A Week In The Life | Squeezing In The Holiday Shows

Hi! Hello! Happy New Year! I’ve really struggled with the blog in the past few months, so think it’s time for a brand new format. I’ve basically turned into a very scatty theatre reviewer, where I’d only review shows if I absolutely had to. And even then, they’d go up SO late because I’d struggle to find the motivation to actually sit down and review them. So I’m hoping this new format will allow me to have a bit more structure while raving about theatre (cause I plan to see a TON of shows this year) and other forms of media consumed. And I actually feel a tad excited about the site for the first time in ages. (And.. I may have forgotten to stop the payment for the site coming out LOL oh well, when life gives you lemons…)


First show this week was catching Elf The Musical in its final week at the Dominion Theatre. I initially had a ticket to see this at the end of November but wasn’t well enough to go. But I couldn’t shift the ticket and my bestie Angel had mentioned that she had wanted to see this too. Thankfully, the last £33 tickets on TodayTix popped up for us to go and what an absolute bargain, cause the view was really blooming good. I absolutely LOVE the film but I actually didn’t know anything about the musical itself. The only memory I have of anything in relation to the show, is being in the Dress Circle shop with my mum years ago (RIP Dress Circle Shop) and the guy behind the counter ranting about how much he absolutely hated the musical. Now having seen it myself, I have to disagree with him completely, cause Angel and I really loved it. This show is a proper glossy, HUGE spectacle which I don’t think would’ve worked on a smaller stage. The big stage allowed the ensemble to really take up space, especially in all of the choreography by Liam Steel. Fair play to the ensemble when they’re being the elves because (from what I could see) they’re all basically dancing on their knees. My poor knees winced at the idea of doing all of that choreo for a good 20 minutes. The set and projections by Tim Goodchild and Ian William Galloway were so inventive and really helped enhanced the story. I also absolutely loved Simon Lipkin’s performance as Buddy. I mean, this man is the king of Christmas themed musical comedies and his turn in this solidifies that. Effortlessly funny and charming with a brilliant voice, he was truly incredible. Overall, a real wholesome and joyful time was had. It’s just a really lovely cosy story. The pacing is a bit off (act 1 is 1hr 20 and act 2 is 45 mins and did feel like the ending was rushed, but that’s really my only gripe). I’ve been critical of the Dominion basically rehashing their 2022 season but I’ll admit, I wouldn’t be mad if they decided to bring Elf back next Christmas as well.

Next up was another Christmas show that I wanted to catch. This time, I took a trip to the Southwark Playhouse for the production of Who’s Holiday starring Drag Race icon Miz Cracker, which finished this week. This is essentially an hour long show about Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch as she becomes a grown up. I had a good time watching Miz Cracker as she was brilliant. Unfortunately, the material didn’t give her much to work with. It was funny in some places, but I didn’t think the Dr Seuss-esque writing worked that well here (it didn’t seem to have any melody to it?). Still, it was a nice treat for the start of the year. I also caught the UK tour of Bugsy Malone The Musical which is currently at the Alexandra Palace Theatre until Jan 15th. Had a really lovely time at this, it was a whole lot of fun and the cast were clearly having a fun time. Drew McOnie’s choreography was absolutely outstanding and was the real highlight for me. The show only clocks in at 2 hours, so a nice fun and quick time to be had.

Then on Saturday came my first double show day of the year. First up was My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican. My friend Sam and I have gone through the wars trying to get tickets for this and luck was in our favour a few weeks ago! There has been so much hype around this production and I’m glad to say, it’s worth the trip and this is my first 5 star show of the year. The puppetry is stunning and the attention to detail is off the charts. The cast were fantastic, particularly Ami Okumura Jones and Mei Mac as the lead sisters Satsuki and Mei, who were so believable as children! The performance we attended happened to be a relaxed performance, which I hadn’t experienced before. There was also a BSL interpreter on stage, who was integrated into the show seamlessly. I so hope this production has another life because more people should really see it. In the meantime, it’s on at the Barbican until January 21st, so always worth checking the website for day seats and/or returns. And secondly, I finally got a chance to see Mandela at the Young Vic. I’ve had to move my tickets for this twice since the show has been down with illness, so luck was definitely in my favour. The show was presented as a concert version of the show, which felt a little bit awkward in some places, but fair play to the team for pulling together something to ensure the audience got a show. The show itself needs a bit of work, some times it felt like it really rushed through the years of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment. Often, it felt like a wikipedia page had been musicalised. I did think act 2 was a lot stronger because more of the focus was actually on Winnie Mandela and her daughters. If Winnie had been given equal footing in the musical, I think there would be a case for a much stronger book.There’s only so much you can do when your main character is in a prison cell for nearly all of the musical. And Danielle Fiamanya who played Winnie is an absolute star, which the creative team should absolutely utilise. The score by Greg Dean Borowsky & Shaun Borowsky was really good throughout and the bits of choreography by Gregory Maqoma shown was also strong. There’s definitely a really great musical in here somewhere, but could do with a bit more structure.

Any Other Media

I bought myself and my friend Kieran tickets to see the stage adaptation of A Little Life next year, which is sure to be a hot ticket so we had to get in quick. He absolutely loves the book and I knew practically nothing about it apart from that it deals with some really heavy topics. In order to prepare myself for the 3hr 40 run time when the time comes, I decided to crack on with a 30 day Audible trial to try the audiobook. I’ve got about 10 and a half hours left and good LORD. Yeah there’s a lot going on. I was listening to this at work on my first day back in the office to just shift some of the hours and I had to keep stopping and starting. How much trauma could Hanya Yanigahara throw at one character. I’ve got about 2 weeks left of the trial so I’m hoping to push through.

And then for some inane reason, the first physical book I’ve picked up for 2023? It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. Which, if you don’t know, follows a 15 year old boy’s mental health decline as he’s diagnosed with really bad depression, based on the author’s experience. So it’s a jolly (!) start to the year. I’ve had this book on my shelf since 2017 and I’m really trying to shift the backlog of books I’ve acquired. I feel like if I don’t attempt to get the stack down now, I never will. Hoping to finish this one in the next week or so, to get ahead of my Goodreads challenge of 45 books (I’m sweating at the thought of falling behind).

Cinema trips this week included; I Wanna Dance With Somebody which I really enjoyed and thought Naomi Ackie was sensational. I also saw Till which was the story of Mamie Till-Bradley who became an activist within the Civil Rights Movement after her 14 year son Emmett was murdered. This is such a heartbreaking film and Danielle Deadwyler who played Mamie was absolutely incredible and if she isn’t handed all of the awards this upcoming awards season, it’ll be a shambles.

Any Other Business

My aunt and I booked Disneyland Paris for later this year, which I’m SO excited for as neither of us have ever been before. So any tips/restaurant recommendations would be much appreciated!

Until next time.

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