March 2019 Summary


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:ย ย 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)


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 blocks of 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 station. 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 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 as being on the 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.

Top 3 theatre 2018

I was incredibly lucky to see an array of Edinburgh fringe festival performances, therefore instead of 3rd place have honourable mentions for the following from the fringe: From today everything changes, Good vibes, First dates, Bottled Up, Beakers Place and Brenda’s got a baby.

2nd: Everyone is talking about Jamie, which I saw again live in London in January. This was the second time after premiere in London. Then I loved it enough to see a third time at cinema broadcast from London.

1st Mission Her which I saw at the fringe, which really spoke to me.

All of the shows mentioned, I reviewed earlier in the year.

September Summary


There were coincidentally couple of themes to the book titles inSeptember; Sisters and seasons (Summer and Autumn)

Liverpool Sisters by Lyn Andrews. About a young women and her involvement with the suffragettes. Pleasant enough read but, did not go into the detail I was looking for in terms of suffragettes.

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin. A thriller about what happens when a long lost sister returns.ย  Good pace, the twist was maybe slightly unbelievable. Spoiler alert at bottom of post have put why, think that.

Autumn ๐Ÿ‚ by Ali Smith

Most people at book club enjoyed reading despite, it perhaps being whimsical, not making sense in places and not climaxing. Apparently as well as the literary references, the pop artist and paintings mentioned are real.

Autumn ๐Ÿ‚ Dickens

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson. Each chapter is like a separate short story about the same characters. They are pleasant enough to read set on a isolated Scandinavian island, as you would imagine from the authorย who wrote the whimsical moomins. Together they don’t fit together to form a story arc, there is not suspense between chapters, so in that sense not a page turner.


Alice in Wonderland



Steel Attempts to contrast a woman in local politics within labour party in the 80s with one in 2016. The same two actors are used in both timeframes; which can make it difficult to follow. Illustrates the importance of steel in both timeframes in the area it is set in; around Sheffield. Thee were interesting points raised during the play, but none were poignant enough to stick in my mind from two weeks ago.

Still Alice

Still Alice

Kylie and Jason Weekend

Jason Donavon. Pity those around did not realise it was an audience with rather than a gig; they marred the gig by continuously chatting. Loved seeing Jason do a spin in his Technicolour dream coat from Joseph; it is an amazing garment to spin in. Jason has needed botex due to voice problems, and you can hear the rasping of his voice was he speaks. However, luckily his siging voice has not been affected and that sounded good for the singing he did.


Her 32nd show at Manchester arena, where she has done more gigs than anywhere else.Amazing looks and moves for a 50year old. Created intimacy by chatting to audience. Lots of costume changes which interrupted momentum.


Sister sister Discussion point / Spoiler: If he was so in love with her why had he patiently waited around whilst she married and had not 1 but two children.

Still Alice, Sheffield Theatre

I have not seen the film or read the book, so did not have them to compare to. I knew it was about a lady, with early onset dementia. I imagine the book features some first person, so Alice voices what is in her head. In this play, there is an actress following the character of Alice who voices some of the thoughts in her head. This device was used sparingly. To some extent it needed to be, because the voice of her thoughts could not overlap, the other characters talking on stage. However, it did not give depth to her thoughts and reflect how complex someone’s thinking is.

The play was an hour and a half straight through, therefore limited time to develop characters and plot. It was a pleasant watch, but for me lacked poignancy.

A previous post about early onset dementia.

Liz v Upcastle Downcastle

These two shows are both on tonight at tomorrow night at 9.05pm at The Space on Northbridge. They both have historical settings with modern jokes thrown in.

Upcastle downcastle centres around King Arthur, Lancelot and the holy grail. It is a pantomime for adults.

Liz is centred around Elizabeth 1 it is a comedy musical. It could easily work on a bigger scale, but it was good to be so close to a musical.

Having seen both, I would recommend seeing both. Go to both prepared for a little silliness.

Rainbow ๐ŸŒˆ Baby (Edinburgh fringe review)

Rainbow baby is the term for a child born after a miscarriage, still birth or soon after birth. In this case the term rainbow baby also relates to the rainbow ๐ŸŒˆ colours used to represent gay pride. It looks at a lesbian couple’s journey towards having a baby. To add another layer of interest they are v logging their journey. Therefore the show looks at reactions to this type of vloggimg; both negative and positive. It also looks at the difficult situation of handling the loss of a pregnancy which has been widely publicised on social media when then want privacy.

Beep; a show about men beeping if tell a lie (Edinburgh fringe review)

The premise is that all men are fitted with implants that beep if they lie by government ruling. Of course got to suspend the disbelief at how quick government are able to pass and implant men. But it is a really fascinating concept. It reminded me of Patrick Ness The Knife of never letting go where men’s thoughts are audible.

In this show the focus is 6 late teens / early 20s; 4 men who get the implant and two girl’s. One of the girls is in a relationship with one of the men but, has just slept with his best mate one of the other three; so there is the pressure of keeping that secret which brings suspense to the show. There are some good performances and a cast of 6 allows different permutations of the group to be on stage at different times which adds interests. As well as drama there is also comedy.


Interestingly it actually the girl in the love triangle, rather than the man that is more feeling urge to blurt out the truth. When she, eventually does it has fatal consequences. The blood of the murderer pulling out his implanted chip is very realistic.