26 May 2017

Blush at The Soho Theatre

Blush, currently showing at the Soho theatre, covers the emotive and very relevant topic of revenge porn.  With the passing of new laws throughout the world to try and tackle this modern issue, Blush looks into why people act the way they do online and how this can affect people's lives.

The two performers play three female and two male characters covering all sides of revenge porn, from the senders, to the receivers, to other family members.  The primary emotions at play here are anger and humiliation, making it a raw, honest performance that at times can be hard to watch.

The male characters are both blokey, slightly cocky characters, which can come across a bit stereotypical, and would have benefitted from a tad more subtlety to bring the characters to life.  Gestures for all characters aired on the side of the obvious and theatrical and could do with some finesse.  Some characters did seem to be more realistic than others however, the young woman who posts pictures of her boyfriend seems the most interesting and believable, and is well performed by Charlotte Josephine however sadly, other characters seemed to be unrealistic.  In particular the young girl who is a victim of revenge porn who acts much younger than the early 20’s that she describes herself as.  Although she is supposed to be a young woman, she has a complete naivety about technology, social media and relationships.  The way she speaks makes her come across as a pre-teen, which causes some confusion and leaves it open to the possibly dangerous interpretation of stupidity in a performance that should be fighting to show the opposite.

One of the male characters discussed the psychology used in getting people addicted to mobile games in relation to a TED talk, and made a really interesting comparison as to why people use social media and send photos, whilst managing to avoid victim blaming.  The reward part of the brain getting a good reaction to images of themselves can be addictive, and it was brought in to the performance in a really smart, natural way.

The humour aspects in the play could do with work, as unfortunately they barely land and this could have added a bit more depth to the performance as a whole.  I also found the characters to lack distinction throughout some areas of the performance, especially the male characters, which did cause some confusion.  The female characters did seem to become more distinct as the play continued and the show really got into it’s stride.  The performance really hits it’s peak during the poetic sections, here the honesty, anger and pacing really hit home in a powerful way.  Around ¾’s through the play the energy really builds to make an energetic and truly powerful scene which was the definite high point in which both actors shine.

Overall it’s an OK performance, with moments of real passion and prevalence, that gets let down in other areas making it sadly forgettable.  This could be a great performance with some re-working.

24 May 2017

10 Types of PR Emails Bloggers Receive

Last week I decided to finally have a clear out of my blog email and delete all those irrelevant, odd and sometimes hilarious press releases we all get.  I realised near the end that I should have made a vlog out of it as some of them are so damn funny, and often not intentionally.  I thought I’d share with you the types of PR emails I think all us bloggers have received:

The hilariously bad press release
These are ones where the products are just so funny, ridiculous or impractical you feel bad for the PR person sending out out.  They must know that they are trying to push something ridiculous; make up for your dog, waterproof oven gloves, anti-ageing for your baby, whatever it is they’ve been given the product and they have to push it, no matter how crazy it may be.  PR person, I feel for you in this one.  

The insult you so you take less money
I think every blogger has received one of these at some point.  The email starts well, they want to collab, but they want you cheap so they chuck in an insult to make you feel bad and take their crappy offer.  Something along the lines of “given your low audience readership I can only offer you XX” or “We are working with much bigger bloggers so we only have XX for you”.  Usually they’ve not even asked for your numbers so you just know they are making it up as they go.  If you do these you can be sure I won’t want to work with you, no matter what your offering.  

The serial follow-upper
You get an email, and it’s generic, impersonal or you're not interested so you don’t think it warrants a response or you're busy and forget.  The next thing you know you are getting follow up emails every other day ‘did you see my email yesterday, have you had time to think it over, please reply’ etc.  I even get follow ups to follow ups!  Take a hint guys!  

The personal project
These are the people who’ve got something they created themselves, often a self-published book or a bag design they’ve come up with, and they’ve heard in a self marketing class somewhere that working with bloggers is a good, cheap way of getting your stuff promo-ed.  The issue is that they have no idea how to work with bloggers and don’t really know what they want from you, so these usually go nowhere, they just want a plug.  I do feel for these people and try to help them out but it can be so hard to work with people when it’s there ‘baby’.  

The exposure pusher
We have no budget, but we might share on twitter to our 500 followers”.  Bye Felicia!

The “free now, might be paid in the future
This is the sister of the exposure pusher, they want you to do the marketing now for free, and maybe one day if they suddenly find a load of cash and decide to actually give you something in return for a future project.  They have no idea what these projects are, when or if they might happen and you’ve already worked for free so why would they bother?  They need you to cling onto that hope!

The infographic lover
Infographics seem to finally be going out of fashion at the moment but god have I had a ton of them sent to me over the last few years in the hope that I will chuck one up on my blog for no reason, maybe they think we will just be distracted by the colours?  Oh and they are almost always irrelevant to my blog.  Speaking of which…

The irrelevant
You get an email sent to you “dear blogger” so you feel really special, and it’s about something completely irrelevant for you and your blog.  I get children’s toy info sent to me every week, clothes for tall people, products for blonde hair etc, it’s endless.  

The body shamer
The ‘beach body ready’ ‘change your fat ass now’ pr emails usually from people trying to promote some kind of weigh powder, diet drink or tea that makes you shit yourself.  It uses some kind of vague, badly worded insult to make you feel bad about yourself so you try it, I have no time for this.  Next!  

The good guys
The people who’ve actually looked at your blog, know what you write about, want to work with you fairly and are generally just nice people who want to work with you.  These guys are the best.  Good PRs, keep at it!  

22 May 2017

How I spent a weekend in Glasgow for under £95!

When I wrote my post about How I traveled and stayed in Edinburgh for under £100 I mentioned that I wanted to try and do a similar thing in Glasgow next time a seat sale came around.  Well not only did I do that, but I managed to spend less than £100 the whole weekend including travel, eating and exploring!  Here’s how:
Travel

My return from London to Glasgow cost £14 each way, so just £28 for the full return!  Even as I type this I am struggling to believe it, I had to double check.  This is even cheaper then I managed for Edinburgh.  I managed this using the techniques I shared in my How to Get the Best Deals Out from Virgin Seat Sales post to grab this bargain.  

Glasgow is a very walkable city so once I got there I didn’t need to use public transport much, but I did get a return on the subway from my Airbnb to central Glasgow for dinner on the first night as I was exhausted and I kinda just wanted to try it out.  This cost £3.10 for a return and is much cheaper if you have a Smartcard which I didn’t as I was only there for 2 days.   
Food
As I mentioned in my Glasgow Cheap Eats post, I was surprised at the variety, and the price of the food available in Glasgow.  For full details check out that post but everything I ate came in at less than £30, that included two large dinners and a couple of good lunches.

Accommodation
Once again my favourite discovery this year, Airbnb, came to the rescue of a solo traveler and I got a room in a nice flat just the other side of the river for £33 (including a £5 Airbnb fee).  To be honest I could have got somewhere cheaper and in a nicer flat for less but I left it really late to book and when I’m traveling alone I like to stay with a female host, that’s a me thing but it’s what makes me feel safe.  

Entertainment
£0.  Yep I spent exactly £0 on my two days exploring Glasgow!  I spent two full days exploring parks, visiting museums, monuments, cathedrals, graveyards and more and none of it cost me a penny!  There are so many free things to do in Glasgow that I did this without even trying.  

Overall total
Under £95

Honestly, isn’t that amazing!  I really think Glasgow is overlooked as a city break and it has so much to offer.  I’ll definitely be back at some point to explore more.  It’s a gorgeous, trend city with so much to see and do, I loved it.

Have you visited Glasgow?  What did you get up to?  
The Airbnb is an affiliate link I'm sharing because I genuinely love it, you can get £30 off a trip by using my link, enjoy!

19 May 2017

This is Not Culturally Significant at The Bunker Theatre

You may recall last week in my review of Identity Crisis that I heavily questioned my old view that a solo show that was written and performed by the same person, was usually an indication that it would be terrible.  Well if that performance cast doubts on this assumption This is Not Culturally Significant blew them completely out of the water!

This solo show, written and performed by Adam Scott-Rowley, comprises of ten characters all living within the same world.  Outside of this simple statement the show itself is hard to describe without seeing it, Scott-Rowley moves expertly from character to character at breakneck speed, leaving you with a show that needs to be seen to be believed.  

Let’s start off by saying this is not a for the faint hearted.  Between the fact that the performer is nude throughout, the coarse language, to the explicit content, everything about this is an adult show.  Yet at no point does it stray into that territory all too familiar with fringe shows of being shocking for the sake of being shocking.  Almost immediately the nudity becomes a background narrative and the characters are performed so well it is hard to be shocked by anything they do or say, as that is just who they are.  These are real, fleshed out characters, seen in snapshots that portray an insight into their lives.

The physicality Scott-Rowley exudes during the performance as he switches between so many unique characters, has to be seen to be believed.  The transformations are amazing, he transitions physically and vocally in such a seamless way that it is almost mesmerizing.  Every gesture is on point.  This is an actor to watch out for, he’s a powerhouse who just has to be pegged for big things!

The play manages to strike a genuine balance between being genuinely laugh out loud funny while remaining firmly dark.  This is pure entertainment for those of us who don’t want to spend our time faking laughs at shows on the West End  It’s seriously high energy throughout which makes the whole show fly by.  Even technically this show is fantastic, with the sound and lighting being striking, effective, and some of the best quality I’ve seen in a venue of this size.  Outside of the technical aspects this is a really stripped down show, with just a chair and a hanging light on the stage, and yet the performance is good it really doesn't feel like it.  It’s a show so full of life you seem to forget you are in a bare black box theatre.  

This is possibly the best show I have seen this year, make sure you catch it at The Bunker until the 3rd of June.  

17 May 2017

London Insta Walks: South Kensington

I mentioned in my Spring Mermaid fashion post last week that I had bought a London Walks book for myself and when ever Harry and I have a free day I've been grabbing my camera and going off to explore.  I've been loving it, it takes me to places in London I'd never normally see and get some great Instagram shots of course!  It's quickly become one of my favourite things to do and as I can't do it at the moment after twisting my ankle after one too many vodkas the other weekend I thought I'd share some of the pics with you instead.  The first walk we did was in South Kensington, it's a stunningly gorgeous area.
Rather then put these in any real sort of order I decoded to let my photo uploader do the choosing.  This sign is just around the corner from Holland Park and shows the way to a very unique, gothic style house that really stands out from the style of everything else in the area as you can probably tell from the sign.  A lot of famous people live, or have lived on this street and I believe a famous artist built this particular house, hence why it stands out.  
I love these little, hidden streets that take you on on to the larger, bigger streets typical of the area.  Plants make all the difference!  
If you are one of those Instagramers that loves doors, South Kensington is a god place to head to.  It has loads of gorgeous dwellings, all with different styles.  
Holland park has some beautiful areas, it's a mixture of neat, planned gardens and less formal areas to relax.  it's also full of adorable dogs so it won my heart instantly, I am told they have famous opera performances here every year in front of the beautiful house which makes up the centre of the park.  
Pastel houses and blossoms are the way to my heart!  
I love the look of this building to the right, it stands out from the white houses shown to the left that are more typical of the area.  There's something about it that looks almost modern and very grand.  
Pink roses and pink flowers make for the perfect garden don't you think?  
There is something about the typography above the door at this pub that I just really love, and the pastel shades of course.  
Of couldn't resist the vibes of this old car.  
So there's just some shots from my works, I had loads more and trust me it was difficult for me to Narrow down.  If you are looking for a nice, easy walk that's quite quiet and pretty this is defiantly an area to head to.  There's some amazing bars and very exclusive shops on the main High Street too that are worth a look in even if you just ogle at them from the window like I did.

I hope you liked this post, I'm thinking of making it into a series so let me know what you think?

15 May 2017

Soho at The Peacock Theatre

Ever since I was a teenager I have always been drawn to Soho.  Even before I moved to London I would joke that no matter where I was I could always find my way there.  I spend most of my nights out there, it has amazing food and entertainment that you won’t find anywhere else.  Soho has a life and an energy of it’s own, one that is hard to capture, so when I saw that a show was attempting to do just that, I knew I just had to see it.

Soho is a dance and circus theatre performance that takes you through different areas and aspects of Soho life through the day and night.  It is told through movement, amazing feats of strength and endurance, dance and music
Physically, you will see some performances here that will leave you in awe of what the body can do.  Various expertly performed circus skills are shown here including aerial performance, gymnastics and more set to a street dance style beat.  This relatively small cast do achieve some incredible things, however, some of the less impressive-performances appear when the artists appear to lack energy, particularly within the large group scenes in the first act.  Here at times it almost seems as if they are just going through the motions, appearing as it if is more for a rehearsal than a full live performance.  It is a shame as it draws away from some of the really incredible physical endurance and skill that happens around these moments.  There is some physical comedy but sadly this fails throughout, not even gaining a titter from the audience.
The second half was darker, grittier and appeared to have the most energy.  Here we see performers really commit and the story truly emerges.  

On the whole however, story is lacking and I think more could have been done to bring it together, rather than it just being a jumble of unrelated scenes.  One actor is ‘lost’ and goes from scene to scene, stumbling across things at will and this is the only real story arch, I think it could do with just a little more heart.  

The multimedia aspect of this performance is really well done however, the streets, bars and other aspects of Soho come to life via some expertly created projections which really look stunning.  The set build is simple but used amazingly well with the projection to create the different spaces in Soho.  
Soho is on at The Peacock Theatre until the 20th of May

12 May 2017

Identity Crisis at The Ovalhouse

After my review of Custody a couple of weeks ago I was left wondering what else The Ovalhouse had to offer with it’s current season.  Thankfully Identity Crisis, written and performed by Phina Oruche, blew all my expectations out of the water with her fantastic performance.


I use to work in theatre and it was a running joke that it a warning sign of when a show was going to be bad was if it was written, directed and performed by the same person.  Especially if it was a one person show as it just screamed ‘vanity project’’  This is one show however, where this certainly wasn’t the case.


Phina is a model and actress, best known for her work with Chanel and the Gap,  but if you're British you might recognise her from Hollyoaks or Footballer's Wives .  As someone who rarely watches terrestrial TV and has never had an interest in fashion this could easily have been a story that dis-interested me, as she told the story of her life, with it’s many ups and downs.  However this wasn’t the case, Phina has a charm, stage presence and charisma that really draws you into her story, and her fascinating life.  


The story told here is a fairly simple one, do you really know who you are?  It is an exploratory piece as well as being largely autobiographical.  She takes the audience through her career and personal life, from success to heartbreak and true tragedy, till she ends up being the person she is today.  She tackles the question of how the media portrays not just her, but also people of colour.  As a black model she was often told she was brave for having natural hair, or made to pose for editorials that were later covered over with the words ‘African’.  She talks about her internal battles with this and how she dealt with it as a young professional in a way that is testament to her abilities as a storyteller.  She questions if you can truly know yourself under the media gaze, and the danger of holding your image purely as seen in the eyes of others.  


Phina’s acting prowse really shines in this performance, she plays a multitude of characters with great definition, both in speech and physicality, and makes it look as easy as if you were just chatting to her one on one.  Her sense of timing and pacing of speech is so natural you sometimes forget that this isn’t the case, especially as she will stop the flow of her performance to reach out and involve an audience member, always welcoming people into her inner circle.  It feels like an honest conversation with a friend.  It feels almost improvised and is flexible in a way that people only really comfortable with their own work can do.  There are moments when she spoke about the open racism she has received in the arts industry that are genuinely shocking, but she can make you laugh out loud at the same time.  


The multimedia aspect added much to the performance, although some of the lighting changes seemed a abrupt or mistimed.  In the second half of the show the narrative unfortunately gets a bit lost and confused.  The characters and story jump around, and it felt as though something was left out that allowed it to fully make sense, making it hard to follow at times.  

This honest, heart felt show is one that shouldn’t be missed.  Catch is at The Ovalhouse until the 13th of May.  

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