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.

Resultado de imagen para diary of anne frank
Image found on Google and not my property. All copywright reserved to original proprietor
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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.

Chess: in concert #TheatreReview

Thursday 14th of April 2016, I had the pleasure of watching Chess, in concert, a production by my favourite – I am very biased! – Amateur Dramatics Group, The Hitchin Thespians

Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus from Abba and lyrics by Tim Rice, which is set in the cold war era and comments on the political status of USA and Russia during that time through the parallel of a chess tournament. Historically the musical was a huge success in the West End where it played for 3 years, opening on 1986. No major attempts at reviving the musical have been made, but it continues to be one of the most relevant musical placing 7th in BBC Radio 2’s “Number One Essential Musicals” list, demonstrating its strength as a piece.

The Thespians, an operatic amateur dramatics society that has been around for over 100 years and decided to tackle this incredible piece but in a concert version. I loved every second but have to be analytical of a few things that theatrically did not work.

The space at Woodside hall where the thespians perform is rectangular, usually the stage is located at one of the narrower ends of the stage but this time they decided to go for a long stage and long seating. This allowed them to add the members of choir either side of the central stage. However, this caused a huge unbalance in the sound where audiences on either side could only really hear the choir directly infront of them. Audience members sat in the central area were welcomed with a fantastic wall of sound however.

Performances were excellent from the main cast, as usual the pool of talent in the society oozes and they never cease to impress. The band again was incredible, giving the sound of a full orchestra and musical band with just two pianos and a drum set. Overall for an amateur production, with limited space and flexibility they tackled their issues head on and tried to make it work as best as possible. Still a completely enjoyable performance and I think that for any growing theatre producer, actor, practitioner, director etc it is important to see as many productions that can show you the type of challenges that you can encounter. However, it is s much fun to come up with alternatives to make it work. So if you don’t come and watch the Hitchin Thespians, go watch your own local theatre group, to watch some incredible untapped talent and to learn more about the basics of the beautiful thing that is theatre and live performance.

Runemarks – falling in love with Norse Mythology

One of the biggest truths about life is that many little things make you fall in love. Literature was one of my first big loves, it helped me discover a thirst within me to find out more. It was also through literature that I started letting my mind wander to places far away from home, so here started my passion for travel. Finally, when studying history I started falling in love with mythology, from Greek, Roman, Norse etc. So many epic stories that form the basis for stories today, it is all one big intertwined world and literature has made me realise just how much it is. So Joanne Harris has brought three things together for me!

Runemarks follows the story of Maddy Smith – later called Modi – who discovers after a series of events that she is the estranged daughter of the lost God, Thor. The end of the world seems to be approaching – as it always is in these types of stories – and she needs to find a way to save the Gods, wake them from their slumber and rescue the world. With the help of her entrusted yet suspicious uncle Loki and her good friend One-eyed who taught her everything he could about magic and her godly abilities.

Joanne Harris brings together the old Norse stories with a beautiful world and prose that carries the myths so well. The award winning author had yet to tap into this style of writing and she did it effortlessly. I think adding the narrative that magic had been something that had been encountered before and was now being ignored due to fear allowed Harris to introduce the power of the gods quite effectively. The novel is both refreshing as it is coated in olden airs, a story that is so ancient and known but was told in a new way.

Norse mythology is one that I am not hugely familiar with, I am far more versed in Greek and Roman and other smaller mythologies, but it is truly phenomenal and fascinating. Harris introduces the subject and belief smoothly enabling us all to understand and feel like this world is not so detached from our own. For the avid fantasy reader and the traveller I really do recommend this novel. Written by an award winning and established author, it is a pleasure to be welcomed into the Norse world by her brilliant writing skill and wit. Enjoy this novel.

Into the Hoods remixed – theatre review

Saturday 24th of October, The Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, London

How can I review something that was I was already pre-disposed to love? I am suppose to be unbiased here and give a critical analysis, but I am afraid that in this case I might fail. So this is a short one but good one, full of love for a company that I completely biased towards.

Zoonation is my favourite dance theatre company. They are mostly a hip hop dance company who reinvent and re-write very well known scripts, musicals to fit their genre. They put together narratives that not only fit the genre and the dramatic nature of hip hop, but also use stories that that still have some sort of echo in current times and issues.

Into the Hoods is a hip hop take of the popular Sondheim musical Into the Woods – if you had not guessed that already. The story in this case took place in a council estate in East London. The parallel was drawn with the witch as the Landlord who refuses to help two kids who are lost get home until they acquire 4 items for his daughter’s birthday.

Now none of this sounds extremely amazing, but it is quite outstanding to write some fantastic adaptations to fit such a specific genre. This is huge and Zoonation do it incredibly! I cannot say much more than continue sharing my love for Zoonation, a company that I try to always see shows from. As a lover of hip hop dance and theatre, this company really is everything I love in one and it makes me completely inadequate to form any coherent opinion about them.

I took my boyfriend with me to watch them and he was very constructive and had some opinions on the performances, but his opinion in this occasion matters not to me as I was as always completely mesmerised and taken by the company. I thought the dancing was fantastic, the characters embodied perfectly through the dance moves and shapes created with their bodies. I loved it. If you hadn’t guessed that already.

I would have to say that I was a bit upset that the show started a bit delayed due to technical issues, but only because I was getting a bit too anxious, other than that it didn’t deteriorate the performance at all. I would have to say as well that narrative wise, it is not the strongest production of Zoonation, Some Like it Hip Hop continues to be their best one and my favourite. However, the performers were incredible and really carried the piece through. I can’t say much more as I will just continue rattling on about my love for them, so I am going to leave you here with some trailers of their shows! Try to watch them live, it is pure joy on stage.

Zoonation, Into the Hoods Remixed

Zoonation, Some Like it Hip Hop

Note: The images are from Google and the videos from YouTube, not owned by me.