I met Billie Piper! Yerma Theatre Review 

On Saturday I got to fufill one of my dreams I’d had for a long time. I got to go and see Billie Piper on stage. I’d waited years for it having been a fan since 2006 when I first saw her in Phillip Pullmans The Ruby in the Smoke. Dr Who followed. Rose and 10 were my favourite. Since then I’ve devoured everything she’s been in. Mostly rewatching Mansfield Park and Secret Diary of a Call Girl over and over. Hannah and Ben though. Still not over it. I still can’t listen to Someone like You by Adele without it giving me all the feelings. 

I remember asking my mum over and over again if I could get Billie’s autobiography,Growing Pains when I was around 11. When she gave in I devoured it in a few days. The first book I remember doing that with. It still remains a favourite. So much so that I have two copies. The hardback and the paperback(which includes an extra few chapters). Needless to say you can probably guess which one I lugged around London with me that day. The hardback obvs. 

Needless to say having waited ages to see Billie on stage I booked tickets,luckily before it sold out to see her in Yerma. A play based on Federico Garcia’s Lorca which had been modernised and brought up to date by the amazing Simon Stone. The story follows a successful journalist,who is only referred to as Her,and her husband John as they try to conceive. After various years and countless rounds of IVF and still no progress,Her begins to lose control reaching a tragic end. 

Set in a glass box,the set change are easily executed through the use of a blackout after each scene,giving the people behind the scenes the chance to quickly change the set from an expensive studio apartment in London Marleybone,to their back garden and a muddy festival ground with rain pattering against the glass.  

Billie Piper is absolutely outstanding in this role. I couldn’t take my eyes off her or the rest of the cast. I felt so much for her character. To think how true this situation is to so many women is heartbreaking. 

Alongside Billie,Brendan Cowell’s performance as Her’s husband, John was brilliant. Particularly in the festival scene near the end. You could see how worried he was and how much that he too was effective. I feel like most women forget that their husbands too are involved and also feel frustrated but this showed so well that they too go through the same feelings. 

I was so in this play that after the 1hr,40mins my mouth had turned so dry that I hadn’t needed a drink so much in my life. I also had to sit until most of the auditorium had cleared before I could get up. I was shaking so much that I had to remind myself to breathe through the sheer intensity of it. 

If you can beg,borrow or steal a ticket for this absolutely heartbreak,incredible play. It’s most definitely worth waiting in the long returns queue to witness this amazing masterpiece of theatre. 

After regaining my sort of normal composure I made my way into the bar to hopefully meet Billie and tell her how amazing her performance was. Shoutout to the lovely girl I met waiting,it was lovely to meet you. 

Billie came out not long later and signed for everyone who was there and took photos. She signed my copy of Growing Pains and I managed to squeak a ‘I’ve been a fan of yours for years so to see you on stage was absolutely amazing’. To which she replied ‘ah Thankyou so much’. We then took these lovely photos. Shoutout to Tim for putting up with me going completely insane after these were taken. 

See Billie Piper on stage and meet her after? Check✔️✔️✔️. 


Now,I’m going to go and stare at my photo again. Like I haven’t been doing in since it was taken Ha! 


💕

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A week away

Last weekend I went and surprised my nan with a visit. You know those moments when you just need to have some family time? It was one of those. 

I orginally only planned on staying till Wednesday but I couldn’t bring myself to leave,so went till the Friday instead. It was a busy but lovely week. Something I think we both needed. I don’t see my nan as much as I’d like to so it was lovely to spend time with her. 

I finally finished ‘Always with Love’ by Giovanna Fletcher. I went shopping and treated my nan to lunch. We went to Amersham and I bought way too many records. I revisited Roald Dahls museum in Great Missenden and got to sit at his makeshift desk in the hut he used to write in and got very excited about it. I came away very inspired…and then I got my uni results. In less than 3 weeks time I’m graduating with a 2.2. 7 marks off a 2.1 but I’m pleased,considering my parents were told that I wouldn’t go to a mainstream school,let alone university. Not bad going for someone who had jaw surgery right in the middle of second year either,I don’t think. 


I also went and visited my auntie at her cafe in Berkhamstead. If you’re ever round that area go in and have a cuppa and slice of cake,you won’t regret it. I was going to include some pictures of the food,but it sort of slipped my mind. By the time I thought about it,it was gone. You’ll just have to take my word that it’s so good. 


On Saturday I ventured to London for West End Live. A free event for theatre fans held in Trafalgar Square each year that gives audiences a feel of shows being put on in the west end. I’ve been three times before and it never gets old. Such a great event. After I’d watched the likes of Mamma Mia,Wicked,Crazy for You and Sunny Afternoon,I made my way to the ticket booth and bagged myself tickets to see Jersey Boys. It was amazing! One of the best musicals I’ve seen in a long time.  The evening ended in the only way a stagey day could…at the Theatre Cafe. 

Right now I’m in the middle of packing as I’m moving out of my flat and back home on Friday. It’s been an amazing three years. I can’t wait to graduate with some of my closest friends in 3 weeks time. 
Hope you’re all well 
😘

The Railway Children Theatre Review

The Railway Children Review

Kings Theatre:St Pancras

  

*Before I begin the review Id like to say we made the show with literally a minute to space before it started. All because of a trespasser on the line which delayed trains. Anyway it was absolutely amazing and I’m so glad we made it*

Having never watched the film or read the book of The Railway Children I went into the theatre literally nothing about it. Which proved a shock at on particular scene. 
Upon walking into the foyer,the bar area was set out as though it was a station refreshment stand inviting the audience into what was to come. 
The stage was so effective, set out as though it was two platforms with a train track in the middle. This acted as the main set with boxes moving up and down the platform when a scene changed. 

The story follows three siblings,two sisters Phylis(Louise Calf)and Bobbie(Serena Manteghi) and Peter(Jack Hardwick)as they retell the audience about the summer when they were the Railway Children. 
With their father sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit life gets difficult for the family,and they move away to a town called Oakfield near a railway line,hence the name The Railway Children. 
What unfolds is a story of friendship,love and family. And if you have a little hope everything will work out right in the end. 

There was one point in the play before the interval(*spoiler* I thought Bobbie was going to get run over by a train,which left me a bit chocked up). Although I’m not sure what got me more choked up,that or the real life steam train that made its appearance. A real life steam train with a carriage and everything. Amazing! 
Special effects played a huge part within this face paced,clever and brilliant production with the use of steam and moving boxes on the stage. 
The acting was completely flawless and each character was equally as important and amazing. 

This production is one of the best I have seen and I thoroughly recommend you go and see it before it closes on September 5th. You certainly won’t regret it. 
  

Writing Challenge #3:Birdsong Review 

  
I know i’ve skipped a day in the writing challenge but I felt like writing a review than a fanfiction. I havent written fanfiction for a few years and am a bit rusty. I’ll get around to it eventually. For now, here is day three. A review of theatre show Birdsong.

*On a side note,yesterday was my fourth time seeing the production and it just gets better with every watch. And to the cast(if you’re reading this- Thankyou for putting on such a great show night after night, and for being so lovely every time i’ve met you all at stage door. Hope to see you for the final leg in Richmond next month. Much love x).

 WHAT: Birdsong The Tour

WHERE: Touring Around The Country (www.birdsongthetour.com)

WHEN: Now until July 4th 2015

It is very rare that book adaptions work for theatre or film. But The Original Theatre Company’s production of Birdsong, based on the best selling book of the same name by Sebastian Faulks, which follows the life of Stephen Wraysford, a soldier who leads his men through the battle of the Somme in World War One in 1912 France whilst battling with his past and former life in Amiens with Isabelle, whom he had an affair in 1910 is the exception.

Having toured for the past three years to packed theatres around the country it seems more poignant now, than when it first toured, due to last year marking 100 years since the outbreak of World War 1.

On entering the darkness of the theatre, the audience are automatically transported back to the trenches of World War 1. Add to this the coldness upon walking into the theatre and the stage lit by one single torch, there is a sort of eerie feel, which adds to the play that is about to play out.

The set is simple, but effective. Two single tables sit at each end of the stage, with three boxes stacked on top of each other in the middle. Behind the stage are three crosses, which commemorate those soldiers lost. As the actors ascend onto the darkened stage, and the lights change, more of the set is revealed. A balcony to the right of stage, along with a revolving door, which throughout the play acts as the scene change between Stephen’s time in 1910 before the war with Isabelle and his time during the war in the trenches.

Although the main center point of the play focuses around Stephen(Edmund Wiseman) trying to understand why he was given a second chance at life, a main part of the play is dedicated to the sappers who dug the trenches. Most prominently Jack Firebrace, played brilliantly by ex Blue Peter presenter, Peter Duncan, who sets the tone of the play from the start indulging his fellow sappers in a sing song of the war classic ‘Hold You Hand Out Naughty Boy’ much to the surprise of new sapper, Tipper, portrayed exceptionally well by Waterloo Road’s, Max Bowden.

Then, with the sound of an air aid, the play begins!

The flashbacks from the trenches to Amiens in 1910, although fast paced are portrayed with such elegance and skill through the change of music, played beautifully by James Findlay on the violin. But possibly most efficiently with one fluid motion from Edmund Wiseman as Stephen.

Sound also plays a prominent part within the production, not only with the use of music, but also with the sound of bombs throughout. Most notably in a scene before the interval when the soldiers go over the top of the trenches to face the Germans. This scene alone is enough to leave some audience members speechless allowing a silence to fall upon the auditorium as the stage fades to black.

The sound of birds is also another sound heard a lot throughout the production, the most memorable being in the second half, and a scene between Stephen, and Isabelle’s sister, Jeanne in which she persuades Stephen to keep on fighting even though he doesn’t know what he’s fighting for.

Each character is as important as the next within this production, and the company blend together with such ease to portray their characters so well. Although all the actors stand out in their own right, it is those of Edmund Wiseman as Stephen, Peter Duncan as Jack Firebrace and Emily Bowker’s performance as Isabelle that truly steal the show.

As the final line of the play is delivered ‘we will seal what we have seen in the silence of our hearts and no words will reach us’ and the sound of the birds, it is then that the prominence of the play sinks in. This beautiful production directed effortlessly by none other than Alastair Whately, is a play, which will stay with you for quite a while afterwards.

  

Backstage at Birdsong

  

If you’ve been following my blog since last year,then you’ll know I’m a huge fan(sorry actrovert) of the play Birdsong. 

Based on the book of the same name by Sebastian Faulks,the story follows Stephen Wraysford, a soldier who leads his men through the battle of the Somme in World War One in 1912 France whilst battling with his past and former life in Amiens with Isabelle,whom he had an affair in 1910. 

Having toured for the past three years,it is still playing to packed houses around the country. 

I was lucky enough to see it twice last year with George Banks and Carolin Stoltz as Stephen and Isabelle and as soon as I found it was touring again with a new cast as well as some of the previous,I booked tickets. 

So yesterday I got the train to Poole to watch the new cast,and let me tell you they shined. It was brilliant. The set,costumes and lighting all add well to the effect of feeling like you’re actually in Amiens,France during the First World War. 

With a few subtle scene changes I couldn’t fault it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. (Despite Peter saying to give Alastair some pointers from our number one fan 😂) I will constantly be in awe of these amazing actors who play their parts so well. I would definately recommend you catch this if you can. 

It isn’t every day you get a change to have a backstage tour after a show,but when Lauren,the lovely stage manager messaged me on Twitter asking if I’d like one,who was i to say no? That was an experience in itself. One I will be eternally grateful for. 

After the show I made my way to stage door and was met by Lauren. We then made our way backstage and was greeted by Selma Brook(she played the role of Lisette last year,and was the person I was excited to see again). I handed her over a book of Oscar Wilde quotes as a belated birthday present. We then took this lovely photo(which I’m so happy with as the one we took last year came out blurry.)

 

We then made our way backstage where we met Alastair Whately,the director who also played Evans with a brilliant Welsh accent,who I handed a bag to containing a card and a box of heroes for the company.

“And we get presents too” Liam who played Shaw said,before we made our way through to the stage. 

Walking on to that stage of a play ive loved for the past few years was amazing! I got to go through one of tunnels which the male actors made noise for to make out it was exploding. I came out and met Peter Duncan(Jack Firebrace) and Max Bowden(Tipper and Gregoire). 

Peter: “Did it get you?” Asked Peter. 

Me: “Not quite” I replied laughing. 

Peter: “It’s nice to finally meet you. We keep crossing paths but never actually meet”

Me: “It’s nice to meet you too”

Max: “Hi Emily,I’m Max” 

Me: “It’s great to meet you. Can I get some pictures?”

*takes photo of Max and Peter*

Peter: make sure to put them on twitter. 

Lauren: did you want to come over into the light?

*we go over to the light of the stage and take this photo*

  

*alastair runs onto the stage* wait for me. 

Liam: cuckoo cuckoo

  

We then got to go up on the balcony 

   

 

And hold the rifle that james wears to go over the top,and Stephens pistol. After which I asked about the costumes. Are they the same as last year? Are they handmade? Some are the same as last year but have been altered,others were brand new. And Isabelle’s and Jeanne’s were handmade. 

   

     

After the costumes we continued round the back and met Emily who played marguerite who was in the middle of resorting out the props for the evening show. Upon seeing the bottle of ‘alcohol’ I asked if it was real. 

“No,just coke and water,I’m afraid. Would be funny if it was actually real one night though”

On our way out we went down to the dressing rooms where my card was propped and met the girls-Emily(isabelle) ,Selma(lisette) and Cloudia(Jeanne) and Bramley the dog. 

Emily Bowker who played Isabelle came out and thanked me for the kinder I gave her and we took this photo. 

  

And then just as we were leaving Edmund Wiseman who played Stephen came round the corner and we too took a photo. 

  

After making our way outside and having another quick chat with Lauren,who said that if I go to see it again I can have another backstage tour,we made our back to Southampton.

Needless to say it was a great early birthday present and nice to know they don’t find my support for the show odd. 

I can’t thank the company,Alastair and Lauren enough for allowing me this opportunity and for sticking around during their break. It’s certain one that will stay with me for a long time. 

  

  

  

Film and TV Now Theatre Posts

*Rather than copying and pasting each Theatre piece i’ve written on Film and TV, i’ll just add the links for you to check out at your leisure. That way it saves time, and I dont end up copyrighting myself from another site. From the first piece I wrote, to the most recent. This post will be edited with every post I write. Hope you enjoy.*

Hamlet Cast Announcement

http://www.filmandtvnow.com/full-cast-announced-for-maxine-peakes-hamlet/

Once the Musical Theatre Review

http://www.filmandtvnow.com/once-the-musical-stage-review/

Birdsong 2015 Cast Announcement 

http://www.filmandtvnow.com/cast-announced-2015-tour-birdsong/

Bend it like Beckham Cast Announced

http://www.filmandtvnow.com/theatre-news-cast-announced-for-bend-it-like-beckham-at-the-phoenix/

 

Theatre Etiquette

Emily on Theatre Etiquette

 

 

Like most people, I love going to the theatre. I enjoy being taken away from the real world for a few hours and watching a beautiful piece of theatre unfold in front of my eyes. When the theatre experience is interrupted by someone being disrespectful to the actors and not turning their phone off, and said phone going off in the middle of a performance however, it tends to put a dampers on the experience a bit.

 

If the possibility of someone’s phone going off isn’t bad enough, then imagine someone filming a performance. Recently a man was caught recording a production of Athol Fugard in which the actors are naked for most of the performance. When asked whether he was recording the play he denied it and said he was texting his son.

 

I know some people like to record videos to keep as memories in order to remember the experience, but filming a theatre performance where the actors are naked for the majority of the play? Really? Have some respect!

 

After this issue was addressed, Anthony Biggs, the theatre director mentioned about putting a ban on mobile phones in theatres completely. I couldn’t help but agree with him.

 

I don’t know what the world has come to. We’re in a time where it’s physically impossible to go a minute without checking our phones and updating our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to let everyone know what we’re up to. Since when have we not been able to put our phones away for two hours and sit back and watch an amazing story and performance unfold in front of our eyes? It’s way better than watching on YouTube, that’s for sure.

 

I can’t talk as I’m one of those who is constantly sat with my phone glued to my hand. When I go to the theatre, however I make sure I switch my phone off and enjoy the performance. It gets very annoying, not only for the actors on stage, but for the audience too. Someone’s phone went off most recently when I went to watch the touring production of Birdsong at the Devonshire Park theatre in Eastbourne. Although it didn’t fase the actors on stage, a couple of the members of the audience looked around to see who the culprit was, resulting in missing part of the action on stage. It turned out to be a lady in the front row (I was second row) incase you were wondering.

 

Not all actors can ignore the issue though. Some took to Twitter to voice their opinions. The following was retweeted by Carrie Hope Fletcher who stars in Les Miserables. ‘Glowing faces from mobiles during a show is disprectful to the performers & audience.’

 

So the next time you’re lucky enough to go to the theatre, have a little bit of respect for the actors who are taking two and a half hours out of their day to tell a story and turn off your mobile phone.