Wednesday, 3 July 2019
Welcome back to another brand new post finally!! I've been so bad on here recently but if i'm honest i've not really had any inspiration/ motivation until now. On Sunday 30th June, I went to see a musical i'd only come across recently called The Light in the Piazza and I wanted to do a little review and share my thoughts whilst the show is still fresh in my mind. I won't ramble too much in a long intro so i'll just get on with the review and hope you enjoy!
The Light in the Piazza is set in 1950's Florence, Italy. To begin with, it does seem as though it is just your typical 'rom-com' type show. It has a stunning, romantic score behind it with the most talented cast perfectly performing through each song in it's own right. It follows the story of a boy and girl meeting and falling in love but, as with any love story, it does not run smoothly with misunderstandings and obstacles standing the way of the two being together.
Dove Cameron plays Clara, a young girl on holiday with her mother Margaret Johnson played by Renee Fleming. Mrs Johnson makes hints that Clara is not like other girls her age and we later learn this was due to an accident Clara had aged 12 leading her to have learning difficulties and a more child-like innocence. The interactions between Clara and Fabrizio, played by Rob Houchen make for beautiful scenes as their love grows and the language barrier never being a problem which is explored through song.
As I previously mentioned, The Light in the Piazza has a truly stunning score with the opening number "Statues and Stories" setting the joyful scene with some well timed comedic notes.
Clara's first solo song "The Beauty Is" is potentially one of my favourite songs from the score. It reflects Clara's optimism and innocence and is so beautifully sung by Dove who truly has a beautiful and almost angelic like voice.
Next up, "Il Mondo Era Vuoto" - this is sung by Rob and done so perfectly in Italian. This is the audiences first opportunity to hear his powerful tenor range and done brilliantly, in my opinion, Rob can sing pretty much anything and everything.
Renee does an outstanding job as Clara's mother and has some brilliantly done one liners. Her voice ranges from powerful tones, to more soft and gentle tones to coincide with the scenes perfectly.
Passegiatta is another of my favourite songs. It's beautifully written with Fabrizio asking Clara to walk the streets of Florence with him. With lyrics saying "come with me, walk with me in the place that I know" and "walk with me in the place that I live from a child" it's hard not to fall in love with the wonderful simplicity of the lyrics during this song.
Rob, Liam Tamne who plays Guiseppe - Fabrizio's brother and Alex Jennings who plays Signor Naccerelli, the boys father, make up a clever, light-hearted humerous trio especially during "Aiutami" in act 2 in which we see an Italian family argument with Fabrizio unsure what to do, this song also features the ever amazing Celinde Schoenmaker as Franca, Guiseppe's wife.
Another personal favourite song is "Say it Somehow" which is sung by Dove and Rob (Clara and Fabrizio) and is their way of telling each other to express their feelings in a way they'd both understand. It perfectly captures the love between the characters and highlights just how well Dove and Rob's voices compliment one another with some beautiful harmonies merging together effortlessly.
"The Light in the Piazza" shows off Dove's angelic vocals once again as she fills the audience with another beautiful song with "Love To Me" being a love song sung by Rob after Clara has expressed to Fabrizio there's something wrong with her and she isn't quite "normal", however he proves this doesn't phase him during this song as he only sees her positive qualities.
There are plenty of other songs which I haven't mentioned during this as i've picked out a few to give you an idea on the song/music style and if you haven't already, i'd highly recommend checking out the soundtrack and I guarantee you'll fall in love with it just as much as I have.
In conclusion, The Light in the Piazza is an incredible piece of theatre with the most beautiful score and I honestly can't express enough through words just how good it is. It's not a show i'd come across until recently, but I am so pleased it came about and came to London as short a run as it may have been. It had the most wonderfully, talented cast shining throughout from start-finish and as a lover of going to the theatre, there's one thing I absolutely love seeing and that's the cast enjoying themselves and the show they are doing and that certainly has shown within this cast. Going on the audience reaction from the show I saw and the responses i've seen on social media, i'm sure this won't be the last we see of The Light in the Piazza and i'll patiently await the day it hopefully returns to London and i'd highly recommend anyone checking it out if and when the day comes.
Thank you for reading, i've really enjoyed writing this post and i'd definitely love to do more of this in the future. I hope you enjoyed and hopefully i'll be back soon with another post!
Monday, 6 May 2019
Hello everyone, welcome back to my blog...finally! I just wanted to give a little update on things and why i've had such a big break from blogging. My last post was back in October 2018, after that work started building up and I was quite busy so didn't have much time to sit down and write. Alongside this, back at the beginning of December, my Grandad got taken into hospital. He had been very poorly for quite a while and had Parkinsons for around 12/13 years. During that time, I was more focused on him and my family rather than blogging. Sadly, he passed away a couple of weeks later and I was completely heartbroken. He was such a wonderful man and I have nothing but good memories of him. This time really made me realize just how quickly things can change and it's taught me to never take anything or anyone for granted. My mental health definitely went rapidly downhill and I ended up feeling very low, helpless and lost. I'm slowly starting to get a little better again and I want to talk through a few things in this post that have given me that much needed 'pick-me-up'. I really hope you enjoy reading the rest of this post.
Tuesday, 9 October 2018
Hey everyone, welcome back to my blog! So for today's post, as you can tell by the title, i'm doing another theatre show review. I don't make a secret of the fact I absolutely LOVE musicals and going to the theatre, it's definitely by far one of my favourite things to do in my spare time. Sitting in a theatre and watching a show just takes me to another place for a couple of hours and i'd probably go as far to say it's my "happy place". Anyway, i've been to see a particular show twice within two weeks now, Sunday 30th September and Sunday 7th October, and whilst it's still fresh in my mind and I have a bit of time, I wanted to sit down and tell you about it and my thoughts/opinions on the show. That show is Eugenius and I am currently listening to the soundtrack as I write this post.
If you've not heard of Eugenius i'll give you a quick backstory. It follows the story of a geeky boy named Eugene who has a genius creative flare for drawing and writing comic books inspired by his dreams who longs for recognition and with the help of his best friends, Janey and Feris, Hollywood comes calling when a producer wants to make a film out of his comic book called 'Tough Man'. This is where trouble begins and comic book fantasy mixes with reality. The show opens with the song 'Tough Man' which follows the story of 2 twin boys being born (Tough Man and Evil Lord Hector) but the weaker of the two (Hector) has to be sent away. During the filming of the movie, Hector finds himself coming to Earth in an attempt to find and defeat his brother Tough Man. The story isn't all fun and games and it does have it's twists and troubles that all tie in perfectly together to create a fun, energetic and happy ending. It is a very up-beat show with plenty of comedic factors but there are moments that can tug on the heartstrings but it's an all round wonderful show.
Eugenius has some incredible and up-lifting songs that you just can't help but smile at and sing along to. My personal favourite song is the duet between Eugene and Janey at the end of the show - "Comic Book Kind of Love". This may be quite an obvious choice but as the true power ballad it simply shows two people realising their love for each other. It's a very well written song and I can't help but smile anytime I listen to it and hearing it sung live by Rob Houchen and Laura Baldwin is mesmerising.
The song "Happy Endings Don't Exist" is definitely one that will tug on the heartstrings a little. It comes after Eugene realises he doesn't want the Hollywood lifestyle after his story gets changed and misses his life back home. Janey also appears on this song wondering how Eugene is getting on. This song reveals just how much they care for each other and they begin to wonder if there is such thing as a happy ending.
"Go Eugenius!" is the anthem of the show. It's a very upbeat and punchy song for all to enjoy and creates the perfect ending to the show with an energetic dance routine for the audience to join in from their seats.
Now, I need to mention the cast. The current cast in this show are INSANELY good. There's not one bad cast member and everyone gives 110% to their performance. It's so nice to watch performers who look as though they are genuinely enjoying what they're doing.
Rob Houchen - Eugene: I could honestly sing this mans praises all day. Rob is incredibly talented and has possibly one of the best and most versatile voices i've ever heard. Prior to this show I have seen Rob in Les Mis, Titanic the musical and at a few of his own gigs and every single time I see him perform, i'm blown away again and this time is no different. It's lovely to see him doing a more energetic show and see another side of him as a performer, especially with the dancing. He's just an incredible talent and i'm already excited to see what's next for him.
Laura Baldwin - Janey: Laura's voice is so beautiful and angelic. She plays the role of Janey with perfection and finesse. She fills the theatre with her infectious energy and smile whilst performing and i'm definitely excited to see what she does after Eugenius.
Dan Buckley - Feris: I think Dan is hugely talented and has the perfect comedy factor for playing Feris. His comedy is timed perfectly and is very witty and has the perfect filthy-humor that just fits this show so well.
Scott Paige - Theo: Scott is just brilliant. He plays out the campness and humour of Theo so well and he's a true joy to watch perform in every aspect.
Neil McDermott - Evil Lord Hector: Neil first came to my attention playing Ryan Malloy in Eastenders and i've loved getting the opportunity to see him perform in something different. Last year, I also got to see Neil play Chief Weasel in Wind in the Willows so to now see him in Eugenius is wonderful. He's another incredible talent and he plays the villainous roles so perfectly whilst also adding the comedy to Evil Lord Hector.
Alex Bourne - Lex: Alex does an amazing job of playing out villainous Hollywood movie producer Lex which contrasts and blends so well with Neil's Hector.
Simon Thomas - Gerhard/Tough Man & Emily Tierney - Super Hot Lady: Emily and Simon work so well together and offer a brilliant comedy value once cast in Eugene's musical and are both joys to watch on stage.
I also have to mention how incredible the ensemble members are. You have Tom Senior, Ben Darcy, Alex Tranter and Dillon Scott-Lewis who make up the high school jocks alongside Lauren Concannon, Amy West and Sasha Wareham making up the cheerleaders, followed by showing off some incredible dance numbers during their ensemble tracks. You also have Christopher Ragland who plays Lord Tough Man and Eugene's dad, Alison Arnopp who plays the Space Diva and Titus Rowe who plays Laurence (Evil Lord Hector in Eugene's movie). Every single cast member brings their own talents and they are truly what makes this show so amazing and heart warming to watch.
This musical really is a show about finding your place in the world and about love and acceptance. It's the perfect family show and perfect for a night out at the theatre. It truly deserves the West End Transfer it's just got and I can't wait to go and see it again. If you get a chance to go and see it, I highly recommend you do whilst you can, I can promise you now you won't regret it! If there's any lessons i'm taking away from this musical it's actually a line which appears in a couple of the songs, "don't shoot for the stars, shoot higher" - this inspires me to continue to reach for my dreams and it's definitely something i'll think of in everyday life.
Thank you to all the cast, crew and producers for this wonderful show. It transported me to a happy place for a short while and I wish it continued success. Also, a huge thank you to my two wonderful friends, Emily and Fleur who were my company seeing this show!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and hopefully i'll be back again soon!
Love, Beki x
P.S - if you check out my twitter, I posted a short clip of the ending of "Go Eugenius" for all to see and enjoy! Twitter: @xo_beki
Tuesday, 24 July 2018
Next up was Utrecht in The Netherlands. We stayed in a really cute and secluded place by the Canal and explored a bit of Utrecht in the day and it is super pretty but we were so tired from a late night and early morning flight we probably didn't appreciate it as much as we could've done. The evening was spent at another Collabro concert with them making their debut in The Netherlands also and it was so wonderful watching them performing to a virtually sold out crowd away from home.
Final stop of the trip was 2 days in Amsterdam. We were incredibly lucky to get last minute tickets to the Anne Frank House which was amazing. It was a very emotional, inspiring and eye opening visit and I feel very lucky we got the chance to experience it, definitely a must if you're planning a trip to Amsterdam!! We also went to the IAmsterdam sign (very typical tourist spot), the Love Lock Bridge, Dam Square and Lovers Canal where the famous bench from The Fault In Our Stars sits! I'd definitely love to go back to Amsterdam and explore a bit more and see what else it has to offer and if anyone has any recommendations - please let me know!
Another April highlight was another Collabro gig, this time in London at Pizza Express Live in Holborn. This was a very intimate gig and a massive highlight as I got to see some wonderful friends I don't get to see often so that made the whole day 10x more special!
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Hello again everyone, welcome to another brand new post! I'm not sure where this sudden inspiration has come from but i'm hoping it continues! Apologies for the long title of this post but this one is quite an important and personal one for me. Today's post is going to be about mental health and the importance of it and understanding it. Now, i'm in no way an expert on mental health and I won't pretend to be either. But as it's something i've suffered with personally and know of others, including some of my best friends, who have suffered in some way, I feel as though I can shed some light on the topic in the form of my own experiences and opinions. I promise this isn't intending to be a negative post, i'm hoping for it to possibly be something positive and, if I can inspire or reach even at least one person, that'll make me happy! I won't waffle on in this intro any longer and I hope you all like the post!
To start off, I just want to talk a little bit about my own personal mental health. I didn't have a good experience at school, I was bullied badly - verbally and occasionally physically - almost every day for 5 years. To this day, I still have no idea why, but I guess no one ever really knows why they become a "victim" of bullies. Maybe because I was quiet? Maybe because I kept to myself? Maybe I was just an easy target? Who knows. But what I do know is that it was an awful experience and I truly wouldn't wish something like that upon anyone. Eventually, I ended up being scared to go to school and i'd be in tears every single day before and after school. Being bullied did lower my self esteem and my confidence, i've always been quite shy but this definitely worsened me. My parents did at one point consider taking me out of school and having me home schooled so I wouldn't be in that environment, but I muddled on, still at the same school, same thing happening. I ended up hating everything about myself so took to self harm when I was around 15/16, for me that was a way of coping I guess. Harming myself on the outside gave me a way of of relieving the hurt and self hatred I felt on the inside. I'd keep my arms covered even in the summer so people wouldn't see. I also had my first suicide attempt mid way through my GCSE's aged 16. I have had another few failed attempts since aswell.
Once I left school and started college I thought "great, new start, new people, maybe now is my time to get away from all the bullying" - this was sadly proved wrong. I was made to feel like an outsider by people I considered to be my friends. I used to hear people talking and laughing about me when they didn't know I could hear them. I think this potentially hurt more than school. People I thought of as friends bitching and making me feel even worse. I put up with this for a further 4 years at two separate colleges and two separate and completely different courses. 9 years in total I put up with it all. I didn't only put up with it during education, I've also put up with it in different work places - one for almost 5 years.
In June last year (23rd June, 2017 to be precise), 6 years after leaving school where all my problems stemmed from, I finally went to the doctors and spoke to someone about my feelings for the first time. 6 years of feeling low every day, anxious, suicidal etc. I ended up being diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. Looking back, I do wish i'd had the courage to speak up before, but at least I now know of ways I can help myself - if and when I choose to seek out that help. I know that so many people potentially have it worse than I do which is why I now know just how important it is to speak up if you don't feel 'yourself'. There's always going to be something that can help you to feel 'okay' again even for a little while - for me that has always been listening to music. It has that power to calm me down, lift me up and help me to forget my problem's for a short time.
Onto the next part of this post - the importance of mental health. Personally, I think mental health quite often gets overlooked and ridiculed. People think it's not real and that it's just "in your head". Wrong. Mental health is VERY real and it is a subject that matters to so many people and needs to be taken more seriously. It can be hard enough for a person to cope with mental health without having a certain stigma and discrimination attached to it and it really is time this ended. Mental health is so much more common than we may realise with statistics showing 1 in 4 people will experience at least one diagnosable problem at some stage in their life and around 615 million people suffer from a form of depression or anxiety. According to the Mental Health foundation, 70 million workdays are lost every year due to mental health in the UK alone.
Mental Health exists in so many forms other than just depression and anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders and so many more come under the same category and none of which are a joke. I think what people don't realise is that mental health is just as important as physical health. It can be exhausting and draining and there can be days where a person doesn't wish to get out of bed or leave the house. It can also hit at any time, it's not the same as just falling over and hurting yourself. It can act up at random points for no reason whatsoever and it is difficult to understand which is another reason I personally think it's so important.
Mental health affects a person emotionally, pshycologically and in some cases, physically. It can affect the way we react to or handle certain situations, how we relate to another person and how we make choices in life. It's not easy to understand if you personally haven't gone through it. Being honest, I don't think it's that easy to understand even if you have suffered in some way. But it is important to remember that even if you may not necessarily understand a persons feelings, supporting them is a key factor to helping them. Even just listening or offering a shoulder to cry on can help a person in so many ways. You may not always know what to say but offering that support can be a key factor to helping someone.
For me and so many others, mental health is such an important subject and I can only hope that one day, it's taken just as seriously as physical health. I spoke to a few people I trusted before I finally had the courage to speak to a doctor, i'm still a long way from where i'd like to be, but with help and support, hopefully one day, I may get there. If you ever don't feel yourself, please talk to someone - even if it's a friend or family member you trust - talk to someone. And if you do get the courage to seek the professional help and advice, please do take that chance, it'll benefit you in the long run and one day, you'll see it was worth it.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope i've managed to do some justice to the topic and shed a bit of light on the importance of mental health. Remember, always speak up and I promise you are never alone and it's okay not to be okay.
See you all soon for another brand new post!
Love Beki x