Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Importance Of Being Earnest Starring David Suchet At Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW

It was another sensational theatrical coup for the city last night as Nottingham played host to the premiere of the breathlessly-anticipated delightfully delicious Agatha Christie/Oscar Wilde mash up of rapier wit, immortal quotables, cucumber sandwiches, muffins, cups of tea and Poirot cross-dressing as Lady Bracknell in the latest inspired version of The Importance of Being Earnest.

It's his first ever performance as a woman and David Suchet is one helluva lady. Gliding imperiously onto stage as the legendary ultimate Victorian matron-diva s/he cuts a truly unforgettable figure, with completely convincing deportment, delivery and demeanor that is every inch the iconic corseted Titaness, from her skirt-swooshing, high heel-revealing indomitable gait, to the burgundy-enclothed impressive bosom, right up to the indignantly-quivering feathers in her hat.

Accompanied by a cast of vivaciously-flirting bright young things including Emily Barber as a sparklingly-posh Gwendolen Fairfax, and the mighty firecracker of Michele Dotrice as Miss Prism, reduced to giggly girly gesticulations whenever in the presence of a charmingly-wooing Richard O'Callaghan as Reverend Canon Chasuble, the play, split by two intervals, gains magnificently in momentum culminating in a mesmerising third act of precisely balanced rhythm, pace and perfect enunciation.

An exquisitely set performance showcasing the chemistry and the humour of the English language at its very finest and top class upper-class entertainment that had the audience up on its feet wild with applause, you can catch this production right here first in Nottingham weeks before it hits London's West End and confidentially, we candidly recommend you get on it like Lady Bracknell's bonnet.


The Importance of Being Earnest is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Sat 16th May 2015. Full details and ticket prices can be found on the Theatre Royal website here

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Sherlocked CONFIDENTIAL

Benedict Cumberbatch at Sherlocked © Sandra Franklin

Sherlock teaches us many things, and being a fan of the latest BBC incarnation certainly teaches us patience. Over a year ago, we were tantalised with the promise of an official 'Sherlocked' convention, and I must admit I was beginning to suspect it would never happen, but a couple of months ago, the announcement we had all been waiting for was made, the game was on! A bewildering array of differently priced packages were launched in a wild flurry of internet bookings and website crashes, but I was in, I had my ticket.

The timing of the event attracted criticism, short notice for overseas fans and a very unfortunate clash with the London Marathon, meant that many hotels were already full and those rooms left were horribly expensive. I can only imagine that it really isn't easy to get the likes of Bendedict Cumberbatch, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Scott et al all in the same place at the same time, but I understand the frustration that was vented by many who couldn't attend.

Friday 24 April finally arrived. I boarded the train, full of excitement and anticipation, dragging a case brimming with photography equipment and cosplay and destined for the ExCel centre in London, my home for the weekend. Friday was registration day and the chance of a sneak preview of the displays and stands. The queues were well managed by cheerful event crew and it didn't take long to collect my pass, find some friends, and head into the exhibition area. The London theme was certainly evident, a full size London bus, black cab, red post box, army tank and front door of 221B Baker Street had all been transported into the hall, like a fleet of impossible ships in a bottle. Nestled between them was the BBC shop, traders stands and a Sherlock museum corner displaying props and costumes from the recent episodes.

Friday night was the first of the party nights and sadly the biggest disappointment of the weekend. With the promise of 'Two themed party rooms a night, overlooking the Thames with the London skyline in the background', I donned my PVC, tucked my riding crop under my arm and headed off for the Irene Adler's Boudoir/The Underground themed event. What greeted me looked like a 1980s wedding reception, a sad, tired conference room,  no theming at all, curious brown balloons tied to tables, a cheesy DJ in the corner and lots of confused looking attendees. There wasn't even a view as the blinds had been well and truly drawn. After 10 minutes or so, many of us left and headed back to our hotels wondering how the entertainment had gone so wrong. Saturday was apparently the same, with a lonely soul posting a picture of an empty room on Facebook, with a caption of 'Where is everyone?'

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss at Sherlocked  © Sandra Franklin 

Despite the disappointment of the previous evening, I sprang out of my hotel bed on Saturday morning, excited to discover what adventures lay ahead. I assembled my Hound of the Baskervilles costume, my Femlock friend grabbed my lead, and off we bounded back to ExCel. The clash with the London Marathon led to some curious glances and one lady asking me 'are you going to run the whole way like that?'

Each day was a bit of a balancing act with talks taking place on two different stages, six photo-shoot sessions running simultaneously and guests signing autographs in between. Everything was tightly managed by ticket type and group, those who'd paid a whopping £3,000 getting priority. Most of the event crew coped admirably with the masses of people with masses of questions and provided excellent assistance to those with disabilities. Waves and waves of excited fans filled the massive ExCel hall with the sound of accents from across the world and the almost subliminal loop of the Sherlock theme tune.

Our very first stop was a photo shoot with Jonathan Aris, who couldn't be more different than the unloveable Anderson he portrays in Sherlock. Jonathan was charming and dashing, enthusiastically greeted us and seemed very laid back amongst all the hustle. One of the things I love about conventions is the chance to meet the supporting actors that never normally receive much attention and I came away with a new admiration for all of the cast who took part in Sherlocked.
Next came the biggie, my photograph with Benedict. Looking chiseled and immaculate, he politely greeted each guest, complying with requests for pointing poses, holding stuffed toys and lightly placing his arm around fans' shoulders. Suddenly it was my turn, Benedict held my lead, looked quizzical for the camera, and in a literal flash it was over.

We bounced along from shoot to shoot, signing to signing meeting Una Stubbs, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue, Rupert Graves, Andrew Scott, Clive Mantle, Lars Mikkelsen, Lara Pulver, Louise Brealey, Elizabeth Coyle, Louise Breckon-Richards and Arwel Jones, all of whom were a joy to meet and took time to say hello and admire the multitude of costumes worn by cosplayers. I say admire, but Moffat just looked at me and exclaimed 'why?'.

The talks were divided over two stages, the main stage impressively decorated as Sherlock's living room, it really was one of the best looking sets I've seen at any convention panel talks. The second stage hosted the lower key talks, which were still well worth attending, if you happened to have a handy time-turner or TARDIS with you. Moffat and Gatiss kicked off the panel sessions together, appearing very relaxed and comfortable in each other's company. Moffat throwing back his head in laughter as Gatiss entertained the crowd with Americanisms straight from a TV chat show, 'I've done this little show called Doctor Who, pause for applause'. Benedict's panel, although more reserved by comparison, was captivating, despite Benedict fighting a cold. He talked of how normal it seemed to be there with us all, but that he would never get used to being spotted whilst shopping, mentioned his excitement at soon becoming a father and was bemused at the thunderous applause for having got married. He fielded the crowd's questions well, throwing in a Chewie impression and using his Smaug voice to announce he was not a performing monkey. The odd naughty word slipped out, but who could possibly not forgive him.

Andrew Scott followed Benedict's session, very different, but utterly brilliant. Andrew is cheeky and delightful where Benedict is polished and polite, but both fantastic viewing. Watching Andrew on stage, it is hard to imagine just how he transforms into the chilling menace that is Moriarty. Warm and funny, he won everyone's hearts by talking about how fabulous he thought fans of the show are, to much applause. But in true Jim style, he left us with an instruction not to get nervous or worried about anything, we'd all be dead soon so it didn't matter.

Andrew Scott at Sherlocked © Sandra Franklin
I must admit to feeling an involuntary chill in the presence of Lars Mikkelsen, almost waiting for Magnussen to spring to life, but his relaxed air was an excellent balance to Rupert Graves' exuberant naughtiness as they took to the stage together. Saturday ended with a big screen showing of A Scandal in Belgravia, introduced on stage by Benedict. One last glimpse of our favourite consulting detective before he disappeared for the weekend.

Despite the lack of Benedict, Sunday was probably the highlight for me. There were noticeably fewer attendees which made it much easier to move around and not to mention cooler, which certainly went down well with this hound in a corset! We started the day with Jonathan again, now feeling like old friends, just time to grab an autograph from him before he kicked off the main stage sessions with Rupert. They were followed by Andrew and Mark, which I felt was the jewel in the crown on the whole event. Irreverent, wicked and razor sharp, they really should have their own late night chat show. Topics hurtled from scripts and filming, to gay marriage and integration. We learnt that they ARE both beach body ready, even if it is Morecombe in the winter and that yes, Mark does shave for Sherlock, but he's not telling you where. It was the session I hoped would never end and I have bruises from where my corset fought with my laughter-racked body.

As a seasoned convention goer, it was a delight to see the second stage reduced to standing room only for the cosplay parade. My hound scuttled along with Femlocks, Watsons, Irenes and Moriartys abound. The grand prize went to a very worthy Mary, every inch of her costume stitched, dyed and beaded by hand.

All too soon, the end neared. Just time for one last photo shoot, with the awe inspiring Mark Gatiss, who I think we had all well and truly fallen for over the weekend. Greeted with a 'hello again puppy', he grasped me firmly by the lead and generated the picture that still has me laughing days later.
I staggered to the tube with a grin on my face, fighting my way through spent runners who had completed the marathon that afternoon. Yes I was exhausted, yes it was expensive, yes there was lots and lots of queuing but this is all par for the course in the world of fandom. Apparently there were nearly 7,000 of us there over the weekend, but what was really special was that I have never heard so many people say it was their first ever convention. Not only that, they had flown from Japan, Germany, Poland, Chile, America and Australia to worship at the doorstep of 221B Baker Street. So Sherlock definitely does teach us patience as we wait for episodes, wait in queues, wait for the next titbit, but it also teaches us the value of newly forged friendships, comfortable shoes and that sometimes, just sometimes, a bit of magic can leak out of that TV screen.


SANDRA FRANKLIN

You can find more photos of the Sherlocked event in glorious technicolor on the official Sandra Franklin Photography page here  All photos property and copyright of Sandra Franklin Photography.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Morrissey At Nottingham Capital FM Arena REVIEW

By Friday, life has killed me, but by Friday night King Quiff of Quips's all conquering opening UK tour gig at a meat-free-for-the-night Nottingham Capital FM Arena dripping with still-got-it honey-voiced musical heartbreakers had kissed me a helluva lot better.

Since The Smiths changed the world in the 80s, the world has changed and Morrissey has and hasn't. With a show that kicked off with a decidedly old school retro half hour compilation of familiar film clip faves including the New York Dolls, Charles Azvanour and hearty Northern gags, a still maturely devilishly handsome Morrissey and band appeared on stage, performed an endearing bowing ceremony and launched into a knockout gloriously technicolour goldened oldie The Queen is Dead complete with royal one finger salute to a suitably manic uproarious reception followed by an equally rousing wowzer version of Suedehead.

Plundering that almighty back catalogue arsenal with songs from the recent heavenly World Peace is None of Your Business interspersed with thrillingly chills-down-the-spine Smiths classics What She Said and Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before, the real jaw-dropper show-stopper was the extraordinary ear-splitting agony-amplified Meat Is Murder, accompanied by a harrowing animal activist film, delivering an intense throwback impact to those of us who remember it the first time round.

With references to local hero Arthur Seaton and a waggish attack on the Brit Awards "Do you think it perfectly represents British music? So why does the damn thing exist?" the standing mosh pit near the stage gained increasingly frenzied mangled rush and crush momentum throughout the gig with several fans being pulled out of the crowd but who managed to clasp Morrissey's hand to cheers from the arena before an undignified carry-out exit. But returning for a Speedway/ Irish Blood, English Heart mash-up encore, Morrissey ended with that indefatigable fabulous flourish that never gets old, ripping off his shirt, baring that always magnificent chest and flinging his shirt into the outstretched arms of the audience.

Still packing a voice that stays profoundly and emotively relevant to every generation, still packing arenas worldwide with an army who will throw their arms around him, still disarmingly charming the pants off everyone, nothing's changed, we still love you, Morrissey Forever x


Monday, 23 February 2015

Jared's Restaurant At The Old Angel REVIEW




Saturday afternoons in the city are great, but once all of the shopping and socialising takes its toll, nothing beats a good old pub lunch. Except maybe, a good old pub lunch from Jared's at The Old Angel on Stoney Street, in the well known arts-oriented Lace Market area.

With a passion for good food, Samuel – the dedicated chef behind the enterprise – says that having worked in various levels of catering, there's no reason why a traditional pub lunch can't be done to the same standard. Sam creates all of his ingredients from scratch – even down to baking the bread for the burger buns himself. His meat is locally sourced from the Victoria Centre market, and so is the veg. The burger we had was made in front of me from ground mince with seasoning. No filler or processed junk here!

The menu is focused on the staple pub meals, from Burger, to Roast Dinner, to snacks such as sandwiches and chips – and all a great price. The meal we had was the Angus Burger with chips, for £6.50, which is the same ball park that the larger pubs charge for a pre-prepared/frozen burger cooked hastily with possibly with the use of a microwave. None of that here though, our meals were fresh and cooked to order.

The meals were substantial enough that they left us filled for the evening, without that heavy feeling one sometimes gets after a pub lunch. The meat was cooked with great attention to detail, not too overdone, and the chips likewise. We also tried the Sloppy Joe burger, and the beef chilli was rich in flavour and spices without being overpowering, or having too much of a kick. As burger lovers, these definitely rate with some of the best burgers we've eaten – and for that price range we'd say the best we've had.

If you want a high quality, fresh, locally-sourced pub lunch then I recommend Jared's at The Old
Angel. The food itself is great, but it also showcases local independent talent and what can happen when someone with an honest love of their craft meets with a great idea – and manages to hit the nail
on the head.

Davey Rocks

Jared's at The Old Angel is at 7 Stoney Street, Nottingham, NG1 1LG. Full details about Jared's including opening times can be found on The Old Angel website here

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

André Rieu INTERVIEW

Photo by Marcel van Hoorn


The musically undisputed and crowned 'King of Waltz' André Rieu will be performing at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena on December 10th. Wowing audiences into sing and dance-along participation since 1987 with his Johann Strauss Orchestra with up to 60 musicians and with album sales of more than 40 million worldwide, he talks about his new album, romance and falling in love with his first violin teacher.

You will be returning to the UK in December for the fourth time. What can audiences expect from your new show?

We are going to play a completely new program with new music.  Preparing a new show, choosing a new program is a great joy for me. The tour is called “Love in Venice” like the new album and we will try to bring the beauty, passion and warmth of Italy to the UK. So we will play some well-known melodies from Italy but also waltzes, music from film, opera and operetta. The Berlin Comedian Harmonists will join us with English songs and we have lots of international soloists from all over the world! The evening will end again with a big party. I hope you will come, dance, sing and clap along with us.

In your concerts, people are known to get up and dance or sing along with you. How would you explain this passion?

I think it’s a mix. Every night, we play with our hearts and I choose the program very carefully. A song has to touch my heart and then I know it will touch yours, too. When I am on stage I try to communicate with the audience and to involve them. I make jokes, I invite them to dance. I see myself not only as a violinist, but also as a conductor and entertainer. Classical music is so beautiful and can be so entertaining. And of course my orchestra is so joyful. We laugh a lot. They wear beautiful dresses. And it’s true, yes, the atmosphere is completely different from a typical “stiff” classical concert.

Do you have any favourite cities in the UK to play?

That’s such a difficult question! It’s like asking which one of your children is your favourite. I travel a lot around the world, but unfortunately the only places that I see are the airport, the hotel and the hall where we play. I rarely have time to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere because I keep to a very strict routine on days of performances. So I experience a city through its audience -  and all of the UK audience is fantastic. That’s why we play twelve concerts this year. We just wouldn't know which city to miss. It’s wonderful to return.

What makes the British audiences special?

The British audience is very special because they have their heart open right from the start. They are “there”. It’s fantastic for any artist to play in the UK. In Japan they sit very quiet and polite and listen and then during the encores they explode.  But in the UK I can feel the energy from the audience the moment I step out on stage.

How do you spend your time when you are not on the road?

I work a lot. I practice the violin several hours every day, I rehearse with the orchestra, prepare the next album, that means I'm always looking for new repertoire, I compose together with Frank Steijns, I work a lot in the studio, assisting to the editing of TV specials and DVDs. And beside all these musical things I'm an entrepreneur so there is always a lot to do in business too. In my free time I do a lot of sports, I cook and of course love to spend time with my family.


Your new album, “Love in Venice” is a collection of the most beautiful and romantic Italian music, like O sole mio, Mama, Volare, That’s Amore and many more. Next year you will be married for 40 years. What was the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your wife?

My wife is the most important person in my life. Without her I would be in the gutter. I was deeply touched when she wrote my biography some years ago, “My music, my life”. I gave her a necklace with a little golden book as a gift in which both our names are engraved. She thought that was VERY romantic! And during the summer we love to sit at the Maas river together and watch a pair of swans that lives there.

Have you every composed a song for her?

There are three songs on “Love in Venice” that are all dedicated to this beautiful city: Bella Tarantella, La Gondola and Love in Venice, the title song, which I wrote for her, yes. We both adore Italy and go there once a year on a private vacation. It’s the most romantic place I know.

Your nickname is “The King of the Waltz”…

…haha, yes! Although there’s only ONE true King of the waltz and that is Johann Strauss.

But where did the waltz come from and how come it is so special?

I am not a musicologist, but here’s the story in short: The waltz got famous in the second half of the 19th century and came from the minuet. The minuet was danced far from each other, very distanced – so when the waltz came up it was shocking. To hold a woman in your arms and turning her around so that she would get out of breath was a scandal. Fortunately for England, Queen Victoria loved to
waltz, she could go on and on. The Strauss family were the pop stars of their time.

Why did you choose the waltz as your signature  tune?

My father was a conductor and we always used to go and see his concerts. One night, after playing Beethoven and Mahler, he conducted “By the Beautiful Blue Danube” as an encore. It was magical. I saw people smiling the whole atmosphere changed. I realized how powerful this music is. In a good waltz you always find joy and melancholy, love and sadness. It’s a mirror of life – and I see that every night before me, when the audience gets up and dance.

…and you play a Stradivarius, correct?

Yes, it’s a Stradivarius from 1732 and was built in Italy. It is one of the last instruments Stradivarius himself built. I used to play one from 1667, which was one of his first, but it was too small for me, so I gave it to a young girl from Korea. His instruments vary in size, the earlier ones are smaller than the later ones. I love this instrument; it reminds me of the opera singer Maria Callas – very warm and passionate.

What kind of music do you listen to in your free time?

Ohh, I would love to surprise you, but, alas, like many musicians I am so much surrounded by music every day that I do not listen to music in my free time. Unless I am prepare a new album. So I spent a lot of time listening to Italian music recently to choose pieces for “Love in Venice”.

Could you name one or two major influences in your life, and why were they important?

That’s easy! The most important influence is my wife. We've been married for 39 years now.  I always dreamed about finding someone I could share my private and business life with. When I was young, she introduced me to a lot of wonderful music – operetta, pop music, musicals, music from the twenties and thirties, which we both adore. I was not familiar with that kind of music. As a child all I ever heard at home was Bach, Bartok, Beethoven – which was great, of course but Marjorie opened a whole new world for me. The other major influence was my first violin teacher. A blond beautiful 18-year old girl. I was five years old and immediately fell in love with her. So I practiced a lot to impress her!

You've said you would like to perform someday at the North Pole, and on the moon - what are some of the other things you have on your Bucket List, both professionally and personally?

Haha, yes, but I think my wife would stop me from doing that! She keeps my feet on the ground. Honestly, I’d just be happy to be able to go on like this for as long as possible. I hope live up to 120 years. Personally I want my family, my sons and grandchildren to be happy.


André Rieu will be at Capital FM Arena Nottingham on Wednesday 10 December 2014. For tickets or more information visit www.capitalfmarena.com/online/andrerieu or call 0843 373 3000.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Top Hat At Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW


With a hat-trick of shiny Olivier Awards in its bedazzling mitts, this first-ever stage adaptation of RKO's motion picture Top Hat swept, tapped and sashayed into town dripping elegance and ravishing gorgeousness in its glittering path.

Starring, in true musical theatre tradition, understudy-turned-leading-man Alan Burkitt who not only had to step in at the last minute on the original West End Top Hat opening night but also has to follow in the lighter-than-air iconic debonair winged footsteps of Fred Astaire (no pressure) he proves to be no less than a long, lithe, leggy and lean gliding tap-dancing MACHINE with smooth as satin moves sublimely mixed with energy and grace. And with Charlotte Gooch as his splits-kicking glitzy feathered Ginger Rogers this dream-team power dance couple hit their fabulousness zenith in the exquisite Cheek to Cheek, together swooningly oozing swish swirling swelegance all over the dancefloor and confidentially, we're in heaven.

With a sizzling screwball 1930s plot peppered with one-liners, gags and comic turns by a terrific supporting cast together with a stageful of million dollar troupers dancing to divine Irving Berlin classics, lavish and lush, it's a sumptuous musical, genuinely funny and gloriously glamorous.

Dressed up to the nines, tens and elevens, top class, top notch and top dollar, confidentially we recommend you trip lightly and fantastically (or backwards and in high heels) to Nottingham Theatre Royal to catch this show. Super duper.

Top Hat is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 15 November 2014. Full details, show times and ticket prices can be found on the Theatre Royal website here

Friday, 15 August 2014

Get Up And Go Guide To Nottingham

Photo courtesy of Travelodge

Welcome to the City of Nottingham! In association with Travelodge let us confidentially reveal to you our top favourite Nottingham haunts, fabulous secrets and absolute must-sees for your perfect Nottingham day.

First, fuel up for your busy day with the best slap-up fry-up in town at the breakfastalicious Brown Betty’s on St James’s Street, just a close couple of streets away if you book your stay at the Travelodge on Maid Marian Way in the heart of the city centre.

Now you’re all set up to get down to the serious business of shopping! For under-one-roof chain stores including our massive flagship Boots shop plus an indoor market try Victoria Centre, the lovely shops in The Exchange located inside the Council House in the Old Market Square or the beautiful Bridlesmith Gate which leads up to Nottingham designer Paul Smith’s flagship Byard Lane store. For independents, try the extraordinary Ice Nine in the arty area of Hockley for gorgeously-unusual sterling silver jewellery and fun trinkets. For vintage music fans, the second hand vinyl treasure-trove Rob’s Record Mart in Hurt’s Yard is a must.

Lunchtime already and step briefly out of Nottingham and into the enchanting wonderland of The White Rabbit Teahouse on Hound’s Gate. With daintily-beautiful mismatched china teapots and teacups, confidentially, our favourite treat is the adorably-indulgent afternoon tea, tiered with sandwiches, jam and cream scones and mini cupcakes. Or try lunch with scenic views of the city in the café at Nottingham Castle, for a small entrance fee you can visit the castle’s museum, art gallery and beautiful grounds.

Ready to get scared? Check out the spookily-fascinating Galleries Of Justice Museum, pre-booking is advised, as at the mysterious City of Caves. If you’re staying at the Wollaton Travelodge you’re right on the doorstep for free entry to the glorious Wollaton Hall which starred as Wayne Manor in Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, read the exciting story of how it all happened here


Dinner time already and you’d better be hungry for the awesome Annie’s Burger Shack! Located in Nottingham’s beautiful Lace Market area, these epic mouth-watering burgers are the most popular in town, so make sure you book well in advance! Follow up with drinks at legendary ‘England’s Oldest Inn’ Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem or if cocktails are your cup of tea, follow our confidential clues to the superb secret speakeasy Boilermaker bar.

Night time and let us entertain you with top class theatre and shows at the Royal Centre. Capital FM Arena is within easy walking distance of the city centre where you can catch entertainment’s biggest names or head next door to the National Ice Centre where you can skate in the footsteps of Nottingham Olympians Torvill and Dean. Fancy a dance? Try the famous ‘sticky floor’ at Rock City or end up all the way back in St James’s Street at the Cookie Club where Nottingham’s singing-songwriting superstar Jake Bugg has been seen hanging out.

Finally, here are Five FREE Things To Do for that genuine Nottingham experience:

1. Strike a bow and arrow/raised arm clap pose at the Robin Hood/Brian Clough statue
2. Engage someone with the traditional Nottingham greeting ‘Aye Up Me Duck’
3. Skip (carefully!) through the fountains in the Old Market Square and watch the trams go by whilst the Little John bell chimes in the Council House.
4. Visit the plaque of Nottingham’s most loved busker Xylophone Man who couldn’t actually really play the xylophone at all.
5. Never, never, never refer to football club Nottingham Forest as ‘Notts Forest’.

Have a fantastic time in our City! From Nottingham Confidential with love x

You can check out our full Get Up And Go Guide to Nottingham together with full details of all Nottingham and natioanl Travelodge hotels on their official website here

Monday, 26 May 2014

Nine Inch Nails At Nottingham Capital FM Arena REVIEW

Photo © Nottingham Confidential
After calling it a day in 2009, with a twenty year career that spawned countless releases, Grammy awards and worldwide recognition behind him, Trent Reznor has revived the Nine Inch Nails name for another worldwide trek in 2014.

Nine Inch Nails has always been one man (Reznor) on record, with a huge roster of talented musicians joining him for live performances – like an electro-gothic Mike Oldfield. Certain members of this backing band roster have become fan favourites, and it's nice to see two of them back in the band for this tour - Robin Finck and Alessandro Cortini. So with all of the ingredients in place for a classic return, thousands of excited fans piled into the Capital FM Arena to experience the show they thought might never happen again.

Never one to disappoint, Trent's 2014 show covers all areas of the NIN catalogue. Newer material from recent years such as Everything, Disappointed and All Time Low from 2013's Hesitation Marks album sit well with the audience, and don't seem out of place compared to the much older and more well known “greatest hits” represented tonight. The band have been playing a slightly different set each night, with the classic 1989 track Terrible Lie being a treat for the Nottingham audience only so far. There are certain songs one would expect to hear from Trent tonight and indeed he did deliver the classics Closer, Head Like a Hole and March of the Pigs to a frenzied crowd. The set list perfectly marries the old and new seamlessly, keeping current and old school fans alike on side.

Having seen Trent performing as Nine Inch Nails back in 2007, I knew that a highlight of the show would be the song Hurt, the band's most famous song (which you may also know from the 2003 cover by Johnny Cash.) From the seminal 1994 album The Downward Spiral, Hurt has always been thought of as Trent at his most honest and vulnerable. Tonight at Capital FM Arena, NIN closed the show with the song, thousands of voices singing along in unison up to the final crash of drums – a truly had-to-be-there moment, with an atmosphere that cannot be described in words.

The crowd tonight were clearly glad that NIN are back on stage, and judging by the performance, so were they.

Photo © Nottingham Confidential

Monday, 19 May 2014

Splendour 2014 PREVIEW


Nottingham looks all set up for a very happy Saturday indeed on July 19 when Splendour Festival returns to Wollaton Park with head-liners the Happy Mondays and Tom Odell.

Bringing their famous party atmosphere to Nottingham, Madchester legends the Happy Mondays' full reunited original line up includes dancer Bez and promises a set including hits such as ‘Wrote for Luck’, ‘Step On’ and ‘Hallelujah’.

Appearing at Splendour in front of up to 20,000 people will be singer-songwriter Tom Odell's biggest headline performance to date. The No 1 artist and Brits award-winner will play singles from his debut album ‘Long Way Down’ including hits ‘Another Love’, ‘Grow Old With Me’, ‘I Know’ and ‘Hold Me’.

Scouting for Girls, Foxes and Ron Pope will also be joining the headline acts on the main stage whilst The Boomtown Rats with lead singer Bob Geldof will headline the Confetti Stage which also features Reverend and the Makers, The Rifles, A Plastic Rose, Uncle Frank, and Keto.

“After last year’s barnstorming headline set by local hero Jake Bugg we’re delighted to give another rising young artist a chance to play to such a large crowd. Tom Odell has become a big star over the past year while the Happy Mondays are a brilliant live act and a real crowd favourite." said George Akins of promoter DHP Family. "We've added an exciting mix of established acts and rising stars to the bill. It's important to get a variety of acts at Splendour for a different experience at each of the three stages. I think Foxes will become a big star and will be a big hit with younger people in the audience while Scouting for Girls and Reverend and the Makers will appeal to fans looking for melodic indie-rock."

With comedy acts, dozens of market stalls and a children’s fun fair, Splendour will also feature the winners of the Future Sound of Nottingham competition who will appear in the opening slot on the main stage.

Tickets for Splendour are on sale now priced from £15-£42.50. All the latest news about the festival can be found on the official Splendour website  http://www.splendourfestival.com/

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Natalie Imbruglia In Things We Do For Love At Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW


It's a tale of unrequited love and requited love, illicit passion, ardent desire and secret, pervy admiration and it's into this hilariously lovable bizarre love rectangler Nineties Alan Ayckbourn revival that Neighbours legend and worldwide pop sensation the divine Natalie Imbruglia makes her stage acting debut.

Jolly hockey sticks ex-prefect and confirmed singleton Barbara - played like a magnificently perfectionist Titan by the extraordinary Claire Price - lives in the middle flat of her converted house and in a tantalising peep-show stage set up which reveals just the calf-skimming floor of the flat above and the ceiling of the basement flat below, home of lovelorn Barbara fan and DIY lackey Hamish. Into Barbara's inch perfect conversion world skips her sweetie-pie old school friend and freshly engaged Nikki - a breathlessly animated and Brit accent-perfect Natalie Imbruglia followed by Edward Bennett as hunky Scot fiancé lover-man Hamish to temporarily live in the flat above.

But brewing beneath the conversational social niceties, the tea and sherry and nibbles and nice blouses is a crazy-houseful of animal passions, let loose by Barbara's insanely disastrous dinner party, which confidentially ends up hosting possibly one of the best on-stage drunk scenes EVER by Simon Gregor as the gloriously peculiar lovesick Gilbert.

With cosy and civilised domesticity mixing dangerously with rampant lust that confidentially leads to possibly the funniest and most outrageously-choreographed on-stage lovers' fight scene EVER, this play is an acting-quartet triumph by the cast as Barbara and her heart-breakingly heart-meltingly passionate too-close-for-comfort subarban neighbours

Love, laughs, fighting and an Aussie goddess in the flesh, three curtain calls from an enraptured audience can't be wrong, there's not many things not to lurrve about the most bonkers and anarchically-romantic love story in town, fall in love with it at Nottingham Theatre Royal until this Saturday.

Things We Do For Love is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 3rd May. Full details including ticket prices can be found on the Theatre Royal website here