Vagina Monologues review for the Reading Post
October 9, 2012, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Journalism | Tags: , , , ,

I have always blogged about the great opportunity to do features across the three papers we have based in Reading and last week I reviewed The Vagina Monologues for The Reading Post. It was the first time I have had to be rude about someone but unfortunately Chelsee Healey was awful and I had to be honest!

The original review can be viewed here.

The Vagina Monologues
The Hexagon, Reading
Monday, October 1, 8pm

Ladies if you fancy a night out minus men then it can almost be guaranteed at a performance of The Vagina Monologues (bar the one per cent who get dragged along).

I doubt The Hexagon has ever had so many women in one go!

The thing I love about this text is that each actress can make it her own in each performance – for anyone who doesn’t know, the play is a collection of monologues inspired by interviews with women about their you-know-what.

And although the title may sound crass it is quite the opposite – yes there are lots of laughs as every possible term for the female anatomy is thrown around but the play also confronts serious issues like genital mutilation and rape.

The set up is always the same – three famous women sitting on stools and chatting to an audience who can easily identify with the subject matter.

But since the play made its debut in 1996 it is constantly evolving to keep it current and this production was no exception.

For this UK tour, running until October 27, the line up is Corrie’s Janice Battersby aka Vicky Entwistle, 2point4 Children’s Clare Buckfield and Waterloo Road’s Chelsee Healey.

Vicky Entwistle and Clare Buckfield stole the show and carried the other actress, who looked like she had arrived on stage by accident.

Vicky was a far cry from the disliked gobby factory worker on Corrie and was a warm likeable and versatile performer who had the audience in stitches with her multitude of characters and energy.

Clare took on the two most challenging monologues – My Angry Vagina and My Vagina Was My Village. These tackle everything from tampons to rape camps and her performance was stunning. The Dancing on Ice star also gave When Harry met Sally’s Meg Ryan a run for her money with a scene reminiscent of the well-known cafe moment from the movie. And she reminded the audience she gets to do that six times a week.

Chelsee Healey looked lost and awkward on stage. Her accents were poor, she had her head down reading off a script and she stumbled over her lines. She also looked as if she found saying the word vagina awkward. Maybe stick to the dancing Chelsee.

Despite this puzzling choice of actress, the other two carried the performance and had the majority of lines.

Reading Hexagon was the perfect venue for this show and as hoards of women left the theatre there was a definite vibe of the sisterhood with ripples of feminism unleashed into the town.

I also had a second pop at the 60 second news last Thursday here. It goes up on YouTube too and someone commented ‘bad hair day?’ which made me laugh…then again someone else tweeted I had nice hair, so everyone is entitled to their own opinion!

Looking forward to the Reading Comedy Festival – I have interviewed four comedians/acts so need to get those written up soon 🙂

Reading Festival guide for Reading Post

One of the things I love about my job is that I get the opportunity to write features for the Reading Post and Get Reading. From laughter workshops to Cardiff press trips there’s a chance to do all types of writing.

Here are some pre-pieces I did for Reading Festival for the Reading Post Festival guide.

(Oh and apologies for not writing for absolutely ages!)

Click on the links for interviews.

Interview with The Kaiser Chiefs

Interview with the divine Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable

Five minutes with Spector

Dog is Dead are amazing!

Also got street styled by Company magazine at Reading Festival at the weekend.

Here is the pic.

Have just submitted my Reading review to This Festival Feeling  so will post that here soon when it is up.

Taste of Christmas Review

My only criticism of the Taste of Christmas event would be that they should have separated sweet, savoury and alcohol a bit better.  A mouthful of curry, followed by Christmas pudding ice cream, then a piece of smoked duck isn’t the best combo.

Oh and we were too late to meet Jamie Oliver.

But do you know what?  After a few free samples of cocktails, mulled wine, special edition cider, pink gin, vodka, tequila – you name it – it didn’t seem to matter as much anymore! We didn’t know what to expect from the Taste of Christmas event but when we finally managed to get in we were pleased to receive a wealth of pre-mixed cocktails from the lovely folk at Liquid Ignition.https://liquidignition.com/b2c/

We dropped the box off at the cloakroom then sauntered around, not being shy at all about sampling. We tried literally hundreds of bits and bobs but I’ve narrowed it down to a few categories for you.  I hope it will inspire you to try something new or maybe help with a Christmas gift idea.

THREE: Stylish snacks for students

These snacks were too scrummy not to share – could be used as a stocking filler!

1)    Boxerchips – these tasty crisps come in a 100% recyclable box instead of a bag which means you get more potato, less air – loved the veggie ones. www.boxerchips.com

2)    Bear nibbles – a healthy snack doesn’t have to lose the taste-factor, the apple crumble granola nibbles were yummy.www.bearnibbles.co.uk

3)    Nut Shot – loved all three tongue sizzling varieties of these nuts, you can pick from Cajun Spice peanuts, Wasabi macadamias or Pepper pistachios. Not for the faint hearted. www.nutshot.co.uk

THREE: Luxury items

These are on the Xmas wish list and would be great gifts for a sophisticated someone.

1)    Smoked duck from the Black Mountains Smokery. www.smoked-foods.co.uk This was the best stall as we love the Welsh and when you tell them that they give you more and more treats – cheeky.

2)    Snowdonia Cheese www.snowdoniacheese.co.uk Sumptuous premium cheese that would fit nicely in a stocking toe (if you’re bored of satsumas.) Little Black Bomber and Pickle Power are not to be missed.

3)    Edgerton pink gin www.edgertondistillers.co.uk Makes a girlie drink extra girlie.

THREE: of something a little bit different

Sometimes the proof is in the pudding when a concept sounds a little out there.

1)    Rubis chocolate wine: I love chocolate and wine so I don’t know why I was surprised to be so taken with this delightful combo.

2)    Kejzar blueberry liqueur www.kejzar.co.uk Apparently a popular Slovenian dessert – what could be better than something light after a heavy Christmas meal?

3)    Bloodshot vodka spirit www.bloodshotvodka.com If your hands a bit too shaky to make a Bloody Mary in the morning then this is the answer to your troubles.  The first ever recipe for spot on Bloody Mary’s infused with flavour.  Just add tomato juice.

THREE: highlights

1)    First and foremost the ready mixed cocktails provided by Liquid Ignition are a Christmas party essential as strong but perfectly cocktails are ready-made in all your classic flavours.

2)    Il gelato di Ariela: www.ilgelatodiariela.com The best ice cream I’ve ever had.  They create flavours according to what is seasonal using a secret family recipe.  Rum and raisin was to die for.

3)    Dee’s Luxury Jamaican Rum Cakes www.deesluxuryjamaicanrumcakes.co.uk Rum soaked cakes which taste like Christmas pudding.  I bought a cupcake to take home.

THREE things I learnt

1)    I never want to work in sales.

2)    Meat and cheese are my life.

3)    a) Just because I have been to India does not mean I can endure the hottest curry in a massive dollop.

b) Ice does not take away the pain, nor blueberry liqueur, nor bread.

As well as lovely stalls with lots of freebies and special offers, Taste of Christmas offered loads of workshops and demonstrations with TV chefs.  Gary Rhodes seemed to appear on the bill a lot.  Unfortunately by the time we got to the workshop area, we were a bit too Merry Taste of Christmas to be trusted with a sharp knife.

We want to go again next year!


The original article, along with witty words by the wonderful Emma Walker, can be found here: http://kettlemag.com/article/taste-christmas-event-2011-review

Milkmaid w/ Jerry Tropicano at the Green Door Store: 20 September
September 22, 2011, 12:41 pm
Filed under: Gig Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

 Here’s a new review. To see with pictures: http://www.brightonnoise.co.uk/2011/09/22/milkmaid-w-jerry-tropicano/

Indie pop and rock ‘n’ roll were on the bill at The Green Door Store on Tuesday night as Milk Maid played with support from Jerry Tropicano.

Unfortunately, the gig didn’t get off to the best start with Sexbeat dropping out, and a couple of housekeeping issues with Jerry Tropicano’s band.

The band’s performance was initially a bit rough around the edges; there was a broken string and a few awkward pauses. The slightly disgruntled audience shuffled their feet as the drummer wobbled on a dodgy stool and the bassist-cum-Korgist channelled some vaguely enjoyable spacey sounds from the Korg. (Then again band that works a Korg well always gets a tick in my book, and they did redeem themselves.)

However, Jerry Tropicano and his band took the call of ‘Come on’ from an audience member on the chin and the brief mishaps in their stride. After chuckling a bit, and Jerry asking the drummer ‘Remember this one?’ the band pulled together to produce a clashy, crashy set with good rhythms and quirky riffs that worked well to showcase their originality.

The varied set included some impressively tight drumming to which buzzy layers of Korg were added as a suitable platform for the velvety tone of Jerry’s lovely vocal. Playing around with zany distorted sound, Jerry sprung some anthemy sounds from his guitar and the whole ensemble managed to ‘do’ noisy, while still demonstrating melody and zest when blasting at their loudest.

The highlight of the set was ‘Brian’ the final song played. They were extra tight on this one and it was a good way to end

Next up were Manchester’s Milk Maid, fresh from gigs in Wakefield and Cardiff and ready to take on Brighton.

This band has played with names such as Male Bonding and Mazes, both bands that are amazing live, so their performance was highly anticipated.

The well-oiled set was full of new songs with the lead singer announcing at the end, ‘We’ve got CDs for sale. Most of the songs we played aren’t on our CD.’ Well, great that they’re producing lots of fresh music, as well as being honest!

This band’s true talent was the ability to spawn feisty instrumental while maintaining super-cool poise, especially the bassist who stood tall, off-centre stage, occasionally bending to the passionately frantic fusion of guitars.

The lead singer, with his trademark look, had a slight Gallagher-esque rich ingredient to his vocal and if that puts you off, remember how many records that voice sold. Although he stated at one point, ‘This guitar’s just taken a massive shit, hang on,’ it must have been a lovely shit as it was in reference to a dazzling Harmony Rocket.

The four committed musicians showed that there were many strings to their bow as the set included a couple of slower songs as well as those more fast-paced (with a bit of maraca action.)

Included in the new repertoire* was ‘Bad Luck’ which included stylish instrumental interludes tightly played. Another new song ‘Stir So Slow’ started with slower vocals building up to a enjoyably consuming climax of guitars. Also particularly notable was ‘Summertime’ which blasted into the mix highlighting their trademark drum-bashing crescendo. Finishing on a high with ‘Not me,’ the band proved they are well set to play the rest of their tour dates, including a gig at The Old Blue Last in London tonight.

*NB: I’ve been informed that the new song names may be subject to change