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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts in ‘Film, Art, Theatre, Music & Dance’

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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fringe The summer exodus to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival continues: the cobbled streets are filled with people handing out flyers for their plays, next to groups performing songs from their shows. The atmosphere, despite the inevitable rain – it’s Scotland after all, is electrifying and exciting.

This year we did the Edinburgh festival experience in one day, commuting from Glasgow. The last train is around midnight: an extra service thanks to the fringe. Word of warning: if you have not already sorted out your accommodation you might be in trouble.  The hotel prices are extortionate around this time of year and you’d really be best off finding new love for a distant family member who lives close or join the celebrations in the evenings with all the performers and find yourself a local buddy. (That’s a joke, mother.)

For all you people who are still planning to heading up North, a few tips:

1.    Be nice to all the people ‘flyering’: they are just promoting their shows. They have worked hard and often put a lot of their own money into it.
2.    Pick up an offical Fringe magazine, which contains all the shows and has a very useful map in the front. You can get one from the Box Office on the High Street, which is open from 9am to 9pm.
3.    Book tickets online to avoid disappointment, but still be prepared to queue when you pick them up. So leave yourself enough time to get to a show!
4.    During down time, climb the stairs of Calton Hill, just a ten-minute walk from Waverly train station. The view from the top is fantastic: you can overlook the bustling city streets and see the gorgeous landscape surrounding the city.edinburgh-castle5.  Embrace being a tourist and visit the famous Edinburgh Castle (open daily 9.30-5pm; adults £12; child £6).

Should you have time to go sight-seeing, book an Edinburgh tour where you can hop on and hop off,   and get the most of your time in Scotland. Enjoy!

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Celebrate Independence Day in London

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It’s Independence day! It is 235 years since the Americans have declared their independence from the United Kingdom. Luckily international relations have long since cleared so get out your star-spangled banner as we highlight the All American options one has when visiting London.

Go for Dinner

Every year on Independence Day there’s a hot dog eating competition in New York’s Coney Island. The current record stands at 54 hotdogs in 10 minutes! For the first time in history there will be a Women’s Only division this year. If you want to take your other half for a more relaxed dinner, there are restaurants aplenty serving traditional American dishes. Recreate the 50’s vibe jukebox and all at Ed’s Diner and get a tasty burger too! For ribs and the like try Bodeans that has four branches spread over London or go to a Byron restaurant for another quality burger.

Celebrate  Jeff “The Dude” Bridges

If America has given us anything, it is Hollywood. One of  best American screen-icons is Jeff Bridges, who created a cult when portraying The Dude in the film The Big Lebowski. He’s been an actor for decades starring in films as The Fabulous Baker Boys, Crazy Heart for which he finally won and Oscar, and last year’s Coen western True Grit. The British Film Institute, BFI, is celebrating his life in film until the end of July.

Fall in Love with an American Sweetheart

In the original movie the bubbly Elle was played by American sweetheart Reese Witherspoon. This Legally Blonde musical adaption follows the same story line of the first film and Elle follows her boyfriend to Harvard to study law. Elle’s determination and style will have you cheering for the red, white, blue and pink!

Raise a glass

Find yourself an American bar: smack-bang in Covent Garden you find the classy Christopher’s American Bar and Grill, they serve beers as well as celebratory cocktails and conveniently located if you want grab a drink after the theatre too! Or go to All Stars they have a bars in Holborn, Bayswater and Brick Lane. Not only do they serve beer,they offer bowling and karaoke too: a full night’s entertainment in one – result!

Live the American Dream

See how the American Dream came true for Frankie and his buddies in Jersey Boys the Musical. The musical the Jersey Boys is based on the true story of the rise to fame of Frankie Valli and the Four seasons, you will no doubt sing-along to all the classics: December 1963 (Oh What A Night), Walk Like a Man and Can’t Take My Eyes of You.

What ever you do, have an awesome day this Independence Day!

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Ghost the Musical – Theatre break

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ghost-the-musical-london-poster-dave-stewart

Finish a perfect summer weekend away in London with a visit to the West End. Whether you are looking for a romantic London theatre break or just need a relaxing weekend with your girls, this is just the ticket for you: Ghost the musical.

Ghost the musical is based on the 1990 film with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg. Though Whoopi won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Patrick’s sex-symbol status was cemented with that pottery scene.

The musical pulls all the theatrical stops and trickery to create an amazing live-experience. Smoothly rotating and folded sets are matched with clever projections to set the scene. It is a visual feast, especially when the chorus completes the picture with a tightly choreographed group dance.

Set in New York, the story starts when artist Molly Jensen (Caissie Levy) and banker Sam Wheat (Richard Fleeshman) move into an apartment in Brooklyn with help of their friend Carl (Andrew Langtree).

The first songs start a little sudden (the “Hey Guys listen up:”- cue music- variation.) but the incorporation of “Unchained Melody” is sheer genius. The charm with which Richard Fleeshman pulls it off makes the female, and no doubt some of the male audience, forget he’s not Swayze: We All Still Would. It’s the moment he grabs us and takes us through the rest of the show.

Visual treats continue when we see the outer body experience happening live on stage. This new technology in set-design is surprising, sudden and impressive. It returns a couple of times but before you can get bored of it, you believe it: so much that even the classic suggestion of a well-lit cloud of evaporated dry-ice near the climax of the play, makes you see apparitions.

Ghost doesn’t just rely on the set for theatrical magic: Sharon D Clarke as medium Oda Mae Brown simply rocks the house! The moment Ms Clarke steps onto stage, she shows you what live performance is about. Her impeccable timing gets her the biggest laughs of the night and she belts the songs while embracing her role of comic-relief in some seriously camp dances.

No such fun for poor Caissie Levy whose devastated Molly has a beautiful voice but who was unfortunately stuck with the love-songs. These songs rather described the situation than moved the plot along but one could argue this fitted the character. (She’s heartbroken, she doesn’t want to move on!)

Despite some of the projections over-egging the love a little, (in particular one ‘intimate’ scene on stage projection: two clasping hands, what kind of 1950s euphemism is that?) we do connect to the story of Molly and Sam.

A huge highlight is the musical’s equivalent of the pottery scene, so fans: don’t be disappointed when that scene seems short. The musical’s triumphant alternative is a slow-dance scene where even the most cynical of us will get goosebumps.

There are references to the film but Ghost the musical has created its own magical moments: theatre is a different medium than cinema after all. Still the musical definitely won’t disappoint the film-fans, in fact they should see it: unlike the film, this is not an experience you can relive on DVD.

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Tips to enjoy the Wimbledon Tennis

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Rally together to celebrate London’s tennis event of the year: Wimbledon. It is the start of summer and this year is even more special as we celebrate Wimbledon’s 125-year Jubilee. The famous tennis-tournament at Wimbledon started 1877 with the first Gentlemen’s Single Game. We give you a few Wimbledon inspired ideas to get into the swing of summer!

Museum and Tour:

If you are lucky enough to have a ticket for the Wimbledon tournament, you can also visit the museum. See all the shiny trophies from up-close, the fashion that the players wore through the years, the changing tennis equipment and player’s memorabilia. Apart from during the actual tournament, the museum is open to the public the rest of the year and you can even get a behind-the-scenes tour of the grounds.

Hop on a Red Bus:

Who can forget the impromptu Wimbledon medley that Sir Cliff Richard gave in 1996 when the Centre Court was closed due to the rain? Surrounded by umbrellas Cliff started with Summer Holiday, his hit from the movie in which he drove around on a red double-decker. Explore London in the very same style and book your Hop On-Hop Off tickets for the red busses. All together now: We’re all going on a summerholiday!

Wicked!

Can’t get enough of everything green? Get your Wicked! Musical tickets. The story follows the young Elphaba before she became known as the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West. The musical has a twist on the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz, it seems there is more to Elphaba. Experience this touching musical about friendship, self-confidence and following dreams at the Apollo Victoria. Get your tickets for the London musical and experience the magic.

Get on the grass

Love the grass but not so keen on tennis? London has a lot of amazing parks to relax in. The Royal Parks consist out of eight parks all together: Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Richmond Park, Bushy Park, Green Park, St James, Regent’s park and Kensington Gardens. All of the London parks are very central and all have plenty of options when it comes to entertainment: from concerts, like the Wireless Festival in July in Hyde Park to Open Air Cinema Events in Kensington Gardens. Get in on the grass-action!

See Shrek!

Even if the tennis doesn’t have a fairytale ending, you can find one in the London theatre. Book your tickets for Shrek the Musical: everyone’s favourite green ogre is now live on the West End stage. The reluctant hero Shrek goes off on a mission to save a beautiful princess with his sidekick, a very talkative donkey. He’ll soon find out that the princess might not need saving and beauty can come in many different shapes. A very enjoyable musical that will have you swinging and singing in your seat.

Enjoy London this summer!

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Discover the Moulin Rouge Paris.

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blog-picRoll up, roll up! The prancing Moulin Rouge girls are calling all Parisians and visitors alike to come see their breathtaking dancing. Despite the numerous attempts to recreate this famous cabaret club, nothing else quite compares with the exquisite Moulin Rouge Paris.

It takes some skill to become a Moulin Rouge dancer, with all the acrobatic high-kicks and elaborate twirling. Only the best dancers are selected and only after vigorous training are they finally allowed to take to the stage and perform with the rest of the glamorous Doriss girls.

But it is not only the beautiful girls that take centre stage at the Moulin Rouge Paris. The costumes, made of feathers, rhinestones and sequins, attract their own audiences, and small ponies and snakes which grace the performance only add to the allure of the world’s most famous nightclub.

The Moulin Rouge Paris was built in 1889 in Pigalle, the Red Light District of Paris. It has always had a certain amount of fame, originally creating a sense of stigma as the courtesans lifted their skirts to reveal their undergarments to the viewing men. Nowadays the stigma has been replaced by a touch of inspiring glamour, especially after the 2001 film which starred Nicole Kidman as leading lady, Satine, who lived in an elephant and was admired by every man in Montmartre.

The Moulin Rouge Paris has had its own fair share of inspirational people pass through the doorways of its entrance; for example, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the famous 19th century artist who used the Moulin Rouge as the setting for many of his pieces. Toulouse-Lautrec was famed for his night-time antics, the Moulin Rouge Paris being one of his most favoured hang-outs. A place where he could spend the evening drinking alcohol and dancing with beautiful girls; who at the time used the same area as the spectating men to wow the audience with their sensational moves.

For an evening cram packed with history and glamour, be sure to experience the Moulin Rouge Paris.

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The Wizard of Oz theatre break

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blog-picture7Begin the adventure of a lifetime and follow the yellow brick road to the Wizard of Oz theatre break. Re-live the ultimate voyage of Dorothy on the trail through the forest on her infamous quest to return home. This vivid production portrays the well known story of Dorothy and her small dog Toto with the modern songs and surprises from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright.

According to the Library of Congress, this timeless classic is the most watched motion film in history, no wonder the theatre version is such a success. Released in 1939, The Wizard of Oz is just as watched today as it was over 70 years ago. Significant changes were made during the adaptation from novel to film, such as the role the Wicked Witch of the West, and even the famous ruby slippers were silver in the book. However, the changes have helped to make

This American fantasy was originally written in 1900 by author L. Frank Baum, titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The children’s classic has been reprinted numerous in the 111-years that have since passed, and the story is as well know to the children of the 21st century as it was in the first years of its publication.

The Wizard of Oz theatre break is not a new concept. Back in 1902 the novel was first adapted to entertain audiences from the stage. The initial success of both the original novel and this first stage adaptation lead to Baum writing 13 more Oz books.

Today, the Wizard of Oz theatre break has progressed majorly since its original performance on Broadway. Costumes and sets are immaculate, producing a glittering, shining show, which everybody can appreciate. The Wizard of Oz theatre break has remained strong for 109-years – that surely says something about how great the production is.

Image courtesy of Flickr

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Shrek the musical theatre breaks

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blog-picture6Fans are guaranteed to be queuing up for a Shrek the Musical theatre break this spring when the production hits the West End. Shrek the Musical theatre breaks were huge news in America when the show was performed on Broadway early last year. The production ran from December 2008 until January 2010, and has since gone on to do a tour of the USA, giving everyone across the country the chance to be partthe phenomenon. The West End, which is every bit as good as Broadway, is sure to see tickets for the production sell out fast.

The Dreamworks film of Shrek was extremely popular, twisting and turning the traditions of original fairytale on its head, seeing a kind-hearted ogre over-come the evil handsome prince and save the beautiful Princess Fiona, who ends up transforming into an ogre herself. The tale is complete with dragons, towers, curses, talking gingerbread men, and humpty dumpty, but everything seems mixed up.

The theatre production of this animated film is sure to be just as fun and light-hearted as the movie. Suitable for the whole family, a Shrek the Musical theatre break has something for everyone, combining the wonderful show with a memorable stay in a fabulous hotel. Enjoy free time during the day to see all the brilliant London attractions such as Madame Tussauds, the Thames River, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.

A Shrek the Musical theatre break can be tailored to meet specific requirements too, meaning all trips and short holidays can meet everyone’s expectations. Pick from a list of central hotels, all close to the tube so getting around London to both sightsee and get to the theatre will be easy.

Be sure not to miss out on a Shrek the Musical theatre break. It will give you the chance to experience London for what it truly is, and provide a fun, enjoyable trip for the whole family.

Image courtesy of Flickr

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London Theatre Breaks Are Amazing.

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blog-pictureTheatre is the ultimate thing to do in London. Watching the West End stage light up with fabulous frocks, magical music and stupendous stories really is something that cannot be missed. London theatre breaks are brilliant for everybody, old and young, and there is always some new show being experimented with, meaning that London theatre breaks will never grow old, dire or monotonous.

London theatre breaks combine a wonderful show with central London accommodation, so a stress free trip is ensured. Simply state which hotel you would like in the booking process, and London theatre breaks will sort out the rest. You can even decide your seat numbers for the theatre. It really couldn’t be more straightforward.

One of the most popular shows is The Lion King. This classic was well-liked on film, and even more so in the theatre. The costumes are show stopping, the music is well-known and the theatre set is magical, almost making you believe you are watching from the Serengeti Plains. A Lion King Theatre break is a great show to take children along to, although parents are asked to ensure younger children aren’t disruptive, so everyone can enjoy the show. The Lion King Theatre break isn’t just for children; the enchantment of the set and the acts mean all ages can be awed by it.

Other popular shows include Mamma Mia, Wicked, Grease, and Dirty Dancing.

London theatre breaks only offer the best seats and give you a choice of choosing where you want to sit. Don’t strain your eyes trying to see the marvels of this show when you can get a choice of great seats with London theatre breaks. The hotel choices are all in zone 1, situated only a short walk from tube stations ensuring that convenient access to theatres is had.

London theatre breaks are brilliant value for what they offer, and ensure a trip to remember.

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Lion King Theatre Break

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blog-picture5 No trip to London is complete without a visit to the theatre. The West End, like New York’s Broadway, is renowned for its brilliant, spell-binding shows and inspiring performances. Each month, there is something new being experimented with, from improvised comedy, to creative dance shows. Despite this new wave of adventure, some of the classical theatre performances are still going strong, for example The Lion King.

A Lion King theatre break is more popular than ever. See the elaborate costume designs used to perform this well known classic, and discover just why it is so popular. A Lion King theatre break can be tailored to specific needs. Need somewhere to stay after the show? A Lion King theatre break is exactly what a break should be. Combine the show with a central hotel so the hassle and worry of finding good accommodation is taken away, making the focus of the trip solely about enjoying and experiencing as much of what London has to offer as possible.

The Lion King’s success has made it one of the longest running shows of all time. The Lion King theatre break show is performed in London’s Lyceum Theatre which is situated in London’s Theatreland, approximately a ten minute walk from Covent Garden underground station, making it easily accessible. The show has been running continually since October 1999, often showing matinee’s as well as evening performances.

Theatre breaks in London draw in people from near and far. Some of the packages which combine a hotel stay and a theatre show together make it understandable why it is so popular; there are some amazing deals. Spend the day sightseeing around the spectacular capital of England, before relaxing in front of a great theatre show in the evening. The Lion King theatre break really is the perfect getaway.

Image courtesy of Flickr

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Theatre and Hotel deals in London

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blog-picture3When one thinks of London, the thought of theatre and all its connotations pop into mind. Visiting the theatre has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in London for a long time, and with the wide variety, exceptional performances and well-written plots, it is clear why. Along with New York’s Broadway, London theatre has the reputation of being the best in the English speaking world, and usually they do not disappoint.

Theatre and hotel deals in London go hand in hand. One cannot experience the thrills and delights of a theatre show without the need of staying in a hotel nearby. And with all the hustle and bustle of the tube, a central hotel close to Theatreland would be more than convenient as your time can be spent enjoying the English capital rather than pushing your way through it.

Theatre and hotel breaks in London can be enjoyed by everyone. There is such a variety in performances that there is sure to be something in which everybody will fall in love with, even those who believe theatre is not for them. Come and let your mind be swayed, and discover the spectacular shows, acts and costumes.

The great thing about the various theatre and hotel deals in London is that your visit needn’t be restricted to just the show. Why not spend the day sightseeing around some of England’s biggest attractions, such as Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, before relaxing in the evening in one of the theatres around Leicester Square. Or if you are enjoying a family excursion, aim to see one of the matinee shows of the Wizard of Oz theatre breaks. The combinations of shows and hotels are extensive, definitely something for everyone.

Ensure you get the best theatre and hotel deals in London to allow you a trip you will never forget.

Images courtesy of Flickr

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