Drama Review Homework 16/02/14 - Arts Award

Masquerade | GTS Drama Studio | Reviewed on Sunday 16 February 2014

As I sat in my seat ready to watch what was proposed to be an award worthy performance, I began to wonder whether a mere theatre production was to produce such a spine-chillingly feel with a minor set of a table, 4 chairs and some beer bottles, all shone upon with the use of some cringe-worthy stereotypical lighting in a deep red. 
This was the only part of the set that disappointed me slightly; it automatically produces a guard- you are ready and waiting for something horrific to happen due to the significance of blood, anger and fire through the use of the colour. Perhaps the colour white may have lead to a more frightful performance, with a switch to the colour red further on. Therefore creating a more frightful and jumpy atmosphere for the audience. 
But the main question was, will this be powerful enough to have the same effect of confusion and fear that is created through the use of special effects, but without the use of anything other than the four actors and their minimalistic props.

The answer to my question was yes. Admittedly, I wasn't shocked to the point of jumping out of my seat, but the original performance and eerie music complemented each other to create confusion and chills.

Primrose Hill (Previously seen in Agamemnon), provides an extremely convincing performance of what has been concluded to be a wife, fed up of family life, and abused by her husband, and children. Here we see Primrose removing any sign of emotion from her face, and shouting the word creep between parts of typical family conversation. This sets of what is formed like a glitch in their family. Her Husband (Patrick Stark) and two children (Amy Wright&Hayley Willats) then proceed to put on masks. The glitch is repeated, each time coming to an end with her husband shouting out sexual words, hinting to sexual abuse.

The performance came to an end with the family mingling throughout the audience, creating shock and tension. Primrose drew to a close what was a chilling, yet twisted performance with her own version of a beautiful, yet cruel dance. This resembled the likes of ballet, but she created the shock factor with slowly falling to the floor to signify an ending to not only the performance, but her character.

I left the room mulling over the whole performance in great deal, how could a performance with such little props or detail, have a such a strong message. Let alone leave such a strong feeling of confusion throughout the whole audience. As the final applause sounded, I watched as every watcher, discussed a variety of deep, different messages, everyone with a different view on what a simple rendition of family life could be trying to create.

A performance that could have ended up being a tragic attempt to give the audience a scare, ended in being a twisted and unusual performance, that left me with thoughts to fill up the rest of the day. A chilling interpretation of a woman masked by family life.

REVIEW: Tom Odell - Plymouth Pavilions 07/02/14

(credit to whoever this belongs too- I danced too much to take any pictures, just videos!)
On Friday I was lucky enough to experience the wonder that is Tom Odell for the second time. I previously saw him last October at the Bristol O2 and having been a strong lover of his music for about a year now. This meant that purchasing tickets to his latest UK tour seemed the natural thing to do.

Tom really stands out in the sea of recent pop and charts music, with his piano, own written songs and a truly strong voice that gives the impression he will start to cry at any moment. Each one of his songs are so well-written and raw, it can really play with your emotions. I am yet to find another quite like him, wearing his own style of an oversized white shirt and chelsea boots and his floppy hair-do he really managed to steal the show and have the whole audience screaming the words back at him. The contrast of his vulnerable voice with his jaunty and dynamic piano skills provided a night that was one of my best.

James Bay and Fryars opened the show, both bringing a completely different approach to the new-day music industry. I feel we have recently lost the true style and emotion we can bring across through music, which has been replaced by songs made all through the aid of the computer. To see two different acts stand on stage with their instruments and sing with their true voice was a sight that made not only me but many others happy.

After the first two acts, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. I had back-ache, my feet were sore, I was suffering from a lack of water and I had a variety of different peoples hair being shoved in my face. I was even beginning to think that if I stayed at the front Toms whole performance would be ruined by my lack to concentrate and dire need for water. Luckily enough we sacraficed our front row place and bought a drink, before returning and managing to get passed 4000 people to a gap at the very end of the front. Here we had a side on view of Tom, plenty of room for a good boogie, a barrier to hand our coats on and although we couldn't see Matt Ingram on the drums and Max Cliverd on guitar after our amazing view in October we weren't complaining.
Tom opened the show with Long Way Down and Hold Me, where he bashed on his piano like there was no tomorrow. We were also fortunate enough to be the first to hear his new song Alex live, where everyone watched in awe, trying to memorise every moment.

With only one album to his name, Tom performed a variety of songs including Another Love, Grow Old With Me, See If I Care and Till I Lost but also twisted in about 4 covers, my personal favourite being I Just Want To Make Love To You by Etta James which formed some great remarks from the audience along with an awful lot of jumping around. When an album as strong as his is released, and has such brilliant live performances to complement it there isn't a doubt that you have somebody in front of you who is bound to go far.

For me, the highlight of the night was Sense, which was brought to us through Tom's achingly powerful vocals. As I peered around at the four thousand people who witnessed it alongside me I saw many had tears in their eyes. 

My other favourite was his show opener, Hold Me, which, being one of his more upbeat songs had me clapping along, screaming the words as loud as I could over the satisfied roar of the crowd.

The whole night was equipped with a great amount of performances in which it was impossible not to stamp your feet and pump you fist in the air; but also had the stripped back performances where Tom's passion and feeling was reflected into the audience. Even if that wasn't enough, I was extremely fortunate to have a small conversation with him at the stage door, and a photo. He was so modest and humble, and strolled towards us casually after only what must have been a 10 minute wait with the words "F**k, it's really raining!". He greeted every one of the small collection of fans that had waited, despite the weather, asking us all how we enjoyed our night. 

Tom's debut album, Long Way Down was released in June last year, and with a new song last night, I, along with many others have our fingers crossed for a whole new album sometime this year. 

I left Plymouth with a complete buzz, repeating the events of the evening over and over in my head and watching the videos I took which was a great time-filler for the 2 hours home. 

Now to spend the next few months foraging the internet for news of his next tour.

A well-deserved 10/10 for what may have been one of the most loved nights I have experienced in a long time- even with the vast amount of hair that engulfed my face throughout the first half!

January Book Haul

As a child I was a very avid reader, I always have been, but recently I found myself slipping out of the habit. I decided towards the end of last year, what would be a better new years resolution other than to read more books! So I have taken it upon myself to share with you my view on a few of the books I read the previous month.

1, Let It Snow - John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
I am a massive Christmas lover, and throughout January it is normal behaviour for me to have the Post-Christmas blues. What I really needed was something enjoyable that would keep me feeling warm throughout the somewhat boring month of January. Let It Snow had me going to bed as early as I could, to fit in the maximum amount of reading my evening could possibly contain! 
Let It Snow consists of three different stories, each one entwining with the other in the most unexpected ways. The book follows the stories of three teenagers during the largest blizzard the town of Gracetown has ever seen. Each story allows it possible to feel warmth, happiness, pity and a dire need for the crunch of snow under your feet and the cheer that only Christmas can provide. For failing to pull me out of my January blues, 0/10, for making me feel unearthly happy, 9/10. A delightful cheer up technique.

2, Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy - Helen Fielding
The third instalment to a series that seems to never fail to make me laugh (laugh out loud too, not the noise I make whilst breathing out my nose heavily when I can't seem to find the energy!)
I managed to read this within two days, and with 389 pages it was the perfect time filler for a weekend full of long journeys. The whole story is another period, later on in her life and Helen Fielding has created the most spectacular well-loved character that many find unable not to relate too. During this part of Bridget's life, she is attempting to fill a large whole in her heart, while raising kids, exterminating the head lice that have taken over her house- all this whilst trying to balance her desire for comfort eating with her eagerness to drop some pounds. In the period between this book and the last, Bridget has got older and she's got fatter but is yet to get any wiser! A little slow moving to start, but it doesn't take long to get a smile on your face, 8/10.

3, Fire with Fire - Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
-The second book in the Burn for Burn trilogy.
After falling head over heels in love for the first book in this series, I was counting down the days until this was released last August. As school took control, Fire with Fire was pushed to the back of my mind until recently. Being a massive supporter of the first book, I had extremely high hopes for the second. Unfortunately, it may have been because the first book was so gripping and so easy to relate too, or the fact that I read it so soon after my previous book which was still whirring through my mind- but Fire with Fire didn't have the desired effect on me at all. I won't say I disliked it, because all the way through the first half I was absolutely smitten with the cleverness of the storyline. It wasn't until the last third of the book that it started to go downhill. All through the first book, and the first half of this one the plot had been three girls, Lillia, Kat and Mary getting revenge on those who had really done them wrong. I thought the storyline was well thought out and had me hooked at all the right places. Towards end of this book, I found the story I loved, ripped away and somehow completely different. Normally, I'm all for a juicy plot-twist, but this one seemed to introduce ideas that didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story. Other than this let down, the rest of the story was as well-written as the last and I absolutely adore the fact it is so different to any other books I've read in the past. So, with that in mind I would rate the first two thirds an 8/10, but the ending has got to be a mere 4/10.

One last book, which didn't quite make it into my January purchases..

4, Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan
My current favourite author that I discovered around the end of 2012, beginning of 2013 happens to be John Green. John Greens books are to DIE for. I am ashamed to say, that Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the only book I haven't read, well until I began a few days ago. I haven't read enough to comment on it yet, but reading a John Green book ends in either 3 things:
1. Falling head over heels in love with one of the characters.
2. Crying your own bodyweight in tears.
3. Both.
John Green somehow makes me feel emotions that I didn't think possible, and as it is probably not healthy to read The Fault in our Stars forever, I decided it was long overdue to read the last of his books I am yet to experience. 
I know, from previous experience, it is probably necessary to wish me luck, and I will apologise on behalf of my future self if it is my topic of conversation for a long while. 

So there we have it, my January reading list. Now the thought has popped into my head, I am currently constructing a long list of books I need to read this year. I won't bore you with all the details, buts lets just say it includes a new release from Jenny Han which really excites me!
I think that tomorrow being Sunday and my diary being completely empty brings me no better excuse than to say that another day of reading is in order...