My Review of Phantom of the Opera Regal Theatre in Perth


The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical)

The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over 20 years ago, Grumpy and I had the most wonderful experience sponsored by Clark Sinks Australia of flying business class to Sydney, staying at the Regent hotel overlooking the Sydney Opera House and excellent tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera and the Regal Theatre with Marina Prior and Rob Guest, we had 3 days in Sydney and as we had nothing to do after checkout and the time of our flight was early evening, went to the airport and was upgraded to 1st class home to Perth.

The whole weekend was nothing short of magical.

So when Grumpy asked me if I was interested in going to see the Phantom, I said yes please, he was listening to the radio when he heard them giving away free tickets, he knew that I loved the Phantom and would jump at the chance.

So he went on line and booked 2 tickets, printed them out and we were going.

He booked the tickets for Friday, which was the middle week of the show. We had to ensure that we left work on time as the traffic has been quite banked up lately especially since the Freeway works have started.

We were ½ an hour late leaving the office which didn’t help with the traffic, made it home with enough time for him to go over to the home (I forgot to mention, both Grumpy’s mum and dad are now in the Care Facility across the road from us, so we have our house and lives back again) for a quick visit and have a little snack, shower and change ready for our trip on the train into the city.

We left Mandurah train station at 3.45pm on the train got into the city and walked to the train to take us to Subiaco, and wouldn’t you believe it, the trains were not running that evening after 7:00pm so we would have to bus it. No big deal, we would deal with that after the show.

We got on the second train and on the second stop got off at Subiaco, Rockeby Road at 5:10pm and walked up the street (it was COLD, luckily we wore jackets) and realised we had a couple of hours before the show started. We looked around to see where we could go and have a drink for a while, most of the shops and cafes were closed or closing their doors, so we went to the Llama Bara & Grill and had a few drinks Grumpy had a couple of beers and a very costly, strong horrible smelling scotch on ice and I had a couple of cups of minute (if they were any smaller they would be called thimbles) coffee and a flat (they took so long to bring it, it lost all its bubbles) lemon squash.  We ordered some wagyu beef sliders (mini – tiny hamburgers) for supper, they were divine actually and presented very artfully.

The bar started filling up with patrons both inside and outside in the freezing cold (the idiot smokers, I don’t get it, they stand outside shivering to buggery and smoke instead of being inside in the warmth) and the excitement was growing, some of the patrons had Phantom of the Opera T-shirts on they were either part of the troupe or excited fans, like me.

It was time to go across to the theatre, we went upstairs to find that we couldn’t get in to sit down until 7:30 only 5 minutes before the show was due to start. We sat next to a family that had come on the train from Secret Harbour and we discussed that fact that we had seen the show in Sydney, but they topped me, they had seen in twice, once in London and another time in Sydney, so we all had something to compare with.

It’s now more than 20 years since we saw the show the first time, we have come a long way in that time, so we expected something magical.

I will say, before I start my tirade that the music and vocals were spectacular, I especially loved the phantom, his makeup when he took his mask off from where we were sitting was fantastic, the actors / singers and dancers provided us with a show that if you listened to the show from backstage you could find no fault.

What we got, however, from an audience, was a complete disappointment, the props, I believe were completely lacking. When the props were being changed, the girls with their long blonde hair, kept walking in front of the cream curtains so you could see everything that they were doing instead of behind the curtains, they would move a prop onto the stage and walk off in front of the curtain. The props were very amateurish and certainly for this type of international show would have expected a great deal more.

The gondolier, when it came on to the stage was only half a boat and it was clearly visible where they stopped the black lining of the boat and you could see the chipboard on the inside of the boat.

The costumes were the most disappointing of all, there was very little colour in the whole production, most of the troupe wore black.

The cast going to the opera all wore black dresses (what is it with colour with the set and costume designer of this production) and the only scrap of colour were the jewellery that they wore.

For a masquerade ball one would expect colour, colour and more colour, dresses, masks and jewellery, however in this production, the costume designer chose black skirts & tops for all of the women (some of the troupe were larger or plus size women and when they lifted their hands when they were dancing, you could see their midriff), not dresses, all the same with black masks for the women and the men wore black jackets and pants with grey cravats.

Christine the lead female was also a plus size woman, she thankfully had a blue skirt and top on, and when she lifted her arms, you could see her stomach.

Even the ballet dancers wore bland colours with little slithers of fabric added for different scenes, there was ample time for clothing changes as there were times during the production where the stage was completely empty, music playing songs sung, but an empty stage, it would have been better to have dancers rather than an empty stage.

The chandelier was a disappointment, in that when it was lifted, there was a beaded thread hanging down, which showed in my opinion lack of care and maintenance, why not cut the dangling thread off.

In the second act, there were 3 characters that did come out in colourful costumes, they were the saving grace of colour for the production.

In summary;

Would I go and see the same production again,   not in this lifetime,

Would I recommend the show,   with the costuming and props as they stand, no

Was the ticket price worth the show,   definitely not,

Am I glad I went,   yes just to hear the music again.

What would I have done to make a difference,

Colourful dresses and masks for the women, colourful jackets, trousers, cravats and masks for the men

I would have added more and colourful touches to the props

I would have watched the production from an audience perspective to see what we see, that way the problems that I raised would have been dealt with before the show went public.

Christmas (Xmas) in July Grainger Style


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I love Christmas, well Santa’s really.

I have loads and loads of Santa’s and his helpers, some hand made and some bought, but I love them all.

10 years ago our  sons moved out of home and that was the last time that my Santa’s and his helpers saw the light of day. Last November, due to major health issues my in-laws moved into our home, and Grumpy Grainger decided that the Santa’s and his helpers could move to our lock up, poor buggers, banished to the cold and damp. So he picked them all up and took them down to the dark and damp lock up, where they sat waiting patiently for me to set our house up at Christmas time, that wasn’t going to happen or organise a  Xmas in July.

What started out as me wanting to set up our home with the Santa’s and his helpers turned out to be a wonderful evening.

I initially put up an expression of interest for our friends on Facebook, expecting no more than about 20 of our friends, and all of our friends said that they wanted to come, so I decided to contact our club and see if we could hold the function (the numbers had grown to about 40 people at this stage and we didn’t want to have that many people in our home on a cold winters evening) at the MOFSC, well it took a bit of pressure on my part with a lot of pressure from Grumpy and we finally agreed on a cost for the meal and the night so I then created flyers and tickets, and each Thursday and Friday evenings I put flyers around the club and on the Saturday evenings, the girls from the restaurant put more flyers on the tables.

Well the numbers got to 72 on the evening, however 1 couple were not able to come as poor Marina broke her arm on her bike the previous weekend, so we had 70 attendees.

It was so much fun, the theme for Secret Santa presents was naughty or nice, and everyone had to buy a gift for the same sex to the value of $15, wrap it in newspaper and put a B for boy and G for girl on it, some people didn’t read the instructions very well and wrapped then pressies in pretty or Xmas paper.

We had a big blow up Santa on a Harley Davidson in the corner, on loan from Diane & Coleman, Anita borrowed some fantastic reindeer (Some were handmade) from her art class, we had a true Aussie Christmas tree (a potted green ficus), with g strings attached, decorated in true Christmas form and Santa’s and their helpers everywhere. The dinner started at 6:30 and once it was dark outside and the lights on the setting was like a true Christmas grotto.

Some of the pressies were a real laugh and everyone got into the spirit of the evening, I even dressed up as Sassy (my friend Bryan called me Sexy) Mother Christmas with my lovely short dress, stockings and broken suspenders.

A big thankyou to the ladies who came and helped me set up the Santa’s and the tables.

All we have to do now is book again for next year, I am thinking the theme might be hand made or DIY??

The secret to keeping flowers fresh is simple


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The  secret to keeping flowers fresh in my opinion is simple, but for the life of me, I can’t remember where I got the idea from. This photo was taken last night 23/07/14, the flowers were given to me by my good friend Shelley for my birthday on Saturday 12/7/14, more than 1 week ago and they are still beautiful.

We were at a Christmas in July dinner at MOFSC and she brought the flowers in to me, as the table was full, I had to put them on the floor, when the dinner was over, we had to clean the restaurant and pack up all the decorations for collection the next morning. When we had cleaned up, packed all the Santa’s in their bags and crates, we went down to the boat to go to bed, I put the flowers 0n the galley bench until we got home the next morning, we woke up, went up to the club, after several trips with wheelbarrows back to the boat with the Santa’s, we finally go home around 9:00am when I put the flowers in as vase, I added the secret ingredient and look at them now.

Aspro clear soluble tablets is my secret and it really does work to keep flowers beautiful and fresh.

 

Thermomix Degustation – Grainger Style


The idea started last year when I commented to one of my friends that I haven’t used my Thermomix as much as I should.

Terry, my friends husband said that they would invite us over one free weekend to have a Thermomix dinner, however 12 months on and we still hadn’t organised something.

Thermomix. Receta MiniMagdalenas

Thermomix. Receta MiniMagdalenas (Photo credit: chocolatisimo)

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So I thought I might have another Thermomix dinner party with a few friends, after mentioning to a couple of friends, it has now turned into a Thermomix Degustation dinner, Grainger Style.

One of our friends sells the machines, so I asked Margy what she thought of the idea and she thought it was fantastic, so I mentioned my idea to a few more people, ladies who don’t have a thermie, and they too were excited.
The general consensus was great idea, so I decided on a date 12th April (Terry & Marina were on holiday until 11th and so were Diane & Coleman) and we have other friends going away on the 16th, so the 12th was the date.
I sat down and went through the Everyday cookbook (the new one), wrote down a whole list of recipes that I thought we could cook easily.  I was short a few, so rang Margy and asked her to give me some ideas.
Between the 2 of us we came up with a fantastic menu for our degustation.  By this time, I had loads of people asking if they could come, due to space, unfortunately we had to limit the numbers to 28.  Including Greg and myself after the invites and responses we have 25 attendees.
We decided that we would have our dinner party at the club (MOFSC), however, I won’t go into details, but the powers that be decided to put up too many  roadblocks, in my opinion unwarranted, (they obviously did not want us to be there), so now we are having it at our house.  Since starting this, we have had that many people ask if they can come to the next one, so hopefully if everything goes well tomorrow, there will be plenty more to come, but we will have to limit the number to 25 if we have a sit down meal.
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Greg set up all the tables and chairs last weekend, cleaned the windows and is generally being a good sport about the whole thing, given that he does not think much of the thermie.
I have spent this last week sorting out menus, ingredient lists and quantities, emailing all invited and asking for donations of food, that we require small quantities so that we  don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy stuff especially if we only need 50g of something.
I cant believe how generous everyone has been, I think that everyone has donated something to the mix
We now have 6 machines coming, wow!! I am sure it will be a fantastic evening.
We wanted to create and cook a large variety of food to be able to utilise the machine as much as possible, hence the degustation.
I have sorted out a few of the pantry items,both out of my pantry and some of the invited guests have given me their donations early.
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Table cloths, table settings, the table pretties (balloons & marshmallows) organised by Shelley and Marina, meat by Margy, groceries by Greg & Lee, thermies, and accessories by Marina, Shelley, Margy, Lee, Michelle and Julie, name place  settings by Maxine,lots of donations from all of the other ladies.
Thanks girls.
Our menu for our inaugural Thermomix degustation :-
Cocktails
Midori Splice
Strawberry Daiquiri
Peach Bellini
Tropical splice daiquiri
Home made lemonade
Appetisers
Sundried tomato dip
Herb & garlic dip
Capsicum & sundried tomato dip
Chicken liver pate
Foccacia – dukkah
Pizza Bianca
Entrees
Chicken Valute soup
Pumpkin feta zucchini field mushroom
Herbal chicken hors doeuvres
Arancini with saffron aioli
Mains
Chicken Valute meal
Lamb rack with port sauce on mashed potato
Beef stroganoff & mashed potato
Curry chicken & rice
Mushroom risotto
Desserts
Sweet chocolate & strawberry pizza
Lemon coconut pudding
Simple almond cheese – dairy free ricotta cheese with quince paste
Sticky date pudding / butterscotch sauce & custard
Fruity berry dream

Camp Quality Grainger Style


Camp Quality Grainger Style

On Sunday we participated in Camp Quality at our club (MOFSC, Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club). It was our first time as we were under the impression that it was only for house boats and pontoon boats.  because they are able to do crabbing and fishing up the estuary and we are not.  I  have since spoken to a lot of bigger boat owners at the club and all were disappointed that they were not aware of the need for different types of boats to be involved and I am sure that next year, they will try and keep the date free to be able to get involved.

Our club co-coordinator approached us a few weeks ago and asked if we would consider using our boat to take some families of the Camp quality kids around the estuary, we did explain that we didn’t think our boat was suitable due to the draft (the amount of water we need under the propellers,)  we were advised that ALL boats are suitable.  We said yes we will join the others. We had 4 families on our boat, and  we had a fantastic day. Even Grumpy dressed up.

The theme for our Camp Quality day is pirates.  There were that many pirates at our club on Sunday it was not funny.  There were  over 200 people that our boating members took out on the water for a few hours.  Water fights (water bombs, water guns, pistols, hoses and by one cheating pirate, buckets) were the highlight of the day. Unfortunately for our guests, I didn’t prepare very well (Grumpy’s words) because I didn’t fill up any water balloons so we had one of the boys, one of the mothers and 1 of the fathers filling up and getting ready the water bombs, to our detriment, however, we kept running out of ammunition and we wore the brunt of most of the other boaties firing lines.  In other words, were got soaked the entire time.

My friend Shelley and I made 100 lolly bags, one for each of the kids, we had to ensure that all children received a lolly bag, as it would have been unbearable for any child to be without. We had a lovely BBQ lunch with lots and lots of crabs, (250) that were donated by one of the local fisherman. One of the local supermarkets donated and fishing rod and reel for every child, we had bread rolls donated, someone made a huge cake with Camp Quality on it. It never ceases to amaze me, the generosity of our community.

Nearly all the boaties dressed up in pirate gear and we were no exception, I did go to the fancy dress shop and found that I wasn’t impressed with the selection of the clothing so  I went through my closet and found a red and white striped shirt, a black vest and a pair of harem pants, Grumpy wore his Maritimo shirt and Braandi was all dressed up in a pirate outfit.  We had so many comments about her as ran around the boat in her costume and just look gorgeous.

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We had 2 mermaids come up on the beach and I took the little girl down to have a swim, big mistake, she wanted to swim and look for fish, so the rest of the afternoon while we were sitting having lunch she whimpered and made all sorts of whiny noises, until I noticed a border collie swimming in the beach, so I let her go down and swim for another hour or so before it was time to go home.

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50’s inspired dresses for high tea


HIGH TEA

This post is inspired by my beautiful daughter in law Natasha (Tash, or Trashy as Kyel calls her), she just loves anything from the 1950’s.

After the second World War, there was a movement to have women go back into the home and the kitchen, to do “women’s duties” raising their children cooking and looking after the house.

1950s fashion was an enormous part of this movement. Unlike the severe styles of the 1940s clothing, 1950s fashions emphasized femininity, with softened shoulders, stilettos, wrist length gloves and full circle skirts with petty coats and pearls. Even working women’s outfits hinted at femininity, with pencil skirts and tiny hats with veils and feathers.

In truth, the New Look for 1950s women originated in the 1940s, with Christian Dior’s collection Corolle. This collection was a complete contrast to the severe, “make do, and fix ” aesthetic of 1940s fashion with full skirts, softened shoulders, a tight waist, emphasizing the bust and the hourglass shaped figure, thus creating the perfect feminine figure.

Dior went on to invent more haute couture 1950s fashions, including names like the Princess Line, Profile Line, A Line, and the H Line. His influence remained high all through the 1950s and Other fashion houses were forced to follow his originalities.

However, this perfect female figure was not possible in nature. Corsets, and “corselettes” made a comeback at the same time that those horrid conical bras became popular. ” Advertisements described them as “comfortable,” and even “innovative.”

When Tash was thinking about her kitchen tea, she wanted all attendees to dress up in the 1950’s, everyone looked fabulous.  And for Mother’s day last year, Mummy, Tash and I had a high tea at the Duxton. The experience was wonderful with lovely petit fours.  For Tash’s birthday she wanted to do the high tea idea again, this time with a 1950’s theme. The girls (Tash and her friends) all wore dresses with the 1950’s in mind.

She showed me a Facebook page of a lady in Bunbury Red Leopard Photography http://redleopardphotography.com.au/ who does 1950’s photography and has decided that she would love one of these photo sessions for her birthday and I decided that I would love to join her

 

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