After a crazy end to 2018, my new year gets off to a relatively relaxing start in comparison while my body and my bank balance recover, but I still have quite a few exciting things planned. Here are a few of the shows I’m looking forward to this month and books I will be reading to brighten up my January.
My first play of the year is The Dame at London’s Park Theatre, which I’ll be reviewing for Love London Love Culture. Starring former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan as pantomime dame Ronald Roy Humphrey, The Dame takes the audience on a journey inside an entertainer’s mind to expose the fragile creature behind the make-up.
Next week I’ll be reviewing Anomaly at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London, again for Love London Love Culture. In the wake of the Weinstein allegations and #MeToo movement, this timely play, written by Liv Walden, focuses on the family of the accused and on three women who have been left to pick up the pieces.
Later this month I’ll be revisiting Six the musical, which returns to London’s Arts Theatre. Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six is a history lesson with a difference and was one of the hits of 2018. The six wives of Tudor King Henry VIII come together and take to the mic in this 75-minute spectacular, belting their way through a series of catchy songs inspired by the likes of Little Mix, Beyonce and Rhianna. An empowering show packed full of girl power with an added twist of humour.
One show I’m particularly looking forward to in January is the press night of When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other at National Theatre. Marking Cate Blanchett’s long-awaited return to the London stage, the play sees her teaming up with Stephen Dillane in Martin Crimp’s play about sexual domination and resistance. I’m not only looking forward to seeing the pair on stage, but I’m also excited that for once I was successful in a ticket ballot!
Next I’ll be making my first trip to The New Wimbledon Theatre Studio to see Jaleelah Galbraith’s one-woman comedy show, It is a Truth. She stars as Jayde, a single, Bristolian woman obsessed with Jane Austen, and talks about female identity, and being a woman 200 years after Austen’s books were written and, more importantly, Colin Firth.
Finally, I’ll be rounding off the month with a visit to the Phoenix Theatre to see the feel-good musical Come From Away. The show is based on the true story of the people living in the small Newfoundland town of Gander, who opened their doors to more than 7,000 stranded people when 38 planes were ordered to land there following the 9/11 attacks. I discovered the soundtrack by accident last year and fell in love with it, so I can’t wait to see the show – and Rachel Tucker leading the cast is a bonus!
As I mentioned in my previous blog, this year I aim to read 50 books, so January needs to get off to a strong start. I also want to broaden the genres of books I read and include young adult titles too, so this month I will be reading and reviewing the following:
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid: When ageing celebrity and recluse Evelyn Hugo offers magazine reporter Monique her one and only interview, no one can quite believe it, less Monique herself. But when she meets with the actress she discovers the shocking truth behind the façade that’s been kept secret from the world for decades. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is an intriguing story about celebrity, ambition and the price of fame.
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: I initially read this book a few years ago but have decided that it’s time for a re-read. After his family are murdered a baby finds shelter in a nearby graveyard. It’s up to the resident ghosts to raise and protect him from the man who still wants him dead.
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris: This love story is inspired by the true account of Lale Sokolov and his wife Gita, who met and fell in love at the concentration camp when Solokov tattooed Gita with her prisoner identification number.
- We are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo: A YA fantasy novel, We are Blood and Thunder is a story of two young women: Lena, who is running for her life after being sentenced to death for being a mage; and Constance, who escaped years ago before her own powers were discovered.
- Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies): Compiled by Scarlett Curtis, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) is a collection of 52 essays from empowering women all recognisable in their fields of work. The likes of Dolly Alderton, Jameela Jamil and Helen Fielding all come together to talk about what the F word means to them.