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Since the last entry several things have happened. I guess the first and most important one, given the content of the last entry is that we took the house with the feature walls I linked to back there. We moved house on Good Friday and it took us a week or so to get almost everything sorted. The move was bloody hard work but thanks to Jane's colleague and partner (Alison & John) we didn't have to hire a van, and they gave us so much help I don't think we'll ever be out of their debt.

The new house is mostly great! I'll take & post some pictures eventually. It's an ex show-home and all the main rooms have feature walls - for example the living room wall is turquoise with patterned wallpaper. It doesn't sound that nice but it really is. It's about as different from our old house as it's possible to get. It's significantly bigger to start - the old one was a 2-up-2-down with huge kitchen, small living room and an extension for utility room, and an enormous garden, this one is 3-bed with a large living/dining room, fairly small kitchen and a tiny garden :)

Since moving, we've discovered that this new house has significantly less storage than our old one. So we've had to buy new furniture - a new oak wardrobe (well actually Jane's parents bought the wardrobe) and sideboard from Colour Supplies, as well as a new 2-piece sofa (3-seater and 2-seater, brown leather) from the Shrewsbury Alan Ward sale as they're closing for a refurbishment. So we're now skint. But we'll have a nicely furnished home with plenty of storage, so it's all good :)

In other news, I have a new job! This happened rather suddenly at the end of March. I went for an interview with the company which lasted almost 2hrs on the Tuesday, then Monday the week after I was offered the job! Didn't take me long to accept it, but working the month's notice at my current employer has been a weird experience.

The new position is with a company called Transactis, and my job is "Application Support Engineer", which as far as I can tell means making sure data gets from point A to point B and fixing it if it stops. The company are part of the Shop Direct group who own the Littlewoods & Very online catalogue shops along with various others.

It's a significant pay rise for me, and a slight increase on the commute (yeah I know... but it's only a slight increase and hopefully they'll be moving somewhere where I can get the TRAIN to work!!! What a concept!). It'll also involve working some on-call, which will be an experience but shouldn't be a bother.

Being on-call means that I probably won't be able to do the next show with OMTC, which I am slightly disappointed about, because it's panto and panto is relatively easy. Having said that, taking a break every now and then is a good thing, gives us time to breathe. Both Jane and I were in the last production (The Sound of Music) which was just about a sell-out. Fabulous show in the end, despite grumblings during the rehearsal process.

So, that's all the news that's fit to print. How about you?
location: LL11
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 11:40pm on 19/07/2010 under , , ,

Last weekend, we had plans to visit London to see a matinee performance of Wicked and then go see The Divine Comedy (well, Neil Hannon) at Somerset House.

We set off stupidly early on Saturday morning, on the 0730 train to London from Wrexham on the Wrexham & Shropshire service to Marylebone. I was quite excited by this as it's a new route to me, and I'd heard such good things about the service. When we got to the station and found an old Intercity carriage waiting for us my heart didn't quite sink, but it did dip a little bit.

From 17th July - Wicked and Divine Comedy

On arrival at Marylebone, as it is an area that neither Jane or I are familiar with we wandered round a bit, grabbed a sandwich (breakfast was a LONG time ago) and decided to wander straight on down to Victoria. It seemed like a good idea at the time to walk it. By the time we got there we were hot, hot, hot, hot and hot.

We hung around the stage door for a while as we'd arrived at the theatre fairly early, hoping we might see someone we recognised. Nobody obvious turned up in the 20 minutes we spent there. Just after we decided to walk away and go in, we heard people running and turned round to see Lee Mead going into the building - gah!

We had _awesome_ seats which were allegedly restricted view. Row B, to the right of the stage, but the view was only ever restricted by members of the ensemble. The show is astonishing. The music grabs you from the opening number and other than the well known show stoppers (Defying Gravity, Popular) the other lesser known songs all work brilliantly.

I managed to get a couple of awesome photos of the proceedings:

From 17th July - Wicked and Divine Comedy
From 17th July - Wicked and Divine Comedy
From 17th July - Wicked and Divine Comedy

They're from the first half, the person I was sat next to managed to take up so much room I could barely move in the 2nd half, despite repeated elbow pokings.

After the show, we waited at the stage door again, but someone told us that the stars wouldn't normally come out between the matinee and evening shows. We gave up and headed straight to the hotel which was officially the Liverpool Street Travelodge. Technically it may have been this, but actually getting there proved altogether more challenging. Google Maps showed it quite close to Aldgate/Aldgate East and as we were on the right line, it seemed like the right thing to do. Took us a while to find the place - Travelodges seem to be good at hiding, or maybe it's just us.

The room was hot, small, bare, "well used" and only just functional (there was a bed, lights, a TV, a kettle & mug with a couple of teabags, and a towel). Don't stay there if you don't have to. It wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't nice. I decided not to bother taking photos of all the things that were a bit grim or broken and sending them to their customer service, because I couldn't be arsed. I'm not that anal...

We headed straight out after dropping off our bags, and headed to the Strand where Jane had a hankering for Wagamamas which was what Wagamamas is - good, quick and tasty. NomNomNom.

The venue for the Divine Comedy gig was Somerset House. I'd never been there before and it was a pleasant surprise to see it was literally in the courtyard of the building. The support act (someone...) was pleasant but nothing super-special, and Neil came on at about 2115. He played pretty constantly until 2300! Songs from every album, crowd favourites (National Express, Indie Disco) and relatively unknown tracks (Time To Pretend). He made mistakes, but took them in his stride, occasionally stopping mid-song to think what should come next!

It was an astonishing show. I can't decide whether I prefer seeing him with the backing of an orchestra (have seen him perform with a 5-piece string band and a full orchestra) or like this... on his own is special, intimate, but with the full orchestra you get the full-on sound, the complexities in his music that, no matter how good he is, can never be expressed by a piano or a guitar on it's own.

My only complaints: 1:) it was all standing, because damnit my feet were sore after 3 and a half hours of standing up, and 2:) the price of the drinks! £4 for a bottle of Grolsch? vI also got some photos from the gig - these were harder to get because we were further back, the light was changing quite quickly, and really, how many photos of a man playing the piano can you genuinely want?

From 17th July - Wicked and Divine Comedy
From 17th July - Wicked and Divine Comedy
From 17th July - Wicked and Divine Comedy

Music:: Family Guy
location: LL11
Mood:: 'calm' calm
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 03:53pm on 01/11/2009 under ,
See the pics on Picasa here.

I feel very relieved to be finished with this one. It's been a struggle throughout, and I don't know why! It's not been that much harder for me than some other shows and except for feeling rather icky on the last night making it difficult to concentrate, it all went well.

The next show is Annie Get Your Gun, which I know next to nothing about but has to sell better than this one has - I think ~700 out of a possible ~1000 tickets went. We needed ~900 to break even, oh dear.

At least rehearsals don't start for 3 weeks. I don't know what I am going to do with myself!
location: CH3
Mood:: 'tired' tired
Music:: Ugly Betty on 4
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Whilst in London over the bank holiday weekend & more, we saw three shows:
  1. Hairspary
  2. We Will Rock You
  3. La Cage aux Folles

I loved two of these, and tolerated one. You can probably guess which is which without too much effort.

Hairspray, let's just say it, was AWESOME. It's such a feel-good show, so happy, energetic, full of life, and upbeat. The storyline of the show is subtly different from the film, but that's to be expected due to scenery considerations. The actors all put everything in - and Michael Ball was having a great time. Or at least it seemed that way, considering that he made his other half (the understudy for Wilbur) corpse like a good'un during "Timeless to Me". Oh that was hilarious :) They've obviously got a bit of leeway during that song, but he was being so rude! I don't know how the other guy managed to keep going at all to be honest. I would highly recommend this show. On the Mary Poppins and Wicked scale (where Mary Poppins and Wicked are 10), this is a 10.

We Will Rock You. Urgh. Jane wanted to see this and I've been dragging my feet for years because I really didn't. It wasn't at all what I expected - and I don't mean that to sound positive. It suffered from Mama-Mia-itis, where the back catalogue has been crowbarred (never mind shoehorned) into a storyline. There's nothing wrong with the acting or voices, the staging or anything like that. My entire problem was that, I guess I don't really like Queen enough to see their stuff re-imagined. A below average 4/10 from me.

La Cage aux Folles. I didn't know this show at all before seeing it, except for knowing that when we were going it was Graham Norton's last night, and the song "I am what I am" comes from it. Beyond that, a mystery. After managing to fitwedge my ample posterior into the very narrow seat, I was slightly worried when the director came out and announced that Mr Norton had managed to break some of his ribs. However he also announced that he was determined to do the show, and was dosed up on painkillers. Hurrah.

I don't think it's wrong of me to say that it was spellbinding. I was thoroughly drawn in and believed every word that every person on stage said. It was hilarious throughout and touching at many moments. Graham Norton's "I am what I am" was heartfelt and totally believable - he sold every bar of the song despite not being what you might describe a "natural" singer.

The men, the dancers I mean, oh my can they move! Me in drag is one thing, and a scary thing at that. They were astonishingly good drag queens.

So, also on the Mary Poppins/Wicked/Hairspray meter, I give this show a 10. I wish it was in a theatre with slightly wider seats, because I spent the second half standing, but the show - 100% awesome.
Mood:: 'tired' tired
location: CH3
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 08:42pm on 02/01/2008 under ,
Lord of the Rings on Stage. Yeah. I can't quite decide what to think. We got quite lucky, we got box seats (boxes at the back of the auditorium) for a not-bad price, which was good.

It started impressively, though immediately you know that the story is going to be cut to shreds in order to fit all 3 books into a 180 minute show. It's less of a musical than I had expected. There is singing, there is LOTS of music, but the music is more incidental, more mood-music than traditional "musical". What music there was, I enjoyed. I might get hold of the OCR if one exists.

The dance... oh my the dance. There's lots of it. Everything is enacted through dance, and that I had problems with. I wasn't expecting a contemporary dance show, though that's definitely what it is. I didn't not enjoy the dance, but I didn't enjoy it enough to care.

Unfortunately we discovered fairly early on that the box seats suffer from a major disadvantage. You can't see high above the stage - it's blocked by the upper circle. As the stage rises and falls, you lose visibility of what's happening high up, and Laura Michelle Kelly's entrance was completely invisible to us. We were fairly miffed as they weren't advertised by the box-office as being restricted view nor did it say they were restricted on the tickets. I'm yet to decide whether writing to the theatre and bitching at them will achieve anything as though the tickets weren't that expensive, they really weren't that cheap.

Avenue Q was (once more) a hoot. Daniel Boys was excellent as Princeton/Rod, Rebecca Lock was yet another delicious and lovely Lucy The Slut/Kate Monster. We really enjoyed the show, and I maintain that it really helps to know the music of most musicals before you go.
Music:: Jane bowling on the Wii
location: CH3
Mood:: 'relaxed' relaxed