The Band Musical – A Review

It’s very rare that I go to see a theatre show having no real idea what it’s about. And it’s even more rare for me to go and see a show, if I’m totally honest, that I actually wasn’t too bothered about seeing. I’d seen a musical based on Take That songs (a musical I love by the way!) and wasn’t in a big rush to see another one. 

And usually I’ve heard all about what a show is about or already seen it 3 times (Wicked and Billy Elliot I’m looking at you guys!) but when Cardiff Mummy Says invited me to go with her to see The Band Musical I went along having no idea of the story. 

I mean I knew about the music, it’s all Take That songs, and that the guys playing “The Band” were cast from a talent show, but I’d only seen about 10 minutes of the whole series, so apart from that my knowledge of the storyline was non existent. 

The story starts by following 5 school friends, it’s 1992 and they’re 16. Their love for The Band is all consuming, and we watch their joy and promises they make each other for their future. All this dotted with the classic Take That songs, making for a bubbly, lively and thoroughly enjoyable start. 

Tonight’s performance did experience some technical difficulties (though we’re not exactly sure what they were) which meant that the first half was stopped about half an hour in, and paused for 5 minutes, but it didn’t seem to interrupt the flow or the energy of the show. 

The young cast were absolutely spectacular. Their acting just blew me away, being able to confidently hold an audience the way they did, they could have easily carried the entire show without an issue. Watching as the characters came from their first concert, making plans for their lives and making promises to each other gave me flashbacks to my own childhood, and I could have spent the evening watching them record Top of the Pops and making up dance routines. But of course the story continues. 

I’m not going to give away too much about the storyline, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone going, but the story does then see the “girls” 25 years later. Did their lives go as they’d planned as teenagers? Spoilers ;) 

I was surprised as to how the “Band” were incorporated into the story, more of background singers than the main show. It was very different, but I thought it worked great. It made for some very funny moments, and also meant that some of the famous Take That costumes and dance moves could be incorporated. It’s very difficult to properly explain their role (I guess you’ll just have to go see it if you really want to know!)

I did find that the sound could be a bit unbalanced between the cast and the band, both the musical band and the singers. A lot of the songs were punctuated by dialogue and sometimes this was lost as the songs and music were a touch too loud. 

The lighting certainly gave the “rock concert” effect. Plenty of moving lights, dramatic changes and blinding flashes. 

The adult cast were equally superb. The strong female characters were portrayed brilliantly, and the sense of historical friendship could really be felt. 

More of Take That’s modern songs were incorporated, really bringing home how many people have literally grown up and loved the band through most of their lives.

I honestly believe that an audience can tell if the cast are genuinely enjoying themselves, and it gives a show an extra edge. This show certainly had that! 

This evening I’ve laughed loudly, sobbed loudly, sang loudly and danced wildly. 

It was a perfect night out to spend with partners, girlfriends, boyfriends or family! Basically anyone could go and see this, and I really think you’d have a fantastic time! 

You may also have heard that 3 special guests turned up at the very end. Opening night of the new tour, and Garry, Howard and Mark made a special appearance and performance. Of course this made tonight’s trip extra special (not as special as if there’s been a chance for a selfie, but you can’t have everything!) but honestly, I’d have come away feeling as good as I did if the show had finished as it usually would. Take That showing up was pretty special, but the show holds its own as a truly fantastic night out. 
If you want to get a taste for the show, and a guest appearance from Take That, head over to The Herniman House Facebook page, where you’ll find a live video of the performance! I will warn you though, the filming is VERY shaky! I’d sobbed and cheered until I was no longer able to hold a camera steady haha!! 

The Band is showing in Cardiff at the Wales Millennium Centre from 9th-20th of January, and it’s exactly what you need to blow away the January blues. 

Mrs H xxx

Disclaimer – I was given a ticket in exchange for a review of the show. All thought and opinions are honest and my own 

Hello January!

A new year and a new chance to set goals, make resolutions and make decisions, big or small.
I can’t say that I have a great track record with resolutions, I don’t always choose what’s actually important or realistic, but I do like to take a little time to set some out. Whether they’re hit or skewed along the way it’s just a great time to start a fresh outlook on things.
I’ve set out a yearly plan of goals for the blog this year. I won’t bore you all by listing them all here! But I can say that I want to make more of an effort with it. I really love the writing and everything (well mostly!) that goes along with blogging, and I’d love to be able to make it a hobby that starts to pay its way.
Health! I am not going to be making a resolution to lose weight (that’s a whole other blog post and rant!) but I am going to aim to be healthier and fitter. I absolutely will not be giving up chocolate or crisps, but I need to get out and moving more. I’ve tried different gyms and activities over the years, but I just haven’t found what works and motivates myself yet, and fits in with my time around the kids. So, I’m hoping that this year I’ll be able to find what works best for me. I won’t lie and say that a bit of weight loss would be welcome but I’m more concerned about being able to chase after the kids without passing out haha!!
Being more selfish! I’ve mentioned before that 2017 was a bit rough for me personally and my mental health, and I want to take this year to make sure that I stay on track. The last few days I haven’t taken my medication, purely by accident, but I could really feel the negative effects of not taking them, even after 4 days! And why hadn’t I taken them? Because I found “more important” things to do and forgot. But really, what’s more important than my own health? Self-care isn’t selfish, and I can’t expect to look after everyone else if I’m not looking after myself. I’ll be trying to take more time to look after myself, whether that is an evening reading or a trip out to the coffee shop by myself, or even just getting an early night! Mental health is just as important as my physical health, so I’ll be trying to take care of both of those this year.
Travel more and enjoy family time. Mr H is getting busier with work, I’m getting busier with my work which are both great things, but it does mean that it’s more important to spend quality time together and as a family when we can. We did pretty well with this last year, so we’ll definitely be continuing this and making even more of an effort to visit new places, visit some well-loved places and enjoy all the time we can together.
Have you made any goals or resolutions for 2018?
Mrs H xxx

Wrapping Up 2017

This past year has been chaotic, hard but wonderful.
I wouldn’t have been able to survive half as well without my fantastic husband, and family. They were there through all the best and worst and mundane parts of 2017. Also I’ve had some new and old friendships really develop. Both online and in “real life” though some are crossing over which is just fantastic! I’m really starting to feel content with who I’m surrounding myself with, and have such a supportive village. That’s not to say there aren’t many more people I don’t get to see so much, who I’d like to see more of. But all our lives get so busy it’s not always easy to do.
2017 has been a year of learning for me. Learning how to parent two small children, learning to let go of the eldest when he went to school, learning new systems when returning to work after maternity leave, learning what I want from myself in life, and also learning to deal with my own mental health.
None of these have been particularly easy, and all of them will be on going learning experiences. However as the year ends I finally feel content. Not that I can sit back and do nothing, there’s plenty of hard work to be done in the new year, in all parts of my life. But I feel happy with the way things are progressing and the plans I’m starting to have to push forward in all these areas.
As with any year, I guess, there are regrets. My biggest one is not focusing on my mental health sooner and taking so long to sort it out. It’s only really within the last two months or so that I finally feel like I’m in control of it and that I’m in a good place. I’m sad that it took so long, mainly because of the affects it had on my parenting and my behaviour around the children. Not that it was a drastic as that may sound, but I just know that it could have been so much better, with more patience and understanding.
I’m not dwelling on the negatives, as much as I might regret things in the last year, there’s nothing I’m able to do to change what’s been, I can only focus on learning from the experiences and making for a better 2018.
This year hasn’t been all bad, far from it. It’s been an amazing year for travelling and exploring new places with the family.
Abroad we visited Portugal and France. Portugal has fast become one of our favourite places to visit, and we already have the next visit booked! France was the first ‘big’ trip in the motorhome. It wasn’t without struggles (family sickness bug whilst cooped up in a caravan on wheels anyone!?) but mostly it was a lovely trip, great company (thanks mum and dad!) and plenty of lovely food.
In the UK we were lucky enough to visit Bluestone, Minehead, and our annual trip to Tenby.
We certainly were very spoilt travel wise – hopefully we can continue that into 2018!
It’s been a big year for the boys too. G has started school, and is now going five full days a week! He’s thriving and absolutely loves it, and despite all the stress beforehand we are so happy with our choice of schools. The staff are just fantastic and are a great support for G and also for us as parents.
B is no longer a baby but a hurricane of a toddler. He’s a force but incredibly sweet too. His personality is really coming through, and they’re both learning to share and play together, which is just wonderful to watch. I’m so excited to watch them grow together this coming year, and see what new experiences are in store for us all.
So overall it’s been a bit of an up and down year, but then I guess all years are really. The most important thing is that it’s finished feeling positive and looking forward. I’m happy and excited to build on everything in the New Year.
Wishing all my wonderful readers a very happy and prosperous new year, and I look forward to chatting to you all through the year!
Mrs H xxx

 Legally Blonde at the New Theatre Cardiff

This week myself and Mr H went to see the touring production of Legally Blonde, at the New Theatre in Cardiff.

Ohmigod You Guys! – the opening of Legally Blond the Musical Tour
I’ve mentioned before that theatre is a big part of our lives, so when a friend of ours was coming to Cardiff whilst working on this tour, we jumped at the chance (and the discount!) to go and see one of our favourite musicals and treat ourselves to a date night together. It’s not often that we get to see shows together where Mr H isn’t working on it!

Bringing this classic 00’s Reese Witherspoon film to the stage with the added bonus of feel good songs and fantastic dance routines. The cast really impressed, with bundles of energy from the opening number until the very end. 

Legally Blonde is the well-known story of sorority president Elle Woods (Lucie Jones), as she follows her heart and ex boyfriend Warner (Liam Doyle) to Harvard Law School. 

Whilst there she meets the slightly scruffy bit utterly adorable Emmett Forest (David Barrett) and learns much more about law and herself than she ever bargained for. 

Taking on an internship from the intense and severe professor (Bill Ward) they defend fitness queen Brooke Wyndham (Helen Petrovna) in a murder trial. 

Lucie Jones as Elle Woods – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
“Local girl” Lucie Jones, from Pentyrch in Cardiff, really showed off her wide vocal range in the leading role of Elle Woods. 

Having been on X Factor and represented the UK in this year’s Eurovision her singing was never in doubt, but her acting also excelled. We’d seen this when it was on the West End with the wonderful Sheridan Smith fulfilling the lead role, I was apprehensive to how Lucie would compare, but she really made the part her own and aced it.

Bill Ward as Professor Callahan – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
Bill Ward, of Coronation Street fame, was frustratingly brilliant as nasty Professor Callahan. He was fired up and patronising as only a lawyer full of himself could be. The “boos” he received from the audience at the end were just an accolade of what a horrible character he portrayed. 

Rita Simmons aka Paulette Bonafonte – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
I have to say though, that Rita Simmons really stood out for us. You’ll most likely recognise Rita from her time as Roxy Mitchell in Eastenders, but I bet you never realised what a fabulous voice she has. 

The part of Paulette is very funny and loving at the same time, it would be so easy to over egg it and turn it pantomimic, but Rita played every line perfectly. Her acting and comedic timing were impeccable and her voice absolutely blew us and the rest of the audience away. Rita really belted out her numbers, but with great control, and every note was hit perfectly.

Paulette and Kyle, and most importantly Rufus the dog! – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
Paulette’s developing relationship with delivery guy Kyle (Ben Harlow) was simultaneously heart warming and hysterical. And yes, her “bend and snap” was perfectly on point! 

Oh and Rufus, Paulette’s dog, was just the cutest thing! I really wanted to bring him home, and was so excited when I happened to meet the “star” outside the theatre! 

One of the many fantastic dance numbers – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
The set design was great, but a little mismatched between realistic and a bit cartoony in places. But the way it all moved and came together was brilliant, really impressive. Especially when we found out that not all the set could be used as it was too big for this stage. 

The many costumes were brilliant. Perfectly suited to each character, with plenty of glitz and glamour. Details such as Emmett’s “ratty corduroy” suit being oversized, more than likely a second hand one all he could afford, really helped bring even more life to the characters.

And the pink graduation gowns for the finale were gloriously over the top and really made the ending sparkle.

The show finishes with a reprise of quite a few of the songs. It adds on another 10 mintutes to what is already quite a long show, but it really gets the audience up on their feet and literally dancing in the aisles. 

Mr H felt it was too long and not really needed, but loved it, though the clapping all the way through did leave me with very sore hands haha!!

Elle and Paulette, daydreaming about Ireland – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
You’ve only got until Saturday to catch this fantastic production in Cardiff, before it moves onto Edinburgh and then many more places across the Uk and Ireland in the new year! Take a look here to find out if it’s visiting a town near you.

You Gotta Be Legally Blonde – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
It’s a proper feel good show, very well directed with some absolutely brilliant performances. The perfect show for a night out with friends or family, and will leave you bubbling with happiness and singing along for a long while after!

Mrs H xxx

*disclaimer – we received a discount from a friend to buy the tickets, but we did pay for them and I was not asked to write a review.

Dear B: Happy Birthday, You’re One!

This last year has been a whirlwind. 

Having two children is certainly harder than one. 

I often feel you haven’t been given enough attention or the level of attention you deserve. It’s just not possible like it was the first time round. 

I’ve often struggled to manage my time, to balance the two of you, to feel like I’ve been enough. 

But I’ve never struggled to find enough love for the two of you. 

I couldn’t love you both any more. My heart literally aches with the amount of love I have for you. 

You are a hurricane. A force. A complete bundle of energy. 

You are loving. You are so sweet. You are incredible. 

You are constantly on the move. Climbing things, grabbing things, moving everywhere. 
You drive me completely round the twist whilst you’re doing it but I can’t help but admire how amazing you are. 

You can climb, you can crawl, you can walk. 
You have a wicked sense of humour. You know when you’re doing something you shouldn’t be, and the cheekiest grin takes over your whole face. 

You belly laugh when you pretend to bite my toes. And I can’t stop you because you’re just too cute!

You are so loving. You’re always toddling over to give cwtches and sloppy open mouthed kisses. And you say “aww” when you’re giving anyone or anything a cwtch. 

You’ve been walking for a few weeks, but this last week and a half you’ve really got the hang of it. Yesterday and today you’ve been trying to pick up speed. 

You have six (and a half) teeth. 

You love music and you love dancing. Bobbing up and down and kicking your legs. “You’re Welcome” from Moana is a particular favourite but you just love music in general. 

Only certain songs work when you’re grumpy in the car though. “I Had a Little Turtle” almost always works.

You and your big brother love each other very much but you can both give the other a decent thump. As an only child this baffles me but I’m assured this is normal. And will continue. Oh joy haha!!

You are a second child but by no means second best.

You are loved more than you’ll ever know. 

Love you so much bubba boy xxx