So as I've mentioned before, I'm a huge theatre fan. I've always loved acting and performing but I also love going to the theatre and also the cinema, so I thought I'd share with you some things I've seen recently as I'm trying to make the most of being home and close to London and other local theatres!
First up was the current touring production of 'Birdsong' which has come from the West End. I saw it at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and it was wonderful. The Sebastian Faulks novel is one of my favourite books and I remember reading it on holiday when I was 16 and crying by the pool! I adored last year's TV production, mainly due to Eddie Redmayne I'll admit and so I was excited to see it translated into the theatre.
As an ex-A Level drama student I'm prone to analysing theatre I'm afraid and having my friend Francesca with me who's just as keen meant we spent the interval marvelling at the set, costumes and lighting. All of which were fabulous. It has been adapted so that the main action is during the First World War with flashbacks to a summer a few years before in the same area of France. This meant the barbed wire of no man's land was always silhouetted at the back of the stage and all the action was haunted by shadows of the war. It definitely served to make the piece more powerful. There were also some beautiful performances and it was very moving, particularly the use of song and music. Definitely a production worth seeing!
Talking of must-sees, I was lucky enough to be taken by my aunt and uncle to see Helen Mirren in 'The Audience' as a belated brithday treat. And oh my was it worth the wait. She was AMAZING! Obviously we'd all seen her play the Queen before and I do sometimes feel surprised when I see the actual Queen and she's not Helen Mirren, but the ease with which she aged and skipped backwards and forwards through time was incredible to watch. It was obviously helped by the highly impressive costume and wig changes but her entire physicality and voice changed to match so well. The only thing greater than my admiration for her performance was my jealousy of the young girl (Bebe Cave I think) playing her as a child. Imagine being in your teens and sharing the West End stage with Helen Mirren: so so jealous!
Sadly it has just finished its run but next week you can catch it at some cinemas as part of the National Theatre Live programme and I definitely would if you can! It's a very clever, very witty and ultimately a very moving play about someone who's had a constant presence in the life of the country for the past 61 years as well as in each of our own lives on some level or other. Yep I'm a royalist at heart!
My final theatre trip of the week was with my friend Vicky and was again a birthday treat, this time to see the brand new musical of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It's still in previews but is definitely set to become a favourite I'd say! It's such a feel good story of dreams and imagination and the little boy playing Charlie absolutely melted my heart! In fact all of the children in it were so so good and I especially loved Violet's rapping and Veruca's pirouetting. The lyrics are very clever - even if some of the songs aren't that catchy - and the acting and staging full of energy as you'd expect. But it was the sets and special effects that really stole the show...
Sam Mendes has pulled out all the stops and the reported £10million budget has been put to good use to create the incredible world of Willy Wonka. I don't want to give to much away, but the Great Glass Elevator flying through a starry sky as Willy Wonka and Charlie duet on 'Pure Imagination' gave me goosebumps: absolutely magical!
Onto films. The first isn't one I've seen recently but this new film of 'Much Ado About Nothing' by Joss Whedon was released on the 14th June. I was lucky enough to attend a press screening with my uncle and so got to see this way back in January. But now all of you can go see it too! And you should, especially if - like me - you're a Shakespeare fan. This is actually my favourite Shakespeare play and I am a big fan of the Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thomson film so this was going to have to impress! But it did. I loved the simple setting (in Whedon's own house in Santa Monica) and the relaxed feel was perfect for the story and Shakespeare's own script. I just love the fact that Whedon literally invited some friends - actors he'd worked with or wanted to work with - over for 12 days and shot a movie. The fun was infectious but it was also very clever and moving when it needed to be: a lovely version of a wonderful play!
For something on a slightly bigger scale, 'Man of Steel' is finally out! I have to admit I was slightly disappointed. Maybe it was because I didn't really know the Superman story that well but I felt there was way too much outer space alien type stuff going on and not enough of the Superman/Lois Lane romance! Henry Cavill is gorgeous as expected and there are some great bits in the middle section where we see a young Clark Kent struggling with his powers, but the final fight sequence dragged on a bit with a few too many explosions and collapses for my liking and I must say I found it tricky to take it too seriously when the antagonist was called General Zod...
Last but not least is a film I've actually already seen twice in the cinema. Baz Luhrman's 'The Great Gatsby'. I can't tell you how excited I've been for this!
I studied the book as one of my English A-Level texts and it quickly became a favourite.
I loved the Mia Farrow and Robert Redford film when I saw it.
I think Baz Luhrmann's films are fabulous and 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Moulin Rouge' are two of my favourite films.
I've thought Carey Mulligan is amazing ever since 'An Education'.
And finally, I'm in love with Leonardo di Caprio.
So yes, I was expecting a lot, expecting to love it. And I did.
All of the magic and excitement is there, with the crazy party scenes, the colours, the sounds (the soundtrack is a must have for your iTunes!) and the beautiful but tragic love story at the heart of it. I've now seen it in both 2D and 3D and I have to say that the 3D did just make it 'pop'!
If you haven't already, go see it! Fitzgerald's beautiful words are still there and I had another goosebump moment with those famous last lines and throughout you really do believe in di Caprio's Gatsby and his belief in his dream of Daisy. Visually it's beautiful, some of the acting is beautiful and if nothing else, the cast is hardly bad looking either!
Hope you don't mind this rambly review type post, I just thought it would be nice to do something a little different!
All pictures are from Google Images.