Review – No Man’s Land, National Theatre Live at DCA, Dundee

I have been desperate to see a National Theatre Live performance for years now, but it’s something I’ve never quite gotten round to it. The initiative, that broadcasts National Theatre productions live to cinema venues around the world, has been spreading theatre joy since 2009 and ensuring that those of who don’t live near a National Theatre, don’t have to miss out on their spectacular productions.

When I finally got a ticket to see Harold Pinter’s classic play No Man’s Land, which was being broadcast live from the Wyndham’s Theatre in London, I was so excited to see how it was all going to work. As I made my way into Dundee Contemporary Art’s (DCA) cinema I was struck by how much it felt like I was entering an actual theatre. With beautiful views of Wyndham’s Theatre on the screen and the sounds of the audience’s chatter filling the room – the DCA contained that amazing pre-performance buzz, which I’ve never experienced in a cinema before.   

When the performance began – with the theatre’s curtain going up, the DCA audience were exceptionally quiet, taking great care not to chat or rustle their popcorn – it was as if we too were worried about distracting the actors.

The play was every bit as spectacular as I dreamt it would be. Pinter’s No Man Land is as poetic as it is dark and deliciously funny. Starring Sir Ian McKellen as Spooner and Patrick Stewart as Hirst, the story begins when the two ageing writers return to Hirst’s stately home after meeting for the first time in a pub on Hampstead Heath. As the pair become increasingly drunk, their friendly but boastful banter changes into something more serious and when they are joined by two younger men, the evening takes a sinister turn.

The small cast, which also included Owen Teale and Damien Molony, were superb and had both the theatre and cinema audience laughing along and gasping in equal turns. When the performance came to an end, I couldn’t stop myself from clapping along – it just felt rude not to!

After the event we were treated to a live question and answer from the four strong cast along with the Director of the play, Sean Mathias, which gave both audiences fresh insight into Harold Pinter’s original play, 41 years on.

I left feeling richer for having seen my first National Theatre production and very much looking forward to seeing the next one live at the DCA.

National Theatre Live are broadcasting a number of theatre productions in 2017, including Saint Joan, Amadeus, Hedda Gabler and the Twelfth Night all of which will be shown at the DCA. For more information and to book tickets, visit: www.dca.org.uk

*Disclaimer – I was provided with a ticket for this showing of No Man’s Land in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

Discovery Film Festival at DCA – Review

discovery-film-festivalLast Saturday my family and I headed along to the Discovery Film Festival at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) with my family in tow for a bit of a cultural morning! I’d heard great things about the festival over the years and decided it was high time that we went along to experience it for ourselves!

Scotland’s international film festival for young audiences is aimed at kids of all ages with collections aimed at wee ones, middle ones as well as films chosen for a teenage audience. With my own little audience ranging from 4 to 7, we decided to attend both shorts for wee ones and shorts for middle ones, so that we could pack in as much culture into the morning as possible!

Having sat through both the shorts for wee ones and shorts for middle ones with my own little critics, I can tell you that both collections are just amazing and I’d thoroughly recommend watching them. Some of them had all four of us hooting with laughter while others had us oohing and ahhing in our seats whilst considering the true meaning of love and friendship. My favourite film from the shorts for middle ones collection, Rice Balls, even had this 37 year old critic moved to “happy” tears!

Both collections lasted around an hour and held our attention throughout. For me, the best part of the experience was knowing that my kids had been exposed to new ideas and different cultures from around the world – and you know what – they loved it!

The Discovery Film Festival at DCA runs until the 6th of November. For more information and to book tickets, visit: www.dca.org.uk

Dundee Flower & Food Festival

flower-and-food-fest-6Septembers in Dundee are always particularly special thanks to the city’s annual Flower and Food Festival.

The event, which is set in the beautiful Camperdown Park, takes place over three days and is chock-a-block with things to see and do, from watching demonstrations from some of the UK’s top celebrity chefs and listening to live music to admiring the award winning flowers, gardening displays and produce – there really is something for everyone.

The event is child friendly too with craft tents and kid friendly displays that really engage little ones and spark an interest in nature.

A highlight from this year was the scarily good dinosaur display designed by Angus based business Rococo Gardens, which won the Lord Provost’s Trophy at the event. The Jurassic themed display thoroughly thrilled my two little ones who spent the rest of the weekend practicing their own dinosaur roars.
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My favourite part of the weekend was taking a stroll through the festivals glorious food tent. Filled with some of Scotland’s best produce from craft beer and gin to artisan chocolate and jams – the tent is a absolute heaven for foodies!

My visit to the Dundee Flower & Food Festival was a complete joy and I’m already looking forward to next year.

To find out more about Dundee Flower & Food Festival visit their website: http://www.dundeeflowerandfoodfestival.com/

 

Review: The Lady Boys of Bangkok, Forever Yours…X

© Dean Martin Photography 2015 - www.deanmartinphotography.comAs soon as I stepped inside the Sabai Pavilion, the Lady Boys of Bangkok’s tented venue, I knew that this show was going to exceed my expectations. I’d been prepared for the show to be bordering on tacky, but when I entered the dimly lit tent I felt as if I was stepping into a very exclusive and extremely lavish nightclub. After getting ourselves a drink at the bar, we took our seats. This was my first time seeing the Lady Boys of Bangkok and I really didn’t know much about what the show would entail. But as soon as the velvet curtains opened, I knew I was in safe hands.

As the Lady Boys entered the stage I was wowed by their beauty but also by the sheer glamour of the cabaret style show. The costumes, the set and dance routines were all perfect, right down to the last exquisite detail. It was clear right from the start that this was going to be a slick and professional performance.

The show kicked off with a Kylie Medley, the best way to start any show if you ask me, followed with a fantastic set list, jam packed with party songs, guaranteed to make the audience feel good – from the soundtrack of Sisterhood and the Bay City Rollers right though to modern pop classics such as Uptown Funk.

© Dean Martin Photography 2016 - www.deanmartinphotography.comThe dance routines were so amazingly well timed that I felt like I was watching an MTV music video taking place right in front of my very eyes. The highlight for me was the Egyptian themed Dark Horse by Katy Perry which was just utterly magnificent! But I was also slightly in love with the Lady Boy’s performance of Nicki Minaj’s Starships which was a fabulous fluorescent spectacle.

There was plenty of humour threaded in there too, some of it deliciously naughty, but it never strayed too far into risqué.

By the end of the night, the atmosphere in the tent was completely electric and no one wanted the show to end. The Lady Boys of Bangkok gave the audience a night to remember and I for one, will be back again for more next year.

©Dean Martin Photography 2015 – www.deanmartinphotography.com

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The Lady Boys of Bangkok are at Dundee’s Baxter Park until the 9th of July. To book tickets and to find out more about the show, visit: http://www.ladyboysofbangkok.co.uk/

 

 

 

Pop Up Christmas Dundee #SteepleChristmas

steeple christmas tableYou know you’ve had a good night out when you feel more than a little broken the next day. And that’s exactly how I’m feeling this afternoon as I recover from the excellent Pop Up Christmas #SteepleChristmas party organised by Red Pepper Events.

As a freelance journalist, I have no official Christmas night out, so when El and her lovely team invited me to join in the fun at the best pop up party in town, I jumped at the chance.

 

magicianThe night was filled of magic, from the incredible fire breathing woman that greeted us as we arrived to the phenomenal magician Michael Brandie who had me shouting “how is that possible?” over and over again as he performed his wonderful table magic.

The three course traditional Christmas meal (which included the most amazing potato gratin that I have ever tasted), was divine and the cocktails even more scrumptious, although I’ll admit they did cause my head to pound ever so slightly this morning!

WP_20151218_19_23_24_ProAs an infrequent and over enthusiastic party goer, I love nothing more than hounding the DJ to play my favourite tune, but at the #SteepleChristmas I didn’t even have to leave my seat. Instead I just tweeted the DJ with my brilliant requests (seriously thinking about becoming a DJ myself in 2016, I’m that good) and they started playing as if by magic! Okay so perhaps a few of my choices were slightly dodgy, but thankfully The Mackie Twins indulged me all the same.

From the terrific lighting by Vision, Sound and Light to the fabulous festive atmosphere, #SteepleChristmas is an enchanting event which has all the right ingredients for a perfect Christmas night out.

Pop Up Christmas #SteepleChristmas is organised by Red Pepper Events. Find out more about them by visiting their website or Facebook page.