Bethan In Brum

A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

REVIEW: The History Boys, Wolverhampton Grand

There aren’t many writers I love more than Alan Bennett. His work has made me feel every emotion possible in the past, from the incredible Talking Heads monologues that I had the total joy of studying during my A Levels all those years ago, to The Lady in the Van; I have absolutely adored his work. So I was delighted when I saw that The History Boys, arguably his greatest piece of work, was arriving in Wolverhampton. And even better, it’s a Wolverhampton Grand Theatre production, so I just knew that it was going to be special.

The History Boys follows an unruly bunch of sixth-form boys who are battling in their pursuits of sex, sport, banter and a place at university. They are a bunch of very bright lads, keen to leave Sheffield behind and get into Oxford or Cambridge. However, their teachers have a very different way of teaching the boys, and very different ideas of what they should get out of school, and achieve in life. But the Headmaster is all about the school moving their way up the league tables, so brings in Oxbridge graduate Irwin to teach the boys a thing or two about getting into a top university.

General Studies teacher Hector teaches the lads how to recite poetry perfectly, how to have conversations in French and the pure joy of words, essentially giving them an hour to just enjoy themselves, whilst learning a huge amount about real life. On the other hand, Irwin pushes the boys to think outside of the box. There is a stark contrast between Hector and Irwin; the lads see Hector as fun, and Irwin as the serious one. The audience get to see how differently the boys act around the two polar opposite teachers. But which one do they learn more from?

The production is very funny, but is, in equal measure, incredibly deep and thought provoking. The main element of the show though is that of emotional and physical abuse of the boys, first by Hector, but also with hints from Irwin. This element would have obviously been a large part of the production, but in the #MeToo era, it’s important to have story lines like this more than ever.

The audience had the joy of being able to get to know each character individually, with the time and effort put into each role. The role of the super strict headmaster was taken on by Jeffrey Holland, alongside Hector being played by Ian Redford, who managed to make the audience dislike him for what he does to the boys, but also feel a sense of sympathy towards him for what his life has become.

Lee Comley made the role of Irwin his own, and Victoria Carling’s take on Mrs Lintott was brilliant, and the perfect casting for the sweet but sassy role who is keen for the boys to understand women. The cast is completed by Thomas Grant as Posner, Jordan Scowen as Dakin, Frazer Hadfield as Scripps, Joe Wiltshire Smith as Rudge, James Schofield as Lockwood, Arun Bassi as Akthar, Dominic Treacy as Timms and Adonis Jenieco as Crowther.

Stand out performances though came from Thomas Grant, who was simply made for the role of Posner, Frazer Hadfield’s take on Scripps and Jordan Scowen’s role of Dakin.

The sets were uncomplicated, simply going from classrooms to the headmaster’s office. But one element that I really liked in the show was that between scenes, the production used screens to show the boys outside of the classroom, which gave us an insight into what was happening around the school grounds. This was a really imaginative and innovative way of keeping the audience entertained whilst sets changed, and we were treated to a cracking set list of 80s songs to accompany the videos shown on screen.

The History Boys is one hell of a show; taking us from hilarious moments to deep, dark conversations. We get to see so much character progression in the production in just over two hours, and learn about where life took each boy, which was a lovely touch. The production was funny, witty and snappy, but also salient and really important.

I can’t recommend this show enough. It is a fantastic show, and I hope we get the opportunity to see Wolverhampton Grand Theatre continue to keep producing such high quality productions.

The History Boys: 10/10

*I was gifted two tickets to this show in exchange of a review on this blog. I have not accepted payment for this review. I paid for all travel to and from the theatre.

All pictures captured by Tim Thursfield/Express & Star.


REVIEW: Band of Gold, The Alexandra, Birmingham

Band of Gold captivated over 15 million viewers each week when it aired on ITV back in the 90s. The thriller revolves around a group of women – Carol, Rose, Anita and Gina – as they battle to survive working in a red-light district in Bradford.

Kay Mellor, who is the woman behind not only Band of Gold, but also the likes of Fat Friends and The Syndicate, decided to turn the popular TV series into a stage show following the success of Fat Friends The Musical. However, trying to turn the first series of a TV drama into a two hour production is complicated work…

The audience meet Gina, who has left an abusive husband and is attempting to flog off cosmetics as the local Avon girl in a bid to make some money so that she can pay off a vicious loan shark, so that she can look after her young daughter without needing to take her vile ex back. But whilst out trying to sell lip-gloss and moisturiser, she knocks on the door of Carol, who has been selling sex since she was just 13. She gets talking prostitution with Carol and Anita, who occasionally lets the girls use her flat to bring men back to, and decides that selling sex is a quick and easy way to make a lot of money, giving Gina the opportunity to finally get rid of the loan shark.

But, whilst Gina is working the lanes, trying to make the last bit of cash needed to pay the loan off, she gets suddenly murdered. This turns the play about understanding the reasons behind why women end up selling sex, into somewhat of a murder mystery. Alongside this main storyline, there is also a man acting very strangely in the local pub, Carol’s ex who turns out to be a Police Inspector, and a Councillor getting plenty of sexual favours. This is also alongside other mini plots of what people will actually do to win a cleaning contract, and Rose desperate to meet her teenage daughter who was taken off her as a baby. Therefore, as you can imagine, there is a huge amount going on in this production.

There is an excellent cast, full of relatively big names from the likes of Coronation Street, Eastenders and Hollyoaks. Gina is played by Sacha Parkinson, who I absolutely loved watching as teenager in My Mad Fat Diary, so I was delighted to see her in this production, and doing a brilliant job of this complicated character. The headstrong and sassy Rose is played by Gaynor Faye, who works incredibly hard at perfecting this role in the show, and Emma Osman also does a great job as the flirty but fiery Carol.

This show is undeniably all about the women, but that doesn’t mean that the men go under the radar. X Factor winner and Coronation Street star Shayne Ward takes on the role of Inspector Newall, and Hollyoaks actor Kieron Richardson is Gina’s evil ex Steve, and does a fantastic job.

The set was made up of many sliding doors, which was innovative, and almost felt like the change of scenery in a TV series, which was a good way to give a nod to the 90s ITV drama. We were taken from the local pub to Gina’s house, Carol’s super clean living room and, of course, the lanes themselves, where the girls go to earn their money. However, sometimes it took just a little too long to change sets, making the scenes sometimes feel a bit disjointed, and towards the end, there were so many changes that it was difficult to keep up with what was going on.

The story itself behind the show is excellent, and I really admire how Kay Mellor wanted to show a different side to women who sell sex, rather than just being stereotypical and expected. However, there were elements to the show that I would absolutely change. The whole production needs tightening up and there really is simply too much going on. And because there’s too much going on, it means the audience doesn’t get to know each character as well as we wanted to, which meant I left the show with so many questions, having not have had the closure what I needed from the production.

Although the show is somewhat of a murder mystery, when we do eventually find out who the killer is, it wasn’t exactly a big shocking moment and was swiftly set aside to tie loose ends up of other plot lines going on in the show, making the show not quite a thriller, but also not quite a comedy. The cast were all brilliant, but it would have been nice to see more of Shayne Ward throughout the production rather than more towards the end. Despite having an excellent cast, it was the attempt of having too many stories within one show that simply lets this production down.

Fans of the 90s hit TV show will no doubt really enjoy the show and will love the nostalgia of meeting these women once again. But if you’re not familiar with the story already, I strongly suggest that you do your research beforehand, as elements of it may seem a bit random if not. The story is good, the cast are great, the music is excellent – but the magic was simply missing in this show.

RATING: 6/10

*I was gifted two tickets to this show in exchange of a review on this blog. I have not accepted payment for this review. I paid for all travel to and from the theatre.

All pictures captured by Ant Robling. 


Sunday, 9 February 2020

A Day Well Spent at The Boy in the Dress, The RSC

The Royal Shakespeare Company; by far one of the best theatres that the Midlands has to offer. So when they recently invited me along to check out behind the scenes of The Boy in the Dress, on stage until 8th March, as well as enjoy the show, I could hardly resist!

The Boy in the Dress, written by a true nation sweetheart, David Walliams, follows the story of Dennis. He is a 12 year old boy, and his school football team’s top striker. But, things aren’t too easy at home. His Mum leaves his Dad, leaving Dennis with just a photo of her in a yellow dress. So when he pops into his local newsagents and comes across a copy of Vogue magazine, where the model is wearing a similar dress to his mum’s, he is instantly drawn to it. But he can’t understand why he likes football…and fashion. Will he ever be allowed to be the boy in the dress?

Upon arrival to the theatre, we met with Company Manager Robbie Cullen, who gave us an incredibly thorough tour of the set and staging of The Boy in the Dress. Having the opportunity to go backstage is always one that I absolutely love. As wonderful as it is to see the finished product, heading behind the scenes to see what really goes into a production is fascinating.

One of the key parts of the show is the houses that make the backing of many of the scenes, so seeing them spotted around ready to go on stage was wonderful, as well as the car that glides onto the stage effortlessly, the disco balls that bring together one of the best musical numbers in the show, and the goal posts that pop up magically out of the floor throughout the show.

We also got to chance to marvel at the outfits, and the props, with our favourite being the snot, of course, that contributes to one of the funniest moments in the show. But the absolute highlight though was being able to meet the wonderful OddBall, who we instantly fell in love with.

Ben Thompson, the operator of the dog, was fascinating to watch, but it is also as fascinating to notice how quickly you no longer notice Ben, and just see OddBall for the fabulous character he is! Heading backstage was the ultimate treat for me, and it allows you to watch the show in a totally different way because you’ve seen and heard about the amount of hard work that goes into the production. 

Following the tour, we headed upstairs to enjoy a beautiful Sunday dinner at the theatre’s restaurant that overlooks Stratford-upon-Avon. I went for the Pork, which was absolutely delicious! In fact, it was the best meal I’ve had in a super long time. My guest went for the Seabass, and they also absolutely loved it. It’s very rare that I get the chance to enjoy a meal AND a show, so it made the day so special. 

We soon headed to the show, which we were so excited for by this point! We’d heard a rumour whizzing around that the man himself, David Walliams, was in the building. So we couldn’t quite believe it when we got to meet David, as he sat himself right behind us! Just another part of the day that made the day unforgettable.

The show was everything we wanted it to be. The plot is a beautiful story, of acceptance and total joy; a story that I wish had been around when I was younger. Jackson Laing took on the role of Dennis, and was just incredible, he was simply made for the role. Other highlights included the role of Dennis’s Dad, played by Rufus Hound, whose take on the role was fantastic. The audience went from hating him and his treatment of Dennis and his brother John, to absolutely loving him when he accepted Dennis for who he is.

Other highlights of the cast included Lisa James, played by Asha Banks, who was absolutely fantastic and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her pop up in even bigger roles in the future. However, the show was really brought together with the help of a hugely talented ensemble. 

One of my favourite aspects of the show was the musical numbers, that really helped bring the show to life. The songs for the production were written by no other than Robbie Williams himself, and Guy Chambers, and they were all absolutely brilliant, super catchy and songs that I could easily go back and listen to time and time again. Personal musical highlights included the infectious ‘Disco Symphony’, the downright hilarious ‘I Hate Kids’ and the stunning ‘Is there Anything More Beautiful Than Lisa James?’. 

The set, many of which we got to take a closer look at backstage, looked fantastic working on stage. Sets moved smoothly between scenes, taking the audience from the football pitch, effortlessly to Dennis’s bedroom, Lisa’s house, the newsagents and the school classrooms, all without much hassle at all. 

I absolutely adored my day experiencing all things The Boy in the Dress. The show was, of course, absolutely brilliant, and so, so enjoyable, that I can’t wait to head along again soon to watch it all over again. If you’re looking for a show that will put a huge smile on your face and lift your spirits during these cold and miserable months, you absolutely need to head along to watch this incredible production. 

The Boy in the Dress is on stage at The RSC until 8th March 2020. Get tickets here

*I was fortunate enough to be gifted the backstage experience, restaurant meal and show. However, I haven’t accepted payment to write this post and was under no obligation to give a raving review. I paid for all travel to and from the theatre. 


Thursday, 19 December 2019

REVIEW: Festive Menu at The Lyttelton Arms, Hagley

FINALLY being able to blast All I Want For Christmas is You at least 34 times a day, cosying up on the sofa to watch The Holiday (Two words: JUDE LAW) and being genuinely ecstatic at the thought of opening at least three new pyjama sets on Christmas morning; it’s safe to say the festive season is back and is it just me, or is it bigger than ever? 

As much as I love Mariah Carey and the love of my life (apart from my Fiancé) Jude Law, one of my absolute favourite aspect of Christmas is getting all dressed up and heading along to a restaurant to try out their festive menu. Because let’s face it, the festive menu is always the very best one they have! So I was delighted when I could put aside my Greggs Festive Bake aside for an evening, and head along to check out what The Lyttelton Arms, just down the road from me in Hagley, is offering festive menu enthusiasts this year.

When we first sat down, we were treated to the restaurant’s Christmas cocktail. You know me, I love Christmas, but I love cocktails more! The Sipsmith Bramble Royale was a total dream; spiced bramble gin topped with Prosecco, which was, of course, super tasty and the perfect start to the meal.

We quickly moved onto the food, and I was really impressed with the festive menu, with something for just about everyone. The menu includes Salmon Fillet, Steak, and of course, a full blown Christmas dinner with Turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. 

For starter, I went for the Smoked Salmon and King Prawn Pot, which was topped with Devon crab crème fraiche and served with ciabatta. It was divine, and an incredibly generous portion. My guest went for the Deep-Fried Brie, coated in panko breadcrumbs, with a spoonful of spiced fruit and sloe gin chutney. Again, another very happy guest! 

For mains, I went back and forth for as long as I could between two dishes; the Roast Turkey (God, I do LOVE Turkey) and a Vegan option of Slow-Roasted Tomato and Almond Bake. I eventually went for the Bake, ultimately deciding to save my beloved Turkey for Christmas Day, but I was so glad I did. It was absolutely delicious! It was packed full of flavour, and was topped with beetroot, carrot, spinach and roasted celeriac. It was actually one of the best main dishes I’ve had in a very long time.

My guest opted for the Maple Pork Belly and Pig Cheek (it just SOUNDS festive doesn’t it?), which came accompanied with Dijon chive mash, cavolo nero, crisp prosciutto and red wine and sage jus. To say they absolutely devoured it would be a total understatement. Both main dishes came served with seasonal vegetables, including carrots, potatoes and of course, sprouts – it is Christmas after all.

Desserts was another difficult choice, and with it being a festive menu, there’s the usual suspects; Christmas Pudding, Blackcurrant Mousse and so on. But I actually went for a non-sweet dessert, because I believe at Christmas, you’ve simply got to eat as much cheese as possible. So I did. I went for the Cheese Board, which came with a wide selection of British cheeses and mixed seed biscuits, grapes, celery and chutney. It was gorgeous, totally indulgent and again, incredibly generous. 

My guest opted for the equally delicious Warm Chocolate Brownie, which came with Belgian chocolate sauce, honeycomb ice cream and a brandy snap crumb. I also enjoyed a beautiful Hot Chocolate to end the evening perfectly. 

This wasn’t my first visit to The Lyttelton Arms, and one of the aspects I love most about the restaurant is how cosy it is, with the perfect combination of traditional, countryside décor alongside touches of uber modern and fun décor. It is a very welcoming restaurant, and the staff, especially on this occasion, were absolutely lovely. There was a few teething problems with the festive menu, as it was its first night, but we were kept in the loop and nothing ever took too long. 

The only aspect of The Lyttelton Arms is as soon as you walk in; there is a notice stating how visitors must be dressed to be able to enter. I understand fully that the restaurant is trying to keep it as sophisticated as possible, but I often feel that these signs can be very alienating. However, the restaurant is still a lovely place to go, especially for a special occasion.
The festive menu is also very reasonable considering the amount you get. The Indulgent Festive Menu, which me and my guest enjoyed, costs £34.95 per person, and that includes a glass of Prosecco on arrival. The ‘Extra Special’ menu has a whopping five courses, and is £49.95 per person. 

I can’t recommend this menu, and restaurant, enough. If you’re looking for a place to catch up with family and friends over the festive period whilst enjoying wonderful food and drink, head along to The Lyttelton Arms. 

The Lyttelton Arms: 9/10

*DISCLAIMER: I  was fortunate to be asked along to the venue to try the festive menu in return for a blog post. I didn't pay for the experience, but left a tip and paid for travel there and back. I was not expected to write a good review, I genuinely enjoyed the experience.


Friday, 6 December 2019

REVIEW: Peter Pan, The REP Birmingham

I’ve had the total joy of enjoying The REP’s Christmas shows for the past three years, and there’s one thing I always say to someone heading along to the show; always expect the unexpected. The REP has such a fantastic way and process of putting on shows that take a production, spin it on its head, make it modern, inclusive and totally creative, that I can’t wait to shout about them to everyone around me. 

This year’s is no different. Peter Pan – Reimagined, which takes to the stage until January 19 2020, is a modern take on the classic story. Forget the grand Georgian home in London, this show is set in a block of flats in Birmingham. Forget the homely, welcoming family, this show is based on kids living with a foster carer. 

Wendy and her little brothers were separated from their mother, and are currently living with Jess, who is trying her best to look after them all. Wendy has taken on the role of the protective mother to her brothers, and struggles to trust adults as they have always let her down. One night, the boy who never grew up, Peter Pan, gives Wendy the chance to escape to a magical world, Neverland, which is full of fun, energetic, and mischievous Lost Children. 

However, Neverland is also home to naughty mermaids, a hungry crocodile and of course, Captain Hook. The story follows Wendy and Peter Pan desperately try and save themselves, her brothers and the Lost Children from Hook, whilst the audience learns about why the children are lost, and what they wish they could have from a family. 

What makes this story so different from the original though is that this story is much less about Peter Pan himself, and so much more focused on Wendy, making it a refreshing, feminist reimagination. From the very start of the show, the audience becomes involved in Wendy’s story, desperate for her to feel like she can just be a kid again, and not always have to be the one looking after everyone else. Wendy has so much sass, but watching her enjoy herself is truly heartwarming. A particular moment where Wendy has to think good thoughts to be able to fly actually brought a tear to my eye, it was such a beautiful aspect of the production.
And yes, the cast very much do fly! With the help of ‘shadows’, which we are introduced to at the beginning and by the end we barely notice, many of the cast members fly, bounce and swirl across the stage, making the production so magical and fun. 

The set is a star in itself, we go from Jess’s flat in Birmingham to urban Neverland, to the Lost Children’s home and to Skull Island, with so much ease. Every single aspect of the set is so creative and imaginative, with my favourite touch being the crocodile being made of car tyres, making each scene a total feast for the eyes, with the audience constantly noticing cool creative touches throughout the production.  

It didn’t stop with the set either, there are so many sides to this show that make it so cool, fun and different from the original. Instead of soft, gentle songs, what we would expect, the audience were treated to group dances and a rap, where the whole audience got involved. There was also a real feminist edge to the show, which pleased many audience members, as well as a handful of Birmingham references that we all absolutely loved, of course!

Every single cast member was full to the brim of talent, comedic timing and enthusiasm. Peter Pan, played by Lawrence Walker, was just brilliant, by being frustrating and cocky, yet fun and loveable. The uber talented Nia Gwynne takes on the role of both Hook and Jess, and was excellent at both roles, however her take on Hook was fascinating, bringing a humble touch at times to the traditionally evil role. However, the star of the show was Cora Tsang, whose take on Wendy was just beautiful and so relatable, she is definitely a star in the making and I can’t wait to see what she does next. 

The production may be a modern twist on the classic story, but the festive message remains the same; the importance of family. How we all need to be looked after from time to time. Home is where you feel safe and secure, but that home can be anywhere, and your family is who you love. I can’t recommend this show enough. It is creative, so much fun, and full of life and imagination. It’s not a panto, its better!

Peter Pan: 9/10

*I was gifted two press tickets to enjoy this production from The REP Birmingham in return for a review on this blog. 


Sunday, 22 September 2019

REVIEW: Wayland's Yard Brunch, Birmingham

Wayland's Yard is my favourite place for Brunch in Birmingham. From the wide range of drink options, to the infamous Eggy Crumpets and Baked Eggs, the cafe-restaurant is fresh and cool, with modern twists on classic dishes. Since it opened in early 2018, I've been there countless times, always desperate to try something new on the menu.

So I was over the moon recently when they asked me along to check out the brand new Brunch menu, so I took along three others with me to try it out!

The menu includes The Wayland's Originals; Eggy Crumpets (Egg dipped crumpets, halloumi, avo, shrooms and spinach - and you can add the likes of chorizo, bacon and sausage), One Pan Hash (with either Chorizo & Halloumi or Halloumi & Mushroom) and Brunch Baps. There are also Brioche Bap's, with fillings including sausage, bacon, mushroom or halloumi.

The menu also boasts a huge range more of options on their new menu, including a selection of Oats dishes, Avo Smash and Vegan Avo Smash. There's also a huge range of egg options; Benedict Pico de Gallo, Eggs Aussie, Eggs Royale and the delicious Baked Eggs. There's also a 'Proper Brunch' section, including Wayland's Big Brunch, Fry Up, Veggie Brunch and Vegan Brunch.

We grabbed a drink before sitting down to choose our Brunch dish. I'm actually not a fan of coffee - which is a shame as there's so many coffee options in the cafe! So whilst the others went for lattes and cappuccinos, I went for a good old cup of tea. But it still came cool and modern, with a big grey teapot and a mini jug for the milk - so cute! I also just had to enjoy a pastry with me tea, so I tucked into a Pain Au Chocolat!

For mains, me and one of my guests went for the Florentine Pico de Gallo, which came with spinach, poached eggs, avo, salsa, toast and herby hollandaise. It was absolutely delicious, and super tasty, and just looked gorgeous. In fact, that's one of my favourite things about Wayland's Yard - the way that they actually dress the dishes! It's not an expensive place, but they make them look amazing, which just makes the meal a bit more special.

One of my other guests had one of the Wayland's Originals - the Eggy Crumpets, which they loved and really enjoyed, and my other guest had the Veggie Brunch (Grilled mushrooms, smashed avo, spinach, fried/poached eggs, halloumi, smokey beans, pan fried potatoes and sourdough toast).

Me and my guests absolutely loved our couple of hours at Wayland's Yard, and all really enjoyed our dishes. The brand new menu is so impressive, with so many options for all different tastes. I can't wait to head back soon and try out even more! Next on the list - Wayland's Big Brunch! 

Wayland's Yard is open every day and is located just a stones throw away from Snow Hill, and you can check out the very impressive menu here

*Me and my guests were gifted our brunch dishes from Wayland's Yard in return for a review, but we did pay for all drinks and pastries. 

Thursday, 12 September 2019

REVIEW: 9 to 5 The Musical, The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Bright pink outfits, pushed up bras and a whole lot of sass; I tumbled out of bed and stumbled along to 9 to 5 The Musical this week, which is currently bringing a whole load of shoulder pads, colour and absolute joy to The Alexandra Theatre. 

Admittedly, 9 to 5 is up there with my favourite songs of all time, and the film is absolutely hilarious. So when I saw last year that the musical was coming to the West End, I had my fingers crossed that it would eventually make its way up to Birmingham – and it has! The show began with a few words from the Queen herself, Dolly Parton – unfortunately on a screen – and it started with a bang. 

9 to 5 The Musical tells the story of three workmates who are working in a man’s world. Violet Newstead is a strong, independent woman who is just trying to do the best for her teenage son since her husband passed away. She trains all the men in this boys club of a business, but never gets offered a promotion, and she’s sick of it. Judy Bernly has never done a day’s work in her life. But after she divorces from her husband because of him running off with his secretary, she has to find herself and discover who she truly is. Doralee Rhodes is the super sweet secretary who is much smarter than she looks, with a whole load of country girl sass. 

 The three women all have one thing in common though; their hatred of their sexist, egotistical and downright disgusting boss Franklin Hart Jnr. They kidnap him, before managing to completely transform the office, and a visit from the CEO finally gives the girls the good news they need. 

I have to admit, I was incredibly surprised at how talented the cast of this show are. They are all absolutely outstanding. TV personality and musician Louise Redknapp takes on the role of Violet Newstead and completely makes it her own. The role suited her to a T, and along with a stunning selection of outfits and super cool songs, she was perfect for the character. West End star Georgina Castle takes on the role of Doralee Rhodes, and she was just fantastic! From the hair to the voice, she was the perfect woman to take on the role made famous by Dolly and I highly expect to see her become one of the biggest West End names. 

The role of the naïve yet adorable Judy was taken on by Love Island winner Amber Davies. Admittedly, I am a massive Love Island fan so I was so excited to see what Amber would be like on stage and my god, what an absolute superstar. Amber’s voice is just something else, as is her acting and amazingly, her comedic timing! If you think Amber is just another reality TV star then you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, she is a trained musical theatre professional. The girl has bags of talent, and so much to give. Good on her for following her dreams, and I can’t wait to see what role she lands next as she has a very bright future ahead. 

One of the highlights of the show for me just had to be the humour. The show is absolutely hysterical! I was in fits of laughter throughout the production, and with a few sly digs here and there at no other than Donald Trump, the jokes were timely and fun. Another highlight had to be music itself of course. The show is jam packed with show stopping hits, from super fun and fiery songs like ‘Hey Boss’ and ‘One of the Boys’, to emotional numbers like ‘I Just Might’. My favourite song just had to be ‘Get Out and Stay Out’, sang by Amber Davies. I actually had tears in my eyes! It is an incredible song and really shows the audience the journey that Judy has been on. 

The set is also very cool and VERY 80s! From the office to Frank’s house, the set changes are quick and smooth, without too much distraction, and the costumes also offer a glimpse into 80s fashion, with a lot of colour and powerful suits! 

I absolutely LOVED 9 to 5 The Musical. It is lively, fun and incredibly funny; a welcome distraction from the stress of everyday life. However, underneath the hilarious moments, there is a real story there following women just wanting to be treated with more respect, and less like silly girls, in the workplace. Although I am glad that we’ve come on leaps and bounds since the 1980s, we still have much more to go and I believe more productions showing stories like this, with strong female characters, will help remind women that we have so much more to give, and we deserve respect!

9 to 5 The Musical: 10/10

*I was gifted two press tickets to enjoy this production from The Alexandra Theatre in return for a review on this blog.  

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