I saw Kinky Boots back in April. Briefly, Kinky Boots is about a guy called Charlie who ends up trying to run a shoe factory that is going under, to save the factory he invests in ‘a range of shoes for a range of men’. This is the first big show that I have seen alone and I definitely did not feel as empowered personally as I would if I were attending with someone (even though I was in my element); however, I no longer had the pressure of other people watching me. I have started to notice that if you are watching a show with family or friends then in iconic moments or scenes of certain emotions you exchange looks to see what each other are thinking. Seeing this show on my own allowed myself to think and experience the show without worrying about what the people around me thought about it, making the show mean a lot more to me.
The Story: I have always loved the story of Kinky Boots and I am certain it has inspired so many people, particularly from the LGBTQ+ community. The main message in the story is to be who you want to be and this does not only speak to members of LGBTQ+ but to everyone, hence Charlie Price who never wanted to be stuck with his father’s shoe factory. I do not think people realise how brave it can be to put the issues of a drag queen next to the issues of a “normal” man. There are so many risks of people becoming offended, people thinking that there is no comparison and drag queens face more prejudice. Personally, I believe everyone faces prejudice but in different ways and there should be no comparison into who deals with more. This is what I like about Kinky Boots; Charlie’s issues are talked about just as much as Lola’s. The show is about being who you want to be, it is universal and makes people feel equal.
Favourite Song: Soul of a Man has always been one of my favourite songs. I love the instrumental but it is the power in the words sung that attracts me to it. The song shows Charlie doubting himself and displaying his anger in the kind of man that he feels he is in that moment of time. It is a very honest and human song, it exposes the ugly side of who we are and the reaction of someone when they begin to notice this coming through in their personality. Charlie is a genuine character; he is one of the nice guys so to see him let all of this emotion out in front of our eyes feels heart-breaking.
The Performers: I love it when I really take notice of a performer in a show and with Kinky Boots I took notice of everyone which is a first. The ensemble dancers were flawless, one of the dancer’s heels broke and she proceeded to do a backflip and then dance on a conveyor belt without any faults and that was purely astonishing! I absolutely loved David Hunter’s performance as Charlie. I am biased as Charlie is one of my all-time favourite musical characters but I loved the way David Hunter played him, so much so that I found myself thinking that I have to meet him… so I did.
Comparison: I saw Kinky Boots on Broadway back in 2014 and in all honesty I thought the London production was far better. I connected more with the story, music and characters and the accents were far better! There were other factors to why I did not concentrate as much in the Broadway production, I couldn’t hear, I was tired and I was blown by the fact that I was in New York. Despite all of this I expected the London production to be disappointing but I have never been so proud of British theatre as I had been on that night.
Thank you for reading,
Sophie’s Bubble =D
Finishing my first year of uni left me very busy and I was also working a lot so I didn’t do much writing for my blog for a few months but now I have enjoyed starting it up again so here is finally another favourites blog 🙂
Book: I am kicking off my July Favourites with my favourite book of the month. When I last saw Wicked I bought the book: The Grimmerie. Unfortunately, this is not Elphaba’s actual spell book; it is, however, a behind the scenes look into everything Wicked! It goes into so much detail with every aspect of Wicked and starts at the very beginning of creating the show. I would 100% recommend it to anyone who loves theatre!
Music: One random song I have loved this month is Teenagers by My Chemical Romance. I came across it at a club and think it is an awesome song to dance to. My main obsession with music this month has been the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack. I currently want nothing more than Dear Evan Hansen to come to the West End and have tried to limit my knowledge of the plot so I can be more emotionally invested in it when it does. I can tell just by the music that it will be emotionally brilliant and potentially challenge humanity at the same time as reforming it.
TV: My main Netflix binge of the month has been Bad Education mainly due to the very handsome Jack Whitehall. Celebrity crushes aside, my favourite TV of July is Gavin and Stacy. I probably binge watched this before July but they have just put up Season 3 so I’m not obsessed with it again. I love James Cordon’s work, I think his writing is comical yet true to humanity and his acting follows this perfectly. In the behind the scenes of the Christmas Special, Ruth Jones (who plays Nessa) said that the great thing about James Cordon’s acting was that he really plays everything down which is what makes it so real and this is the perfect description of how I would see his acting also. He can be hilarious but true and honest during serious moments which make for lovable characters and a lovable actor.
Quote: At the beginning of July (or admittedly the end of June) I read the book Mrs Whippy by Cecilia Ahern (my favourite author). There was a point where the character was describing the reality of love with reference to Romeo and Juliet and I found it very amusing, so much so that I laughed out loud on the tube:
‘My kitchen is shabby. My bedroom is a depressing disappointment that, over the years, has seen more depressingly disappointing performances than the West End. Romeo, oh Romeo, my husband was not. Juliet, I certainly am not. The only where-bloody-art-thous uttered from my gob were at four a.m. when he still hadn’t returned from a night out.’
The quote did continue but when reading it I wasn’t in a “performance” mind-set so felt like it was taking the joke a bit too far so I didn’t photograph the rest of the page but reading it back I do still really enjoy it, it is not often that a funny quote is my favourite, although it clearly has a sad meaning of a crumbling message behind it so I guess not.
Random: I have really enjoyed evening walks during July. My favourite evening walking spot is to a beach in a very shitty area that I can see the beauty in mainly when the tide is in. There are many fields and pleasant walks close to my house but I quite like a drive to a walking spot, especially on a long quiet road that has many more trees that traffic as the sun is at its brightest during a sunset. I really like the walk along a beach or seafront because I love the sound of waves, it is one of the few things that relax me but I have to physically be there to find it relaxing. I think a walk is such a nice way to end a day and it feels refreshing too.
Another random thing I have enjoyed this month is creating my own YouTube channel. Of course I had an account before not I have actually set it up like this blog. I changed my Google account to be Sophie’s Bubble and have created a 90 second review of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (which I have not written a review for on here yet). I love writing blogs and reviews but when the difference between this and filming a video is that I can actually talk in a video. Both writing and talking feel like I am expressing what I think and feel but physically being able to talk feels like I’m letting out the words I am typing, I am releasing them from the prison that is my laptop. I feel as though there are great things ahead for my blog. I may not have many people who read or watch my reviews and opinions but I am enjoying it so much. There is much more to come and that is very exciting.
Thank you for reading,
Sophie’s Bubble =D
I saw Partenope performed by English National Opera at The London Coliseum. I must admit I don’t remember too much of the plot, it involved various love interests and a woman dressed as a man or vice versa. This review will be based more on the experience of seeing an opera.
Looking around the Coliseum the auditorium was very pleasing; it made you feel very royal and important. There was a digital screen above the stage that showed the words that the singers were singing. Of course, this is a great visual aid to anyone who struggles to hear, however, I did find it useful myself to follow the plot more accurately, unfortunately I did not discover this until towards the end of act one.
The set was very pleasing, much more elaborate than I was expecting for an opera. I do not know why but my first impression of opera was that they would just stand there and sing. I felt quite disappointed in myself for being in disbelief at the actual movement of the actors. All set was a very strong colour white and there was a long staircase that connected the stage to a walkway above the main playing area. I enjoyed the movement of the singers on the staircase and there was a particular character that fell consistently which became funnier than I expected it to be. I think this character was one of the main contacts with real life as far as I was concerned.
The main thing I have learnt from seeing this production is the impact the people you are with can have on your take on the piece. I attended the show with my 17-year-old brother and he is one of the last people you would send to see an opera, but he was open-minded so came with me. Needless to say he did not enjoy it. There were three acts to the opera and I told my brother that we could leave whenever he wanted to (which is something I normally have to have a strong stomach for as I always feel incredible guilty leaving early) and he decided to leave as soon as the first act was over. I did not focus on the plot as much as I normally would because I would get these ‘I don’t know what is going on’ glances and find it hilarious. I became more focussed on my brother watching on opera than myself watching an opera.
Being mesmerised by my brother watching the piece over anything stopped me from feeling anything towards it and this is a huge issue for me. I am very passionate about the feelings of performing and how you feel when you watch a piece of theatre so being in a position where I was not feeling anything made me feel very detached and created a feeling of dislike towards Partenope (the show, not the character) and if I am being honest, opera in general. I am, however, very conscious of the fact that had I been there alone I would have understood and enjoyed more and will be very happy to see another opera again. The singers themselves were faultless.
Thank you for reading,
Sophie’s Bubble =D
I saw Sleeping Beauty at The Royal Opera House as part of a child/family type day. For this review I am not reviewing the actual Ballet (which I also saw and was outstanding), I am reviewing the day itself.
The grand doors of The Royal Opera House opened as we were greeted by two child-like dress ups of fairies. This was very fun for a lot of children around, they were taking pictures with them. As you walked the many stairs and escalators to the main part of the Opera House there were many stalls laid out in the concourse area to the sound of a small part of the orchestra that continued to play throughout the morning. The stalls consisted of arts and crafts (making wands and crowns) and trying on costumes from the costume department.
Down one of the corridors there were warm-up classes and a prima-ballerina answering questions. As well as this, there was a studio where you could learn one of the mimes from the Ballet. I did this workshop as I have always wanted to be in one of the rehearsal rooms and meet one of the choreographers. All of the children I came across throughout the day seemed to be having a really good time. I was a ballet dancer for 12 years so it is very fixed in my heart; however, this was not the most exciting place to be on your own when you are not a child.
I was very impressed with what The Royal Opera House was doing. Hundreds of children were becoming engaged with Ballet and I haven’t seen this done before. I think this would be a good thing for more theatres and shows (in all art forms) to do on an opening week; it is a lot of fun and crates a wonderful atmosphere. I believe this is one of the best ways of keeping the arts growing because it brings people in and makes them open up more to the importance of maintaining this creative world.
Thank you for reading
Sophie’s Bubble =D
During my second semester at University we had to attend a performance by Queen Mary Alumni. This performance was called Letters to Windsor House by Sh!t Theatre, performed at the Soho Theatre. Briefly, the play is a true story about a couple of friends who started receiving other people’s mail, opened this mail and started guessing who or what kind of people they were.
The set consisted of a projection of a PowerPoint slide that guided the content of the play with a sofa that was split in half. During the performance the set increasingly became more cluttered with various props. I really liked the setting because it made you feel like you were sitting in the house with them in the very beginning of the play and the size of the Soho Theatre (upstairs) helped this. It was also very relevant to the piece as they are talking about an event that happened in their home but it wasn’t a boring way of setting out a home, they split a sofa in half – that’s exciting! Of course the sofa would have been slit before and they just pulled it apart but the concept of this split became relevant in the last few lines on the PowerPoint at the very end.
Anyone who has been a Drama student at Queen Mary will know exactly what a performance presentation is and be pretty unenthusiastic when hearing it. Briefly, a performance presentation is a presentation that has to be performed but it cannot be too much like a performance and cannot be too much like a presentation either – it’s complicated. At first I was not sure about this type of performance being used in a professional theatre setting but I was happily proved wrong. There were many performative elements such as dancing, singing and direct address that aided in delivering a story that was pretty funny. The comedy gets you through the piece, the story is interesting but it was the character and personality of the actors that made you enjoy it.
As funny as the piece was, you started to get to know who the actors were in “real” life and this was not so jolly. I believe so strongly to the point where I think it is obvious that your personal experience impacts how you take a performance. The actors described their friendship to each other through letters to a point where it felt painfully real in juxtaposition to the comedy. I have experienced similar feelings and am in a similar friendship and seeing this performance the particular time I did made me feel rather empty. It was as if all the honesty in my friendship was being shown directly to me through two other people in a similar situation and it was not pleasant.
This is one of the reasons why I love theatre so much. Parts of who you are can be portrayed right in front of you, making you think about it in a different way than you have before. It is because of this play that I realised I had some very bad faults that seriously needed correcting and since then I have been working on correcting them. I and no one else is perfect but with the power of something as special as theatre we can understand this and work to improve.
Thank you for reading,
I saw Amaluna performed by Cirque Du Soleil at The Royal Albert Hall 25th January 2017. Cirque Du Soleil is a group who perform circus type acts along to a story with song and music. Amaluna is a coming of age story of a girl who falls in love with a guy in a nut shell.
First I want to talk about the experience of The Royal Albert Hall. I was absolutely astonished as soon as I saw the huge building poking around the corner of the street I was on. I think the area of Kensington alone is pretty impressive, a very wealthy area that can make you feel pretty good about yourself walking along all dressed up to go to the theatre. I was amazed by the size of the outside and became extremely exited to go inside. It is a complicated building to find yourself around, in a large circle with presumably the hall in the centre; it feels like you’re trapped in a cylinder maze!
Entering the hall made me well up, the sheer size of the space available to perform was amazing. This leads me onto the set. I really liked the jungle-type feel and it felt very open which is something I really liked, and I believe this was probably more to do with the hall rather than something they had intentionally planned. Although there were two characters (Papulya and Malnha) that interacted with the audience and made everything feel very fun. The top of the hall had white circles which I wasn’t entirely sure of the purpose for but they looked good.
The individual acts themselves were very impressive. There was everything from water stunts and pole climbing to acrobatics and extreme balancing! My favourite act was the artists that hung from ropes and at moments felt like they were coming up to us (sitting at the very top). My brother was with me and his favourite act was the men who used a giant sea saw to do stunts. The boring act for him was the balancing as it took a while to put all of the sticks on top of each other, however I can appreciate this would have been incredibly difficult for the performer and I found this very credible. The only disappointing act for me was the fire guy as he didn’t actually juggle fire. I know he was meant to because it is promoted on everything for the show but he dropped a lot of what he was juggling so I was also very relieved this didn’t exculpate to fire.
There was something about the environment created at the Royal Albert Hall that made me feel invincible. There were so many people from so many backgrounds yet because of the hall you feel like you are being treated like royalty with the red velvet everywhere. It felt like an empowering place for me I was absolutely astonished by the whole experience. The venue fitted Cirque Du Soleil perfectly too, it was large enough for the acts to really stand out and visibly look as large and grand as they are. You feel like you are seated vertically which works very well with the areal work as the performers fly right in front of you.
After finally seeing a Cirque Du Soleil show I can officially say that I entirely understand what the fuss is all about!
Thanks for reading,
Sophie’s Bubble =D
Theatre: I am going to kick off this month’s favourites with my favourite (admittedly only) show this month: Kinky Boots. Briefly, Kinky Boots is about a run down shoe factory passed down to a son and to save the factory he decides to make “a range of shoes for a range of men”. I saw Kinky Boots on Broadway in 2014 which was my first Broadway show so i didn’t pay as much attention to detail so it was nice to be able to do that this time. I felt very proud of British Theatre during the performance, i thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was much better than Broadway in terms of the acting and singing, probably highly due to the accents as these were rubbish in NYC.
This night was the highlight of my month, potentially even the year so far. I have always kicked myself for not waiting outside stage doors but that night i plucked up the courage to do so and met David Hunter (shown in the headline picture). David played Charlie. Charlie is one of my favourite characters from musicals and David’s portrayal of the performance was by far my favourite. I love the vulnerability of Charlie combined with his passion and loyalty and David made this feel very real, I didn’t feel like i was watching someone play Charlie, i felt like he was Charlie which was very special.
Music: The above leads on to the music i have been most obsessed with this month. The first half of the month i was constantly playing Adele, particularly ‘Don’t You Remember’. After meeting David Hunter i looked into his music as i loved the way he sang ‘Soul of a Man’ (one of my favourite musical songs). I found a song he wrote and sung called ‘One of a Kind’ and i love it very much, the video is very simple but it shows him getting into the music and almost shows how you (or i do anyway) feel listening to it. This has been combined with ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from Moana.
TV: My best friend recommended 13 Reasons Why to me and i have now watched the series twice, once alone and the second time with my mum and brother. Briefly, 13RW is about a girl who commits suicide and leaves behind tapes containing 13 reasons why she killed herself. Each reason is attached to a person and the tapes have to be passed on to each of them in the order that they appear on the tape. The first 4 or so episodes are very high school, relationship dramas that are still interesting to watch, but after this period it gets very messed up and it is brilliant! To start off with, the actors are great, Dylan Minnette plays the lead character, Clay and i completely fell in love with him! You spend a lot of time feeling the way that they do when listening to the tapes. You feel like you have hundreds of questions but the only way of getting them answered is by watching more and you get nervous anticipating Clay’s tape. Clay’s tape and the final tape are the most emotional and i almost could not bare Clay’s guilt myself. There is definitely opportunity and demand for a second season due to the popularity and some hints give in the final episode but i am unsure of whether this would ruin the first season and the ideas of the show altogether. I think there is a point when you make something so messed up that you don’t believe it is to ever be realistic, but then again this could be the whole point.
Quote: I love to pull apart quotes. My favourite quote of this month is “you have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” This is a Dr. Seuss quote. Thinking into this, we all have a brain to know what we should and should not do, we are intellectual enough to think about things at least to the extent of knowing what we want. We have the power to be able to go and do what we want to do, if we put our minds to it then we can at least try.
Random: My last favourite thing for April 17 is outdoor summer games. Yes, it is still a little chilly to be outside all the time but most shops now have sections of outdoor games and the bright pastel colours that symbolise warm weather is coming and it is going to be good! When i see these isles in shows my inner child comes out. Only yesterday i bought a pocket sized kite with my trip to the Isle of White (June) in mind. Of course these isles are designed to children but we are all children at heart!
Thank you for reading,
Sophie’s Bubble =D