Hamilton – 10 Things You Need to Know

bronze metal texture with high details; Shutterstock ID 115354759

Following its impressive performance on Broadway and with a Grammy, Pulitzer Prize and 11 (count them, 11) Tony wins to its name, it’s no surprise that Hamilton is coming to our tiny island across the sea, England! With a premier date set for late 2017, more details have just been released including the all important sale dates.

Commenting on this announcement, Cameron Mackintosh said he ‘couldn’t be more thrilled that the brilliant Hamilton, already acclaimed as one of the landmark musicals of the 21st Century’ is coming to the UK.

And with this new announcement, there are 10 things you need to know:

1) What is Hamilton?

Based on the life and times of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton is an 18th century story told through 21st century verse. Blending R&B and Broadway, this story of America’s Revolutionary War has proved to be a revelation for audience, ‘the story of America then, as told by America now’.


2) When will it open?

In an interview today, Mackintosh confirmed that the show will have its UK premiere ‘in just over a year’s time, December 2017’.

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Credit: Joan Marcus


3) Where is it on?

With refurbishments currently underway, Hamilton will officially reopen the Victoria Palace Theatre in London, re-launch[ing] the much loved theatre on its next 100 years.’


4) Who will be in it?

Casting is already underway, as Mackintosh and the team ‘have already started the casting process and are very excited by the tremendous diverse talents that [they] are already seeing for the production’. Writer of Hamilton and Hamilton himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda has confirmed he will reprise the role, though it is thought it will not be at the start of the run. In a recent interview on BBC 5 Live, Mackintosh commented, ‘All I can tell you is that I do know Lin wants to come and perform at some point but there are no plans for him to be here when the show opens, except as the author’ (Official London Theatre).


5) How can I be in the room where it happens?

Where is it you want to be…?

Source: Reviews From a Bookworm

Okay, so the best thing you can do is sign up for Priority Booking on the official website, and keep up to date with all the latest news on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


6) When can I buy tickets?

The on sale dates have just been announced. All you loyal, royal subjects who signed up for Priority Booking can book from 16th January 2017.


7) I didn’t sign up for priority…but I still want to be in the room where it happens!

There is still time to sign up for Priority Booking, which closes on October 31st. If you don’t, you won’t have too long to wait, as General Booking opens 30th January 2017. If you’re willing to wait for it…


HamiltonRichard Rodgers Theatre
Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones. Credit: Joan Marcus


8) How much will it cost?

Information on prices and the performance schedule will be released in January 2017, but Cameron is keen to make it as affordable as its American counterpart. The Broadway production ran the Ham4Ham lottery, which sold front row seats for just $10 since Hamilton is (and will remain on) the $10 bill. Commenting that he’d like to continue this lottery in the UK, Mackintosh is also ‘planning to have is a far greater proportion of the house that will be £35 and under, than there is anywhere else, for Hamilton. It’s absolutely my aim to make sure that this show can be seen by as wide an audience as possible, because I do think it’s one of the greatest musicals I’ve ever seen and I’ll be completely thrilled if I ever see a better one in the rest of my life.’ (Official Theatre London)


9) How can I be in the room where it happens…on stage? 

As mentioned earlier, casting has already officially begun for the show. But there will be open auditions, which will take place in the week commencing 7th November. They are keen to see performers of all ethnicities, and are looking for singers who can rap and hip hop dancers. Interestingly, the one role which you can not audition for is King George, which suggests they may already have someone in mind…



Hamilton will be an incredible show when it opens…admittedly in a year’s time! There are plenty of behind the scenes videos and Ham4Ham on YouTube to keep you busy, and you can listen to the whole soundtrack before going. But in the mean time be patient like me, because…

Source: Hamilton-Lyrics

Because I know it will be worth the wait.

Greece is the Word

Earlier this month, I went on my first all inclusive holiday, a concept which was strange and new to my Dad:

Waiter: You’ve finished this bottle of wine. Would you like another?
Dad: and how much is that going to cost?
Waiter: …um, it’s all included…
Dad: ALL included?!
Waiter: …yes…

All the carbs 🍝🍟🍞#ImARealAdult #ThereIsNoFilterForCaloried

A photo posted by Rona (@thriftytheatre) on

After getting over the initial shock, we had a wonderful time. We stayed in Halkidiki at the Ikos Olivia, a chain of all inclusive hotels in mainland Greece. It was my first time in the country and I would love to go back and see some more of the history (maybe avoiding the ‘men only mountain!) But this holiday was more of a sun, sea and sleep one, and it certainly delivered.

Going in October, we knew rain would be likely, but we were lucky enough to only get one full day of it. And as for the other spits of rain? Well…the cold never bothered me anyway.


Located right on the beach front, you can literally walk out of breakfast and on to a sun bed. Three restaurants were located on the beach, and the food selection was brilliant (again, all included). The three on the beach include Fusco (Italian), Flavors (Buffet), and Ouzo (Greek), with Greek and French restaurants in site and local tavernas also included. Our favourite was Fusco, but here we get on to my only gripe.

I think kids are great. But just not when they’re near me on holiday. Not when I can hear them. See them, fine. Hear them, no. Adult Only areas are incorporated in the resort (on the beach and in the buffet restaurant), but hopefully next year, there may be more allocated and separate areas. I had a few other issues, but all were seen to by the friendly Guest Relations team.

I would say go there…but I want to keep it just between us! 😉

Nothing like the sound of waves to relax me 😊 And not a bad view ☀️#IkosOlivia

A photo posted by Rona (@thriftytheatre) on

Review: The Libertine @ Theatre Royal Haymarket **

Following in the style of a Restoration farce, The Libertine opens with a Prologue from our libertine himself the Earl of Rochester. Acknowledging his charming disposition, he warns the ladies (and gentlemen) against falling for this smoothness: ‘You should not love me. Do not love me.’ There is no fear of that in a play so poorly written that I can’t find a singular reason to have any element of interest let alone concern for the characters.

Dominic Cooper and Nina Toussaint-White. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

With Charles restored to the throne, the play follows Rochester and his band of comrades in their various hijinks. A man tired with life, loving but not living, Rochester continues to seek lewd employment, much to the annoyance of the King. And his wife. But how long can these acts go unchecked?

The actual world of the play is commendable. The set is visually interesting: the action takes place on a wooden platform, the backdrop a giant frame with the image changing digitally, painting pictures in front of our eyes. The scene which recreates the atmosphere at the Globe or similar yard style theatres is strikingly accurate. The very verse of Dryden which Rochester and his pals mock and our lead’s own philosophical ramblings are all actually beautifully phrased.

A complete farce…not even this libertine can free the production from the chains of bad writing which drag it down.

This contrasts greatly to the sub par writing in which the majority of the play is written. Relying heavily on shock and cock jokes, it’s uncertain whether Stephen Jeffreys was writing this mocking the go-to joke of the period or if that’s truly all he could write. Good jokes are there and make a welcome break from the constant cock-a-mamie, like the sundial pun on kings and time. But it’s saying something when the thing which got the most laughs was unscripted: Jasper Britton’s apologising for throwing his script at an audience member.

Were the play better paced, it could improve. In the opening prologue, we are implored to not fall for this rake. But aside from two affairs on the side and a certain disregard for life, I see no nefarious machinations. I went in expecting Iago; instead I got Roderigo. In an age of Game of Thrones, it’s not enough to merely have a licentiousness and propensity for throwing the c word round to make a man a cad. Or even interesting. The only reason to show any interest in his character or sympathises comes in the last 20 minutes, 2 hours too late.

Dominic Cooper and Alice Bailey Johnson. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

With such little to work with, Dominic Cooper does an admirable job in his first performance on a West End stage, having previously starred in the National’s History Boys. Carrying himself with an air of charm and aloft in all aspects, he plays an English gent brilliantly but is at his best in his decline. Other notable performances include Britton as Charles II, bringing an absurdity and lightness to the restored king. Also worth noting is Alice Bailey Johnson as Rochester’s wife, who delivers some of the best (if contrived) monologues to audience, the only one finding any emotional depth in her character. The rest of the cast do well with what little character they have to work with.

Verdict: a complete farce (and not in the way they intended). Not even this libertine can free the production from the chains of bad writing which drag it down.

Friday Favs: In the Heights

So, you know how yesterday was supposedly my last day of In the Heights Takeover week…I may or may not have spent the entire plane journey to Greece listening to Hamilton and In the Heights

Okay, less may. More ‘tell me something I don’t know’!

Today’s edition of Friday Favourites, therefore, is In the Heights themed. It’s a collection of my favourite videos from the show or about the journey of the show, which I thought I’d share with you all! Enjoy!

The 2016 Olivier performance, featuring members of the cast I have interviewed this week. Oh, and it’s of ‘96,000’. Need I say more?!


And the original broadway cast version, to compare.


N.B. Also watch with this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UAADr8ttpE #LookAtWhereWeAre #LookAtWhereWeStarted


I am yet to watch this, but I’m pretty sure I’ll blitz through this while on holiday!


I didn’t even write it and I tear up watching this Flash Mob tribute!


Today has been Non-Stop!

Right lyricist, wrong production, I know! It’s In the Heights Takeover Week, and the above is a little nod to 1) a stressful day and 2) my excitement for the Victoria Palace unveiling their Hamilton veil…if that makes sense!

The last in this series of In the Heights features is an interview with Usnavi himself, Sam Mackay. Like Gabriela and Damian, Sam has been with the show since day one, way back in 2014, having spent two years on this production. As it enters its final months of performances, Sam spoke to me about what the show means to him, the time he compared characterisation with Lin Manuel Miranda, and his plans post-show (hint: like Usnavi, they involve flying to a certain island).

Rona Kelly: We are so excited for the show!

Sam Mackay: Have you seen it?

RK: I’ve seen it twice before and loved it. My friend Anna hasn’t seen it at all!

SM: Yes, you’re dragging a new crowd in! Good work!

RK: She didn’t even know we were doing salsa earlier!

SM: Ha! And how was that?

Anna Marks: I think I’m slightly mentally scarred!

SM: I wondered if a lot of the people would be feeling that way!

AM: Well it was good to learn a number from the show, I’m looking forward to it.

SM: ‘Carnaval del Barrio’ is a really fun number and it’s a really fun show. I’m a fan of the show, regardless of my involvment in it. I love it! So I hope that people enjoy it, just as much as we do performing it.

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson


RK: It’s such an energetic fun show, but there are some really poignant moments too.

SM: It’s absolutely got that ebb and flow to it. It’s devastating and wonderful in equal measure, and that’s such a wonderful thing to get to play.

RK: And you are playing Usnavi.

SM: I am indeed!

RK: And how would you describe him in three words?

SM: Ooooh…’Cornerstone of Community’!

RK: That is very good!

SM: ‘Of-the’, I just said ‘of community’…great!

RK: Well, we’ll just make it one word: ‘Of-the’. The ‘the’ is silent, so it’s fine!

SM: Yes! He’s Mr Reliable.

RK: So you’ve been with the show since the very beginning and you’re with it until the end, in January 2017.

SM: Well I had to see it out! I had to! As I said, it’s a show that I hold very dear to my heart and always will. So it only felt right, when the extension came up and it was just until January. I’ve been doing it here for a year, but actually it’s been much longer. 2014 we started and we had a big gap in between that and here. But it felt right and this is my baby in a way, in this country. I really love this role, I’ve put a lot into it and I just wanted to see it out with the community as I think Usnavi would, you know?

RK: Yes. And I guess you guys must become like a community, like family with everyone!

SM: Completely, it’s an amazing group.

RK: Okay, so one of the questions I have written down just says: ‘How do you even rap that quickly?’

SM: Ha! Well, I’ve been rapping since I was yay-high. I actually started off in grime, which is a speedier tempo. I listened to hip hop before, but I did grime and garage when I was in my teen years. I used to hang out in a shed in Neasden and do Pirate Radio sessions and be teenagers! And so rap has always been a huge part of my life. So actually the rap stuff is some of the least challenging aspects of the show, in terms of rhythm and stuff. It’s more about the storytelling for me. But the rap is just something that I’ve always listened to, always loved, and always been a part of. So it’s kind of second nature, I guess!

RK: It’s incredible! Just the words in the opening song even, ‘One dollar, two dollar, one fifty…’

SM: Yes, yes! I mean that gets tricky! It’s more the actions and stuff.

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson


RK: And what about the dancing? How do you find that side of it?

SM: Well, again I actually started out as a dancer when I was younger. So I have to dance almost deliberately badly in this show! Because I think you endear yourself a little more to Usnavi if he’s not too cool! And I just think it suits him. Funnily enough, I had a conversation with Lin [Manuel Miranda, Usnavi in the BC] when he came across for Southwark. And I remember saying to him, ‘Lin, can I just say one thing I love about Usnavi is I love that he’s not really a dancer, he can’t really dance’. And he was like, ‘Yes, everyone always says that…and I was really trying!’ And I was like, ‘Oh God! I’m so sorry!’ And I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t realise; I thought it was a great character choice!’ But I stuck with it, because I think it suits Usnavi.

But I’ve been a dancer since I was younger. I dance commercially, I did your X Factor and Dance for Artists and Girl Aloud and loads of things over the years.

RK: So it’s in your blood!

SM: Yes, dance is a huge passion of mine! And I have to dumb it down in the show, if anything!

RK: And finally, how would you spend $96,000?

SM: Oooooh! That is a good shout! I would love to say invest it, but first and foremost: housing. I’d just get a house, I know it’s boring. I would a bit of money on hitting LA and doing what I need to do out there, which I’m doing in February anyway. I’m doing pilot season, having meetings, so I’d spend a good bit on that. I’d come back via the Dominican Republic, because that’s another plan at the end of this production, to actually visit the Dominican and end the show there. So that’s another bit I’d spend it on. But I’d just need to buy a house, so my Mum could chill out! And not worry about me!

RK: Amazing plan and good luck! Thanks so much for speaking to us.

SM: It was lovely to meet you and thank you!

In the Heights – Interview: Gabriela Garcia (Nina)

Continuing this week’s In the Heights Takeover, today’s feature is an interview with Gabriela Garcia. Like Damian Buhagiar who I spoke to yesterday, she has been with the show since the beginning a year ago. To celebrate this anniversary, Gabriela sat down with me to discuss taking on the role of Nina earlier this year, how being in the ensemble ‘community’ helped with Nina’s characterisation, and what she would do with $96,000…

Rona Kelly:
You’re playing Nina in In the Heights, amazing. How would you describe your character in three words?

Gabriela Garcia: Three Words?!

RK: Just to make it really tough!

GG: Determined…oh God, this is hard! What the word for a person who wants to change the world?

RK: Empowering, impassioned?

GG: Impassioned, passionate. I’m lost for words!

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson

RK: And what do you think her main cause, her main drive is that she’s passionate about?

GG: I think when she starts the show, her main drive is to not disappoint. But I think by the end of the show, she realises that that’s not point. The point is to use your family, the love of your family to succeed. I mean, there are different definitions of success, joy is success. So she realises that her dropping out is not a failure, it’s just a learning curve. So I guess it’s learning.

RK: And you were with it since the beginning, weren’t you? And now you’ve become Nina! Can you talk about that journey a bit?

GG: Well it’s been a dream. I started off as Yolanda, she’s a girl in the ensemble. And to be able to see the show from that angle as well has taught me a lot about the show, and about Nina actually. In know how Yolanda used to see Nina, so I get to use that. I guess now that I get the opportunity to do Nina every night, I know how the community feels about Nina. So I feel like I have a very strong connection with everyone from the ensemble; it adds a lot to the show. Working in that way, I’ve got the best of both worlds.

RK: And that’s nice as well, that connection to the community. Because your first song is ‘Breathe’, and that’s all about Nina thinking the community has these big expectations for her. So I guess that feeds into your performance.

GG: Exactly!

RK: Is that one of your favourite songs from the show?

GG: Yes. I don’t actually have a favourite one; I love all of them, I couldn’t really pick one out. But ‘Breathe’ is actually one of the hardest to perform. It’s the one where it’s at the beginning of the show, you’re nervous, you’re like, ‘Oh my God! There’s some really high notes here! How am I going to do it?’ But when you breathe that first breath, you take this breath with the community, you see everyone. You see people supporting you and going, ‘Come on, come on Nina. You can do this!’ It sound so cheesy, but it’s so true. The support that you get from your peers is magical, it’s really magical. And I get it every night with ‘Breathe’.

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson

RK: And you have that same strong sense of community on stage; having spend so much time together there, is this the same off stage? Do you spend a lot of your time off stage together too?

GG: So much time! I mean, we have two dressing rooms: one for the boys, one for the girls. So there’s no different dressing rooms for different people; we’re all together. We all warm up together, we all do our hair together. It is like family!

RK: And what would you do if you won $96,000?

GG: Good question! I would probably go to Tapachula in Mexico. It’s a town I lived in for two years when I was three to four years old. And I would probably go to an orphanage, it’s called Misión México and I would probably just spend the money there with the kids. I know that they surf, so I would ask them to teach me to surf and I could teach them to sing and dance. So I would love to have six months or a year just there. I know that $96,000 would change a lot of their lives.

RK: And finally, what is your favourite moment from the show?

GG: One of my favourite moments is in ‘Carnaval del Barrio’, when Usnavi says: ‘Maybe you’re right Sonny, call in the coroners. Maybe we’re powerless, a corner full of foreigners’. Just that moment ‘How do you want to face it?’ The passionate response to adversity, ‘I’ma fly this flag that I got in my hand!’

RK: That is an amazing moment! Thanks for joining us!

GG: Thank you!

In the Heights – Interview: Damian Buhagiar (Sonny)

To celebrate one year of In the Heights on the London stage, this week my blog features an In the Heights Takeover Week. Though given my love of the production and Lin Manuel Miranda’s writing, when is any week not an In the Heights week?!

Today’s feature is an interview with Damian Buhagiar, who plays Sonny. Buhagiar returns to the production to reprise his role, having taken a year away from the show. And it’s no wonder he’s back; you can tell just how much love and appreciation he has for the show, as he discussed with me what it means to him…

Rona Kelly:
Thanks for joining us today. First of all, how does it feel to be coming back to In the Heights?

Damian Buhagiar: Before I started back in Southwark, people were saying that is was kind of a ‘me’ show, but I’d never heard anything about the show. And now I’m actually doing my dream, I’m actually living the dream! There’s no other show like In the Heights at the moment and it’s something different. Even the cast, they’re so friendly and like a community and it shines on stage; that’s something that you don’t really find a lot in musicals nowadays, even in the dressing rooms. But with this cast, I’m always looking forward to work; I’m always coming in and feeling good vibes, positive energy! You just work through it together, even if you’re tired, you just work through it. It doesn’t feel like work when you’re with friends!

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson


RK: And can you tell us a bit about your character?

DB: I’m playing Sonny and he’s Usnavi’s cousin, his little cousin. He’s quite young and quite innocent. He’s focused and passionate as well, which I kind of like because I can relate to it. I can relate to the character myself, because I like playing young characters because it suits me. He’s very determined, obviously you’ll see in ‘96,000’ in his rap where you’ll see Usnavi and Benny are talking about their own thoughts on what they would do with the money. And then you get Sonny, who thinks about the community.

RK: Yes, because he’s like ‘computers and web-browsers’.

DB: Yes, he’s not just thinking about himself; he just wants the community to feel more like home. Everything is based on home with Sonny and I kind of like that. He’s got the edge to him, because he’s very sensitive and he takes things to heart. When Usnavi leaves, he takes that quite seriously. The fact that Nina used to babysit him and Benny takes over his place, it’s kind of like that innocent, young character which is really nice to play.

RK: I love that line: ‘She was my babysitter first!’

DB: ‘She was my babysitter first!’ Yes! And it really means a lot to him, that other people are making fun of him. But actually when you’re young, you see these things as a big deal.

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/


RK: Yes and these relationships are really important to your character, your and Usnavi’s relationship in particular. You’re cousins, but you’re so close, it’s like you’re brothers.

DB: Yes and you have to let that shine through on the stage.

RK: Are you guys close off-stage as well, and maybe that helps to build that bond?

DB: Absolutely, because I did it in Southwark when it started, in the very beginning. So I’ve been playing with our characters since ages ago. And then I left and took that year gap, and then coming back to it and he’s still here. It makes it stronger.

RK: Is it like nothing’s changed? Like coming home and seeing a family member you haven’t seen in ages?

DB: And there’s always new things that we find together that makes it really interesting and special again. 

RK: What kind of things have you found have changed in your portrayal of the character?

DB: As Sonny, I find that I am understanding the story more and I am into it more. At that time, I had just graduated so it was kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is really exciting!’ But now, I get to invest in the character more and now I know what the story is, I can play around with Sonny more, with what his background is like. 

And also the humour as well, I’ve found a bit of humour in him that I’ve never done before and never thought about before.

Damian Buhagiar (Sonny) in the Southwark run of In the Heights. Credit: Robert Workman


RK: How is it different from Southwark run?

DB: Here at the Kings Cross Theatre, the stage is different. And I have to say, on both stages it worked really well. However, this stage makes it a little broader and makes you work harder to connect with the audience. Southwark was literally how we are now, sat right there in front of me. It’s really intimate.

And here, because you’ve got this massive stage, you can see different stories play out. And that’s why you have to be really careful and focus on the storyline between each person on stage and what their relationships are like. Because it’s such a broad stage, so if you look there and see two couples, you want to know what the story is like and that’s why you have to invest in storyline. That’s what this space makes you do; it makes you work harder on the story.

RK: And it’s not just the story that makes you work hard; those dance steps are pretty hard too! We’ve just come from the salsa class with yourself and the rest of the cast…

DB: Ah yes! You guys did really well!

RK: We tried! How did you find learning the dance sequences? Are you someone who learns by doing it again and again?

DB: Yes, definitely. And coming back to the show, I fell back into it because I had done it before, it kind of got into me. But as soon as something changes, you have to learn it from scratch. Once you get used to it, you just flow through it.

RK: And what would you do if you won $96,000?

DB: If I won $96,000…as me? I really like cars! So I would get a car, a nice car. It’s a dream, but it will come true! Someday!

RK: What kind of car?

DB: A lamborghini! I enjoy art, I do car drawings. I usually use pens and biros, but I’ve just bought new markers, pro-markers. I’ve never used them before, but they make the cars stand out really well. Real, real drawings!


RK: Brilliant! And finally, what’s your favourite moment from the show?

DB: My favourite moment is ‘96,000’ by far! It just bring out my spirit, literally.

RK: That’s brilliant! Thank you so much.

DB: Thank you so much! Lovely to meet you!

In the Heights – 1 Year Anniversary

Last Friday, In the Heights celebrated its first birthday, marking a year on the London stage. Myself and a number of other bloggers were fortunate enough to be invited to help celebrate the big day.

You get everyone addicted to your coffee then off you go…

Originally, the show was only slated for a month’s run at Southwark Playhouse in 2014. Fortunately for audiences, the production was met with critical acclaim and transferred to the Kings Cross Theatre in October 2015 for a limited four week period. Again, fortunately for audiences, this was then extended again and again and is now booking through to January 2017.

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson

A couple of days in the life of what it’s like
En Washington Heights!

With music and lyrics by Lin Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) and book from Quiara Algería Hudes, In the Heights is a Tony and Olivier winning musical. Following Usnavi and the other residents of 181st Street, we see the place they are living starting to change and the characters’ own lives too. With energy, love and family at its heart, this Birthday also brings with in new members who are joining the company’s family. In what was my third time seeing the show, the energy was still as palpable as the first time I saw it: the laughs are still as loud, the audience’s heads still bobbing, and the tears still falling!

New cast members include Arun Blair-Mangat as Benny, Juliet Gough as Camila, Stephanie Rojas as Carla, and Damian Buhagiar reprising his role as Sonny. Benny is a part I’ve never massively been a fan of and is hard to pull off, requiring the actor to rap and hit a lot of high notes. Blair-Mangat is exceptional in the role, bringing the character to life with a sweetness, cheekiness and innocence. It’s great to see Buhagiar back, bringing a real sense of dynamism and determination to the role, in both his rapping and movement. Both Gough and Rojas absolutely kill it as these strong female characters, blowing the roof of the theatre with strong singing and laughs respectively. The existing cast is as strong as ever, with incredible chemistry between them. And I still don’t understand how Sam Mackay can rap that fast that many times a week!

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson

You wanna dance?

In addition to seeing the show, we were treated to a salsa lesson from the choreographers, learning a sequence from ‘The Club’. The cast were on hand to help out (though I don’t think any amount of help could have helped me and Anna), but they were all so lovely! If you were to ask me how I danced, to quote the show, ‘Like a drunk Chita Rivera’. Needless to say, the cast have no worries about either me or Anna outdancing them, taking their place or stepping on their toes metaphorically…what was more likely was stepping on their toes literally! It was great fun though, and reminded us just why it won an Olivier for choreography last year!

Tell me something I don’t know!

The ice officially broken, we then had a chance to sit down and chat to members of the cast. I was lucky enough to speak to Damian Buhagiar (Sonny), Gabriela García (Nina) and Sam Mackay (Usnavi) interviews will follow later this week, so stay tuned to find out about the journey of the show and what the cast themselves would do with $96,000.

It was quite an evening, a Carnaval del Kings Cross Theatre (yes, my Spanish is flawless). Thanks again to In the Heights and folks over at RAW PR for inviting me. The show closes in January 2017, so book your tickets while you can for the most energetic, emotional and excelente show in town.

IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda, , Music and Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director – Luke Sheppard, Choreographer – Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson

25 Before 25 – Bucket List

After a somewhat false start a few weeks ago, I’m back! (But I feel we can excuse that, given it was Olympics season!)

And it’s back to life, back to reality or rather dramatised fiction as I’m seeing four shows in the next five days. The one day I’m not out at the theatre, I’m watching Bake Off, which is dramatic enough! Expect a few reviews this week, starting off with Secret Theatre which I am off to tonight. I’ve been to Secret Cinema before, so will be i intrigued to see how this translates across art form…

Today though, I thought I would do a blog about something which has been playing on my mind. It’s six months until I turn 25, mid twenties. I’m not so much upset about basically being an adult now in terms of age. More so in theatre’s eyes. Because in six months time, I will no longer get discount tickets to about 80% of shows!

So in lieu of this big milestone coming up, I thought I’d make a bucket list of sorts: 25 things to do before I turn 25. This is inspired by a number of other blogs who’ve done similar one, Hannah Gale and ChrissyLilly to name just a few.

Some are theatre related, some are not. I ran out of steam at about 15, so bear with!





1) Overcome my writer’s block, and write my play.

2) Read all of Shakespeare’s plays.

3) Write a-blog-a-day.

4) Learn how to sew.

5) Learn a new language.

(Those last two totally made me feel like a Girl Guide again!)



6) Run a 5k.

7) Get down to my ideal weight.

8) Try a new sport class.

9) Get on top of my trich.

10) Go a whole month without chocolate.




11) Go on a spontaneous holiday.

12) Save enough money for a trip to America next year.

13) Do a day in London.

14) Recreate photos taken somewhere from childhood

15) Finally see Matilda, using my under 25 discount.


For future me:

16) Write a letter to my 30 year old self.


17) Get a 5 year plan.

18) Rip up said 5 year plan!

19) Stop flaking.

20) Learn to cook a three course meal.



For fun:

21) Get a tattoo.

22) Go a whole day without technology.

23) Get a bonus.

24) Have a declutter.

25) Smile more (but talk an equal amount)

Source: BreakAway

Guess Who’s Back…

Hi everyone!

Source: Tumblr

Apologies for my absence – I decided to take a little time away from my blog, a summer holiday if you will. This was for a few reasons:

  1. to focus on my writing, and
  2. to be able to watch shows without having to think about reviewing them each time

While I definitely achieved the second, the first was less successful. I would say I am still in the process of writing…I have a structure, form and narrative for my play…just not the words, yet! Watch this space for more information on this endeavour. Although I may just do a Lin Manuel Miranda and wait until I’m on holiday to start!

In the mean time, I’m back and it’s back to business as usual. I’ve got a few tickets booked this month to see some shows, and I also have some Press Nights coming up. I’ll do a little preview piece next week so you can see what I’m up to in September. There will also be some features coming up, including a response to that gender-blind debate (although ‘debate’ is a little strong…more like most like-minded people are right, and one person is wrong!) So…

Source: Tumblr

…because there’s plenty to come this month!