Theatre Trip: Blood Brothers.

Blood Brothers by Willy Russell, a theatre review and discussion by Kate O’Brien.

I had the most brilliant Saturday because not only did I have a great day in town, enjoying great drinks, great food, and great company, but I also went to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to see Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. 

Some readers may remember that last August I went on a #theatretrip to see Blood Brothers when the show was being performed in Belfast. If you’re a new reader and you’re interested in reading about the weekend I spent in Belfast then click the link below.

In this piece that was entitled “Blood Brothers in Belfast,” I talked about the cost of going on a little trip like this, because even though it wasn’t the longest trip, things can still get pretty pricey. I love to travel, and obviously it is no secret that I love the theatre and this can be an expensive love, but I do consider myself to be fairly realistic and I do my very best not to impulse buy. I like to sit down and properly think about what is worth a splurge and what is not. 

I was honest and transparent in this piece, I broke down the cost of everything we did, what we considered worth a splurge and why, and I also talked about some of the things we do to stay budget friendly so if you’re someone who loves a city break and would be interested in reading an honest breakdown of costs then be sure to click the link and have a read. It was a fantastic break and we ended up stumbling upon an absolutely gorgeous fairytale exhibition, which I’ve written all about and I’ve shared some gorgeous photographs from the trip so take a look! 

Blood Brothers is hands down my favourite musical. I’ve said before that it is a masterpiece. If you’re a new reader, you may not have read the piece in which I explained why this show means so much to me. To try and be brief; I studied speech and drama for years. I studied Blood Brothers for years. I was part of an amateur production of the show which was an experience that has truly stuck with me for life. I made lifelong friends, I have incredible memories, and I learned so much. It is one of those shows that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. Any time I get the opportunity to go and see the show professionally, I jump at the chance. That is why we decided to make the trip to Belfast because the show was not coming to Dublin. I could not miss the show when it was only a two hour bus journey away. Later when it was announced that the show would be returning to the Bord Gáis, I didn’t even hesitate. I knew I had to see it again, and it was just sensational. 

Blood Brothers tells the tragic story of Michael and Edward Johnstone, Mickey and Eddie respectively. Mickey and Eddie are the twin sons of Mrs. Johnstone. The story begins with Mrs. Johnstone telling us all about how she ended up with seven children before she was twenty-six. Her husband has walked out on her, leaving her with seven hungry mouths to feed and another on the way. 

Struggling to get by, she takes a job as a cleaner in a big house. She works for the very wealthy Mrs. Lyons. Mrs. Lyons is desperate for a child but she has been unable to get pregnant. When Mrs. Johnstone discovers she is having twins, she doesn’t know how her family will survive. Desperate to become a mother, Mrs. Lyons convinces Mrs. Johnstone to give one of the twins to her, with the promise that she can see him everyday when she comes to work. 

Scared and desperate herself, Mrs. Johnstone agrees and Mrs. Lyons forces her to swear on the bible. After the deal has been made, Mrs. Lyons fires Mrs. Johnstone and the poor woman is determined to take her son back but Mrs. Lyons won’t allow it. She lies to the superstitious woman, telling her that twins who were parted must never learn the truth because if they do, they will die. 

The rest of the story follows Mickey and Eddie as they grow up and become the best of friends, not knowing that they are truly brothers. The story follows the boys as they grow up from the age of seven to eighteen, and as life goes on, they tragically learn that the older they get, their differences will inevitably become more apparent. Mickey grew up the youngest of eight in a very poor family with a mother who loved her children, and did her best, but she could not shield her children from the harshness of their world. Eddie, Edward grew up as an only child in a very wealthy household, with educated and wealthy parents. He had the world, and he never faced the same worries that Mickey did. 

Blood Brothers is a tragic tale. It is phenomenal. It is utterly brilliant because it is poignant, and it is tragic, but it is also incredibly funny and witty. It is raw. I think that raw is the best word to use when describing it. Willy Russell did not shy away from highlighting how difficult it is to grow up in poverty. He really captures how sometimes people just don’t have a chance. 

Mrs. Johnstone didn’t expect her husband to abandon her. She had to somehow make things work, she had to go out and find work. Very few people helped her, and many people looked down on her and her children but none of them stopped to think about how they’d fare if they were in her difficult situation. 

Ultimately it is a story of nature vs nurture, but beyond that it is a story about class differences and what they do to people. Edward was not inherently better than Mickey, he was just lucky that he was the baby Mrs. Lyons picked out of the pram. It could have just as easily been Mickey. Mickey could have just as easily had the charmed, wealthy life and he could have just as easily escaped all of the struggles that poverty entails. It was simply a matter of luck. None of us decide what family we are born into, but how others in society treat us based on something we could not control is extremely interesting. It is a huge point of discussion. It is why I think that Blood Brothers is the masterpiece that it is, because the core theme which is class differences, is a theme that has always and most likely will always be extremely relevant. How we treat those who have less than us, how we think of those who have less than us, is a conversation that needs to be had much more often. 

The story is extremely thought-provoking and there are a number of ways that one could discuss it. The dialogue is sharp and quick-witted. There are some really tender moments. The score is catchy and the music utilises repetition in a very clever way. There are many musical themes that are repeated throughout the show and I like to think of it as being one musical thread that keeps expanding. There are a lot of mirroring scenes to show the differences between the two households. We see clearly how one situation works out for Mickey and then immediately we are shown how differently it works out for Edward. There is also a brilliant back and forth between Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Lyons and how they mother. Mrs. Lyons may be wealthier and she may be far more educated, but I would argue that Mrs. Johnstone is a much more loving and caring mother. To sum up their dynamic, I would say that Mrs. Lyons is always concerned about how situations make her feel whereas Mrs. Johnstone is primarily focused on how her children feel. Mrs. Johnstone has love pouring out of her, it’s just the lack of money that stops her from giving her children the world. It is a very interesting thing to see play out onstage because it forces us as an audience to stop and think about the assumptions we may have about other people. To see them on the street, many may automatically assume that Mrs. Lyons is the “better mother” or that because they are wealthy that the Lyons family is the “better family”, but this is not necessarily true. 

I’ve thought a lot about whether I consider it to be a top or bottom-heavy show (this refers to when one act of a show is fuller than the other) and I’ve come to the conclusion that I think it is a bottom-heavy show. Act-two covers so much ground, but I will say that I think act one does a spectacular job of setting up all of the themes that will be followed through in act two. 

The beginning of act one is quite exposition focused, we learn about Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Lyons, we see the differences between the two women and their lives, we see the deal being created and made, and then we see the two starkly different lives that the boys have – but as we see all of this play out, we see things that are set up and then we see them mirrored and followed through in act two. It is really satisfying to see the full circle moments in terms of how the story is structured. The show also moves quite quickly. 

That is another thing that I absolutely adore about this show, the pacing. I love that from the time the curtains open in act one to the time that they close again, there is not one clap. Usually in shows, there is some applause after each song. The pacing of Blood Brothers captivates the audience, we move from one song to the next and the narrator who is always present and lurking onstage keeps things moving along. There is no time to clap after each song, but this makes for a brilliant atmosphere in the theatre because there are times when the narrator is delivering a monologue and the entire theatre is silent. You could hear a pin drop. We are hanging on his every word and it is incredible. The energy is electric, and I think this is especially impressive when you consider that the narrator tells you how the story will end right at the start. He asks us have we heard the story of the Johnstone twins? Have we heard how they were born and how they died on the same day? Have we heard about how it all came to be? – I get chills just typing this out. He asks us have we heard of Mrs. Johnstone? Then he says bring her on, and see how she came to play this part – and this brings us into the plot. 

I think it is amazing that a story and a cast can command such attention, especially in a story like this that tells the audience how it ends right at the start. 

I want to take a moment to applaud the entire cast. Blood Brothers is an extremely precise piece and there are so many things that just would not work if one person was not doing what they were meant to do. There are moments where everyone moves their head in the same direction, at the same time, at a certain beat in the music. The lighting also moves with the words at times too. It is a very impressive and precise piece. There is a moment where the narrator takes a photograph of Mickey, Eddie, and Linda and when he hands the camera back to Mickey, he holds the strap for a moment too long so the pair are forced to stand unmoving. It is a great moment because the narrator is on the stage the entire time, he is always present, always lurking, watching as this story plays out, updating the audience when he needs to. The characters are unaware of his presence and he never interacts with them. He helps move props, he hands them props, but he never has dialogue with them so this moment with the camera is incredible. It is almost like a breaking of the fourth wall in a way. I’ve had the opportunity to see Blood Brothers professionally a few times now and every single time, that moment with the camera happens the same way, at the same time, on the same beat. It is precise. This kind of exact timing takes true teamwork and this cast is an incredible team. The cast all bow together instead of bowing one by one and I think this really highlights how much of a beautiful ensemble piece this show is. 

So congratulations and bravo to the entire cast and crew. 

I can’t say enough great things about Blood Brothers. I would go to see it again tonight if I could. 

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. All I can say is that if you get the opportunity to see this show, do not miss it. It is beautiful, funny, sad, and it is a piece that will stay with you for a very long time. 

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Festive wishes & a Christmas book review by Kate O’Brien. 

Christmas is my favourite holiday. It is a time that I associate with family, friends, and lots of love. I really enjoy being festive. I enjoy buying and wrapping gifts, I love Christmas lights. I love when my home is filled with Christmas decorations. I love candy canes, I will have hot chocolate even though it is not my favourite…I do however, love a Baileys hot chocolate. 

Tis the season after all. 

I can’t believe that it is this time of year again. I feel like the year has flown by. 

It has been a busy year, but I am very thankful that I can say that it has been a great year. 

This will be my last review/discussion of 2022. I will be discussing two books. 

After I publish this piece I will be taking a break for Christmas. I love It is my passion project, but I work on my laptop, I’m doing my master’s which consists of lots and lots of research and essay writing, and I am always writing reviews so even though I love what I do, and I consider myself very lucky, I’m constantly typing so I think it is important to take time away from the laptop screen every once in a while. I will be writing and publishing reviews and discussions again in the New Year. 

Thank You. 

Before I jump into my final review of 2022, I want to take a moment to say thank you so much to all of my readers. You know who you are. Thank you so much to everyone who has subscribed to I really appreciate it, and I hope that you all have been enjoying my reviews and discussions so far. I hope that you continue to enjoy them as we move into 2023. There is so much more to come. Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates. I hope that you all have a happy and healthy New Year. Here’s to 2023. 

I want to say a special thank you to the Children’s Books Ireland team and to the Beehive Books team. I’m honoured to be a member of the Children’s Books Ireland reviewer team. I’m such an advocate when it comes to encouraging young people to read. I really believe that the books we read when we are young can open up so many doors. Everything that I do now can be credited to  the fact that I was an avid bookworm when I was young, and I am so glad that the adults in my life encouraged my love of reading and ensured that I always had books. This is why I am such a fan of the Children’s Books Ireland ethos, which is that every child has the right to be a reader, and every child should have access to good quality reading materials. Every school should have a library. I have huge admiration for everyone at Children’s Books Ireland, and for all of the work that they do, and so I am delighted that I can say that I am involved in some way. #everychildareader. 

I’ve also been so lucky this year as I have gotten to know some members of the Beehive Books team. I’ve had the opportunity to attend some book launches and to review some of their books. Everyone whom I have met has been so kind, so lovely, and so welcoming, which is something that I really appreciate. I have a keen interest in the publishing industry, and when you meet people who are doing what you are striving towards, and they are so encouraging, it is really lovely. Thank you to everyone at Beehive Books. 

I’m adding social links below. Be sure to check them out!




A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

(The first of two book discussions.)

The Christmas season never passes me by without reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It is a classic that is synonymous with Christmas in my opinion. I think it is such a significant read. Everyone should have to read this book at least once, and I do believe that it should be taught in English classes at this time of year. It is extremely hard for me to choose a definite favourite Dickens’ text. He is my favourite classic author. I loved studying his fiction and his journalism. Writing about his works was challenging, but it was a challenge that I really enjoyed. I would highly recommend reading A Christmas Carol first if you have never read any of his other works before, as although it is a dense text, I think it is a straightforward story to get into. The book also does a great job of introducing readers to the writing style of Charles Dickens. He is a very descriptive, evocative writer, and some of the scenes in A Christmas Carol are incredibly vivid because they are filled with such detail. I would argue that is why this book is so cinematic, and why a story like this lends itself to so many film adaptations. 

I have discussed A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens in much more detail in a previous book discussion. You can read it by clicking the link below. 

I’m also looking forward to watching Christmas Carole starring Surrane Jones. This show will be airing on Sky on Christmas Eve, and based on the trailer, I think it looks quite good.

Surrane Jones is obviously taking on the role of Scrooge. She appears to be an uptight businesswoman who scoffs at Christmas and kindness. Following the classic Dickens plot, she will be visited by three ghosts. Some may call this plot predictable by now, and this is somewhat true because even if you have never read the original text, A Christmas Carol has been adapted so many times that by now almost everyone knows the story and how it plays out. It is a little formulaic, but that is okay. That is the nature of a story like this. It is predictable, it does follow a set structure, but nevertheless it is a heartwarming, and very important tale. I’m excited to see this new take on it, even though I already have clear ideas about how the show will play out. 

I’m a fan of Surrane Jones, and it looks as though this adaptation has a fantastic cast so I am looking forward to sitting down and tuning in this Christmas Eve. I will do a mini #watchtvwithme on the spot review as I’m watching so be sure to follow along on my Instagram stories @katelovesliterature

The Holly Pond Hill Christmas Treasury by Paul Kortepeter. 

(The second of two book discussions.) 

The Holly Pond Hill Christmas Treasury, illustrated by Susan Wheeler and written by Paul Kortepeter is a book that I have had since I was a little girl. I flipped through it again a few days ago, and I was reminded of just how charming this book is. 

This delightful book is a collection of festive recipes, Christmas stories, poems, and songs. It is filled with charming illustrations and it is the perfect read for when one is counting down the days until Christmas. The characters of Holly Pond Hill are getting into the Christmas spirit and readers will too when they flip through the pages of this Christmas treasury. I think it is such a sweet keepsake. I’m so glad that I still have it after all these years. I think that a book like this would make a lovely present for a young reader, because it is something that they can have forever. A book like this can become a Christmas tradition because it is one that can be returned to every year. I think my favourite poem in this book is A Call for Snow! It is short and sweet, and perfect for young readers who want to practise reading independently. 

I’m delighted that I came across this book. It made for a fun trip down memory lane, and I just had to share it here on 

I am looking forward to 2023. I have a feeling it will be a great year. There is so much more to come, and I believe that there is no way to go except onwards and upwards. 

For now, thank you all for reading. I appreciate every like, and every comment. I love what I do, and it is so lovely that people engage with what I write. Until next year…

Merry Christmas. 

Kate xo.

The Holiday Before Christmas: Leipzig.

A travel diary by Kate O’Brien.

Christmas trees, fairy lights, gluhwein, and more. The Christmas markets in Leipzig were a magical sight. Germany has been on my travel wishlist for a long time, and I was so excited to spend a snowy few days in Leipzig. 

I wasn’t expecting to travel again before Christmas, but my Mam surprised me with a trip to Germany. It was cold, it was snowy, it was a trip filled with festive fun. 

I couldn’t wait to go, especially because Leipzig is a city that has a rich literary history, and there is nothing I love more than exploring a #literarycity. 

We flew out on a Sunday and we flew back to Dublin the following Wednesday. 

It is fantastic that Ryanair now has direct flights from Dublin to Leipzig. 

It may have been a short trip, but it was filled with amazing food, lovely drinks, some shopping, and we explored some fantastic sights. I had the best time, and Leipzig is a city that I will most definitely be returning to, but for now, I’m delighted to be able to add Leipzig to the travel diaries. 

If you enjoy reading about literary inspired trips then read on, because I’m going to outline some of the exploring we did, and I’m going to share some of the snaps I took. This city is a photographer’s dream, especially since the entire city was decorated for Christmas. 

It was glittering, sparkling, and all things festive. 

Leipzig is a cultural hub, and I was especially excited about the city’s musical history. 

The city has often been called the city of music, and if you’re a fan of classical music then this city is one you won’t want to miss. 

Please note – All images shared are photographs that I have taken myself, with my own phone. They may not be shared without my permission. 

St. Thomas Church. 

One of the places that I was most excited to visit was St.Thomas Church. (Thomaskirche). 

This church is said to date back to the 12th century, and although it has seen some changes over time, it is hard to imagine that a structure has stood in the same spot for such a long time. 

After some renovations, today the church is a beautiful, gothic building. It is a sight to behold. 

St.Thomas Church is home to one of the oldest, and most renowned boys’ choirs. The St.Thomas Boys’ Choir has sung in these halls since the year 1212, and at one point in time the choir was led by the one and only Johann Sebastian Bach. 

Johann Sebastian Bach has a reputation as one of the best composers of all time. He has been called a genius due to the way he composes counterpoints. A counterpoint refers to when melody lines are woven together, creating the harmony at the same time as the melody. Bach was also a particularly talented organ master, and during the church’s renovations, a new Bach organ was installed. This is the impressive organ that visitors will see when they visit the church today. 

In a little corner room in the church, I found my dream come true. Instruments and sheet music, all saved and displayed in cases. It was amazing to see handwritten scores that have been saved for all these years. I love music, I studied music, and while I don’t discuss it as much as I should, I adore classical music and music theory. 

I love scores. I think that there is something incredible about seeing the work that someone put on paper. Someone sat down and created song, and that is a talent that I wish I had. 

Music is universal and immortal. It seems unbelievable that the music of a choir master from centuries ago is still being played, remembered, and respected today, but Bach has left behind an impressive musical legacy and reputation. 

I was really hoping to see some sheet music and scores, so I was not disappointed. 

Outside the church, a statue of Bach sits overlooking the grounds. I think it is lovely that he is being remembered in St.Thomas Church in Leipzig after all of his musical service there. 

It is said that Bach is buried there too. The Bach museum is directly across the street so all of these must-see sights are very easy to find. 

This is a stop that music lovers won’t want to miss. Lovers of architecture will really enjoy it too, as this building with its high ceilings and stained-glass windows is just stunning. 

I bet that hearing a choir echoing through these walls would be absolutely amazing. 

I also want to note that visitors can also view the tower, but unfortunately I could not do this as this tour does not run past November. Oh well! This gives me yet another reason to return to Leipzig, not that I needed much convincing. 

I’d also like to share one of my favourite Bach quotes. 

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” – Johann Sebastian Bach. 

I think that music is something that touches the soul and pulls on one’s heartstrings in a way that not many things can. It is absolutely incredible how a piece of music can resonate with a person so much. That is why I love this quote. 

St. Nicholas Church. 

The second church we visited was St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikiriche). 

At this church, visitors are not permitted to take photographs.

This church is absolutely stunning, it is a sight you won’t want to miss, however it is a sight that you cannot take photographs of. You can buy a private photo pass in the gift shop for €1, which I did, however these pictures are for private use only. The church states that pictures are not permitted to be shared online or on any social media platforms. I’m sure that people share their pictures anyway, however I’m not going to do so, as I would not like any of my own photos to be shared without my permission. 

This church is a gothic building with baroque elements, and I would say that this building has a delicate, almost romantic feel to it. The interior is pink and white, and a huge silver organ sits overhead, looking down at all the pews. This organ is the largest organ in all of Saxony. 

Several of Bach’s pieces premiered in this church. This church is only a few minutes walk away from St.Thomas Church so it is definitely worth making a stop at both. 

Mephisto Bar. 

Mephisto is an elegant bar that you’ll find if you walk through the famous Mädler-Passage. The arcade was built between 1912-1914, and it is a sight of beauty and grandeur. At this time of year, it is also a sight of Christmas trees. Mephisto is a bar that has a wonderfully eccentric atmosphere. The stylish bar is home to Mephisto, who is a demon figure that can be found in German folktales. I just had to visit here as a lover of fairy tales and folktales. 

The bar is elegant, with a devilish touch. Mirrors change, and at certain times, smoke and lightning flashes as Mephisto himself makes an appearance on the ceiling. 

It is such good fun. Cocktail lovers need to make a stop here, as the menu is absolutely delicious. 

Christmas Markets. 

The highlight of my trip was exploring the Leipzig Christmas markets. These markets are the second-oldest Christmas markets in Saxony as they date back to 1458. The markets are huge, and at every turn you’ll find fairy lights, Christmas trees, decorations, gluhwein, toffee apples, and more. There are treats at every stall. Mugs, cakes, ornaments, jewellery, I could go on and on. 

Exploring the markets while Christmas music played was absolutely magical, and there was a festive joy in the air. I absolutely loved all of the hustle and bustle, even though it was very cold. 

I am so happy that I had the chance to tick Germany off my travel wishlist, although I definitely want to return to Leipzig as I know there is much more to do and see. I really wanted to see the Opera House, but unfortunately the schedule was tight. Next time that will be my first stop. 

I would absolutely return to the Christmas markets in Leipzig although I do think that the city would be lovely to explore in the summer, and I want to explore other places in Germany too, so be it in the cold or in the sun, I will be visiting Leipzig again. 

I really enjoy travelling to places that are filled with rich literature, history, and beauty, and I really enjoy writing about these trips. If you enjoy reading my travel diaries, then be sure to read all about my past trips to Oslo, London, Pompeii, Naples, Florence, and Rome as I did lots and lots of literary things in these literary cities. 

Links below: 

Beauty & The Beast.

Beauty & The Beast.

A #theatretrip discussion by Kate O’Brien.

December is finally here. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I kicked off my festive season early last week as I went to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to see the spectacular musical Beauty & The Beast. 

I’ve been very fortunate as this year I was able to attend the theatre quite a lot. I have thoroughly enjoyed every musical that I’ve had the chance to see, however this #theatretrip was particularly magical.

I’m slightly biased as I have been a fan of Beauty & The Beast since I was a little girl, and I was even in an amateur production of the musical when I was in school and studying drama. The score is beautiful, the story is magical, and Belle is a protagonist who will always hold a special place in my heart.

I know that fairy tales often face criticism, and this story is no exception, however I’ve always appreciated the story. A spoiled, cruel prince is cursed to look as beastly on the outside as he behaves on the inside. Belle is a beautiful girl, but she is shunned by her village because she does not conform to their narrow expectations. Gaston is handsome (in a cartoonishly, conventional sense), he is a town hero, but he is vain, and cruel, and dangerous when he does not get his way.

It is a simple story really. It is an elaborate metaphor. The prince learns that he cannot be cruel, and in order to make connections with others and find love, he must be a kind, caring person who treats others with kindness and respect. Belle does not judge books by their covers. She does not judge the beast because of his beastly appearance, she rebukes his rude behaviour and mean attitude, and it is only when he begins to reflect and change his ways, does she begin to like him. Belle never conforms to what the villagers want from her. She does not sacrifice her independence, or her love of reading, she stays true to herself, and she meets someone who loves her for the person that she is. She stands up for her father, and for herself, and for everything that she believes in.

The entire story is told on a beautiful, bright stage, accompanied by lively dance numbers, and absolutely beautiful music. The score is fun, upbeat, and filled with so much love.

If you’re like me then I’d say you will laugh, and cry if you’re in the audience.

The music of Alan Menken pulls on the heartstrings, and the score is perfectly made up of the classic songs that we all know and love from the Disney animation, alongside some stunning numbers for the stage.

I want to mention three numbers in particular, but I am not exaggerating when I say that I really love the entire score, the overture alone fills me with excitement.

I have to mention Be Our Guest, If I Can’t Love Her, and A Change in Me.

In my opinion, these three songs are stand out moments in this magical show.

Be Our Guest seems like it would be an obvious stand out, but the number is truly fantastic. It is bright, it is joyous, it is an explosion of life, dancing, glittering costumes, and magic on the stage. Alyn Hawke was a spectacular Lumiere. He was funny, he was witty, he was engaging, and he brought this number to life. Be Our Guest is Lumiere’s big moment, and it is a song that everyone in the audience has high expectations for. Hawke delivers, as does the entire ensemble. If I had to use one word to describe this number, I’d call it effervescent. It was wonderful.

If I Can’t Love Her is one of my favourite songs from any musical. Ever. Full stop. It is absolutely beautiful. Hearing this song played live by the fantastic musicians made me cry, and Shaq Taylor was phenomenal as the beast. This song is about the beast losing hope, because the beast is questioning who can he love if he does not love Belle? She is a symbol of hope. She is someone whom he could have a wonderful connection with, but he fears she will never return his feelings. So he sings, he asks “If can’t love her, then who?”

It is a stunning song. It closes act one. It is a rousing piece of music. It is a song that builds, and builds, and that last note is so beautiful, it is sustained and then the stage plummets into darkness. It is one of the only moments in the entire show when the beast is on the stage by himself, and we as the audience are invited into his thoughts. He expresses himself so clearly in this song, and it is actually incredibly poignant. I adored this moment, and I wish I could see it again.

A Change in Me takes place in act two. It is a song that Belle sings. She is very self-reflective in this song. It almost mirrors If I Can’t Love Her as this song is like a musical monologue for Belle. She is talking about herself, and about how much she has changed since leaving the village. Her entire outlook has changed, she has matured, she has learned things about herself, and about what she wants. It is a song fuelled by self-belief and I consider it to be a song that highlights Belle’s agency. She knows who she is, and she knows what she wants, and she goes for it. Courtney Stapleton was a beautiful and charming Belle. She was passionate and full of life. Her voice was stunning, and I enjoyed her performance throughout the entire show, but this song made me say “Wow.”

Courtney Stapleton sang this song brilliantly. Her voice was smooth, and strong, and the notes she hit gave me goosebumps.

Honourable mentions – Beauty and the Beast (Tale As Old As Time)  and The Mob Song.

I don’t think any moment is more magical than when Belle descends the staircase in her gorgeous, golden gown. She is glittering and dazzling, and I think everyone in the audience audibly gasped. The song Beauty and the Beast is simply charming, it is beloved, and hearing it sung so beautifully by Sam Bailey was particularly special, especially since the legendary Angela Lansbury has sadly recently passed. This song will always be a tribute to her. It was a magical moment. I felt like I was seven again.

The Mob Song is a fantastic song, as villain songs often are. It is steady, it is catchy, it is a perfect combination of very quick, very slick, bouncy words with sustained notes at the end of each verse. It is a great song when it comes to gathering a crowd and making them angry. It is a battle song. It is also incredibly revealing. “We don’t like what we don’t understand, in fact it scares us.” This line is so telling, it sums up the entire village and the ignorance of the village. They shun Belle because she does not conform, they hate the beast, because they automatically fear him. They hate anything they don’t understand, and Gaston rallies them to become an angry mob and fight anything that is different. Honestly the song has always highlighted mob mentality for what it really is – a prejudiced group banding together.

The song is great, and it really gets the audience ready for the climax of the show. I had to mention it.

The entire cast was amazing. Each and every member of the cast was fantastic. The show was full of life, magic, and wonder. It is no small task to deliver a show like this night after night, so I have to give the cast my full admiration. I love the arts. It takes time, effort, training, tears, and dedication to have a career in the arts, and casts bring magic to the stage everyday.

I also have to give a round of applause to the entire crew who makes the show happen. A huge amount of behind-the-scenes work goes into every show, and no show would be possible without the crew, but Disney musicals in particular are often larger than life.

The amount of costumes, props, special effects, and set pieces that have to be accounted for, while keeping the magic alive must be enormous. So, I want to take a moment to say bravo to the entire crew, and to the entire cast.

The show is running until January 8th, so if you get a chance to see it, do not miss it.

It is wonderful. Beauty & The Beast is a show that is fun, enchanting, bright, and full of heart.

It tells a story of two people finding themselves, and where they truly belong, and finding love along the way. It is a show about people finding their happily ever afters.

If you loved the Disney animation, you’ll love the musical. If you’re a Disney fan, you’ll love the musical. If you want a festive night out, you’ll love the musical. If you want a date night idea, you’ll love the musical. If you want to introduce your kids to the theatre, you’ll love this musical. I could gush about it forever, but I believe I have made my point.

It is a #theatretrip that you won’t want to miss.

Exciting Times Ahead!

There is a lot to look forward to on over the next two weeks.

I am so excited because there is another #theatretrip coming up very soon. I’m sure some readers may be able to guess what I am going to see next. I cannot wait. The show that I am going to see soon is very special to me, but all will be revealed in my next Theatre Trip discussion. Keep an eye out on my Instagram – @katelovesliterature.

After a trip to the theatre, I am very happy to say that I am going on a trip to a #literarycity.

I can’t wait. I did not expect to travel this side of Christmas, and I am so grateful to have been surprised with this trip.

I’m going somewhere that I’ve never been before, and I am counting down the days because this city is filled with so much literary history, this city has a particularly rich music history and I am looking forward to exploring and taking lots of pictures and just soaking in the beauty and the history of the place, as well as really enjoying the festive season.

Most of my trips are inspired by literature in some way, not on purpose, but I am very drawn to exploring places that have a rich literary background. There is something really fascinating about seeing the place where a piece of art was created.

I have not yet shared where I am going, and I think I will keep it a secret for just a little while longer, but do stay tuned because all shall be revealed very soon.

Kate xo.

My Fair Lady.

On Saturday I ventured into town for a #theatretrip. I went to see Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin.

If you know me then you know that a night at the theatre is my idea of a perfect night.

On Saturday we cracked out the autumn jackets and headed into town for a day filled with coffee, food, drinks, and some gorgeous music.

If you’re in Dublin and you want to go for a bite to eat, I am a big fan of The Woollen Mills. The restaurant is right beside the Ha’penny Bridge and the menu offers a wide range of choices along with a delightful cocktail menu.

All thoughts and opinions expressed here on are entirely my own. I have never been paid to promote or recommend anything. I’m writing about The Woollen Mills because it is a go to spot of mine, and I’d like to share it.

The theatre was buzzing with excitement, and it is great to be in a room that is filled with so much life. My Fair Lady is clearly a much-loved film, and the theatre was filled with people who love the film but hadn’t yet seen the show, or people who loved the show and the film. I fall into the latter category. I have loved the film for a very long time, and I have studied George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion in great detail, as well as being very familiar with Loewe’s music.

My Fair Lady the musical, directed by Bartlett Sher is a delight. The set is stunning, the music is charming. The show itself is funny, endearing, and full of passion. I laughed and cried in my seat, and I was in love with the beautiful costumes.

The entire cast was incredible and very deserving of the standing ovation that they received. I think a show like this would be a very hard one to step into because the roles are so iconic and audience members who absolutely adore the Audrey Hepburn adaptation have high expectations, but the cast definitely delivered.

Charlotte Kennedy played the famous Eliza Doolittle, and she did so brilliantly. I would argue that Eliza is the hardest role to play in the show, because the actress must almost play two parts. We meet Eliza on the street selling flowers, penniless and dirty, and “insulting the English language” according to Higgins, but then as the play goes on, Eliza becomes well educated, well spoken, and she no longer fits in on the streets where she grew up. Eliza has to be determined, feisty, funny, but she also has to be endearing, charming, and likeable. That is key. As the audience, we have to root for Eliza, we must cheer for her when she triumphs, we must be on her side, and to do that, we must like her. Charlotte Kennedy was beautiful. Her voice was sweet, yet strong, and had the most gorgeous, air-like quality to it. She was a funny, very passionate, and very likeable Eliza. I was on her side the entire time, as was the entire audience.

Michael D. Xavier was perfect as the snobby, pretentious, egotistical Professor Higgins. I have to commend him as some of the songs that Higgins must sing are very fast, and very wordy, but Michael D. Xavier was clear as a bell and very, very strong. Michael D. Xavier appeared to actually tear up during his final song, and he had me moved to tears. Higgins is an interesting character because at times he is incredibly unlikable, but it is important that he has the audience on side during his last song. We don’t have to like him, but we should feel for him, and I certainly did.

The ensemble was fantastic. The dancing was precise, and very classic. The costumes were dazzling, and the cast embodied their characters in every single way.

My Fair Lady is a fun show. It is charming. I think a great way to describe it is that it is effervescent, but it is not without heart. The show puts class differences front and centre for the world to see and highlights how very often, people are separated by the opportunities that they receive and the way that other people treat them.

Eliza puts it very aptly. The difference between a lady and a flower girl is how she is treated.

I loved the show. I thought it was bright, beautiful, and full of heart.

I would highly recommend seeing it if you get a chance to, and definitely watch the film if you haven’t.

Kate xo.

A snap of the beautiful stage before act one began.

My “loverly” programme.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical.

If you’re a fan of Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf then Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical is a show you don’t want to miss. Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical is an electric show that is filled with incredible rock anthems. 

I always look forward to a #theatretrip & this time was no different. I decided to buy tickets for opening night in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. I never have a bad night at the theatre, however it is unusual for me to know almost nothing about the show that I’m going to see. 

I knew that Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical existed, but I had never seen the show before & I didn’t know anything about the plot. Usually if I don’t know much about a show I will look it up & read about it so I know what I’m going into, but this time I decided to go in with no knowledge at all. I wanted to go in with completely fresh eyes so I could take it all in. 

The show was incredible. I went on Tuesday night. I’m still buzzing. The songs are stuck in my head & I’ve been trying to pin down a moment that was my favourite. 

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical brings the love story of Strat & Raven to the stage. Strat is the leader of ‘The Lost’ gang & Raven is the daughter of Falco. Falco rules the city & his family. He is overbearingly protective of Raven. He never lets her leave the house, but despite his rule, she & Strat meet & fall in love. 

It is a classic forbidden love story that has a Peter Pan style twist to it, as Strat & the rest of the ‘The Lost’ are frozen at the age of eighteen. Raven has just turned eighteen, but she will continue to age as normal. This is a problem that the couple will have to face, that is if they can get together at all, because Raven’s father is determined to keep them apart. 

This story is accompanied by the music of Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf & the staging is spectacular from start to finish. The best word I can use to describe this show is electric. 

It was absolutely brilliant. Every single cast member was fantastic & each one drew me in. 

I love seeing a cast that clearly loves the show that they’re doing. It is also brilliant when the chemistry on the stage is so obvious. There was an energy in the air & I was fully invested in every character & their stories. 

I have to give a special mention to Sharon Sexton. I might be a little biassed because I love seeing Irish actors thrive onstage, but Sharon Sexton is utterly brilliant. I saw her during the tour of Mamma Mia! The show came to Dublin & I got the chance to see her playing Donna. She was brilliant then & when I found out that she would be playing Sloane, I couldn’t wait to see her again. Her voice is just amazing. I love hearing her belt out those iconic songs. She just owns the role of Sloane & she’s got this brilliant, slick energy in every scene that she is in. Sloane is a fantastic character. I think that she might be my favourite character in the show. The pairing of Sharon Sexton & Rob Fowler as Sloane & Falco is a perfect match. The two play off of each other so well & Rob Fowler was incredibly engaging as the strict, overbearing, powerful ruler of his domain. These two singing Paradise By the Dashboard Light was one of the best moments in the show. 

Glenn Adamson & Martha Kirby played the forbidden lovers Strat & Raven. They were amazing. I’ve heard the show be described as an ensemble piece because it really is a group effort & while I would agree with that assessment, I think it is so important that we, the audience, feel connected to Start & Raven, because we need to root for them in order for the plot to work. 

I would call the show an ensemble piece, but I definitely would class Strat as a leader. He is the leader of ‘The Lost’, he looks out for all of his friends, the gang look to him for guidance etc. I felt that Glenn Adamson really commanded the stage, especially in his romantic scenes with Raven. I believed every bit of his passion & Martha Kirby as Raven complimented his Strat perfectly. Kirby’s voice is stunning. She is powerful, but she also has some softer moments & the light & shade of her voice was really beautiful. 

I could honestly go through each cast member & talk about them one by one because everyone was fantastic. The vocal skills displayed were exceptional. These are not easy songs, there are some really difficult notes in this score & the actors made it seem so easy. I’m so impressed that I’m almost jealous. I wish I had that amount of power in my voice. I just love seeing talent & passion bursting on a stage. The sets, staging, & lighting just adds to the buzzing atmosphere that this show creates. You can feel it in the audience. It is hot. It is compelling. It is powerful. It is charged. That is something that really stood out. Everyone gave a very charged, passionate performance. 

It is a fun show that brings an element of  rock’n’roll to the theatre, but within all of this fun, there is a really engaging & at times, very poignant plot. The characters are compelling & they command attention. Each character goes on their own journey. Sloane in particular has a very compelling character arc, as does Falco. 

I had the most fantastic night & I would 100% see this show again. 

Have you seen Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical? If you haven’t & you get the chance to, don’t miss it. 

My two top moments – Paradise By the Dashboard Light & You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night). 

Here’s to another fantastic #theatretrip. 

Kate xo.

The latest addition to my programme collection xo.

Theatre Trip: Blood Brothers in Belfast.

I don’t think there is anything that excites me more than a theatre trip.

It’s no secret that I love the theatre. I see a lot of shows. I’m aware that it can be an expensive pastime. I’m aware that I am very, very fortunate to be able to go to the theatre as often as I do. I make so many wonderful memories each and every time I go to see a show, and there’s just no other place that gives me the same excited buzz as when I am sitting in my seat just before the curtain rises.

Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers is a masterpiece. I can’t even begin to explain how much I love this show, but I am determined to try. I studied speech and drama for years. I have been in several productions and choirs. I have watched this show many times. I’ve seen every professional production that I could. I’ve watched amateur productions. I’ve been in this show myself, and performing in a production of Blood Brothers will always be one of my fondest memories of drama class. It was incredible, and the material has stuck with me all these years.

I saw Blood Brothers when the show came to Dublin in 2020, just before the pandemic hit Ireland and everything changed. I remember how excited I was when the five minute call was announced over the speakers. I was buzzing with anticipation. I thought the show would never start. I love it that much, I just could not wait.

I don’t tend to speak about my personal life. I try not to, just because it’s not really relevant to my literature discussions, however always typing “a friend” just feels ridiculous. The reason I’m even adding this information is because this theatre trip was fairly spontaneous. I wouldn’t call it last minute as we did have time to make plans, but the way this little city break came about was all very sudden and seeing as this is a theatre/city break piece I want to explain properly how this trip came about. Unlike my holiday to Italy, this trip was not planned months and months in advance.

This may come as a shock, but I talk about literary things quite often as a love of film in particular is something that I have in common with many of my very close friends. I was talking to my boyfriend about Blood Brothers because it is a show that I thought he would really enjoy, so we decided that the next time the show comes to Dublin, we will definitely go to see it.

I was thinking about how the last time I had seen the show was in 2020, so I thought it could be a while before it comes back to Dublin. I don’t know why, but I decided right there and then to look up “When will Blood Brothers tour again?”

Immediately I saw that there was in fact a 2022 tour happening. I was so excited, and also surprised that I hadn’t heard about it until this moment. I don’t think I’ve ever made plans so quickly. I viewed the tour dates and as soon as I saw that the show was going to be on in Belfast, I just knew that a little mini break was happening. Yes, it is a mini break. In my opinion, if you are leaving your city with an overnight bag then yes, that is a city break, even if it is only for one night.

Let’s talk about the cost. I am a full-time masters student who is about to face a mountain of work when the academic year starts again in September and I have to tackle my thesis. This means I budget. I really try to save my money and only splurge when it is really worth it, and for the most part, theatre trips are really the only thing that I do spend money on. I tend to save money from work, my birthday, and Christmas in order to be able to go to a few different shows every year, and sometimes the tickets are birthday or Christmas presents.

I am a firm believer that you can still find nice places even if you don’t want to spend a fortune, and lovely places don’t always have to cost a ridiculous amount of money.

I’m being very realistic here when I say that it is easier to do things if you are splitting the cost with someone, and when you are splitting the cost with someone, you can decide together what is worth a splurge and what isn’t.

When planning a theatre trip specifically, my thoughts are as follows; there is no point in paying a lot of money to go somewhere and stay the night (if you’re going outside of your home base), and then not have great seats at the show. Theatre tickets are theatre tickets, and they cost what they cost, and there is a price range that differs depending on where you sit, but sometimes the seats at the back of the theatre are still very pricey and if I’m going to spend money on seats, I would rather spend a little more and sit in the stalls. I’d rather an expensive seat that I have a really great view in as opposed to a less pricey, but still rather expensive seat that I may not be able to have a great view from.

Something to note here is that I am very short so I am speaking from personal experience. I find that the further back I sit, I have a harder time seeing. Honestly even when I sit in the stalls I have to hope that someone very tall does not sit directly in front of me. I’m not bashing any seats. Some people may prefer to sit further back. My own mother doesn’t like being super close to the stage, and everyone has to decide what price option works best for them, but if I’m explaining where I’m going to splurge, then I am going to be honest and say that if I can, I will sit in the stalls.

On this occasion, we decided that the hotel was worth a splurge more than transport so we booked a bus ticket from Dublin to Belfast instead of getting the train even though a train journey is usually a bit more comfortable, and even though it was only going to be for one night, we decided that we’d like to treat ourselves to a slightly pricier hotel even though there were budget options that would have been perfectly fine. If we had have been staying for a few nights, then we would have had to choose a more budget friendly hotel, but when we were talking about just one night, and one hotel was just so much nicer than the other, and the difference between the two places wasn’t absurd, we decided that we would splurge a little and treat ourselves to a really nice night in a gorgeous place.

I am going to be completely transparent and create a breakdown of costs for anyone who is interested in the table below. Feel free to skip ahead if travel breakdowns don’t interest you.

Personally, I find them helpful if I’m reading about trips so I can get an idea of prices if I want to do something similar myself.

The below table is a breakdown of costs from show tickets to accommodation, and it is all based on what we paid individually. For example the show tickets are not £40 in total, they are £40 each. Everything is divided this way.

Show Tickets£40 per person > approx. €50 each.
Transport€20 per person. Round trip. This makes it €10 each way per person. Extremely reasonable.
Hotel€65 each.  
  Total cost  €135 each.

Overall, for a plan that was put together in a very short amount of time, I am extremely happy with this price. If you look at it and compare it to a night out in Dublin, it becomes clear that we found some great prices.

Tickets to see a show in the Bord Gáis can start at €50 each, and depending on the show, I’ve sometimes paid €80 to sit in the stalls. On a night out to the theatre, we will usually get a few drinks and we sometimes go to dinner, although we don’t do this every single time. For the sake of the comparison though, let’s say we had dinner before the show and had drinks after the show. I’ve often split a dinner bill down the middle and paid €45. That usually covers my food and a cocktail or two and a soft drink.

Even before adding post show drinks, if you take the €50 for the tickets and pair it with at least another €40 for dinner and drinks with the food, that’s €90 already.

If I spend roughly €90 on a trip to the theatre (to be fair, the tickets are usually purchased far in advance so on the night of the show itself, I’m just buying dinner and/or drinks but I’m including the ticket price as part of the overall theatre trip expense) then this entire mini trip to Belfast, tickets, transport, and accommodation is costing me another €45.

If the tour had have come to Dublin, I would have absolutely bought tickets. There’s no doubt about that, so even though the tour coming to Dublin would have saved me the trip, I still think that getting a cute little break away in the month of august to stay in a nice hotel and see an amazing show and make a wonderful memory out of it for an extra €45 is so worth it.

That is really how I decide whether or not something is worth the splurge. I sit down and I think about it and I add everything up, and sometimes we go for the more affordable option or sometimes we decide that we just cannot justify something and we don’t do it, but when we find the right prices and we think it through and we compare, if it works out that we can do something really nice for not a ridiculously extra amount, we do it, and we always have an amazing time.

I want to take a moment to state that this theatre trip was not sponsored. It was not gifted. No part of this piece is an ad. We chose to go on this mini break. We paid for everything ourselves and anything that I have chosen to discuss, I have chosen because we really enjoyed it.

Now that the logistics are out of the way, let’s talk about the fun stuff.

We stayed in the gorgeous Hotel Belfast. This was a great choice because the hotel could not have been in a better location. It was a ten minute walk away from the Grand Opera House. The Botanic Gardens were just down the road. We were right beside so many little coffee shops, pubs, and book shops. It was a twenty minute walk to Victoria Square. The bus from Dublin dropped us off right beside the theatre, and as I said the theatre was only a ten minute walk away so this meant that the hotel was easy to find and we did not have to walk for very long with our bags.

I’ve shared pictures on my Instagram grid – @katelovesliterature is my handle for those who don’t know. I will share some snaps below, but you can also find them on my Insta, along with many snaps from the trip itself in my highlights.

If you like to take pretty pictures like I do, then you’ll see that House Belfast was a dream. It is so pretty. I fell in love with the blossom tree in the bar. I love the design. I love the deeper colours mismatched with lampshades and lots of florals. I love the out there patterns clashed against the grey and rose gold hardware.

I did talk about this already on Instagram, but it is worth repeating. I have to say how impressed I was with the staff. Everyone was so kind to us, especially everyone in the bar and restaurant.

Our lovely waitress, (whose name I won’t share for obvious privacy reasons), was brilliant. She was able to tell me exactly what was nut/peanut free on the menu. She went back to the kitchen and double checked with the chef for me. She gave recommendations. It was so kind of her, and it meant that we could enjoy our meals without any second thoughts.

I wish we could have stayed longer. It was such a lovely experience. The overnight stay has also made me really want to do a staycation in House Dublin so I might look into that closer to Christmas or maybe for one of our birthdays.

When we arrived in Belfast, we checked into our hotel and then we headed out for a walk.

We had planned to eat dinner in the hotel so we had a table booked in advance so our plan for the afternoon was to just have a wander. We grabbed a coffee and made our way to the botanic gardens.

If you need to kill some time on a sunny day, botanical gardens are a great spot. We had a lovely walk through the rose gardens and then we went through the greenhouses. It was a really nice way to spend the afternoon. We really enjoyed the sunshine and the fresh air.

I will talk about the performance of Blood Brothers in a separate piece because this show deserves its own piece. It is incredible. The show is iconic. It is heart-breaking. It is gripping. It is filled with highly emotional themes of poverty, class differences, religion, and fate.

The score is stunning. Each character serves their own purpose. Every line is so intentional. Every move is so intentional. I have studied this show intensely. I’ve been in an amateur production of this show. I’ve read the material too many times to count, and the thing that always stands out is how detail orientated this show is. It is precise. There is so much foreshadowing and this is something that the music reflects. It is just a masterpiece and I intend to speak about it properly in what will be a very long discussion.

Keep an eye out for that as it will be published soon.

The theatre itself was beautiful. We had great seats. We had a drink at intermission. The Grand Opera House in Belfast was a lovely venue. I love visiting different theatres and I would happily see a show there again in the future.

The next day we explored. We had a great time. Our bus back to Dublin was not leaving Belfast until the evening so we had all day to explore.

We went to several book shops. We explored Victoria Square. We had ice cream at Taboo Donuts. It was delicious. The highlight of my day though was when we got to Victoria Square and came across a fairy tale exhibit. This was an amazing coincidence. We did not know about this exhibition in advance, but if I’d have known about it, it would have been on my to-do list for sure, so the fact that we stumbled across it was brilliant.

The exhibition is called Into The Forest and you can go on this journey through fairy tales until the 29th of August 2022.

It was amazing. I was looking at each fairy tale display like an excited kid on Christmas morning. It was so sweet and it felt really magical. I also love the idea behind it.

Fairy tales are so important and we should never be too old to enjoy them.

I’m sharing some snaps here, but most of my pictures can be found in my highlights on Instagram so check it out – @katelovesliterature.

Overall, we had the best time. It was just one night, and although we said that we could have easily stayed another day, the fact that it was such a spontaneous mini trip was what made it so fun. We went with zero plans aside from seeing Blood Brothers so all of the other lovely things that we did were things that we just stumbled into, which made it all the better.

What is your favourite fairy tale? I’d love to know.

Have you seen Blood Brothers?

Where is your favourite place to go on a mini break?

Kate xo.

House Belfast
Our hotel room... I loved this wallpaper.
Dinner … yum!
Our dessert …this was delicious!
The beautiful stage at the Grand Opera House before act one started. I was so excited.
This is one of the beautiful fairy tale displays at Victoria Square.
Little Red Riding Hood’s House at Victoria Square.
My ice cream from Taboo Donuts. I’m a vanilla with sprinkles gal.

Note that all of the above pictures are pictures that I took myself with my own phone. They may not be shared without my permission.

Matilda The Musical!

It’s true, sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty. Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre is a show that I cannot recommend enough. It is joyful. It is upbeat. It is fun. The stage is bursting with life, but in Matilda, a very touching, and very important story is told. 

I’m a huge fan of Roald Dahl and I loved Matilda when I was little, and as an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the story even more. As with a lot of Dahl’s stories, there is a darkness to Matilda. It is a story about a little girl who is neglected at home. She is not appreciated, she is not shown the care, love, or attention that she deserves. Matilda goes on to face more bullies at school, and this story is one that highlights how adults can abuse their positions of power. Sadly, there are people in this world who bully children, and they think that because they are bigger, and because they are older, they can do whatever they please. There are people who do not respect children, and I find that these people tend to forget that they were once a child themselves. Matilda is an intelligent, imaginative, kind little girl and she stands up for herself and for others when she thinks that something is not right or not fair, and by doing so, she is able to help others around her. 

I love the musical’s score. The music and lyrics are by Tim Minchin, who is of course known for his comedic musical style. The lyrics are a perfect mix of fun, and witty, yet I found myself emotional as some of the songs are rather poignant. 

I think my favourite song has to be When I Grow Up, because I think that this song is the perfect example of the mix of fun and poignant that I just mentioned. The stage is bursting with life, there are kids everywhere, there are slides and swings and it’s just glorious. It’s a song about children who are looking forward to growing up and they are singing about what they think growing up is. They sing about staying up late and watching tv until their eyes go square, and it’s brilliant. It is brilliant because I think this song captures what you think being a grown up is when you are little. It seems so freeing. You think you can do whatever you want, and to an extent you can, but when you are little you don’t think about jobs or bills or relationships or any of the less fun things that come with growing up. I remember this. I remember being little and just wanting to wear my Mam’s perfume and I couldn’t wait to be older because then I could have my own. The line that pulls on my heartstrings, the part that I think is very poignant is when the kids sing about how they will be braver when they grow up. They will be bigger, and braver, and stronger, and able to fight the creatures beneath the bed. This part gets me, because when you are a child, you’re dependent on the adults in your life and they are supposed to keep you safe, but sometimes we grow up and there are different creatures to face, they’re just not always under the bed. 

Matilda and Miss Honey are my favourite characters. They always have been. I find Miss Honey’s arc to be particularly touching because Miss Honey was that neglected, mistreated child. She didn’t have anyone to speak up for her when she could not do it for herself. Her monsters followed her into adulthood, and it is only when she meets Matilda, when she wants to help Matilda, that she is able to fight her creatures. I find this really emotional because I think that is a very layered moment. When Miss Honey helps Matilda, when she stands up for Matilda, I feel she is also standing up for herself, and more importantly, she is standing up for the little girl she used to be, and she does for Matilda what no one did for her. Together, Miss Honey and Matilda are able to be surrounded by people who love and appreciate them, and they stand up to their bullies together, because they’ve found strength in each other and it’s a really lovely arc. 

I have to take a moment to say that the entire cast was incredible, but I was blown away by the kids on that stage. Each and every one of them were fantastic. I love seeing talented young people getting to thrive on the stage and I am sure that all of these kids will grow up to do great things. The singing, the dancing, the timing was just amazing. It is a hard show, it is not watered down, they are on stage a lot, they’re an essential part of the show and I can’t applaud them enough. 

I hope Matilda The Musical tours again at some point in the future because I’d love to see it in Dublin. I would see it again in a heartbeat. It was just fantastic. It was a brilliant night out. 

Have you read or seen Matilda? Have you seen Matilda The Musical? Are you a fan of Roald Dahl and if so, which one of his works is your favourite? I’d love to know.

Kate xo.

* The following pictures were taken by myself, with my phone, and they may not be shared without my permission.*

My programme

The amazing stage.

I caught one of the paper airplanes that the kids throw into the audience during the final number.

There’s No Place Like London.

There’s no place like London. If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you already know that I spent a few amazing days in London. 

I’ve been sharing snaps on my Instagram grid & I will be sharing snaps for a while because I fit so much into a few days. I saw so many things & I took loads of pictures that I am excited to share. 

From St. Paul’s to Big Ben, from the London Eye to Tower Bridge, from Fleet Street to Shakespeare’s Globe, I had a blast. It was an amazing trip. The weather was lovely, and it was so great to see so much life everywhere. Some of the buildings are absolutely stunning. I ate, I drank, I explored, and I went to the theatre. 

There is so much to do & see in London. It is such a bustling city, I’m already thinking about when I can go again because there are things that I still want to do. 

I think the highlight of my trip was going to see Matilda The Musical in the beautiful Cambridge Theatre. Stay tuned because I will be publishing a #theatretrip discussion all about this brilliant show. 

I’m sharing some snaps below as I did take many, many pictures.

*The pictures below are pictures that I took myself, on my own phone, and they may not be shared without my permission.*

St.Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Mary-le-Bow Church.

St. Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street.

This is the house at the end of the narrowest alley in Fleet Street, Hen & Chicken Court. This is supposedly the house of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the real life Sweeney Todd.

Big Ben looking glorious in the sunshine.
The fabulous Cambridge Theatre.

The incredible Matilda stage.

Shakespeare’s Globe.

These are just a few of the pictures that I took. It was an amazing trip. Memories were made, and I loved every second.

If you’ve been, I’d love to hear where your favourite spot in London is & I can add it to my list for next time.

Kate xo.