Month In Review: April 2017

I had an incredibly busy month in May. As much as I enjoy being busy, I am always grateful for a long weekend to relax. Here’s what I got up to in April!

Books:

  • The first book I finished was the play text of Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I picked this up as I was particularly interested in the TV series. Fleabag is a one woman play with various other characters being played by text messages. The plot was interesting and was very quick to read.
  • Next, I finished Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence. Orangeboy is a fantastic debut novel about drugs, family and gang culture set in East London. It’s a chunky book but I flew through it. I mostly read quite short books this month because I was so busy but Orangeboy had me hooked. It was so refreshing to read a book that’s set in the area of London that I’m from. The friendships were brilliant and I can’t wait to see what Patrice Lawrence does next.
  • Doing It! by Hannah Witton was the third book I read. Hannah is one of my favourite youtubers and I was thrilled when she announced last year she was writing a book. Doing It is a very informative and educational book about sex and relationships. What really struck me about this book was how she had guest contributors covering topics that she couldn’t offer advice on. Guests include Juno Dawson, Rowan Ellis and Erika Lust discussing being trans/being queer/working in the feminist porn industry. While the focus was mostly on sex, relationships and gender and probably aimed at people younger than me, I still really enjoyed reading it. And I enjoyed Hannah’s brilliant diagrams, too.
  • And lastly, I read The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Last month, I saw a fantastic play called Speech & Debate. Throughout the play, there were many references to The Crucible so I decided to pick it up. The play is inspired by the Salem witch hunts and to be honest, I found the play quite boring to read. It was filled with old fashioned sexism, which I guess may have been the point of it. That didn’t make it enjoyable at all.

Films:

  • The only trip I made to the cinema this month was to see Life starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds. I didn’t really think much of it, to be honest. It was a boring and very predictable movie about a group of astronauts who find life on mars. What COULD go wrong?!
  • But I did end up busting out my DVD of The Last Five Years later on in the month. I was in the mood for a musical and decided to put on one of my favourites. If you don’t know about TLFY, you can read my review of the stage show here.

TV:

I do love a bank holiday weekend and I love that in April, we get two. I find long weekends the best time to binge watch tv shows and I managed to squeeze in a fair few!

  • Chewing Gum

Chewing Gum is one of those shows that’s always been on my radar. And after hearing glowing reviews from my friends, I just had to check it out. Chewing Gum is a show written by and stars Michaela Coel as Tracey who wants to lose her virginity and learn more about sex, after breaking off her engagement. Michaela Coel is an incredible talent. She’s insanely funny and her performance as Tracey is worthy of all praise. I’m even more impressed by how she has written every episode singlehandedly. The show is so brilliantly written, all I want to do is rewatch it. If you are in the UK, sign up to Channel 4 on demand/All4 and watch it. I believe it is on Netflix for those outside of the UK.

  • Decline And Fall

Decline and Fall is a three part adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s book starring Jack Whitehall that started airing on the BBC at the end of March. Jack Whitehall plays Paul Pennyfeather who gets caught up in the pranks of the famous Bullingdon Club at Oxford. To be honest, it was a classic rich white people drama. I liked it, but I wouldn’t jump to buy the boxset. However, I really liked that this drama showcased how brilliant of an actor Jack Whitehall is.

  • Broadchurch

I cannot believe Broadchurch has come to an end! This final season has been consistently throughout. I didn’t guess who committed the crime but every episode had me transfixed. Olivia Coleman and David Tennant really are the best actors we have in the UK.

  • Thirteen Reasons Why

I read the book of this years & years ago, so I was going into the series pretty blind. I knew who Hannah & Clay were but I couldn’t remember anything else. Thirteen Reasons Why is the latest phenomenon to come out of Netflix. While I enjoyed the first eight or so episodes, I felt it all go downhill from episode nine. I get the point of the show was that you never know what someone is going through/warning signs of someone who is suicidal. But I couldn’t help but think it was written to show that Hannah, ultimately, needed to be saved by Clay? I thought the actors did a fantastic job with what they were working with and the last two episodes had me anxious to know what the outcome was. But after listening/reading posts by those who have experienced suicidal feelings/tendencies, if they’re saying it’s poor representation, then who am I to say they’re wrong.

  • Fleabag

After reading the play text, I was super excited to check out the television series also written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. To be honest, I preferred the TV series to the play text as I felt the themes were able to develop more. Phoebe is a fantastic actress and the show is beautifully directed. There’s a brilliant supporting performance from Olivia Colman that almost outshines Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

  • War and Peace

This month, I booked the fifth show I will be seeing on my trip to New York called Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. It’s based on a 70 page section of Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace. I only booked the ticket on a whim after absolutely loving the music. And I definitely don’t have the time to read the novel by the time I go on holiday so I checked out the BBC mini series instead. Luckily for me, it was instantly available on Netflix. It was very good and helped me understand the characters a bit more. Lily James as Natasha & Paul Dano as Pierre were absolutely brilliant.

Theatre/Live Shows:

The first three shows I saw this month I compiled into one big post

  • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead @ Old Vic (so good I saw it twice this month!)
  • Don Juan In Soho @ Wyndham’s Theatre
  • The Miser @ Garrick Theatre

You can read my thoughts on the above here.

  • How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying at Wilton’s Music Hall

How To Succeed is one of my absolute favourite musicals, but I had never seen a full on production of it. I saw a concert version back in 2015 with Jonathan Groff as Finch that I absolutely loved. So I was thrilled when I managed to snag a ticket to this show before it closed a couple weeks ago. The company were excellent, but ultimately, the Music Hall was just too tiny for a show of this scale. It’s a show similar to Guys And Dolls in the sense that it’s a very big and flashy musical and the staging at Wilton’s Music Hall made it feel very boxed in.

  • Lea Michele @ Shoreditch Town Hall

I was super excited to get a ticket to Lea Michele’s first London concert! I did a post all about that here.

  • Guards At The Taj @ Bush Theatre

I also did a review of this which you can read here.

  • Dreamgirls @ Savoy Theatre

And my last theatre trip for this month was to Dreamgirls! My aunt & I have been trying to win the TodayTix £15 ticket lotto and we finally won! It did mean we had to dash from East London to West London in the space of 90 minutes but it was so worth it. You can read my original review here. There were three understudies who were covering during the show for Effie, Michelle & Jimmy and they were incredible!

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Other cool things:

  • Lin Manuel Miranda in conversation with Andrew Lloyd Webber at The Other Palace

This was such an amazing thing to witness. Two iconic composers being in the same room as both of them was such a wonderful experience. I received a message from a friend that morning saying she had a spare ticket and it, honestly, felt like a gift from above. Seeing Lin & Andrew discuss how much they admire each other was so wonderful. They spoke so highly of each other and each other’s work, which really showed how much respect they have for each other. The talk was moderated by Paul Taylor-Mills who is the artistic director of The Other Palace. He had ran the marathon that morning, I’m surprised he had any energy left at all.

  • I’ve Got My Headphones On

I started a new series on the blog! I’ve become obsessed with making playlists on Spotify again and I’ve started to use the app again. I listen to a lot of musicals, but there are loads of great songs that give me a buzz. You can check out which songs they are here.

  • Banging Book Club podcast

I was lucky enough to register early to see three of my favourite Youtubers do a live recording of their book club podcast at the Youtube Space in London. The Banging Book Club is run by Hannah Witton, Lucy Moon & Leena Norms and every month they meet to discuss books about sex & gender. The live recording was so much fun and everybody I met was super friendly. They’ve read a great selection of books so far and they’re super hilarious so I definitely recommend their podcast.

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  • Cool youtube sunglasses

So, at the Youtube Space London they have an awesome creator store. They have loads of really cool merchandise, not just of big Youtubers but loads of stuff with the youtube logo. I went on a bit of a shopping spree so as well as getting another copy of Hannah’s book Doing It, a t-shirt & a notebook; I also got these really cool sunglasses!

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(oh look, I have my headphones on…)

Thanks so much for reading

Until next time,

 

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