Lennon – Through A Glass Onion, Caird Hall, Dundee

lennon-4When I made my way to see Lennon – Through A Glass Onion at Dundee’s Caird Hall recently, with my Beatles fan Dad in tow, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Naturally, I knew all about The Beatles, but the life of John Lennon – not so much! Obviously I knew the basics –  the move to the big apple, the in the bed protests with Yoko Ono and his horrific murder, but the rest was well, it was all a bit sketchy to say the least.  So you could say I was looking forward to being enlightened! The fact that John and the rest of The Beatles had actually graced the Caird Hall’s stage back in the 1960s – only added to my anticipation!

The show, which is part concert, part biography, stars the very talented Daniel Taylor, who is a musician in his own right. The production begins on the fateful day that Lennon died, before looping back to his time with The Beatles before moving on to his solo career. As you can imagine, the soundtrack was amazing and included all the hits such as Imagine, Woman, Working Class Hero, and Jealous Guy as well as some of Lennon’s collaborations with McCartney, including Strawberry Fields Forever and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Filled with insights about John’s relationship with his bandmates and the love of his life Yoko Ono, the show gets to grips with the man behind the music and separates the facts from the myths and legends. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and would recommend it to anyone looking to know more about Lennon’s life.

For more information about Lennon – Through A Glass Onion, visit: http://lennononstage.com

 

Dragon Matrix, Monikie Country Park – Review

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If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise…especially if it’s Monikie Country Park in Angus that you visit! You see there is something lurking there, deep inside the forest, and we’re not talking about anything as tame as teddy bears! Oh no! We’re talking about terrible trolls, wicked witches and deadly dragons, and they’re all waiting in the dark to greet you…

Yep, you’ve guessed it! Vision Mechanics are back again with another brand new augmented reality theatre show for families, and no one could be more chuffed than me and my over enthusiastic seven year old!

After completing Dragon Quest last year and receiving our first special dragon protection badges, we’ve been counting down the days until we could get back inside those woods to complete Dragon Matrix! The fact that Dragon Matrix is going to be on my big girl’s absolute favourite programme, Blue Peter, next week, only added to the excitement! We (okay then I!) just wish we could have timed our visit better, so that we could have carried out our dragon protecting alongside BP’s Barney (who may or may not be very easy on the eye)….screenshot25

With the sad absence of Barney, we decided to bring along another few comrades to help us out instead, including our very own brave four year old girl warrior and Granny 5 star (another story for another day!) who is most excellent at holding little hands in the dark.

As we set out on our mission, it was clear that this year’s event, which includes actors, real life props, spectacular lighting and special effects, was even bigger and better than last year! The Dragon Matrix app has also been improved and features more interactive features, adding some extra menace and magic to the enchanting experience.

wp_20161012_19_01_55_proWhile some small children might find the notion of walking around in a forest at night a bit daunting, the Dragon Matrix always stays at the right side of scary, and my four year old warrior had a spectacularly good time, as did the rest of us dragon protectors!

Clever, bewitching and scarily good fun – the Dragon Matrix is a must see event for the whole family.

The Dragon Matrix is at Monike Country Park until Monday the 31st of October. For more information and to book tickets, visit: http://dragonmatrix.org.uk

The Mousetrap, Perth Concert Hall – Review

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Tony Boncza (Major Metcalf), Oliver Gully (Christopher Wren) and Anna Andresen (Mollie Ralston) in The Mousetrap. Credit Liza Maria Dawson

It’s confession time. I’m a bit of a Agatha Christie fan girl. As a child I watched my mother devour her books, but it wasn’t until I watched a theatre production of Then There Were None, a few years ago, that I realised just gripping and relevant her work is still today.

On Monday night I had the pleasure of seeing her epic play The Mousetrap, which has been running in London for a whopping 60 years. Thanks to a UK wide tour I didn’t have to travel all the way to London to see it, I watched it from the very lovely Perth Concert Hall instead just 30 miles away from where I live.

The play is set in the newly opened guest house Monkswell Manor, where the owners Mollie and Gilles Ralston and their guests are snowed in. Then a visitor arrives, his name is Sergeant Trotter and he comes with news of a murder which is somehow connected to the guest house and its inhabitants.

To say any more than that, really would be a crime itself, so I’m going to stop there and urge you to see it as I did – like a blind mouse, kept very much in the dark!

With superb acting from all the cast, including the fantastic Anna Andreson as Mollie, Oliver Gully as Christopher Wren and Lewis Collier as Sergeant Trotter, and a fantastic set – this production is a must see. But it is the clever script and the glorious twists and turns that captivate the audience and make Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap a national treasure.

The Mousetrap is currently touring the UK. For more information and ticket information, please visit: http://mousetrapontour.com/

 

 

Chinese State Circus, Caird Hall, Dundee – Review

chindragonsI’ve been to quite a few circuses in my time, most of them featuring big drafty tents with sawdust on the floor and clowns that weren’t really all that funny, but as long as they were animal free, I enjoyed them all the same for the sake of tradition.  So I when I heard that the Chinese State Circus was visiting Dundee’s Caird Hall this week, I was curious to see how it would compare to the colourful seaside affairs that I was used to. Naturally The Caird Hall with its lovely comfy seats and central heating had its own plus points, but how would the Chinese State Circus fare against the run of the mill circuses that I was used to? Pretty damn well I’m happy to report!

My first observation was just how bloody glamourous the whole affair was. The stage was continually filled with dramatic dragons, beautiful acrobats wearing delicate gowns and fearsome martial art warriors who ripping the floor up with their slick moves. There were thrills aplenty with death defying acts and humour too provided by the Chinese State Circus’s very own cheeky monkey clown, whose mischievous antics had the audience chuckling along happily.

But the biggest difference I noted was the sheer level of skill that the performers displayed. It didn’t matter whether they were jumping through tiny spaces in the air, juggling umbrellas with their feet or contorting their bodies into weird and wonderful shapes – they looked graceful throughout, making the whole thing look incredibly easy!

The final act of the show was prime example of performers amazing abilities. Some might say that the Chinese State Circus’s jaw dropping bicycle act, which sees the performers balancing on top of each other while circling the small stage on bicycles, was just plain showing off! The only thing that I said while watching it was “please, please for the love of God, don’t fall off the stage….” I’m very happy to report that they did not!

The Chinese State Circus is currently touring the UK. For further information about the circus and to book tickets, visit: http://chinesestatecircus.com

The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil Tour – Review

chev-review-imageWhat can you say about The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil that hasn’t already been said?

When a play gets 5 star reviews from the likes of The Stage, The Scotsman and The Guardian, you know it’s going to be good, right? Right! Dundee Rep’s masterpiece is every bit as powerful as I’d heard it was, but what I hadn’t expected was to feel quite so engaged and quite so emotional, watching it.

Telling the story of the Scottish Highlands from the Highland Clearances through to the present day, the play begins with dancing, whisky and fun. But as the audience is transported back to the 18th Century the mood becomes more serious and poignant, making the hilarious black humour, interspersed throughout the play, all the more welcome.

Written as a musical drama by John McGrath over 40 years ago, The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil is just as relevant today as it was back then. Acted out by the superb Dundee Rep Ensemble cast, including the brilliant Ewan Donald, Billy Mack, Irene Macdougall and Emily Winter, the play looks back at Scotland’s past and asks it’s audience to act now to save our future.

Now embarking on a tour in theatres throughout Scotland, The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil is a must see play for every patriotic Scot. Just remember to bring along your dancing shoes and a tissue or two!

The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil is currently playing at the Dundee Rep Theatre before embarking on a tour around Scotland including dates in Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow and Aberdeen. For more information about the play and to book tickets, visit: http://cheviottour.co.uk