of course the piece de resistance, and like all who have gone before her, Sarah Jane put her own stamp on that number and indeed, on the role itself. I never say no to a return visit to watch Blood Brothers, I’m always happy to run back for another amazing experience at the theatre. However, I will sprint to the theatre at top speed if Sarah Jane is playing the lead again. I have thoroughly enjoyed the performances from all the Mrs Johnstones that I have had the great pleasure of watching through the years – but I can safely say that Sarah Jane Buckley is MY Mrs J.

Shane Filan ‘Love Always’ Tour ~ Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Shane Filan is on UK Tour and you can catch him at any of the venues on this list: Shane Filan Tour Dates

Star rating: *****

Well-known as the frontman of boyband, Westlife, Shane Filan is currently on a solo tour off the back of his new album ‘Love Always’ and he was certainly well received when he appeared at Town Hall in Birmingham last night.

The excitable crowd were entertained with a selection of original solo numbers having opened with ‘When You’re Looking Like That’, my personal favourite which is a great upbeat song and had the audience on their feet. It set the tone for the evening.

Supported by a four piece band, we were treated to some amazing cover versions: Eternal Flame, Uptown Girl and Hey Now Hey Now (Don’t Dream It’s Over) to name a few. He offered the right mix of slow ballads and numbers we could all get up and dance to.

Considering that he is so well know as a boyband singer, he held the stage brilliantly as a solo artist. I’m a self-confessed Westlife fan anyway, but what stood out for me last night was the overall format of the concert and the verve of the atmosphere that Shane created effortlessly. His popularity never wanes and his fan base remains as strong as ever. The defining moment for me was ‘Beautiful In White’ which is my all-time best loved ballad and one of my over-riding memories of the evening.

Catch Shane Filan on tour while you can, I’d go back to watch him again if I could!

Reviewed by Guest Reviewer: Jenny Woodward 

The Real Thing ~ Malvern Theatres

The Real Thing stays at Malvern Theatres until Saturday 21 October 2017 before continuing with the UK tour, book tickets here: Malvern Theatres

Star rating: *****

The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard is not a piece I was readily familiar with, however the themes and intricacies of the script certainly don’t cover unfamiliar territory.

The opening scene is set in one of Henry’s (Laurence Fox) productions, although that’s not evident until the action moves on from the set to which Charlotte (Rebecca Johnson) and Max (Adam Jackson-Smith) are portraying. Henry is essentially a romantic and we first meet him while he is searching through records for his Dessert Island disc choices. Henry’s taste in music could be described as ‘corny pop’ which his wife, Charlotte is ready to point out to him. The pair have a mutually mocking relationship and they don’t shy away from it when Max and his wife, Annie (Flora Spencer-Longhurst) – who is also an actor, arrive to indulge in a spot of Bucks Fizz. The assumption in the offing when the couple arrive is that Annie and Henry are having an affair. Which of course, they are – it’s predictable from that perspective. However, not so predictable is that Annie and Henry make a life together out of the affair and despite plenty of room for jealousy, what they have is ‘the real thing’.

It’s a fascinating exploration of relationships, not only romantic ones but friendships and the parents/daughter dynamic too. There’s also the recurring undercurrent of politics as Annie supports her controversial jailbird ‘pal’ Brodie (Santino Smith).

The set is contemporary chic and moves smoothly with the action. The simplicity of it allows the dialogue and interaction to take the lead and with a wordsmith such as Stoppard at the helm, I feel that’s necessary.

Laurence Fox is exceptional in the role of Henry, he gives the character an air of vague nonchalance while simultaneously bearing his feelings with raw honesty. His chemistry with Rebecca Johnson as Charlotte is particularly notable and their scenes set the pace for the piece. Johnson embraces the absurdities and quirks of Charlotte and embodies the character completely. I always enjoy her work and this another example of her remarkable talent. Adam Jackson-Smith gives a strong performance as Max, coming into his won when he realises his marriage to Annie is over. Flora Spencer-Longhurst is also a revelation as Annie, a character who could almost be played as a flighty, yet it’s reigned in to allow the journey to unfold steadily. Kit Young is definitely one to watch, he plays Billy, a youthful actor who develops a crush on the leading lady he’s working with – the leading lady being Annie.

Stephen Unwin has worked his magic again and directed a play which challenges, questions and leaves plenty of room for analysis. A fine production of Stoppard’s work which I could watch multiple times and not tire of. Go and see it – there are a few weeks of the tour remaining.

Blogger Recognition Award Nominations!

You may have noticed my excitement on social media – Break A Leg has been nominated, not once, but twice for a Blogger Recognition Award! I am honoured and absolutely delighted that both www.carolinerevello.com and Tim Burge nominated me and my blog.

The Blogger Recognition Award is given to bloggers by bloggers and it is a way to show appreciation for the commitment and hard work that is needed to start a blog. 

Rules for accepting this Award:

Take the time to thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

  1. Write a post to show your award
  2. Give a brief story about how your blog started
  3. Give pieces of advice to new bloggers
  4. Select 10-15 new bloggers you want to nominate
  5. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them, provide the link to the post you created.

**************************************************************************************************

The Award

So I very humbly accept the award nominations, writing a blog and maintaining is not as easy a combination as it sounds and I’ve started a second blog now, too (I must be mad!) www.tvandmoviescene.com

How I started Break A Leg…

I started Break A Leg back in 2013 having written for online theatre reviewing publications and deciding I could have a try at this caper, myself. It started out as a west midlands based theatre review blog and has since become so much bigger than that. Although I’m regularly at the theatre in the Midlands, I also review all over the country, interview all manner of performers and creatives from across various genres of entertainment. I also include gig reviews and stand-up comedy so I’ve really broadened the scope. There are so many theatre bloggers out there that evolving is what’s driven Break A Leg forward and I was also absolutely delighted that the Break A Leg Awards which I debuted last year have really taken off. Read all about those here: Break A Leg Awards 2016 and here: Break A Leg Awards 2017

Advice For New Bloggers

  1. Select a niche and write within that niche, try to keep your social media posts for the blog within the parameters of your niche.
  2. Choose a subject you’re passionate about, it will shine through if you love what you’re writing about.
  3. Networking, Networking and yet more Networking! I can’t stress that enough.
  4. Remember that you’re the face of your blog and your reputation will precede you.
  5. Help your fellow bloggers, especially those who write within the same niche – it’s not a competition, we’re all in this together and everybody wants to get something different out of it.

My Nominations

  1. Frantastic View – an amazing blog from Francesca Mepham which is reflective and positive.
  2. Mama Geek – Zoe Corkhill’s fantastic blog which is a font of all knowledge from both Zoe and her children’s perspectives.
  3. Life Of Ellie Grace – there’s a great mixture of everything on this blog and I happened upon it while seeking Manchester based bloggers for a PR job!
  4. I Talk Telly – From Elliot Gonzalez who loves telly as much as I do, so he talks about it!
  5. As Seen On Jean – a really chatty blog which I recently discovered and pop in on from time to time, now.
  6. Cityscape Bliss – I happened upon this blog when I attended a fantastic blogging workshop and it’s a real inspirational read.
  7. The Best Version Of Kelly – I really like the mixture of reviews and posts on this blog and I know that Kelly is new to it – but she’s doing a fine job.
  8. Inept Ramblings – Chloe Buckles is the owner of this one and I think it’s a great conversational read about life’s observations. Chloe has been known to guest blog for me, too. Thank You Chloe!
  9. Life In A Breakdown – This blog is brilliant for hints and tips plus there is something that everyone will identify with on there. Plus I’m supporting a fellow midlands blogger who is doing an incredible job.
  10. Carry On Blogging – I am an unashamed Carry On film fan, brought up watching them and still love to watch them now. So this blog is right up my street, ooh matron!

 

 

The Hunting Of The Snark ~ Malvern Theatres

The Hunting Of The Snark is on UK tour of various theatres, catch all the tour dates hereThe Hunting Of The Snark

Star rating: *****

Inspired by Lewis Carroll, The Hunting Of The Snark is a musical cornucopia of delights, silliness and adventure. A fantastic show for kids and adults alike and engaging from beginning to end. I am inclined to say that it captured the imagination of my three year old son just a touch more than any show he has seen, and he’s seen and loved many productions.

The story follows a boy (Jordan Leigh-Harris) who is desperate for a relationship with his father, the Banker (Simon Turner), it’s just the two of them since they lost mum and the boy is often left waiting at school for an hour to be collected. the Banker is greedy for more money and has discovered that a Snark has been spotted on Snark Island. Thought to be extinct, finding the Snark would mean a ridiculous amount of money in return. The boy is also exited at the thought of such an adventure, but his father recruits The Bellman (Ben Gaplin) to assist, and he brings a beaver with him. Naturally! With the boy stowing away on board the ship to the island, danger looms and the arrival on Snark Island is not a smooth one. The group encounter a mad Butcher (Polly Smith), a trouser-loving JubJub (Ben Gaplin), a Baker (Will Bryant) with amnesia and a Bandersnatch (Will Bryant) who collects everything he can get his paws on.

The songs are catchy, vibrant and tell the story as articulately as the script does. The puppetry enthused all of the children in the audience, he was my Son’s favourite character. Jordan Leigh-Harris was excellent in her professional debut, she played a boy quite convincingly in fact! Simon Turner was brilliantly bolshie as the Banker, Ben Gaplin was highly entertaining as The Bellman and hilariously funny as the JubJub. Polly Smith gave the stand out performance, not only as the extremely creepy yet amusing Butcher, but also with the various cameo appearances that she made throughout. Her ability to mimic any accent sees to know no bounds!

I highly recommend the show as an alternative to the usual Alice in Wonderland which tends to be the Lewis Carroll story that is usually on offer. From the simple yet effective set to the tight, strong cast – go and see this while you can, it’s already wowed the West End!

Coventry Comic Con ~ Review

Comic Cons are one of mine and my family’s favourite things to go to together and Coventry Comic Con offered every opportunity for some fantastic memorabilia and nostalgia in the company of cosplayers and a number of celebrities.

The venue, Sports Connexion was the perfect venue for an easy and effective layout. Plenty of space between the stalls and no shoving and pushing to have a look at the all important merchandise (yes, I came home with not one but TWO bags to satisfy my loud and proud geeky side). There were stars at every turn signing autographs and enjoying selfie time! Notably, David Prowse (Darth Vader… DARTH VADER!!) was present and Sylvester McCoy, my Doctor, was also in attendance with his companion, Ace (Sophie Aldred). Patricia Quinn of Rocky Horror fame was also looking resplendent as ever and loads more cult television series and movies were represented – it was an impressive line up.

The piece de resistance was the panel talks – well organised, a good range of guests and I loved listening to Sylvester McCoy, everyone should hear him talk about Doctor Who and anything else for that matter.

Comic Cons are great fun, where else can fans walk around in costume with the only form of judgement being the cosplay competition they can enter. There are so many to choose from and if you’re taking young children, the smaller-scale events are often a better starter – not so overwhelming but still generating excitement in the little ‘uns. Our three year old is still talking about Coventry’s.

Want to know amore about this fantastic event for all the family? You can read more about it here: Coventry Comic Con

 

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