manchester · music · Musical · performance · review · The Lowry · Theatre · war

The Sound of Music

The_Sound_of_Music nunsThe Sound of Music bounced onto the Lowry’s stage in a musical extravaganza of a show for this Christmas. Filled with the classics of Do Re Me, Edelweiss and Sound of Music the music carried the show and transported the audience back to the 1930s.

Beginning in the Abbey, the nuns were serious and melancholy before being slightly mischievous in How do you solve a problem like Maria. It added a sense of cheer to the rather silent abbey, a distant past to the life Maria had expected to find here. Instead she’s packed off to govern seven Von Trap children and alter the expectations of a strict and repressive father. Music is of course the answer, teaching and guiding the children with her knowledge and love.

It is the love story of war, circumstances and needs, passion and short lives that bring this family together. Happy in the music and surrounding of the mountains, their perfect life becomes shattered by war.

For me, the Sound of music was at times a little too cheery in its portrayal, even in the shadow of war the characters continue with their music and life without care. Even the finale of their escape is rather modest, without much suspense or determination. I would have liked to see a slight twit in the portrayal of the story, something new and raw that could have been brought to the production. Yet the audience seemed spell bound, even singing along in places, it was the tale they expected and the tale they clearly wanted to see.

The Sound of Music is at The Lowry until the 2nd January 2016.

fantasy · fiction · manchester · play · review · Theatre

Inkheart

As a reviewer for The Mancunion, I got the chance to visit Manchester’s Home as it presented its first Christmas production, with the opening of Inkheart; a transformation of Cornelia Funke’s novel to the stage. Family friendly, full of humour and all the imagination of a child, this is a show to catch this festive season as an alternative to the pantomime.

InkheartIt’s clearly a child directed performance, but I did enjoy being taken back to my world of imagination of bad versus good and a quest of a story. The tale was cleverly self aware, with intertextuality twisted through the story and remerged onto stage. The school group at the front of the theatre greatly enjoyed the interaction of the cast as they helped direct them to Capricorn; for a moment removed from their script with some playful interaction. Mo himself appeared on my row in search for Fenoglio, the author of Inkheart, bringing the stage closer to the audience and carrying us into the story.

Inkheart 2The stage transformed fittingly to each new narrative of the performance, a tremendous pile of books one moment, to a beach the next before hiding Capricorn’s evil liar beneath it. Katherine Carlton, who played Meggie was passionate, determined and brilliant in her portrayal, holding the stage and delivering the tale. The cast were eager, believable and amusing, capturing many laughs from the audience while portraying a range of traits, personalities and passions.

You can catch Inkheart at Home until 31st December, a family festivity for christmas.

 

 

German markets · manchester · markets

Manchester’s Christmas Markets

IMG_5829As December has now arrived, christmas trees are sprouting up, jingle bells seems to be in every shop and lights ablaze local houses, it seemed fitting to begin my festive season with a trip to Manchester’s German Christmas Markets.

While dusk is falling, the lights of the stalls capture the essence of christmas, lighting the way to handicrafts, Santa’s of every size and a range of mulled drinks. It is equally wonderful to just wander around the markets and enjoy the atmosphere it brings, of stall sellers, families and friends starting their christmas.

IMG_5821I greatly enjoy the main focus Albert Square brings, the large Santa Clause shinning and the German bar sitting above the stalls: people wandering, eating and drinking. Food and merriment is certainly the focus here, with a range of treats to tempt you.

The trail the markets create around Exchange Square, St Annes and the Cathedral give a winding trail around the city, lighting the way to many pretty and festive objects. Of course there were a lot of things I wanted to buy, prints of manchester, local food, crafts and clothes and christmas decorations, there’s something here for everyone

So, if you have a chance to come to Manchester this Christmas time, be sure to venture around the markets, you’ll never know what treasures you’ll find.

The markets are open until Monday 21st December from 10am, most finishing at 7.30 pm.

autobiography · books · manchester · review · signing · young adult

All I Know Now

Alongside many peers of my own age, I’m constantly looking for role models; people who inspire and influence me. Those who appear to have a slightly better grasp on life then I currently do, who can offer advice, recommendations and aid us along our path.

All I Know Now - manchesterCarrie Hope Fletcher’s debut half-autobiographical half-advice book does just that, it’s a friendly guide, a chat with someone a little older then yourself. Her message is clear, we’re not facing our problems alone, they’ve been experienced before and they’ll be experienced once again. Whereas if we talk, discuss and open up ourselves things will get a lot simpler. Fletcher’s friendly tone follows through her writing, from friendship to bullying, optimism to reality and everything in between. Her guidance is perfect, approachable and easy to navigate through; certainly something I would have found very relatable through my early teenage years.

SignedWith my teens nearly behind me, there are of course aspect of the book that I found slightly irrelevant, but five years ago would have hung on to each little word. It’s a book that fills a much needed gap in the market, someones advice full of care and considerations with a clear audience in mind. Her incorporation of anecdotes fully reinstates that we all experience the same things, maybe not being chased by a bear, but we hit the same milestones at the end.

Her talk and Q&A session followed perfectly from her book; friendly and approachable, overly positive and eager to please her audience. We got to sing a long, giggle at the mishaps with the microphone and see her warmth and passion for what she’d written down. Fletcher reinforced her message, her positive approach to life and from that, it’s a book all ages can relate to; but if you’re in your early teens its an essential part to growing up.

All I know now          Book signing

All I Know Now is published by Little Brown, I visited her book tour event in Manchester. Find Carrie on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/carrie

Let me know your opinions on All I Know Now!