REVIEW: ‘Legally Blonde’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2018

 

Chick flick romcom Legally Blonde makes for a feel-good musical that is as sparkling as pink champagne.

The 2001 American film, based on the novel by Amanda Brown and starring Reese Witherspoon, sees protagonist Elle Woods prove that one can never be overdressed or overeducated.

Pretty, popular and passionate about pink, fashion marketing student Elle is devastated when her boyfriend Warner Huntington III breaks up with her, declaring that he needs a more serious sweetheart befitting of the future he has planned. Elle is determined to win him back, so she shuns sorority parties, starts swotting and successfully bags herself a place to study alongside Warner at the prestigious Harvard Law School. Accompanied by her cute chihuahua, Bruiser, Elle remains unabashedly herself in her new surroundings. Pink princess and legal eagle, she essentially ends up falling in love with her own untapped potential.

 

Legally Blonde the musical.

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INTERVIEW with Dominic North, New Adventures, January 2016

 

Dancer Dominic North is currently touring with New Adventures, performing in Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. He found time for a quick chat with Georgina Butler to discuss how things have moved on since the “original” Princess Aurora dozed off…

 

Dancer Dominic North first appeared with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures in 2004 as an ensemble swan in Swan Lake. Since making his official début in a principal role as Edward in Edward Sissorhands in 2008 at the Sydney Opera House, he has performed as many of Bourne’s lead characters.

Matthew Bourne is renowned for delving into stories in a bid to reveal characters’ motivations and unearth deeply buried narrative elements. His Sleeping Beauty is devised as a gothic romance full of fairies, supernatural surprises and, of course, true love. Bourne plays around with the time that the story is set so that Princess Aurora is born the year that the classical ballet first premièred and “comes of age” with a 21st birthday during the Edwardian era. This means that she is roused from her slumber in 2012 (which is when Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty was premièred).

He certainly gives the traditional tale enough ingenious twists and turns to keep a contemporary audience intrigued. Just for starters, Aurora falls for the royal gamekeeper; the couple enjoy a sweet romance before the princess visits the land of Nod and a vampiric twist heavily influences who is there to wake her up a century later! Nonetheless, Bourne’s careful attention to detail when coming up with his concept means that he manages to put his own spin on proceedings while simultaneously paying homage to the masterpiece that the classical ballet will forever be.

I am such a balletomane and The Sleeping Beauty may well be my favourite classical ballet (although, admittedly, the top-spot seems to change far too frequently to enable me to have a definitive favourite!). Still, prior to seeing Matthew Bourne’s version, I had never properly considered quite how momentous falling asleep for 100 years would actually be. Maybe it is just because we know the children’s yarn so well but his imaginative approach certainly adds an array of fascinating features that were missing from my bedtime stories!

What better way to learn more about Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty than by chatting to New Adventures‘ principal dancer Dominic North all about the role that has made him wake up and see this fairy tale differently…

 

Dominic North. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

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INTERVIEW with Wayne Sleep, November 2015

 

This Christmas, renowned British dancer, director, choreographer, actor and panellist Wayne Sleep will perform in pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Before the rehearsals began, Wayne had a bit of a chinwag with Georgina Butler

 

Famous for being the shortest male dancer to ever attend The Royal Ballet School (he is 5’2″), Wayne Sleep is best known for his career as a celebrated Senior Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet. Numerous roles were created for him by some of the world’s greatest choreographers and he frequently featured as a guest artist with other companies.

Appointed OBE in 1998, Wayne has also received honorary degrees from the Universities of Exeter and Teesside; is a Patron of the British Ballet Organization; is a Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Dance and has two entries in The Guinness Book of Records. In addition to dancing, Wayne also acts and makes appearances as a dance judge and celebrity. His credits include West End, regional and touring theatre productions; television shows and films – not to mention a plethora of pantomimes!

 

Wayne Sleep. British dancer, director, choreographer, actor and panellist Wayne Sleep.

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REVIEW: ‘Les Misérables: School Edition’ – Stantonbury Theatre, Milton Keynes, July 2015

 

A cast of talented young revolutionaries stormed their way through the epic songs and struggles of Les Misérables at Stantonbury Theatre on Friday evening.

In a bid to demonstrate “what little people can do”, RARE Productions invited city students aged 8 to 21 to join their crusade to bring the timeless tale of broken dreams, unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption to the stage in a special School Edition.

The end result was an emotive, entertaining and engaging adaptation of the legendary musical.

 

Les Misérables School Edition. Stantonbury Theatre. RARE Productions. View Post

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Cake Shop In The Garden’ by Carole Matthews, July 2015

 

Carole Matthews The Cake Shop in the Garden

CAROLE SERVES UP A SLICE OF LIFE WITH LATEST
PAPERBACK ‘THE CAKE SHOP IN THE GARDEN’…

 

Bestselling author Carole Matthews lives life to the full and seems to find inspiration for her riveting romantic fiction novels everywhere. She has lived in Milton Keynes with her other half, Lovely Kev, for fifteen years and many of her entertaining books are set in the new city.

Carole’s most recent yarn, The Cake Shop In The Garden, features the area of Milton Keynes (or “the Costa del Keynes” as she affectionately calls it when in discussion with readers on social media) surrounding the Grand Union Canal. The sights, sounds and domestic situations within a sprawling house in the pretty (and fictitious) village of Whittan spring off the page as soon as chapter one begins.

Fay Merryweather runs a popular cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up delicious treats, ensures her customers feel completely at home and tends to the grounds – all while also looking after her belligerent, bed-bound, mother. It very quickly becomes obvious that this particular protagonist could take a leaf out of our Carole’s book when it comes to seizing exciting new opportunities and taking responsibility for her own happiness.   View Post