Theatre Review: The Ladykillers at the The Lyric Theatre Belfast

An all female cast took to the stage of the Lyric Theatre Belfast this week to portray some very shady characters. The result a funny, energetic piece of farce which is sure to make even the most stern audience member laugh. Jimmy Fays direction plays homage to Linehan’s genius stage script but at the same time re-invents the play into something even more modern, entertaining and interesting. (I haven’t watched the film so can’t make reference to it but now I feel like I should.) Lines of the script are reinforced with comedic timing and repetition, meaning they are sure to be stuck in the heads of the audience forever. My personal favourite “he just fell against the dress….”

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The productions set by Stuart Marshall is in an absolutely fabulous creation with many levels and layers. Lots of space for some unique entrances and exits which just add to the drama and never disrupts the pace.

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The Ladykillers is a shining example of exactly what I love to see on the Northern Irish stage something which has wide appeal and which gets the audience to interact/communicate  with each other. Overheard at the interval lots of mutterings of isn’t this funny, I wonder if they can actually play. Basically a production that promotes a smile and giggle throughout gets a big thumbs up from me.

Although the production is a timely affair with a run time just shy of three hours I didn’t feel the minutes tick by. In fact I felt like I need to go back and watch it again, as at certain points I was concerned with the actions of characters in the background instead of the foreground and I feel like I may have missed out.

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Stella McCusker plays the polite, overly suspicious Mrs Wilberforce constantly fighting to keep her social status and to look after her beloved parakeet ; Abigail Gibbon is the crafty Professor Marcus between her physicality, her  exaggerated scarf and her natural charm she leads the rebel of unruly characters who tumble through Mrs Wilberforce’s front door.Julie Maxwell plays Harry, the OCD wide boy with the must amazing quiff but for me Jo Donnelly steals the show as the con-man Major Courtney, who seems to be a closet transvestite with no real grasp on reality but who would very quickly pull the wool of your eyes.Cheryl Fergison best known for her role in EastEnders comes across as the gentle giant One Round, an oaf who is very ignorant of the plot building around him but whom you would never want to wrong.

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With added cameos from well-known faces at the Lyric; Christina Nelson and Nuala McKeever, the tale is brought to its crescendo with somewhat of a bump in the dark.

The Ladykillers was an enjoyable night in the Lyric and it was a pleasure to see some many female characters on stage.

Emer D xx

Running until the 8th July check out further details at http://www.lyrictheatre.co.uk

 

 

 

 

My Dad Wrote A Porno at Belfast Book Festival

If you haven’t heard of the sensational My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast where have you been, hiding under a rock? Belinda Blinks the erotic novel written by Rocky Flinstone is destined for the best-seller list but not for the reasons you may think.

On the podcast Jamie Morton reads out chapters of an erotic novel  his 60 year-old dad has penned. (I should add for Northern Irish readers, his dad is from Armagh and yes every so often a few random NI phrases pop up but please don’t blame us for some of the illegible sentences).  Jamie is joined by his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine (the radio one DJ). Who offer some constructive criticism with comedic effect. The series has a cult following of “perverts” who hang on every descriptive, grammatically incorrect moment. I proudly say I am Pervert.

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Last night the trio came to Belfast on a wet summers day as part of the Belfast Book Festival. They sold out the Mandela hall in Queens Students Union and brought the podcast to life with the help of a few tins of gin and tonic, a PowerPoint presentation on the female reproductive system and of course Rocky’s fiction.

James and co introduced the crowd to a lost chapter of the Belinda Blinks series. With some amazingly descriptive furniture, a group of regional sales managers, a set of loaded dice (die ;)) and one leather trouser suit the audience sat in awe listening as Belinda want on the adventure of a lifetime.

Strictly for over 18s and not a show I would take my mum too. My Dad wrote a porno LIVE is fantastically funny and stomach turning at the same time. The live show unedited and full of audience interaction is a fun ride through the podcasts, with some friendly banter and slagging the Belfast crowd loved it.

Check out more about the My Dad Wrote a Porno at http://www.mydadwroteaporno.com and to find out more about the Belfast Book Festival at http://www.belfastbookfestival.com.

Emer D xx

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Travel Blog: Sunshine,Sangria and Sisterhood.

If you have been following my social media posts over the month of May you will have seen I was able to squeeze in two little weekend breaks in the sun. One was a hen do for my soon to be sister-in law in Portugal and the other a few days with a good girl friend in Lanzarote.I am a sun worshipper and both of these destinations ticked that box and more. So I thought I would cover off some of my highlights from the hen.

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Nicolas Hen in Lanzarote

This summer is wedding season for my family. My two brothers decided 2017 was the perfect year to get married. So after my brother Damiens wedding on Easter Sunday in the gorgeous Ballintubber Abbey (yes, where Pierce Brosnan got married) it was time for my soon to be sister-in laws Hen in Portugal. Having left all the arrangements up to the bridesmaids all I had to do was get on a flight with my sisters and enjoy the weekend.

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I had never been to Portugal but I will definelty be back. Landing in the airport (which is currently being renovated) we walked out into an overcast day feeling somewhat subdued by the lack of sunshine and the flight. However the portugese welcome was felt from the moment our driver grabbed our luggage , pointing out all the local amenties, shopping centres, water parks etc and telling us at one point that the Portugese and Irish have a lot in common we like to drink, dance and have fun.

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(Quick aside here… we flew with Aer Lingus from Dublin and I have to say I have never experienced customer service like it on an airplane before, the team of flight attendants were friendly,cheerful and obliging, nothing was too much work. It set our trip off to a great start. Oh and I felt even more like a star blogger as Pippa O Connor was also on our flight (yes I was a bit of fan-girl but that’s another story.)

Portugal is beautiful we drove through farms of orange trees and grape vines, passing gorgeous sun drenched villas until we landed in our final destination Albuferia.  The clouds started to part as we arrived at the hotel.We stayed in the new town area in the MGM Muthu Hotel at Forte da Oura.

Met be our overjoyed hen party we checked in quickly and headed straight for the pool for a few cocktails and to catch up on all the gossip. I would highly recommend the Hotel it had a vast beautiful foyer with Wi-fi access, the rooms were spacious clean and practical. They also had plenty of pillows, a spacious balcony and tea making facilities (my main needs!).

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Albuferia had the perfect mix of activities for our hen, we sunned ourselves, partied to the wee hours on the strip ( some hens even danced on tables and bars but I shouldn’t be telling you that as what happens on the hen stays on the hen 😜). We went on a boat trip to see bottle-nosed dolphins and had a BBQ in amongst the gorgeous caves on a private beach. What more could you want.

As a destination for some weekend sunshine and with a quick flight I will definetly be back to visit the coast line of Portugal soon.

Emer D xx

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty Review: House of Fraser puts the Spotlight on Beauty

Being a theatre darling and one who is not shy of standing in a spotlight ;).Once I heard Belfast was shining a light on a few  new stars (be it beauty stars) I had to be there…

House of Fraser Belfast have launched a new counter in Victoria Square Shopping Centre. The first of it’s kind for the group and currently exclusive to Northern Ireland. They have chosen the trendy,the practical and the most sought after items to be showcased and easily accessible by all.I popped in store last week to check them out and find out more about each of the brands. At the moment the counter is showcasing Pixi skincare treats ( including the highly sought after Glow Tonic and overnight glow serum usually found exclusive to M&S),Color Wow products, Deciem products (The Ordinary skincare), Spectrum brushes (including the mermaid themed brushes), Stila products (including those glitter eyeshadows), lots of fabulous face masks (including my current favourites Starskin) and other practical must have beauty treats.

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Spectrum : House of Fraser Spotlight counter including unicorn tear wonder sponge and mermaid brushes.

 

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I met with talented informative staff from each of the brands who give me a tailored package of products which would suit me perfectly. My favourite was Zack from Colorado Wow who expertly curled my hair while assessing what would be best for me. Turns out I need the Color Wow Coconut Cocktail in my life, a bionic tonic to bring life and hydration to my dry locks.

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So after pursuing the shelves and picking up a few treats I would definetly say I have started to make a list of what I want to purchase on my next visit. Pop in soon and check it out.

Emer D xx

Ps Must of these products are actually budget friendly with skincare products starting from a few quid upwards.See a couple of the price lists below.

 

 

 

 

Something for the Weekend: The Museum of Modern Icons and Newbride Silverwear

Feels like an age since I’ve given a suggestion for an outing but this one is definetly getting my vote. I would even go as far to say it is in my top five places to visit in Ireland. The former president of the United States Bill Clinton even popped in for a visit in March.

I recently took a bus trip to the pretty village of Kildare just outside Dublin to visit the Newbridge Silverwear factory, shop and museum. I heard lots of wonderful things happening in the factory with gorgeous new modern collections  being designed  by the likes of Amy Huberman and none other then supermodel  Naomi Campbell. But I also heard within the visitors centre I would find a museum full of holywood gems and fascinations.

I was not disappointed,pulling up to the visitors centre you see Newbridges distinct blue in the horizon, the building is awash with the colour and even the trees have been decorated to be an eye-catching work of art.

 

As it is a bit of trek from Belfast, I first stopped to dine in the delicious Cafe Carleton.The award-winning Cafe Carleton opens 7 days a week, serving breakfast and a hot buffet lunch each day, and the dessert counter is something to be drooled over. It has a bright, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, enhanced  by the ambience of live piano. All ingredients are locally sourced and delicious.

After eating I was booked in to take a tour of the factory, I learnt how fork handles are made (yes the two ronnies sketch immediately sprung to mind, I blame my dad) and how the jewellery is processed from design to be boxed. It is truly an art. I was shocked to learn this international company actually had quite a small family run workshop, speaking to some of the workers you could hear there dedication to the brand and how the factory was part of their family history.

 

Seeing the process of making the jewellery and silverware I couldn’t wait to go shopping. Newbridge has a collection for everyone from delicate pieces to modern chunky jewellery and even some little sliver ducks (creatively arranged in a bath time display below).Like the magpie I am I was drawn to the sparkling colourful crystal pieces, oh and the Phlip Tracey Rose of Tralee crown although my limited Irish dancing skills haven’t graced me with this shiney tiara just yet!!

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After a little retail therapy I was escorted to the Museum of Modern Icons and wow what a collection!! I don’t even know where to start to describe the wonders that awaited. To me it was like wandering into Aladdins cave. With dresses,props and custom jewellery from my favourite movie starlets right down to Elvis!!!

My favourites; Rhett Butlers cigar case and Scarlett O’Haras Jewels from Gone with the Wind (one of my all-time favourite films). Audrey Hepburn’s little pink dress from Breakfast at Tiffanys and one of her iconic LBDs.Oh and need I mention Liza Minnelli’s Cabaret costume (she had a tiny waist!!)

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Not a film fan how about the kings and princesses.From the King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley’s red jacket to dresses worn by the late Princess of Wales! The collection is immense you can even figure out how big Kim Kardiashans lady lumps really are as a few Kardiashans pieces are also included.

Newbridge Silverware really is the place of dreams, I could have spent all day in and no doubt I will return very soon.

Emer D xx

PS If you are in the North of Ireland some of the iconic pieces of the muse are going on display in the Belfast store, currently they have a collection from Marilyn Monroe but they will be changing on a monthly basis so keep your eyes peeled to the storefront window.

Theatre Review: Sinners at The Lyric Theatre Belfast

Marie Jones is a staple of Northern Irish theatre she delivers satire with a punch and usually a belly laugh. So when I saw Sinners advertised using images of  characters played by Alan McKee and Christina Nelson two superb comedy and character actors I was happy to take a seat in the Lyric Theatre.

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Sinners is a satire on religion and family. It tells the tale of Pastor O Hare who has come to save our souls for a small donation. Michael Condron takes on the role of the pastor. Suited and booted he delivers rousing monologues backed by some fabulous projected visuals and an amazing soundscape which sounds like something from an award winning well established gospel choir.

Performed on a stripped-back set by the talented Alyson Cummins the story moves from country family home to that of the tented tabernacle by the use of illuminated curtain. One of the biggest laughs of the night came from said curtain and the role of a member of stage management who tries to blend into the background but with comedic effect.

I will be honest the story disappointed me I didn’t get an big laughs as it poked fun and ridiculed elements of this evangelistic lifestyle. For me it didn’t go far enough, it made some interesting points and there where some fabulous lines mixed into the dialogue but it feel flat of stating anything or making us laugh. At one point Mckee grabs a cross and utters an almost  blasphemic line which should have made the audience gasp but it was lost in the mixture of characters and themes.

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Don’t get me wrong performances by Condron and the cast are good.In the honey trap scene Louise Matthews and Michael Condron sizzle with chemistry but I just didn’t see the point of using sexuality as a tool. I also didn’t see the point of so many characters great actors like Michael Johnston are lost in the background ( was his character just meant to be a hit at the modern day hippy? Or was it a jab at the educated?).

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In conclusion this production was a miss for me it didn’t entertain or inform. It wasn’t an example of good Northern Irish theatre that I expected but as I always say this is just my view go out and check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Emer D xx

Sinners runs until 3rd June. Check out details at http://www.lurictheatre.co.uk.

 

Careers Advice at 32: The Blog

Wow what a year it has been. My blog has just turned one, I have won a DANI accolade (highly commended Lifestyle blog) and I’m currently sitting in the sunshine of Lanzarote drafting this post (although I’m sure it will not be posted till after I return as my internet connection is shocking).

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The Blog Life

As my blog turns one this month, I thought I would give you all a little background. I didn’t start blogging because I wanted to write, I wanted freebies or as an escape. I started blogging because I was working in the entertainment field and a friend asked my to help out on his blog. He was being inundated with invites and needed a hand to cover everything he wanted to. After a few cocktails and with a degree in Drama and English with Film (modules) I thought this was a great idea. And so my weekly guest blogs on the popular NIGossipguy website had been launched.

Two years later I had made friends with a bunch of fabulous NI bloggers and I gotten used to the extra workload. Yes, I said WORKLOAD being able to attend events, write reviews/blogs and all the admin actually takes a lot of time but in my eyes it is worth it.

Anyway after an amazing trip to LA and Coachella I decided I had outgrown my NIgossipguy home and I wanted to start my own blog (blogging is addictive) so emerdblog.com was born as they say the rest is history. This blog has enabled me to be more creative, meet some fantastic people and more importantly it has helped me fine tune my digital marketing skills.

How blogging has helped my career..

If you have read my other blog posts in this series you will know that this is the year I was made redundant but this is also the year that I have started to stretch my legs in my freelance life. I have worked the past three years part-time in PR/marketing and social media management but now I’ve gone full-time!!

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I have had some fantastic opportunities over the last couple of months. Working with my favourite theatre companies, working on an Arts council conference and even working with the Belfast Fashion Week team (which was an eye-opener! I didn’t realise there was so much work putting on a seasonal fashion show my hat goes off to boss Cathy Martin.)

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I have been approached by various PR agencies/Event management teams to work freelance on lots of different projects. Everything is going in a positive direction. I’m making my own hours and working on interesting diverse subjects. But yet I still have that doubt of where does my next pay check come from, is that the self-employed life and will  I be come comfortable with this?  At the moment these are  still questions I have in the ether but I’m hoping I will be able to answer them in the near future? Watch this space.

I would love to hear from you if you have been through the same experiences as me in this series been made redundant? Took the leap and went self-employed? Let me know.

Emer D xx