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Divergent by Veronica Roth [6/10]

Video review of Divergent by Veronica Roth!
GL

“The Thornthwaite Inheritance” by Gareth P Jones [9/10]

The Thornthwaite Inheritance was one of those ‘Ooh that cover looks interesting’ and ‘ooh what a fabulous blurb, maybe I’ll try this out’ kind of books. It was one of the best decisions that I made.

It is funny, heartfelt and mysterious all at the same time. An absolute masterpiece of middle grade writing!

My only issue issue with the book was that the ending felt terribly rushed when compared with the rest of this methodically plotted book.

Highly recommended to fans of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events!

GL

I, Malvolio (The Unicorn Theatre)

Sit up, backs straight, the performance has begun, but when/will it end? Some people are born mad, some people achieve madness, and some people have madness thrust upon them. Why I went, and why anybody else was there I don’t know, neither does Malvolio. He pulls apart his buttocks and mocks Shakespeare, the audience and society as a whole, an arse hole that is. The play is a comment on theatre, within a theatre doing theatre. This leaves the audience somewhat apprehensive about what the rules are, seeing as they are being undone (unlike the noose knot that we all wish to see Malvolio hang in).

If you came into the theatre with a drink, you will be condemned, equally so if you are young or not a devout Christian, though the later two go together, as what young person has time to go to Church when we could sit in front of a DVD? The performance achieves its purpose, though that in itself leaves a guilty unsettling feeling. Malvolio even breaks character and tells us how dreary it is that assignments will be set for this play. However even if you don’t have assignments on this performance Tim Crouch who is the only actor in this piece is well worth tracking down.

“Singin’ In The Rain” Review [10/10]

Currently playing at the Palace Theatre, “Singin’ In The Rain” is a flawless adaptation from the MGM musical film of the same name. Last night marked my second time seeing the production and it still stands as one of the best shows in London right now.

The music, the original MGM soundtrack plus a few additional songs, is wonderful, the orchestra sitting comfortably up and behind the “Monumental Pictures” logo at the back of the stage.

The cast is so strong and, dare I use the word again, completely flawless. Adam Cooper plays our hero Don Lockwood and is supported expertly by Daniel Crossly and Scarlett Strallin who play Cosmo Brown and Kathy Selden. All three are pitch perfect and play their roles to perfection. However, the show is stolen by Katherine Kingsley, who takes on the shrill diva Lina Lamont and has her shining moment in Act Two with the ever so hilarious song “What’s Wrong With Me?”

The choreography is exciting and during the two (that’s right TWO!) Singin’ In The Rain sequences, the cast are showered in water, which they proceed to tap dance on and soak the first few rows of stalls.

I cannot praise this show enough. It is derived from one of my favourite films and expertly performed by a stunning cast and creative team. I intend to see it again…and again…and again…and again. Never leave us!

GL

Glee 4×02: “Britney 2.0″ [FIRST LISTEN]

So here we are again. Another Britney episode…I don’t know whether to laugh or cry or throw myself off a bridge or what. After the Season 2 episode (which, as I said before, was a train wreck) I don’t understand why they feel the need to do another one. But the songs are out and imma talk about it, yeah? Okay.

3 – [8/10]

The change up on this song is glorious. If the other songs in this episode can follow suit, we may actually get a strong episode, which will make up for the train wreck piece of crap we got given in Season 2.

The harmonies on this are stunning and having the two guys (Sam and Joe) singing on this really makes this a great song. Well played Glee, well played.

Boys/Boyfriend – [5/10]

“It almost works…almost…there is just something about this mashup that is lacking in something. I think once we see it as a performance, all questions about whether or not the songs actually fit together will be forgotten.”

That’s what I said on my First Listen review, but now hearing this in comparison to the other songs in this episode, it totally loses points. The other songs are just of a higher standard and this will fade into the background for me.

Gimme More – [5/10]

It’s fun. It’s Glee. It’s Britney Bitch! It was never going to be an amazing vocal performance because, newsflash, Heather Morris is NOT an amazing vocalist. However, when we consider that this will be a performance where she can strut her funky stuff and dance like her feet are on fire, we can count on this being a highlight of the episode (and one of the most played on my iTunes!)

Hold It Against Me – [6/10]

I absolutely love this song…when it’s done by Britney Spears. This is just a cover of the song as it comes, nothing particularly impressive, no change up. I’m sure the performance will be the Cheerios and will be completely mindblowing but, as a song, I’m kind of not too fussed about it.

Womanizer – [7/10]

For some reason, this works for me a lot more than Hold It Against Me. It just sounds lush with the three different voices (Unique, Tina, Marley) together on the track. Will be a fantastic production number, I think, maybe even the New Directions answer to the above HIAM performance.

Everytime – [8/10]

I’m gonna cry, I can feel it. Marley’s voice is just stunning. I mean, go and listen to it. I love her so so much after the first episode and I have a feeling she will break my heart with this song.

Oops!…I Did It Again – [9/10]

From the opening piano, you can tell this is gonna get sexual!! I have chills as the drums come in. I think I’m going to just climax everywhere. It’s a real thing. Lea Michele, touch me with your voice.

This is absolutely stunning on EVERY level! Her voice, the arrangement, knowing that there is going to be a hot piece of ass dance to this. Oh my goodness, I am suddenly excited for this episode.

Crazy/’U Drive Me Crazy – [9/10]

THIS is the mash-up they should be featuring in this episode! Screw the one with the Bieber track, this song is where it is at! Being sung by new characters Marley and Jacob, this is a mashup of Britney Spears and Aerosmith and it makes my heart tingle. Their voices just sound so good together, I can’t wait to see what they do with this!

So it’s a bit of a mixed bag but that is my two cents on the new Glee songs. Sound off below! :)

GL

Glee 4×01: The New Rachel [Episode Review]

Video review of Glee Season 4 Episode 1 – The New Rachel by GesterG91 on youtube! :)

GL

Glee Season 4 First Listen [Review]

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. Glee is coming back for it’s fourth season and, like the sucker and complete Gleek that I am, I have been drawn into the hype of their Wednesday night first listen party! Five songs, five reviews below. Here we go again!

Americano/Dance Again – 7/10

The mashup is perfect and I just can’t stop listening to it. Kate Hudson sounds fantastic on it despite it being very autotuned and whatnot. Completely not what I was expecting from her or her character and it was a great surprise. I look forward to seeing the performance. I think it’s going to be wonderful! Well, I live in hope!

It’s Time – 8/10

Probably my favourite of the songs played tonight. It is the most simply put together, nothing overly complicated and somewhat reminiscent of ‘Cough Syrup’ in Season 3 that plays right into Darren Criss’ wheelhouse as a vocalist.

My only issue, however, is that in the quieter moment of the songs when you can actually hear Darren’s voice you CAN HEAR THE AUTOTUNE!!! Let the boy sing! He is flawless! Just let him do his thing. Ta!

Boys/Boyfriend – 6/10

It almost works…almost…there is just something about this mashup that is lacking in something. I think once we see it as a performance, all questions about whether or not the songs actually fit together will be forgotten. This is going to be an amazing addition to the Britney episode. (EVEN THOUGH I DON’T WANT ANOTHER TRAIN WRECK BRITNEY EPISODE BUT WE WON’T GET INTO THAT!! #RAGE!)

Gimme More – 5/10

It’s fun. It’s Glee. It’s Britney Bitch! It was never going to be an amazing vocal performance because, newsflash, Heather Morris is NOT an amazing vocalist. However, when we consider that this will be a performance where she can strut her funky stuff and dance like her feet are on fire, we can count on this being a highlight of the episode (and one of the most played on my iTunes!)

Call Me Maybe – 7/10

I have loved and hated this song in equal measure over the course of the last 4 or 5 months and OF COURSE Glee are covering it. It sounds like Glee is back on form. The harmonies are perfect, the arrangement to turn it into a group song is flawless, Alex Newell is…there and I am a little bit excited to see it. If anything there are too many parts in the song but it seems to get away with it.

Overall, I am excited for Season 4 again. I have some renewed faith that Glee CAN be a good show when it tries. Fingers crossed and sound off your thoughts below! :)

George

EDIT: I am a little bit narked that there was no Chris Colfer (Kurt), no Lea Michele (Rachel), no Amber Riley (Mercedes) and no Dianna Agron (Quinn) There was only a small amount of Naya Rivera (Santana) but I wants more. Just saying. I hope they still get to sing this season!!

“Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares” by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan [8/10]

Beautiful, Clever, Witty, YAY!

I am a huge fan of David Levithan. “Boy Meets Boy” is definitely one of my favourite books of all time and I have been itching to get my hands on some of his other works. So here I am with a wonderful new book in my hands and I got a bit nervous.

As a huge fan of “Boy Meets Boy” there was a certain level of expectation that came with this one, a certain level of wanting this to be completely amazing.

And it was.

Written in alternating chapters from Dash and Lily’s perspective (Levithan writing the ever witty and bookish Dash, Cohn writing the Christmas cheer filled romanticist Lily) this book was everything I wanted and so much more.

The two of them find themselves alone in Manhattan at Christmas. Dash has fooled his parents in order to spend the holidays alone while Lily’s have abandoned her for the honeymoon they couldn’t afford when they got married. Through a red moleskine notebook left by Lily at The Stand, a cutesy little hipster bookshop, their two lives become intertwined and they talk all over Manhattan through the notebook.

It’s stunningly crafted and beautifully written. On top of all that it is immensely quotable! I NEVER annotate my books but I couldn’t help it for this one, it as too wonderful.

I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep

[8/10]

“The Perks of Being A Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky [10/10]

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite…”

It is a rare treat to find a book that once it is finished, you want to pick it up and read it all over again. For me, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is exactly that.

Telling the story of Charlie through a series of letters over the course of a school year, Perks is a beautiful story of growing up. As Charlie, a wallflower (one who sits back and doesn’t participate), starts high school he doesn’t have any friends after his one and only friend Michael killed himself.

That is until he meets Sam and Patrick who teach him how to live and love.

I cannot even begin to describe how much this book touched my heart. Page by page I was brought deeper into Charlie’s life and the lives of these people around him. I felt such a deep connection with Charlie, some of his experiences and feelings in life mirroring my own as I was his age and, to an extent, even now.

The true beauty in this book is the discovery of self and the discovery of why Charlie is the way he is, why he can’t participate. It’s fascinating and engrossing and prompted so many tears that it took a while for me to get over it. The writing is simple and the voice so clear that Charlie became very real to me. Wonderful.

[10/10]

Dark Hills Present: “The Disintegration Loops” [ED FRINGE!] ★★★★

On Wednesday 8th August, we were privileged enough to go and see “The Dark Hills” latest offering to the Edinburgh Fringe: “The Disintegration Loops.”

A play within a play. Ancient Greek tragedy meets Italian commedia dell’arte with electrifying results. Dean Poulter (Writer and Director) has created a magnificent piece of theatre, brimming with great comedic and dramatic performances from a very strong ensemble cast.

We open on a dark stage, a haunting string music soundtrack hums in the background as a box of light appears. Enter Coco (Heather Perez), twitching, ticking like a time bomb dead centre. She introduces herself in her own stage directions as she walks forward, a clever device used sparingly but effectively.

She is interrupted by Deborah (Hannah Murphy) who shows a stark contrast to the highly strung, high maintenance Coco. A wonderful monologue where Deborah talks to herself in the mirror is her shining moment of drama and comedy.

Several excellent performances come from interactions between Charlie (Matt Locket) and Sandra (Rosa Postlethwaite), Charlie (again) and The Voice (Rory Payne) and whenever Leif Halverson and Karl Taylor grace the stage.

Physicality and voice are outstanding throughout, every actor playing their part with precision and class. Rather than using sound effects Poulter opted to make use of his actors vocal talents with microphones either side of the stage, the actors becoming a car engine, a vending machine and many more assorted objects.

The show is daring and pacy, taking risks that most definitely pay off. It is a testament to Poulter’s writing and direction that he isn’t afraid to switch from fast paced comedy to a heartfelt, tear inducing monologue from Pearl (Tamsin Vincent) with a little help from Charlie, who is continuously outstanding.

Playing at theSpace @ venue45 from Monday 13th August, this visually stimulating, laugh out loud funny and beautifully mimed piece is a must see show for the Fringe.

★★★★

Running Time: 45 Minutes

Tickets: £5 (Full Price) £4 (concessions)

BUY TICKETS HERE!

CAST

Dean Poulter – Writer/Director
Matt Locket – Charlie
Rosa Postlethwaite – Sandra/Chorus/Ann
Hannah Murphy – Deboarah/Jean/Lucy
Karl Taylor – Celine/Frederick/Alice
Leif Halverson – Lee (Cleaner)/Chorus/Cathy
Heather Perez – Coco/Mary
Tamsin Vincent – Pearl
Rory Payne – The Voice/Chorus/Graham