Deathtrap At The New Alex Theatre – Deliciously Chilling

A famous, successful writer now suffering from writer’s block, a young student who has written the perfect play and a wife who is worried that her husband is about to turn killer. This is the exciting premise of Ira Levin’s Deathtrap, which opened at Birmingham’s New Alex Theatre last night. It was a deliciously chilliing night of theatre, with shocks and jumps galore, and enough twists and turns to keep the audience constantly on the edge of its seat. I loved it.

Sidney Bruhl is a successful writer who is now struggling to write a new play after the failure of his last effort. Married to the supportive Myra in a seemingly happy union, he receives a play through the post from an ex student who attended one of his seminars. The play is Deathtrap, and Sidney believes it to be perfect, and wishes aloud that he had wrote it as it is likely to be a big hit. When he finds that there are only two copies of the play, and that he already has one of them in his hands, he invites the student, Clifford Anderson, to his remote home to ‘work on the play’, but really has murder in mind. But who’s murder? The issue is made all the murkier by his neighbour, Helga ten Dorp, a famed clairvoyent with very strong extra sensory perception, especially when she enters the Bruhl’s house, where she has a strong sense of death. Deathtrap twists in one direction, and then another, as cross and double cross, surprising revelations and shocks galore lead to a satisfyingly macabre conclusion.

Deathtrap is made up of a cast of just five characters, and the ensemble cast in this version is brilliant. The Eastenders contigent of Paul Bradley (Sidney) and Jessie Wallace (Myra) have a fabulous chemistry that rings true as a married couple. Paul plays Sidney as a man who is deceptively cheery, amiable man who has an edge, when he loses his temper you can see that he could be capable of acts of violent. it is a great performance of someone who could turn on a pin. Jessie Wallace shows her range playing Myra, she is a world away from brassy Kat Slater, starting out the play with understated calmness, but becoming more frantic and then terrified as she faces the fact her husband could be a murderer. Only at the end of the terrible events of Act 1 does she show another side of her character, another surprising twist in a tale full of them.

Sam Phillips is also very good as Clifford Anderson, playing the character with idealised charm and innocence, until he is revealed to be anything but. Beverly Klein is hilarious as Helga ten Dorp, divinely overacting her ESP, and given all the best one liners that she delivers with perfect comic timing. The cast is round out by Porter Milgrim as the lawyer Julien Ball, who proves to be another character who has more facets than you immediately sense.

Deathtrap all takes place in one room, but the set never feels claustrophobic. This is due in no small part to the excerpts of classic movies that break up the scenes, and are a clue to what is really going on – a really clever device to move the action along.

Deathtrap is clever, cunning and utterly calculating. All this makes it a devilishly good night of theatre. Go See.

Deathtrap New Alex Theatre

Wednesday 8th – Saturday 11th November

Click here for ticket information

 

The Night Before Christmas at John Lewis Birmingham

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house”, well, all through John Lewis in Grand Central Birmingham actually, but you get the general picture. Christmas arrived in Birmingham last week, as a group of very lucky bloggers (myself included – yay!) were invited to a Christmas launch event after hours in the flagship Grand Central store. There was fizz, there was delicious looking food, and there was everything that says ‘Christmas’, It was amazing.

The night was all about getting a taste of John Lewis Christmas, before the much anticipated advert is released. There was an opportunity to look at specific promotions, including a set of very special Christmas tree lights that work by App. These lights have all sorts of combinations when it comes to colour and shine, and can even be set to come on, or to go off after you’ve gone to bed.

Twinkly 175 LED Christmas Lights Extra Large Set, Multi L20.5m £85 Click to visit John Lewis

John Lewis is always the place to go for new Christmas decorations. It gives you ideas and themes for how to dress your tree, putting together colour schemes that you may not have thought of as strictly Christmasssy – pinks and oranges are not associated with Christmas, but they make a wonderful colour combination on a ‘Tales of the Maharaja’ styled tree. Folklore, Russian influenced Winter Palace and Highland Myths are amongst the other, wonderful themes in store this year.

Winter Palace

John Lewis Winter Palace Bauble £12 Click to visit John Lewis

John Lewis Winter Palace Babushka Bauble £6 Click to visit John Lewis

John Lewis Olivia Tree Topper, Silver Blue £12 Click to visit John Lewis

Tales of the Maharaja

John Lewis Tales of the Maharaja Lion Head Bauble Click here John Lewis Tales of the Maharaja Leopard Head Bauble £8 Click here

John Lewis Lima Llama Flamingo Clip On Tree Decoration £8 Click to visit John Lewis

John Lewis Lima Llama Flamingo Snow Globe £18 Click to visit John Lewis

Lima Lama As well as the best decorated trees around, John Lewis also had a brilliant range of decorations for the mantlepiece, tables and shelves, as well as a wonderful array of indoor and outdoor lighting solutions.

Coppenrath Victorian Christmas Houses Advent Boxes, Pack of 24 £15 Click to visit John Lewis

John Lewis Highland Myths Festive Owl Decoration, Small £18 Click to visit John Lewis

John Lewis Winter Palace Artificial White Twig Tree £15 Click to visit John Lewis

John Lewis LED Christmas TV Scene £25 Click to visit John Lewis

John Lewis Highland Myths Festive Deer Room Decoration £18 Click to visit John Lewis

One of the new products for 2017 that elicited lots of excitement was the Scentsicles, scented twig like sticks that you can hang from your Christmas tree and leave the whole room smelling of Christmas. These are just £6 and are frankly amazing, a new Christmas must have.

Scentsicles £6 Click to visit John Lewis

There were food treats to sample too, with an advent calendar full of pork scratchings proving to be a surprise hit. My personal favourites were Prestat popping pink prosecco mini truffles which had a lovely Prosecco flavour combined with the hint of popping candy – a blast from childhood combined with bubbles has to be a good thing.

John Lewis truly is a Winter wonderland during the run up to Christmas, and in terms of decoration, they are hard to beat.

*With thanks to Shani from John Lewis and the Brum Bloggers Group for the invitation.

 

 

Stila Halloweeen Masterclass at Selfridges Birmingham

 

 

Yesterday I watched a brilliant Halloween make up masterclass with one of my favourite beauty brands, Stila, at Sefridges Birmingham. Stila’s lead UK make up artist Sascha Jackson was creating a gothic look using my friend and fellow blogger Ting Newall as her model. The look she created was perfect for Halloween parties and beyond, using smoky eyes and glitter and shine that will also be perfect for the upcoming party season that Christmas will soon bring.

I have attended sessions with Sascha before, and have been lucky enough to have had my own makeover with the Stila products, and I love the fact that Sascha gives you so many hints and tips, from the best way to apply products, to the best colours to use for different skin tones. She always preps the skin using the One Step Correct primer that adds balance and an even skintone, making your skin a perfect canvas to your make up.

Sascha applies foundation with a brush, in order to get a more natural coverage. The stay all day foundation is great for a natural look that actually lasts the day.


STILA Stay All Day foundation £28.50 Click to visit Selfridges

The theme of this makeover was all about gothic beauty, but you needed to leave any ideas about overblown, over done make up at the door. The look is all about the eyes, but skin in general, and brows and cheeks were kept as natural looking as possible. Eyebrows were accentuated, with Sascha giving the tip that if you add eyebrow colour from the centre, and leave some small gaps, the affect is of natural beauty. Another wonder product is the Poreless Putty Perfector which is the perfect product to help hide pores and give natural coverage, almost giving your skin an airbrushed feel.

The look is all about the eyes, and the colour was built up using two shades from the Perfect Me, Perfect Hue palette that have mauve/purple tones that are perfect for a gothic look. Liquid eyeliner was also used, going right into the waterline of the eye to exaggerate the smokey-ness of the look. The eye was then given a hint of sparkle with the fabulous glitter and glow liquid eyeshadow, a must have for party season.

Click to visit Selfridges

The gothic look is light on the blusher to avoid making the look too pretty, this is, after all a look that could work for Halloween, so apple cheeks are not a good look. The lips however, are a different story. Stila is renowned for fabulous lipliners and lipsticks that stay all day, with the Stay All Day lipstick being an award winner. Sascha built up an ombre style lipstick on Ting, using two shades, nude and purple. I love that the lipsticks have a matte look to them, and come in a great range of shades.

Ting’s finished look was gothically glamorous and beautiful, one that would certainly work well for Christmas party season. I loved the colours used and the techniques that Sascha employs to create a flawless face.

With thanks to Stila, Selfridges and Ting for the invitation.