RSC’s The Tempest at the Barbican

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Gregory Doran directs this incredible and innovative production of one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, The Tempest, mixing breath-taking visuals with delicate and funny performances. 

I always seem to watch the best plays just before they’re about to finish; The Tempest, following a successful run in Stratford-Upon-Avon, moved to the Barbican Centre for a seven-week run and is now in it’s final week. I was determined to see it since I had seen all the hype surrounding the ground-breaking technologies used in the show and, after luckily getting myself a front row ticket, I can say it exceeds expectations! If you have the chance to see the show and are interested in Shakespeare even in the slightest I highly suggest you go, you won’t be disappointed!

I’ll start with the performances, in particular Simon Russell Beale’s Prospero and Mark Quartley’s Ariel, the latter being the one who stole the show for me. Continue reading

Book Review: Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

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“I could tell I was standing too still and breathing too silently. I prayed she didn’t notice, but she must have, she was so close to me.”

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I was sent this book by Walker Books a couple of months ago and I was immediately intrigued by the the idea of it as a ‘Graphic Memoir’. I know that this isn’t the first graphic memoir, in fact there are many that I’d love to get my hands on, but this is actually the first one I have ever read and boy did I enjoy it! If I had read this a while ago it most certainly would be on my list of Top 5 Graphic Novels. It has everything you would want from a graphic memoir; a compelling and moving story, beautiful artwork, and hilarious writing. Let’s briefly sum up the story:

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Spoiler Free Baby Driver Review

 

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SPOILER FREE 

Back again with another film review for you today, this time it’s all about Edgar Wright’s new film Baby Driver! (I bet you didn’t guess that from the title!)
Although I frustratingly couldn’t see this film on the day it was released I was lucky enough to have a couple of days to let the hype start to settle around this film and fortunately it managed not only to meet this exceptionally high level, but exceeded it. So as soon as I got home from the cinema I sat down with my notebook, splurged all my thoughts down, did a quick little bit of research and recorded this video. I wanted it all to be fresh in my mind – I definitely think the buzz of it still shines through despite having to re-record it because I deleted all of my audio!

However I have reflected a bit more on the film and I have to admit that there was one thing that I had a bit of an issue with and that’s the fact that I wish the film had been a little less male-dominated.

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Why you shouldn’t be intimidated by Moonlight | Film Review

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Director: Barry Jenkins

Starring: Alex Hibbert, Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Naomie Harris

Running time: 111 minutes

Certification: 15

Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys look Blue 

 

 

 

 

“Who is you?”

*A quick preface: this is just going to be a fairly brief review as, rightly so, this film has been everywhere and there are much better reviews to read such as this one by Empire or this one by the New York Times.


I don’t really know where to start in this review because it is such a delicate, moving, and unique film that has caused so many new and exciting conversations – even if some were caused by that Oscars blunder! In fact the reason I decided that I would post a review on the film, despite there already being so many, was because of a conversation about it that I had with my friend in which she said: “I’m not sure if I’ll go see it, it’s kind of intimidating”. 

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Reviewing Beauty and the Beast

 

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I’ve wanted to do some film reviews on my blog for a while now and, as a massive Disney fan, I thought starting with Bill Condon’s live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast would be a lovely place to start. But please do excuse my rambling – I still don’t know what I’m doing!

The Original Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favourite Disney Classics; not only do I adore the music, French setting, and beastly romance but also I have always seen part of myself in Belle. Continue reading

The Taming of the Shrew at The Globe

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“People describe Shrew as a problem play; I see it as a perfect opportunity to explore pressing issues surrounding gender and relationships – important for us all, especially young people.” – Jacqueline Defferary

Before I really get into the post I just want to say,  if you are able to get to London before the end of this month I IMPLORE YOU TO GO AND SEE THIS PRODUCTION OF THE TAMING OF THE SHREW! Whether you are already a Shakespeare fan or fancy giving it a shot, this adaptation is truly for everybody.

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So time for a bit of context:
The Taming of the Shrew is one of, if not the most, debated about plays written by Shakespeare due to its supposed portrayal of psychological rape and misogyny. It is believed to be one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, written before 1592, and sees a drunkard named Sly being tricked into believing himself to be a lord and with his “wife” (the Lord’s servant wearing a dress) watches a play for his pleasure. That play within the play follows the relationship of Petruchio, a wealthy and forceful man from Verona, and Katherine, the “devilish Shrew”. Then, if you’re not already confused, you have the subplot of Bianca and her suitors; Gremio, Hortensio, and Lucentio, the latter being a student from Pisa, have all fallen for Kate’s seemingly sweet sister Bianca and the latter two decide to disguise themselves as teachers so that they might be able to woo her, whilst encouraging Petruchio to marry Kate so that they might then be able to marry Bianca. And that’s the basic plot for you! 

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Five Fantastic Non-Fictions

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nɒnˈfɪkʃ(ə)n/

noun: nonfiction

noun

1. prose writing that is informative or factual rather than fictional.

 2 . the genre that is most like marmite; either you love it, you hate it, or you’re too scared to give it a real taste.

When it comes to non-fiction I was the one “too scared to give it a real taste” for such a long time; the only non-fiction you would see me paying any attention to would be my school text books. However (you all knew it was coming) about a year or so ago I decided I had to give it a try and it’s safe to say, when I find a non-fic book on a topic I really love, I will plough my way through it! So I wanted to share some of my favourite non-fiction books, as well as a couple that I am desperate to start reading!

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Halloween Recommendations 2016

I’m always that friend who gets overly excited for Halloween; pumpkins will litter my bedroom throughout the month of October, every detail of my costume will be planned for, and I’ll have a precise template for my pumpkin ready to carve! So I couldn’t wait to share some of my favourite halloween reads and watches.

If you’re looking for some spooky books then check out my video, if you want some ghoulish films and shows to watch then keep on reading!

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Book Review: The Last Beginning + Chat with Lauren James

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As Clove watched a petal slowly fall from the flower, she made herself a promise. When she was older, she was going to work here with the machine – even if it meant spending all her free time between now and then studying. Then one day, when she’d helped to get the machine working, she was going to be the first person to travel through time.

I was trying to think of a way to briefly describe The Last Beginning, the sequel and final book in The Next Together duology, but with the amount of plot twists, interesting new characters and jumps through time and space (all that wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…stuff) I couldn’t figure out what to say! Thankfully Lauren James, author of the fabulous book, managed to sum it up in precisely five words:

Lesbian romance with MANY JOKES.

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Book Review: A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene

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“Murder didn’t mean much to Raven. It was just a new job. You had to be careful. You had to use your brains. It was not  question of hatred.”

I wanted to read this book as soon as I knew I would be studying Brighton Rock by Graham Greene as one of my set texts in English, as this book is a sort-of prequel to it. I am also a big fan of Greene’s writing style and so was very excited for this. It definitely lived up to my expectations, almost by the first line alone! (See quote above).

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The novel follows the anti-hero Raven, an assassin, as he attempts to seek revenge. After finishing a ‘job’ with grave repercussions, Raven is paid with stolen money and within hours the police are hunting him down, thus begins his journey to find out who is responsible and make them suffer. Like the other books I have read by Greene, you are immediately plunged into action. This is really appreciated as it created the character of Raven from the off; he’s an assassin, he never sits still, and he knows what he is doing. Raven is such an interesting character, he’s probably on par with Pinkie from Brighton Rock in my opinion. He’s unmissable with a hare-lip that was badly sown up at birth and this ‘ugliness’ is so symbolic of his own actions and the world he is living in. I sympathised for his wanting of a meaningful relationship despite his appearance and line of work.  Everything is going wrong for him and even though he’s a blatant murderer you cannot help but root for him. There is an awkward enjoyment in willing a murderer to chase down their prey, kill them, and then get the girl! Of course he has some more off-putting characteristics but I found that the balance between his humanity and his profession, and the way they reflected off of each other as some internal battle, was one of the most fascinating things about this book. I also found that this was highlighted by the character of Anne; a young woman engaged to the Scotland Yard detective tracking Raven down who gets caught up in the world of Raven. She develops so well and really comes into herself as the book goes on. Her relationship with Raven is so compelling and it’s interesting how you as the reader react to some of Anne’s responses to some of Raven’s actions; I found myself angry that Anne became angry with Raven for committing a crime when really that should be the correct response, right?

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Greene’s style is so riveting; everything has a purpose and so you hang on every word. Because of this it is incredibly vivid. I found I could picture every detail in each classically Noir scene, I’m definitely not surprised it was brought from page to screen as ‘This Gun For Hire’ directed by Frank Tuttle.  He creates characters and settings with depth, you could see the grime of the London streets and feel the cramped trains. His dialogue is also done so well although it could sometimes seem a little over-exaggerated, a little to cinematic. But you can forgive that when you consider how tense the novel is and how brilliantly this is created. Despite the slightly older language you are made to turn those pages. Greene explores the themes of morality, trust, and desire in a subtle yet powerful way.

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I’d highly recommend this book to those who are a fan of thrillers, especially those interested in Noir. If you enjoy books which tackles serious themes with a darker tone then this is right up your street! And of course, I’d suggest reading it just to experience Greene’s writing style as I would say he is one of the greatest crime fiction writes.