Knights of the Rose at the Arts Theatre, London

I have to say I throughly enjoyed Knights of the Rose at the Arts Theatre, London.

I don’t think it will be everyone’s cup of tea but it has lots of potential.

It’s has Knights and Princesses, singing and sword fights. With a talented cast and famous songs this new musical is a very enjoyable watch.

At times I did think it may have been better if it had its own original songs.

Its great that you know the songs but you know them to well. Some of them did fit perfectly but I found that in the more serious moments the songs didn’t quite hit the mark.

If this was a comedy/musical I think it could (would) work but as far as I’m aware it’s not suppose to be?

With songs like Don’t Speak being used in an arguement between the Princess and her Knight you could tell the audience didn’t know if they were suppose to laugh or not, with a few giggles escaping from the crowd.

I think the songs are too well known to be used in the serious way they were.

Putting that aside I still found Knights of the Rose to be very enjoyable, it has a great cast with fantastic voices.

My favourites being Prince Gawain and Sir Hugo played by Andy Moss and Oliver Saville.

Oliver Saville’s voice alone is worth a watch of this musical.

Also Sir Palamon played by Chris Cowley makes the perfect villian with a conscience.

The narration of the play comes from John, a Knight in training he keeps us up to date with who’s who and what’s what, with his own eager ambitions to one day be a Knight played wonderfully by Ruben Van Kerr he brings a lovely innocence to the character.

I also have to give a mention to Katie Birtill for her amazing vocals and presence on stage.

All the cast shine with their talent and I love the costumes and the traditional romance of prince/princess and knights, it was all very romantic.

I think the musical has potential to become very popular but it needs to lighten up a just little so that the songs work or it needs its own music to go with the feel of the story they are trying to portray.

I would definitely recommend seeing Knights of the Rose for its talented cast and good story telling.

The stage setting is impressive too with its rotating set and great props all blending in with the fantastic choreography by Racky Plews, it built the atmosphere right up especially in the opening scenes.

I did fall in love a little and I think another visit is in order!

I need to find me a Knight!

Big thanks to London Box Office for giving me the opportunity to review Knights of the Rose.

For tickets go to: www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

Knights of the Rose is at the Arts Theatre, London.

xXx

Advertisements

The Bridesmaids Dilemma by Karen King

The bridesmaids dilemma, a rom com, a will they won’t they and a oh my god will you just talk to each other rollercoaster read.

Jess doesn’t want to be maid of honour but has no choice, she doesn’t want to fall for the gorgeous Eddie but doesn’t look like she has a choice there either.

Eddie just wants to make sure his best mate behaves at his stag do but that’s easier said than done, he especially didn’t want to meet anyone, especially anyone like Jess.

With Majorca as the backdrop we have the perfect setting for a great holiday read.

I liked Karen’s writing of the characters in this book, she made them seem relatable. Their stories and emotions became real.

The passion and the frustration, the misunderstandings, I just wanted to bang the characters heads together and that’s what makes a good romance/will they won’t they.

That’s is also the sign of a good writer.

The bridesmaids dilemma is perfect holiday reading, sitting next to the pool with a cocktail in hand but if you can’t have that holiday you will feel your on one with these characters. Most of the story is set in Majorca following holiday rep Jess who has vowed never to fall in love……..

Its a good easy read with enough to keep the page turning to see if that happy ending plays out.

I don’t know about the bridesmaids dilemma actually being a dilemma maybe more of just a hiccup but once that was out the way and we got into the romance of the main characters Jess and Eddie the story really gets going.

If you like your romance, sun, sea and cocktails then pick yourself up a copy of The Bridesmaids Dilemma by Karen King.

If you would like to know more about the author and where to find her books, please click the link below.

www.karenking.net

Thanks to Accent press for asking me to review The Bridesmaids Dilemma.

xXx

The Bridesmaids Dilemma – Author’s Notes

Why did you write The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma?

A lot of people ask me what inspires my stories, and it’s hard to actually pin down the moment the idea pings into your head, and how you flesh it out to become the story it ends up, so many factors feed into the inspiration that becomes the story.

Whenever I’m at a resort I always admire how the reps deal with the various holiday makers, the activities they do with them from poolside exercises, kids clubs and putting on shows. I was on the aeroplane once with a stag party, and they were quite raucous but seemed nice guys, so the idea of a travel rep having a holiday romance with a guy from a stag party that books into her hotel probably stemmed from these two things.

Setting it in Majorca was definitely inspired by a trip to Majorca with my husband a couple of years ago to celebrate our third anniversary. It’s a beautiful island, and we actually took a trip to the Caves of Drach which feature in the novel.

As to what makes TBD stand out from the other chick-lit. That’s a tough one, I’m very aware that I’m competing with lots of fantastic books but I hope readers will like Jess, with her traffic light red hair and outgoing personality, emphasise with her dilemmas as chief bridesmaid to her snooty cousin, and her growing feelings for Eddie, the sexy French best man with the stag group that she has a fling with, and also enjoy the gorgeous locations of Majorca and France, where the book is set.

Love sometimes comes along when we’re least expecting it, or don’t even want it, so hopefully readers will relate to Jess’s dilemma and want to discover how she deals with it.

Strictly Ballroom The Musical at The Piccadilly Theatre, London

MEET SCOTT HASTINGS. BALLROOM DANCER. FUTURE CHAMPION. REBEL.

When Scott’s radical dance moves raise eyebrows with the Australian Federation, he finds himself dancing with Fran, a beginner who has no moves at all. Inspiring each other, the couple find the courage to defy both convention and their families – and discover that to be a winner, your steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom…

I can’t make up my mind whether you need to see the film or not before seeing this.

Either go in prepared for the amazing madness of sequins, fake tan, crazy over the top Australian accents and amazing ballroom or you can go in and be slapped in the face by all at once?

Either way to be honest I think you will love it so I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

It’s Strictly ballroom.

From the costumes to the Dancing it’s everything I could have hoped for in the stage version of one of my favourite films.

I had high expectations for this show and wow did it deliver, I had a smile on my face the whole way through.

From the moment the curtain goes up to the moment it falls, you are blinded by the glitz and glamour of the ballroom world, from the comedy and over the top acting, to the dancing, the amazing dancing. It creates this amazing world that I didn’t want to leave.

It’s a love story that I want to follow.

Jonny Labey plays Scott Hastings, a pro dancer but who just wants to dance his own steps, he wants to break the mould.

Jonny plays this character perfectly from his amazing dancing to his acting, he makes you fall in love with Scott, you feel the frustration, the want, the need to dance, to dance his way.

I have to admit that I only knew Jonny from Eastenders so I was unaware of his theatre and dance background, I went in blind and came out amazed, his talent speaks for itself, I could watch him dance all day.

The same can be said for Zizi Strallen, she is the perfect fit for the character of Fran (just Fran). She brings passion and vulnerability to the character, she doesn’t steer to far away from the original that everyone knows but somehow she still manages to make the performance her own so that people who don’t know the film can love her too.

With her perfect dance moves and great chemistry with Jonny it is beautiful to watch.

I have to say though I think my favourite character, they were all amazing but it has to be Shirley Hastings played by Anna Francolini, she is brilliant, she has the humour and the dramatics and the costumes. Anna plays the perfect Shirley Hastings, from start to finish she commanded the stage.

She plays the perfect over bearing mother who just wants what’s best for her, I mean her son.

I also can’t write this review without mentioning Fernando Mira who plays Rico (Frans father). The Paso Doble in this show is mesmerising, he is amazing and I think I will say it’s my favourite part of the musical.

You see him trying to teach Scott (with a little help from Abuela, also played wonderfully by Eve Polycarpou) to dance with his heart and with passion.

It’s a wonderfully choreographed scene which Fernando does beautifully.

Drew McOnie (choreographer) really knows how to create a scene and make full use of the stage with his routines and the dancers really show that off. There is a whole lot of talent in this show.

Unfortunately Will Young was unable to perform in the performance I saw, so instead we had Ivan De Freitas in the role of Wally Strand.

This is a new character to the show and is brought in to help narrate the story and keeps us on the right path of this wonderful, crazy story.

Ivan did a superb job, with vocals that amazed, singing all the 80’s classics (with some new) he really got the audience going.

This show really is fun, it’s a light-hearted feel good show that I would definitely recommend. Whether you have watched the original film or not, it’s worth going to see.

It’s old and new mixed together and it’s perfect.

With a hugely talented cast it’s not one to be missed.

Just be prepared to have you mind blown with the craziness and wonder-fullness that is Strictly Ballroom!

xXx

Big thank you to London Box Office for giving me the wonderful opportunity to see Strictly Ballroom.

If you would like to purchase tickets for Strictly Ballroom visit: www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

It’s currently playing at The Piccadilly Theatre.

Worth a flutter by Micheal Head

In life love doesn’t always run to the form guide…

4/1 Matt, the gambler with a dysfunctional brain, heart and penis. Might need more experience.

7/2 Sam, suffering from a broken marriage and loss but might have enough to take the spoils, safe hands.

The women…

9/5 F. Paige, the bookies favourite who is as shallow as she is devious, an obvious choice.

20/1 Helen, the outsider, a few skeletons in the closet but has experience if past doesn’t haunt her.

Worth a flutter is definitely worth a watch.

All the cast hold there own in this comedy about love, life and relationships.

When’s the play starts you first think that it’s just a comedy with stereotypical characters the ditsy female, the love rat, etc but it’s much more than that, its about how things we have learnt in the past, how events in ours lives shape us into who we are today.

Brilliantly and hilariously narrated by the main character Matt played by Micheal Head, we are introduced one by one to our cast Lucy Pinder as Paige/Emma, Paul Danan as Paul, Jack Harding as Sam and Clare McNamara as Helen.

We have a talking penis, horse racing, boxing and even a little dancing, it’s funny and entertaining as well as being emotional and heartbreaking as we follow these characters and find out about their past and what made them who they are.

Clare McNamara as Helen is brilliant, she really brings her character to life, you believe her, you feel the emotion. When Helen is revealing her past to Sam, you truly believe the pain behind it, I really enjoyed her performance.

Micheal Head as Matt is hilarious but it’s not all about the comedy, he narrates the story keeping us on track, making sure we are following along, but through the narration we learn things about his past and how it has affected him now, in the present and his battle with it and his battle over his emotions and how he deals with them and Micheal Head plays it perfectly.

Paul Danan is great as Paul, the best friend with the bad advice, his comic timing and chemistry with Micheal shows and they work well together playing the unlikely friends, it was a good casting choice and he brings fun to the play.

Lucy Pinder makes her stage debut in Worth a Flutter and she is brilliant, her stage presence and comic timing is spot on, even pulling off being a Scottish talking penis, yes that’s right a Scottish talking penis!

I look forward to seeing what she will do next.

And then there is Jack Harding, his portrayal of Sam who is stuck in a failing marriage and taking bad advice off of a equally bad friend, is played with a vulnerability that you believe, he delivers his lines with the right amount of emotion, especially at the end when his character is opening up to Helen about his past he pulls you in.

Clare and Jack share a great chemistry which helps with the story telling, especially when the characters are opening about their painful pasts.

All the characters have something about them that you can relate too. They are all believable, yes they have been exaggerated in parts for comic effect (Paige,Paul) but beneath it all there is a deeper meaning to this play.

Micheal Head has drawn from his own real life stories and poured them into the play which has resulted in a great comedic yet touching piece.

The intimate setting of The Hope Theatre is perfect and helps tell the story because it doesn’t get lost in the space.

The casting along with the great writing of this play all goes together perfectly and makes it a really enjoyable evening.

I think if you get the chance you should get down to The Hope theatre and catch it while you can. The odds are, you will love it.

You can purchase tickets for Worth a Flutter here:

www.ticketsource.co.uk

It will be playing until the 19th May.

xXx

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.

    Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?

    There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.

With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.

I love it when you get a book and you read it in one day, you know the kind, where you don’t want to put it down because you want to know the ending but at the same time you don’t want it to end at all?

That’s what I had with this book.

I knew I had to be a part of the blog tour for The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, having read Love Me Tinder by Nicola and loved it, I knew that I had to read this one.

Nicola has a great way of writing her characters and their stories she makes them believable, you want to follow their story.

Rosa is no different, you want to follow her story and you want to see her get her happy ending. You join her on her little rollercoaster ride of life and you want to stay on until the end.

I loved all the characters, I loved the story, it had romance, it had heartbreak, it had great friendship, it’s everything you could want in a rom com and I want a Josh in my life.

Of course I can’t forget Hot the little sausage dog, so adorable, I want one too!

So if I could just have Josh and a Sausage Dog called Hot, oh and move to Devon, I would be very happy, thank you.

I would highly recommend giving this book a read, if you like your romance with a little drama, heartbreak and intrigued then this is for you.

I said it last time and I will say it again, I will definitely be reading more of Nicola Mays books.

You can purchase The corner shop in Cockleberry Bay here:

www.amazon.com – Amazon US

www.amazon.co.uk – Amazon UK

www.amazon.ca – Amazon CA

www.amazon.com.au – Amazon AU

About author

Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.

Follow Nicola May:

Website: http://www.nicolamay.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NicolaMay

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicolamay1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_nicola/

Giveaway – Win x 3 Paperback copies of The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949475/

The secret letters of Gertie and Hen by Imogen Hunter

“The secret letters of Gertie and Hen” was thought provoking and moving. Although it states on the programme that it is a fictional story and the characters are not based on real people, the war was very real and there probably were people who went through similar experiences to what is in this play.

It made me think of what past generations had to go through and in some countries what families are still witnessing now, things that I can’t even begin to comprehend.

The writing is clever and the acting was raw and emotional, after only 4 days of being workshopped I think everyone involved can be very proud of what they have achieved.

I liked the two points of view, I liked that it is documented through letters and that these letters are written by children, Gertie in Berlin and Hen in London.

It gives it this innocent, naive point of view but as the war rolls on, you start to see a shift in the writing of the letters as Gertie and Hen have had to grow up quickly, they have had to witness things that no child should they have to, and do things that no child should do.

This play tackles everything from the political to friendship, love and loss.

Two girls who were friends but are now seen as enemies through no fault of their own.

My favourite part would have to be the underground scene. The air raid siren had been sounded, the bombs were falling all around and then, the sudden change in music, the screaming, the darkness, fantastic change in the atmosphere, it sent chills through me.

It truly is a thought provoking and wonderful play, with the acting and writing doing justice to the emotion that is needed to be portrayed.

If I were to nit pick, I could say that the accents dropped in and out and were not consistent but after only 4 days rehearsal I think that this can be forgiven.

The actors play many different characters with different accents but not once did I feel lost. It all made sense and you always knew who was who.

The play officially opens in November at The New Wimbledon Studios but I was lucky enough to have been invited along to a special preview evening and I’m glad I went.

I will definitely be going back to watch it again.

Emotional, moving, heartbreaking, and I loved every second.

Big thanks to Imogen and Jen for inviting me along to the preview night.

If you would like to know more please visit the website below:

https://www.keytheatrecompany.com/