Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical.

Hello everyone. Happy Friday. Welcome back to another #fridayschoice.

Today I am talking about a musical that I love, so musical lovers tune in!

Let’s talk about Jekyll & Hyde The Musical.

I am going to start off by saying that I really like all versions of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

I love the premise. If you don’t know the story, a very short summary is that Dr. Jekyll wishes to find a way to separate the evil parts of ourselves from the good, because his idea is that if we can all rid ourselves of our inner evils then there will be no more evil in the world. It sounds like a really straightforward idea, but Dr. Jekyll soon learns that good and evil are not as straightforward as one might think, and separating the good from the bad can actually have dangerous consequences.

I really like the story of Jekyll & Hyde because I think it is a very thought provoking one. I think that this story makes us think about who we are and the world we live in, and we learn that no one is just good or just evil, but that people are actually a complex, and nuanced mix of the two. We all have good and bad aspects of ourselves, and some who appear good are in fact not, and others who we may assume are bad can turn out to be good. I think that a story such as this makes us reflect upon the type of person that we are, it makes us think about the way we perceive and judge others. It demonstrates that appearances are not everything, and ultimately I think this story highlights how much hypocrisy exists in the world.

I really like the musical version, even though I know that not everyone enjoyed it. It is a show that I hope to see live onstage again someday. The music is by Frank Wildhorn, and I am a fan of his work. I will be talking about his work in Bonnie & Clyde The Musical at some point in the future. I think it is fair to say that Jekyll & Hyde The Musical is an underrated piece. I don’t know too many people who have heard about it, and I don’t wish to make any sweeping statements, but I don’t think the show is talked about as much as it perhaps should be.

Is it perfect? No. There are aspects of it that I don’t love, and I think there are certain aspects that should be done in a more subtle, tasteful way however I think that it is a musical that presents some very complex themes in an artistic way, and some of the songs are stunning.

I would have to say that I think the song Facade sums up the show very nicely. Everything is a facade. We are not one person, but two. There is good and evil in all of us, and just because someone is in a respected position, it does not mean that they are automatically good and beyond reproach. ‘There are teachers who lie, there are liars who teach.”

I think that this musical depicts a really interesting tension between instincts and self control. We all have good instincts and bad ones. We all have things that we want to do but cannot, because we know we shouldn’t. When Dr. Jekyll discovers a way to temporarily separate the evil part of himself form the good, we see that his evil counterpart is simply him operating at his most basic desires. Mr. Hyde is instinct walking. He has no conscience, he does think about how his actions will impact others. He does not have morals or self control. Mr. Hyde does what he wants, when he wants, and he does things that will hurt others because this brings him pleasure. Interestingly though, Mr. Hyde highlights the hypocrisy that exists in the upper classes of his society. He points out when people who are respected secretly abuse their positions of power, and do things that they condemn people of lower classes for when they do the same thing. Mr. Hyde points out how money and status don’t mean that someone is not a bad person, but money and status makes it easier for them to hide or get away with the fact that they have done bad things and so even though Mr. Hyde is a character who is made up of entirely the bad parts of someone, he does make some valid points and so there is a certain sense in his quest for revenge. What I am saying here is that while I don’t agree with Hyde, I understand Hyde when he rightly points out the cracks in the facade of others, and this is one of the reasons why I love this story and this musical. It is layered and thought provoking.

One of my favourite characters in the musical is Lucy. Lucy is a whore who works in the Red Rat bar and brothel. She believes that good and evil are intertwined, and although she is poor, and penniless, and repeatedly looked down upon by those of the upper classes, it is her who teaches Dr. Jekyll a lot about life. She inspires him. Lucy has a hard life. She is considered ‘bad’ according to those of higher status because of her job, but it does not stop those of higher status coming to the brothel to enjoy her work. Lucy demonstrates that luck plays a big part in things. Lucy was not born wealthy. She has no family, very little education, and so she is forced to do what she can to survive. She is mistreated at work but she has no other options. Many people would dismiss her based on her status, and by doing so they will never learn that she is kind, brave, and honest.

Lucy’s character and the way people treat her demonstrates how society can treat those who are considered ‘bad’ or unimportant. When Lucy is badly hurt, Dr. Jekyll is horrified, and even more horrified when he learns that things like this happen on a regular basis, and he is shocked when he learns that the man who hurt her was considered a gentleman for how could a respected gentleman do something so violent? You can imagine Dr. Jekyll’s horror when Lucy tells him that the man who hurt her was named Hyde. Dr. Jekyll must accept that the evil side of himself did this. He was capable of such violence when he had no good side to tame the bad. He cannot believe that he could have done something like this but Hyde did, and Hyde is simply Jekyll with no conscience or morals. As I said before, Hyde does what he wants, when he wants, and he does not care who he hurts.

Jekyll and Hyde The Musical, while imperfect, is a layered, complex musical that depicts some very interesting and intense themes. The musical depicts the tension between good and evil, desire and control, and it scathingly highlights the hypocrisy that exists in the world.

It is also extremely gothic, which is why I decided to talk about it during the month of October. The inner struggle that Dr. Jekyll experiences, the philosophical questions that he tackles about good and bad, the struggle between science and the ‘natural’ way of things – all of these are highly gothic elements.

At some point in the future I may choose the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde as my #bookofthemonth, but this month’s #bookofthemonth is the gothic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and I am looking forward to discussing this book. I may even draw some comparisons to the story of Jekyll & Hyde because I think that both gothic novels share similar themes but they are explored in very different ways.

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you heard of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical? What do you think of the story of Jekyll & Hyde in general? I’d love to know.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Kate xo.

Embracing the Absurd: The Addams Family.

Hello everyone and welcome to #fridayschoice. 

Today I am taking a break from horrors, but I am still staying in the realm of #spookyseason. 

Today I am going to be talking about The Addams Family. 

I have previously talked about The Addams Family Musical on Katelovesliterature.com, but today I am referring to the 1991 movie version, and the 1964 sitcom. 

I have been a fan of The Addams Family since I was very young, and it is probably because my Mam loved the movie, so I grew up watching it. 

The Addams Family was created by cartoonist Charles Addams. The family was designed to be a satirical version of the idealised 20th century American family. Gomez and Morticia are the couple at the centre of this delightfully bizarre household. The members of the Addams family are fun, eccentric, macabre loving people. They are a close knit family unit, and they don’t care how odd or strange anyone else thinks they are, in fact I don’t think they even notice when other people are baffled by their gloomy, gothic household. 

I have to say that although I love the movie, and the musical, my favourite version of The Addams Family is without a doubt the 1964 sitcom. Carolyn Jones will always be my favourite Morticia. She is beautiful, she is elegant, she is funny, and she delivers her lines in the most charming yet original way. Morticia is a very loving mother, and a very loving wife, she adores her family more than anything, and she is firm in her beliefs. 

I have seen people argue that Gomez and Morticia are the perfect couple, and while I very rarely call fictional people “goals”, I do think that Gomez and Morticia are one of the best fictional couples to exist. They are passionately in love, they adore being in one another’s company, they make each other laugh, they would do anything for each other, they love their children more than anything and enjoy spending time with them, but I think the best thing about Gomez and Morticia is that they completely understand each other. Neither of them has to dull down parts of their personality or hide their eccentric nature. They are both weirdly wonderful, and they adore each other for it. I think that Gomez and Morticia are the definition of loving someone completely as they are, and they only add to each other’s quirks instead of attempting to stifle them. 

I think that another reason I have always loved The Addams Family is that I love the family motto, which is essentially, to embrace the absurd. So much of what I study goes back to this idea of embracing wonder, curiosity, and the absurd. So much of literature, particularly children’s literature, explores the tension between having to grow up and mature, but without completely losing our childhood sense of wonder. When I discuss Frankenstein at the end of the month, I will be talking about literature in the Age of Enlightenment, compared to literature in the Romantic Age, because there is a tension between logic and feeling. Enlightenment thinking puts forward the idea that anything and everything can be measured and explained with logic, but romantic thinking puts forward the idea that we shouldn’t measure everything because some things can’t and shouldn’t be measured. In the Addams Family home, nothing makes sense. Nothing can be measured. Everything is eccentric, and odd, and delightfully confusing. The Addams Family home is a place where the absurd is embraced and celebrated. Curiosity is encouraged. The imagination can run wild in the Addams Family home.   

Everyone can be exactly who they are, and unapologetically so. The children’s interests are never belittled. Gomez and Morticia never try to dampen who their children are, in fact they celebrate the individuals that their children are. Wednesday is quite an iconic character due to her morose nature. I think Morticia and Wednesday have always been my favourite characters, because while all of the characters are funny, and I enjoy the humour overall, I feel that Morticia and Wednesday could be argued to have the funniest, most often quoted lines. 

If you don’t like horror but would like to get into the Halloween, spooky season spirit, then I would definitely recommend The Addams Family. It is not scary, it is simply weirdly wonderful. It is different, it is so witty, and funny, and the characters are fantastic. Anyone I’ve recommended it to in the past has come back to me and said they’ve really enjoyed it, so if you’ve never seen it before, or it’s been a while, then why not? 

Dah dah dum *click click* 

Dah dah dum *click click* 

Dah dah dum, dah dah dum, dah dah dum *click click* 

  • If you know you know. 

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you all enjoyed it. I hope you’re all having a good month. It won’t be long before October is behind us as time is flying. Happy Friday everyone, I hope you all have a lovely weekend. 

Kate xo. 

How To Enjoy Horrors.

Hello everyone and welcome to another #fridayschoice.

Today I am going to be talking about how I enjoy horror films even though I am a very squeamish person. I thought that this would be the perfect topic for the first Friday of October because we are in spooky season after all, and for the next few weeks there will be horror movies everywhere.

I will start off by saying that I never really enjoyed horror movies. I never understood the appeal of being scared. I never got that thrill. I hate blood, and I hate gore, and I am so jumpy that any jump scares would have me hiding behind a cushion.

I have slowly started to enjoy horror movies. I think this development has come from studying films in college. I have always enjoyed watching movies since I was young, but in the last three years I have really developed an appreciation for the art of films. I love looking at behind-the-scenes specials. I love analysing shots, and different film techniques. I love comparing one director’s style to another’s. I think doing all of this allowed me to look beyond the blood and gore and actually begin to enjoy horror movies.

Now I’m still squeamish. I think I always will be, but lately I have had a realisation. I used to say ‘I hate horror movies.’, but I have come to realise that I don’t hate horror movies. There are many movies that I love the plot of, the premise of, I mentioned in this week’s #moviemonday how much I love the score of Sleepy Hollow, I love Tim Burton’s nod to German Expressionism in Sweeney Todd, I love the score of that movie too, I love the complex, layered, nuanced story of Sweeney Todd. I love the characters. This is just one example of a horror movie that I have really come to love. What do I hate? The blood. The sight of blood still makes me feel sick, and it most likely always will but I don’t actually hate horror movies, I just hate the blood. Knowing this, I am able to watch a movie like Sweeney Todd, and I have watched it enough times now to know when I should look away, and now I can enjoy this movie for it’s many other wonderful aspects, and I simply look away for the really bloody parts.

Here’s some tips on how to enjoy horror even if you’re squeamish like me, so you don’t miss out on all the Halloween horror fun.

Look up the parental guidance review. This review should tell you how scary other people found the movie to be, and it will usually tell you how many instances of violence occur in the movie, it will tell you how many times certain language is used etc. So if you see that a movie only has two or three instances of blood and gore, then you’ll know there may be only two scenes that you don’t want to look at as opposed to missing the whole movie.

Watch a horror movie with a friend who has already seen it. I am so lucky because I have really good friends who know the sight of blood turns my stomach, but they also know what a movie lover I am so there are times when they might say to me ‘I think you’ll really enjoy this movie, and I’ll tell you when to shut your eyes.’ So that is what we do, we watch the movie, and they’ll tell me when to look away, and then they’ll tell me when to look again, and most of the time when we do this, I end up really enjoying the movie and I’m glad I only looked away for a few minutes rather than not watch it at all.

Not all horrors are bloody. If you say you don’t like horror movies, you may be like me and only dislike one aspect of a horror movie. So ask yourself, if it was not for this one thing, would I enjoy this? For me it was blood. I used to say that I would love this movie or that movie because the story is really interesting but I just can’t watch blood, and now I have a way around that, when those moments play out onscreen, I simply don’t look. Figure out whether you don’t like horror or whether you don’t like an aspect of horror because if you can overcome the one detail you don’t like, you may really enjoy the movie.

Don’t feel pressured to see the movie in the cinema. If you don’t love horrors but all your friends are going to see one, don’t feel bad if you sit the movie out. You can always meet your friends afterwards. It is important to remember that seeing a movie in the cinema is different to watching it at home. At home you can pause it, leave the room, lower the volume down, and leave the lights on. The cinema is dark, and you’ll also be seeing something for the first time with a group of people who are also seeing it for the first time, so no one can tell you when to look away. I think that if you’re trying your hand at horror movies and you already know that you don’t love them, it is better to watch something for the first time in the comfort of your own home, so that way if you want to turn it off you can – and there is nothing wrong with that.

I am very happy that I have found ways to be able to watch horror movies with my friends and enjoy them. It means that I can be involved in spooky season, and lean into the fun of Halloween. Now that I have figured out what I do and don’t enjoy, I am able to watch a horror movie, and now that there are aspects of horror that I enjoy, I can now understand the fun of watching a horror movie. I like to be intrigued, I like to be curious, I like to be a little unsettled. I love an eerie atmosphere. I just don’t like blood – so if you’re squeamish like me then maybe this #fridayschoice will help you this Halloween.

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Do you love horror or hate it? Do you love the thrill? Are you squeamish like me? Let me know.

Kate xo.

Shows I Streamed in September.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Friday’s Choice. Today I am going to be talking about five shows that I streamed this month. I have really been enjoying these shows and as we move into late autumn and winter, which means longer, darker evenings, I think it’s always a good idea to have a list of shows to watch. 

So let’s dive into #fridayschoice. 

I’m going to be talking about these five shows in no particular order. So let’s start with Annika. I mentioned this show in my Ten Crime Shows That I Binge Watched list. At the time I wrote that list, Annika had just started airing on Alibi. The first season of the show is now complete, and I really hope there is a second season because I thoroughly enjoyed season one. Annika is a detective series. Each episode had its own investigation. I really loved the small ensemble of characters. The story is told from the point of view of Annika, I mentioned before how she breaks the fourth fall and addresses the audience directly. I said how I really liked this as it was something new and different, and I hadn’t seen this done in a crime show before. Now that the season is complete, I will say that I really enjoyed this style throughout each episode. The moments where Annika addressed the audience directly were clever, witty, and her monologues often made me laugh. I also really enjoyed how in each episode, she would reference a literary work, an Ibsen play, or a Greek tragedy etc. It made for a unique approach to a crime drama, and so as I have said already, I really hope that there is a season two. 

The next show that I watched and would highly recommend is Mare of Easttown. Kate Winslet was absolutely brilliant in this show, as was the rest of the cast. There were only seven episodes of this series, and if I were to describe this show in one word, I would call it gripping. It is not an extremely new story. A detective is searching for a missing girl who has been missing for over a year, and more and more young girls are being found dead. This isn’t a revolutionary new plot that has never been done before, but it is done incredibly well. The characters are intriguing, the show is filled with twists and turns, and the story is utterly compelling. It is one of the best shows I’ve watched in a long time. I can’t recommend it enough. 

Up next is ClickBait on Netflix. I started this show after I finished watching Mare of Easttown, which was a hard act to follow. I started off thinking that while this show was good, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had enjoyed Mare of Easttown however as each episode went on, I was becoming more and more invested. I would call this show a slow-burn because while it didn’t grip me straight away, I would say that by episode three I was very intrigued, and the last few episodes were definitely stronger than the first few. I felt that this show was really relevant as it featured a lot of the dangers that can occur due to social media. It really is amazing, and scary seeing what can be done in just a few clicks, and again this was another show that was filled with twists and turns, especially in the final few episodes. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will have seen from my stories that just last weekend I started watching Vigil. I loved it so much that I watched all six episodes in one night. It was brilliant. There is a trend here as all of these shows have a common denominator – they all are filled with twists and turns. A major theme of this show is corruption, and it was done so well. The cast was fantastic, particularly Suranne Jones and Rose Leslie. I thought that these two actresses were brilliant, and in my opinion they led the show. The premise was really fascinating, I don’t want to spoil anything but what I will say is that I enjoy when characters are limited to certain settings because I feel it’s more interesting. When there are only so many places a person can go, it means that the narrative is challenged to operate within that space, and when an investigation is occurring in limited space, it means that there’s only so many places where evidence can be hidden. I would have to say Vigil is my second favourite show in this list, as it follows Mare of Easttown. 

The last show I’m going to mention is Only Murders in the Building on Disney plus. There are only five episodes of this show so far, and I’m very excited to see the next one. I absolutely love Steve Martin and Martin Short. I think these two actors are a brilliantly witty duo, and Selena Gomez joining them makes for a very funny, sarcastic trio. I think that this show has a great premise. It’s something that true crime fans will enjoy. It’s funny, it’s witty, I would say it’s satirical. There are moments that do seem nonsensical, but I am able to suspend my disbelief and go with it because it is a satire and it’s cleverly done. Despite the satirical nature of the show, the mystery is still very intriguing, and I am very curious to see what happens next. So if you want something that’s lighthearted, different, but still mysterious, I would say to watch this show. 

So this has been Friday’s Choice. These have been five shows that I streamed in the month of September. Have you seen any of these shows? What did you think? Do you binge watch shows the way I do? 

I am very excited because starting Monday, it is spooky season here on Katelovesliterature.com, and I am going to be embracing horror, and thrillers, and ghoulish galore in the run up to Halloween. Stay tuned. 

Kate xo. 

Theatre Is Back!

Hello everyone and welcome to another Friday’s Choice. 

Another week has flown by and thankfully this week was a great one. 

Today’s #fridayschoice is all about the fact that theatre is back and I couldn’t be more excited about it. 

I like to think that my Friday’s Choice posts are a little bit more informal. I like to talk about shows that I’m enjoying, or poems that I’ve read recently. I share snaps of theatres or of my programme collection sometimes. I share all of the literature mementoes that I’ve accumulated over the years. Every week is different. I am really looking forward to October because there is going to be so much to discuss here on katelovesliterature.com and I feel like because October is spooky season and there is so much literature that is suited to this time of year, my Friday’s Choice posts are going to be spilling over with variety. 

Before we move into spooky season though, I want to talk about how it feels like we are in a new season of theatre. Shows are opening. Musicals are touring again. The Dublin Theatre Festival is happening. There are so many wonderful shows happening. I feel like my Instagram feed is constantly full of actors, directors, crew members, etc., all heading to work because there is a show happening again finally. Theatre is back and I couldn’t be happier about it. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will know that I was very excited because last week I purchased tickets to go and see The Lion King. The amazing musical will be in the Bord Gáis from December, and I cannot wait to see it. I’ve seen it once before but it’s been a long time so I am thrilled that I will get the opportunity to see it again. 

The first show that I will be going to see after all this time is Rocky Horror. October can’t come fast enough. I just know that when I get to the theatre I will be so excited, and so happy to be there, and so appreciative of the fact that I can go to theatre again that I just might cry. I usually always shed a few tears in the theatre, and that is usually because there will always be a moment in a show that moves me so much that I well up. Theatre is so powerful. It resonates in a way that is so hard to properly describe and that feeling of being in the theatre and watching a live performance, that electricity, that atmosphere, it is one of the best feelings there is. 

I have other shows lined up for 2022 including Les Mis and Beauty and the Beast. 

I’m sure that I will add more shows to my calendar as time goes on but these four are a really good start. I’m very lucky to able to attend so many shows. I’m very fortunate that I live so close to so many wonderful theatres because it means that I have access to some really incredible performances, and I love seeing people’s ideas, and creativity explored onstage. 

I don’t only attend musicals. I really enjoy plays too and I’m hoping to go and see some new and exciting plays as time goes on. There have been some really interesting, new plays being put on in theatres and I’ve spoken a few times here on Katelovesliterature.com and over on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), about how I think it’s wonderful that some performances such as those put on recently in the Abbey Theatre, were made available for streaming. I think that this is something that should be done more often because not everyone is able to physically access a theatre and I think that having the option to experience literature, creativity, new ideas, and touching stories from home is remarkable. I do think that buzz of being in the theatre is very hard to replicate however if I was watching a show from home, which I have done and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing so, I would rather see the show and create a new atmosphere at home than not see it at all. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing what plays I will hopefully be able to add to my “going to see that” list. It can be challenging sometimes, especially when the schedule is busy but now that more and more shows can go ahead, I’m so excited to start being in the audience again. 

This has been Friday’s Choice and it really is just a very happy, appreciation post all about how delighted I am that theatre is back. Theatres had to close their doors for a time, and I know for certain that I will never take seeing a show for granted again. 

Are you a theatre nerd like me? Have you got shows lined up? What’s next on your “to see” list? Drop me a comment because I’d love to know. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. 

Kate xo.  

Quotes That I Love.

Hello everyone. Happy Friday. I feel like this week has flown by. It has been another rather stressful week for me however I can say that after many ups and downs, I am heading into this weekend much happier than I was when heading into last Saturday so I am thankful for that.

I thought that it might be nice for today’s Friday’s Choice if I share some quotes that I really love.

Words have power and I think it is incredible that we can read some words once and they can stick with us for a very long time. I am positive that almost everyone has a quote or two that they love.

I am going to share four quotes that I really love with you all today. Some are from books, some are from poems, and some are from movies.

So let’s dive into #fridayschoice.

Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.

A quote from Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

I have started off with this quote because I think it is so true. Confidence is a gift in my opinion. Anyone can fake it until they make it, but true confidence can be rare and hard to come-by. I think that when you truly feel confident it is one of the best feelings there is. Nothing makes me happier than when I can say that I genuinely feel confident, secure in myself, and happy.

If someone helps you feel that way, if someone gives you that confidence boost, then I agree that you owe them a lot because if someone gives you a confidence boost, then they have given you a real gift.

There are many people in my life who have given me confidence over the years, some of them really stand out, and I will always be grateful to those people because without confidence, I would not be where I am today. I would not be doing what I love, I would not be doing what makes me happiest, and I would not have learned about myself, and what I love, and what I am truly capable of without that confidence. So, to those people, and you know who you are – Thank you xo.

Even miracles take a little time.

A quote from Walt Disney’s Cinderella.

Walt Disney’s Cinderella is one of my favourite movies. I have loved it since I was a little girl. In many ways, the movie is very sentimental to me and I will always love it. I really do love this quote because I think that it is helpful. I have had two very stressful weeks. I have cried more than once. I have been utterly stressed out and now, after a lot of time, energy, patience, and phone calls, I am able to walk into the weekend knowing that everything is okay. It took time, and it took effort, but I made it in the end and it was worth it.

When I was deciding which four quotes I would mention, because truly there are hundreds that I could mention, but when I was trying to choose four to start with, this one popped into my head almost immediately. I think that if you want to do something and it is important, and you consider it worth doing, then the effort you put in won’t be for nothing. Things may take time, and require patience, but I think that in the end, if it something you truly wish to do then the patience will pay off.

The lights were clicking on, and the rightful owner of the music, tiny but no longer timid sang for the rightful owners of the song.

A quote from Interruption at the Opera House, a poem by Brian Patten.

This is one of my favourite poems. I will talk about it in a dedicated post at some point in the future because I love it and have loved it since I was fifteen. This is a poem that is about appreciation for the arts. It is a poem that is about how it does not matter where someone comes from, if they love the arts then they should have a right to hear great music, and see amazing theatre, and the poem also sheds a light on how some people may take the arts for granted.

It is a really lovely poem and I have always loved that final line because I think people who truly love the arts will know what I mean when I say that a song is not ‘just’ a song, and that a book is not ‘just’ a book. The arts can be moving, touching, and so important to so many people and this poem highlights that in a really beautiful way.

There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.

A quote from Hard Times, by Charles Dickens.

As many of you will already know, I love Charles Dickens. Hard Times is a novel that explores the tension that can exist between logic and imagination. Dickens makes the point that we cannot function on logic alone. There are things in life that are illogical, but those things are not any less valid. We must think with our hearts as well as with our heads. It is important to be rational, and logical, of course it is, but it is also so important to leave room for the illogical. It is important to leave room for creativity, and wonder. It is so important to be empathetic, and kind, as well as informed. There are many different kinds of wisdom and we can learn from so many different things. So, that is why I love this quote because I think that it is so important to acknowledge that there are different kinds of wisdom and in life, sometimes our head will be right, but other times our heart may take the lead, and that is okay. It is all about balance.

This has been Friday’s Choice. These are four quotes that I really love, and as I said, there are many, many more that I love too and I will share them, and explain the reasons behind them as time goes on here at Katelovesliterature.com.

What’s your favourite quote? Please let me know. I’d love to hear it. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Kate xo.

Comfort Shows – The Golden Girls.

Hello everyone and welcome to Friday’s Choice.

I’ll be honest and say that I have not had the best week. If you follow my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will have seen that I shared a quote that I love. ”Every kick is a boost.” – This is one of my favourite quotes by Rue McClanahan, who of course played the brilliant Blanche in The Golden Girls.

My Irish mammy always says ”what’s for you won’t pass you”, so even though it has not been the best week and I don’t feel this way now, I know that I will look back on this week and be glad that things worked out as they did.

All of this brings me to this week’s #fridayschoice. I have been thinking about comfort shows, shows that we watch when we are feeling down. I’ve been speaking to family and friends about this because I wanted to get some opinions and almost everyone I spoke to had a show or a movie or a book that they go back to when they are feeling down.

My comfort show, I’ve discovered, is The Golden Girls. Every night this week I have been watching The Golden Girls on Disney plus and it really does help me to relax and clear my head before I go to sleep.

I love this show for many reasons. It is nostalgic for me. I used to watch it a lot with my grandmother when I was younger. It is funny. The quick wit is fantastic and I believe that the character Sophia is the definition of sarcasm. The four leading ladies are a dream team. They each play their part perfectly and the chemistry the group had is something that is rare to come by.

I plan on talking about this show in more detail at a later date because I think it is an incredible show. The writing is fantastic, the storylines that the show covered were at times very powerful and poignant – I have a specific episode in mind that I plan on discussing in more detail. Most importantly, The Golden Girls is brilliant because of what it does for female representation onscreen.

There are still conversations about having older women onscreen in 2021, and many actresses have spoken about the struggles they face in casting after forty.

The Golden Girls is a show about older women and they are not the butt of the joke. They are lively, nuanced, fun, well-rounded characters who live full lives that are full of ups and downs, laughs and tears. They are interesting, dynamic, vivacious and yes, sexy. They make growing older look fabulous and it is. Yes growing older can come with new challenges, but life does not stop once you pass thirty and this show reflects that.

I adore Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty. They are wonderful, funny, talented actresses who can sing, and dance, and play instruments, and they fill the show with heart. It is actresses like these four that made me adore acting because what they do onscreen is marvellous.

I even love the theme song – ‘Thank you for being a friend’, and every time the opening credits play, starting with that shot of a plane flying through the orange sky at sunset, I feel better. I feel calm and cozy and my ideal way of watching this show is when I am snuggled up with a blanket with some tea or coffee, and sometimes even a little treat and while a tv show cannot fix a problem, it does take my mind off of it and it makes me feel a little bit better.

The reason that I wanted to talk about comfort shows is because I think the idea of a comfort show demonstrates how important the arts can be. A book, movie, or show can be so much more than ‘just’ a book or ‘just’ a movie because of what they can do for people. They can move people and make people laugh or people can relate and feel less alone or a show can even make you feel better on a bad day. Literature and the arts can do so much for so many people and this is why I am so passionate about the arts and about literature, and why I created Katelovesliterature.com.

If I was to talk about all the things that literature and the arts have done for me, I would be typing forever so for now I’m starting with comfort shows.

The Golden Girls is funny, witty, heartfelt, and so ahead of its time. I will talk about this show again in the future but for now I will simply say if you are ever having a bad day, I would highly recommend watching The Golden Girls because if you are like me then it might just bring a smile to your face too.

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Have you got any comfort shows, books, or movies? Is there a piece that brightens your day? Let me know, I’d love to know.

Kate xo.

Why I Love Musicals.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another Friday’s Choice. Last week I talked about Virgin River on Netflix which you should go and check out if you haven’t already. Today’s #fridayschoice is going to be all about why I love musicals.

I think that it is obvious from my Theatre Throwback posts that I have spent a lot of time at the theatre watching musicals. I cannot wait to get back to the theatre and I know that the next time I get to watch a musical, I will be glowing with excitement.

Today’s Friday’s Choice is a little bit more personal because I am giving you all an insight into something that I love.

I think that when it comes to musicals, they seem to split people’s opinions. I don’t think I have met anyone who had a middling opinion on musicals, perhaps it is has just been my experience and I do not wish to make sweeping statements but whenever the topic of musicals has come up in conversation, my experience has always been that people tell me that they love musicals or they hate them. There has not been much in-between.

Something that has always struck me as interesting is that whenever someone tells me that they hate musicals (which is fine by the way, we all have our own interests), they tend to mention movie musicals as examples. Now there is nothing wrong with movie musicals, but I don’t think they are the right thing to base one’s opinions about musicals off of. A movie musical that has been adapted to suit a cinema screen is very, very different to a musical that is being performed live onstage, and I will be honest and say that I do not think all musicals are suited to movie adaptations because without the live element, the concept sometimes does not translate well onto the screen and then the movie musical sometimes does not make sense.

I have had people tell me that they don’t enjoy everyone bursting into song which is pretty key to a musical. I think that when you watch a musical live onstage, the bursting into song does not feel so jarring as it sometimes does in movies. In live shows, the orchestra is always playing and you can hear the introduction to the song, and because in musicals, the songs function as a way to share more of the story and move the story forward, the songs seem so much more natural which makes sense because they’re in their natural element and I think that when watching live theatre, some of the most beautiful and emotional moments in the musical happen in the songs.

I have been watching musicals for as long as I can remember. I would say that my family is rather musical, there are people who play lots of different instruments and I went to singing classes when I was very young. We were all always in the choir, things like that and my grandmother especially loved to sing. When I was little we would watch things like My Fair Lady and Oliver! so I have enjoyed musicals since I was very young and as I got older and started taking drama classes more seriously, I began to appreciate musicals on a deeper level too.

I love musicals because they are fun. Some shows have the most fun and upbeat scores and being in the theatre watching a show like Legally Blonde or Mamma Mia is so much fun because the energy is upbeat and the atmosphere in the theatre is amazing. There is a buzz in the air and I don’t think that feeling can be recreated anywhere else.

I think that there is a magical quality to live theatre – which I know, I know, that sounds cliché, but I think it is true. I think that the feeling you get when watching live theatre is almost indescribable. When you are waiting for the curtain to rise and you can hear the orchestra play a few bars before they begin playing the overture, there is such an incredible energy in the theatre. Everyone is excited. The lights have dimmed. Everyone is eagerly anticipating the performance and then it begins.

I love musicals because I love to be moved. I think that some of the most beautiful moments happen in songs. There is something about the way that music can capture an emotion that words cannot. I adore music. I adore reading sheet music. I love how powerful and moving and personal music can be. Everyone has a favourite song and I will bet there is always a reason behind why it is their favourite. There have been times when music has moved me to tears and I think that when a piece of art touches you on that level, it is very special.

It is great to enjoy a musical. It is great to walk away and say ‘I had a great time, that was brilliant.’

I think it is another thing entirely to walk away feeling moved. When a show resonates with you or you find it relatable or touching, that is the best feeling because the show becomes more than just a show.

I love musicals because visually, they are stunning. I am always so impressed by the production. The staging, the costumes, the sets, the dancers, the ensemble. A musical is composed of many moving parts and I have great admiration for anyone who works onstage and behind-the-scenes because everyone who plays a part in making a show happen is extremely talented and together all those components create something incredible.

Musicals are a little bit of a spectacle. I think there is a certain opulence in musicals that should be just accepted as a given. It is not the realism that is created in movies. A musical is a very immersive experience because the actors onstage will bounce off of the energy of the audience. Anything can happen live. Props can break, sometimes there are mishaps, there will always be rustling in the audience and so even though the actors perform the same script again and again, it is still a different show every time.

I think that musicals are a great way to appreciate all different aspects of the arts, if you love dancing then you will love the dancing in the show. Some shows are known for their incredible dance sequences. If you love music then what could be better than a musical? There are so many different, amazing songs and I think that sometime on Katelovesliterature.com I will talk about some of my favourite scores in more detail. If you love acting and usually prefer traditional plays, then I would say to give musicals a chance because there are some incredibly talented actors who have blown me away when I watched them live. Acting onstage is very different to acting onscreen so if you have a movie musical in your head I would say to forget about the movie. Set aside that expectation and go and enjoy live performances.

Of course I understand that tickets can be expensive and sometimes there are shows that I would love to see but can’t. What I will say though is whenever I know a show is coming that I know I absolutely do want to see – not a casual ‘oh that might be nice.’ – but a proper, ‘oh my goodness, I can’t miss that.’, then I will save up or maybe I will get the tickets for my birthday or for Christmas and any time I have spent the money on theatre tickets, it has always been money well spent because I have never had a bad night at the theatre. There are also different seat options and sometimes there are deals about so if it is something you love then keep an eye out for things like that.

I cannot wait to see a show again. The next show on my list is The Rocky Horror Show. I will hopefully be seeing this weird and wonderful show in October and of course, I will write about it so keep an eye on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature) for updates on that. I am very excited about adding another program to my collection. I will be seeing this musical with a friend of mine who loves the movie, but has never been to a live musical before so I have said already to put the movie out of your head because the show will be a completely new experience. So I am very excited for that. Roll on October.

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts on musicals. Love them? Hate them? What’s your favourite musical? Is there one that stands out? Is there one that moved you? Let me know, I love hearing from you. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Kate xo.

Virgin River.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another Friday’s Choice.

Last week I talked about Ten Crime Dramas That I Binged Watched, you should go and check that out if you haven’t already.

Today’s #fridayschoice is also tv related. If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will have seen from my stories that I started watching Virgin River on Netflix.

I have now finished all three seasons of this show and I am hoping that it will get picked up for a fourth season because there are too many questions that can’t remain unanswered.

This series follows Mel Monroe, a nurse practitioner from Los Angeles as she moves to the small town of Virgin River for a fresh start. As the series goes on, we learn from flashbacks about Mel’s past and what lead up to her needing a whole new start.

In Virgin River Mel meets an ensemble of great characters. There is Jack, the handsome barman who quickly becomes her closest friend. There is Doc, the gruff and stubborn doctor who Mel must learn to work with which is difficult until she begins to see the kind, caring man behind the gruff exterior. There is Hope, the self-appointed leader of Virgin River. Hope is funny, feisty, witty, independent, and stubborn. She has a habit of meddling in other people’s business but it is hard to be too annoyed with her when her heart is always in the right place.

There are many other brilliant characters. My favourite characters are Paige, Christopher and Preacher. I think their storyline is the most interesting and intense one in the show – no spoilers here though. If you want to see what I mean then you should check it out for yourself.

While there are a lot of characters, the core four are Mel, Jack, Doc, and Hope. There are a lot of storylines happening at once but even with so many moving pieces, the plot does not feel overwhelming.

There are some beautiful scenic shots because the setting of Virgin River is simply stunning and so it is a very visually pleasing show to watch. I also think the soundtrack is fantastic. There have been many times when I have been so impressed by the music choices because the songs feel tailor made to the scenes they are accompanying.

The cast is great. I think they really captured the small-town sense of community that a place like Virgin River is bound to have. The characters are imperfect but they are endearing. Everyone knows everyone and everyone looks after each other. It is quite an emotional show. I found myself tearing up on more than one occasion as the show covers some very emotional and poignant topics.

This series has been a nice change from my usual watches because while crime dramas are my favourite genre, this is the first series I have watched in a while that is not a crime drama. It is hard to say which genre Virgin River fits into. It is not a crime drama although season three has raised the stakes and there is some illegal activity going on which I imagine will continue if the show gets picked up for season four. As I said above, our main protagonist Mel is a nurse practitioner so I suppose I could call this show a lighthearted medical drama and I would say there are elements of a romantic comedy in it too.

It is a really good watch and I would recommend it.

Up until now I have been primarily writing about movies, books, and theory on Katelovesliterature.com and I have written quite a bit about theatre too in my theatre throwbacks but I also really do love getting invested in a good tv series and so going forward I will be writing more about different tv shows too.

I really love exploring different mediums of expression because I think it is fascinating to look at how many different ways a story can be told. I think that certain mediums work better for certain stories. When you are working with a tv format, the story and the characters can continuously grow and evolve but when you are watching a movie, the story and character arcs must fit into two hours and some stories simply need more time. Some stories need the cinematic scope while others will work better in serial format and so that is why as much as I am a movie lover, I also really do enjoy watching tv.

Going forward I will be talking about more tv shows, more poems, more plays, and more short stories. There is so much to come and I am looking forward to every moment.

We are approaching the end of August which means that August’s #bookofthemonth discussion all about Michael Connelly’s City Of Bones will be published soon. Keep an eye on my Instagram for updates.

We are also approaching my favourite time of the year, autumn and winter, and I am very excited for all that is to come.

Have you seen Virgin River? Let me know what you thought of it and if anyone has any tv suggestions for me, please drop them in the comments below. This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Kate xo.

Inspired By Literature: An Interview With The Artist.

Hello everyone and welcome to a very exciting Friday’s Choice. 

As you all will know by now, I believe that English Literature is a wonderfully enriching subject to study because I think that a love for literature can open many doors and it can be an inspiration to so many people. 

This week I had the wonderful opportunity to chat to the incredibly talented artist Annabel Carington. Annabel is fascinated by the relationship between language and images and I reached out to her after seeing one of her beautiful paintings, a piece that was inspired by Elizabeth Bowen’s short story The Back Drawing Room. This is one of my favourite stories, I have written a review about it which you should check out if you haven’t already and I am going to take this opportunity to recommend the story again because it is simply brilliant. It is a mysterious and complex take on the ghost story and I adore the idea of the past haunting the present which is a theme that Bowen explores in this story. I saw Annabel’s painting and as someone who greatly admires art, I loved that she captured the mystery of this story on a canvas and I thought it was wonderful that this stunning piece was inspired by a piece of literature. 

So today’s Friday’s Choice is all about the interview I conducted with Annabel Carington over zoom. I asked her all about her love for art and literature and what inspires her and the conversation we had was just wonderful so stay tuned. I would also like to say thank you so much to Annabel for taking the time to chat with me. It was a fascinating conversation. I learned so much. It is always so lovely to speak to people who enjoy the arts and who enjoy literature and one of my favourite things to do is listen to someone talk to me about something that they are passionate about. Annabel was so lovely and so kind and I could not have asked for a more lovely chat so Annabel thank you very much. 

So let’s dive into the interview. 

When did you start painting? Have you always enjoyed art?

“I’ve been painting all of my life. I’ve always loved reading and writing, drawing and painting and as a child I was always spending my money on books and art materials. Not much has changed!”

Have you always had a love for literature or did that come later?

“I’ve always loved to read. When I was younger I might have thought of reading, writing, painting and drawing as separate things but, over time I found that they are complementary. If you look back through history it is common for writers to also be artists and for artists to also be writers, so there is something there about the two working together. I have also always been interested in these as different forms of expression and why someone chooses to express themselves in the way they do. Perhaps there are things that one can express in painting that can’t be expressed in writing. I find that very interesting.”

Would you say that literature inspired painting or was it the other way around? Did one come before the other or have they always worked together?

“I’ve always loved reading and painting but over time I’ve developed an interest in the way art is portrayed in literature. Lots of writers write fiction about art and I find the crossover or differences in interpretations of art in literature fascinating. I’m particularly interested in early 20th century art and how this is portrayed in writing. 

The nature of what I paint has changed over time. I’ve always been inspired by the natural world and have made a lot of seascapes and landscapes. But this interest in the connection between art and literature has really developed further over the last three years, and I have become especially inspired by literature in my painting during that time, and so the ‘landscapes’ that I make now come more from this.”

Was there a specific idea or moment that made you realise that you really enjoyed creating pieces inspired by classic literature?

“Since the mid-nineties I’ve carried around T.S Eliot’s Four Quartets with me. I have read it everywhere: on public transport, in queues, in waiting-rooms, etc. I always had it with me. Then, about three years ago, I don’t know why but I decided I wanted to create a painting about these poems, so I made a painting called ‘Burnt Norton.’ The process of making that painting made me realise this was actually an entire series I wanted to make, so that one painting led to a forty-eight piece collection! There are now twelve paintings for each of the four quartets and the names of the pieces come from the name of the poem itself and then from quotations within those poems. This was a defining moment for me and a real shift in my work and the ultimate ambition and focus became to create pieces from works of literature. I now can’t imagine doing anything else. When I was making the Four Quartets series, I really gave myself to the work, and it consumed me, really. A lot of sketchbook work went into it; I made several trips to East Coker and the other locations in the poems; and I went and did the walks that Eliot did with Emily Hale to get a feel for the landscapes he walked through. I really absorbed myself in the work. It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up every morning. I also spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning of the poems as well as what they had meant to me at different stages of my life. So the paintings are a mix of personal, real, and fictional landscapes. I had to paint them and, as I say, I was consumed by the work. It’s part of me.”

I would imagine the creative process is very personal and that it can be quite emotional at times. Would you agree?

“I think the creative process can be viewed by some as self indulgent and people who don’t have that mindset are often perplexed by the thought of spending so much time on your own, working on what can be very personal ideas. You put the work first. You spend a lot of time alone and you make sacrifices because the work comes first. You never know if you’re going to be financially recompensed, or even if anyone will ever ‘get’ the work that you’re making, but all you can do is make the work that you know you have to make, because it is a compulsion. I have to make these paintings. I can’t tell you why I have to but, I have to. It’s an ongoing thing — you never switch off when you have this kind of mindset — there is the potential for inspiration everywhere, but that’s ok…I don’t want to switch off…I see it as a good thing.”

You have said that you are very interested in the relationship between language and images. Can you tell me more about that?

“It goes back to the idea that there are so many different forms of expression and I’m interested not only in why someone chooses to express themselves in the form that they do, but the ways in which these forms overlap. If you look at a writer like Elizabeth Bowen, for example, her writing is very visual. On the one hand, this isn’t a particularly unusual feature in writing of that period because of the influence of the rise of cinema, TV and advertising, so there was a shift in focus towards the visual anyway but, on the other hand, there are aspects of her work which I think are especially cinematic and so it does lend itself to some form of visual interpretation, whether that’s painting or film adaptation. She was, of course, very interested in painting, so maybe that’s another reason why this is a particular feature of her writing. When you study literature you spend a lot of time discussing imagery and the visuals that the writer creates, as well as what that does for the reader and how it affects interpretation, so I think my interest in language and images and how they work together is a natural extension of that.”

Is it frustrating if an idea is not translating onto the canvas the way you envisioned it? How does it feel when a work is complete? I’d imagine it is quite emotional. 

“I think all artists look at their work and find flaws. I think it’s a common trait because we are always striving for something which perhaps feels just out of reach and so, yes, there can be times when it can feel frustrating. Over time, though, that has evolved for me and I see it as part of my practice and process now, so rather than feeling frustrated, I tend to feel excited about where the process might take me and the work. The idea — that envisioning you mention — is something I now see as just the starting point and a lot of it gets worked out at the sketchbook stage. I’m creating a piece inspired and informed by literature, rather than illustrating words, and so I am necessarily taking myself to the work as well and so the painting can change and evolve — that is exciting! An example is my painting that was inspired by Bowen’s The Back Drawing Room: the house started off as a much larger feature in my head because I’d always envisioned the house as rather large in the story, and it is such a crucial feature of the story, but of course the painting is a different piece of work from the story and is not an illustration of it, so conveying an overall atmosphere and feeling was more important than a conventional idea of ‘adaptation’ or ‘accuracy.’ I wanted to convey the idea of dreamlike ideas, or places you can’t fully remember, because for me, that’s critical to the story and is more significant than technical descriptions.

The best feeling in the world is when you are in the studio and everything is going right. When you finish a piece it is extremely satisfying, but it can be disorienting too, because then it is finished, and this thing into which you’ve invested so much doesn’t need you anymore. The gap between finishing one piece and starting another can be strange, and it can be hard to settle on and have certainty in a new idea sometimes, but that is all just part of it. This kind of feeling is particularly acute at the end of a whole series, rather than just one piece of work, and you can even worry about losing your ability to paint altogether… that maybe what you’ve just finished is the best it’s ever going to get! Experience tells you this is never the case though, so you just have to keep turning up to the studio and carry on until the next thing starts to fall into place. This can sometimes take a while but it always happens in the end — you just have to keep going.

When someone connects with the work it is so lovely and very humbling and you feel that you have communicated something.”

How will you pick your next piece? What is inspiring you at the moment?

“I’m currently working on a series entitled Sleep. I am very interested in nighttime and how nighttime is portrayed in literature and how dreams, nightmares, sleeping and insomnia are written about in fiction and poetry. The idea of exploring what we mean when we talk about dreamscapes and dreamlike things is fascinating because dreams are so often linked to the imagination and what we regard as ‘acceptable’ cultural expression — or not! It’s challenging in a different way to the Four Quartets series because I’m creating pieces inspired by many different writers, rather than just one, so doing that while maintaining a sense of cohesion in the collection is part of the challenge and there has to be something that links the literature I choose other than simply the thematic commonality of nighttime subject-matter. Night is interesting in the history of art: artists have always painted the night but of course no one paints the day as a subject, because day is the default. Night is seen so differently, as a place and landscape in itself. And you can’t paint the night without also painting some form of light, so it’s interesting to see how artists over the centuries have chosen to illuminate their paintings of nighttime, and to then see how I can take this idea to instances of night in literature and bring those into my own painting, and think about what illumination might mean when I’m making my work.”

One thing that I like to ask people is do they have a favourite book so is there a particular book that you love?

“I love Elizabeth Bowen’s The House in Paris. I think Bowen is a very painterly writer and this is by far her most painterly work. I actually think the book is structured like a painting and works in a similar way, so in a way it’s bound to be my favourite!”

Where can people find you?

https://annabelcarington.com/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/annabelcarington/

I would highly recommend going and having a look at Annabel’s website and her Instagram page because as highlighted in the wonderful chat we had above, Annabel is an incredibly talented artist and I think it is amazing to see someone’s ideas expressed on a canvas in such a beautiful way so if you are an admirer of art then this will definitely be something you enjoy and if you love literature then you’ll enjoy seeing the art that literature inspired. 

Annabel has very kindly given me permission to share photographs of some of her pieces so I’m going to share them below. I hope you enjoy this Friday’s Choice. I personally love it and I’m so glad that the opportunity arose. I hope to do more interviews in the future and again thank you to Annabel Carington for sharing her time, her experience and expertise and most importantly for sharing her work. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. 

Kate xo. 

A Dream Oppressed and Shifting – by Annabel Carington.
In My Beginning Is My End – by Annabel Carington.
Night Walk – by Annabel Carington.