Ooh I just love a good munch! I’m not really a brunch kind of person becauseI’m a HUGE breakfast person and religiously have my porridge with flaxseed mix, blueberries, honey and cinnamon powder. (Mmm yummy I know). I hate the idea of skipping breakfast and starving until 11am to only stuff yourself silly and end up lying there across two seats like a bloated beached whale, so unless I have something super light when I wake up I usually just meet my friends for lunch. HOWEVER I may have been persuaded to nibble on a dry slice of toast in future!
M1LK in Balham have the best eggs I’ve ever tasted. In my life.
My friend Lisa was visiting from Paris and it just so happened to fall on the same week as my birthday! Yippee Double whammy! She took me to the place of no return and that place is called M1LK. Set in Hildreth St Market on the corner of Bedford Hill, their menu have weird concoctions that draw you in and take you to a magical place. Sourcing their food from local, independent and family-owned suppliers from London and the South East. it was great to hear they are environmentally friendly and use sustainable sources. Their meat is also organic, heritage and rare-breed from individual farms in Norfolk, Sussex and Surrey.
I had baked eggs with roast butternut squash, feta and crispy sage. With Smashed Avocado on the side to share. (My mouth waters as I type) Lisa went for poached eggs on sour dough bread with drycure smoked bacon and hollandaise sauce. We each had fruit smoothies named Lois and Lauren respectively.
The prices are good, the staff are friendly, with great service and they also bake cakes and cookies DAILY from mills in Oxfordshire and UK co-ops. Fabulous.
Oh my goodness, one of my favourite plays (A Streetcar named Desire) by Tennessee Williams is showing at one of my favourite theatres, (The Young Vic) and I’ve just been offered a ticket!! My birthday definitely came early and what a gift it was!
Having played the lead role of Blanche Dubois in my GCSE exam and then later, Stella in college, this play has a special place in my heart. (Despite the fact the film version stars the legendary Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh!).
Mesmerising, gritty, funny, sad and beautiful.
I must say Gillian Anderson was absolutely spot on as Southern Belle Blanche DuBois and totally mesmerising. From the moment she walked on, Gillian swallowed up the audience’s attention. Feminine, girly, aging and living in a dream-like world of her own. Blanche is a fragile creature. Her high-pitched descent in madness kept you at the edge of your seat, whilst the chemistry between Stella and Stanley was red-hot! Their volatile- passionate relationship physically irked Blanche and it was her small idiosyncrasies that eventually bubbled over to a tense and emotional finale. I could say the same for Blanche and Stanley. The tension between them created a heat in the room, which made you want to look away whilst at the same time watch their every move. Stella played by Vanessa Kirby was young, fresh in her high-waisted jeans, vulnerable yet happy. Her energy uplifted the piece. In contrast Ben Foster was the ideal loud, brutal, unforgiving, primal yet sensual Stanley. Swaggering around the place, slamming things, hitting his wife and then feeling the despair he felt afterwards of being apart from his baby and causing her pain was as raw as it gets. Ben’s performance made me grit my teeth a few times (a good thing) as his cruel behaviour towards Blanche rocked the atmosphere. I just wanted to jump in and save her. The ever-loving Mitch played by Corey Johnson brought the sweet and lonely man; who lives for his mum to life. The entire ensemble were brilliant and kept the piece at a high pace, whilst encapsulating the laid-back Southern life of New Orleans. Director Benedict Andrews’ love for piece really shines through as every element feels carefully thought-out and there is real dedication to the smallest of details, which does the original justice. Saying that it is refreshing remake, which has it’s own identity and I would have enjoyed it regardless of knowing the original play. Andrews give it modern feel in a way that we can relate to in the year 2014, just as he did previously with Chekov’s Three Sisters by placing them on a stage of tables which were removed throughout the play until all was left was an earth mound, reminiscent of Beckett. (Which I had the pleasure to go and see at the Young Vic again in 2012).
The set was genius, a simple streamlined white frame and design with its own working electricity, which allowed the characters to use the lights, radio, lamps and other household items inside the apartment. The sheer curtain separating the rooms gave it a sense of elegance and poverty which clashed just as the characters did. The simplicity of the set allowed the scene and characters to move a fluidly at a natural pace. Set in the round, it rotated to accompany the scenes and character, meanwhile distorting your view and vision. The best part was the lighting! The lighting changed colour throughout the play relating to the scene and mainly Blanche’s mental state, with purples, pinks and reds suddenly becoming apparent when Blanche was nearing mental breakdown. The set really made you feel inclusive, almost like you were inside her mind, spiralling into madness. Again Benedict Andrews genius shines through. I was happy to see a friend of mine in the cast and nearly shouted out “Troy!” when I saw the lovely and highly talented Troy Glasgow on stage as Pedro, one of Mitch’s friends. He has been working steadily and building up a great CV for himself over the last 10+ years. Hopefully this role will get him more stand-out roles. I was also pleased to see some multi-cultural casting in the piece considering it was written in 1947!
I actually want to see it again it was that good! There are £5 standing tickets available and A Streetcar Named Desire will be broadcast live to over 1,000 cinemas around the world on Tuesday 16 September by National Theatre Live so go on their site and get a ticket! http://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/a-streetcar-named-desire
I was so excited when I read about Housed online, a community production by the Old Vic and couldn’t wait to click and get my tickets, so I was devastated to see that the FREE tickets to the Old Vic’s Community Company production Housed by David Watson had ‘sold’ out! I was really hoping to support my fellow actor Michael Salami who had a role in the piece and of course any excuse to see some quality theatre, especially for free. Luckily a couple of weeks later Michael alerted me to a new batch and I snapped up four tickets.
Three of my friends Chukwudi Onwere, Daniel Bailey and Claudius Peters (who are also brilliant actors/creatives that I’ve worked with previously) accompanied me, which turned it into a mini-reunion too!
It was performed in the round and a brilliant depiction of London living. Housed was as honest as you can get, a great representation of the City and times we live in. From the women in the housing office acting as therapists to the estate agents and their selling skills and banter, to the heartbreaking story of a young teenage girl with undiagnosed mental issues living at home with her mum, falling pregnant and eventually committing suicide. The ‘Empty nester’ with the huge family home and no young family left to live in it, complaining about the lack of families and neighbourhood spirit on her road, wanting to move but fighting nostalgia and the housing market. The renters, the city workers, the bankers and those with no where to live. A big topic was the bedroom tax and how it affected people, the scenes alternated between light and funny to sad and disturbing yet kept you upbeat. I really enjoyed the underlying musical theme which made the scene changeovers slick and smooth and the topics at hand easier to digest. Michael was fantastic and Thea Gajic was mesmerising as the dreamy teenage girl who ended her own life. The whole play I wondered why I recognised her and then realised the next day that we worked together on a short film! On reading the program I discovered my Uncle Ken’s company Scott Fleary had made the set. I couldn’t believe it, funnily I had tried to invite him earlier I really related to this play and I guess I was bound to this show by the powers that be lol.
The Old Vic will be doing more community productions so if you’re interested in theatre or a budding actor/actress and interested in topics that affect the community. Click the link and check out their website: http://www.oldvictheatre.com
Now when you think about how many Jamaican people live in the UK, you would think that Jamaican stories would be something which is reflected in the world of theatre. The generations that came here and raised their children here, who then raised my generation haven’t really had much of a platform. Roy Williams decides to change that in the sensational, fast-paced play that is Kingston 14. Performed entirely in patois, with the subtitles available on small screens either side of the stage. With Clint Dyer’s direction, Williams returns to Stratford Royal; the theatre where he first made his name in 1996. The contrast between the luxurious velvet red drapes and gold ropes of the theatre and the concrete and metal set couldn’t be further from each other.
Set in a police station, filled with corruption, the story revolves around the unsolved murder of a visiting businessman in a Kingston hotel. A gang leader known as the Joker (Goldie) is a prime suspect and is arrested. James, (Derek Elroy) a professionally-minded British detective of Jamaican heritage is flown over to investigate and immediately struggles to make any headway, clashing at every turn with the Jamaican cops and the superior, played by Trevor Laird. The social and political issues in Jamaica are highlighted with honesty and entwined with the incarceration of a crime boss who barely speaks, yet at the same time speaks volumes about the state of Jamaica’s communities. The stance on homosexuality, Jamaican Independence, guns, drugs and gang violence are all highlighted in the piece but not explored enough. Still the subject matter and depressing concrete/metal set (designed by the award-winning Ultz) is far cry from the golden beaches advertised to ensure Jamaica’s tourist attraction rating remains high.
With strong performances from Brian Bovell as the troubled and compromised Marcus, Charles ‘Chucky’ Venn and Ashley Chin. Venn and Chin’s comedy duo lighten the atmosphere and punctuate the scenes with fun and foolishness, until they’re taken hostage and then Venn comes into his own. Trevor Laird, brilliant as ever struggles throughout to keep everything running smoothly. The rest of the ensemble cast stayed true to their roles and kept the energy high. I think it would work brilliantly on the small screen, the pace and cinematography of the piece is easily adaptable. I found there was something about the play that left you wanting more, to see more of the sub-stories, the despair of the generations that thought independence would bring so much. The gully life compared to the Bob-Marley themed, sunshine island tourist conceptions. The struggle of being gay in Jamaica, the corruption in the force, I could go on and on. One last thing… a female character in the piece, there wasn’t one! However I highly enjoyed the play and it was great to see two of my actor buddies on stage (Chucky and Ashley) and meet the cast afterwards. Although I was chatting too much to say hi to Goldie (Damn!)
With the lovely Chucky, part of my ‘Straight To Audience’ Angie Le Mar family.
Catching up with the brilliant Ashley Chin.
So I was invited to the Press Night and Premiere of Harry Hill’s I Can’t Sing The Musical and decided to take one of my besties Tamara as a birthday treat. In short we absolutely LOVED it! Anything written by Harry Hill in short is sure to be filled with satire, digs and comically genius caricatures. They even included the ‘Wind’ as a character who would come and create havoc in the story by blowing something important across the stage and then bowed repeatedly as he walked off whilst Max the dog noted to the audience “Three years at RADA” . All that training, to play the wind lol. The Palladium was packed with celebrities and who’s-who of the theatre world and entertainment industry. Of course Sinitta was there lol. Tamara geeked out when she saw Gok Wan sitting with Carol Vorderman, as she absolutely loves him and I thought it was only right to go over and have a little chat and make her birthday. He was so lovely and took a photo with Tamara and I, after wishing her a happy birthday. Bryan McFadden from Westlife sat behind me and the legend that is Christopher Biggins a few seats to my left. What an exciting night! (I could get used to this).
The musical focused on the early life of Simon Cowell and his early success (an education for those who didn’t know he was behind The Power Rangers, The Teletubbies, Zig and Zag to name a few). It ran right up to the point of Simon arriving outside the studios in front of queueing contestants, carrying baby Eric in a car seat as he walked in! The play is a real reflection of Britain, the cast included all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, which The X Factor is all about of course. Equality is often a problem in the entertainment industry so I was particularly pleased to see the lead Chenice played by a black girl. (Cynthia Erivo). Cynthia was absolutely sensational, her voice was incredible and acting was also fantastic as the happy-go-lucky Chenice, who lived in a caravan under a motorway passover with her granddad, who had an iron lung and eventually died only to then become her guardian angel. Yes really. Chenice only had 6 weeks to get the money to pay for his ashes and after falling in love with her postman, Barlow (Simon Lipkin). Decided to enter the contest. Her dog Max was a puppet played by Alan Morrissey, who created so many laughs and knelt, skating around on wheels attached his leg, after a while you didn’t even notice he was there! The characters really reflected the Reality TV culture, the overweight woman working in the supermarket, the young boy they eventually turned into a heart-throb Beiber style, the delusional singers that believe they will win despite having no talent or image and of course the underdog who doesn’t have any confidence but a winning voice. That would be Chenice, who I think partly represented Leona Lewis. References to past contestants were also slotted in. Simon Bailey’s Liam O’ Deary character was the exact replica of Dermott O’ Leary, the hugging, the voice, the lonnnnng pauses and leg- swinging. Jordy, played by Victoria Elliott was the Northern sweetheart Cheryl Cole and she absolutely killed it. The slow, sexy exaggerated walk, ending every sentence with “Pet”, posing and pouting sensually against walls, it was comedy gold. She had some of the best lines. At one point Nigel Harman came from the ceiling singing the song ‘Fabulous’ with Cowell down to tee, chest puffed out, high-waisted trousers, smug face, although I’m sure the brilliant singing voice isn’t something Cowell owns, he OWNED it. They even tap-danced at one point!
I think my favourite part was Hunchback, a character some say was based on James Arthur and the hunhback of Notre Dame performed his RAP song “I’m better than that”. It was so unexpected and brilliant, with backing dancers; causing me to laugh until tears streamed out of my eyes!!! He literally blew everyone away with it. The show is one for all ages and great for a laugh with some quality songs too. So go and see it!
Simon Cowell can really take a joke and laugh at himself, I think if he didn’t the musical would have never come to fruition, at the end of the show the cast and producers came on stage, including Simon who said “And yes I am Fabulous”.
I am delighted to share the news that I’ve now been signed to an agency as a Actress for TV, film and Theatre. I am now represented by Rozzy Lloyd of FLP Global management . (Twitter @FLP_MANAGEMENT) After a successful meeting two weeks ago I received a email a few days later and I had such a great feeling leaving the meeting and for the rest of the week! It was meant to be! Rozzy is exactly the type of agent I’ve been waiting for. I really think this is the start of great things to come. Thank you to everyone who has supported my career so far. I have spent 12 years working unrepresented and 10 years looking for the right representation to suit me and my career needs. I’d also like to thank lovely ladies Abi and Emma at AbCast (twitter @abcast) who represented me for the last year.
What a wonderful way to lead into International Women’s Day.
I had to post photos of Lupita Nyong’o (Best Actress in a supporting role) and Cate Blanchett (Best Actress) winning their Oscars, accompanied by beautiful, relevant and empowering speeches! (Snippets provided by HuffPost Women). It was a special event for me, which allowed me to believe in my dreams even more. Women in film are hugely unrepresented and I hope this marks a change in the industry.
British victory for 12 Years a Slave! I have been reserving myself if I’m honest because of all the reviews and feedback I’ve heard. I will be a blubbering wreck and I want to indulge myself fully without distractions from others. I know, I know I’m so LATE!! I need to mentally prepared so I will go alone in the daytime this week and finally be up to date with the rest of the world. *hides face* I really really hope this means the British industry gets a boost. We need more British films with their directors, producers and actors steaming ahead!
STEVE MCQUEEN. (Director) CHIWETEL OJIOFOR. (Lead Actor) BRAD PITT (Producer) and of course Lupita Nyong’o (Supporting Actress) you did it!
“Today will have been another Happy Day”
The confused groups of students surrounding me did not look like they were having a happy day, more like a stagnant one. The Young Vic’s auditorium was silent, aside from the teenage girl tapping her hair clip on the metal railing. However if you aren’t familiar with Samuel Beckett and Theatre of the Absurd, you probably would find it hard to understand why Winnie (Juliet Stevenson) in the first half is trapped in a mound of sand up to her waist, then in the second, up to her neck; with nothing but her bag to keep her happy. Her husband Willie spends most of his time in a cave and grunts accordingly, with the odd word of response thrown in. I don’t think the two of them ever have what you would call a conversation but their exchanges are comedic brilliance all the same. Juliet Stevenson shines in this role as the eternal optimist Winnie, a rambling housewife who chatters endlessly to ward off despair and doing so often leaves the audience wondering about the complexities of life. Winnie never quite explains how she got there, buried in the blazing sun. Her attempt to shield herself from it’s glare only leads to her Parasol catching fire! Still Winnie gets on with it. She takes us through the beloved items from her bag and her daily routine when her words fail, her melancholic undertone is there with every attempt to be positive. Her recurring catchphrase “Today will have been another Happy Day” is almost a key phrase to stop herself from crying! She talks endlessly because it allows her to block out her situation, In Act II she continues to repeat it, albeit straight-faced and in pain.
This funny, sad and thought-provoking piece is classic Beckett. Absurd and confusing, yet heart-warming and full of empathy. Winnie’s slow, dissolve into the Earth expresses the repetitive dying moments in life where you want the ground to swallow you up but death is far from close. Winnie is in pain and slowly being consumed by her condition, the situation feels never-ending. Grin and bear it, there is always time. Time to change your situation, regardless of how you got there? The play leaves you intrigued and full of questions, the curtain call included.
Juliet Stephenson is captivating and hilarious as Winnie. An odd woman,fragile and strangely recognisable reciting from the classics, hitting Willie with a stick to check he’s still there and listening, we all can link her to someone we know. As an actress I can only imagine how intense the claustrophobia must be, add that to the stage lights and the fact you can barely move and have to accentuate your facial expressions to make up for the fact your body is hidden. WOW! I left the theatre feeling alive and completely inspired.
The set was also fantastic! If you can catch it, you must go. Run to the Young Vic NOW! It runs until 8th March but I’ve also heard that it will be returning in 2015 for those who couldn’t get tickets.
I haven’t been very well recently, so I was really excited when I heard from Trevor Blackman (APE Media) and Chris Samuels inviting me to the Bad Kids pilot episode screening! Here I was excited to just leave the house, little did know until I get there that it was held in a very swish private screening room in Canary Wharf. Trevor treated the team to Prosecco (although not me due to being ill) and the leather reclining seats in the cinema were so comfortable, ah it was pure luxury! It was great to see everyone. The pilot had been edited to such a high standard it actually felt like we were watching a drama series on Channel 4 or E4. The hard work really paid off. The opening credits scene for the actual series was filmed on the Stratford flyover, which took so long to film (after the footage got wiped and we had to go back and re-film it). It was great to see. Standing there in character, no words, barely any movement, conveying emotions through our faces and body language, with the sun shining in our eyes and the wind blowing so ferociously, trying not to blink was so difficult! The scene is amazing and I can’t wait for you all to see it.
The pilot episode received positive feedback from the London Live channel, they’ve shown some interest and want to see more so fingers crossed everyone! We’ll start filming in the Spring, none of the cast have even read the script yet and will have a table read in a couple of months. I’m looking forward to indulging myself with the script and getting started.
I have something new that I want to share with you!
I’ve been meaning for a while to get a new head shot, looking around for photographers and budgeting. I’m currently modelling a range of fitness wear for an up and coming brand called ‘Afrika Wild’ and during the photo shoot we spoke about doing a few head shot pics… who knew that the photographer Pierre would pull it out the bag?! This was a short session at the end of the shoot but already I’m getting a lot more castings. Thank you Pierre!
I’m definitely a happy bunny
Photographer: Pierre Marku. 2013