Manchester / ‘Thriller Live’ February 2020

This February, we celebrated my gorgeous boyfriend Howard’s 29th birthday by enjoying a weekend away together in Manchester, to go see ‘Thriller Live’ at Manchester Palace Theatre. Please see below a description of our travels, with accompanying photography. Hope you enjoy 🙂 🙂

Saturday 15th February (Howard’s birthday!)

We arrived on the train at Manchester Piccadilly station early afternoon on Saturday 15th February, then checked in early at our Britannia Sachas Hotel, situated in the Northern Quarter, near Piccadilly Gardens. I have stayed at Sachas before, last year with my mum in April, when we came to see ‘Ghost – The Musical’. The accommodation is cheap and cheerful in my opinion, my return based on the hotel’s extremely convenient location, close to all the action, and ‘smoking room’ option, allowing myself to use my e-cigarette inside, haha! 😛 The weather was absolutely atrocious, chucking it down, so we made the wise decision to partake in indoor activities during our stay should the weather not improve. After a quick unpack, we headed to Bella Italia to fill our bellies with delicious Italian cuisine, yum yum.

First on our itinerary was the National Football Museum. Not exactly top on my list I must admit, but Howard was keen and eager to visit, and it was his birthday after all! 😛 Being a big Manchester United fan, he was certainly in his element. In the ground floor entrance hall Howard had his photograph taken with the FA Cup and Premier League trophies, so that was definitely a great opportunity, hehe. Level 1 displayed various other dazzling trophies, it delved into the history of the ‘beautiful game’; matchday experiences, the fans, the stadiums, the players, the clubs and the portrayal of these all in mainstream media – a creatively interactive exploration throughout. There was much more physical interactivity offered furthermore on Level 2, such as ‘shot stopper’, ‘penalty shootout’, ‘one-two’, and ‘pass master’, where visitors are encouraged to test their reactions and show off their football skills. Likewise, many toys and games and in particular the ‘discovery zone’ was there to keep youngsters entertained. The ‘football for all’ area demonstrated well how football has full capability of being always an inclusive sport, enjoyed by players of all abilities. The ‘Strip! How Football got Shirty’ exhibition occupied Level 3 of the museum, educating visitors on the history of team shirts. Although I was reluctant and hesitant to explore the National Football Museum at first,  I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by its content, so I would therefore recommend a visit for those like myself, not massive fans of football, it’s still worth a look around for sure.

As evening approached, we passed pretty Piccadilly Gardens and the beautiful and stunning luminous water fountains, on our way to Palace Theatre.

On Saturday evening, we saw the highly anticipated ‘Thriller Live’ at Palace Theatre, Manchester! 🙂 🙂 Michael Jackson was, in many people’s opinion, the ‘undisputed King of Pop’, and the greatest entertainer the world has ever known. Michael’s musical genius, from The Jackson 5 to his solo career, dominated pop charts and wowed audiences in a four decade span; he’s sold an exceptional 750 million records worldwide, and counting! The iconic Thriller album remains the best selling recording in the world, like ever! How incredible is that?! What a legacy Michael has left when he sadly passed away in 2009. ‘Thriller Live’ is ultimately a huge celebration of Michael Jackson; the man and the performer. The show has now played in over 30 countries, including; Italy, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Germany, China, Singapore and France, among more, dazzling over 5 million fans across the globe – luckily for us, arriving at Palace Theatre, Manchester this February, 2020 [Official Thriller Live Souvenir Programme].

There are many vocalists in the production that sing Michael’s songs, not just one individual singer; Kieran Alleyne, Jason Brock, Shaquille Hemmans, Joseph Thomas, two female vocalists Ceante Harris, Adriana Louise and resident director/ vocalist Britt Quentin, singing both solely and collaboratively on stage. Act 1 features Michael’s earlier Jackson 5 hits and disco and funk classics such as; ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘Rockin’ Robin,’ ‘Blame it on the Boogie’, ‘Shake Your Body’, ‘Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough’ and ‘Can You Feel It’, whereas Act 2 focuses of Michael’s solo career acclaimed songs, including; ‘Beat It’, ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Man In The Mirror’, ‘Earth Song’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Bad’, ‘Black or White’, and of course, ‘Thriller’! The costume designers, Rob Jones and Catherine Teatum, did a fantastic job designing the amazing diverse and vividly colourful costumes, and obviously the dancers brought the stage completely to life with the eccentric moves, street dance, back-flips and of course iconic moonwalks showcased. Magical. [Official Thriller Live Souvenir Programme].

Of all the theatre shows I have attended over the years (and I’ve seen a fair few!) I have never known an atmosphere quite like it! The place was on fire. Everyone was up on their feet singing and dancing, waving their glowing flashlight merchandise wildly in the air. They were congregating in the aisles, much to the theatre staff’s dismay ha, and screaming their heads off to all of the lyrics, it really was something else. Manchester was mad! (In a good way 😛 ). Unsurprisingly, the show concluded with a very well deserved standing ovation, as most of the crowd were already on their feet, hehe. Spectacular.

Sunday 16th February

There was a continuing heavy downpour of rain on the Sunday morning unfortunately. After a satisfying full English breakfast at Sachas, we took refuge in and decided to cheer ourselves at The Printworks entertainment centre, adjacent to Arndale shopping centre. I recommended Printworks to Howard, as I had been before last year, myself and mum. To try something new, different and fun and challenging however, me and my boyfriend thought we’d first give an escape room a whirl!

Escape Reality, Manchester features a diverse array of exciting , enthralling, mysterious themed rooms, all in which challenge participants, 2-6 players, to escape in a one hour time frame – a fully immersive experience in which players must use their problem solving skills and their own intuition to crack codes, decipher mystic clues / puzzles and outwit strategies purposefully planted to prevent escape. The complex offers 8 themed realities, all varying in levels / difficulty; ‘Auron’, ‘Tortuga Pirates’, ‘Enigmista’, ‘Bank Job’, ‘Asylum’, ‘Alcatraz’, ‘Ritual’, and the one we attempted – ‘Legend of the Mummy’.

The basic concept of ‘Legend of the Mummy’ is that a renowned Professor of Archaeology recruited the dangerous responsibility of retrieving lost Ancient Egyptian treasure has gone missing – we, as an assigned Archaeological replacement team, must continue the professor’s work; steal the treasure from ‘the dark depths of the Ancient Pyramids’ or face entrapment inside the triangular walls of the Ancient Pyramids forever, mwahahaha! Well, we were absolutely pants! I knew I’d be useless, but I hoped we might have a half decent chance of escaping with Howard as he regularly plays similar games on this smartphone/Xbox. ‘Legend of the Mummy’ was supposed to be one of the easier rooms, only level 3 of 5 in difficulty apparently. However, we didn’t find some of the hidden clues we were supposed to, and the ones we did find were so cryptic, half way through we were still only in the first of three sections – a staff member even had to come inside to help/guide us, what a disaster, haha! … INESCAPABLY, we didn’t escape lol… It was so much fun though. I would definitely like to try alternative escape rooms in different cities for sure, we can only improve 🙂

Our next pursuit was Treetops Adventure Golf – an 18 hole ‘Tropical Trail’ jungle trek, and another 18 hole ‘Ancient Explorer’ of mystical magic. Last time me and Howard played crazy golf at Valley Centertainment Leisure Park, Sheffield, I was victorious, this time however Howard beat me by a long shot 😛 At the end, he even struck the golf ball in the awkward 19th hole, winning us another free game, which we decided together to kindly pass on to a family with young children who told us they come to Treetops regularly. A nice gesture on our part methinks 🙂

After all the days’ activities, we were definitely ready for some good grub. Where better than a Hard Rock Cafe? For those of you following my blog from the very beginning, this will all sound very familiar, as you will know I have already visited Hard Rock Cafes in Amsterdam, Prague and once before in Manchester in fact. They’re so cool. I just love all the rock memorabilia adorning the walls, such a great sight to see, so captivating and intriguing. We ordered mocktails and our ‘Legendary Steak Burgers’ were, as always, divine, yum yum 😛

As dusk approached, we thought we’d have a casual wander around Arndale shopping centre. We found a really quirky shop selling impressive high quality music, film, TV and games fan gifts and merchandise; t-shirts, framed posters, figurines, original art etc. I got distracted in the ‘Stranger Things’ section, brill show.  There was even a ‘Only Fools and Horses’ yellow Reliant Regal model van, lovely jubbly! Howard bought me a new white snakeskin handbag from my favourite, River Island, lucky me, and then afterwards I was like a big kid in a candy store inside the Disney shop! Hey! 😛

On Sunday evening, our last night in Manchester, we were contemplating a comedy club but Howard convinced me to go to a casino alternatively. No wonder people lose money easily gambling unless they’re super lucky, it’s so expensive on the slots, I never realised! Howard isn’t able to drink excessive amounts of alcohol unfortunately as it may trigger his epilepsy, however we still had an enjoyable time hitting a few cocktail bars – Yates and Slug&Lettuce to be precise 🙂

Monday 17th February

Another Full English breakfast included in our hotel price Monday morning, and back we were on the train South Yorkshire bound!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read / view, your support is always very much appreciated!

Please keep a look out for near future amateur art blog posts. I am considering deviating from the norm of portraiture and drawing something a little bit different, original art perhaps inspired by famous artists, I’m mulling over ideas in my mind… So watch this space 😛

Much love, Lauren xx

 

Further reading / information:

https://adventuregolf.com/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://adventuregolf.com/manchester [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://adventuregolf.com/manchester/adventure-golf [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.britanniahotels.com/hotels/the-britannia-sachas-hotel-manchester [Accessed 1st March 2020]

https://www.escapereality.com/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.escapereality.com/escape-rooms-uk/manchester/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.escapereality.com/our-games/game-summary/legend-of-the-mummy [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.flyingmusic.com/thrillerlive/ [Accessed 26th February 2020]

https://www.hardrockcafe.com/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.hardrockcafe.com/location/manchester/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.hardrockcafe.com/menu.aspx [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/ [Accessed 26th February 2020]

https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/explore-the-museum/whats-inside/ [Accessed 26th February 2020]

[Official Thriller Live Souvenir Programme]

 

 

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© 2020 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

‘We Will Rock You’ – Musical Theatre Description / Review

Earlier this year, on Thursday 16th January, myself, my mum, my boyfriend, dad, gran and auntie all went to Hull New Theatre to see the matinee performance of ‘We Will Rock You’; the hit musical by Ben Elton, celebrating the amazing music of one of the best bands ever in rock history, the one and only, Queen… Please continue reading for a description / review of the performance, with accompanying photography, hope you enjoy! 🙂 🙂

‘We Will Rock You’ smashed London’s Dominion Theatre for a whopping 12 years, (dazzling a record breaking 6.5 million people!) until 31st May 2014. The epic musical, written by Ben Elton, has rocked and toured in 28 countries all around the world, reaching over 16 million viewers in total! [Official WWRY UK and Ireland 2019-2020 programme]. The show has been an absolute triumph in popularity, winning numerous top awards, including Best New Musical in the Theatregoers Choice awards in 2003 and the prestigious Olivier Audience Award in 2011. Now, the 2019-20 touring production showcases a stunning and striking celebration of Queen and their undeniable musical legacy, luckily for us, bringing the exceptional performance to Hull New Theatre in January 2020.

SPOILER ALERT. The basic concept of the story is that ‘Galileo’ and ‘Scaramouche’ (‘Galileo’ being the main protagonist) live in a futuristic cyber world, where musical instruments are forbidden and live rock ‘n’ roll is all but forgotten. ‘Galileo’ is praised by a bunch of rebel Bohemians in a bleak conformist dystopian reality as ‘The Dreamer’ – as he dreams the lyrics of Queen songs! He holds the key to reigniting the rock flame, as the Bohemians fight for the freedom of individuality; to express themselves, to freely exchange fashion and thought – and to feel the exhilaration of listening to live music, to break free – to love, and to love rock, with a champion passion! 🙂 🙂

The musical features, to be expected, all the iconic hit Queen songs, including; ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘I Want to Break Free’, ‘Somebody to Love’, ‘Killer Queen’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘A Kind of Magic’, ‘I Want it All’ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ in Act One, and ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’, ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘We Are The Champions’, and so on, in the second half of the performance. I must say, we were immensely impressed with the vocals of the cast, in particular, Elena Skye, who played ‘Scaramouche’, has an absolutely superb voice in my opinion; she absolutely belted out the high notes, incredible, a very talented young lady. Ian McIntosh, who played the main protagonist ‘Galileo’, brought a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the role, we were equally as enthralled by his portrayal. Jenny O’Leary, playing ‘Killer Queen’, brought the attitude and sass to the adaptation, accompanied by Michael McKell, as the eccentric and charismatic, cheeky Bohemian, ‘Buddy’; delighting us with playful puns and humour.

SPOILER ALERT: Just as we thought the final curtain was to close, ‘Galileo’ raised the roof once more with his wonderful rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, resulting in a very well deserved standing ovation from the audience! 🙂 🙂

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Please keep a look out for my next blog post, a description of mine and my boyfriend’s trip to Manchester to see ‘Thriller Live!’, with accompanying photography… Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time! Haha 😛 😛

Thank you as ever for taking the time to read/view, much appreciated.

Peace and love, Lauren xx

 

Further reading / information: 

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/queen/dontstopmenow.html [Accessed 24th February 2020].

[Official WWRY UK and Ireland 2019-2020 programme].

http://www.queenonline.com/wwry [Accessed 19th February 2020].

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Will_Rock_You_(musical) [Accessed 19th February 2020].

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2020 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

 

Hull / ‘Kinky Boots’ November 2019

Earlier this November, me and my beautiful mum Debbie had a weekend break away to Hull to go see ‘Kinky Boots’, the musical, at Hull New Theatre. Please see below a description of our travels, with accompanying photography. Hope you enjoy 🙂 🙂

Friday 15th November

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the train station to travel to Hull, we soon realised that our train had been cancelled due to the flooding in South Yorkshire! 😦 Oh no, not a great start to our trip. My dad, who is a taxi driver, drove us instead. Nevertheless, when we finally arrived at our Ibis city centre Hotel, we were pleased to be in Hull and excited to go and explore the city.

We found a lovely quaint little fish and chip shop on Savile Street, and tucked into delicious grub and ice cream sundae, yum yum.

We took some nice photographs of Hull City Hall, the Maritime Museum, and Queen Victoria Statue in Queen Victoria Square, before visiting Ferens Art Gallery.

We very much (me especially) enjoyed viewing the various collections Ferens offers in different galleries, in particular we appreciated the ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Modern and Contemporary’ art.

On King Edward Street a gorgeous sparkly Christmas gingerbread house really put us in the festive spirit 🙂

Next, we walked to Queen’s Gardens. Unfortunately, it lacked impressive flower displays,  due to the time of year, however it was nice to see the water fountains. Nearby, fun fair attractions lit up the streets. Strolling leisurely around Princes Quay, we rested in a cafe, indulging in Rocky Road chocolate/marshmallows and frothy coffees, yummy. Later filling our bellies with toasties in Cafe Nero, we then set off on a slow walk towards Hull New Theatre, admiring the city in stunning twilight.

We unexpectedly came across rehearsals for a BBC Children in Need concert, so stayed a while and happily danced along to popular songs.

Kinky Boots is an incredible 2016 ‘Best New Musical’ Olivier winner, with songs by Tony and Grammy winning pop sensation Cyndi Lauper. It tells the story of Charlie Price, living in Northampton, who inherits his father’s drab and dull shoe shop. The business is struggling enormously with sales and orders until Charlie meets the glamorous drag queen Lola, and together they decide to re-brand and design sexy glittery knee-length stiletto heels! 🙂 It’s a very entertaining, funny, uplifting, yet moving story – belting out a powerful message; the importance to accept and love ourselves and others. As Kinky Boots has ended it’s dazzling 3 years in the West End, I was extremely keen to go see a performance on the UK/Ireland tour, and…  We absolutely loved it! Fabulous darling!

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We got chatting to a great couple, massive fans of Kinky Boots, who have seen multiple performances of the show. At our Hull New Theatre performance they had front row tickets, were the first, we noticed, to stand up cheering during the (well deserved) standing ovation and, as you can see above, made a huge effort to dress up for the occasion, haha! Amazing! 🙂 🙂

Saturday 16th November

We started off Saturday morning with a scrumptious English breakfast at our Ibis city centre hotel, as part of our bed and breakfast deal. The first place on our itinerary for the day was Hull Minster, situated in Old Town. There was a craft fair on inside which was very enjoyable to walk around, I bought mum a pretty blue and turquoise brooch for her coat, as a souvenir.

The next port of call was the harbour of Humber Dock Marina, where we took some selfies with the plentiful pleasure boats.

The pier making our way to nearby The Deep was breezy and blustery, so we walked more briskly as the rain poured.

The Deep aquarium was brilliant fun. We loved exploring all the exhibits, such as ‘Awakening Seas’ – learning the four billion years history of the ocean, ‘Lagoon of Light’ – gazing upon colourful cute tropical fish; gaping at the turtles, rays and sharks in ‘Endless Ocean’, becoming mesmerised by jellyfish in ‘Cool Seas’, and my personal favourite, we were delighted to peep at the gorgeous Gentoo penguins as they played and swam in ‘Kingdom of Ice’. Another highlight was venturing through the underwater viewing tunnel! Slightly scary but stunning. I bought mum a teddy turtle as a gift also, awwww 🙂

Afterwards, we ate pizza and indulged in vanilla milkshakes with whipped cream at an Italian restaurant, close by to the aquarium. The Minster looked beautiful lit up as we journeyed back towards our Ibis hotel.

Saturday evening, we got cosy in our hotel room watching Saturday night television and drinking complimentary tea/coffee. Wild, haha! Another tasty full English / continental breakfast the next Sunday morning, and we were on our travels back home. Luckily, the train was running on our return journey, yey!

Summary

As mum is becoming more and more poorly with her Alzheimer’s dementia, I really do cherish these moments and trips away together. We had such an incredible time; discovering all Hull has to offer, eating out, being bedazzled by Kinky Boots the musical, and being in awe of and appreciating all the amazing diverse underwater sea creatures at The Deep. I personally have visited Hull once or twice before, but it was nice to have the opportunity to see more of the 2017 ‘City of Culture’. I would definitely go again, for sure.

Thank you so much, as always, for taking the time to read / view! 🙂 🙂

Keep a lookout for my next blog post, pencil portraits of two Springador dogs! Woof, woof, hehe! 🙂 🙂

Much love, Lauren xx

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2019 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

Further information:

https://www.thedeep.co.uk [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://www.thedeep.co.uk/plan-your-visit/deep-tour [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://bwml.co.uk/hull-marina/ [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://www.hcandl.co.uk/museums-and-galleries/ferens [Accessed 24th November 2019]

https://www.hcandl.co.uk/museums-and-galleries/ferens/galleries-ferens-art-gallery [Accessed 24th November 2019]

http://www.hullhistorycentre.org.uk/research/research-guides/history-hull-docks.aspx [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://hullminster.org/ [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://www.hulltheatres.co.uk/whats-on/year [Accessed 24th November 2019]

http://www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk/ [Accessed 25th November 2019]

http://www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk/uk-tour/synopsis.php [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston_upon_Hull [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinky_Boots_(musical) [Accessed 25th November 2019]

 

Leicester / ‘Grease the Musical’ September 2019

This September, me and my beautiful mum Debbie visited Leicester for a couple of days to go see ‘Grease the Musical’ at the Curve theatre. Please continue reading / viewing for a description of our travels, with accompanying photography. Hope you enjoy 🙂 🙂

Monday 9th September 2019

We arrived in Leicester lunch time on the Monday. After checking in to our Ibis hotel, situated very conveniently close to the train station, we went to explore Leicester and all it has to offer.

We started off with a cheeky Nando’s 😛 We then walked leisurely around the city centre, capturing nice photos in Town Hall square (by the fountain), Leicester market and outside the former Corn Exchange, now a Wetherspoon pub. Next, we made our way to Leicester Cathedral, home to the “resting place of King Richard III”. It was fantastic seeing the tomb, designed by architects Heningen and Haward, and learning the story of the Battle of Bosworth Fields and King Richard III’s bloody demise; we also became more knowledgeable of the timeline of the Greyfriars Dig. We then sauntered down The Lanes quaint cobbled streets, window shopping, and indulged in frothy milkshakes and delicious carrot cake, yum yum. Past Pares’s Bank “the most elegant bank in Leicester” – we then wandered around Highcross shopping centre, admiring new Autumn collection clothing just arriving in stock. Situated outside the shopping centre we gazed up at the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower, a major landmark in Leicester – a slow lazy stroll back to our hotel and finishing the day off with a beaut a slap up meal at the Ibis restaurant, chicken skewers for me, nice.

Tuesday 10th September 2019

We woke up lovely and fresh the next morning, and ate a scrumptious full English as well as continental (greedy!) breakfast, to fuel us for the long day ahead. With a cool breeze gusting through the air in Leicester, we walked briskly past the train station (Thomas Cook statue selfie!), with map in hand, on our way to our first destination, the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.

The New Walk Museum and Art Gallery was fantastic! Downstairs we explored the ‘Wild Space’ exhibition with a vast array of taxidermy animals on display, learnt the story behind the King Richard III portrait, enjoyed the Victorian gallery, were immensely awestruck by Picasso’s ceramics (no photos allowed in Picasso gallery, boo!) and very impressed indeed by the ginormous dinosaur fossil skeleton models. Upstairs, we loved seeing “Leicester’s internationally renowned collection of German Expressionism”, arts and crafts dainty pottery and ornamental pieces from around the world, as well as the amazing Ancient Egypt gallery, exhibiting mummies and explaining the mummification process of Ancient times! Incredibly interesting.

We then hopped on a bus at Haymarket bus station to go visit Leicester’s National Space Centre. It was incredible! Firstly, we were astonished by the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium; stargazing upwards at galaxies and night-sky constellations projected on the amazing dome ceiling, creating the illusion of travelling through space, absolutely superb. Afterwards, we navigated our way through a range of brilliant interactive galleries the National Space Centre has to offer, exploring and learning about; planets and moons, our solar system, the galaxy, the universe – rockets, spacesuits, astronauts, asteroids, the mystery of black holes, you name it.  What a great journey!

On Tuesday evening we moseyed excitedly down to Curve theatre, with great anticipation of watching ‘Grease – the musical’ – with Peter Andre making a cameo appearance as ‘Teen Angel’! I must say, we found that the theatrical production of Grease differed from the 1978 classic romance Hollywood film starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta, as the Guardian aptly critiqued the show puts the “grit back in Grease”; as the director of this stage adaptation, Nikolai Foster, worked closely from the early 70s original script, focusing more than ever in places on the visceral feelings of the characters as they struggle through the tribulations of adolescence and high school life, growing up in 1950s America. That’s not however to say it wasn’t also like the Grease we all know and love; fun, lighthearted – petticoats, vinyl records, drive-ins and diners, rock’n’roll, high heels and candy floss (girls) hair and of course greasy (boys) hair! It delighted us with familiar songs ‘You’re the one that I want’, ‘Summer nights’, ‘Greased Lightenin’, as well as new numbers such as ‘Freddy my love’ and ‘Tattoo song’. Of course, it was so special having the opportunity to see Peter Andre live on stage with his guest appearance; the audience went wild with wolf whistles as he descended the glittery staircase in the second half! In conclusion, Grease was fresh, flirty and fab! There was a well deserved standing ovation at the end of the performance! Everyone up singing and dancing! Electrifyin’!

I really cherish all the time me and mum spend together. I’m so happy that we yet again enjoyed such a wonderful theatre city break, making amazing memories 🙂 🙂

Thank you so much for reading / viewing. Do keep a look out for new blog posts coming soon!

Much love, Lauren xx

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2019 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

Further reading / information:

https://greasethemusicalontour.com/ [Accessed 21st September 2019]

https://leicestercathedral.org/ [Accessed 17th September 2019]

https://www.leicester.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums-and-galleries/museums-and-historic-venues/new-walk-museum-and-art-gallery/ [Accessed 20th September 2019]

https://spacecentre.co.uk/ [Accessed 20th September 2019]

https://www.storyofleicester.info/a-working-town/paress-bank/ [Accessed 17th September 2019]

https://www.visitleicester.info/ [Accessed 17th September 2019]

https://www.visitleicester.info/see-and-do/new-walk-museum-and-art-gallery-p700961 [Accessed 20th September 2019]

 

Manchester April 2019

This Easter, me and my lovely mum Debbie travelled to Manchester for a long weekend theatre city break, to see ‘Ghost – The Musical’ at the Palace theatre. Whilst in Manchester, we visited many great places, including; the Coronation Street Tour, Hard Rock Cafe, Arndale shopping centre, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, Chinatown, Piccadilly Gardens, Treetop Adventure Golf, and an Easter Funfair at Manchester Central Convention Complex. Please continue reading / viewing to see a detailed description of our travels, with accompanying photography. Hope you enjoy.

Friday 19th April

 

We arrived in Manchester late afternoon on the Friday. Our hotel was the Britannia Sachas Hotel, located on Tib Street, very central and close by to Piccadilly Gardens.

 

A tradition of ours, whenever we go to a new UK city (if there is one there of course) we always enjoy taking a few photos in urban Chinatown.

 

SPOILERS ALERT: On the Friday evening, we went to see ‘Ghost – The Musical’ at the Palace Theatre! I can remember, ‘Ghost’ was one of the films my mum actually bought me as a Christmas present as a teenager, we have watched it together on DVD on numerous occasions over many years. It’s a great story, very much brought to life on stage. Because the 1990 film ‘Ghost’ starring the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, is not actually a musical as such, the stage production delights us with new musical numbers such as; ‘Here Right Now’, ‘Three Little Words’ ‘Are You a Believer’ and so on (lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin / music and lyrics by Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart).  The actress, Rebekah Lowings, who plays Molly was simply superb. She had an absolutely fantastic voice, especially singing her version of ‘With You’, quite frankly it took our breath away. Moreover, the Subway Ghost’s (Lovonne Richards’) Act Two spoken word deliverance of ‘Focus’ was a very clever interpretation of the original filmic scene.  Of course however, the most memorable song of Ghost is and always will be the Righteous Brothers’ classic 1965 ‘Unchained Melody’. It was really beautiful moment actually in the stage production, because the famous sensual pottery scene from the film was reincarnated with Sam (Niall Sheehy) this time serenading Molly with his acoustic guitar. As with all the musicals me and my mum have been fortunate enough to see together, Ghost certainly did not disappoint. The entire audience were up on their feet at the end demonstrating a well deserved standing ovation. Incredible.

Saturday 20th April

 

On the Saturday morning, we had a stroll around the expansive Arndale shopping centre. Outside Exchange Square was a coca-cola truck, as part of the official Premier League Trophy Tour; we took full advantage of the freebie soft drinks on such a bright and sunny day.

 

We then visited the very near by Manchester Cathedral situated on Victoria Street, and photographed its gorgeous Perpendicular Gothic style architecture.

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We afterwards rested our legs and quenched our thirst in the beer garden of a very quaint and dainty little pub establishment.

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Then, we made our way to the close by Printworks entertainment centre, for fun at Treetops Adventure golf, and food at the Hard Rock cafe.

 

We had great fun playing crazy golf, mum was comical bless her, she kept hitting the ball the wrong way! We laughed together.

 

I absolutely adore Hard Rock Cafes (we visited one in Amsterdam 2017 as well). It is brilliant seeing all the rock memorabilia adorning the walls. We enjoyed some fruit mocktails and delicious scran 😛

 

Saturday evening we popped onto Manchester metrolink to MediaCityUK, to go to a Coronation Street walking tour. Mum loved this experience so much, she is a massive Coronation Street fan and has watched the soap for decades. It was fantastic capturing selfie photographs of us on the cobbles; outside the Kabin, Preston’s Petals, Roy’s Rolls etc and of course, in front of the iconic Rovers Return Inn.

Sunday 21st April

 

On the Easter Sunday morning, we first made our way to Manchester Art Gallery where we were intrigued to see its’ vast collection of Pre-Raphaelite Fine Art paintings, among other aesthetic pleasures. Halima Cassell’s ceramic works we liked also in particular.

 

Late afternoon on Easter Sunday, me and mum leisurely walked to Manchester Museum. We were both immensely impressed by the gigantic ‘Stan’ the Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) in their downstairs fossils gallery, as well as glossy taxidermy animals on the upper floors. An extremely fascinating visit.

 

Afterwards, we took the bus to Manchester Central Convention Complex for its exciting Easter funfair! Fun and food, all under one roof; the hotdogs were super yummy. We rode on the merry-go-round carousel a few times, and I won mum a little cute unicorn teddy on hook-a-duck. Good times.

 

We finished off our lovely theatre city break to Manchester capturing some sunny selfies in Piccadilly Gardens once more 🙂

Overall, an amazing trip, making wonderful memories in Manchester with mum 🙂 ‘Ghost – The Musical’ was dead good; Manchester’s well mint, we were mad fer it! Nar mither really! Top banana! 

That’s all folks, nar make us a brew? 😛

 

Further reading:

https://www.visitmanchester.com/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

http://www.theprintworks.com/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

https://coronationstreettour.co.uk/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

http://manchesterartgallery.org/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

https://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

https://www.easterfunfair.co.uk/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

 

Thank you for viewing / reading!

Watch out for a new UnicornPostbox ”Psychedelic Elephant” art (pencil drawing / oil pastels) blog post coming soon!

Much love, Lauren xx

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2019 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

Birmingham November 2018

This November, Friday 9th until Monday 12th, to be precise, me and my lovely mum visited the beautiful populous city of Birmingham. On our city break we went to the Alexandra theatre to see Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage (it was incredible), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Bullring shopping and the city centre, Cadbury World, National Sea Life centre, as well as dining at many swanky restaurants, particularly at Brindleyplace leisure, opposite from our posh 4* Jury’s Inn hotel on Broad Street… Please continue reading for more detailed descriptions of our travels, with accompanying photography 🙂

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Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage

On the Friday evening, me and mum saw Dirty Dancing at the Alexandra theatre. We were seated in the stalls, row K, right in the middle, with the best possible view of the performance. The show was absolutely fantastic. The dialogue was very similar, it included all the memorable quotes from the film;

“I carried a watermelon. I carried a watermelon?!”

I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel [dramatic pause!] when I’m with you” and the classic…

“Nobody puts baby in the corner!”

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092890/quotes 

We were very pleased about this 🙂

Kira Malou, who played Baby, really perfected the character’s mannerisms, and Michael O’Reilly, playing Johnny, projected a sexy husky voice almost double to the gorgeous late Patrick Swayze. And boy, did O’Reilly have sex appeal! There was more than a few wolf-whistles echoing around the theatre throughout the show, particularly during the scenes in which Johnny was topless, funny that! 😛 The entire performance was quite naughty and raunchy, to be expected, hehe… And the dancing and music of course was simply sensational! They did the lift too, yey! At the end of the show, there was a well deserved standing ovation, everyone got up singing and dancing; the atmosphere was electric! Brilliant, we both proper loved it. Mum purchased a t-shirt, me a Dirty Dancing hoodie official merchandise, as well as two programmes. An experience to remember most definitely 🙂

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Whilst in Birmingham, we had a walk around the Museum and Art Gallery, free to enter (always a bonus, lol). The museum has, notably, a vast collection of Pre-Raphaelites works, but also showcases Baroque art, Ancient Egyptian artefacts – there is a Greek and Roman gallery, a gallery solely dedicated to the fascinating history of the city, The Birmingham School of Art gallery and so on and so forth. The gallery which most intrigued me however was the Spiritual Life faith gallery. I was very interested to learn about the different faiths practised in such a multicultural, diverse and rich city, as my prior knowledge of such religions was rather limited. It sparked an interest for sure, and I have since researched some faiths further, particularly Hinduism, which I never knew actually resonates greatly with me and my personal philosophy of life. The museum and art gallery also showcased a great exhibition ‘Women Power Protest’. Commemorating the 100 year anniversary of women’s right to vote in the UK, the exhibition showed contemporary and modern artworks from local artists, Birmingham’s collection, and the Arts Council Collection, with explored themes including; activism, dignity and hope; illustrating the inequalities and injustices women have experienced, exploring how women’s bodies are depicted, and drawing attention to how, slowly, women’s experiences are becoming more visible in the world of art and artistic expression. Inspired by feminist activists and artists, the exhibition aims to;

raise awareness, provoke debate and ask just how much has changed for women?” http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag 

A very positive step in the right direction, in my opinion 🙂

Bullring shopping and the city centre

Whilst in Birmingham, me and mum obviously went into the heart of city centre, where the ginormous Bullring shopping centre is. The glistening decorations hanging inside the Bullring were simply stunning. It was really lovely because outside the Bullring, near St Martin’s Church, there was a Christmas themed Snow House globe which served alcoholic beverages, and what we opted for, delicious frothy hot chocolates, yum yum 🙂 – as well as a few small Christmas food stalls, selling German sausages, and Belgium waffles, yum yum again, hehe 🙂 Really puts you in the festive spirit! 😀 We also had a nice stroll around the Chinese Quarter, not far from the Bullring!

Cadbury World

On the Sunday morning, me and mum travelled from Birmingham New Street train station to Bournville, to visit the highly anticipated Cadbury World (me and mum both love chocolate!) We learnt of the origins of the cocoa beans, and how cocoa trees were central to Aztec culture, were told of how entrepreneur Quaker John Cadbury first began his chocolate business all those years ago in Victorian Bull Street, enjoyed a cinema experience with special effect – a visual presentation showing how Cadbury chocolate is made in the factory, we had a play with liquid chocolate, writing our names “ ❤ Debbie and Lauren ❤ ” on the demonstration table,  we stepped onto the magical ‘beanmobile’ and enjoyed a gentle chocolate wonderland Cadabra ride, with many familiar enchanting chocolate characters (mum absolutely loved this!), watched chocolatiers demonstrate their impressive chocolate making techniques, sampled some warm Dairy Milk liquid chocolate with a choice of scrumptious toppings, and had great fun having our photo taken with the Green Screen experience, as well as posing for pictures with the Cadbury characters! Ace!

National Sea Life centre

On our last morning in Birmingham, me and mum ventured to the National Sea Life centre, situated on the Water’s Edge of Brindleyplace complex, within very easy walking distance from Jury’s Inn. We were very excited to see all the magnificent sea creatures, me and mum are both massive animal lovers! It certainly did not disappoint. We sauntered leisurely around the sea life centre, mesmerised by all the delightful creatures; octopuses, seahorses, sea turtles, sharks and stingrays (arghhh, haha!), jellyfish and so on. Our personal favourites however were the playful pretty penguins! They’re so cute and adorable with their little waddle, lovely animals!  Great visit!

Brindleyplace leisure

During our time in Birmingham, me and mum dined out at quite a few deluxe restaurants, cafés and bars, especially at Brindleyplace leisure complex; including Café Rouge, Zizzi’s and The Slug and Lettuce, as well as eating at Ed’s Easy Diner, on the waterfront overlooking the tranquil canal. We are both big foodies, and regularly go out for meals when back home in Yorkshire, so obviously it was not going to be any different on our little Birmingham city break! Very delicious and yummy food Birmingham has to offer!

Conclusion   

Overall, me and mum had an absolutely amazing time visiting Birmingham! I would actually say, it was my favourite city break / holiday away with mum, and we have gone on quite a fair few trips together, including; Liverpool, London and Newcastle in the UK and Amsterdam and Paphos abroad. It was so good because it was not at all what we were expecting. Before we went away, a few people told us Birmingham was not a nice place to visit at all, that is was a bit rundown, slightly squalid and unpleasant. I almost cancelled our trip. We found it to be the total opposite – a very aesthetically pleasing, vibrant and exciting cosmopolitan city. Every Brummie we met was so so friendly too… In a nutshell…

Saw babby in Dirty Dancing!

Brum was bostin!  

Tara-a-bit!   😀

Bibliography

https://dirtydancingontour.com/ [Accessed 21st November 2018]

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092890/quotes [Accessed 21st November 2018]

http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag [Accessed 21st November 2018]

https://www.cadburyworld.co.uk/en [Accessed 21st November 2018]

https://www.visitsealife.com/birmingham/ [Accessed 21st November 2018]

https://www.brindleyplace.com/leisure/ [Accessed 21st November 2018]

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2018 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

London May 2018

At the end of May this year, me and my mum Debbie visited London for three days, to go and see ‘Bat Out of Hell; The Musical’ at the Dominion Theatre. We booked our trip with Superbreak, and we were very satisfied customers. First class train travel to the capital city, with complimentary food and drink; never travelling first class before we really appreciated this luxury!

Our hotel was great as well, the 3* Royal National Hotel, London, conveniently only a few minute walk away from Russell Square tube station. It was massive size wise. Obviously our room wasn’t incredible being only a 3* hotel, but it did the job very nicely indeed; friendly helpful staff, clean, tidy, lovely places to eat – we were happy.

Monday 21st May

Our first stop on the underground was Piccadilly Circus, where we enjoyed a gorgeous banana and caramel milkshake each at ‘Five Guys’ restaurant, we also got some fab photos with the ace street performers surrounding the statue known as the statue of Eros (mum’s favourite thing to do, pics with street performers, hehe)

We walked to Leicester Square next, and Trafalgar Square shortly afterwards and took the opportunity to capture some nice touristy photos; of the famous William Shakespeare statue in Leicester Square, The National Gallery in Trafalgar, Nelson’s column, the four lions, etc

We finished off the day with a nice stroll around the Apple Market in Covent Garden, relaxing for a while, enjoying refreshing pineapple & apple and apple juice smoothies

Tuesday 22nd May

Tuesday we hopped on the tube and headed to my favourite place in London, Camden Town! (My suggestion, not mum’s, lol) We walked leisurely around the market, checking out all the cool alternative style clothing, and quirky bits and bobs. We drank a few dark fruit ciders in a beer garden overlooking the beautiful canal, soaking up the gorgeous sunshine

Later that day, we continued to enjoy the sunshine and people watched in Russell Square garden, only a few minute walk away from our hotel, the Royal National. The water feature in the middle of the park is particularly pretty I thought

Somewhere I was really excited to visit was The British Museum. Unfortunately we arrived later on in the day, when it was close to closing, so we did not experience all exhibitions and galleries on offer – such as regrettably not seeing any Ancient Greece and Rome exhibitions – however we still saw some amazing Asia, Ancient Egypt and Africa artefacts and art, and learnt a little about the history and the traditions of these cultures

Tuesday evening we journeyed on the underground to Tottenham Court Road tube station, to go see ‘Bat Out of Hell; The Musical’ at the Dominion Theatre! I have seen a fair few West End shows, including ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Lion King’ twice, ‘Othello’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Blood Brothers’ three times, as well as ‘’Mary Poppins’ in Manchester, ‘Mamma Mia!’ in Newcastle, and very recently ‘Wicked!’ in Liverpool, and so on… Bat Out of Hell is one of the best, up there in the top three, absolutely amazing! I have grown up listening to Meatloaf’s music, my mum has always loved him. It was such a magical moment glancing at her during the performance, seeing her beaming with happiness, miming along to all the songs. We had excellent seats in the stalls, only seven rows back, with such a spectacular view of all the action. The musical showcases the epic rock n’ roll love story between Strat and Raven, set in the post-apocalyptic city, Obsidian. It very loosely depicts the romance of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy; Strat and his rebellious friends ‘The Lost’ cannot grow up you see. The tyrannical leader of Obsidian, his daughter Raven is Strat’s love interest! – so an interesting narrative soon unfolds. The entire production was just astonishing, I could not fault it. There was a motorcycle revving up (with no place to go) on stage, bats (out of hell) flying out into the audience, fireworks (they took the words right out of my mouth), the whole sh’bam! There was a well deserved standing ovation at the end, everybody up singing and dancing, the atmosphere was paradise (by the dashboard light). We even bought two (out of three) t-shirts, hehe. I want to see it again, I need to see it again! – For crying out loud, we absolutely loved it! 😀

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Wednesday 23rd May

On our last day in London, we decided to to travel on the underground to Westminster, to go see the wonderful sights there such as the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament. We captured some nice photos of Westminster Bridge and the palace taken from across the River Thames, as well as photographing the London Eye, from Westminster Bridge.

After spending a couple of hours sightseeing here, we were knackered, so we paid to be cycled to Buckingham Palace in a fab little pedicab!   

We laid back and relaxed for a while on the grass area adjacent to the palace before taking some pretty photos of the palace itself and the Victoria Memorial monument; we finished off our day with a pleasant stroll through gorgeous Green Park.

… And that was our rock n’ roll and brew trip to London! Some amazing memories to look back on with mum and cherish always 😀

We would do anything to see ‘Bat Out of Hell; The Musical’ once more in the future, maybe rock and roll dreams will come true!

Thank you for reading / viewing!

Much love, Lauren x    

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2018 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

Liverpool March 2018

This year at the end of March, me and my mum Debbie visited Liverpool to celebrate my 27th birthday. We booked up, at a very reasonable price, with National Holidays (have you declared your national holiday yet? Lol) for an overnight trip to Liverpool, with the massive highlight of seeing the matinee performance of ‘Wicked!’ at the Liverpool Empire theatre.  

Saturday 31st March 2018

We arrived by coach into Liverpool city centre in the early afternoon of Saturday 31st. We had an hour or so to kill before the matinee performance of Wicked!, so we walked leisurely around the nearby shopping centre, city centre streets, and grabbed a lovely caffè latte. Mum really enjoyed the street performers!


Making our way to the Empire theatre, we were both super excited.  Being a big fan of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ film, I have always fancied going and longed to see the stage musical ‘Wicked!’; for years I have said “Mum, we must go see that one!” It has always been top of my list… and it certainly did not disappoint! ‘Wicked!’ was just as magical, marvellous and mesmerising as I had hoped… SPOILER ALERT: I think the whole concept of the musical, based on Gregory Maguire’s revision of the tale, transforming the ‘evil’ Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum’s original ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, to Elphaba, the heroine of the story, is great and obviously a very successful idea too… The only little gripe I have will National Holidays, is that I specifically asked not to be seated high up in the theatre, as mum is really afraid of heights. They take personal requests into consideration, but cannot promise them – we were seated high up in the Grand Circle, with a restricted bleeding view! Never mind, we still had a wonderful time 😀 We purchased some small merchandise afterwards, to put in mum’s memory box (she unfortunately has neurological difficulties). We have some lovely little keepsakes to remember the experience always 🙂


Later on that evening after the performance, we were taken to our chosen hotel on the outskirts of Liverpool. After checking in, we spent the evening eating nice grub in the restaurant, and at a steady pace, drinking ‘Wicked Lady’ (how apt) rose wine in the hotel bar.


Sunday 1st April 2018

On the Sunday, our final day, we took full advantage of exploring all Liverpool has to offer. We visited the famous Cavern Club on Matthew Street, home to the Beatles. There was a great musician on stage performing classic Beatles songs. We got a couple of fruit ciders from the bar, admired the terrific music memorabilia adorning the walls, and listened to some top-notch music in a really relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. My dad was very jealous when I told him where we’d been, he’s a massive Beatles fan!

 

Next we got a quick taxi ride to Cains brewery village, to go have a cheeky gin and tonic in the new Peaky Blinders bar. We were so looking forward to it, as me and my mum are both huge Peaky Blinders fans. There was a vast collection of Peaky Blinders canvases on the wall (as photographed), but I hoped it to be quite a glam and luxurious and sophisticated establishment, like some of the high class swanky bars shown in the series. However, it very much resembled the Garrison.. a bit drab and dingy! So we were a tad disappointed, haha.

 

Afterwards, we grabbed delicious street food at Baltic market, a mozzarella pizza for mum, and a burger for me with so many layers I dread to think how many calories I consumed! (I am trying to lose weight, and failing miserably!) There was also a guy playing guitar and some cute craft stalls, so that was really nice.

 

We journeyed immediately afterwards in another taxi,, to finish off the day nicely with a little stroll around Albert Dock. As you can see, I took the opportunity to capture some pretty photos:


And that was our celebratory trip to Liverpool! Slightly imperfect in places, but overall a fantastic city break 😀 Bitta scran, and a bitta bevvy, bitta…theatre, (lol)… proper boss! 😀

We are becoming right little getabouts because we have only recently come home from London! We went to see ‘Bat out of Hell; the musical’! So please look out for a London blog post, coming very soon!

Travelling, sightseeing, exploring new places… it’s great isn’t it? Whoever said “There’s  no place like home” surely had no clue whatsoever what they were talking about… lol 😛

 

Thank you so much for reading. Hope you’re having a ‘wicked’ weekend. Much love, Lauren x 

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2018 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com