Recently booked the London Sealife Aquarium on Travel Recipes and really enjoyed the experience. Took my other half and we both loved it. Was the first time we had been so didn’t know what to expect but as soon as we walked in we knew we were in for a lovely afternoon. The many different sea creatures you witness is truly remarkable, ranging from small and large fish, jellyfish, stingrays and baby sharks. The music deployed creates such wonderful ambience and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is even slightly interested in sealife. A definite must go.
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Heather Headley is mesmerising in this stage version of the early Nineties film that starred the late Whitney Houston as diva Rachel Marron. The movie’s soundtrack has sold 45 million copies and here is bolstered by some of Whitney’s other big hits, which seem fresh and urgent, thanks to Headley’s resonant and at times velvety voice.
The result is a hybrid of two forms of theatre that tend to be sneered at: the jukebox musical and the screen-to-stage makeover. It’s much better than that suggests – enjoyable and more than a little camp.
Alongside Headley, Lloyd Owen has the Kevin Costner role as former special agent Frank Farmer, who is brought in to beef up Rachel’s security after she starts being sent alarming letters. Owen is a solid presence, bringing a curt dryness to a part in which he doesn’t actually have a lot to do.
The chemistry between the leads doesn’t smoulder. Nor are Frank’s insights into the art of protection much better than laughable. But Debbie Kurup is passionately soulful as Rachel’s envious sister Nicki, and in smaller roles there’s decent work, with Mark Letheren genuinely creepy as Rachel’s stalker.
Lawrence Kasdan’s original screenplay has been updated by Alexander Dinelaris, so that we’re now in a world of emails and social media. All the same, the story is thin and the characterisation sketchy. The script has a few racy moments yet often uses a clunky shorthand that makes it impossible for the actors not to sound hollow.
The way certain songs are worked into the narrative is undeniably neat, and the arrangements by Mike Dixon and Chris Egan are appealing. But the glitzy, soaring numbers so handsomely performed by Headley don’t advance the action, and this gives the production a stop-start feel.
Still, this is a show of real technical dazzle. Thea Sharrock directs with a good deal of inventiveness. Tim Hatley’s design appears suitably expensive and functions with impressive precision, though the use of video is intrusive and limits the impact of one key scene.
It’s refreshing that, despite its obvious American roots, this is a new musical that has been developed in Britain. And it’s a feelgood show to boot. What’s missing is a sense of danger. That, and true emotional depth.
When looking at this amazing resort now it really is hard to imagine that it started out its life as a little fishing settlement before being turned in to the amazing hub of activity, vibrance and life that it is today. Sharm is a fairly flat level of land located between the sea and the jagged mountains nearby. This resort is modern and even boasts a local hospital which is reassuring should you encounter an accident while here (by hopefully not!).
There are many places to visit in Sharm el Sheikh and one must see destination is Na’ama Bay which forms part of the metropolitan areas. Na’ama Bay is a fantastic place to spend your evenings as it contains many wonderful restaurants and lots of fun places to visit after the dark hours have drawn in.
If you can hire a car, or a driver, while in Sharm el Sheikh you will be able to take in some of the lesser populated areas such as Mount Sinai which is simply beautiful and is a real must see place. You could always hire a guide and take in the deserts while riding on a camel, camping outdoors and getting a real feel for the amazing beauty that Egypt has to offer.
While on a holiday in Sharm el Sheikh the majority of people will be here either to dive or to swim in the beautiful waters here. Sharm is an amazing area for diving and the two reefs here, Ras Mohammed and Tiran, really are amazing spots to dive from and hard to beat almost anywhere else in the world. You can reach these reefs, from Sharm by boat, in just two hours and it really is worth every moment of your trip. There are huge amounts of fish here that will attract in Barracudas, Sharks and various other wonderful sea creatures. You will find this area to be popular, however, don’t let that put you off visiting this amazing area for some truly wonderful diving and amazing marine life.
Another amazing place to visit, if you want to dive, is the SS Thistlegorm which is a wreck that is regularly visited by diving tourists in the area. This is a fantastic wreck to visit and a truly amazing experience, particularly if this is your first time visiting a wreck.
Another amazing experience can be had if you take out some of the horses from the Sofitel Hotel Stables. You will be provided with all the equipment that you could need for your day and you can take your horse out in to the desert, a particularly favourite activity of mine to enjoy at sunset.
If you want to learn more about the kind of animals that live out in the deserts in Egypt then you can hire a guide who will take you out for the day, or longer, and allow you to get fairly close and personal to some of the wonderful creatures that live here.
It is fair to say that Egypt offers something for almost everyone and with its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and amazing cuisine you really will be blown away by the beauty of Sharm el Sheikh.
Sharm el Sheikh is Egypt’s main beach resort on the end of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea. The resort area is an increasingly popular holiday destination for UK tourist, and there is good reason for this. Cheap direct flights from most regional airports in the UK (and Europe also) make Sharm an easy place to get to. And now that low budget airlines like Easyjet have added routes, the price of getting there has dropped markedly. But while it may be easily accessible for most in the UK, it is the year-round sunshine, sandy beaches, pristine water and affordable accommodation that are the main attractions. So if you are one of the many who are considering a holiday to Sharm el Sheikh, here are five of the best reasons to visit this fascinating place.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
Sharm el Sheikh is considered to have some of the best diving locations in the world. The water is crystal clear and warm, and the underwater world is in great contrast to the stark desert above. Because of certain currents, there is an abundance of plankton in the area which means a huge number and variety of fish is attracted. The large schools of sharks, barracudas and Murrays are seen every day as well as thousands of brightly coloured reef fish, coral and many other things.
The underwater world includes huge walls and shelves as well as caves and wrecks. One of the best wrecks to seen is there, the SS Thistlegorm. And according to this article, the Blue Hole is a must-see for competent divers. No shortage of diving then!
Camel Trekking into the Sinai Desert
A visit to the desert on the back of a camel is a once in a lifetime experience. Tours have their own bred camels and the landscape is extraordinary. In the evening, a homemade meal is prepared around a campfire and visitors can see something very few people experience. The night sky over the desert is brilliant beyond belief.
For those who find camels a little too much, there are quad bike tours of the desert. Trips are conducted either in the early morning to see the sun rise or in the evening to see the sun set and the night sky. There are resting places along the way for drinks and snacks.
Saint Catherine’s Monastery
Saint Catherine’s Orthodox Christian Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site at the base of Mount Sinai. It is considered one of the oldest Christian monasteries still functioning in the world. The other one is the Monastery of Saint Anthony across the Red Sea south of Cairo. The monastery was built in the sixth century to surround the place where Moses saw the Burning Bush. It contains a living bush that is considered to be the original. After the Vatican Library, the monastery contains the second largest collection of manuscripts and codices in the world. The site is sacred to Muslims as well as Christian, and the original document where Muhammad declared protection of the monastery is still there.
Old Town Sharm
The local market is the place for bargains. Visitors are expected to haggle and usually win. The Old Town has some ancient buildings and caravan passages that are over 2,000 years old. Visitors also get a sample of the local life, some of which hasn’t changed in centuries. The sellers are pushier than in the tourist areas and it is better to go with a companion. It is easy to reach by taxi from the resort area.
Here’s my review of Paul Stanley’s opening night as the Phantom of the Opera.
Tonight was a very cool night!!!
Paul Stanley did his first performance as the Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto. Here’s what happened…
Walking into the theatre was all that was needed to know that this wasn’t just another Phantom of the Opera. I saw the production 9 years ago and something here was definitely different.
The people here weren’t your typical theatre goers. There was a lot of long hairs and leather there tonight which was great. It was a little louder than usual as well. The souvenir tables were selling Kiss CD wallets and Kiss T-shirts, programs, CD’s (Paul doesn’t sing on it. It’s an old release) etc.
We had some great seats, front and center section, about 8 rows back. There were a lot of Kiss fans in this section. We had some friends about 6 rows back and we had to stick our 3 fingers out (heavy metal style) and stick our tongues (Gene Simmons style) now and again just for kicks. Nobody was dressed in full Kiss garb though which kind of surprised me. I thought for sure somebody would do it. If anybody there came in make-up, I didn’t see them. As far as the rest of the theater goes, it was packed like it always is.
The show started and I was curious as to how the fans would react when Paul came on stage. I had forgotten exactly how the Phantom made his entrance. The female lead (Christine, no, not Christine 16) was singing in front of a mirror in which you could see her reflection and suddenly you hear Paul’s voice singing a duet with her which was really cool. After he sang some of the song with her, his reflection appeared in the mirror with her. I expected some applause here. As it turns out, the reflection isn’t actually Paul, but a body double. The double comes out of the mirror and walks down a flight of stairs. They then appear walking down a flight of stairs from way up in the air. This is actually Paul now. Not much noise from the fans yet, but you could tell they were getting excited.
I couldn’t get over listening to Paul singing opera style, rolling his “R’s” was really different at first. It sounded great, it was just strange hearing it from Paul Stanley.
During the first song he did seem a little nervous. His voice obviously cracked during his big note in the song, but he got over it. Hey, he’s Paul Stanley, he gets paid anyway. Truthfully he was a bit out of his league with the other singers, but its a completely different style of music in which he’s not formally trained. His voice would tend to be the quieter one during a duet. He just came off a big tour, his voice must be beat. Don’t get me wrong, he sounded great. As far as I’m concerned, he can do no wrong. It was just cool seeing him in this role.
Before the show started I noticed a group of people in a box seat. Long hairs with leather. One guy looked a lot like Ace from where I was sitting, so at the intermission I ran to my car to get my binoculars. Turned out it wasn’t him, although I don’t doubt its somebody close. Some people after the show were saying it was Ace, but trust me I know, plus I had binoculars. I could practically see up the guys nose, it wasn’t Ace, I’d know. Anyway, I’ve heard Ace, Gene and Peter will be there on Tuesday for the official press opening. There was also a young boy with them. It may have been family, who knows. During the intermission, I bought a set of postcards of Paul as the Phantom. Oh here’s something cool, Paul used the same photographer I use for my promotional photos, Michael Cooper. I just though that was cool. Sorry. During the intermission I overheard some people saying that Paul wanted to change the Phantom logo (it’s a picture of the mask) Paul wanted to put a small star in the eye. Apparently Andrew Lloyd Weber wouldn’t allow it. Who knows? Maybe its true, I just thought I’d throw it at you.
During the second half, in one seen when they were saying that the Phantom didn’t exist, you heard Paul voice saying “I’m here”, from the far left corner of the theatre, then “I’m here”, from the other side, then “I’m here” from the back, then from the balcony. It was cool.
At one point Christine tears off Pauls phantom mask and you see him with an incredible make-up job. He stays like this for much of the second half. Scarred face, opened, wet wounds, pretty much a bald head with gray hair on the sides, it was an incredible make-up job. It shows what Paul will look like when he’s 90 haha. During this when he is trying to win Christine’s heart, there’s a scene when Paul is crawling across the stage crying and singing at the same time. Really wild. That was probably my favorite part. Either that or when he was shooting sparks from his stick with the skull on it. (Like in the postcard) When he got angry a huge set of flash pots went off, which of course put the Kiss fans into a frenzy. I don’t remember the flashpots 9 years ago.
Near the end Paul makes his exit by vanishing under a blanket while sitting on a chair and the play ends shortly thereafter.
After the applause, the characters start coming out in groups to receive their extended applause. As the actors with bigger parts started receiving bigger applause, I had a feeling it was about to get crazy. The female lead (Christine) came out and got a huge ovation. Paul was next, there was a long wait for him. People were on their feet screaming, waiting, 3 fingers extended on each hand ala heavy metal. And when he came out everyone went insane. Paul loved it he acknowledged his audience with both hands extended, just staring at them straight faced, then he paid particular attention to the fans in the front looking at them and gesturing to them. People were chanting Paul, Paul, Paul, the curtain started to close and just as Paul was about to go behind the curtain, he started to smile and laugh for the first time of the night. It was incredible. It was so cool how he acknowledged the fans in the front.
What has happened to Ghost the Musical? I’m desperate to go watch it but can’t seem to find it anywhere. Can anyone shed any light?
I was amazed to learn that the National’s first artistic director, Laurence Olivier, lent his surname to a brand of cigarettes. How times have changed – that kind of thing could never happen these days.
Having read a feature about the National Theatre in Event magazine to celebrate its half-century, it is a reminder of what a success it has turned out to be. It’s a vigorous theatre that has put on top-class entertainment during the past 50 years. It also has wide appeal, and is not just a fusty venue full of past glories. Modern productions such as the award-winning War Horse have been an absolute triumph. We should be very proud.
Tudor Williams, Cheltenham
A life of theatre-going over the past 50 years is inconceivable without the National Theatre. Although I missed the opening production of Peter O’Toole as Hamlet (and didn’t miss much, by all accounts; it played for just 22 disappointing performances), I was soon queuing for three-shilling seats in the slips, right at the top of the Old Vic.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have visited the National Theatre, as the institution celebrates its 50th birthday.
During the tour, the Queen met one of the puppet horses from the NT’s acclaimed production of War Horse.
The Queen has seen the show, based on the Michael Morpurgo novel, which tells the story of Joey, a horse who serves in World War I.
Tuesday is 50 years to the day since the first National Theatre production.
Peter O’Toole played Hamlet on 22 October 1963 at the Old Vic theatre, under the eye of National Theatre founder Sir Laurence Olivier.
The NT moved to its current home on the South Bank in 1976.
More than 800 productions have taken place over the 50 years, including premieres of plays by Tom Stoppard, Peter Shaffer, Harold Pinter, Alan Bennett and David Hare.
To read more click on the bbc website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24608931