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

 

I Love Dundee Literary Festival!

lit-dundeeHip, hip, hooray! My favourite book event is back!

Now in it’s 10th year, the Dundee Literary Festival features the best writers in the world – and all in my sunny home city of Dundee! With a eclectic range of events for children through to adults, the festival is a wonderful place for any bookish person to while away the hours.

Three days into the five day event and I’ve already seen a stunning range of writers from debut novelists Sandra Ireland and Shelley Day right through to James Kelman – the only Scottish author to win the booker prize!

I’ve got loads more lined up over the weekend too including a Rock & Roll Roald Dahl Party with Matthew Fitt, Haunting Afterlives – an event examining the work of Shirley Jackson and Josephine Tey, Crime Through Time with Sue Lawrence and Martin Cathcart Froden and Outer Edges featuring writers Amy Liptrot and Malachy Tallack!

You could say that I’m going to have a pretty busy literary weekend!

I’ll be reporting back on my book fest experience next week, but if you’d like to join in on all the bookish fun before then, visit the Dundee Literary Festival website to book tickets! You’ll be glad that you did!

 

 

 

Dragon Matrix, Monikie Country Park – Review

dragon-quest-1

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 Secret Letters Blog Tour – Five favourite novels by Catherine Law

the-secret-lettersI’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for the ebook launch of Catherine Law’s beautiful, heart breaking novel The Secret Letters. Today, Catherine shares her five favourite novels with us…

My five favourite novels By Catherine Law

Possession by A S Byatt (1990)

I read this book when it was first published and it has remained in my imagination ever since. A literary detective story moving between modern day and Victorian England, it is one of my favourite time-switch novels. I was entranced by the parallel lives of the two scholars investigating the secret love affair between two 19th century poets through discovered letters and poems, which conjured exquisitely the Gothic romance of the past. A S Byatt created such a complete world that I expect, today, readers may try to search for the fictitious poets online.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (1993)

This modern-classic First World War novel is equally beautiful and harrowing, contrasting an illicit love affair with the murderous horrors of war. I remember reading the Battle of the Somme scenes on the tube and, such was the power of the writing and so transported was I into the world of the main character Wraysford, I felt actual physical shock at what he was witnessing. I had to hide my tears from fellow commuters. This was a book that I longed to get back to between reading sessions but had to brace myself for the emotional shredding and unbearable tension created by this brilliant author.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson (1995)

From the very first sentence – ‘I exist!’ – I was drawn straight into Ruby Lennox’s story and didn’t want to leave. This is a clever, original and real family saga, which is at times brutally honest and traumatic, but also incredibly compassionate and funny. The lives of the previous generations mingle with Ruby’s, encapsulating perfectly the invisible and unbreakable links between grandparents, parents and children. I recognised Ruby and her very ordinary but bewitching world; she is one of my favourite characters to appear in print.

Part of the Furniture by Mary Wesley (1997)

I must have read this book at least four times. It is the warm and unconventional depiction of a spirited lonely girl struggling through the pain of unrequited love amid the air-raids and trauma of war-time England, and her escape to isolated, beautiful Cornwall. Mary Wesley had a deft, almost spare way of writing which convinces me utterly that I am right there in the world she created. She tapped honestly into her own experiences to create her nine witty novels – I love each one and always return to them. Mary Wesley’s biography, Wild Mary, could easily be a fabulous novel, too.

The Long View by Elizabeth Jane Howard (1956)

This is one of the subtlest, most thought-provoking novel I have ever read. We first see Antonia Fleming in 1950 when a window is opened onto her disastrous marriage to her enigmatic, arrogant and rather cruel husband. And then each section takes us a little bit further back into her past, through the war, and finally to 1926, depicting each time a younger Antonia. Her story unravels to reveal the girl whose unsettling experiences at an early age points to the future we already know. Despite the story going back in time, this clever novel gave me a real and pleasing sense of the continuation and acceptance of life.

law-catherine-credit-david-bergerAbout the author

Catherine Law was born in Harrow, Middlesex in 1965 and has been a journalist for twenty-two years, having trained first as a secretary at the BBC and then attending the London College of Printing. She now works on a glossy interiors magazine and lives in Buckinghamshire. You can find out more about Catherine and her novels on her website: http://www.catherinelaw.co.uk/

About The Secret Letters…

Rose Pepper has kept her wartime past a secret for decades. Forty years ago, she fled communist Prague and left behind the love of her life.
Now in her sixties and with two daughters, Rose discovers a bundle of unopened letters sent to her by her lost love, hidden beneath her home.
Confronted with the possibility of facing up to her past, she decided it’s finally time to go back to where her story began and uncover the truth buried for so long in Prague…
From the author of Map of Stars comes a heart breaking story of love, hope, secrets and lies. The novel is perfect for fans of Kathryn Hughes and Leah Fleming
                                                                                                                   A truth buried over forty years.   A love that lasted a lifetime.


The Secret Letters
by Catherine Law is available now on Amazon.

 

The Mousetrap, Perth Concert Hall – Review

tony-boncza-major-metcalf-oliver-gully-christopher-wren-and-anna-andresen-mollie-ralston-in-the-mousetrap-credit-liza-maria-dawson-13

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/