Thursday, 15 September 2011

Top Hat at The Mayflower Southampton - Review

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This Tuesday I was lucky enough to go to the opening night of the musical Top Hat at The Mayflower Southampton.

The stage version of the 1930’s moving picture is brought to life by a cast of 45 actors, dancers and musicians. A comedic and whimsical tale of love between Jerry Travers (Tom Chambers - 'Holby City' and winner of 'Strictly Come Dancing') and Dale Tremont (Summer Strallen - 'Hollyoaks') is performed in full Hollywood glamour.

Beautiful costumes and cleverly constructed sets ensured that this light-hearted play enthralled audiences as the couple dance from song to song. The quips and wit of the original is captured perfectly by the show and had me laughing un-ashamedly more than once. The dancing provided by the whole cast was stunning and provided the ballroom charm even if the pieces sometimes felt a little long.

I felt that the first dance by Tom Chambers (and a very strained fake American accent) was a little shaky but the performance soon mellowed into an easy to watch and entertaining musical.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the show and recommend to all lovers of ballroom dancing and musicals alike.


Thanks for reading,

Love Rie xx

[Top Hat is at The Mayflower until September 24th before touring around the UK.
For more information and to book tickets:
Thanks to Carswell Gould for the opportunity to watch the show]

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Reading makes you a better person...

A story published in the today says that those that read fiction have increased empathy.

Participants in a Boston university where given an extract from two of my favourite children's authors - JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer. They were then tested on a number of scales and results showed that those that read JK Rowling's extract from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone identified themselves with wizards, magic and broomsticks, where those who read Stephanie Meyer's extract from Twilight identified with blood, the undead and fangs!

So for those of you that need more encouragement to read, reading fantasy fiction improves your empathy to what you are reading about - which is a little strange when your are reading about characters that are, well, fictional! However, being more empathetic towards over people can only make you a better person in everyday life, and who doesn't love getting lost in something fantastical!

One of my English Literature teachers in college said he loved reading because it let him understand more about the world he might never get a chance to see, and I couldn't agree more!

So what ever your genre of choice, pick up a book today and make yourself more empathetic.

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie Reviews xx

Read the full story here:

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver - Book Review

Deaver launches the James Bond character into the 21st century with his own unique style. A must have read for any Bond lovers, and thriller readers alike, but don’t be put off if you don’t like cars and guns, there is a lot more besides.

Aesthetically this book is very pleasing to read, the flocked, rubberised cover grips your hands. The cover image resembles a wisp of smoke and the design is repeated at the beginning of every chapter. I have both a standard copy (white/red) and a limited edition signed copied (black/white) which are both equally eye catching on my shelf.

All hard backs are going to be a little weighty and as this was a holiday read this summer, I did feels a paperback would have perhaps been better for travelling with, but the story gripped me from beginning to end and was worth the extra weight!  

The title is also really clever. So much better than the titles such as Octopussy and The Man with the Golden Gun, it has wit and style that really fits in with the narrative.

The narrative is well, Bond like. The formulae of the books were followed well, Bond had a fast car (although not an Aston Martin) and he even got the girl. He’s cheeky, witty and is one step ahead of the enemy no matter how much in trouble he seems. Yet it was Deaver’s personal writing style that made this book, for me, so enjoyable to read.  Red herrings and the rollercoaster ride of revolutions make this a fast paced read, and it will keep you guessing until the end.

The villain is possibly one of the best yet. Routed in modern issues with a flaw that makes your skin crawl, he is the perfect persona of 21st issues of recycling and corporate responsibility and their darker side.

It was the technical information on the cars and guns that was lost on me. I was laying in bed reading out the names of cars to my boyfriend to describe, as I had no idea what they were, if they were good or not or what they looked like. I understand that they are necessary for the book, but just not for me.

Overall I loved Jeffery Deaver’s take on the James Bond novel, with a fancy cover, good name and great characters. Yet the very Bond-ness of it means I prefer his own creations.


Thanks for reading,

Love Rie Reviews xx