Posted in Review

Ben and Holly’s little kingdom live on stage.

When we were asked * if we wanted to go to see Ben and Holly at the new theatre I was a little nervous, all those people and Z. If I didn’t try I’d never know right! 

So off we went, was a little hectic when we got in, maybe we should have left a little earlier or gone in when the crowds left, but he handled it well being in his buggy with his iPad helped. Dad held on to Z when I took the buggy down stairs. Then we headed to our seats. It was packed, Z was smiling. 

“Somewhere, hidden amongst the thorny brambles is a little kingdom where everyone is very very small…”

The brightly coloured stage caught his attention, I must say how basic the props were worked really well. 
When the show started Ben, who is an elf and Holly, the young fairy princess,  quickly caught Z’s attention, Z has never seen Ben and Holly on TV, he’s only seen them as figures so how his reaction was going to be I didn’t know. He’s never been to the theatre before not even the cinema. We couldn’t take his iPad off him so he did have it right throughout the show, where as if it wasn’t a children’s show I don’t think this would have been possible. When they started counting to ten Z was in his element, he didn’t take his eyes away from the stage. When everyone was shouting he was just looking around, it could have gone any direction, he could have cried, ran or played up, but he sat there smiling. 

As the story progressed, he did sit back and looked through his iPad, but he was getting words up that matched what was on the stage, ‘Frog’, he loved the frog, my favourite was the ladybird! This meant that he was still taking on board what was happening on the stage. 

What I liked was the way there was singing and dancing mixed in, so when he was starting to become restless, they would start singing and would catch his attention again! I loved the fact that they included the audience too, can you tell we’ve never actually been to anything like this before?! I really liked them flying back to the kingdom heading towards the interval. Z seemed a little confused here as we didn’t leave! He was fine when it started back up. 

Again, the use of such simple brightly coloured props worked well. They kept his attention throughout the second half, I did think that the second half was a little louder but that could have just been me. He done very well to sit again throughout the second half, he smiled and clapped, and when they sang happy birthday he stood up with a huge grin on his face. No, it’s not his birthday he just likes the song! 

My husband enjoyed it too, his words were, ‘It was brightly coloured, fast paced, music was goodand as a parent it wasn’t terrible to watch, it wasn’t boring!’ So think I have a Ben and Holly fan on my hands. 

Ben and Holly little kingdom is on at New theatre Cardiff Saturday and Sunday 10am and 4pm. You can book tickets here, prices range from £9-£16 if you don’t have anything planned I’d highly recommend it. 

 Thank you New theatre for giving Z the chance to experience the theatre, hopefully this will be the start of something we can eventually enjoy together. 

* we didn’t pay for our tickets and were gifted them for an honest review. 

Posted in Review

Oakwood Theme park! 

I’ve not been to Oakwood for many years, it was at one time the place all school trips were held, so when I was given tickets to review * I jumped at the chance, to make new memories with Z. 

With it being the hubbys birthday we headed off to Oakwood. He was also excited as he’s never been before. I know right! 

When we left it was sunny, shorts and tshirts weather, as we were getting closer there was just black skies waiting, then the heavens opened. I had a hoody in the car and Z had a spare coat, as for hubby nothing! It was all fine, he bought a poncho but wasn’t needed, the sun came out and every where dried up. The first few rides we went on were wet so I did have a wet bum all the way around, would have been good if the staff had some paper tissue to just give the seats a quick dry after the rain! 

Not sure if the weather put people off as when we arrived it was very quiet. Great for Z as we didn’t need to get a fast pass, as there was no queue. They do give out fast passes, I’m assuming you’ll need proof of disability like most places. The staff were great, there was one ride that we were told to just enter via the exit, he could see Z wasn’t happy he needed to walk around and was starting to play up.

There’s lots more than I remembered being there, they have a new Dahl land, Z really enjoyed the ladybird trampoline. There looks to be a nice little rollercoaster too that’s being built. Also lots of room for what ever new things are planned!

We headed up to Neverland and Z loved it. He loved the lost boys area where he could choose a colour slide and run back around and go down another! I must admit this kept him amused for a lot longer than it did us! But best part was he couldn’t escape!!

We went on a ride of London, flew with Tinkerbell, went on some airplanes, went on a pirate ship and visited the house! I loved the house, was really pretty, and the photos don’t do it justice, when I walked on the floor and it lit up my heart did skip a little looking down.

Z loved the soft play, I was surprised at how clean and safe it was. Obviously a fire door but other than that only one way in and out, that’s a huge weight lift when you can actually sit down and have that ten minutes to recharge whilst he can run and burn off his energy safely.  I’d like to see Neverland expanded as it would be lovely for a family day out.

We left Neverland to explore the rest of the park, headed to the pirate ship, treetops and megafobia, now these are what I remembered! Z is still too little for the pirate ship and megafobia, but he was fine to go on Treetops, now that’s faster than what I remembered it to be, but Z loved it, and we ended up going on it another four times, even dad came on once. 

Then dad being braver than myself took him on the open waterslides, when I saw him come whizzing down there my heart was in my mouth, but, Z being the little dare devil he is he loved it and went back on again, after attempting to run luckily the staff were quicker than dad! I don’t think I was ever brave enough to go on that when I used to go! 

We had a lovely day as a family, yes it was quiet but that was great for us, meant that Z didn’t get overstimulated whilst queuing and we could go on his favourite things more than once which is always a plus. But I think if you are looking to go on fast oh my god rides you maybe a little disappointed as there seems to be only three big rides and looking they don’t seem to be open all day.

We did get Z some chips, the prices seemed expensive but the same as other theme parks we’ve been to. What we did notice was that the park was very clean, no rubbish there were staff about picking the odd bit up. We posted some 2ps in the arcades, tried unsuccessfully to get a minion, and had a run around in the little park. 

I loved the fact that I could change Z, there was a work unit that he could lay on, saved either going back to the car or changing him on a toilet floor.

Of course we couldn’t have left the park without watching the people get drenched! Oh my!! They were brave even Z laughed at them all screaming.

I will take Z back, I want to go on the new James and the Giant peach rollercoaster! Next time maybe a few more of us so that way I can get to re live my youth and try megafobia and the pirate ship again whilst there’s someone there to watch Z, I’d book when there was a sale on as to be honest the prices did seem a little expensive. 

* I didn’t pay for my tickets, and all opinions are my own.

Posted in Review

Thomas land at Drayton Manor

Last Friday Z had inset day, so I took him to Thomas land at Drayton Manor, I dragged along B and B! 

I was a little worried how Z was going to manage, B also has autism so it was going to a challenge with both boys, both have different needs. 

The disabled badge allowed us to park really close to the main gate, which was a relief as not far there are also disabled toilets. 

We were greeted with smiles and armed police! Obviously after the attacks in Manchester everywhere was on high alert.

We got in, bags searched and away we went. 

First stop Thomas land, even though the park was quiet Thomas land wasn’t! We went to get a wristband that allowed entry via the exit for up to ten rides for Z and up to three others. Four people was great, that means if we went with friends all four could go with Z, whereas B had his own so together we could have used it twenty times, we used it once! Of course I try and teach Z he has to line up, we did do a little bit of waiting, but not that long, the only one that looked like it had a long queue was the rollercoaster in Thomas land. So we did go to the exit, plus we weren’t to sure how to find the start of the queue! 

We could easily have spent all day just in Thomas land, but we couldn’t say we hadn’t seen anything in the park, or the Zoo, so we went for a little walk, after soft play! Yes even have soft play. We didn’t get to go on everything in Thomas land, and we went on loads. Z’s favourite would have been crankys tower drop, he even went on on his own the second time, to hear him giggle and see the huge grin on his face he must have been in sensory heaven! I enjoyed rocking bulstode, was like a mini pirate ship but with the spinning element to it. I also liked the fact that you could get pictures, means now I have a picture of Z’s first time on a rollercoaster. 

I was impressed with the whole park, it was clean, staff were friendly and we were never rushed off any ride. It’s hard trying to explain to a four and five year old that they have to get off when the ride stops and queue back up, in all fairness we only had a handful of meltdowns between both boys. Once they knew the ride finished we’d find another they were more willing to get off and get back in a buggy. 

I also liked the fact that there were plenty of rides in the main park that Z could go on too. Even a second rollercoaster that if you listen to B we went over the ocean! How she kept her eyes open on that when she kept them closed on the one in Thomas land I don’t know! 

We had a quick walk around the zoo, but it was the hottest day of the year, so walking was going to put Z to sleep! Next time I go It won’t be so hot and I can have another look! 

There were disabled toilets dotted about, what I liked about these is there was a bench type place that I could lay Z down to change him which is a huge plus, I’ve mentioned before about how hard it is to change Z this was a godsend. 

I will take him back I think the holidays will be busy, but knowing that the fast pass is available I think I’d be brave enough to try it. 

If I don’t get there during the holidays I know this is where I’m going to take him for his birthday, they even have a party room.  Z’s not into Thomas but it may be nicer than a party, I’ll have to have a look into it. 

We really enjoyed our day out at Drayton manor, I rang to book and could have the blue badge price of £20 and as a carer I paid £20, Z had a lovely day and it was well worth the money! 

Posted in Review

The crucible. 

Last night I went to see the opening of Arthur Miller’s The crucible at the New theatre Cardiff. *

Up until a few weeks back I had never been to the theatre, now I think I’m a pro! 

So first off was a musical, then a ballet and now an actual play. This one I had been waiting excitedly for as I knew the story. I covered the play for my GCSE English exam. When I seen this one advertised I knew it was something I would want to see. 

The one thing that stood out for me was how plain the props were. Maybe because of the nature of the play, and the fact it was set in 1692, so of course no fancy TV sets in the bedrooms! The main rotating block in the centre with the erire background worked well. I found I was listening more to the actors, maybe awaiting the music and the singing, which there wasn’t any! There was a little music just to show when people entered this helped keep the seriousness of the play, there were a few times that comedy was used in particular by Giles Corey played by David Delve. 

What I liked about the play last night was it was much easier to understand than the book if you didn’t know the story. The language spoken kept some of the same as the book. 

From the beginning you could see it was based on lies, and how something got twisted and turned, to save themselves. That small little lie got bigger and bigger. What started as jealously and ended in death could have been stopped if he contributed the lie, but staying true to himself and not letting anyone judge him as only God can judge. 

When watching it, it really shows how easily one small lie can snowball out of control. Then who do you believe a group of children or an adult? The children obviously using their vulnerability as a way of getting out of admitting they were wrong. 

John Proctor played by Eoin Slattery, played a good part. The way he knew from the start that Abigail, played by Lucy Keira, was after revenge and his wife dead. He knew he had made a mistake and when he admitted it to save his wife but wouldn’t lie to save himself you knew he was one of the good guys even after making a mistake.

The play is still relevant to today’s world in some way that we are all living in a twisted world, one that’s a lot of times based on lies. Politics takes over and all common sense is lost and in the end innocent people die. 

The Cruicble is on at New Theatre until Saturday 27th may 2017.
* I was given tickets in exchange for my review. 

Posted in Review

Casanova – northern ballet 

As you know my first time at the theatre was a few weeks back when I went to see the Wedding Singer at new theatre Cardiff 

I was very lucky to be invited back to see the world premier of Casanova  a ballet by Kenneth Tindall.* 

I’m not going to lie I didn’t have an idea of what to expect. None at all. I was told Casanova was a player years ago. So I went last night with all the knowledge of some guy having many girlfriends. That was it. Google  told me he was an Italian adventurer and author, liked the women and gambling. 

I think maybe not knowing anything about what I’m  going to see could be for the better as I’m never left disappointed. 

Again, ballets I just think of people in spandex dancing around. I was wrong ! 

When the open scene started I took from it they were in a Catholic Church going back to 17th century. I think Casanova was maybe an alter boy and was going into the priesthood. Somebody has a red book that hands it over to Casanova. 

That person was then in a fight, the intensity of the music told me this, ( I must have listened after all in my music lessons at school!) I must admit it was the most elegant fight I’ve seen. At this point the dancer reminded me of Assassins creed the game this takes me to France or maybe even the Vatican. So the book was a wanted book! The sisters suduce Casanova but get caught and Casanova is sent on his way with only a violin and his book. 

He goes on to earn a place at a masquerade ball, for some king maybe and he meets Balletti a cellist and they leave together. But they are attacked, again the music plays a critical role in explaining its a ‘bad’ scene along side the outfits, as this again reminds me of the thieves in Assasins creed! Casanova gets left for dead as Balletti manages to escape and he gets taken back to I’m guessing the kings place where the king treats his wounds and try’s to suduce Casanova but suffered what seems to be a heart attack. When he’s better he makes Casanova his right hand man. 
They are back in mass, and he receives a note, then the guy who gave him the book is being tortured. Then Casanova is being seduced again whilst the priest from the beginning is watching. We then see Casanova try to escape. 

When the curtain went up I’m glad to admit I wasn’t the only one who seemed confused, obviously I’m making my own story up so don’t even know if it’s the correct story! I did see lots of people come back with the program. 

The second act really confused me! 

There were  two women one has to dress as a man and one is being abused so leaves even leaving her baby. 

We see Casanova back but dressed not so elegantly as he was so I took that to mean he escaped. Where he is now I don’t know. He seems to get his right hand man status back as he’s now throwing auditions for party. This is where we meet Balletti again, when everyone’s left he picks up his book and writes. He has a stash of papers and is taking them somewhere he meets The lady who left her baby behind he takes her home and they end up in a relationship where she gets pregnant . Telling her to wait for him,  he leaves with his stack of papers, but the husband comes finds her and takes her with him. Casanova comes home to find her gone. He then goes to a group of mates, I didn’t get that part but I don’t think what he was doing was good as she returns and leaves him. 

The end with his papers falling all around I’m not sure if that’s his writing, like his life story, or the pages of the book! 

Reading through the program I was right in bits, it was set in Venice, he wasn’t a king, it was senator Bragadin. The mass was for him getting better after his stroke not a heart attack! The second scene is based in Paris. He’s taking his writing to the printers, he try’s to escape into a world of sensuality, his past haunts him so he throws himself into the abyss.

The music helped a lot in defining fighting to sexual scenes, as the dancing didn’t really come across as mean! When they were being thrown up or dragged across the floor they just looked so small and featherless. I was very impressed with the way they could move, the way they could get their bodies to intertwine so effortlessly, well it looked effortlessy! The use of props things so simple as a chair weren’t just brought on and placed they were also danced on! 

I think reading the acts afterwards made everyone make more sense. The performance kept me transfixed, as if I couldn’t miss anything! 

Would I go to another ballet? I’m not sure! Maybe one that I know the story so it would be easier to understand and know what’s going on, not having to worry if I was reading the wrong story.  I’m glad I took my friend we made sense of it together, we still don’t know what the red forbidden book was, first up I said the bible, but being a church maybe my mates idea of the kama sutra was a better explanation?! I must admit I enjoyed myself, it was different, and at least I can say I’ve seen it. Next up has to be a play! 

* I was kindly given my tickets for a review, all views are my own. 

Posted in Merthyr Tydfil, Review

Little Shop Of Horrors 

I was very lucky* to go and see Redhouse Little Theatres first production at Redhouse Merthyr. **

The program says, ‘This is the very first show featuring participants from the local area”.

So as my readers know my first time at the theatre was a few weeks back when I went to see the wedding singer at Cardiff theatre, like that I had never seen the film Little shop of Horrors. Yes I know, I really am rubbish! 

If like me you’ve never seen the film either it’s a horror, comedy, rock musical. It’s about a young boy who’s been taken in by a florist. He raises a plant that he feeds his own flesh and blood! 

Again, never seeing the film I really don’t know what songs came out of the film. Each song was sang brilliantly, I think my favourite could well have been ‘suppertime’ by Audrey || . 

Back to the cast, in reality I didn’t know what to expect. 

I went along with my cousin A, who I think also enjoyed it, she’ll write up her own review. 

The stage was set, you could really see the time and effort that had gone into it. 

When the show started they looked quite young, when they started singing I was taken aback they really were very good.  

It was lovely to see local people do really well, Merthyr is always put down, always gets shown for its bad side, never the good. These guys were brilliant. You could see how hard they had worked.  

The main character Seymour played by Jac Ellis, reading the Redhouse Facebook page he has recently stared in Aladdin, and is now continuing on his AS examinations and staring in Carousel.  What a great actor he is. His voice was really good, sitting AS examinations shows me how young he is. Keep it up Jac next time I’m at Cardiff you maybe on that stage! Other than the plant, Seymours other love was Audrey, obvisouly as he named the plant after her! Again, played by Bethan Mair Williams, she looked young too, but what a voice, to be honest I thought she was as good as Cassie who played Julia in The wedding singer. From the Facebook page she has taken part in a few musicals before and is heading for a new role in sister act. Not sure if they had both stared in the same show before, they had they familiarity about them, they were clearly comfortable around one another and it made it all the more realistic that yes they were falling in love! Mr Mushnik, played by Thomas Price didn’t seem to have a big part like Seymour and Aubrey. Not sure how much he’s in the film but again reading the Facebook page it does say he has more of a role in the musical. 

 Each and everyone of those actors worked really hard, the dentist played by Ashley McGill knew how to get the audience laughing!  As for Aubrey || voiced by Nathan Roberts thats the best singing plant I’ve heard! 

Not my photo taken from the Redhouse Facebook page.

This is only on Saturday 25th March, 2pm and 7.30 you can book tickets here and check what else is on. 

I would highly recommend if you can get there tomorrow go! You really won’t be disappointed.  I think out of this and the wedding singer this was my favourite! 

* I was lucky enough to be gifted my tickets, this is my review and all content is my own, other than the photo stated. 

**Redhouse is in the old town hall in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil. Years ago it was the old town hall, it later went on to become a nightclub and know home to many things including a cafe. 

Posted in Review

Mams nightout at New Theatre Cardiff – The Wedding Singer 

When I was invited * with a few of the local bloggers to go and see The wedding Singer at the New Theatre Cardiff, I jumped at the chance.  One being I’ve never been to the theatre and two I’ve never seen the Wedding Singer!

L-R Myself, Sally, Ali, Kerry, Georgina, Cathryn.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect! Maybe, secretly I thought that the theatre was for older people! I’ve never heard any of my mates say they are heading to the theatre, maybe because they’d have to travel or like me they’ve never tried it, I don’t know. I was surprised by the variety of people there last night, I spotted some young and some old the booking office age says suitable for 12 plus.
As soon as the show started you could really see the chemistry between the lead actors, Jon Robyn’s who plays Robbie and Cassie Compton who plays Julia. I didn’t know any thing about the show, but thought to myself these will get together, they look as if they were meant to be! I did think that maybe I may  have got it wrong at one point  but was pleased when I was right.

I loved the bright colours and was actually surprised at how well these people could sing, yes all of them. After the show I had to google the actors and was surprised that Cassie was a contender in the first series of X factor and also Ray Quinn who played Glen was in a later series of the X factor .

For those like me who’s never seen the wedding singer it was about a rock star (Robbie) who’s career had dried up and he became a wedding signer who ended up living in his grandmas basement. Then after being left at the alter himself went on to fall in love with the waitress (Julia) who was engaged to a rich guy! (Glen)

I really enjoyedthe show, the film was based in America in the 80’s this was shown in the show by the bright billboard signs that made an appearance through out the show and the clothes the actors wore. I loved how enthusiastic the cast were, Nick Winston done an amazing job with the choreography. There were lots of songs, each I later learnt unique to the film, except for two. The one being ‘Somebody kill me’, the other I can’t remember! I actually liked the song somebody kill me, and now I need to watch the film as  Jons performance made it quite funny. For people going to see this who’s seen the film they maybe disappointed that the original soundtrack isn’t sung but it made no difference to me and I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

I loved how the props were moved effortlessly and everything just rolled into one, I’m guessing for people who’s used to this it’s not such a wow that’s clever moment!

I’ve had a look on the New Theatre Cardiff website and I see they are showing the Grufflo and now I really want to try Z, if it’s a fun as last night I think he may enjoy it. As for me I now want to go and see the crucible, just as I’ve read the book and would like to have something to compare with.

Thank you New Theatre Cardiff I had a lovely adult catch up last night, I’m sure I’ll be back, maybe now I have the theatre bug?

* tickets were gifted to me for my review.