On 30. June I went to see "Matilda - The Musical".
This is currently one of the most popular shows in London, with completely sold out shows for almost a month.
I booked my ticket in may. I went there alone, as no one else was prepared to spend 63 pounds for a theatre ticket. For me it is the first time that I spent so much money on one ticket, but it was worth it, each and every pence.
The set design was amazing. There were Scrabble-like blocks all over the stage, most of them with letters, which also formed words. Most people sitting in the audience, especially those with children, were trying to find all the words. I could find e.g. "phenomen" ( it is the only one I still remember...how pathetic...oh, that was another one! ), and this and all the rest of the words were mentioned in the play and were also vital.
The rest of the set design and the props were quite flamboyant, but great. I loved the bookshelves and school desks and the desk of the headmaster Ms Trunchbull.
All in all they weren´t as intimidating as the ones of other plays I saw, e.g. "The Wizard of Oz", and they all were so surreal, which I liked a lot and gives the whole show an artistic touch.
This is what I didn´t like about "The Wizward of Oz"; The set design and props were made to makes us feel like we were in the film, although the whole story gives you so many opportunities to invent something else.
Now, the musical: The musical was amazing! So much energy, so much power, you were never bored. It was a bit like mountain-biking.
At one point I thought: "Wait, give me a break!", but only because I couldn´t understand what Matilda was talking about.
The songs were great. I knew them already, but to see them on stage, performed by some adorable and amazingly gifted children was an entirely different thing from hearing them on my IPod.
Seriously, when I first saw those children performing the first song "Miracle", I could have cried, partly of adoration, partly of surprise and partly of envy. I must say I´m astounded how profesional they all were, and how some of them, especially Lavender and Bruce, managed to perform such brilliant comedy. I´m certain they all will get far, if they decide to become actors.
Ms Trunchbull, portrayed by Bertie Carvel, was brilliant. I liked it that he let his character have this little quirk, which made Ms Trunchbull unique and different from the book and the film. Seeing him on stage, not knowing he was a guy you would never have guessed otherwise, really.
My favourite song was "When I grow up", because it was just so beautiful to watch. The children where entering the stage through a slide and then they were all taking turns on swinging on some swings. It was a song which we all could have sung when we were children.
I also loved "Revolting Children" for the choreography, and because Bruce was so funny. The choreography in the whole was simple, but marvellous.
Heck, I loved everything. But I wonder if the choreographer ( and Tim Minchin ) saw "Spring Awakening", because "Revolting Children" reminded me a lot of a mix of "B**ch of the Living" and "Totally F*cked".
All in all I can only recommend it to each and all of you. It is fun, and also something for the whole family! You don´t have to read the book or see the film for this, although it is good to know the book because they made some slight alterations to the story.
One more thing: I was SO WORRIED about the girl when Ms Trunchbull took her by the pigtails and swung her around!
Okay, he didn´t really swing her by her pigtails, and he didn´t really let go, but still, it horrified me!
On 30. June I went to the Okinawa Day with Yuki and Maike. It was a tiny festival celebrating the island south of Japan. We went there quite late, and basically just watched the Okinawa-way of making tea and ate some yakisoba and traditional Okinawa pastries. After that we wandered around a bit and did some shopping. Somehow everything ends with shopping... how strange :D .
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A long long time ago, when it was sunny and warm ( I know, some of you are to young to remember... ) I went to the riverside and had a look at the National Theatre´s new Propstore. It is basically a snack bar - that is at least how I would describe it - which is entirely made of old props. It looks amazing, and it is fun to sit and look at everything and wonder where which prop was used. Even the chairs and tables inside where used for certain shows!
It is a great bar to sit at the riverside and chat with friends, but I think they could offer a greater variety of food and drinks. Then it would be perfect!
If you happen to be around the National Theatre have a look at it, it really is amazing. Especially for theatre lovers!
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Do you remember when I wrote that I bought some tickets for the screening of "Frankenstein"?
And finally the days had arrived - the 14th and 25th June!
On 14th I saw the version with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein. On 25th June it was just the other way around.
The Plot: Victor Frankenstein built a man. A breathing, walking, thinking creature, who he abandons for its grotesque appearance. The Creature, innocent like a child, is chased after by the horrified citizens of Ingolstadt and flees to the woods, where he meets a blind man, De Lacey, who teaches him to talk, read and use his mind, which develops in high speed. When De Lecay wants to introduce the Creature to his son and daughter-in-law they are disgusted by the looks of the Creature and chase him away. Heart blackened by rejection and solitude the Creature, once singing with the brids, laughing with the sheer joy of life and who wanted to be and do good, swears to take revenge on his creator.
The play centers, contrary to the book, around the Creature and its life as an outcast. I have to admit that I never read the book and therefore can´t compare the play to Shelly´s masterpiece.
But I was fascinated by the script (I read it a few days before the screening) and was also curious about how Cumberbatch and Miller would interpret the two characters.
I can tell you that it was the most intersting thing I´ve ever seen.
I have to say that I never heard of a play which had actors who just switched roles. And Miller and Cumberbatch are such very different characters themselves that also their portrayal of Frankenstein and the Creature differed like day and night (in my opinion).
I preferred the second screening, where Miller played the Creature and Cumberbatch Frankenstein.
As the Creature, Miller managed to emphasise the child within the Creature, whereas Cumberbatch´s Creature was more animallike. I´m not saying anything against the latter´s portrayal, I even have to say that all in all I had the feeling that Cumberbatch spent more time on working out his characters and enjoying it a lot more than Miller, but for me the "childlike innocence" of Miller´s Creature worked better for me.
I could see in the first five minutes that Miller had a child (which I looked up the day after the second screening). Having had the opportunity to see a 9 month old baby developing throughout several months myself let me see the progress the Miller-Creature made through the whole play, beginning with the crawling and walking, developing motor skills, learning to speak properly (in the beginning with saliva all over the place :D ), reading, writing and using the mind until being all grown up.
Cumberbatch´s Creature was good, but was flailing too much in the beginning and it also bothered me that he still couldn´t speak properly at the end of the play. Still, he made an impressive job, more so than Miller with Frankenstein.
The only thing I have to say about Miller´s Creature is that at some points in the play I had the feeling that he forgot about the current state of the Creature and was suddenly very out of character before going back only seconds later.
Cumberbatch´s Frankenstein was just ingenious. He took a bit of Sherlock into the Frankenstein character. You couldn´t see it immediately, but it was clear the second he began to explain some very complicated science stuff to his fiancé. Although the script is not really funny, Cumberbatch managed to make us laugh at some points with his naivety (which was also very Sherlock-like) and facial expressions. He convinced me that he was fascinated by his studies, and that he liked the role very much.
Miller as Frankenstein was....not convincing. I always had the feeling that Miller was somewhere else, anywhere but the stage. And I didn´t believe him that he actually was completely taken in by the challenge of building a female Creature. For me, it didn´t work.
I have to give him that he looked really handsome, but so did Cumberbatch (if not even more so) and this didn´t make is play any better.
Altogether Cumberbatch made the better appearance, and I don´t say that because I´m a Cumberbitch.
I can get very pedantic when it´s about the theatre...
Another thing: I was amazed by the stage design. There must have been hundreds of lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling, which looked almost daunting and were used perfectly to underline the play.
Right in the beginning, when the Creature leaves the building where it was born, a kind of train enters the stage, and this and the music and the people on board were altogether just so Steampunk-like, and I loved it. I love Steampunk, and the whole play had a certain touch of it, but this train scene was just the most pleasurable scene for my artistic eyes.
On 17th June Viki, Anna, Linda and I went to the Tower of London to walk around there for a bit, because Viki really wanted to see the river from that side and I was keen on going to the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
In the end, only Viki and I went up the bridge, Anna and Linda went t Starbucks.
After that, we went to a pub next to the Victoria Station to watch the football match Germany vs. Denmark. It was so much fun :).
And I was glad that Viki came with me to see the exhibition. It wasn´t that particularly interesting, but the view was stunning, and as we managed to pick a rather good day (means no rain), I actually managed to take a few good pictures.
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From the 1st June till 4th June Nakhon came to London to visit me and to celebrate our 4th anniversary!
I was really exited to see him again and surprised him by picking him up at the airport (which I thought I couldn´t do, because I had to work in the morning, but it turned out that I was even too early). He was delighted, and so was I.
We had a lot of plans for our weekend, which involved a lot of eating, Blenheim Palace and the Jubilee.
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Yesterday I had the last four parts of my CAE exams - now I´m done! Hooray!
At last I can forget about the whole business. As school is finished now as well I can just be lazy all day. And try to see a bit more of my beloved London :) .
The only negative thing right now is that I´ll get my results on the 25th July. That´s the day I leave!
About the exam:
The first paper - Reading - was starting at 9am, and as we had to be there at round 8:30am Viki and I took the Bus at 7am. I had to get up at quarter to six (!) and as I didn´t sleep very well (haunted by dreams about arriving too late at the premises) I was knackered that evening.
The texts in the Reading paper were all easy to understand and also entertaining, but the questions for each text were just plain stupid. Especially for the first three extracts the questions were beyond me. But well, we all somehow managed to do it.
The Writing paper - fortunately - had really good tasks. For the compulsory one we had to write a proposal, which was easier than I thought. For the second one I chose to write an article about an experience in my life which taught me something and how it changed my life. Really, it was almost too easy. I just wrote about my aupair year and apparently most of the examinees chose this task. There was another good one where we had to write a contribution about the present ritual in our country.
I think that having this blog helped me a lot with my Writing tasks here. The article I wrote for the exam could have easily been one for my blog.
After lunch break it was time for the Use Of English paper. I finished it within 15 minutes (we had an hour for the whole paper)! I thought it was easy-peasy. Although I know I have definitely one mistake, for which I could kick myself, because it was so damn obvious!
The last paper was the Listening. This one was so annoying. The sound was bad, and we almost only had people with really strange accents or americans (I simply hate american english. It sounds like talking and chewing gum at the same time). Even after hearing the first three extracts twice I had to guess some answers. I hope I guessed the right ones!
All in all, I think I did rather well. But I won´t know for sure until the end of July!
Part one of my CAE exams - done!
Yes, today I went to Wimbeldon to have my speaking exams.
I think it was alright. The pictures I had to talk about on my own where alright, but I just didn´t answer the questions.
But just to defend myself, everyone says t is extremely difficult because you only have one minute to compare and contrast the pictures and also answer two questions at the same time!
My partner for the exam was Viki, and we were both very grateful that we could do it together. I think in our joined task we did rather well.
But it´s not other now! On wednesday we´re going to have the rest of our exams in Wandsworth. After that, we have to wait until 25th July for our results! Joy!
But at least everything will be over by wednesday afternoon.