Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Big Mistake!

October seems to be the month to do reviews for the paper.  As A works in the offices of the company that runs the local paper he has several shows he can choose from each month.  So far this month we have done 5 and it's only October 12th!  Last night I did one and now I think I regret it.  It was called Street Scene and it was advertised as a musical done by an opera company.  That shouldn't be too bad, I naively thought, I can cope with opera if there's lots of dance routines as well (I actually hate opera).  The poster was beautiful so I thought I'd give it a go.

I can't knock any of the performances as they we brilliant, all talented actors, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.  I could barely understand the singing as I struggle with the style of opera music, but somehow with the help of my wonderful hubbie I managed to get this review put together:

The Opera Group and Young Vic co-production of Street Scene by Kurt Weill, Langston Hughes and Elmer Rice opened for a two night run at Newport riverfront on Tuesday evening.

An American Opera, Street Scene was written in the post war era of 1946 and is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Rice. The opera follows 24 hours in the differing but interacting lives of several families in a 1940s tenement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The drama itself covers everything from scandal mongering and murder to victimisation and classification, taking in an elaborate blend of musical and opera along the way boasting a 40 strong cast, full choir and orchestra.

For me, the productions musical highlights were delivered in the first half of the production including The Ice Cream Song and Moon-faced, Starry-eyed which featured the shows only dance routine and utilised the casts amazing talents to their full potential The scene setting 1940s style American street featured several well placed props from strategically placed rubbish bins, staircases and a balcony housing the full orchestra (including the harp!) to the casts authentically styled costumes.

Street Scene is a production that remains both retrospective and modern, setting it apart from other productions of its kind. 

If you enjoy opera music then I'm sure you'll love Street Scene and if you get a chance to see it I would highly recommend it.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Big Splash 2011 (10 things)

This weekend has been a busy one for us as there's been lots going on in Newport and even better most of it has been free! The staff at the Riverfront Theatre have worked hard bringing a sort of Festival atmosphere to Newport. They've arranged for free live music to be on at the Riverfront cafe, free shows and craft stalls by the Red Wave. There's also been a few live shows, funfair, motorcycle stunts and a climbing wall.

My 10 things post this month is based on all the stuff we've seen and done the weekend:

1. Today, S decided she wanted to go on the climbing wall today. It was run by all the hardworking boys at Duffryn Sports Centre so we paid the £1 entry and off she went. Here she is on the difficult side:
 And then she had a go on the easier side and got a little bit higher.
2. We saw the finished version of this (by Kingway Car Park)
3. Yesterday A and the boys saw the healing of brĂ¢n the blessed
4. and we all witnessed the amazing skills on display outside the Kingsway Car Park
5. we saw the Superdragons in the Kingsway
6. and made some flags and a mask at the Market
7. meet some lovely hearts somehow I managed to follow them round town - there were quite a few street perfomers around on Saturday
8. While I was at a party with the kids on Friday night A saw the opening act - Chris Cross the escapologist
9. There was loads of FREE live music at the Riverfront Cafe.
10. Finally, posing outside the chalk drawing on the Riverfront entrance.  Love it.

It's been a great weekend so thank you everyone at the Riverfront Theatre, looking forward to next years event all ready.

My hubbie has also blogged about the weekend as well, he couldn't do just 1 post he had to do 3 so click here, here and here!  And to see more 10 things posts go to  Happy reading.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Red Velvet Cake and Rhinestone Mondays

Oops! Long time no blog, thanks to summer holidays and now new school routine.  I will get some time doing the thing I love soon!   Just a quick update to let you know about some things I have been doing over the last week.  On Sunday I finally got to make a Red Velvet Cake. I have been dying to make one of these for about a  year and a half and the recipe had been on my fridge for the whole of the summer holidays.  Well, a week last Sunday I got all the ingredients but forgot the red food colouring so the cake had to wait until I got it this weekend.  The cake did take some time (including a blister on my thumb) but it was well worth it and everyone loved it.  In fact it was eaten so quick I didn't get a chance to get a good picture!

Last night S and I went to the New Theatre in Cardiff to see Rhinestone Mondays.  It was a really great night, here's the review I wrote for the local paper:

Going to the New Theatre in Cardiff is always a treat as the building is as beautiful as the shows that go on there - full of intricate beadwork and beautiful colours.
This week the featured show is Rhinestone Mondays, a brand new musical from Joe Graham following the ups and downs of a line dancing group which meet on a Monday night at a local social club. The main story follows the romance between Annie (Faye Tozer) and Tom (Antony Topham) who played some really touching and emotional scenes.
The cast, which consists of Shaun Williamson, Faye Tozer, Ian H Watkins, Lyn Paul, Anthony Topham, Ally Holmes, Phil Pritchard and Pauline Fleming all gave outstanding performances. My favourite part of the evening was the song Dance the Night Away where Anthony Topham wowed the audience with his beautiful singing voice and dance moves.
The show is full of country classics like Crazy, Ring of Fire, A Thing Called Love, Annie’s Song and Stand by Your Man as well as modern country hits 5, 6, 7, 8, There’s your Trouble and Achy Breaky Heart. My only complaint is that the show felt a little short and we could have done with more of a sing-along at the end of the show.
Rhinestone Mondays is a must for all country music fans but you don’t need to be a die hard country fan to enjoy it, what’s more it’s suitable for all ages which is always a plus.
The show continues at the New Theatre until Saturday 8th October 2011

    The highlight of the evening for me was definitely Anthony Topham and I was thrilled to see a bit more of him in this advert.  Afterwards we waited by the stage door and met Shaun Williamson, Ian H Watkins and Faye Tozer.  They were all lovely and so accommodating.  Faye posed for a beautiful pic with Seren so thank you Faye.