Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with some fun stuff going on. Now as I have mentioned before I am a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing. One of my current favourite dancer’s on the show is the brilliant Joanne Clifton. So when I discovered she was going to be starring in the new touring version of Thoroughly Modern Millie. And that it was coming to one of my local theatre’s. I decided that I had to get along to see it.
Therefore a couple of Tuesday’s ago I did just that at The Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. I have to confess that although I am a huge fan of musicals, it was not one that I had seen before. I did not even know what the story was about, which actually made a nice change. Seeing something that was completely new to me. I was genuinely surprised and absorbed by the plot.
Happily and conveniently for the show’s title I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. The whole cast were fantastic. The songs were great. It featured a live Orchestra, which always enhances any performance, I think. It is quite a high energy, fast moving show with a relatively small cast, so some of the actors have to play a couple of different parts. It is fair to say that everyone is working hard while on and also off stage. As ever, like with most musicals it has a story line that looks at perceptions, decisions and morals with an element of good versus evil. But there are a few clever twists in it, which I really liked.
Now we come on to the main reason I went in the first place. The gorgeous Joanne Clifton, who shines in the lead role and carries the whole show so effortlessly. She really has not taken the easy option here for her first big production. As this part requires her to do an American accent. Which she does perfectly. She seems to have an aura around her, which attracts your attention and means you cannot take your eyes off her. Which I believe demonstrates star quality.
It really is a stunning performance. She has a great voice and really belts out those big numbers. Her acting is believable. And there is of course no need to question her dancing, she is a world champion in that arena.
She is definitely going to go on to star in more musicals. And I would be amazed not to see her in the West End sometime soon. Right at the end, as the curtain was falling, after the play had finished. She and one of the other actors gave us a little bit of a classic jive to enjoy, which was ace. She was giving it her all right to the very last second. She seemed to be loving it and I must admit I loved watching it to.
I also spent another night in High Wycombe recently checking out a new shop that has opened there. It is called the Brewery Shop. And it does what it says on the tin. It is a shop serving a huge selection of different beers from lots of various independent and local brewery’s.
It does also have a decent bar area with a huge selection of different guest craft ales on tap. So you can sit in there and try lots of different drinks. It seemed nice and friendly in there. Plus the selection of drinks they had was impressive. I tried a couple of them while I was there. I would imagine that I will be going back there again to sample some more of them at some point.
Saturday Night Take Away is back on television for another series. And once again I am really enjoying it. It is one of the maddest show’s of the year. With the two Geordie geniuses acting as ring masters to the huge Circus. I have said this before but they have cleverly taken all the best bits from every Saturday night entertainment programme that there has ever been. Put them all together and adapted them to their own unique style.
I went and watched a show live in the studio last year and that was brilliant. The atmosphere in that studio is electric. It is just like one big giant party. The ninety minutes go so quickly. It is fun seeing them get things ready and set things up during the advert breaks. It is just plain old fashioned silly fun and very entertaining.
The two of them are in their element and are given a bit of freedom to ad-lib and create magic moments in this inclusive and live environment. Now while they are not comedians, the relationship and comedy timing that exists between them does at least slightly remind me of Morecambe and Wise. They certainly have that connection together and the ability to make the audience feel we are all in on the joke with them.
I like the new weekly serials that they have added over the last two years. They are both ridiculous and hilarious, full of silly and amusing jokes. And feature some great cameos with the lads very happy to send themselves up in them. Plus the end of the show show is of course always a winner. And in many ways the idea behind that, seems like another nod to the two comedy legends I mentioned earlier. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the series. It is simply fun, which is what the world needs more of in my opinion.
The Nightly Show has now started on ITV1. I went to see the pilot version of it. At that time I felt it still needed a bit of work to get it right. And three weeks in I have to say I still think it does. It is the type of programme that the United Kingdom has been missing. They have been doing this kind of show very well in America for a very long time. Now I do really want it to work and for it to become a regular thing. But having watched a couple of episodes over the first few weeks. I think it is trying a bit too hard, it all seems a little too forced and they are trying to pack too much in, making it quite a difficult and awkward watch for me personally.
Although I appreciate it is not easy writing funny and topical material to order, every single night. But for me the opening monologue’s do need to be better. To set the tone, get the audience on side and give it that sense of the day. To make it unique and up to the minute. If you want to do a nightly topical show, it does need to be just that. Some of the guest choices have been a bit odd to. And I am not totally convinced the quick games with members of the public really add anything to it either.
I saw via social media that Danny Baker has offered his services to mould this show and build it up. Now love him or hate him. He has got form with this sort of thing from his past TV work. Which suggests he could may be give it the kick start that it needs. I do really want it to work and for it to be good. I hope they can tweak it and find the right vibe for it. That said the viewing figures for it are pretty good for a new show at that time, but I genuinely think it can be better.
Last Friday night I went with my dad to the Official Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Association Dinner at Adams Park. The home of the football team it assists. Both he and my mum are season ticket holders at the club. And members of the aforementioned organisation, as am I. It was a very pleasant evening including an enjoyable three course meal. That featured the best chocolate mousse dessert I have had for a while.
Since it was formed over twenty five years ago. It has donated over seventy-five thousand pounds to the club. It was good to see the manager Gareth Ainsworth there supporting the event. They auctioned off Myles Weston’s shirt from the FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur, which was signed by the whole squad. Plus there was a raffle in which I won a bottle of red wine, which topped off a very enjoyable evening, very nicely.
Talking of the mighty Tottenham Hotspur our season has been going through another quite decent spell. Well if you completely ignore crashing out of the Europa League that is. Certainly in the Premier League, things have been looking good with wins and good performances becoming the norm.
Still cannot see us getting past Cheslea though, I think they have the title sewn up already. The most exciting thing for me though is reaching the FA Cup Semi-Final. It has been far too long since we have been in one. Although we do now have to get past Chelsea in that to get to the final.
My only ever trip to Old Trafford was to see us lose to Newcastle in a FA Cup Semi-final, several years ago now. I have always loved the competition and it has been to long since we have had a shot at the final of it. When you consider that we have not won it since 1991 and that was the last time that we were even in the final.
We must be due another appearance, I hope. If for no other reason than Chas N Dave can release a new Spurs song for the occasion. I can’t wait for the Semi-final it is going to be huge. And if we get to the final I will have to try and get a ticket for that somehow. Come on you Spurs.
Yesterday it was the seventeenth of March and therefore of course St Patrick’s Day. I do have a surname of Irish origin. My Granddad was born there. Plus I have been over to Dublin four times. So as far as I am concerned that qualifies me to be able to spend this very special day in a pub, having a few drinks. This year was no different. I went to my favourite pub in London.
Which just so happens to be an Irish Bar called Waxy O’Connor’s. Where I enjoyed a few pints of Guinness. The atmosphere in there is always top quality. To add to the flavour of the occasion they have music playing all day plus a traditional Irish Trio performing live a few times during the day to.
Last year I won a competition on social media for my photos of the event. That prize pack included T-shirts from the place, which I really like. I was tempted to wear one of them this year but then I realised that I would look like the staff and end up having to serve people pints or tell them where the toilets were all day.
It was brilliant fun as ever and made even more entertaining by the fact they showed the Cheltenham Gold Cup live on the big screen. For a second during the race it almost felt like I was there. I always enjoy this day, every year. It was lots of fun celebrating with a great group of people.
I am looking forward to next weekend visiting and exploring somewhere that I have never been before. For my fortieth birthday some friends of mine got together and got me a travel voucher as a present. So I have used that to enjoy a weekend away in Barcelona.
I have never been to main land Spain before, so I am very excited. I have heard great things about the place from friends who have been before. I will tell you all about it and let you know what I got up to next time we speak.
Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.