Vamos Cuba! – Theatre Review

Amazing dancing but lazy plot making.

When I watch a dance show I don’t usually mind not having a plot to follow. I would almost prefer it to be done in a series of small sketches, like a comedy show. However, if you want to have a story line at least make it visceral to the show. It killed me that in the midst of such exception dancing and choreography the plot failed to impress as much. Why oh why was it set in an airport? It just made very little sense and would have been far more captivating if it was set in the streets of Havana. The public wanted Cuba and that would have delivered Cuba. The idea was flawed and too complicated when the audience was craving the latin everything that the show could have potentially offered, setting and plot included. That being said, choreographers and concept designers are not authors, so I will forgive them for that.

Dance wise, what an incredible show to watch. It was fun, sassy and everything I imagined Cuban dancing to be like, both structured and dirty to the core. There was enough variation that the audience was always left wanting to watch more. For this reason I can only advise people to watch the show when it comes around again. It is reinvented by the company every few years and it is such good fun, followed by the dance class at the end which is just an absolute joy.

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Anne Frank -The Diary of a Young Girl (book review)

I have been delving into my reading whilst abroad, and recently finished the WWII famous Diary of a Young Girl, which chronicles the story of Anne Frank and her family as they attempt to hide themselves and other Jews from the war.

The story begins with 13 year old Anne receiving a diary for her birthday from her family, and she decides how she will be going about maintaining the diary up to date. She names her diary Kitty and writes all her entries as letters to her dear friend Kitty. The diary has two years of entries that see Anne grow from a child to a young lady, developing her writing style and going through the ups and downs of a normal teenager, paired with the added pressure of war.

Throughout we see Anne discuss issues with her family, with sharing a home with another family and detail at length the political situation that she finds herself in. We get the impression that this young girl has had to grow very fast, and this is reflected in her many musings and ponderings of her life and her beliefs. Anne is faced with having to deal with a huge hormonal development and change from a child to an adult, as well as surviving a war that has doomed her people. We see the protagonist question her beliefs and re-consider how she would like to live her life should she ever leave.

The ‘Secret Annexe’ as she calls it, is a small apartment in which she finds herself locked in and secluded from the world, alongside her family and the Van Daans. The tension between the two families fluctuates tremendously in the 2 years that they cohabitate in the small space. All with the aid of a few German friends who disagree with the conflict, the family go on, counting their lucky stars that they do not have to suffer the same fate as other Jewish people. In the midst of radio updates, a never ending wait for the war to start and endless weeks of consumin potatoes and spinach, Anne is able to find the happy and uplifting moments in her situation. We see the girl begin to develop feelings for a boy and find her first love, in spite of her denying it to the ground.

Overall, the book gives a perfect picture of the war from the perspective of a child in hiding, but also demonstrates just how mundane lives continued whilst waiting for the worst. The book was given to publishing by Pim Frank – Anne’s father – two years after he survived the war.

I loved every second of it. From being moved, to feeling as if I were actually there, there is no denying that young Anne had a gift for words and description. She was at times extremely poignant but also had such comedic relief in her writing. My only sadness is that I would urge Pim to have written a final entry or two, explaining maybe his feelings or how Anne’s hopeful life sadly ended after being taken to Auschwitz. It is truly a tragedy and her final diary entry is incredibly touching as the reader knows what happened next. Regardless, it is easy to understand why he perhaps would not feel brave enough to finish or add to her already mesmerising and relevant work.

Young Anne, so full of hope and ambition in a time where all dreams were shot dead, makes this tail of her life a must read for all. Lest we forget.

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Image found on Google and not my property. All copywright reserved to original proprietor

The Cursed Child (review)

I had been anticipating this play for a VERY long time and this script was a godsend. Having only been able to book tickets for March 2017 and still counting down until I get to see it live, this play was exactly the wizarding world fix I needed. I know I have pottermore and the movie Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. However, sometimes, many times, patience is not my virtue, and with lots of spoiler trolling the world wide web I was in dire need to find out who the cursed child is. So I did what any fan would do and I bought a copy of the play script the day it landed on shelves world wide.

* SPOILER ALERT *

Harry Potter continues to be the cursed child – we all knew it! This at least is my understanding of the tail. We start on a fastforward of 18 years. Our previous heroes are all happily married, with magical offspring and the jobs they so aspired to get. Albus, Harry{s younger son is about to go to Hogwarts – note remember the end of the last book when we have a flash forward? The play pretty much starts there. – and he too is concerned about becoming a Slytherin. Harry, high in virtue, promises that whatever happens he will not be judged but rather very much accepted and loved. Like all teenage dramas, how wrong could a parent be? Albus does get into Slytherin, befriends none other than Draco Malfoy’s son and becomes the dark sheep of the family. Even Granger’s daughter now despises him.

(I have a theory that Granger’s daughter and Malfoy’s son are going to get hitched in the Potter world future and have beautiful, cunning little babies. Malfoy and Granger will then have to become bff’s and the purist will have to apologise to her for his despicable behaviour as a spoilt teenage brat.)

Now fast forward a bit more, time turners are illegal, blah blah blah, but the point is Albus wants to do something right and ends up messing up big time. – I am trying not to ruin it too much – But he is trying to help this girl who turns out to be Bellatrix and Voldemort’s long lost daughter who is trying to change the past by killing Harry Potter as a baby. Now all of our heroes and their children jump on the time travelling band wagon go back, someone (you will find out who!) pretends to be Voldemort and saves the day. This is a really short and broken summary of the plot but my point is, how can anyone think that ALBUS is the cursed child and not HARRY? It’s obvious isn’t it? They all go back to save the poor kid from death only to become cursed and live out his first 18 years fighting off evil! Tum tum tum! Knew it.

Alternitavely you could say the cursed child is the daughter of Voldemort and Ballatrix LeStrange. I think this would be quite an obvious choice, as she is the most deadly of all and bound to never meet her parents. Regardless of who it is exactly – as it is never fully stated – I am pleased to see it is not Albus or Malfoy’s son, because that would be far too predictable. Plus the introduction of a daughter from He who must not be named and the deadliest death eater of all is brilliant, because it confirms, once more, the love that spawned between the two hideous characters. Even Voldemort needed a bit of love in his life clearly.

Rowling does a fantastic job of it though, I have to say. I loved the premise, if anything just because it was a pleasure to see that our heroes have become normal parents who too make mistakes. Not just some perfect examples of life. They are heroic in the aspect that they portray a totally normal dynamic. I also admire the teenage angst that fills the pages. There is clearly some hidden tension between young Potter and young Malfoy, many fan theories hinting at the first homosexual relationship to be fully played out in the Potterworld – seeing as don’t really have a full record of Dumbledor’s amorous life. We all know that young Malfoy wants a bit of young Granger-Weasley, but it is great that Albus definitely demonstrates hints of homosexuality. I can say that it was an obvious choice to choose him to carry this mantle seeing as he has already been selected into a different house from his family and is quite evidently the odd one out. In this sense I wished that Rowling had used a less obvious choice, for example his older brother James, which would have been refreshing and not overchanged Albus’ character with so many features. Also, is he would be echoing the life of the great magician he was named after and almost completing the circle. We are not yet sure that he is in fact gay, but the hints are there.

Overall, it is never a bad thing to return to the wizarding world, and I am excited to encounter it in this medium. March 2017 cannot come soon enough, and I will be watching magic come to life on stage in London. Share your thoughts on the script with me and anythings you have loved or hated about it.

Me Before You – Book/Film Review

Photo found on Google, not my property.
Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern are the goddesses of the romance novel, chick lit, romantic comedy, tug at your heart strings, cry with laughter books that I can sit and devour in hours. They are, it is as simple as that, so when one of their books gets converted into a film I am there faster than the road runner trying to tease coyote.

Me Before You is no exception to Moyes’ skill. Really it was probably the novel that shot her to fame and made her the world renowned author she is. It tells the story of a Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark, a girl who is struggling to find her path in life and simply needs to work to make ends meat, and Will Traynor, a self-centered rich boy who has suffered a huge accident. – This is the version with no spoilers, for spoilers, carry on reading. – After the accident Will becomes paralysed from his neck down and is bound to a wheel-chair. Desperate for any work, Louisa agrees to become a carer for Will and here their seemingly distant lives cross paths to create a recipe for beautiful romance and some heart-wrenching moments… As you can predict they fall in love but something else happens too… What you may ask? READ THE BOOK! WATCH THE FILM!

Moyes’ writing of the story is not short of romantic genius.Truly challenging the genre’s most famous authors such as Sparks, and giving them a valiant run for their money, Moyes has re-defined romance with one swooping novel. Writing about exactly what everyone else avoids, sacrifice, selfishness, not loving someone enough or loving them so much you have to leave. Me Before You  plays with all human emotions taking you on a journey from sad to happy, rollercoasting from fantastic moment of complete elation to gut-wrenching, crawl on the floor in agony devastation. A true gift to the 21st centure romance novel, her writing is humorous and boisterous at the right moments, and full of subtle nuances when it has to change, following such a natural and effortless flow. A true pleasure to read.

Lets discuss the film. First of all, as a fan – duh! – I loved everything about it. I think it was very smartly put together, cleverly juxtaposing the severity of the issues it debates with the light heartedness of the romance. In fact, that is what the entire story is about, the difference between Will and Lou. Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin beautifully embody these two complex and contrasting characters, creating a fantastic dynamic and captivating moving picture.

Clarke put on her Louise shoes in style for this one, full stripy stockings, polka dot loving Lou. She was the adorable, quirky and fairly odd in perfection. Her performance left nothing to desire as it delivered everything a reader loved about the character. When she was first cast I honestly couldn’t see past her Mother of Dragons persona, but now, she has only proven that her versatility is real and she is a performer to look out for. Claflin too completely blew my mind with his performance, proving that he doesn’t just fit into the teen heart throb hero of The Hunger Games and the romantic comedy lead of Love Rosie. He took on Will’s seriousness really well and embraced the differences between between the two characters with such grace making him not despicable, as he sometimes came across as, but human.

Me Before You is one of those forever love stories that you need to make the time to watch or read. Engage with it, live it, love it and cry it! It is beautiful and it is devastating and it makes you think about a lot of things and appreciate the smaller things in life. It is definitely worth watching or reading and it is a movie for all, but maybe not the kids!

Suicide Squad – film review

 

Everyone that knows me quite well, knows that Comic Book films are my thing. I watch them all, all the TV series and read as many of them as feasible without spending my entire paycheck on them. I am a little bit addicted. So as expected, after a very hyped campaign, I was very excited for the new DC installment of baddies turned good for a film, Suicide Squad. All my dreams were about the come true, DC was going to show off Marvel with a cast of villains that were going to be witty, smart, and ultimately WIN! It was going to revolutionise comic book cinema. It was going to be dark, gritty and epic. It was going to be all these things and it failed, miserably.

** Spoiler alert!** 

Here is where it all went wrong. Firstly, if you have seen the numerous trailers for the movie, Leto’s new portrayal of the iconic villain, the Joker, was pegged to be the most terrifying of all. With news of Leto’s method acting technique getting the best of him and almost driving him insane, audiences were expecting the Joker to play a much more prominent role. And why wouldn’t they? Not only are we looking at the re-introduction to a major DC character since the death of the late Ledger and his incredibly dark and involving interpretation of the Joker, but also he was featured in almost half of the trailer! He was so heavily shown that audiences were led to believe that he would be the villain of the film. How wrong we all were! In fact, all the hype around the character, the fact that Leto apparently drove himself to brink of insanity leaves me feeling incredibly disappointed, because hey ho, he wasn’t that great! Yes he cackled in a creepy way, but actually as far as intimidating goes, he was far from it. This film only introduced his obsession with his partner Harley Quinn, and she in fact was much more creepy than he was! I am so phenomenally devastated with Leto’s flat performance, considering as I said before, he went practically barking mad. Well, it didn’t work, maybe method acting is not his thing after all.

Cara Delevingne! Again with the confusing trailers! Let’s see, in the entirety of the trailer, which struggles to showcase all the characters as there are many to introduce, Delevingne is only seen once – ONCE! Which many audiences were grateful for as she is not an actress, but indeed a model, and really no one expected her to be the villain. As in she was actually the villain of the entire movie, with two plots to follow, two parts to play and yet, I still cannot quite believe she was truly elected for such a demanding role. Delevingne’s performance is by far the most awful in comic book history. What were they thinking? She is meant to be the major villain of the entire film and she simply cannot carry it. The issue is that this is even more evident by the fact that she wasn’t heavily featured in the trailers. Also, they put her side by side with Leto, who not only comes with a background of critically acclaimed performances, but embodied the much loved Joker who historically is worse of the worse of bad guys. Enchantress just would not have had the same weight nor influence in getting those audiences booking tickets. It was all an elaborate marketing ploy to get you through the door, when in fact we saw very little of Leto and too much Delevingne! Big mistake. Finally, who on earth is her brother? The big metal thing that seems to be killing off all of the main characters, who is that monstrosity? And why is he not listed on IMDB? AND WHAT IS HIS NAME?

Okay let’s move on from those two big disasters to talk about the biggest let down of all. I believe I could have loved the Joker in this and I could have even loved Enchantress, if the plot was not a total shambles and the cinematography of this movie was all over the place. Ayre, writer of two of my favourite films The Fast and the Furious and Training Day, left me bitterly infuriated with this movie. I cannot believe how disjointed the film felt, with visible plot holes and cuts. It is a real shame that everyone knows that something was clearly wrong with the original cut of the film as the intended May launch date was postponed to August so that they could record some more scenes. I am curious what the original cut was missing as this second one seems to be missing lots! Do you think there was a re-write? I almost believe there was, as it is clear that some of the original scenes from the first trailer went missing. I honestly do not know where it all went wrong but Ayre had everything, from a strong cast, to incredible story lines that he could have intertwined so beautifully to make the movie a comic book success! I felt the loosely put together plot, the 20 minute introduction to the characters that almost took away from the film, the lackluster and forced chemistry between June/Enchantress and Griggs, this unexplained brother and the lack of any information in general, disappointed DC fans or at least me thoroughly. You had it all and you still could not deliver.

I have to say that amongst the terrible choices made for this film from a written and directorial perspective, some saving graces did exist. I think Margot Robbie stole the show, with most of the witty comments and craziness being given to her. Her delivery if Harley Quinn was impeccable, with a good dose of madness, gumption and simply love for her Joker, Robbie delivered a balanced performance but mostly carried a film which was struggling bringing it to the forefront. Robbie’s Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot were the two characters that in a movie so filled with people and overshadowed by a huge star cast, delivered a full story and arc to their characters, actually developing them in the short amount of scenes and speech they were given. A movie that relies so heavily on CGI and fantastic combat scenes, and yet these two really demonstrated that they are able to take their character and still make it work even if they are not meant to be the focus of the story. Another pleasant surprise was Jai Courtney’s Boomerang. The Aussie villain was hilarious, his one liners perfectly timed in the midst of all the rubble and his commitment to the role and pink fluffy unicorn making for some of my favourite scenes of the film. These 3 I am really looking forward to seeing again in the DC sphere. I think Leto will be able to deliver a good performance if provided with a bigger chance of character development and a stronger script.

All in all, the entertainment values of the film for me did not outweigh the huge disappointment I felt when watching it and it saddens me that DC had everything to give audiences a brilliant movie and really did crawl themselves into the comic book moviesphere with this one. This film that could have delivered and stolen fans from Marvel over the DC, this film that had so much hype and publicity and, perhaps unintentionally, deceived its public. This film that was meant to be the saving grace of DC after the awful movie that was Batman vs Superman. It is a shame but it won’t stop me from watching the next DC installment and probably commenting once more on their epic failure OR on their actual, unlikely success.

3 rotten tomatoes out of 10 for this one.

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Both images featured in this post were found on Google and do not belong to me.