Thursday, 30 June 2016

What is beauty?

Today is my last day of being 23. Technically it is my last hour. And as I kind of ignore birthdays, it didn't really hit me until this morning.

I was looking in the mirror, doing my makeup (this is the only point in my day that I actually spend any time looking at my face) and it hit me that I am going to be 24. 24!!! That is kind of old. Not actually old. But the kind of old where you should start getting your sh*t together (scuse my French). And mine is very much not together. Mine is very much all over the place.

My thought process then moved on to the physical effects of being another year older. And yes there aren't many but I do notice a few more lines on the face, the odd grey hair appearing (although I am not sure if it was actually a blonde bit. My hair is kinda weird in certain lights/sections) and crinkles appearing when I smile or laugh or talk. Or sneeze. Or do nothing.

And the next progression was this - I found myself, subconsciously and without even really thinking about it, listing out the things I don't like about my face. My thick eyebrows that take SO MUCH EFFORT to stop them from invading the rest of my face, the bags under my eyes, my teeth which aren't quite even, my thin eyelashes and hair and every other undesirable feature. Believe me the list went on for ages.

It made me wonder though, why was it that I 'hated' myself so much? Where have I got this unrealistic, unattainable idea of beauty from?

I blame it on the media (like I blame everything else wrong in this country). But this time I might be justified.

They fill our heads and all our various screens with perfect people. Who are perfectly ordinary people too, yet they happen to have their imperfections edited out and the resulting image is what the rest of us aspire to be.

Those people, the people with the clear skin, the flawless teeth, hair, eyes, bodies, life...it is all a lie. A fairytale that we couldn't achieve if we wanted to and hasn't even been achieved by the people who are paraded in front of our faces all day long.

Part of my aim for my 24th year, starting tomorrow, is to appreciate what I have. To stop comparing myself to all those celebrities who have a team of make-up artists and photoshoppers presenting them as perfect. How boring would the world be if we all look the same anyway? It is time that I take back my face as my own and just deal with it. After all, this is what I have been given. And to be honest, it doesn't really matter what I look like, does it? It's not me that has to look at it all day!

Like what I say?

Friday, 10 June 2016

Mary Poppins


A few months ago you may recall that I wrote all about the excitement I experienced when I went to see one of my favourite childhood films on the stage - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In that blogpost I listed a few others that I had watched and rewatched religiously as a child. One of which was Mary Poppins. Which I finally got to see on stage at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre this afternoon (it's not often that this London Theatre Blogger manages to get out of the West End and join the UK tours so this was exciting too).

Now, as this ranked higher in my preferred films, my excitement was also proportionately higher. Which meant that I have been as high as a kite for the last couple of weeks, since I booked it.

It helped too that a Strallen sister (Zizi Strallen in this instance) was in the title role. You can always tell that a production is going to be top class if one of them is involved. And she is the most phenomenal dancer. Her singing wasn't of the same calibre but her dancing (and there was A LOT of dancing) was flawless. She swept easily across the stage, making it all look so easy.

The thing about Mary Poppins was that it was just so entertaining. There was always something to look at - from the beautiful scenery, to those huge dancing numbers to the special effects to the beautiful costumes, it all added up to make a spectacular performance.

And she flew. She really did. This was one of many special effects that wowed the little children who made up the majority of the audience. But even I have to admit it was pretty magical to see her arcing over everyone as a kind of stern angel.

The juxtaposition of Mary Poppins' character is much more apparent here than it was in the film. Strallen played her with this beautiful poise that didn't crack throughout the three hour production. She was highly moral yet humorous too. And at times, she was extremely dark. In her effort to teach the children, she was not always outwardly loving but she was loyal to them, which came out particularly in her disposal of the bully after the interval. I love the fact that the theatre production included more of the stories from the original books because you were able to get to know her a lot better and feel like you understood her more.
When I watched this I felt like a child again, filled with wonder and unable to take my eyes from the stage. I was drawn into the fantastical world, to the point where I didn't want to return to reality. And that is exactly what musical theatre should do. Well done Mary Poppins, you were practically perfect in every way.

Like what I say?