Birmingham Hippodrome Launch Cinderella at Villa Park

Cinderella – Birmingham Hippodrome Panto Launch 2017. 20th September 2017.
Pictured are Beverley Knight, Matt Slack, Suzanne Shaw, Ceri Dupree and Phil Randall.
Picture by Simon Hadley.

Wednesday saw Villa Park turned into a pantomime wonderland (not for the first time this season it has to be said – Baggies fan Joke!).  The Birmingham Hippodrome were launching this year’s panto, Cinderella, with an all star cast. Beverly Knight, Suzanne Shaw, Matt Slack, Ceri Dupree and Phil Randall were all there, in their best panto finery, talking to this year’s panto producer and director Michael Harrison. It was a funny, happy occasion and certainly wet the appetite for what looks set to be another astounding success for the Hippodrome.

Suzanne Shaw,Ceri Dupree and Phil Randall

For Suzanne, this is the third time playing Cinderella, although the first time playing at the Hippodrome. She was asked about songs and revealed that she will be singing some songs in the panto, including a duet with her handsome prince, Danny Mac. She also has a new song called ‘At the Hippodrome’ which tells of the history of the Hippodrome. Suzanne says she is a little scared to be singing alongside Beverley Knight – saying ‘who wouldn’t be’, and also joked how lucky she is to have some ‘eye candy’ over Christmas in the form of the delectable Danny Mac.

Veteran pantomime dames Ceri Dupree and Phil Randall are coming together this year as the Ugly Sisters, enjoying the chance to play the wickedly evilas Voluptua and Verruca  rather than cuddly dames. As ever, the costumes were the subject of much excitement, described as showstoppers, ‘so big they could be scenery, and the audience was told that the costumes to look out for are when the sisters arrive at the ball.

I loved all the little backstage details like make up taking around an hour due to needing to shave, cover eyebrows etc. Someone asked if the costumes need to be specifically cleaned and Ceri Dupree had the audience in hysterics as he said ‘no, just spray a little Febreeze around the crotch and you’re done’.

Matt Slack

Matt Slack could be considered a Birmingham Hippodrome legend, after starring in the last five pantomimes, holding the record for the most consecutive pantomime performances at the Hippodrome. Earlier this year Matt won a British Pantomime award  for best comic for his role in Dick Whittington. This year Matt is playing Buttons for the first time and joked that it is the role that gets lots of the laughs and the pathos, but that it is going to be rewritten so he also gets the girl.

Matt is well known for being the king of Birmingham Panto, but he is also a talented serious actor. This year has seen him playing in Eastenders and in a touring production of Mrs Henderson Presents, playing a 1930s Cockney Comic in the story of the Windmill Theatre.

Matt says he is lucky to be able to do diverse things, but that his heart always lies in panto.

Cinderella – Birmingham Hippodrome Panto Launch 2017. 20th September 2017.
Pictured is Matt Slack (Buttons).
Picture by Simon Hadley.

Beverley Knight

Making her pantomime debut this year, Midland born Beverley Knight was clearly happy to be back home in ‘God’s own country’ as she described it. Beverley is playing the part of the Fairy Godmother and is really looking forward to performing ‘Knowing that friends and family are just up the road.’

Beverley was resplendent in her gorgeous glittering costume and said ‘I’ve never been so sparkly and sequinny, I love the fact that I can float in and out of scenes.’

Beverley was asked about her other West End theatre roles, including playing Grizabella in Cats. She explained how much she had loved singing Memory, saying ‘If you have a voice, who wouldn’t want to sing Memory.’ She also said how happy she was to be singing in this year’s panto and admitted ‘ I will sing whatever is put in front of me.’

CINDERELLA runs at Birmingham Hippodrome from Mon 19 Dec 2017 until Sun 28 Jan 2018.  Tickets from £15.50* can be booked on 0844 338 5000† or from birminghamhippodrome.com.

 

Update Your Living Room This Autumn

As we hit Autumn, and particularly as September starts to roll on (where, exactly is the month going?) we start to think more about getting our homes ready for Christmas. Now, but that, I don’t mean we start sticking the decorations up any time soon, but we do think about the final home improvements of the year, and those little touches that will have the house looking its best before it is descended on by hoards of relatives.

The most popular room to redecorate and modernise is the living room, which is why you see all those furniture shops who have those never ending sales promising sofas that can be delivered for Christmas. But a living room update doesn’t have to involve lots of new furniture, it can be as simple as adding some new lighting, accessories and candles to give your room a new feel.

Change your lighting

The lights you use in your living room affect the whole ambience of the setting. Crystal lighting, in the form of chandeliers, is particularly beautiful and adds a touch of luxury to any room by being a focal point – a real statement piece. if you feel your room is too small for an ostentatious piece, then a crystal table lamp is another very attractive option. You can find some great examples of both at Sherwood Lighting.

Diyas Evelyn Chrome/Crystal Table Lamp with white shade

Chiffon 3lt Fitting 3 Light

Candles

Candles can leave a room smelling fresh and fragrant, and can also help to define the season through their scent. Yankee Candles are well known for the enormous variety of scents they create, including scents specifically for Autumn and Christmas. Autumn varieties include Autumn Night, Autumn Glow and Fireside Treats, both names that evoke the idea of nights drawing in and being warm and cosy in front of the TV. With prices starting at just £1.99 for a votive with 15 hours burning time, these are an affordable way to update your room for the new season.

A few new accessories

Re-doing a room from top to bottom can be very expensive, but adding a few distinctive and attractive accessories can make a real difference to a room. A mirror for a chimney breast is a great way to make a room look different, and appear bigger. As a lover of all things Art Deco I would try to source original pieces, but this is becoming more difficult, House of Fraser currently have some great Art Deco dupes in their fabulous Biba range, which give more than a passing nod to the great trend of the 1920s and 30s.

Biba Clara Art Deco Shaped Mirror

Scatter cushions, rugs and vases filled with fresh flowers also add lovely touches to any living room and help you to stamp your personality on your space.

Are you planning to revamp a room this Autumn?

 

 

Sharing Those Winter Wonderful Memories With Truprint

Everyone has a favourite season, and for many people this has to be Winter. Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and with the added attraction that we might just get a Winter Wonderland, Winter is definitely a great season for making memories that will last forever.

Truprint have many fabulous ways for you to preserve those memories for posterity, including canvas prints, photo book, personalised calendars and prints of all sizes that can then be framed. These make wonderful gifts for loved ones – can you think of a better Christmas gift than a shared memory, but also make a lovely treat for yourself too.

I have been thinking about some of my own favourite Winter memories, the days that linger in the mind and bring a smile to my face, and I’m going to share a few of them here. I would love to hear about your fave ‘Winter Wonderful’ memories too.

Snowdays

We don’t get that many snow days in the Midlands, but, when we do, it is the perfect excuse to get wrapped up and get into the garden. Making snowmen, throwing snowballs and playing on a sledge, so many perfect photograph moments as you make happy memories.

Joe’s Birthday

Joe is a Christmas baby, so that makes our December doubly special. We always have a special birthday celebration to get it separate from Christmas. This has included a Santa sleepover at Legoland, and last year we took 30 adults and children to The Hawthorns to watch West Brom V Manchester Utd. A really special day for all concerned.

Christmas

Christmas is the time for making special memories, and as a complete Christmas lover, it is a time that is a carousel of panto’s, Christmas Markets and visits to Santa. My camera is constantly out at Christmas, as I snap away at those memories, ready to relive them at a later date.

How do you preserve your photographic Winter Wonderful memories?