Theatre on Screen Cyrano De Bergerac, Joseph, Jesus Christ Superstar

I forgot when I wrote my March summary, that I had been to the cinema. A few days before cinemas closed, saw a National theatres production of Cyrano De Bergerac. It was a recording rather than a live show. Some parts of play quite intimate, so we thought you got something from seeing it on screen, that would not from live performance as got close ups of faces. It was a very minimalistic production with barely any set so the close ups really helped enhance it for me. I was not wowed but at least improved after first rapped scene as would have been very tedious if the whole play had been the same.

At the moment for 48hours from 7pm on a Friday there is Andrew Lloyd Webber production available on YouTube. Last week was Joseph Technicolor Dreamcoat. I put my texhnicolour dress on especially and watched at 7pm Friday. However, I was disappointed it was an unusual version. It was made more like a film than a theatre show. Even the audience was ‘fake’. The premise was that school teachers was telling pupils the story of Joseph then ended up on the stage in the story. I did not really engage with it.

This weekend’s production available until 7pm tomorrow is appropriately for Easter Jesus Christ Superstar. I saw the same cast of Tim Minchen and Spice Girl Mel C live at Sheffield arena. I think the version being showed was filmed at an arena in Birmingham with a live audience.. In the show big screens were used at the back of the stage. This has been my favourite of the three. It is high energy, rock style and lots of powerful voices. Worth close ups for Tim Minchen’s eyes. Andrew Lloyd Webber came on the stage at the end.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie AGAIN

I talk about Jamie a lot! I saw the premiere in 2017 and fell in love. Since seen in person in London and in Sheffield cinema live from London. It has returned to Sheffield, but this time in Lyceum rather than Crucible. I have posted a picture of the stage at the start on Instragram Wonderwall360.

The actress playing the teacher character has changed and I think found original to be a more moving performance; less fake.

Hugh of Victor’s secrets is now played by Shane Richie. Considering he is of Eastenders fame, I was impressed by his northern persona.

More crucially actor playing Jamie has also changed. At first I was dubious but think perhaps that was because I see the original as Jamie having watched him for literally hours. I think I did warm to him.

Overall I still enjoyed this musical. I will watch the film when it comes out in October; not least because I may be in it. Perhaps the different Jamie actor in that will also take some getting used to.

Drag Queens to Bondage

Jamie vs we will rock you

My Mother Said I never should: Theatre review

I went to the matinee of this a few weeks ago. It has taken me until now to write a review of it, because I was not sure what to say about it. I was keen to go, because it sounded interesting and was in the studio of Crucible theatre and I enjoy the intimacy of that space, which can give rise to some different plays. I came out thinking, it was a pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon but a little underwhelmed and that was possibly because I had set expectations high.

The story was about three / four generations of women in a family. There was just four women in the play and they played their characters at different ages, so that was slightly confusing. Through the family there seemed to be a history of deafness so there was some signing. But, it bugged me that this was not addressed; who was affected and how; the scientist in me wanting to know about the genetics. On the other hand it was making a statement not to address it and just have it as a family fact and not something to be highlighted.

As this was an arts council production the theatre, this week sent me a questionnaire about it. The questionnaire asked me to rate the play upon different aspects. At the end it showed me how, my answers compared to other people’s answers. Mostly my answers were in a similar range to others but, I rated slightly lower. The big exception was on likely hood to come to something like it again; most people were close to neutral but, I selected strongly agreed I would. I would see something similar again. Like I said I like seeing different things in the studio. It is like Edinburgh festival; you get some quirky plays and they are worth taking a punt on because of the fabulous things you see. The not so good things generally still give you something to think / talk about. I think the least enjoyable studio play has been Krapps tapes which was one man show with Richard Wilson which bored me but at Crucible corner least got to say What just happened, did we miss something? Whereas My Mother said did not bored me and I enjoyed the theatrical experience. I have shared questionnaire results on Wonderwall360 Instragram.

Favourite musicals: We will you rock you VS Everybody’s talking about Jamie

Introduction

particular about the musicals I watch. I want a good music and a proper storylines. Lots of musicals are just a series of songs, loosely connected. As my preferred type of music is indie / rock then sometimes musical music can be a bit dreary for me. Two musicals that fit the criteria are therefore my top two are: We will Rock you are Everybody’s Talking about Jamie. But which is my favourites?

Performances seen

I first saw We Will Rock you in 2003 or 2004. I loved it! I have since seen an amateur group perform it in Sheffield, a version at Sheffield arena and last week at Lyceum Sheffield.

I first saw Everybody’s Talking about Jamie at the Sheffield premiere in February 2017. I went to see it in January 2018 when it transferred to London. Later in 2018, I saw it at Sheffield showroom showing it live from London. I have tickets to see it again in Sheffield in February. There is a film version, coming out next October, which I definitely want to watch; I may glimpse myself it it as was an extra in the final scene.

Synopsis

We will Rock you is set in a dystopian future where rock and roll 🎸 has been eradicated by brainwashing memories of rock songs and even who let the dogs out, from peoples’ memories. Watching it this time, I saw someone similarities from the Yesterday as a few people can remember rock. Those who remember are on a quest to find last remaining guitar and play proper rock again. There is even romance a long way! I like the positive female roll model.

In Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, Jamie is a 16year old boy facing his GCSE exams but more focussed on his dreams of being a drag Queen. He wants to go to his prom is drag. The show ends at his prom. It is set in Sheffield, so I like the Sheffield references.

Timelessness of shows

I like rewatching We will Rock you as it is brought up to date with references of current music. Also in latest performance it referenced non binary sexuality.

The subject of drag in Everybody’s Talking about Jamie is very current. However, drag is already becoming increasingly msinstrain so in 16 years time will Everybody’s Talking About Jamie feel dated, or will it be a fresh as We Will Rock You?

Comedy

Both have laughs in them!

Music 🎵 🎶

We will Rock you is based upon Queen music which is fantastic and also references some other classics and some cheese like My milkshake…

Everybody’s talking about Jamie music was written by writter from the band Feeling. Love opening number and have the soundtrack.

Final Verdict

I think after seeing it this week and despite thinking atmosphere in theatre was slightly lacking (maybe because back of stalls underneath balcony ceiling?), that my favourite musical is We will Rock you. Yes they both have a good plot and good music but it is hard to beat Queen music and that gives it the ultimate edge. Also think We will Rock you stands test of time better because it is easier to update.

September 2019 Summary

Books

The man who did not call by Rosie Walsh – First part very intriguing thriller type of hat happened to him. Last third Ish of book know why did not call and it deals with aftermath.

Awful Auntie

Awful Auntie by David Walliams

 

All I know about love.

All I know about love by Dolly Alderton

 

The Hornbeam tree

The Hornbeam Tree (spoiler free review)

 

Penguin modern 05: Three Japanese short stories. All three stories did not have a dramatic climax. It was the middle of the stories in the book that engaged me Closet LLB by Uno Koju translates by Jay Rubin. It was about a lazy man’s law student days (although he actually wanted to study literature) and early post graduate times.

Carries War by Nina Bowden. Like that set during war but not much about the war. The war just provides background in that Carrie is evacuated as a child during war, but other than that war is not of relevance to her. The book has her coming back to where she was evacuated as an adult.

Theatre

Reasons to stay alive

Reasons to Alive Theatre Review

Other

No brand new clothes

Oxfam had a campaign to not buy brand new clothes in Sept. I did not buy any new clothes for myself in September. I did buy Lucy Locket leggings as Christmas presents for Mum, sister and niece. I got new to me clothes though from clothes swap at Union Street cafe in Sheffield. I had a good sort out and took whole suitcase. I brought back one long black top with sequins, animal print top, white and blue dress and a pale grey dress with polka dots that was handmade. The next of these swaps is 30th November.

Heritage and Castlegate Festival

Final weekend of Heritage week and Castlegate festival

Henry Byers Stables for horses 🐴 , Lizzie elephant 🐘 and Camels 🐫 in Sheffield (Heritage / Castlegate festival)

Sheffield Heritage Week and Castlegate Festival

Limestone weekend

Post Limestone Way Multi Day Walk Weekend Pampering

Reasons to Alive Theatre Review

Aptly in week where Prince Harry publicly spoke about struggling to get up due to struggles with mental health, I saw a play on the same subject. Reasons to stay alive is based on book by Matt Haigh. Apparently the book has been very popular and subsequently this show has been a virtual sell out in Sheffield.

It is debatable whether mental health issues are becoming more prevalent or it is just more people are opening up. Certainly lot said and written about mental health currently. The show featured quotes from various people’s book about mental health, listed famous people who have opened up about their mental health and read tweets for the #reasonstostayalive. This was interspersed with the story of Matt Haigh’s struggles and the impact on his partner. It was an eye opener or rang true depending on your experience of mental health. The play could  be a useful basis for which to have conversations about mental health. I found it a little disjointed flipping between the story and different insights, but overal think well acted and raised important points.

Googling today I have found Matt Haigh is a popular writer of adult books like Reasons to live and also chidren’s books.

Ending spolier

………………………………………….

In the show I was rather disappointed when it seemed the solution to Matt’s problems was going to be that he published a book, because not everyone can do that. However,  when it actually was suggested his problems later reoccurred, I was also dissapointed because it be nice to think that if someone have ot face such issues they only have to face them once.

March 2019 Summary

Books

The woman in the window by AJ Finn

The woman in the window book by AJ Finn Review (No spoilers)

After the party by Cressida Connolly:  I found this book dull. I read it in advance of book club then did not end up going to that book club; so I have not benefitted at all from reading it or being enlightened by fellow but cleverer book club members as to the levels I missed if it. I only found out researching after that the political party in question was a fascist party and did not get this from the book and in hindsight do not know why the characters got involved with a fascist movement. It was interesting to learn after reading about Guernsey during world war 2 last year about how another British UK island was used to contain alleged, faschist party members; but again did not learn enough about life on life on the Isle of Man at this time.

Guernsey Potato Pie Film Brief Review (No spoilers)

Everyday sexism by Laura Bates

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates (book review)

Theatre

Standing on Sky Edge

Standing on Sky edge (theatre review)

Sky Edge Beer at Crucible Corner

American Idiot – Greenday musical.

American Idiot the musical at Sheffield Lyceum

Americain Idiot the musical at Sheffield Lyceum

Fabulous music but, then it is Greenday so it would be! Performed by some fantastic voices; including the lead male who also adopted a credible rock star proforma.

Unfortunately I found the plot a little thin and incomprehensible. The plot was also unedifying, centring about what could be described as American young layabouts lacking inspiration and indeed I did not find it to be a gripping story about them gaining purpose; I’m not even sure whether it was a story about finding purpose as I was lost by the end.

However at the end, I and much of the audience was on their feet for the cast’s encore where they performed Good Riddance (Time of life).

Standing on Sky edge (theatre review)

A show like Everyone is talking about Jamie; that is set in Sheffield and premiered in Sheffield. It is on for next couple of weeks; but tickets may be scarce!

Specifically it is set in Park Hill Flats. The flats, when they were built in the 60s were thought to be height of luxury; particularly as they were built to house people, who had formerly lived in what was regarded as the slums of Sheffield. The flats were cities in the sky, with similar set ups in other cities. If you want to know more about these communities in the sky, a good resource is Western park museum. The museum has a kitchen; set up from one of the flats and a video about the flats in their heyday. Alas, over time the flats fell into disrepair and owing to the maze of corridors and bridges; crimes rose within the perimeters. By some the harsh angular, imposing block of flats are regarded as eye sores. Other cities tore their equivalents down; with the result that, Park Hill flats were the last remaining example in the country and became grade 2 listed meaning they could not be pulled down. Therefore instead of pulling them down, as they had to be preserved the idea was for them to be modernised by developers. To date only one of the flats has been developed. Many would regard the undeveloped flats as an eye sore, some would consider the developed ones also an eye sore.

The flats can be seen behind the train stations. They are iconic to Sheffield. The play therefore offers a glimpse into this unique Sheffield institution. The set features a layout of a flat with skeleton of block of flats as backdrop, but I don’t think it is really representative of how the flats looks Across stage is lights spelling out ‘I love you, will you marry me’ (see Wonderwall360 for illustration of stage) which refers to graffiti stating the same on the flats, which has not just been retained following the the development but, additionally enhanced with lights, however the story of this graffiti is not referenced in the play. I think much of the humour is Sheffield inside jokes. Such as Henderson’s relish. Although it mentions that the flats are listed I’m not sure that someone who was not already aware of the history would understand why that was.

There are three narratives of residents in the flat. Scoreboards are used to indicate the year at the start of each narrative and as each story progresses. At times as residents operate in same space the characters are seen in the same space, as if in parrellel universes, so that the narratives become entwined. The starting, date of the latter of the narratives is 2016; sometime after the result to leave the EU. The dialogue around that raised laughs at the irony, of still not knowing more about how we are to proceed than we did in 2016. The narratives features other significant events for the city, such as the demise of the steel industry, that had a large adverse affect on the city as also referenced in the Full Monty which is at Sheffield theatres in May.

As mentioned at the start this show is set to sellout out, over next few weeks, like Everyone is talking about Jamie did. However, I can not see it transferring to London successfully, like Everyone is talking about Jamie, because it is too Sheffield centric; to have universal appeal. Evidently I’am biased, given how much, I adore Everybody’s talking about Jamie but, I don’t see Standing on Sky Edge in same scale. Despite music being written by Sheffield born Richard Hawley, I like Jamie’s music much more. Up until near the end of Sky edge, I thought it was watchable but, not outstanding. The ending slightly altered; that perception. No spoilers but, the ending was emotional! Over the next few weeks there will be tears in that theatre! A type of ending, that if you are with a loved one, you want to hold them close and if you are not with them you want to hear their voice.