Saturday, 28 February 2015

Billy Elliot – The Musical

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About the show:

Billy Elliot the Musical is a musical based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot. The music is by Elton John, and the book and lyrics are by Lee Hall, who wrote the film's screenplay. The plot revolves around motherless Billy, who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes. The story of his personal struggle and fulfillment are balanced against a counter-story of family and community strife caused by the UK miners' strike (1984–1985) in County Durham, in North Eastern England. Hall's screenplay was inspired in part by A. J. Cronin's 1935 novel about a miners' strike, The Stars Look Down, to which the musical's opening song pays homage.[1]
The musical premiered in London's West End in 2005 and was nominated for nine Laurence Olivier Awards, winning four, including Best New Musical. The production is still running strongly, and its success led to productions in Australia, on Broadway and elsewhere. In New York, it won ten Tony Awards and ten Drama Desk Awards, including, in each case, Best Musical. It has also won numerous awards in Australia including a record-tying seven Helpmann Awards.
A live recording of the musical was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 24 November 2014 in the United Kingdom.

More info on the show at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London:

My opinion:

If seen a lot of the big musicals already: Les Mis, Wicked, Oliver! etc., but Billy Elliot hasn’t been one of them. So this time we took the chance to see the show. I loved the movie and I really like the story, especially because of the dancing.

It was a great show, Billy was played by Bradley Perret. He was wonderful, a great dancer and singer and his acting was superb. Oh and he’s very cute. I was also very impressed with the boy playing Michael, Tomi Fry, such a talent. They had a great chemistry on stage and I really loved their scenes and songs, epspecially the one with the clothes, awesome choreography. Mrs Wilkinson (Ruthie Henshall) and Tony (Chris Grahamson) were fantastic as well, really strong actors and full of passion. The cast was great in general, but these people stood out.

The best scene came after the interval, where the celebrated Christmas and Margret Thatcher came up! Such an awesome song and lots going on stage.

At times I had problems understanding their strong dialect, but since I knoe the story really well it was okay. At the end I was hoping for a last scene where they are all older, like in the movie, but it wasn’t there...

The dancing in this show is really impressive and all these childern on stage were great!!! The music isn’t really my kind oft hing, no memorable melodies and no real emotions included. It was still an awesome show with lots of spark, enegry and passion!!!

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Venice Bucket List – by Ella Fairlie

My own copy
Original Cover

The blurb:

Single mum Tess has enough on her plate without being forced to tag along on her brother and his girlfriend’s romantic winter holiday to Venice, and she certainly isn’t looking for a Valentine love affair of her own. But with the annual Carnival afoot, Venice has some magic and mayhem in store for her, in the form of a handsome masked stranger with a surprising secret. Will the city of glass and gondolas be able to work its charm, or is this one amore that’s lost in translation?

‘The Venice Bucket List’ is a deliciously escapist destination romcom novella about how love can surprise you when you least expect it.

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

First of all, I’d like to thank Ella for sending me a copy of this story and for mentioning me in the acknowledgements, that means so much <3.

I was really excited to read this book, because I absolutely loved Ella’s first short story in this series The Christmas Bucket List. And she did a marvellous job again; The Venice Bucket List is magical, passionate and full of sparks.

The Venice Bucket List follows the story of single mum Tess, who dragged along to Venice with her brother and his girlfriend. Sounds like a great trip away, with a loved up couple, doesn’t it?!

Of course Venice is full of surprises and when her brother Jamie has a little accident, this handsome stranger in a mask shows up and saves them. He offers them to stay with him and Tess gets to spend a lot of time with Alessio (love this name). Tess and Alessio had something really special from the start, the gazes between them were intense, especially when he was wearing has mask. They soon find out who Alessio is and Tess realises that he has two different faces. The one with her and when he is wearing the mask and the one when he takes of the mask. I don’t wanna tell you too much here, you have to read the book, to find out more. Tess is not sure, if she should just follow her feelings, because what happens when she goes home?! Talking to Jamie and Isobel opens her eyes and she is finally letting go.

I loved the scenes between Alessio and Tess, they had such an understanding for each other and even f they were apart something connected them. Ella described these scenes with such delicacy and sweetness and it was a pleasure reading the whole story.

It was great to read about Jamie and Isobel again, I adored them in The Christmas Bucket List and I kind of want them to get a whole story.

Of course there was some drama involved which was great and it kind of opened up the story a bit. I liked that I wasn’t sure how the story was going to end, I had to wait until the epilogue and I was really happy with it. It’s might not the ending everybody expects with this kind of story, but I think it’s perfect for the book.

The Italian elements were great. I’m half Italian, so I really enjoyed the words and things Alessio said, they had such a deep meaning.
The surroundings were beautifully described, Venice is a great city and it’s perfect for this story!! Thank you Ella for writing such a wonderful and magnificent story.


My possible cast:

Tess: Amanda Seyfried

Alessio: Rubén Cortada

Ella on Twitter: @EllaFairlie

Book Travel Bucket List by Ella Fairlie

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Hello lovely readers! I’m ridiculously excited and thankful that Simona has let me pop in and chat to you today, especially since I get to talk about travel and books – two of my favourite things in the world! I’ve just released the second little novella in my ‘Bucket List’ series, so I thought it would be fun if I shared one of my own Bucket Lists – ten places I wanted to visit, inspired by reading. Some I have been to, and some I have yet to tick off, but I first fell in love with all of them through an author’s imagination.

1. Tuscany (inspired by Room with a View by EM Forster)
I may have seen and adored the film first, but I read the novel soon after, and meeting Lucy Honeychurch, George Emerson, and their friends made me LONG to go to Florence and the Tuscan countryside. Lucky me, I’ve visited both many times since, and never been disappointed. The last time I read the novel, I was spending a month volunteering on a vineyard near Montalcino, and fell for it all over again during long, sundrenched siestas stretched out on a hammock. Travel swoon.

2. Capri (inspired by I Love Capri by Belinda Jones)
As you might guess from the above, I was deep into a love affair with Italy by the time I read Belinda Jones’ charming novel, but Capri hadn’t been top of the list until then. Belinda has such an amazing talent for travel writing crossed with romcom – I don’t think anyone does it quite as well as she does. A few years later, I set off down the Amalfi Coast on a girls’ holiday we dubbed The Blonde Roadtrip because it involved three blondes in a convertible (just as fun as it sounds). I even wore Capri pants in Capri. In for a lira, in for a pound.

3. Bali (inspired by Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert)
Did anyone who read this NOT immediately want to go to Bali? I wasn’t sold on the blurb, but once I discovered Liz Gilbert on Ted – whip smart, articulate, funny, profound – I read the book and loved it. Of the three destinations, I loved her peaceful time in Indonesia most, and I’m dying to go. Even if Javier Bardem isn’t actually there waiting for me ;)

4. South Carolina (inspired by Pat Conroy)
Pat Conroy is one of my all-time favourite writers – his novels are just amazing. As well as being full of huge, complex, cathartic emotions, they also often talk about places in his adopted home state of South Carolina – elegant cities like Charleston, small towns and military bases, islands in the marshlands. One day I’m determined to do a road trip though the American South, so I can finally see them.

5. Egypt (inspired by The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif)
When I spent a year teaching in Milan, novels in English were an expensive treat, so this is one of the few I read during that year. It’s a wonderful piece of fiction, evoking both colonial and modern Egypt, and long after I forgot the details of plot and character, the stark beauty of the setting echoed on. I got to go to Egypt a few years later, and it was everything I’d dreamt of – beautiful, chaotic and complex.

6. Kenya (inspired by Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen)
Although I grew up in South Africa and have been on safari many times, I have yet to visit the Serengeti, where this wonderful memoir was set. It’s one of my favourite books of all time, so Kenya is high on my must-see list, ideally with the full-scale luxury tented safari experience (and I won’t complain if a young Robert Redford happens to be there playing Mozart on a gramophone!).

7. Paris (inspired by The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy)
I’d never heard of this crazy, wonderful little book gem until I found it in my local library. It’s about a young woman who basically larks about 1950s Paris drinking champagne cocktails, which made me want to do the same. I’ve only spent a day in Paris (I know!) so this is one bucket list item yet to be properly ticked off. Larking and champagne? What a hardship that will be. ;)

8. Bath (inspired by Persuasion by Jane Austen)
Jane Austen may not have been fond of Bath, but since that’s where she set some of the most romantic scenes from one of my favourite of her novels (THAT LETTER!!), as soon as I moved to London a decade ago, I started planning a trip to Bath. It’s just the loveliest place to visit.

9. Corfu (inspired by My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell)
My mum first read this to me when I was little, and not only was it eye-wateringly funny, it made me want to go to Greece.  Which I have, several times, and yet I’ve never quite made it to Corfu. I think in some ways, I’m putting it off, knowing that it’ll never be the same unspoiled paradise that I remember from the book. Then again, Greece has yet to disappoint me…

10. New York (inspired by From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg)
There are actually many books, TV shows and films that inspired me to go to New York as soon as I graduated from university, but I think this might have been the first, so it has a special place in my heart. I mean, the Met is my favourite museum in the world. I STILL want to live in it.

The Venice Bucket List by Ella Fairlie 

Single mum Tess has enough on her plate without being forced to tag along on her brother and his girlfriend’s romantic winter holiday to Venice, and she certainly isn’t looking for a Valentine love affair of her own. But with the annual Carnival afoot, Venice has some magic and mayhem in store for her, in the form of a handsome masked stranger with a surprising secret. Will the city of glass and gondolas be able to work its charm, or is this one amore that’s lost in translation?

‘The Venice Bucket List’ is a deliciously escapist destination romcom novella about how love can surprise you when you least expect it.

About the author

Ella Fairlie was born and bred in South Africa, but ran off to see the world as soon as she
had a literature degree. She has lived in New York, Milan and London (and been fashionable in none of them). For ten years, she worked in book publishing, before becoming a full-time blogger and digital nomad (wherever she lays her Mac is her home). She loves rugby, white wine, avocados and ‘80s high school movies (although not necessarily all at once).
In 2014 she was the joint winner of the Sunlounger competition and had her story, ‘Days of Miracle & Wonder’, published in the Sunlounger 2 anthology. In December 2014 she published the first in a series of romcom novellas, The Christmas Bucket List.
Ella on Twitter: @EllaFairlie

Book Links

Sunlounger 2 - Amazon UK

The Christmas Bucket List - Amazon UK

The Venice Bucket List - Amazon UK