Laughter is the best medicine (including reviews of Spamalot and Threes a Shroud)

Well what a week that has been, I’ve had my ups and downs, have fought some inner demons, have hide from a storm and battled an unending cold but I found out that indeed laughter is the best medicine.

I started last weekend  (6th October) with a comedy set by Joel Dommett at the Waterfront hall in Belfast and I’ve been laughing every since so here’s a quick review of what I’ve been up too.

image

1. Joel Dommett, known to the masses for his stint on I’m a celebrity Get Me Out of Here and TV comedy panels played in the Waterfront hall as part of the Belfast Comedy Festival.

The Waterfront  is a large space for any comic, which Joel suggested looked like a spaceship but with a couple of jury boxes. He had a hard time coming to terms with the loud heckling Belfast audience and got distracted more than once or twice but  if you persevered it was worth it. The comic references moments in the jungle, little white lies and in his inner metal 15 year old and the build up to his final performance left the crowd in stitches, Il not spoil the fun but if you where lucky enough to be witness to this performance you will know what happens. If not I would highly recommend seeing the guy if he ever returns.

image

2. Threes a Shroud at the Waterfront hall. Back to the Waterfont hall I tramped on a cold, dark Monday night and appropriately on such a dark depressing night my mood was in tune to the funeral parlour set of this production. However this morbid play was anything but depressing. It was Northern Irish black comedy poking fun at everyone. No ones background was safe and being from Strabane I particularly felt it. Very tongue in cheek, offensive but funny the story quickly set the scene of a Protestant and catholic funeral parlour both  business’ struggling  to come out on top and both how shall I put it diversifying their business structure with some hiliarious outcomes. Add in some anatomically correct dummies and some cringey sing a longs by the talented Shaun Blaney and there you have it a perfect Northern Irish comedy with no filter! Catch it while you can this one runs until the 21st October and it is sure to give you a giggle however be warned its far from a family friendly show so maybe leave the kids and your mother in law at home.

image

 

3.Spamalot by the Ulster Operatic Company at the Grand Opera House Belfast. How do I put this in words. I loved it!! I found out I laugh at the most stupid things and it relight my love of Python. I want to be the lady of the lake with her shimmering costumes, pitch perfect songs and sarcastic asides. I need a pair of coconuts but overall I would love to see this production again, unfortunately it only had a short run but I can definetly see a remount in its future. Full of jazz hands,slapstick and hilarious show tunes Spamalot hit all the right notes for me!

image

4. Queens Comedy at the Mandela Hall. Queens Comedy is an institution it’s been running 25 years and I have attended both as a student and as a general member of the public. However this week, I got caught by Colin Murphy and became a but if a joke myself (nothing unusual there).  With that aside I had a great night giggling and watching Mary Flannigan, a guest spot from Shane Todd and being grossed out and highly entertained by the very funny John Lynn this week, The Mandela Hall is to be demolished soon so get in your dose of comedy and nostalgia quickly before it goes. And with acts like Joe Lycett and Tom Stade coming up you don’t want to miss out. Check out the latest lineup at queenscomedyclub.com.

So that’s how I’ve got my smile back this week nothing like a bit of comedy to put you back on the right footing or to escape from the stress of life. Let me know if you have seen anything that made you smile this week.

Emer D xx

Advertisements

Theatre Review: The Addams Family Musical at the Grand Opera House Belfast

It’s October, the leaves have changed colour,the days have gotten shorter,colder and the nights have gotten darker. I’m excited as its almost Halloween one of my favourite nights of celebration. What better way to celebrate the season than to start the month by checking in to the home of the most fun,macabre family about the Addams.They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky…and altogether entertaining.

image

Forget the film and the sitcom, the Addams are back with an altogether new vibe and style in this musical with music and lyrics from the award winning Andrew Lippa what would you expect.

The characters are the same dysfunctional family; the vivacious Mortica played by the talented Samantha Womack who has the best pouts and sultry dance moves. The bi-lingual devoted Gomez played by Cameron Blakey brings in the big laughs. The strangely endearing Pugsley played by Grant McIntyre and the teenage Wednesday, Emo as ever but growing and maturing into a mini Mortica played by the very talented Carrie Hope Fletcher.

The production opens with a gorgeous set (full of hidden surprises, keep an eye on those pictures) and mesmerising costumes, lots of Halloween inspiration to be taken. Unfortunately we had been informed at the start of the production Les Dennis would not be staring in the role of Uncle Fester because of sickness. However Scott Paige (the understudy) slotted right into the role with ease being the narrator of the piece,he was both comedic and sympathetic to the story which unfolded.

The musical explores love and family, it is entertaining, engaging and the songs are epic. The dance moves and ensemble pieces are mesmerising. I especially enjoyed the Tango de Amor and Carrie Hope Fletchers solo in the playroom Pulled. What a voice!!

imageimage

It would be remiss of my to finish this review without mentioning one of the stars of this piece although he had very little dialogue. The role of Lurch played by Dickon Gough was a memorable performance with a few grunts and some intentionally long drawn out movements. Gough had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand so it wasn’t surprising that the audience reacted so approvingly when he finally uttered a few fabulously low bass syllables. Amazing.

Unfortunately this production only had a short run in the Grand Opera House Belfast but I hope The Addams Family come back for another visit soon. If you have seen it get in touch and let me know what you thought.

Emer D xx

 

 

My day out at The Craft Loft, Newcastle,NI

What can you make with an empty champagne bottle, a tin of pink chalk paint and some sticky back plastic? No it’s not a Blue Peter challenge, it’s some of the items I was presented with last weekend when I attend my first Annie Sloan Home Workshop at the Craft Loft in Newcastle.

Let me point out at the stage I would count myself as being creative but not a practical person. I’ve attended many a workshop where all I have ended up with is a misshapen potpourri bowl which was supposed to be an elegant vase, or a scarf full of dropped stitches which would never keep anyone’s neck warm. Anyway with my eager and creative hat on I stepped cautiously into The Craft Loft hoping that this time, I could come back with something which I could be proud off and this time I was in luck.

I met the talented Phyllis Annett who runs the workshops at The Craft Loft she was open,welcoming and patient. She welcomed myself and two participants (another local blogger and her cousin) into a space full of her wonderful creations and treasures. After a bit of getting to know each other and after I procured the wi-fi password of Phyllis’ other half we got stuck into painting,waxing and assembling our creations.

imageimage

I had mentioned to Phyllis how I would like to make a lamp so she had laid out everything I needed to assemble said lamp from scratch. I had a champagne bottle, lamp shade kit and the fitting to make my bottle shine bright with a lightbulb.

It was up to me to choose the theme, I decided to use material which had a map of Europe printed on it. To make it more me and unique I decided to bring out some of colours of the borders and mountain ranges. I choose a gorgeous Henrietta chalk paint which is a light trendy millennial pink and I got started into painting. We discussed the right brushes to use, the texture of the paint and how to get the right finish.

My companions had decided to work on a nest of tables and they had got stuck in with a gorgeous blue paint.Phyllis was full of knowledge and tips keeping a close eye on us throughout the painting process. She also filled us with friendly chit chat, keeping the atmosphere very relaxed and enjoyable.

We took a quick tea break and to my surprise Phyllis had baked!! She had been busy last night and had produced the most amazing gluten free brownies, a Victoria sponge cake, Mary Berry would be proud of and the world most delicious scones. She had lots of other baked treats on hand and lots of fresh coffee and tea.

image.jpeg

Filled with sugar and caffeine we got back to work, I painted items had dried and we covered them with a loving rub of wax. I was just about the finishing touches now. I added some hessian,lace and some big buttons and my work of art was complete. I was so proud that after a few hours I had an item of furniture I could display in my home and even better when prompted I could boast I made that. So if you are after something unique, handmade and something you can say “I made that!” Get out and get crafting, I highly recommend.

The Craft Lodge have workshops for all ages and all abilities and Phyllis is more than happy to help out with any project. Check her out if you want to let your creative juices flow.

 

 

Theatre Review: The diary of Adrian Mole 13 ¾ at The MAC Belfast

Adrian Mole has opened his diary once again at The MAC  Belfast, as Bruiser Theatre Company celebrate their 20th Anniversary. Sue Townsend’s adaptation with the company is a remount, as the company first performed this tale in 2005 . But Adrian Mole 2017 is fresh and bouncing off the stage full of vitality. Being an eighties child (I was born in 84) I was familiar with some of the book but have to admit I’ve never read the full text but I’m very intrigued to do so now.

The production begins with a fabulous ensemble piece, a song full of 80s flashbacks it’s quick in pace and full of iconic references from the Iron Lady to Meg and Mog. It comes in converbelt form almost like the generation game but minus the cuddly toy. The cast sing with such energy I struggle to see how they are still breathing. The song sets the mood of the tale which is to unfold before us, this is a young family in the 80s on the brink, there are strikes and cuts. Times are hard but people are still plodding on. Women want more than a part-time job and making their husbands tea. The storybook set opens and we are introduced to the main character Adrian who has taken refuge from a New Year’s Eve party in the safety of his bedroom.

image.jpeg

Adrian Mole is a teenager with big plans he is going to be an intellect. He doesn’t understand the fuss and commotion in life, he’s not a fan of school discos or punk but he is a big fan of Pandora. Adrian played by Adam Dougal is an annoying know-it-all, at the start of the production I felt little to no endearment for the character but as the production progressed I found he carved his way into my heart. Adam’s performance of the awkward teenager overcoming life’s challenges, spots and all captures a bit of everyone’s youth, that first school disco, that first kiss, the anticipation and want to be a grown up. He transforms on stage from a grown man to the teenager with ease and gives a heartfelt performance.

 

Speaking of heart, love is a central theme to this production, from the innocent first love of Adrian and Pandora (hearts and all) to the illicit affair with the sex god next door neighbour, which included quite a few flashes of Orla Mullans ample bosom. The five cast members (Adam Dougal,Gerard McCabe,Orla Mullan,Keith Lynch and Collette Lennon) are pitch perfect throughout and full of energy. They play a number of roles to perfection but I was particularly entertained by there backing dancer performances.

image

The background of some of the musical numbers contained some hilarious go go dancers, cupids and neighbours twitching at the net curtains to name a few. This is where Bruiser excels in there own form of physical humour no script needed just knowing looks and groovy moves.

Overall the cast are entertaining, enlightening and engaging. The audience lapped up the innuendos and even the substandard poetry and if you don’t fall in a little bit in love with Adrian Mole then you have a heart of stone .

Emer D xx

Ps Congratulations to Adam and Collette (Adrian and Pandora) who get married shortly after finishing the production.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Aged 13 3/4) runs until 7th Oct 2017 get tickets at http://www.themaclive.com.

Then it will be touring across Ireland from the 10th-15th October visiting Ballina,Mullingar,Lisburn,Dublin,Armagh and Derry.

 

 

Beauty Review: Tanning Thursday-The Lusso Tan Ritual

As the summer sunshine (the little bit we got in NI) starts to fade away I spend more time reaching for a bottle of tan. There are so many on the market at the moment it has hard to choose so I thought I’d do a few beauty reviews on tanning products that are made locally.

You may have read me gush recently about Bperfect on my social media sites and also spotted me with Bellamianta over the last couple of months (Il hopefully get a chance to come back and give these brands a full review) but the tan Im writing about this week was completely new to me and to honest be it seems to quickly be catching up with its Northern Irish competitors.

image

Lusso Tan is the brainchild of the beauty specialist who run The Secret Day Spa in Belfast. The ladies have been working with tans for years and know all the tips and tricks for getting the perfect sun kissed glow so they have come up with a 3 Step Ritual for best results.

 

I got my hands on Step One the primer, Step Two the tan (in shade medium) and Step Three the finishing touch boost (step one and two were gifted and I bought step three). You don’t need to use all three steps but if you love a deep exceptionally polished look the girls recommend it.

Ok so here goes Step one is the Primer which is meant to plump and condition your tan. Normally I would shower,shave and moisture the night before but because I had this primer I thought I’d skip that step. The formula is clear and goes on easy it’s a little tacky but I like the texture. Next I tried the Lusso Tan (the main event) I pour a little out on a mitt, it’s very runny and to be honest I wasn’t really expecting that so a bit ends up on the bathroom floor. But what I do like is that it’s tinted so you can so exactly where you have applied it. A small but goes a long way which is good as there is a lot of me to cover and I already look a little bit more bronzed. Its fast and easy and doesn’t seem to streak.

Heres a few pictures so you can compare:

Before ok I’m not completely see through but I’m a lot whiter than I want to be.

Straight after application getting a little tanner, definetly a glow coming through.

I give it two hours to develop and the shade does come through a lovely natural tan but I want to give it just another little tweak so I decide to use step three. (Plus if you live in your own and can only try to do your back step three is the instant bottle to chuck in your bag and get the girls to top you up before you go out.)

 

Final Result:

BEFORE                                        AFTER

I got a great even glow and it actually developed a bit more throughout the evening.I would recommend the Lusso tan if you have time to prep properly, work it into your beauty routine or your tanning Thursday but be careful when using as it can end up all over your bathroom but most beauty products in my hands do ;). If you try it let me know how you get on and what you thought of it.

Emer D xx

 

Dates for your diary: WCCFW AW17

The West Coast Cooler Fashion week is back with a clash of bright colours, sequins and textures. I attended the launch party at Bullit Hotel a couple of weeks ago and I was inspired to update my wardrobe. I find it so hard to know what to wear at this time of the year when the summer sun is fading and it’s not quite cold enough for a big coat but I muddle through.

This year for the launch I choose to embrace red, one of my favourite colours and I went for a block colour in a little Florence and Fred number however I did see a few fashionistas rocking smaller elements of this colour be it earrings,hats or shoes but as you should all know by now I’m no shrinking violet.

image.jpeg

Photo Credit Brendan Gallagher photography.

Fashion to me is a way of expressing yourself, it’s an extension of your personality. I love to attend the fashion week shows as a form of entertainment, they are a performance of materials and models flowing up and down the catwalk and I get inspiration for my personal style as well as picking up on new trends. I’m not a trend setter but I find the shows stylists can find the best of the high street and local designers which I love to mix and match into my own look.

Here a few pictures of some my favourite from the launch and I look forward to seeing a lot more. I was particularly impressed with the In Chlomo line and I was a little shell shocked to find out this brand actually comes from a designer born and breed in my hometown. Her sequinned and textured pieces spoke to the diva in my soul and I look forward to seeing a lot more of Chloe’s work.

imageimageimage

Photography Stephen Potter. Pic 1 Alex wears Debenhams and In Chlomo. Pic 2 Hannah wears In Chlomo. Pic 3 Nuala wears ASOS.

One of my favourite looks styled on the day had to be Aimee in the ASOS velvet blazer and that is a Jo Malone Ribbon round her neck.

image.jpeg

And these floor length gowns from Akani and Blush modelled by CMPR models Aimee and Alex  guaranteed to be a showstopper at any event.

imageimage

 

If you want to see more glamour and sparkle read on for the full details of this year’s event and mark it in your diary now.

 

Emer D xx

 

 

This seasons full show details are as follows..

The now iconic event, which is firmly fixed in the social calendar, will see four days of fantastic fashion from 26-29 October with the main runway shows taking place at a new home in St. Anne’s Cathedral – meaning longer catwalks, more space and lots of interesting backdrops for photos – both of the fashion on the runway and of the guests in their stylish looks.
As well as the runway shows at St Anne’s, there will also be the popular weekend events, including Sushi Saturday at Zen, Style Sunday and a new ‘F Words’ brunch on the rooftop at Bullitt, featuring speakers including Tiffany Brien, Kim Constable, Maria Rafferty and ‘Gluten Free Fi’ talking Fashion, Fitness, Food & being Female.

Fresh out of a summer at Vogue’s intensive summer course, director Cathy Martin is excited about the colours and textures on the catwalk. “I’m looking forward to seeing local retailers and designers showing off all the colours, silhouettes and textures which we saw at the international shows. From fiery red shades like those seen on Gigi Hadid at MaxMara, to deep Burgundy and Bordeaux colours which were prevalent at the Burberry and Mulberry shows; plus there will be plenty of futuristic metallics as seen at Chanel and Balenciaga as well as total texture clashes which took over the runway at Gucci’s super maximalist show.
“We always try to make our shows a true example of fashion theatre. And as people move towards more experiential activities, our events allow them to really engage with fashion first hand. We’ll have our usual complimentary West Coast Coolers for every guest at the show as well as a William Morris eyewear ‘Specs Appeal’ pop up, where style spotters will seek out the best dressed guests, who’ll win sunglasses and eyewear. There will also be a beautiful Versace wallpaper backdrop for photos courtesy of Noblett’s as well as other beauty, boutique and designer pop ups for guests’ enjoyment before and after the shows themselves.
“Our hair partner is the Lisburn Road’s newest salon, Monet Hair, and L’Oréal Colour Trophy winner Lee Stinton will lead the creative direction alongside Paddy McGurgan on make up, who’ll be supported by global cruelty free make up brand Illamasqua, so I’m excited to see what this creative team comes up with – they’re even talking about a fantasy hair and make up show to round off one of the St Anne’s catwalk shows. I hope that vision comes to life!”
Paddy and Lee will also be speaking at the flagship ‘Style Sunday’ event on 29 October at James Street South. The sumptuous style luncheon will close FASHIONWEEK and round off a month of activities by Action Cancer for breast cancer awareness month. The event will showcase top stylist picks from Blush Boutique in Belfast as well as the trend masterclass from hair partner Monet Hair and Illamasqua at Make Up Pro Stores. Plus, there will be an Illamasqua gift for every guest as well as West Coast Cooler cocktails on arrival.
Brand manager Laura Shiels from title sponsors West Coast Cooler commented: “Here at West Coast Cooler we are excited to continue our participation with Belfast FASHIONWEEK. Celebrating individuality and creativity is something we are passionate about and we cannot wait to see what the new season has in store. Amazing campaigns like our #WCCStyleSquad gives us a great opportunity to integrate our audience with our brand activity and allows us to interact with all of our fashion-savvy consumers”
The full show schedule is available online at http://www.belfastfashionweek.com along with details of this season’s trends plus links to all participant retailers and sponsors. Catwalk tickets for the main shows on 26 & 27 October, which cost £20 (or £30 for a limited number of exclusive front row seats), are available to purchase from Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609 or via the links on http://www.belfastfashionweek.com. For reserved seats and groups of four or more, the BFW team can take direct bookings – just call 02890421509 or email rsvp@cmprireland.com to place an order and reserve seats. The BFW team will also manage bookings for all other events including Sushi Saturday (£35) and the ‘F Words’ brunch (£29) on Saturday 28 October as well as Style Sunday (£45) on Sunday 29 October, which is in support of Action Cancer. Ticket price includes a refreshing West Coast Cooler on the day.