Monday, 11 November 2013


This review must have been written thousands of times by different people all over the world, and now having finally seen it I'm going to join the huge amount of people who have reviewed 'Wicked'. I don't even know how long I've wanted to see this musical for, but it's been years, and on Saturday night I finally saw it :D. If you haven't seen 'Wicked' yet seriously go book tickets now! It's just so ridiculously good, I can't even describe.
For some reason when my family go to see shows we somehow always miss the principle actors - we missed Alfie Boe by a day when we went to see Les Mis which I don't think I'll ever get over. But on Saturday we actually saw Louise Dearman as Elphaba, Gina Beck as Glinda and Ben Freeman as Fiyero. (If there ever was an excuse to fangirl I think this is one).
Since I'm the only one in my family who would actively choose to go and see musicals it can sometimes get a little awkward as I force my 20-year-old brother to sit through cheesy songs like 'Dancing
Louise Dearman as Elphaba
Through Life' or 'Popular'. But this time my family actually seemed to like it - right from Glinda's hilariously blonde comments about Dorothy's dog 'Dodo', to the unbelievable singing that just kept coming and coming.
This is definitely one of those musicals that's difficult to describe afterwards, but unusually for me I didn't leave the theatre only feeling deflated that it was over, instead I was just so happy I'd finally seen Defying Gravity performed live, after years of waiting. It was just as good and better than I could ever have hoped for it to be and I already want to go see it again - the sooner the better.
I'm still not sure which character I would rather be, but I know I couldn't be more jealous of the actors who get to play the parts. I can't even imagine how amazing it would be to be able to sing like that. 
Although the story did get lost in transition a little at times - I'm still not entirely clear on what exactly the Wizard was doing that made him and Elphaba become enemies, although I know it involved animals - the bits that did work were just so cleverly linked into the original 'Wizard of Oz' story, and the singing was some of the best I've ever heard. There was just the right mix between sad moments and funny moments, and 'Defying Gravity' might just be the most uplifting musical theatre song I've ever heard - looking round as the lights went up for the interval everyone was just staring at each other with open mouths, trying to comprehend how any human could sing so loudly and amazingly as they do at the end of that song.
Gina Beck as Glinda
There were riffs all over the place ('The Wizard and I', 'Defying Gravity' and 'No Good Deed' being the biggest songs), Gina Beck was fantastic as the shallow Glinda, and Louise Dearman literally unbelievable as Elphaba (even if my brother's only comment as we left the theatre was to say how short she was - I'm serious).
It made me so happy to see people of all ages in the theatre on Saturday night, not only because it means musical theatre is reaching many different generations, but also because 'Wicked' is such a powerful, relevant musical. The thing that is immediately obvious from the story and all the songs is the message to "never judge a book by its cover". And of course that's important, but, in my opinion, the more significant idea is that we can be anything we want to be, no matter what we look like or who others perceive us to be. Even though the whole of Oz knew Elphaba to be 'The Wicked Witch of the West', that doesn't mean that's who she really was, and although she conformed to that idea in front of them, she never fails to be herself to her true friends: Glinda and Fiyero, and even to the Wizard. She never stops fighting for what she believes in, taking no notice of what others think because she knows she is morally right. And that's why it's so great that so many people get to see the show (London's Wicked had their 5 millionth audience member at the show I went to see), especially with all the judgement that goes on in the world now-a-days. For young children, particularly girls, to see a show where someone who is not beautiful has the biggest songs, someone who is popular doesn't end up getting the guy, and where being yourself is undoubtedly the best thing you can be, it's
Ben Freeman as Fiyero
just so important.

Although Fiyero is most definitely a stereotypical male and can definitely be seen to be at least a little one dimensional, to me there was something a little more to him. I mean, if he really was a completely flat character he would almost certainly have married Glinda when she told him they were engaged. But instead he finds Elphie and helps her to be herself, even if that means going against the Wizard and his many guards, admitting he loves her without caring what others might think of that. I think it's so amazing to have a handsome prince reject the outwardly-beautiful girl for the girl he thinks is beautiful for her personality and who she is. As he said, although Elphie is supposedly ugly on the outside, seeing her as beautiful isn't lying "it's looking at things another way". Fiyero and Elphie are definitely one of the best musical theatre couples and it's so great that seeing beauty on the inside can be seen by so many people in such a successful musical. 
'Wicked' has some of the best songs in musical theatre and you could literally feel yourself being almost blown backwards by the force and power of the actor's voices. I already want to go and see it again, and hopefully this time people won't come in late and tread on my toe in heels right in the middle of 'What is this feeling?', but the show was just so good that didn't really ruin it at all. I hope everyone who has the opportunity to see this amazing musical does go, and I'm just so happy that a musical that is so relevant in today's judgemental society is so well-liked by so many people. Although 'Wicked' has left me with a weird want to travel everywhere by bubble or broom, the combination of a hilarious script and much needed moral messages mean 'Wicked' has been around for years, and will hopefully continue to be in the West End for many years to come. 10/10. 

I got tagged! - 10 questions about me

Okay so my amazing friend Jess over at Girl On Film tagged me in this post to answer some random questions about myself - basically it's time to let the internet know how boring I really am. But seriously, it looks like a really cute tag so have a read if you feel like it :)...

The rules of this tag are:

1.The tagged/nominated blogs have to have under 200 followers.

2.Tag the blog that nominated you.

3.Tell the people you tag so they can respond.

1. What inspired you to start a blog?

Okay this question is going to make for a really uninteresting start to this post. I don't really remember being 'inspired' as such, more I just thought I might as well. If anything it was probably the result of boredom, too much time on my hands and wanting my writing to improve, which I really hope it has. 

2. If you could go back to an era for a day which time era would you go back to?

Definitely 1920s England. Or maybe a little earlier in the 1800s or something. I just really love the fashions, the manners and pretty much everything about that time period. Although, if I actually went there I'd probably end up as some pauper's daughter working on a farm or something like Tess of the D'Urbervilles, or I'd be Daisy the kitchen maid in
Downton Abbey - 4am starts would not be my thing. But yes, mostly I love the manners and the clothing, especially the dresses... and the fact that men wore waistcoats every day :). Plus I think it would be pretty amazing to live at the same time as some of my favourite writers, nerdy as that sounds...

3. Cats or dogs?

Definitely dogs. St Bernard puppies are the cutest things I've ever seen in my life.

4. What is your must have clothing item for Autumn?

I actually have a serious lack of clothes at the moment and I spend most of my life wearing my black skater skirt - not very Autumny. But if I had a job and could afford it the first thing I would buy would be an autumn jumper... and then I'd sit in a window with some tea and a book and watch it snowing outside. I don't even know if it snows in Autumn but I really want to do that anyway.

5. What is your favourite book?

Okay, this one is too hard! I have no idea...and I definitely can't pick just one... Hmmmm, okay so if I had to list some of my favourites I guess I would say Les Miserables because it was one of the first books to have a genuine affect on me and I was unhealthily obsessed with it for a looong time - some would say I still am but I dunno. If anybody wants to shut me up or make me cry all they have to do is mention 'A Tale of Two Cities' because I just can't express my feelings for that book. I adored 'The Book Thief' and 'The Kite Runner', and 'One Day' was pretty good too. 'Life of Pi' took me a while, and two watches of the film, to get in any way at all, but once I'd kind of understood it a little bit I remember thinking it was so clever and probably deserves lots
of re-reads. But I need to move on because otherwise we could be here for days...

6. What is your dream job?

I'm glad this says dream job because every time I think about this in real life my brain
basically explodes into a mess of shouting "I HAVE NO IDEAAAAAA D':" But if I could sing, act and didn't get stupidly nervous I would love to be in loads of West End shows because that just seems like the best job anybody could ever have. But until I magically discover that I have an amazing voice that's been hiding away somewhere for 18 years, my kitchen, and now my car, will have to make do. And all those who can hear will just have to try and block out what sounds like a screeching cat as best they can. Sorry.

7. Is there anything you do that other people find weird?

I become easily obsessed with things that really aren't all that 'normal', so when I then fangirl over whatever that might be people just look at me like I'm some kind of freak (I actually got called a freak when I went to see the Les Mis movie on opening night and went in waving my home-made red flag... andd I'm probably not as embarrassed as I should be..) 

8. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Not stereotypically at all: PARIS. I adore this place. I'm not even sure why, but it's just so much prettier than anywhere else I've ever been. Also potentially Disney Land, if that's possible, because why not? 

9. Must have make-up item?

I've never been the greatest at doing my make-up, probably because I'm always worried about doing something seriously wrong, even though I know I could just take it off and start again if I wanted. And also make-up is EXPENSIVE!! But anyway, getting to the point, probably mascara because I have the tiniest eyes, or maybe foundation because I hate my skin. One of the two, but please never take them away from me.

10. Favourite quote?

This always used to be: "the greatest happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." (Victor Hugo). Because quite honestly if I ever get married I will feel desperately sorry for whoever that man might be. But last Christmas my brother gave me a little notebook which I started filling with cute quotes I like, the idea being if I ever feel down I can get the notebook out and cheer myself up again. But now I have far too many 'favourite quotes'. Including..: "To die will be an awfully big adventure","laugh as much as you breathe, love as long as you live", "life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret ANYTHING that makes you smile", "what the world needs is a group hug", and "be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too". Oh, and also anything by Dr Seuss. Yeah, okay I like stupidly cheesy quotes too much.

So that's the end of the tag, I hope you enjoyed learning some completely uninteresting stuff about me. I'm not going to tag anyone but if you like the questions then please feel free to tag yourself and leave me a link in the comments! 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Growing Up, Peter Pan Syndrome and Roald Dahl

So I have been absolutely terrible at blogging lately, I think it's been just under a month since I last came on Blogger at all, but logging in today I found this post I wrote a while ago, unpublished, but finished. If, like me, you're feeling terrified by the realisation that you actually exist and have to figure out something you have to do with the rest of your life and quickly, or, as is more likely, you're not and have no idea what I'm talking about, please have a read. I know I'm publishing this a bit late for Halloween, but seriously finally figuring out that I'm an actual person scared me far more than anything I've seen in the last week, so if you're not ready to be done with all that is frightening this October/ November then enjoy..:

Recently I've been feeling completely confused and scared by the whole idea of growing up. Maybe it's because I'm going to be 18 and 'legally an adult' in about a month, or maybe because I've finally sent off my university application to 5 universities, the one I eventually go to determining the course of the rest of my life. What used to be Roald Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes' has turned into Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber', worrying about homework deadlines has turned into worrying about the meaning of life... actually deadlines are still there, but that's not the point. Everyone around me is having an  existential crisis and nobody has any idea what to do about it (enter Dan Howell, I'll post his amazing YouTube video below..).
And for some unknown reason I've taken comfort in Roald Dahl of all things. I've never been someone to believe in 'growing out' of things - why shouldn't a book that meant a lot to me when I was younger still mean a lot to me now? The whole idea of having to renounce things just because you're apparently 'too old' to like it anymore is just ridiculous to me. But anyway.. I saw a Roald Dahl quote the other day and it just got me thinking how much of a great writer he really was:

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”

Someone with such a vivid, wild imagination - an imagination that came up with Willy Wonka and the Witches and everything that made so many childhoods great - probably didn't ever really grow up at heart. And why should any of us? We move from being these amazing human beings, wanting to do everything we can and living completely in the moment when we're children, to depressed, scared people with little imagination, unable to live without worrying about the past or future. Obviously that's a generalisation, but seeing Roald Dahl quotes pop up on the internet every now and then always reminds me of what I should really be worrying about in my every day life, if I should be worrying about anything at all.
And then the other night, whilst having a Tim Minchin marathon on YouTube, I stumbled across 'When I Grow Up' from Matilda the musical. Oh my God this song. I can't even describe my love for it. Yes it's a happy song, but there's also an almost wistful quality to it that sums up everything I'm feeling at the moment. We go through our early childhoods believing our parents are something like invincible. We say "when I grow up I'm going to be...tall/smart/brave/etc. just like my Mum/ Dad", and then at some point, unconsciously, we let life take over and everything changes, days flying by in a blur of school, teenage arguments and homework. Until one day we actually realise what's happened. Suddenly we're reaching our late-teens, our childhood gone, and we take a look at ourselves and think that all the things we thought we would have become by now we haven't, or at least not yet. We realise that, although we always thought our Mums and Dads would never be afraid of anything, they would probably be just as scared as anyone else were someone they love to be threatened. Of course it's not a bad thing to learn that all people are just as human as ourselves, but there is something sad about the realisation that most of what you believe at a young age isn't true. So then looking at Minchin's lyrics from those two perspectives, the optimistic, child-like side and what some would depressingly call the 'realistic', they can become so profound and beautiful it just makes me want to cry...

When I grow up,
I will be tall enough to reach the branches
That I need to reach to climb the trees
You get to climb when you're grown up.

And when I grow up,
I will be smart enough to answer all
The questions that you need to know 
The answers to before you're grown up.

And when I grow up,
I will eat sweets every day,
On the way to work, and I will
Go to bed late every night.
And I will wake up
When the sun comes up, and I 
Will watch cartoons until my eyes go square,
And I won't care 'cause I'll be all grown up.

The point I'm getting to, I think, is that I don't want to be one of those people who is constantly terrified of the future. Who knows how we get out of what could become an endless cycle of fear, but it seems most people do make their way out of it at some point, or at least learn to deal with it, so fingers crossed :). Peter Pan Syndrome and existential crisis is most definitely the most scary thing I've come across this Halloween, and maybe existence and 'growing up' is just something everyone has to realise and deal with before being chucked out of the school system into a world of university, jobs, taxes and fending for yourself. Who knows? But until I do find out what the point of life is, I will try to view the world with "glittering eyes" and not be too depressed by the idea that I probably never will own a bakery called 'Valjean's', much as I want that to happen. :) Have a happy day!