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Tell me on a Sunday – A review

I’m on a roll!  Two dinner-and-theater nights out in one week!

The good people over at Bord Gáis Energy Rewards made me an offer I couldn’t refuse on Thursday (well not just me, all their members I imagine but still).  Tickets to the opening night of Tell Me On A Sunday in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for an amazing price of just €15 each.  I enlisted the company of another good friend, booked another table in Milano and the plan was set.

I love musicals, and while I was familiar with some of the songs from Tell Me On A Sunday thanks to an Andrew Lloyd Webber CD, I didn’t know much else.  It was refreshing to take a seat in the auditorium and not really know what to expect, and the fantastically priced ticket made taking that risk all the easier.

What I didn’t know was that Tell Me On A Sunday is a one-act, one woman show.  And what a woman!  Jodie Prenger owned that stage with her voice and her presence.  She filled the theatre, our minds and hearts for that hour or so where she embodied Emma, the English girl looking for love in New York.

I could really see and hear the other characters she was engaging with, such was her ability to paint a picture all alone.  Jodie belted out the numbers with gusto and had me willing each relationship to be “the one”.  I will admit that had I known it was a one-act one-woman show I might have been a bit reluctant, but I thoroughly enjoyed the show and am very glad I didn’t miss out on the production.

After the interval, there was a questions and answers session with Jodie and Francis Goodhand (at least that’s who I think he was) the musical director.  Jodie sang a song or two and was then joined by her alternate (another Jodie!) for a fantastic duet.  Jodie’s enthusiasm and personality were uplifting and infectious.

I think tonight is the last night the tour is in Dublin so this review mightn’t have enough influence to encourage people to go see it, but at least take the message that it’s worth trying new things away!

 

 

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Guys and Dolls – A review

I got out!!  I was an adult for a whole evening, with other adult company.  And wine.  It was fabulous!

I left work and ambled over to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in the April sunshine.  As I strolled through St. Stephen’s Green, down Kildare Street and up Pearse Street I bord gais theatrewas filled with a bubbling happiness and delight at the anticipation of meeting a good friend for dinner and a show and also the beauty and mood of Dublin.  I am usually rushing somewhere and don’t get to just relax and savour the moment, but there is a lot to savour about Dublin and it just all felt great!

 

We had tickets to see “Guys and Dolls”, but first up we needed to be fed and watered.  You can’t beat Milano for a pre-theatre bite to eat if you’re down around Grand Canal Dock.  Two pizzas and two large glasses of wine were thoroughly enjoyed.  A thumbs up to the 3 mobile network for their 3plus rewards programme that gave us a pleasing 30% discount on our food.

Another honourable mention for the good folks at Bord Gáis Energy Rewards as it was via their reward scheme that I was lucky enough to nab two tickets in the stalls for only €20 each – not much more than the price of a cinema ticket really!

So what can I say about the production itself?  It was fantastic; it sparkled, glittered and brought the audience to their feet.  It’s an oldie and a goodie as musicals go and we are creatures who enjoy familiarity so it’s always nice when you recognise a song.  Luck be a lady tonight, Sit down you’re rocking the boat and other favourites were belted out with zest and enthusiasm.  My friend and I were pleasantly surprised to see the first brunette Adelaide in the role, a welcome change to the stereotypical blonde.

The cast did a fantastic job and their energy was admirable, I only hope they feel they got the response from the audience they deserve.  A special mention for Richard Fleeshman who played Sky Masterson, he managed to cast quite a spell over my friend and I and we were very taken by the charismatic charm of his character.  Quite a theatrical crush was formed…

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So the bottom line is go to see the show if you get a chance, it’s running until Saturday 30th April so don’t hang about!

 

 

 

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Marlay Park Artisan Food Market

A sunny weekend morning spent in the park is fantastic when you have small kids.  A sunny weekend morning spent in a park with an artisan food market in full swing is even better.  Sunshine, space for little legs to race around and gourmet sausage sandwiches – what’s not to like?

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The Artisan Food Market sets up camp each and every weekend morning in the wonderful Marlay Park.  A brief inventory of the stalls selling their wares includes The Corner Bakery, Armelle’s Kitchen, Chilli Chilli Bang Bang, Rocking Rolls, Dave’s Pizza and Twisted Potato Chips to name a few.   The longest and most consistent queue was for the coffee stall, as parents sought their caffeine fix.  

 

It is also touted as a Farmers Market but I think the Artisan Food market label is a better fit.  Farmers Market conjures up images of vegetable stands, fruit sellers and other earthy produce.  Yes, there were a few of those but the overwhelming majority of stalls were selling food to be eaten there and then.  

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My daughter and I shared a gourmet sausage torpedo roll with crispy onions, my husband had a coffee and we rounded it off with the intriguing twisted potato chip.  And no trip to a market would be complete (in my family at least) without some goodies for later, so we indulged in brownies from The Corner Bakery.

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I am sure if the sun wasn’t shining, it wouldn’t have been as pleasant an outing but if the weather is fine, you would be hard pressed to find a better setting for a family trip to enjoy some fresh air, exercise and tasty food.  My five year old enjoyed herself running around with her little brother so much she didn’t mind that we never made it to the playground.  

This review originally appeared as part of this on Nanny Village article on Farmers Markets.

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The Railway Children – cinema, theatre and popcorn

It’s no secret to people who know me that I love the cinema, theatre and books.  I especially enjoy the fact that now my daughter is almost six, a trip to the cinema together need not be an exercise of military precision revolving around toilet breaks and dropped sweets.  It’s a bit of mother-daughter time we both savour, along with the popcorn of course.  We have been lucky enough to make it to a few live theatre shows so far too, but sometimes the price of tickets for the more professional productions put me off -she is only five after all!

It was with delight that I opened my email inbox recently to see a message from Primary Times declaring I was a winner and that the prize was a family pass to the screening of The Railway Children in movies@Dundrum.  It wasn’t just a screening of the 1970 film I remember as a child but a stage production.  The stage show was filmed during a production in the National Railway Museum in York during the summer last year.  This prize was ticking all the boxes – cinema, theatre and book!

The ticket was for a family of four so my 10 year old god-daughter and her mother came along too for the experience.  I was a little worried how the girls would react to the show as they are used to fancy animated movies and I was concerned they might find this to be a bit slow for their tastes.  My worries were unfounded and they both embraced the different experience with gusto.  My daughter laughed at jokes (she didn’t really get) along with the audience and declared it to be “The best movie ever”.   The train from the original film even makes an appearance ! Good going for a stage show!

It was a welcome window into the alternative screenings which are offered periodically in the cinemas.  A Saturday night trip to the flicks with a bucket of popcorn need not necessarily mean the latest Hollywood blockbuster.  There are ballet, opera, concerts and plays to be enjoyed and you essentially get the best seat in the house as the cameras are trained to get the best angle possible.  I, for one, will be keeping my eyes open and availing of other chances to see a show I might otherwise never be exposed to.

So thank you to Primary Times for the prize, and congratulations to all involved in the production.

If you are interested in seeing the film, more information can be found at

http://www.railwaychildrenfilm.com/

 

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On the hunt for Easter at Cadburys Egg Hunt for Barnardos

The rain pecking off the windows as we lay in bed this morning didn’t spell success for the planned Egg Hunt today.  If you read my most recent post, The Giant Bunny in the corner…, you will be aware that this was my sitting-on-the-fence reaction to all the Easter Bunny talk in my house.  The clouds were dark and heavy, the forecast was rain, rain, rain but if we didn’t go it meant us all being cooped up inside on a rainy day.  With kids who had been promised an egg hunt.  So wellies, optimism, waterproof coats, trousers and buggy covers were unearthed from their hiding places (all the easier because we only moved a few months ago) and off we set.

The planned excursion was to the Cadbury Egg Hunt for Barnardos which was held in Dublin’s Merrion Square yesterday (Friday 25th) and today (Saturday 26th March 2016).  A family ticket for four was €20, and on arrival we were gifted a very generous goodie-bag of treats and a map detailing the activities available and the egg hunt trail.  The goodie-bag had box of miniature heroes, creme eggs, natural confectionery company jellies, Dairy milk mini eggs and Ritz Crackers.  We happily munched our collective way through the stash while we played games to win tokens that resulted in a fancy pair of bunny ears for the five year old.

By this point the rain had started to ease off and while the ground was muddy, it wasn’t an issue.  We knocked over coconuts, tried to land a hoop on a bunny, played mini-golf and I even participated in an egg and spoon race (while holding my 18 month old much to his delight) and came 4th!  There was a petting farm, photo opportunity points, face-painting, a magical show amongst many other distractions.  I was especially taken with the Easter Bunny’s burrow and all the attention to detail that went into it.

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The big pull was of course the hunt.  I had made it clear to my daughter that this was not the traditional searching for eggs hunt, but that there was a series of clues to be solved and then every participant received an Easter Egg at the end.  Clearly this went in one ear and out the other as my fore-warning was not remembered and a tantrum threatened.  In the end, the desire for the Easter Egg helped us all to join forces and we collected the requisite stamps needed to collect our prizes.

All in all we were probably at the event for an hour and a quarter.  Had the weather been nicer, or both my kids older (the youngest didn’t really get the benefit of it other than a couple of miniature Fudge bars) we might have stayed longer.  It was scheduled from 10:30 – 1pm so you could make quite a morning out of it.  There was complimentary hot chocolate (with the hot chocolate at a kid friendly temperature, a nice touch) and hot drinks for the adults, food stalls (these were not free, or busy but I imagine in the afternoon session it was a different story.  11am is a bit early for a hot dog).  There was clearly sign pointed toilets and baby-changing facilities and a first aid tent and area for lost children.  I especially liked the fact that it wasn’t competitive and there was no pushing or shoving in the quest for eggs, every adult and child got an Easter Egg so there was nothing to be gained by trying to beat the person beside you.

We definitely enjoyed it and I can see its potential so if it is held again next year, I hope it will become an annual tradition.  Unfortunately if you’re reading this and thinking this sounds like the best idea every, you’ve missed the boat as today was the last day this year.