FEATURE: ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ – Milton Keynes Theatre panto launch, September 2013


The entertainment elves at Milton Keynes Theatre are already hard at work planning festive fun for audiences. Nothing says Christmas quite like the wonderful British tradition of pantomime and this year’s seasonal merriment will come courtesy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Frosts Garden Centre in Woburn Sands for the official media launch of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This was the first chance for the stars to meet, pose for photographs in their costumes, and be interviewed by showbiz journalists from across the region.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre, Christmas 2013. Cast members at the press launch: Shaun Dalton as Prince Charming, Kate Stewart as Snow White, Jennifer Ellison as The Wicked Queen and Warwick Davis as 'Prof'.

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Calling Mrs Christmas’ by Carole Matthews, August 2013


The cover of Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews, a seasonal book that is full of festive fun. The snowy scene a woman dressed in red boots, a red dress and a red Father Christmas hat. She stood next to a Christmas tree, on a path that leads to a large house that is adorned with festive decorations.



“Deck the halls with boughs of holly …!”


While the sun streams in through the open window and social media alerts inform me that everyone I know is jetting off on their summer holidays, I can be found with my nose in Carole Matthews’ latest Christmas-themed novel, Calling Mrs Christmas.

Internationally bestselling romantic comedy author Carole lives in Milton Keynes and releases two books a year – one in time for some summer fun and one as a Christmassy treat. Tales of romance, family and friendship guarantee a page-turner every time and Carole’s dedicated fans eagerly await each new release.

Some of her books are set in the ‘Costa del Keynes’ (a little Carole-ism which I find myself adopting with frightening regularity) and showcase local haunts. The rest feature other parts of the UK, often with a few chapters spent in some exciting location or other (giving our Carole the perfect excuse to escape her office in the new city and enjoy a research trip with partner Lovely Kev).

I was fortunate enough to receive a pre-release edition of Calling Mrs Christmas, the twenty-third novel from this talented lady. Unsurprisingly, this Christmas cracker shot straight to the top of my “to read” pile!

Pick up any of Carole’s books and you can expect upbeat prose, a strong storyline and captivating characters. Calling Mrs Christmas delivers these and more. View Post

REVIEW: Sofia National Ballet’s ‘Swan Lake’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, July 2013

Sofia National Ballet dances Swan Lake


A stunning ‘swansong’ performance was the grand finale of Sofia National Ballet’s visit to Milton Keynes last night – and concluded the Bulgarian company’s first ever UK tour.

The dancers bid farewell to Milton Keynes Theatre with Swan Lake, perhaps the best-known ballet of them all, and the timeless story of good against evil proved a triumph with audience members.

Founded in 1928, Sofia National Ballet is steeped in the Russian classical tradition. Its interpretation of Swan Lake more than does justice to the famous story (fashioned from Russian folk tales), while the unforgettable music (by Russian composer Tchaikovsky) is magnificently played by the company’s full orchestra.


Sofia National Ballet dancer in Swan Lake.


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REVIEW: Sofia National Ballet’s ‘Don Quixote’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, July 2013


Sofia National Ballet dances Don Quixote


A little passion and wild abandon can go a long way – as Sofia National Ballet dancers illustrate in their vibrant interpretation of Don Quixote. There is plenty of Spanish flair!

Despite being an unknown entity (this month marks the Bulgarian company’s very first visit to the UK) the auditorium at Milton Keynes Theatre was almost full on Monday evening for Giselle and theatregoers were equally keen to see some Spanish flair last night.

The dancers of Sofia National Ballet did not disappoint. Explosive balletic fireworks lit up the stage in the well-paced narrative piece, inspired by one of the tales in Miguel de Cervantes’ epic novel (published in 1605). The ballet is loosely based on characters featured in the book, with the most successful version created by 19th Century Russian choreographer Marius Petipa. As a production, the spectacle is part pantomime, part drama-comedy but remains a pastiche to the novel, rather than a parody.


Sofia National Ballet dancers in Don Quixote.


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REVIEW: Sofia National Ballet’s ‘Giselle’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, July 2013


Sofia National Ballet dances Giselle


Dancers from Bulgaria’s leading ballet company, Sofia National Ballet, are making their Milton Keynes debut this week. They started their visit by gracing the stage as ethereal spirits …

Sofia National Ballet was formed in 1928 and is immersed in the Russian classical tradition. Established as an acclaimed cultural institution in Bulgaria, it prides itself on its interpretations of the world’s favourite ballets.

Milton Keynes Theatre is the last stop on the Company’s first ever visit to the UK, presenting three timeless narrative works: Giselle, Don Quixote and Swan Lake. Last night saw the cast of dancers – accompanied by the Orchestra of Sofia National Ballet – perform Giselle. The poignant story was penned by Théophile Gautier and Vernoy de St Georges in the 19th Century, during the Romantic Era. This period saw the rise of the ballerina (previously, men had dominated the art) and is characterised by ballets which tell stories of men falling in love with waif-like spirits.


Sofia National Ballet dancer in Giselle.


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