“Now is she in the very lists of love”

Venus and Adonis, Line 595

William Shakespeare

This post was sponsored by TheatreTickets.uk. All opinions, however, are my own.

Late November is the time I start writing lists; lists of food to buy, carols to learn, cards and presents to give, and (yay) presents I want. With this is mind, I thought I’d bring my festive list-making to Mingled Yarns, starting with…

THEATRE TO SEE AT CHRISTMAS THAT ISN’T ACTUALLY CHRISTMASSY

So. You’re in London for December and you want to see some theatre, but you don’t want to go full-on pantomime-Nutcracker-Snowman just yet, but you still have to find something all your family/friends can go to and not leave feeling totally depressed. Whatever the state of the world might be (don’t get me started), it is almost Advent after all. Look no further for the ultimate list of non-christmassy-yet-not-totally-depressing-and-serious-theatre-on-at-the-moment (title needs work I admit):

  1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

This is just a stunner of a show. I saw it about three years ago, and I would willingly go back again, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love it, blogregardless of age. The book itself (by Mark Haddon) is a murder-mystery-cum-family-drama-cum-coming-of-age novel, beautifully told through the eyes of autistic fifteen-year-old Christopher. The play is all of this and more, its digitally illuminated set adding an unforgettable extra element. And there’s a real live puppy. A dog isn’t just for Christmas, but they are extra adorable on a cold winter’s night. If you want a piece of really good theatre, which just so happens to be incredibly heart-warming, this is the thing to see.

Gielgud Theatre.

  1. The Lion King

If you aren’t awed by the opening scene of this musical, we will never understand each other. blog-5It is just factually one of the best musical openings ever in theatre. Full stop. I’ve seen The Lion King three times, and never got bored of ‘The Circle of Life’ being belted out at full blast, whilst actors in the most gorgeous costumes became elephants, gazelles, giraffes, flamingos, and – of course – lions, before my eyes. Like Curious Incident, this is spectacle theatre, but with a simply moving core story of love and loss. And, of course, there’s the cracking song list: ‘Hakuna Matata’, ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’, ‘He Lives in You’, ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’… BRB just going off to have a private Disney singalong.

Lyceum Theatre.

  1. Les Miserables

Okay, okay, I assume you’re either thinking a) this musical is incredibly mainstream and overrated go away, or b) is a musical about a failed French revolution which includes prostitution, suicide, child-blog-3death and the word ‘miserable’ in its title really the thing to see at Christmas? If you’re an a) you might as well skip to the next suggestion, because I’m not ashamed to be mainstream, where Les Mis is concerned. I will never stop loving this musical. If b) YES. With the political shitstorm going on at the moment, everyone needs a bit of classic Les Mis ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’ inspiration over the Christmas break. The finale will give you the same kind of happy-sad-crying-feeling as the end of Love Actually.

Queens Theatre.

  1. The Play That Goes Wrong

Peter Pan Goes Wrong too festive for you?blog-4 Go to see Mischief Theatre’s original, so successful that it’s even transferring to Broadway next year. You can see my full review here, but a quick summary:
hilarious family-friendly farce which gets you involved from the moment you step inside the theatre. The characters-within-characters are fully recognisable to anyone who’s dipped their toe into amdram at any point in their life. My mum and brothers went to see this on my recommendation and absolutely loved it. Now’s the time to see it, so you can look ahead-of-the-crowd to any American friends you might have – and it’s the perfect piece of non-festive fun.

Duchess Theatre

  1. Jersey Boys

The last musical on the list, and one with its own blockbuster movie attached. blog-2But the live show is always better than the film, trust. Before seeing Jersey Boys, I had no idea how much incredible music Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were responsible for (hint: it’s a lot). The story itself, of how the band formed and broke up over the years, is relatively interesting, and the way that each of the Four Seasons gets to tell their own part of the story is clever, but it’s ultimately the music that makes the show. One of the best jukebox musicals out there.

Piccadilly Theatre

  1. Nice Fish

Confession: I haven’t actually seen this yet.blog-2 I have tickets booked, however, and I feel like the combination comedy, Mark Rylance and fish costumes (if you turn up in one you can get free tickets!) is sure to be a good one. The reviews haven’t necessarily been overwhelming, but Rylance is bae so you’ll almost definitely see some great acting whatever the writing’s like.

Harold Pinter Theatre

 

You can find tickets to all these amazing shows on TheatreTickets.uk, who sponsored this post. Hopefully coming up soon, lists of the ultimate Christmassy shows to see, and my fav festive books, treats, music, TV shows and films… Not that I’m over-excited or anything…

elf

“He’s the very soul of bounty”

Timon of Athens, Act 1, Scene 2

William Shakespeare

What bookish blog would be complete without a post-Christmas haul update?

I was lucky enough to receive lots of lovely new, mostly hardback books this festive season – in fact, Christmas was one of the primary ways I was indoctrinated from a young age with a love of reading, as my parents have always given me a ‘book pile’ every year.

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This year’s stash included:

  • Much Ado About Nothing William Shakespeare (RSC edition) – I’ve been trying to collect all of Shakespeare’s plays in these beautiful editions for a few years now. They have great analysis at the beginning, interviews with directors and actors at the back, and photos of previous productions, as well as gorgeously smooth pages. Not only is this play one of my favourites anyway, but, as regular readers will remember, I recently went to a brilliant production of it in Stratford.
  • Look Who’s Back Timur Vermes – I’ve been wanting to read this (reasonably) recent release for ages now. It was incredibly controversial in Germany; telling, as it does, the story of Hitler reawakening in modern-day Germany to find his beloved Fatherland run by a woman and full of immigrants. He quickly becomes a YouTube sensation as an ‘impersonator’ and even gets his own TV show. Once again, his influence is growing… Just sounded like a great concept to me! Cant wait to read it (when I’ve finished the most confusing book of all time, ‘Ulysses’, that is…)
  • Very British Problems Rob Temple – This jokey, keep-by-the-toilet-to-amuse-yourself book stems from the hilarious twitter account @SoVeryBritish which I have been reading out to my family for well over a year, much to their delight (?!) Especially comforting if you are a Brit abroad, these will reassure you that you are not alone in the world:

    “List of problems tea can’t temporarily solve:
    1. Broken kettle
    -end-”
    @SoVeryBritish – 15 Dec 2014

  • The Best of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan-Doyle (Collectors Library ed.) – Once again, this is all about the edition. These tiny little hardbacks have a beautifully smooth cover, a satisfying hold, a bookmark and gold on the outside of the pages. And of course, how can you go wrong with a bit of Holmes and Watson?!
  • 1001 Books To Read Before You Die Peter Boxall – Whilst I am extremely grateful to my brother for this kind and thoughtful present, the pressure is now very much on. Not only do I have a mega reading list for uni, but now I also find out there are about 906 other books I haven’t read that I simply must. Somebody send help.
  • Shakespeare & Me  ed. Susannah Carson – This is one I’ve been angling for for a while now. Carson invites 38 actors, directors, scholars and writers to write down what my number one man Shakespeare means to them. People including James Franco, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, James Earl Jones, Germaine Greer and Antony Sher all contributed; I’m hoping it has short enough chapters for me to dip in and out over the next term when I need a Bard top-up.
  • Girl Online Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella), Siobhan Curham –  The debut novel by the YouTube sensation that has rocked both BookWorld and FanGirlWorld to their cores after an infamous ghost-writing scandal. I’m interested to see if the book itself is any good, considering I know next to nothing about Zoella herself, so have as little invested in it as possible. At the same time, the premise doesn’t really excite me that much: girl creates blog, becomes very successful, has boy trouble. Big whoop. Still, apparently the ending is surprisingly good, so I’ll give it a try at some point.
  • Literary Listography Lisa Nola – What else does every good bibliophile need but another book to list all of the other they’ve already read? I mean, I like lists and I like books – what more is there to say?!

And, finally, I was lucky enough to receive a brand new Kindle Paperwhite (having carelessly lost my old one in America in August) from my parents. No, this doesn’t mean I’ll betray all my lovely worn paperbacks and crisp new hardbacks – where else will I get my fill of decaying-pages smell?! But, all the same, it is actually equally beautiful in its own way.

What did you guys get for Christmas?

“You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2, Scene 1

William Shakespeare

Another quick little post about another b-e-a-utiful book, that my friend Sophie gave me as a Christmas present 🙂

It’s a lovely hardback Penguin Classics copy of ‘Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass’ which is especially cool, since she’s one of the only good heroines with my name – all the other Alice’s in books are ancient aunts or annoying best friends.  And it has a bookmark (always good) andthe original illustrations and smooooth pages. So again, I’m in love 😉

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As you can see, I’m getting in the Christmassy mood ready for Tuesday! Looking forward to my ‘book pile’ – I always get one from my parents with all the books I can’t afford, and then I’ll have even more to blog about.

Second part of the ’30 Day Challenge’ coming up later today!