FEATURE: Christmas is coming… (“0h yes it is!”) – Panto 2013 at Milton Keynes Theatre: ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ media launch, September 2013


The year 2013 hurtles on and, as we welcome in the autumn, the elves are already busily getting to work on Christmas plans at Milton Keynes Theatre. 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, be photographed together in costume and be interviewed by showbiz journalists from across the region!


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

The cast: Prince Charming (Shaun Dalton), Snow White (Kate Stewart), Wicked Queen (Jennifer Ellison) and Warwick Davis as ‘Prof’


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


Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews, a seasonal book that is full of festive fun.



“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: Swans glide to glory at Milton Keynes Theatre in Sofia National Ballet’s spectacular ‘Swan Lake’, July 2013

Sofia National Ballet dances Swan Lake


A stunning ‘swansong’ performance ended 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: Spanish flair comes to Milton Keynes Theatre with Sofia National Ballet’s ‘Don Quixote’, 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.

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: Ethereal spirits grace the stage as Sofia National Ballet brings ‘Giselle’ to 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.

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 waiflike spirits.


Sofia National Ballet dancer in Giselle.


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