Category Archives: Entertainment

West End Girls: ‘Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour’ Review

By Tony Allen

In last week’s heat, all most of us wanted to do was relax outside with an ice cold bottle of lemon flavoured Hooch. Alas, the mercury spike didn’t halt the rampage of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour onto the West End, following successful runs in the USA, Australia, the National Theatre and at the Edinburgh Festival.

The basic premise of the musical play, based on Alan Warner’s cult novel The Sopranos and adapted for the stage by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall, is that we’re transported back to the ‘90s in Scotland, where six Catholic schoolgirls travel from their quiet port town of Oban to Edinburgh to represent their school in a choir competition. But they are determined to lose, in favour of an alcohol-soaked, wild day out and the chance to get back to the port in time for the last dances (and maybe more) at their one grotty nightclub, the Mantrap. (Think, the Waterfront with a proper tiled dancefloor, a bit more Hooch and the occasional group of spunky sailors).

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The Mountain Goats’ ‘Goths’ Builds on Under-Explored Elements of Their Musical and Personal Pasts.

By David Winlo

Search for ‘The Mountain Goats’ on the internet and you’ll find all the images and information you’d expect to find about the well-balanced, mountain-dwelling animals, but you’ll also discover a band, still surprisingly unknown after more than 20 years of music-making, who have just released their sixteenth studio album, entitled ‘Goths’.

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Books vs Films: Anne with an E

 

By Ewa Giera

Warning: This article contains spoilers

Every now and again, Netflix produces a series adapted from well-known classics. A Series of Unfortunate Events, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black. All of them are books which have recently been adapted for the small screen. This time, Netflix has released a new adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s internationally acclaimed book, Anne of Green Gables. A lot of people who have grown up with the books – including myself – have had some doubts about the new release after Netflix confirmed that the upcoming version was to be ‘gritty’.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review: Does it Live Up to the First?

By Natalie Froome

The second instalment of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy has been long awaited, but it was worth it. In ‘Vol.2’ The band of unlikely heroes are back again, saving the galaxy from a threat that’s much closer to home.

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Art forms, Storytelling and Video Games

By Ewa Giera 

As we all know, storytelling has been around for a pretty long time. Over the years, it’s moved on from oral tradition, early forms of written, phonetic English, Shakespeare, over to the modern novel and short stories, and as some seem to believe, ending at film. However, the public is largely split over whether film is the endgame for artistic storytelling or whether there’s something more waiting for us to get noticed.

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Taking Back Sunday Concert Review

By Jessica Foulger

Taking Back Sunday continue to impress the world with their music, and Norwich is no exception, as they conquer the UEA’s LCR.

Despite the show not selling out, Taking Back Sunday perform with the same youthful angst and zest that made them so infectious and lovable back in the early 2000s. It is safe to say I have revisited my teenage, ‘I hate the world’ self, whilst finding my older, more reflective self, deeply appreciating Taking Back Sunday’s recent, more mature artistry.

The five-piece from Long Island, New York are touring the UK and Europe in support of the 2016 release ‘Tidal Wave’ which sees them continue a more Rock/Pop sound with occasional heavy hooks whilst retaining melodic guitar riffs. It is a more mature, refined sound, with honest lyrics. The set opens with the fiery opening track ‘Deathwolf’, off their latest release. A perfect opening track with punchy guitar riffs that excite an eager audience, as lead singer Adam Lazarra screams the lyric ‘had a little bit and we want some more.’ Yes, Adam, we certainly want some more! It is clear TBS have so much more to offer in the world of rock music, with Adam’s lyrics as painfully honest in nature as they once were at the commercial peak of their career a decade ago but also possessing a contemplative and nostalgic quality. This is a band that aren’t ready to hang up the mic just yet.

Their set is a balanced mix of old and new and a couple songs in, the band get the crowd moshing and headbanging with ‘A decade under the Influence’ with the crowd screaming ‘anyone will do tonight’ right back at Lazarra and co. The nostalgia of the older tracks electrifies the LCR as fans revel in the pop-punk stage in Taking Back Sunday’s career. The band return to the new tunes with ‘All Excess’, a bouncy track with a damn catchy chorus, as of course the main purpose of this tour is to promote 2016’s ‘Tidal Wave.’

Lazarra takes a breather mid-set to explain the story behind the ‘Call Came Running’ music video. An anecdote about how his father came to the house to find blood all over Lazarra’s hands, bowing his head saying “Adam what have you done now.’ Lazarra concedes that the joke was funnier the last time he told it, but to be honest, I think the audience just wanted more belters to mosh and dance to. It is an awesome video, though, check it out!

I am thrilled that the band performed my personal favourite track off their 2014 release ‘Happiness Is’ entitled ‘Better Homes and Better Gardens.’ Lazarra becomes reflective about the meaning of the song admitting that it is emotional and hard-going to perform live. It is about his divorce during the writing of the record which becomes more real and hard-hitting, with the opening line of the track, ‘when you took that ring off.’ Despite the deeply personal and emotional nature of the song, it shows how mature Lazarra’s song-writing has become. This isn’t the same teenage pop-punk band that sung merely about girls, sex and friendship, but a wiser and older band that have experienced life and the turbulence of adulthood and fatherhood. The lyrics are beautiful; the guitars are raw.

As the set draws to a close, the band perform possibly the two most recognised and nostalgic Taking Band Sunday songs. Of course, the crowd pleasers are essential, but one tipsy bloke bellows throughout the whole set ‘MIAMI…MIAMI’, to a point where I feel like saying, mate, I’ve googled the setlist and there’s no Miami, I’m sorry. Anyway, when the opening riff to ‘Cute without the E’ kicks in, I can’t help but delve into the mosh pit. This song brings back so many memories for me and the nostalgia I feel is overwhelming as I and hundreds of others scream ‘And will you tell all your friends you’ve got your gun to my head.’ The set closes with ‘Makedamnsure’, the quintessential emo pop-punk hit as Lazarra yelps the sassy ‘I just wanna bring you down so badly’, executing his trademark microphone twist to perfection.

Well, boys, you’ve certainly brought down the LCR.

Image: “Adam Lazzara” by Dan is licensed under the CC BY-ND 2.0.

Netflix Originals Reviews: A Series of Unfortunate Events

 

By Gabriela Williams

Following its massive success with Stranger Things, Netflix is adding to its collection of originals with a new TV adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events with a set of eight, hour long episodes ready to watch now.

The plot of each episode stays closely to the original plot of the books, unlike the film adaptation released in 2004. The episodes are all split into two parts and are titled The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window and The Miserable Mill. In splitting the episodes into these equal parts Netflix has made it very easy to addictively binge watch the whole series in one go. This is perfect for a weekend Netflix binge. The theme tune of the TV series was originally scored by James Newton Howard, famous for the score of The Hunger Games and many others. It does get a bit repetitive and you may well want to skip it before you start singing along.

Neil Patrick Harris plays the villainous Count Olaf, who plots to gain the Baudelaire fortune throughout each episode.  In the process, he disguises himself, sometimes humorously as a scientific assistant, a Captain and a secretary. I thoroughly enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and certainly preferred him to Jim Carrey. If I have a favourite character in the series, it’s Count Olaf.

In the final episodes, Dr Orwell is introduced and is closely linked to George Orwell’s novel 1984 and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed the allusions to these books and was haunted by the timing of the references to 1984 and the similarities in modern society. The other episodes have quirky references to literature as well as many unanswered questions about strands of the plot. This in turn gets quite frustrating as you passionately watch every episode, with the hope of finding answers. Much like the hope for the Baudelaire’s future, you soon realise that this is not a fairy tale with a happy ending or any of the answers you may want.

I thought that this series was absolutely worth a watch, especially as you can tell that the writers and the directors have tried to appeal to the fans of the original book series. I thought that the series length was just about perfect and that the plots of each episode weren’t too complicated to follow. There’s no gaps in the TV series, so those who haven’t read the books will still be able to follow as well.

Overall, this series on Netflix has the potential to be as popular as Stranger Things but might appeal to the fans of the original books more than anyone else. This was a very entertaining series and I would highly recommend that you invest in the characters, but keep in mind the inevitable sad and gloomy ending. Its overly negative storyline might be too disheartening for some and its miserable theme may open a window into a pessimistic outlook on life, like it did when I watched it.

Image: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Claudia Gabriela Marques Vieira is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0