17 March 2017

RED NOSE DAY 2017

Thanks mum for willingly wearing this wig!
Friday the 24th March is RED NOSE DAY. All money raised for this amazing charity go to incredible projects in the UK and in Africa that have found effective ways to tackle poverty and injustice. Your money means they can choose the best projects and then fund them. As well as a fu Friday night of TV, plenty of schools, clubs and supermarkets get in on the action. You can head down to your local TKMAXX to purchase a Rankin t-shirt (..omg Rankin!) or apron like I'm sporting, or head to Sainsburys to get your red nose and deely boppers. Let me know below what you're doing this red nose day and how you're raising money! I will be donating on the night and also have bought my red nose! 

Find out more about the amazing projects that RND helps. 
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9 March 2017

Hansel & Gretel | A Contemporary Opera

Contemporary. A word thrown around to mean modern, of the time and new age. When I got invited to see Hansel & Gretel the Opera, I was imagining songs in Italian, German or French. Rich heavy outfits, long high notes and lots of stuffy wigs. But this was no traditional Opera. It wasn't until I was sent the press release the day of the show that I saw the press photos and realised I had it all wrong. This was modern, a small cast. Set in one room, two grown women (yes Hansel was played by a woman - it was international womens day after all!) playing the parts of small children, a witch clad in a fur coat Pat Butcher would be jealous of and the use of a hand held camera that was giving me serious Blair Witch flashbacks! 


The Opera starts with at least 7 solid minutes of orchestra music; now I don't know if this is normal for an Opera or if the cast just weren't ready yet but when the music swelled as if the curtain was about to rise.. nothing happened, and after the third time of me thinking 'oh.. not yet' I was getting a bit bored. The music was gorgeous don't get me wrong.. but i was just eager to start the show! Once the curtain finally rose we were met with a run down kitchen, boxes full of Christmas decorations and cleaning items everywhere like some kind of market stall challenge on The Apprentice was about to go down and two rather tall children. 
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6 March 2017

CINDERELLA | THE BALLET

Having been years since I saw my last Ballet I was excited to be visiting The Lowry for the second time in as many months, this time to celebrate my birthday (I turned 24 on March 2nd) with a wonderfully choreographed ballet and a romantic night out with my gorgeous boyfriend Kenneth. Cinderella, a visually stunning performance with extremely talented performers and an amazingly designed backdrop. I laughed, I teared up and I think my jaw dropped at some points. It's odd getting used to no talking when you are expecting the cackles of the ugly sisters or the booing of the stepmother, but be warned, this is no pantomime. 

Lets take a moment to talk about the costumes! Intricately detailed, light catching sequins and gems, heavy and rich fabrics yet the dancers make them look feather light as they swish, swirl and jump around the stage. The story begins in a graveyard. Cinderellas mum has just died and the evil stepmother takes but seconds to swoop in and cling onto her new fella. Sadly Cinderellas dad then passes away leaving her in the hands of step mum and the ugly step sisters. She is banished to the Kitchen to clean and serve the family, the only solace she has is her secret box with a photograph of her ma and pa and a pair of silver studded slippers. 

After a silver invitation arrives to the house the ugly sisters - who are hilarious by the way - start to prepare for the ball. One sister is called skinny who is stick thin has long black hair and is definitely the meaner sister, the other is called Dumpy and believe it or not she was wearing a fat suit and kept chicken wings in her tutu. They go through hilarious etiquette training (in the form of ballet) which Dumpy couldn't seem to master and Cinderella is left even more lonely when she imagines herself at the ball dancing around her kitchen with a broom.

A rag clothed woman appears in the kitchen barefoot and hungry. Cinderella being the kind hearted woman she is feeds and clothes (with her only possession - the silver pumps) and sets her on her way. She is repaid with a visit from her fairy godmother who dresses her in a a gorgeous silver tutu through a  range of gorgeous dances provided by spring, summer, autumn and winter! She is then given back her silver pumps which complete her ensemble. On comes two lizards, a toad and two adorable mice who scutter around the stage and deliver Cinderella to the Ball. 

Typically the ball is fantastically over the top, amazing choreography from the party goers, laugh out loud blunders from the ugly sisters including a dance where Dumpy chasing a plate of cakes around the stage (totally relatable) and of course the entrance of Cinderella where we see the Prince set eyes on her and fall in love. Queue 15 minutes of stunning ballet as the two meet and fall in love. Tragedy strikes as midnight arrives and Cinderellas clothes start to return to her rags. This is when the set gets insane, a huge clockwork clock comes down from the sky and starts ticking down and begins to charm. She runs off stage and leaves a silver slipper behind. 

After a 20 minute interval (where we had chocolate chip ice cream) the prince begins his search for the foot that fits the slipper. Several women try to force the slipper onto their foot including the stepmother! Eventually Cinderella steps forward and the slipper fits! This leads on to several gorgeous scenes where the Prince and Cinderella meet again, dance under the stars and live happily ever after. The photos above are from my favourite scene, the stunning silver costumes glinted under the stage lights and the dance was so on time i was like watching magic happen before your eyes. 

Both my boyfriend and I had a wonderfully magical evening and I can't end this review without talking about the orchestra. I forgot there would be a live orchestra and they were simply amazing. I would love to see more ballet's this year as they are just so beautiful and it's wonderful seeing such talent and grace in front of you. It's amazing how light on their feet they are!


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