Review – Calendar Girls, Progress Theatre

Calendar Girls has finally made it to the stage and no doubt regardless of where you live in the UK, you’ll be seeing amateur dramatics groups putting this new release onto their stages left, right and centre. I’m very proud to say that in the Reading area, Progress Theatre are the first to get in there and the show has now been open for 2 nights. I went along tonight with 2 female friends and I have to say I loved it!

One of the challenges with a play such as this is that one element can easily overshadow the rest of the piece, or at least take too much of a central role. In Calendar Girls, this is of course the nudity…real women actually taking clothes off on stage! Tricky to direct to say the least and I’m sure I’m not too far off the mark in saying it’s tricky to remember to act and not just panic when you’re actually the one doing it. Well I think Progress pulled it off perfectly. We had a good old giggle and they played up the humour in the scene beautifully but it was just 1 small piece of a much larger play and I don’t in any way feel like I “sat through” the rest just for that bit.

A huge array of emotions are conveyed by the various characters throughout the piece and as a member of the audience, I can say I felt all of them. There were some very touching moments when I could feel my throat tightening, something which doesn’t happen too easily to me in a theatre. It wasn’t just me either, the friends I was with also thought the production was fantastic. The casting was spot on, the characters were really believable and part of me wants to go and find myself a WI to join at the grand old age of 26 because I so bought in to the sense of community they were selling!

It’s not by chance that this play has hit the stages of Britain like a tornado, sucking in everyone around it, it’s a really well written play and when theatres such as Progress breathe life into it, it really does become a must see. Ticket sales have been phenomenal but there are a few left so if you haven’t got a ticket yet and you want one, I suggest you hot-foot it over to the Reading Arts website and buy one now. The show runs until Saturday 22nd September so you really have no excuse not to see it unless you’re too slow off the mark with the ticket purchasing!

Much love! x

Family Fun in the Sun (Caversham Festival)

I’d been having some puppy love withdrawal symptoms so I decided to tag along with my dad on today’s epic dog walk and then as the weather was quite nice for once, we decided to check out a local festival. Local festivals can sometimes be a bit lame with just a couple of gazebos with people selling cakes and a bouncy castle, so that’s just what I was expecting today…luckily for us I couldn’t have been more wrong!

We trotted down to the Caversham Festival (in Reading) and were greeted by loads of stalls, loads of people (and dogs), bouncy castles and a heck of a lot of good music! There were several stages, including a floating stage on a barge and a great variety of acts from rock bands to bohemian buskers. Oh, and I haven’t mentioned the best part yet; this was FREE! Accessible to everyone, good old-fashioned free!

These guys started playing as we were waiting for an act to start up on the floating stage – loved it!

The obligatory bouncy castle!

Highlights for me were some scrummy ice cream, (thanks daddy!) and 2 bands. One was a band which was my dad’s fave, Subverts and I have to admit that they were pretty good. (Catch them on YouTube here but they are way better live.) My personal favourite however was a band called Private Jet – the lead singer had a proper rock voice and I was just loving everything about their performance. Their website is here, again much better live though so get yourself to a gig!

All in all, it was a brilliant afternoon and I will defo be heading down there next year, I’m really happy that I’ve found myself some new bands to follow – most of the stuff in the charts sounds crap to me! lol! So, the moral of this story is that if there is a local festival in your area get down there, it could be a pleasant surprise 🙂 x

Where to Eat (Budget Friendly) – Reading

I’m going to make a confession now…I am one of those people who always wants to go somewhere different and try something new but when it comes to my home town I seem to be a creature of habit.

For months, probably years, every time I have walked up a certain end of town, (usually to the theatre) I have wondered what the Thai restaurant, Thai 9 is actually like. Yet I have done nothing about it. Last Friday that changed when I was invited out for a friend of the other half’s, girlfriend’s b’day. (Yes, essentially I was invited just because they’re nice people, not because they know me!)

As you can see from the website, it’s not necessarily the classiest place and when in a large group, your table will be split and the food will come out at strange times but it was bloomin’ good value. We went for the all you can eat option which could have included sushi had anyone wanted it and it was only around £15 a head; drinks weren’t that pricey either.

The food was a bit greasy but then what would you expect for the money? There was a great selection on the menu and as far as I am aware, everything tasted good and nobody had any sour after effects.

This is a great little restaurant for cheap eats, especially for a group night out so I highly recommend giving it a bash when you’re on a budget. Be sure to book though as it’s quite small! The only thing to be wary of is that whilst it may be funny to watch some of the less productive members of society as they go past the window, you might not want to leave on your own late at night.

I’m heading to Oxford for Tapas this weekend so expect another foodie review soon! x