Theatre Review: Legally Blonde at the Grand Opera House

Elle Woods has her name in lights, her own pink parade and a Greek chorus line to support her everywhere she goes but love is what she seeks as she embarks on a Harvard law degree. Seen the film,loved the 90s fashion and the dance routines you ain’t seen a thing until you’ve see the musical.

Legally Blonde  Lucie Jones (Elle) Photo Robert Workman.jpg

Legally Blonde the musical is loud, proud and very pink. It gives its all and is a cheerleader to breaking down a few stereotypes but in a very tongue in cheek with streamers and glitter kind of way. We see a blonde who couldn’t possibly be intelligent, an Irishman who can Irish dance like Michael Flatley (queue the largest tricolour I’ve ever seen on stage in Belfast) because all Irish men can obviously dance and don’t get me started on the tanned, waxed, rainbow flag waving men who we question are they gay or merely European. No offence is meant to be caused but being PC is thrown right out the window.

Legally Blonde EllesÔÇÖ Greek Chorus Photo Robert Workman.jpg

A few other twists and surprises including some adorable pooches onstage (Beauty queen Gemma Garrett’s Buddy making his acting debut and stealing the show) and a gorgeous set complete with pink Barbie/sorority house make for a fun nights entertainment.

Legally Blonde Lucie Jones (Elle Woods), Bruisey (Bruiser Woods).jpg

The cast are tanned toned and beautiful; there secret this show is one hell of a workout. They dance they sing,they skip,parade,they cheer and twirl. The had there Weetabix for breakfast. I was particularly in awe of Helen Petrovna who plays fitness guru Brooke Wyndham. Talking about the cast we have an array of stars and an array of talent.

Lucie Jones (from Eurovision fame) fills the pink stilettos in the lead role, her vocals are strong and her quick changes are mesmerising. Jones is no shrinking violet she treads the boards with confidence and attitude. Matched perfectly by David Barrett who plays Elle’s love interest Emmett. Barrett transforms his character on stage from an oversized suit to the perfect adoring caring man.

Legally Blonde The Musical 2017-18 Hair Affair 2 Rita Simons (Paulette) Ben Harlow (Kyle)(1)Photo Robert Workman.jpg

Rita Simons (from Eastenders fame) was unrecognisable on stage it took me a moment to realise it was actually her as she plays big haired lovelorn Paulette Bonafonte and she brings even more fun and laughter to this over the top character.

And we all love a good baddie Bill Ward (from Emmerdale fame) presents the charming,smarmy unprofessional Professor Callahan but his character wouldn’t be a miss in the rat pack.

The production is flawless upbeat routines, colourful costumes and show tunes that just got stuck in your head. If you’re a fan of Legally Blonde or even if your not this is a production not to be missed.

Emer D xx

Legally Blonde runs until Saturday 3rd March at the Grand Opera House Belfast. Further details and tickets available at


Theatre Review: May the Road Rise Up at the Lyric Theatre Belfast

c21 Theatre Company are back with another punchy production this time exploring the issue of homelessness through Rosemary Jenkins new write May the Road Rise Up. Peppered with Belfast slang and some fantastic choreography and a great use of the space. May the Road Rise up is produced only with cardboard boxes, projection and a very skilled actress. A production which takes the audience on a ride of highs and lows with powerful blows to the heart inbetween, it shows all too easily showing just how easy it is to become homeless.

Mia played by the talented Christine Clare is a fun loving party girl who lives for the weekend and the open road in her delivery truck. She recalls stories of some stereotypical customers with humour but it’s when her life starts to unravel that Jenkins starts to take a few swipes and jabs at the system. It is fast paced and full of witty remarks, although how Clare learnt such a vast script I will not never know. Direction by Stephen Kelly is emotive and restrained, the character of Mia could become bigger than the issues discussed but Kelly makes poignant moments to make you reflect.

An enjoyable and thought provoking production. Get tickets now as the production runs until the 24th Feb in the Lyric and then goes on tour throughout NI.

Emer D xx



Theatre Review: The Importance of Being Earnest at the Grand Opera House Belfast

The Original Theatre companies production of The Importance of Being Earnest is witty,charming and hilarious. Being one of my favourite Oscar Wilde productions I waited with bated breathe to see what direction this production would take last night and I was not disappointed.


My last viewing of this play was with an all male cast which added to the hilarious absurdity of the piece but this time I was transported back to the original Victorian era and no gender swaps (neither direction being a bad thing but I’m always interested to see how far the director is willing to change/challenge the characters/actors.) I was transported to a luscious decadent set complete with chandeliers and hanging baskets. The cast emerged in the most amazing large and outrageous costumes full of feathers and detail I was especially enamoured with the bustle on the back of Lady Bracknell’s dress which made this larger than life character physically larger and a much more formidable force to be reckoned with and the character played with aplomb by national treasure Gwen Taylor, was certainly that.


The genius of Wilde’s script with its perfect one liners and punch lines kept the audience giggling throughout the three act production. The actors at first a little meek and quiet on stage (audience members remarked they were hard to hear) soon relaxed into their roles and the pace and delivery of the lines came up to speed.Special mention should go out to the humorous facial reactions by Susan Penhaligon who played the down beaten, accident prone but love struck Miss Prism.

A thoroughly enjoyable production with a well-versed and talented cast I would highly recommend checking this one out  before the end of its very short run this Saturday 24th February.

Emer D xx

Limited tickets available at



Theatre Review: After The End at the Lyric Theatre Belfast

Theatre Review: Vile Bodies presents After the End at Lyric Theatre Belfast (First published on CultureHub NI)

Vile Bodies production of After the End is an intense and at times uncomfortable journey of bodies in a bunker. The production is demanding on its audience, it has you on the edge of your seat and doubting your own judgement.
It is also demanding on its actors, standing up to the challenge are recent graduates of the Lir Academy Paul Livingstone and Maria Guiver both strip (yes there is full frontal nudity), climb and scream there way through this productio, they made us feel like voyeurs in this intimate setting and both brought a lot of good energy to their roles.
The premise of Dennis Kelly’s 2005 psychological and political thriller is boy meets girl but in a black mirror modern world. Mark (Livingstone) has carried Louise (Guiver) back to his bunker in his back garden to save her from a nuclear bomb. But all is not what is seems. The audience question if this could be possible throughout the 1hr 45min production,could the world end any minute now. The direction is modern and with Trumps Twitter debates with Kim Jong it feels like is possible .The production is thought provoking however I felt it was just a little too long and the pace was a little slow. Maybe with a few more runs, confidence and a small edit this would be more palatable and effective in its message.
However in saying that this is a courageous production for a company cutting their teeth and I look forward to seeing what Vile Bodies presents in the future.


Something for the weekend: The Gilbert and George Exhibition at the MAC

From Paris,New York and London Gilbert and George are now in the MAC Belfast.After Warhol and Hockney. I think the team deserve a large round of applause! This exhibition is provocative, engaging and at the same time amusing. Gilbert and George two people and one artist,  are charming on the opening night of the exhibition  they even performed their 10 commandments for us lucky few gathered in the large gallery.
They are a walking talking living art installation. Observing the two men, one art form is as fascinating reflection on their art. The are unique, unusual and very unexpected.
The MAC theatre Belfast is currently exhibiting Gilbert and George on their 50th Anniversary as a collaboration, which began when they met as students at St. Martin’s School of Art, London in 1967. All three galleries are used in the collection titled Scapegoat Pictures for Belfast. Their first exhibition in Belfast since 1999.

The Mac describes their work as being profoundly intimate and personal often incorporating images of their own bodies – sometimes nude or represented via bodily fluids – and draws intensely on their own lives. On the other hand, they present an expansive, outward-looking view of the society we live in and a meditation on the complexity of human experience. This relation of the personal to the wider society has been no better exemplified than in their ongoing concentration on the East End of London, which has been both their home and their muse for decades. The artists have described their local area as the world in microcosm, stating, “nothing happens in the world that doesn’t happen in the East End”. Constituting both a form of self-portraiture and a portrait of the wider humanity, their images drawn from life in this part of London speak to themes of religion, sexuality, race, identity and belonging, with their philosophy ‘Art for All’ rooted firmly in the social fabric of this urban landscape.
The exhibition is free admission but booking tickets are advised. It runs until the 22nd April.

The Solo Chapter: The Valentines gift guide to treating yourself!

Hi Guys, so Valentine’s Day is looming and of course I have been inundated with dates,roses and cards. Yeah right!! If you have read previous posts you will know I am eternally single (I get friend zoned really quickly and I’m actually very inarticulate with the opposite sex.) but this post and this new chapter on the blog is not about my dating life/woes in 2018. It’s actually to highlight things you can get up to all by yourself.

Don’t worry couples this chapter is not to belittle relationships or dare I say it start a revolution against LOVE!! I ❤️ love I am a hopeless romantic just searching for the right guy (and believe me I’m trying) anyway while I wait for him to come along here’s a valentines blog on treating yourself!!

The classic Valentines gifts are: chocolates,flowers, lingerie and a romantic night out here’s my plans and suggestions for embracing valentines all by yourself.


Chocolates!!! Ok I am a chocoholic so I normally have a few bars of chocolate kicking about the house although I try to curb my cravings and have a little bit of self control mid-week but at the weekend with a big mug of tea and a good film I can’t recommend anything better.

Suggestion: Treat yourself to a bar/ box from hotel chocolat the ultimate home for chocolate lovers. Download 500 days of summer and put on the kettle. Perfect! 



Flowers!! I adore roses and what’s more romantic than a dozen red roses. Buy them yourself!! They don’t have to be red and they don’t have to be roses but a bunch of fresh flowers in my house does nothing but raise my spirits  and they look great too.

Suggestion: Check out your local supermarket for the best deals my favourite is Lidl they have had bunches of roses and tulips from £3 daily.


Lingerie: Ok confession I  am one of those girls that like to wear matching underwear. I love to wear pretty sets, I love bows and I love lace. I don’t wear it for anybody but myself it makes me feel confident and happy.

Suggestion: Asda!! Yup I love Asdas underwear it’s comfortable,fits well and it is pretty. And look at the sets they have in this valentines. (The one above is for their two cups bigger range so perfect for enhancing curves!! )

Romantic Night:OK as a singleton this isn’t an easy one but why not surround yourself with those that you love and go for a few cocktails or a fun night out! Valentines falls mid-week this year, so why not toast the town with a few after work drinks or keep it for a man-hunt at the weekend.

Suggestion: How about a few Love Martinis in the Titanic Hotel Belfast take in the atmosphere, get a comfy seat in a gorgeous historic surrounding and enjoy. If your feeling flush book into one of the amazing rooms and relax as well. After all it’s Valentines Day why not show yourself some love.

So that’s my plans for valentines what’s yours? I hope you can all feel loved and in return send out some love into the world.

Love ya all

Emer D xx

Further info on my suggestions above check out:

Romantic Night Out:Valentines Day at Titanic Hotel

Lingerie:Valentines at George

Flowers: Lidl Valentines Bouquets

Chocolates: Hotel Choclat Valentines

Theatre Review: Blood Brothers at Grand Opera House Belfast

Did you hear the story of the Johnson twins…the line makes me smile as I know I’m in for a rollercoaster ride of emotions, don’t worry I have come well prepared with tissues and chocolate.These are the opening lines of Willy Russell’s epic musical Blood Brothers; A story of poverty, class, family and a tragedy which leaves me in tears every time I see a production.

I am a big fan of Willy Russell as a playwright he writes productions which are relatable with a message but still entertaining. I love Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine but Blood Brothers is my favourite. It always reminds me of  the Shakespearen tragedy Romeo and Juilet framed by the opening and closing narration and starting with its tragic end.

The legendary show has been running over 30 years and it has remained an audience pleaser throughout. The show tells the moving tale of twins Mickey and Eddie who, separated at birth, grow up in different circumstances in Liverpool, only to meet again with fateful consequences.

The 2018 production has been blessed with some fantastic casting. Audiences are in for a treat with the return of Lyn Paul as Mrs. Johnstone, Sean Jones as Mickey, Mark Hutchinson as Eddie and a fabulous supporting cast.

The narrator role performed by Matthew Craig in this latest UK production not only guides the production but the role has developed to have devilish qualities and Craig’s performance was dark and ominous throughout.

Lyn Paul (an original member of the New Seekers) is the definitive Mrs Johnstone, she pulls at your heartstrings and gives you a giggle throughout the production. Her renditions of musical numbers Marilyn Monroe and Tell me it’s Not True have been haunting me since I viewed the production this week. It also feels like this production has a place in Pauls heart as it was very noticeable that the actress was left in tears when it came to the final bow.

Sean Jones is another highlight, his portrayal of Mickey from carefree child to hormone driven shy teenager, right to his struggling depressed adult is phenomenal, by the closing scene I wanted to shout,scream and hug him to try and defuse the ticking time bomb that is Mickey.Again both Danielle Corlass and Mark Hutichsons excel in their performances with sparks flying between the three.

Overall I loved this production it had me laughing,crying and like the rest of the audience I was compelled to stand and applaud a very talented cast and crew. Who deserved a loud standing ovation.

Go see it tonight but bring tissues.

Emer D xx

Blood Brothers runs in the Grand Opera House Belfast until Saturday 3rd February. Tickets are going fast but check out availability at