Dreamgirls the Musical has caught the eye of London’s West End, and much of the attention has been due to the leading lady. Amber Riley is best known for her role in Glee, where she admitted that the script writers mostly got her to come on at the end and belt out the big number to wrap up to episode. She’s certainly getting to do a lot of belting in Dreamgirls – not that I’ve got to see her yet.
The main role of Effie White is hugely demanding vocally, and it has meant that an alternate has played the role on many occasions. In fact, I’ve been to see the show twice, both on days when Amber was scheduled to perform, and I’ve now seen both of the alternates.
There’s no need for concern if you’re coming to see the show, though. Both of the Effie’s that I’ve seen have been amazing. My favourite is Marisha Wallace, who has perfect comic timing and can belt out ‘And I’m Telling You’ like it’s no-one’s business.
The music – and vocals – are definitely why I will keep coming back to this show. Think Elphaba’s Defying Gravity riffs are good in Wicked? Come to Dreamgirls and prepare to get your head knocked off. These women give it everything on stage with performances so powerful and captivating that it’s impossible to not feel the emotion. There is a lot of deep emotional moments in this show, too. Singing about rejection, loves and friendships that are lost, and being true to yourself are all key moments.
I live in London, but it’s often easy to get caught up in the everyday of commuting and visiting favourite places. Before long, you’ll realise that you haven’t been anywhere new in weeks. This is particularly awful in the capital city, where there is so much to see and do. From cobbled side streets to imposing world-wide icons, London has it all. I think it would be impossible to see it all, but I want to make sure that I get to see and enjoy as much of my city as possible.
My parents and sister decided to come down to visit for a few days, which was the perfect excuse to get out and explore more. We walked over 45,000 steps over the three days, so it’s fair to say that we got to see a lot of the city.
Here are some of my highlights.
With a Disney trip, there must come a vlog series.
I am very excited to share the first installment from my trip to Disneyland Paris in April 2017. I’m now an annual pass holder, so you can expect more visits coming over the next twelve months as well.
Now it’s time to watch the vlog, and don’t forget to read on for the behind-the-scenes as well.
The day started with a fair amount of stress as I had to get to St Pancras International train station for 6am, which is more difficult than it sounds when the tube doesn’t start running until 5.30am. I made it with plenty of time, though, and we had a lot of room to spread out in the carriage. International travel via train was even more simple than I anticipated. There was airport-style security at the station, but then we started hurtling through the countryside, stopping a few times in UK stations, then in Calais, and then we changed in Lille. We had an hour to kill here, and then it was onto a slower train to Disneyland Paris itself. The station here is about 50 metres from the security checkpoints to get into the parks, and just across the road from all the bus stops. That meant we could walk straight out of the station and onto our hotel bus. The entire process was smooth and stress-free. I can’t recommend the Eurostar enough.
After the others had freshened up and we had left our bags at the hotel, we headed to the parks. It all got a bit much for me as we walked into Disneyland for the first time. With the music and atmosphere, it felt just like Disney World in Florida. It seemed so weird to be stood there. More than anything, it made me realise how much I miss Magic Kingdom.
Everything was equally overwhelming, but we got to do a few rides and eat a Casey’s Corner hot dog while watching the new Princess Show.
All in all, it was a fantastic first morning and afternoon in Disneyland Paris.
Update: Part 2 is here as well! Take a look:
Wednesday 22nd March 2017 was a weird day. In many ways, it was completely unremarkable. I’m lucky in that, for my job, I get to do a lot of work on twitter so I was checking our feed when I noticed a tweet about reported shots fired in Westminster.
Within minutes, or even seconds, more of the story was developing. I was giving everyone else in the office the information that was coming through as I saw it reported on Twitter.
My office is about a fifteen minute drive away from Parliament so there was never a major concern for our safety. We carried on working throughout and didn’t leave the office so much as a minute early. The office is on the ground floor of a very busy road, though, and we listened to endless police cars streaming past in packs. Three or four would tear down the street, usually about five or ten minutes apart, for what seemed like hours. I couldn’t believe that so many police were available, let alone that all of them were needed at once. It made the whole situation feel uncomfortably close.
The more information that filtered through to us, the more terrifying it got. Some people were cracking jokes. Others were still on lunch and had no idea, or were trapped in dull meetings when they would rather have their eyes glued to the news.
I have enjoyed getting to know ‘my’ London so much over the last two years. As much as I love the lights and buzz of Leicester Square and Covent Garden, there are other parts of the city that make this new Londoner feel a lot more at home. Here is my run down of my favourite slightly lesser-known parts of the city, as well as the ones that I want to explore more.
Even though I live here, there is so much to see and do, so why not try something different next time you’re in the capital?