THEATRE REVIEW: Cyrano De Bergerac

Reviews, Theatre

The Jamie Lloyd Theatre company production of Cyrano De Bergerac has just finished in the West End but it is going to New York soon. I saw the play for the dress rehearsal when the company were doing a pay-as-much-as-you-can showing as part of their ‘theatre is for all’ campaign. As a student it can be difficult to afford theatre and I think it’s such a great idea to get more young people or people who can’t afford it to go and see a play. Often theatre is regarded as this portentous thing for the wealthy so I think it is so great that the company are trying to make it as accessible as possible.

The play Cyrano De Bergerac follows ‘Cyrano, a talented 17th-century playwright [and soldier] who pursues a woman named Roxane. While he may seem to have a glittering career, his outlook on life is plagued by narcissistic views around him, as Cyrano uses language in order to allure his lover.’ It’s a heartbreaking love story focusing on Cyrano, Roxane and Christian (a new fellow soldier who is more physically attractive than Cyrano but does not have his mind for words and language).

The play itself completely blew me away – I knew it was gong to be a reboot of the classic play (written by Edmund Rostand in 1897) with a modern spin and probably quite paired back as it was directed by Jamie Lloyd. But it completely brought the story into the modern day – making the poetry seem more like rap, giving poetry this ‘cool’ spin and injecting some youth back into it.

The staging was paired back, just concrete walls and floor laid bare except from a few microphones and stands and some stairs when it came to the battle scene. The microphones on stage really emphasised the themes of the importance of having a voice and the power of the spoken word. To me the play really encapsulated the phrase-

“The pen is mightier than the sword” – that words can wield just as much, if not more, power and importance.

This is a message really relevant today, in our world of questioning authority- asking the questions of who should have power and why. And showing the importance of welding the power of words whilst also being wary of them as they may not be the speakers own.

James McAvoy plays the titular role of Cyrano. They have chosen to have this character without the traditional over the top large nose, choosing instead to draw attention to the other more important themes in the play; from unrequited love, to vanity, to what manliness looks like, to the power that words can wield.

The character of Roxane, played by Anita-joy Uwajeh, is given a modern day reboot as well giving her much more prominence and a voice in the play. Roxane is Cyrano’s love interest in the play, but this adaptation makes her less passive.

Overall, this play was breathtaking, completely transforming a classic into the modern day reminding us of how important words are. All performances by the actors were phenomenal, using staging like above to emphasise some of the plays most important themes. If you are heading to New York, or live there, and looking for something to see I would really recommend checking this play out – it will blow you away.

THEATRE REVIEW: Upstart Crow

Reviews, Theatre

Last Wednesday I saw Upstart Crow at the Gielgud theatre in London. It is an adaptation of the tv sitcom of the same name. Inspired by the critique by Robert Green in his pamphlet ‘Groatsworth of Wit’, The play as with the series was written by Ben Elton and so it very much had the same tone as the series if not a little more political and more energetic in the play version. The play is packed with references to William Shakespeare’s plays* however you don’t need to be a Shakespeare fanatic to enjoy the play. There are many Shakespeare ‘inside jokes’ so some knowledge might heighten your experience but mainly the comedy is aimed at ridiculing general views of Shakespeare and of the politics in Shakespeare’s time and of ours. So if you are a huge fan of Shakespeare and his plays I would urge you to check it out as it looks at some real events of his life and suggests ways in which these events may have inspired his plays.

Ben Elton also wrote the 2018 film All is True starring (Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench and Ian Mckellan) which is based on the final years of Shakespeare life. The film has a much darker, sadder tone to the series and to this play which is much more lighthearted but this interrogation of Shakespeare’s life and the way his life events influenced him really seeps into the play in a way that I don’t think that the series does quite as often. Set after the death of Shakespeare’s only son Hamnet, the play still focuses a little on the impact this tragic life event had on him and his writing.

The play was performed by the original cast of the BBC television series featuring David Mitchell in the role of William Shakespeare who completely embodies the bard with his high forehead and indulging in all of the stereotypes and assumptions of the playwright. Gemma Whelan was also incredible in her role as Kate, bringing awareness to the harsh reality of the position that women had in the Elizabethan/ Jacobean era with comic flare. She acts as Shakespeare’s confidante and as the source of Shakespeare’s genius, almost adhering to the saying that ‘behind every great man is a great woman’ which adds to the plays political underbelly.

If you are a fan of the series and expect to see Ann Shakespeare though you may be disappointed as she doesn’t make an appearance as with the series – Elton has chosen to write her as avoiding Will Shakespeare because of the poems. Other than that though, the play really is mostly a longer (100 minutes) version of an episode in the series which means that Elton has been able to explore in more depth more of Shakespeare’s plays and the influences for it. The play is written so that audience members of any age should be able to enjoy it or at least find certain moments comical.

Directed by Sean Foley, the staging also sets out to ridicule the limitations of realism on stage choosing to use a similar set up to the set design of the series. But because there are no cuts or edits that can be made with a play Foley uses the staging to add an extra comic element almost similar, although much more subtle, to that of The Play that goes Wrong.


“Theatre goers can look forward to a comedy steeped in authentic shakespearean ambience in every way apart from the smell”

David Mitchell, UpstartCrowComedy.com

One question many people have asked me is if you can enjoy it without liking Shakespeare that much and I would say that as David Mitchell has said that it very Shakespearean and it is about his life and his work. However, many of the jokes come from general fairly well known assumptions about Shakespeare so I do think it would still be enjoyable if you are not Shakespeare’s number one fan.

Overall it was a really enjoyable night at the theatre, producing many genuine belly laughs from the audience. But it’s not only funny, Elton really pushes to expose some issues in our society and to make you think about representation in the entertainment industry by making us look at the past, the play makes us look at our present. The play is only on for a short run ending on the 25th of April 2020 at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End.

At the Gielgud Theatre

SPOILERS:

*Mainly Othello, Twelfth night and King Lear with a little bit of Hamlet and reference to the histories.

BOOK REVIEW: Origin

books, Reviews
IMG_0595

I recently finished reading Origin by Dan Brown; I am a huge fan of his books anyway after having read Inferno, and this sequel does not disappoint – its just as thought provoking and fascinating as his past novels.

To sum up the novel, without spoilers, the novel is a thriller following the Harvard professor Robert Langdon going to see an ex students presentation about a new discovery he has made. He then finds himself running for his life along with Museum manager Ambra Vidal. It follows all the places they visit and all of the organisations, people and architecture in the book are real which is really interesting.

Brown also touches on some very controversial topics including the ongoing religion vs science debate and the impact technology has on todays society. It is incredibly thought provoking; it made me question and want to find out more about the topic and the way in which science and religion both have parts to play in todays society. It makes you ask questions about the relevancy of religion in the modern world, about the impact new scientific discoveries have on society and about the conflicts that can occur due to the differences in opinion people have over answering these questions.

Religion is presented almost like a comfort blanket in the novel by some characters (although the protagonist, Robert Langdon, remains a bystander throughout) as an idea that people go to when the world does not give them clear answers. For example what happens when we die – science cannot yet give a definite or ‘nice’ answer so perhaps religion is that blanket to turn to. Other characters depict a world in which science can cause more suffering for example issues with the lack of morality and emotion in computers or a lack of hope amongst society due to the less romantic answers to some questions Science is trying to answer. In this way, Brown presents a clear discussion of these themes allowing the reader to make up their own mind of what the answer should be. Science or Religion or maybe even both, side by side?

Overall I would 100 percent recommend this novel, it follows a very similar story arc as to many of his other novels but the topics are very relevant and fascinating – I couldn’t put the book down, I was so eager to find out what was going to happen next. It not only feels like you are reading a thrilling novel but also learning a lot from it too.

Have you read Origin, If so what did you think?

Have you got a favourite book? I would love to know your book recommendations – please leave a comment below!

Thank you so much for reading 🙂

(This is all my own opinion, unless otherwise stated, about the book and the themes it entails. You may think completely different ideas about the themes or have different thoughts about the novel as a whole and I am happy to hear your opinions about them)

The ‘you beauty’ advent Calendar 2017

Beauty

A review…

P1010727For the past couple of years i have had the Youbeauty Advent calendar leading up to Christmas and I evidently like it to go back to the same one each time.

I think the reason i like it so much is that it contains a variety of beauty products from skincare to makeup to hair. And each year has been completely different. It also isnt too ridiculously over priced.

So this year in the advent calendar i got ….

An eyeshadow brush

a revolution eyeshadow palette

P1010736

Nip and fab travel palette

ciate gel kohl liner

the organic pharmacy lip and eye cream

Ren firming beauty shot

Kitsch elevated bobby pins

The white company home spray

dr. organic snail gel eye serum

Whitening toothpaste

sport fx face mist and fix

sukin hydrating mist toner

Bare minerals skinlongevity

skinfix hand repair cream

illuminating primer

body oil

nail varnish

Oribe texturising spray

maroccan oil hair mask

shampoo and conditioner

Browcote

Some i loved, some i might not use as much like the anti ageing products and snail gel because i don’t really need to use ant ageing yet haha. It would be really good if beauty brands could do advent calendars by skin type or something like that. like one to hydrate, one for anti ageing, one for acne prone, something like that would be really helpful.

My favourite products were the travel palette because i think it will be a really useful ‘one stop’ palette to take places with me.

P1010732

I also really liked the browcote as it truly does keep my eyebrow makeup in place for a lot longer.

Hair wise i was super excited to get the oribe texturising spray and it is really good for my fine hair to add a bit more volume and style.

Hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas! thanks so much for reading 🙂

 

 

 

Make up I’m loving…

Beauty, Style

Its now October and feeling very autumnal so today I thought I’d do a post on the makeup I’ve been loving recently.

In terms of eye shadow I’ve been reaching for the more autumnal browns and oranges. So I’ve been loving the urban decay full spectrum palette because I’m completely in love with the yellows and shadow colour’s like midnight blaze that has a slight khaki green undertone to it.

For days when I’m wanting a more neutral look, I love either the Chanel quad (in 204 tisse vendome) or the urban decay Naked original palette. The Chanel palette has some beautiful browns and a really pretty rose gold in it which you can build up to make it more smokey or wear quite naturally. From the Urban Decay palette I love the colour’s smog, darkhorse, toasted and hustle. These are some gorgeous brown and burgundy shades perfect for autumn.

 

 

Scent wise I’ve been loving these two from Gucci: Gucci flora and Gucci Guilty. They are both quite fresh and floral scents.

In terms of mascara the Maybelline lash sensational mascara is really the only one I reach for as its affordable and makes the lashes look long and thick but it is quite a clumpy mascara which I quite like but I know some people don’t. Then I use the  soap & Glory supercat eyeliner because its so easy to use and is really black; I’ve used some other eyeliner pens before and they come out a more grey colour and I end up having to apply a few coats of it but with this one it glides on easily and looks great. For eyebrows I use the Bobbi brown eyebrow pencil in the colour Ash, I’m really liking it so far but it is a little pricey so I don’t know if I will buy it again or not? let me know if you know any really good cheaper alternatives. Then sometimes I will use the Tarte tinted brow gel if i’m out for a long time to set the brows in place for a bit longer.

For the foundation I really like the finish of the Bare minerals powder foundation: it makes the skin look really glowy and fresh however it can be a bit drying particularly if you have dry skin. I always put on a good layer of moisturizer before applying it.

Then for highlight i’m loving the Topshop one in the shade crescent moon, it leaves a really beautiful highlight on the face and stays for a long time.

For lips I’ve been wearing this liquid lipstick from NYX in shade 04. Its a really nice rosey- nude that I think will suit a lot of skin tones.

To read about my outfit read my previous blog post 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading about my current everyday makeup routine and the makeup I’m loving at the moment for autumn. What are you loving? How are you feeling about autumn so far?

Please feel welcome to like and comment, I’d really appreciate it! And let me know what posts you’d like to see in the future 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Inferno

books, Reviews

I finished reading Inferno whilst on holiday in Nice, France, it was an amazing book simply because it was so thought provoking. Without giving too much away Inferno is basically about a professor helping the WHO to find a potential ‘plaque’ Zobrist could have hidden. The book takes you on a journey around Florence, Venice and Istanbul so is very cultured. I really want to go to Italy now!

I’ve seen the film as well which is still really good but the book is so much better because the ending of the film is very different and the film leaves out many of the details from the book which would probably be too difficult to portray on film.

img_8178.jpg

The main issue this book is based around though is the taboo topic of the increase in human population. The book includes a graph of this increase and how overpopulation can lead to so many issues but how we don’t know how to face the issue in an ethical way.

In my opinion it is something we need to deal with soon because we as humans do have a massive impact on the environment. The more people there are the more cars there need to be on the roads, the more electricity we need to create, the more houses we need to build, the more land we need, the more food we need, the more water we need, the more trees we need to cut down, the more of everything we need.

I kind of think we are the reason for global warming; its not necessarily just the cars we are using and other ways we are producing co2 but we are heating the world. If you think about it every piece of technology we use produces heat as a by product, the more people there are the more people there are using these products. The more people there are the more we have to use intensive farming because there is not enough land for organic farming, the more people there are the more co2 we are producing because that is the product we breathe out along with all other animals, the more heat we are creating because we live so closely together; we could be essentially creating our own greenhouse effect like when penguins huddle together to create heat. Obviously I am no scientist and this is just my opinion.

Maybe we are just so naive to not notice or do anything about the fact that we are the biggest problem facing the world. But I really couldn’t think of any way that we would be able to deal with it anyway.

Have you read inferno? if so what did you think of it x

Festival season

Fashion, Lifestyle, Style, Travel

 

Its festival season and these are a couple of festivals I’ve been to so far this year…

COMMON PEOPLE FEST

I went to common people festival in May with a few friends, its in Southampton and I think is quite a new festival. Tom Odell was playing and it was incredible. So here are a few photos from the day and as festival season has arrived ( my favorite season) here is what I wore:

Yellow top, cropped joggers, denim jacket, classic vans

CAMP BESTIVAL

I’ve been going to camp bestival for about 7 years and has always been really good. However this year (2017) the line up wasn’t as good and is accommodating much  more to families now as it has child friendly music or music for the parents. But the Sunday was really good; Anne Marie and Louisa Johnson were playing and we even got to meet Anne Marie! I don’t think ill go back, might try it’s sister festival though- Bestival as the line up is normally really good with more of a mixture of music from pop to alternative. Camp Bestival is really good for families though and they always put on an incredible firework display on the last day. I might even try volunteering next year.

Both these festivals are run by the same people so they are both quite similar. 

IMG_7953IMG_7952IMG_8062IMG_7914

What are your favorite festivals?