So, I was supposed to go and see Callum Nicol (my favourite Cats cast's Admetus/Macavity) in the ensemble of Dirty Dancing when the show came to my local: the Regent Theatre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. But, unluckily, Callum wasn't in for that show and so there was no stage dooring for me after all - perhaps a good thing as I hadn't seen Callum since he left the Cats tour and it was a long time ago so I had no idea how I was going to jog his memory if he didn't recognise me. But it was SO nice to be in a theatre again. The smell of the theatre and cheering the ensemble more than the leads (which I always do coz I feel like the ensemble are always doing 10x more work but for no credit!) Then when we came out of the theatre, it was exactly when the forecast snow and wind hit! It's always surreal coming out of the theatre, but coming out to that!! It was a battle getting up the street - I was having to hold my dress down and push right against the wind and it was SO hard just to walk forwards, I'm not even exaggerating. My mum and me couldn't stop laughing on the way back to the car and it was just a nice night. And it was so funny my mum and me trying to explain why all the women in the audience were screaming at certain parts even though they knew it was going to happen and we were trying to describe to my baffled dad him why so many women buy into stories like that so much (I mean, it isn't my personal favourite love story, but the idea is the same as in all my favourites so my mum and me got it and my dad just didn't understand!!) Anyway, it was like a proper stage door night in a way because when I got home I sat down in my room not able to settle on anything, still wearing my theatre dress at 2am, listening to my stage door playlist and just feeling the spellbreaking in every fibre of my being! Not my favourite musical but it will always have a special place in my heart from now on!
Well, perhaps there's no such thing. But obviously, there's a reason the idea of a wardrobe essential being 'a little black dress' is so popular, right?! Dorothy Perkins are always my go-to shop, and they certainly seem to believe a black dress is essential wear all year round, because there's always at least one simple black dress available to buy. My personal favourite style? The 3% elastane, fit and flare style plain black dresses. In fact, all their plain fit and flare 3% elastane dresses are great. They're perfect for style, comfort and the way they move when you spin, which I think is essential in any dress! Also, they're great for stage door because they can go from night to day really easily and formal to casual really easily, plus you can completely change the look just by changing the scarf, shoes, coat, hair accessories or jewellery you wear them with.
I always like to wear black tights with my dress - but not always plain ones. I personally prefer the 120 denier tights, but I also love the patterned tights you can get too - another way I like to use to make the dress look different for different occasions. Tights with sparkles or stars can be fun too, and some nice, smart heels make the look pretty much perfect for a night at the theatre.
So when I found out that Chris Howell (my favourite Cats cast's Bustopher/Gus/Growltiger) was co-directing Chess at London's off-West End Union Theatre, I got tickets as soon as I could! And I'm so so so glad I did. The show was fabulous. Nadim Naaman and Sarah Galbraith were sensational in it - and as it was a show I'd never seen live before I was thrilled to learn more about it. I think it's a show that really works in the tightly-packed setting of the Union and the limited, sold-out run made me feel like I was part of something special in getting to see it. Nadim Naaman was possibly my overall favourite, but Natasha J Barnes and Sarah Galbraith both made me really wish I could have a cast recording of them in Nobody's Side and Someone Else's Story.
Not content with just seeing Chris' directing work, the next day I headed over to Victoria to see the man himself performing in Wicked. Another show I was seeing live for the first time. The show took my breath away, as shows always do - I adore watching a strong ensemble pull off a good story and this was no different. I was lucky enough to catch Chris before the show and the two of us had a lovely catch up, and he was so pleased to hear that I'd enjoyed Chess so much. Sadly I didn't manage to see Chris after the show, but if I had I would have told him he's as brilliant as ever, but sadly under-used in Wicked if you ask me.
For my 21st birthday, my mum put all of her baking and cake decoration skills to the test by giving me a surprise Cats the musical themed birthday cake! To say I was impressed would be an understatement. Cats has been my favourite of all shows since I was six and although you might not think a black cake would be appealing, I thought it looked gorgeous!