Random. I’m starting off this month’s favourites with a strange favourite: screenshotting videos. Sure, this is most likely common knowledge but I have only recently started to use it frequently. It is handy when I have forgotten to take a picture inside of the video, but I mainly use it to grab funny moments and stupid faces of my family. Either way, it’s great!
Image. On Shrove Tuesday I got off the train to see London St Pancake. I have also seen (and blogged) them doing this for St Patrick’s Day too. I think it’s tiny changes like this in a day that can make you smile and suddenly feel so much better about your day. It also makes the train companies feel a bit more human!
Another random. Normally when I go for a walk I announce to my family where I am going and who would like to come. Most of the time it is to the same place a no one tends to be up for it at the times I suggest. However, one day I told my sister we could go for a walk and I let her choose the way. I did this by asking her which direction she wanted to go in whenever the path provided a different route. Typically, she le me to the park when I was prepared to go absolutely anywhere but it has still been one of my favourite decisions of the month and I tool I will certainly use to keep her and any younger child in my care happy in the future!
Song. My favourite song of the month is ‘Where Is The Love?’ by the Black Eyed Peas. This is definitely not a new song but I added it to my travelling playlist and it puts me in the best mood. I think it’s a combination of the beat matching walking and talking about where the love is in the world while walking past people. It is definitely one of my feel-good songs.
Weather. It has snowed this month! Of course this has also been a nightmare in terms of travelling and having to cancel various plans but it has also been a load of fun. We had the most snow we have had in my current lifetime so I and my family enjoyed walking with wellies on making huge foot prints. I’m not the biggest fan of snow angels as I try to stay as warm as possible but I did make an attempt at a snow man, as tragic as that turned out. I normally also object to snow ball fights and let my siblings throw them around me but not at me, this is the first time I have actually joined in with their snow ball fight and I do not regret it and will be doing it again! It’s like a chance to bond and let off anger to throw stuff at them all at the same time!
Sport. Going along with the theme of snow, the Winter Olympics have been going on/1 I love watching Figure Skating so I knew I would tune into that but I also watched at least one match/round or every sport and found myself to be quite patriotic. I find it hard to explain why I love the Olympics so much; it makes me feel emotional watching the athletes accomplish their dreams along with destroying their dreams.
Concert. I have saved my favourite moment of the month to last. One of the most memorable moments of my life: I saw The Script live at the O2! This was the first time I had seen any music live and they are my favourite band so it was a very special occasions. I thought they were better live than they are recorded, especially the instrumentals. The concert also held the theme of spreading the love and having a good time which is definitely a running of theme of something I’m loving this month.
Thank you for reading,
It is now 2018! To keep up, or try to keep up with one of my many resolutions, here is a favourites post about my favourite things from January.
Performance Art: I attend Queen Mary University of London and our drama degree is very focussed on performance art and live art as opposed to acting. It has taken me a long time (a year and a half) to actually begin to understand what performance art actually is and I am still learning so you are not getting any definitions out of me. There have been times that I have missed acting plays as part of an actual educational sysPtem but I am starting to develop a wider appreciation for live performance art. Don’t get me wrong, I have hated the majority of performance art I have seen, but in a way that is exciting. You form more opinions and discuss things you hate a lot more critically, whereas it is difficult to say more than “I loved it” with things that you love, generally speaking.
Theatre: I will eventually write and post a review for this so I will not go into great detail about it but my favourite theatrical production I have seen this month is The Grinning Man at Trafalgar Studios. Basically, the story is of a man with a mutilated face who goes off in search of the person who did this to him. The music was beautiful and the story was captivating, it leaves you thinking a mixture of many emotions and I found myself very connected to the musical for weeks after, constantly listening to the music and always thinking about the story.
Film: This is the first time in a while that a film has coaxed me to the cinema. I saw The Greatest Showman. Briefly, the film is about a man who loses his job so begins a show with people who are deemed as unusual. It is a bit like Hugh Jackman has wandered into High School Musical and joined in for a bit before sodding off and I think they could have made more reference to the historical freak shows but overall, I loved it for light entertainment where you should not think. If I am not thinking about reasoning behind the film or any context what-so-ever then I loved the cheesiness and all of the singing and dancing between people who want to fit in. It was definitely a feel-good film despite having seen it in fear of missing out on something.
Exhibition: The Victoria and Albert Museum is currently hosting an exhibit: Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic. This exhibition is still running and I would completely recommend attending if you loved Winnie-the-Pooh as a child. Walking around the exhibition with snippets of stories and sketches reminded me of stories of Winnie-the-Pooh that I actually knew as a child and would never had remembered again without this exhibit. A lot of creativity has been used in the creation of the exhibition, making it a fun exploring adventure for children (and adults). There is a projected stream, tall tree chairs that tell stories, a slide, a bed to tuck yourself up into and read book, a darkened room where a story is read aloud: children would never want to leave.
Food: I have developed a slight obsession with Nando’s. I know I am far behind trend with this one but I really hadn’t noticed how good it actually is, especially from a vegetarian’s point of view. My obsession is with their Portobello mushroom and halloumi wrap. I normally find it strange to review food but this was amazing. In general I think Nando’s do a really good job of catering for everyone, you can practically take absolutely anything out of your wraps, burgers or pittas and then put practically anything in with it. You can eat in, take out, and something I very recently discovered is that you can order online to pick up and take away at a later date. I am now going to really struggle to not get Nando’s for dinner.
Quote: It was the first day of January, and as like every year, the quotes started clogging up all of my social media about it being a new year. However, one quote that kept re-appearing is this classic line from RENT. I don’t know why it resonates with me this year but I love it and have found it very inspiring.
Random: I am ending my January favourites with a random website that has entered my life. Moonpig.com. I have always heard about it but it took my brother’s 18th birthday to convince me to try out one of their cards and I was incredibly impressed. Again, I am very behind the times here but I was amazed with how you can literally change everything about the card to make it very personal. It is the perfect solution when cards from supermarkets don’t seem special enough.
Thank you for reading,
Sophie’s Bubble 😊
The title everyone would probably roll their eyes at, including me. New Year resolutions have a very clear stigma. Everyone knows that they most commonly last a few days/weeks and by the end of the year you can’t remember what they were. As much as I dislike going with the norm of people creating and talking about their resolutions, I have always had them. Always your normal basic resolutions of eat better, exercise more, basically become that better version of yourself that you are realistically never going to be (and that is okay). That is what I thought anyway. Over 2017 I set myself a resolution to be happy. I didn’t care what I did as long as I was myself and tried to keep myself happy. This is of course very personal to be sharing somewhere that anyone can read but now that the year is over I feel slightly less ashamed of it (no one at all knew my resolution). There are obviously reasons behind this resolution that I will not be discussing here, but I have actually kept it all year. Of course I haven’t been happy all year, parts of the year have been some of the worst and toughest days in my life but I am stronger for it.
The past year has shown me that being happy is not about physically feeling happy all of the time, that is impossible. Being happy is general, not specific. It is about who and how you are in general. I have learnt to be confident in the human that I am by developing a bit of an “I don’t give a fuck attitude” but a healthy amount of it. Worrying about people judging you is pointless because what others think should never matter; your opinion of yourself is what is presented to you every day of your life. I also think people in general have been a huge part of feeling happier. I finally trust that I will remain friends with certain people for the rest of my life and that has reduced a lot of over-thinking. Of course that can be extremely difficult to do, this entire can, but when you have the right people around you it is definitely possible.
I believe the little things are more important than the big. For example, a year ago if I were sitting in the foyer of a building at uni and there was someone I knew sitting near me I would wait for them to hopefully acknowledge me. This year I have worked on being the person to start the conversations, being the person to say hello, being the person to smile and make eye contact. There are days when this hasn’t worked and I have stuttered and wanted the ground to swallow me up away from the person I am standing in front of going “h…h….hhhhh…..um…uh…h…” but other days I kept myself determined that I would win this battle and said hi. This has actually allowed me to make friends at uni and feel a lot more comfortable in this social area of the university in general, along with feeling a lot more comfortable with myself.
Determination and trust are definitely the key words of 2017 for me and I want this to remain for 2018. Of course, I am still hoping to eat a lot better/exercise and all of that malarkey but I have much better hope of keeping to this after this past year.
I know none of this has had anything to do with theatre, but… Fuck it.
Thank you for reading,
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