Have you ever wondered what goes through people’s head in certain situations? What do you think about during a date? Or the random thoughts that go through your head during sex? What about when someone’s mental health is deteriorating?
Netflix and Chill is a story that follows Ben , a working class chef, who’s life spirals out of control after trying to rekindle a relationship with his mum. His work, friendships and love life are all tested as his week goes from bad to worse.
Netflix and Chill is essentially an in depth look at male mental health and how our inner dialogue can have such a massive impact on how we see and react to everyday situations. It follows the story of Ben, played by Tom Stocks who also wrote the play, who works as a chef in a pub and has been estranged from his mum for over 11 years. It opens with him meeting his mum for the first time since she left her abusive partner and is now trying to rekindle their relationship, something that is only touched on at the start of the play. Immediately the inner dialogue becomes apparent and we get the feel of how the story is going to be told.
Blitz is just one of the shows at The Union Theatre that is part of the Phil Willmott Company’s Essential Classics season 2020: V.E DAY – 75 YEARS ON.
It is based during WWII in London where both the Jewish Blitztein family & the cockney Locke family live. When the children from these opposite families fall in love a wonderfully poignant wartime romance starts to unfold.
This classic style musical from Lionel Bart has an instant feel of being a much bigger show. The songs tell the story and the dance routines portray that old fashioned ‘good old knees up’ atmosphere that gives a sense of inclusiveness with the audience being so close. The set is bustling and busy with lots of individual connections between the characters going on, whilst the main premise of the story starts to develop. The space is cleverly utilised not only to create the claustrophobic feel of being stuck on an underground tube platform but also the winding feel of the narrow lane aspect of the area at that time.
The play 4 Stages ( by BC Allen) at the Bread and Roses Theatre is directed by Natasha Kathi-Chandra. It centres around 3 characters, Alex (Andre Skeete), Ben (Brett Allen) and Cat ( Natasha Redhead) on their monthly games night. Presented in four parts which represent four separate nights spread throughout one particular calendar year. Ben and Alex interview each other over the four nights about how and where they grew up. As the nights go on there are some startling revelations which lead to some very frank discussions along the way.
‘ Two best friends Ben and Alex, who grew up together, now in their 40’s, meet every last Sunday of the month for ‘Games Night’. They are from different backgrounds but are as close and tight as brothers. Ben has recently had a child with his partner Cat.’
This theatre is extremely intimate and is set with seats on opposite sides with the ‘set’ in the middle dressed as a room in Ben and Cat’s home which works perfectly as they use the exit door as their door to the rest of the ‘house’. With the space being small it enhances the feeling of being a ‘fly on the wall’ overlooking events unfolding in these characters lives. Each night is cleverly separated in a way that you know the story is moving on and yet works perfectly in the small space they have with regarding the set.
Gutted is a black comedy that is set in a fish factory in 1980’s Dublin written by Sharon Byrne and directed by Chris White. It explores the lives of three strong women who are friends through working in the same dead end job. Yet all have dreams of something bigger and better than what their lives are at the moment.
The stage is sparsely set with nothing but a plain white backdrop with strip lighting, standing lamps and ceiling lights. However, the lights are cleverly linked and used as extra characters throughout and this is incredibly well presented. The story is told in interlinking comic monologue from the three women Deidre ( Niamh Finlay), Delores ( Sarah Hosford) and Breda (Eleanor Byrne) covering just one particular night of their lives.
It is Irish storytelling at its best with comedy concealing a powerful undertone of hurt and heartache that is hinted at throughout. It’s raw and relatable and immediately transported me back to my teenage years with the girls singing excerpts of some songs of the time. Notably Tainted Love (oh the memories!) and yet tainted love can totally sum up the underlying theme of the play.
First of all I want to make it clear that this was my very first time in an escape room ever. So this review is based solely on that one experience rather than a comparison to other escape rooms of other styles. I was lucky enough to be asked to go along to London Escaped Vampire Slayer to review.
London Escaped have a couple of different rooms to experience such as the Da Vinci and The Prisoner. I went with a lovely group of escape room veterans via Love London Pop Ups to give their new Vampire Slayer game a try.
As someone who hasn’t been to an escape room before I was literally going in blind with absolutely no clue of what to expect. I knew there would be clues and puzzles to work out and obviously you are under a time pressure to ‘escape’. We were a group of 7 people and for this game they advise between 2-8 people. But it can accommodate up to 10 people if necessary and it lasts for 60 minutes. We were there for a 4pm start and at that point in the reception area it wasn’t busy. It was great opportunity for a novice like me to get a sneak peek into some of the other rooms.
Have you heard of this new mini series on Sky/ Not TV called Chernobyl and have you watched it yet?
I’m generally a binge watcher when it comes to a TV series although it can be quite hard to avoid spoilers occasionally. With this I didn’t really worry about the spoiler side of things as it’s more of a retelling of real life event from 1986. I was turning 16 when this happened and I can remember it being reported on the news on a daily basis for a very long time.
This series has only 5 episodes and covers in depth what happened from those who were closely involved with dealing with the disaster at the time. It has the highest rating on IMDb in a very short space of time, so that really has to tell you something about the quality of this series.
This is something I have pondered about for a while now. My teen and I have always enjoyed going to the cinema and will talk non stop all the way home about whatever film we have just watched. My son has always been into his films and TV series from a young age, now at age18 he has developed into a great critic looking at actors, directors and how the film was shot, along with what he thought worked and didn’t. Its one of the things we really have in common and quite often he will ask to go with me rather than his mates as he knows I watch with a similar keen eye. I would love to start a blog/ Youtube channel or podcast with him as we have some great discussions after watching something either in the cinema, on Netflix or Now Tv………………..but to no avail……….he wont do it!
So, I have decided to do my own reviews on this little corner of the internet and hope they help someone along the way. They will not all be the latest releases from the cinema (although some will) but will also include binge worthy Tv series and those films released onto streaming services too. The aim is to help people find something to watch next, especially with so much on offer from so many streaming services it can sometimes be difficult to chose. I see people on Twitter a lot asking for recommendations of what to watch next and hopefully my reviews will point someone in the right direction along the way.
My son has always been one to watch on his Ipad as he can pop his headphones on and bring it around the house with him ( especially when he goes into cooking mode in the kitchen!). I actually get a lot of recommendations from him of decent films to watch, he has great taste and generally won’t be what you would expect from his age group. From about the age of 14 films such as Schindler’s List and Shawshank Redemption have been in his top 5. Even at the age of about 9 or 10 he would speed watch the likes of Jaws in about 10 minutes literally fast forwarding (think DVD’s) to the gruesome bits! His DVD and Blueray collection has the likes of American Psycho, Birdman and Saving Private Ryan, so not your typical collection for his age group.
I have seen more and more of these style of trampoline parks popping up all over the place taking over (almost) from the generation of kids indoor playcentres, with the difference being that us adults can also now ‘pay and play’!
We were invited along to Jump In trampoline park Tonbridge in Kent over the half term, which has just recently opened in fact. This one was on an industrial estate ( which most of these places are anyway) and although there was a decent sised sign on the outer gate we really had to look hard to make sure we were in the right place as this was the sign on the building itself….
We were advised to register everyone in our group that were actually going onto the trampolines and those under 18 need to be signed in by an adult on the waiver form.
Last week I was invited along to the Leisure Club in Bexleyheath’s Marriott Hotel to have a look around their facilities in particular their new gym equipment.
Now as most of you know I am not able to use these sorts of machines due to my illness. However, I managed to coax Mr B to come along for the afternoon to possibly try some of it out.
If you’re anything like me, you probably would think that the facilities in the hotel’s leisure club are strictly for the hotel guests, or for those booked onto a spa day retreat. But this could not be further from the truth. In fact the Bexleyheath Marriott leisure club already has over 600 local members.
It has a small swimming pool ( the type you would totally expect in a hotel) that has a decent sized raised jacuzzi at one end. It has comfortable lounge seating along each side of the pool. Just off to the side there is both a steam room and a sauna and separate showers. So once you are changed and in this area all these facilities are together. The whole space is set out as you would imagine a day spa to be and there are often clients in there in their robes enjoying a spa afternoon.
Just before you reach the leisure club reception desk itself is a separate gym room with all the equipment your regular gym would provide. Again it is the size you would expect from a hotel facility. So it’s not huge, but it is extremely well equipped and set out in a manner that allows them to make the most of the space.
This time last week I had the chance to pop along the the new branch of Bella Italia that has opened in Orpington just next to the new cinema complex at The Walnuts centre. I have to admit it has been a few years since I was in a Bella Italia restaurant and so I was interested to see what had changed both in style and menu.
On entering the quirky style decor caught my eye immediately with vibrant colours and fabulous wall art. What did catch my attention was the brilliant use of lots of huge old picture frames painted in bright colours that made up the so called ceiling which you could see much higher up. I also adored the wire framed bulb lights which really suited the style perfectly.