Saturday, 31 May 2014

Britain: My New Home

Britain: My New Home was filmed & directed by Daisy Asquith and follows the lives of three young immigrants to the UK from the moment they arrived, right up until their 16th birthdays. I’m not sure what Daisy set out to conclude about the transition into British life but nevertheless, the three-part series would certainly serve as an eye opener for the everyday UKIP voter.

 The series follows three young children, Marshal, Imran and Altynay. Marshall comes to the UK from Zimbabwe, following his mother whom he had been apart from for 5 years. On arrival he did not even recognise her and began at his new primary school in North Shields just 3 weeks after his arrival in the UK. He has the advantage of beginning his journey with the ability to speak English already, however, this certainly doesn't mean his journey is plain-sailing.

Altynay flew over to join her mother in Penistone, a small village in the north of England and was unable to speak or understand any English at all. She began at an English speaking school just 3 days after her arrival and we watch as she grows, makes friends and misses her family in Kyrgyzstan.

Imran, flew over from Pakistan having lived with his grandmother for the majority of his childhood. His relationship with his grandmother was so strong that he had even taken to calling her 'mama' over his own mother. On arrival in Peterborough, he was already missing her. Imran began school, speaking no English, 3 weeks after his arrival. He never sees his grandmother again, as she passes away just days before she is due to visit Pakistan.

It is an eye-opening ordeal with Marshal slotting straight in, Altynay having issues with racism and Imran really struggling to accustom to British life and unwilling to leave his Pakistani dress-sense and values at home. There was certainly some dedication from Daisy herself who followed the trio for approximately 6 years and became a trusted friend to the children along the way!

One of the greatest things within the film is the honesty in which it is presented. There is no such thing as political correctness when you're ten, and it's great to hear the natural reactions of the kids of Britain. It's also nice to see that when you're a kid, it doesn't really matter where you're from. Marshal immediately made friends with Carl, a red-haired boy who wasn't convinced that being black was any different from being ginger. Altynay had kids lining up to play with her. Imran on the other hand was slightly alienated from his peers as they made fun of his determination to hold on to his Pakistani dress and to his language - but who could blame him? He had not prepared to be brought from the only home he had ever know, to Britain where everything would be different. 

The documentary explored a lot about identity and about what we consider to be 'home'. For example, you saw the elation in the three children as they travelled back to their home countries. Particularly in Altynay, as she played with the children in the park in Kyrgyzstan, no longer different than her peers. She even told her mum that it was ok to go back to England without her. It just shows how hard it is to leave behind the country you were born in, despite the good things that a move to Britain might bring. For the three children that Daisy followed, the move to Britain was a chance to give them new start and opportunities away from the conflict in Zimbabwe, the corruption in Kyrgyzstan and the poverty of Pakistan. I wonder how many UKIP voters have had to bring up their children in an environment like that.

The series really touched me as I saw these three children grow amidst British society. They hit hurdles along the way, who doesn't, but by the end of the three-part series, we feel as an audience that we too have grown.

We've seen Altynay visit her home country for second time and realise that she has become more accustomed to British life than she'd first thought. She was met with disapproval to her constant application of make-up during the day and to her determination to style all of the girls' hair. We also see the struggle that faces them with British politics as BNP power is strong in her community. In her final year of GCSE education she is met with direct racial abuse at school and has had enough. Although her first reaction is leave the country and not return, she does agree that it would be nonsensical to do so before the exams she has studied so hard to pass. So, she stays, having gained an extremely in-depth education, not only in terms of compulsory education but also in adapting to another culture and in finding her love for her own country.

We see Imran who has completely embraced the future that his grandmother wished for him. Although he holds back from immersing himself completely within British culture and stands by his belief that those who sin in eating meat not blessed and drinking alcohol will be punished, he does at least give in to wearing British clothes. He looks forward to the day when he is old enough and earning enough money to support his family back in Pakistan, as well as awaiting the arrival of his cousin, whom he will marry. This is what he looks forward to as he retakes his GCSEs at college and takes his driving lessons.

Marshal has perhaps embraced British culture more than the other contributors. He sets himself aside from others in that he says he is 'proud to be African' but also charmingly immerses himself in his dream to become a dance teacher and in his friendship with Carl. Although we see his excitement in returning to the border with Zimbabwe briefly for a family visit, he is happy to return to Britain where he has built a new life with his family and friends. His excitement and positivity is simply infectious. He'd be a brilliant dance teacher, or even TV presenter I think.

And so we have followed, alongside Daisy Asquith, the lives of our three youngsters and it seems a shame to say goodbye. It opens our eyes not just to the reasons that people choose to immigrate to Britain but also to the difficult and confusing transition it can be for the children that do so. It is shot brilliantly personally and daisy has clearly bonded with her adolescent contributors. Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned is that we do not make it easy for immigrants to adapt. We push them out, have political parties insistent on denying them work, show racism towards ten year old children for simply wanting a better life. Who are we to deny them that opportunity? This programme only shows the willingness they have to learn and the passion that they have to try. If we all showed half of the resilience and determination these three children did during the 6 years Daisy followed them, Britain would most definitely be a better place! 

For a better explanation of the series and it's three main contributors, read this amazing post from the guardian:

Friday, 23 May 2014

Dogging Tales

Dogging Tales is directed by photographer Leo McGuire. I expected a documentary that gave me an insight as to why people go dogging, or more importantly WHO goes dogging. Although it gave me some conclusive examples of some rather intriguing characters, it was mainly a documentary about WHAT dogging is, which to be honest I could have found out by driving 1mile North of my home address (not that I know the exact location for sure - call it a late night wrong turn!)

The film-making was clever, doing just enough to conserve modesty and identity without completely removing the identity of whom they were following. The use of masks was not only entirely appropriate in protecting identities but it was also completely representative of the contributors' personalities – how many production meetings went into that I wonder. A particular favourite was the use of the meerkat mask for the meek and mild Terry, the boyfriend to a not so meek girlfriend Sara. Also the mask for the arguably deep-voiced female - sassy.

What the doc lacked was an exploration into who was behind the masks and much desired vox pops with those obscured doggers who just so happened to amble past a film crew with their trousers round their ankles. It would have been intriguing to hear what they had to say about their nighttime recreation.

The filming was completely distinctive from much of what I see on television today. It was shot much like a horror film and at sometimes, rather felt like one. And of course who wouldn't appreciate the reactions of our Gogglebox stars to such a wonderfully provocative programme!

It was a one-off factual spectacle that left me almost completely dumbfounded. It left me wondering who the people behind the masks are which is both a criticism and an applause. It also confirmed that my opinion on humanity is either completely off the scale of inaccuracy or that most people just don't think like I do. For example, when the females told us that they felt safe with their husbands watching on from the dugout as they got down and dirty in the boots of their cars, all I could think was what was stopping someone hitting him over the head and all ten of these strangers having their way with her at once? Alike to that, it confirmed my suspicion of lorry drivers as the show told that 70% of lorry drivers go dogging made unavoidably OPEN-MOUTHED moment by the contributor's admittance that he is 'hunting for the furry triangle'! WHAT?! Perhaps I'm too paranoid. Or perhaps they're all just mental. Either way I don't think it's an activity I'm likely to take up any time soon.

To be honest I was quite sad it was a one-off. I quite wanted to find out if our meek little meerkat ever got out his claws for his demanding and exceptionally uncaring girlfriend and her equally physically comparable female 'feeler'... As that's all they ever got around to. I felt like Terry needed to give her more than a flick on the nose for the fact that she spilled the size of his manhood on national television.

A great testament to getting access to some rather complicated communities however and a one-off is rather like to see as a series. I haven't laughed so much at a TV show for quite a while and it does not surprise me that the show pulled in 2million viewers. Great work by Minnow Films and some original directing from McGuire.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


'Momo' at Stratford Circus was written by the esteemed Michael Ende of 'The Never-Ending Story', so of course expectations for the production were high. What followed these expectations was less a tale of enchanting adventure and more, a failed attempt at literary significance.
The story follows a small community who live happily together in an amphitheatre, albeit owned by a rather creepy mayor. However, as the story unfolds, 'Momo' appears and the peaceful community is threatened by the men in grey - essentially 'Time Stealers'. The rest of the play follows Momo's attempts to save her friends from despair and ultimately restore the community back to what it once was.

The concept of time was applaudable, Mende was clearly trying to make a statement about modern society and the way it rushes around as though its time has run out. However, the protagonist was quite weak and I feel it drew from the message. It had nothing to do with her acting; the character of Momo just never does anything spectacular and yet all of the other characters seem to hold her on a pedestal above everyone else. They thank her when she says nothing, they say she's special when all she does is sit next to them. It just seemed a little... empty. I felt like Momo needed some strong lines to reflect her so-called wisdom and yet, she had nothing but childish giggles and a lack of syllables.

Momo's words (or lack of) held her back but other characters were completely lacking in presence. For example, the lord of time himself had absolutely no stage presence as the nutty time professor or as the lowly sweeper. Adebayo Bolaji however, stood out as the star of the show alongside Kimberley Blake and Sandra Marvin as Nina.
Another thing I'm not quite sure always worked were the harmonies, the constant choral passages throughout the show. Although individually the cast had adequate voices, I'm not sure that they mixed well together. However, there was a part in the play that this changed for me. When the 'men in grey' are all singing different phrases at staggered intervals it was extremely gratifying to see it done so well. The voices here had clearly been the most rehearsed and it shone through as the best musical performance of the night. Alongside this, the physical performance of the men in grey later in the performance as Momo gets ever closer to releasing all of her friends from time's oppression also impressed.

The puppetry was a little half-hearted although performed well when it did appear. The set is perhaps one of the plays redeeming features. With light bulbs strung from the ceiling and clocks giving off a steampunk feel to fit the theme of the play. A particular favourite moment for the visuals, was when the children were playing make believe and the use of cloths and movement made the stage a spectacle. However, it soon returned to normality and lacked the same oomph in the second half.

The movement certainly held potential, the set was symbolic yet minimalistic, the cast looked to find energy from anywhere giving it (including the youth choir that accompanied them at certain intervals) although sometimes failed. It was a shame, there was the potential for a great production but the script was the thing letting it down. It didn't help that the cast broke the fourth wall when welcoming the youth choir on stage. It kind of broke up the magic. Despite some of them having great voices, there is nothing less illuminating than a bunch of kids who can't be bothered to learn the lyrics to the song they are supposed to sing along to. The play itself was a let down, the production was definingly average. Although, the kids seemed to like it.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Last Five Years

On Thursday night, I sat in the Greenwich theatre auditorium quite satisfied that we had managed to get good tickets just the day before the show.

The musical production follows the relationship of two young characters across the five years that they are together. The only thing is, that they travel through it in different directions. Whilst Jamie begins at the start of their relationship and lives it forward, Cathy travels backwards and they meet only once in the middle – at their wedding day.

With Danielle Hope starring as Cathy I expected a flawless vocal, which I didn’t necessarily get but it’s hard to fault her acting ability. Although there were more than a few fluffs in the vocals, I rather enjoyed Hope’s excitable portrayal of Cathy. A particular favourite was the number that saw some creative lighting design - as Cathy began to sing as though auditioning in front of a panel of judges, we were treated to an unpredictable spotlight that gave us the chance to hear Cathy’s inner thoughts with Hope showing a hilarious aptitude for comical honesty.

I also quite enjoyed her performance of 'See I'm Smiling', as she waded through the emotional rapids of love and happiness to fear and anger.

Jon Robyns' performance as Jamie was similarly vocally flawed however, he too managed to win back my audial applause with his rendition of 'The Schmuel Song'. I also rather enjoyed the comedy within his performance of 'A Miracle Would Happen'. Speaking wishfully about flirting with other women but it's utter impossibility as women 'always know', made me sport more than a smile.

The set was simple, one bed split in two representing the broken relationship but not suggesting that it did not exist as a relationship at all. There were also two clocks running in opposite directions, obviously mirroring the fact that our two leads are travelling within different realms of time. Placed on stage also, was a live orchestra. Unfortunately I think that the leads' radio mics were turned up so high that the music was lost underneath them, which is why whenever they missed a note is was so blindingly obvious. If I was the sound technician I would most definitely have turned down the main vocals, quietened the piano and brought the levels of the other instruments up. With the other instruments level, it would have thickened the timbre that the production needed to venture outside of the boundaries keeping it bordering along the lines of 'school play'.

As I say, I can't really flaw the acting ability, more just the vocals, which believe it or not is actually quite important when venturing to watch a musical. However, 'The Schmuel Song' and 'Climbing Uphill' rescued it from the disaster corner of my verdict. I certainly think it helped that I related to the couple in the piece. When everything seemed to be going right for Jamie and crashing down upon Cathy at the beginning, I hated him. I actually wanted him to stop singing and fail. Horrible I know, but at that particular moment in time, I identified with Cathy's struggle and wanted him to stop and think about her.

Overall, it was certainly an applaudable effort. I didn't waste an entire night by going to see it and it stimulated some interesting topics of conversation between myself and my other half on the walk home. I would have liked it to have seemed more rehearsed, for the sound to have been perfected better and for the characters to have more than just that one opportunity to interact with one another but it was not so. I'd certainly like to see it with a bigger budget and with perhaps a less edgy tone to the lead voices.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Amazing Spiderman 2
I feel as though finally my predictions for the potential of Andrew Garfield's acting ability have finally reached a claimable correctness since the first time I saw him in channel 4's 'Boy A'.
Not only does he portray a rawness and subtlety in his emotion and speech, he claims every path his territory as his physicality seems to sing at us through the screen. The script provided light comedy and a playfulness that only Garfield could have embodied so brilliantly. A particular favourite moment to reflect this is in the park, once reunited as "friends" with the almost equally endearing Gwen. As he winds himself around the tree stump playfully it is almost as if we are watching ourselves flirtatiously luring our own sweetheart.
It's been a while since I've seen such physical acting, as the stone-cold, hard-faced teens have taken over our screens with hunger games, divergent and the like. As Jennifer Lawrence is championed for her understated authenticity on camera, we almost find the other end of the authenticity spectrum with Garfield. It is refreshing to see someone bring something unique back to cinema. For me, it helped me fall in love with the previously-not-as-amazing Spider-Man. For me it was almost a Spider-Man coming of age film, both actor and character revelled in pain, relationships, conflict and morality upon choosing a 'career' they love but that is challenging.
It wasn't only the acting that shone through for me either. It was clear that the filmmakers had set out to please the avid comic book fans as well as thinking about every aspect of scientific technicality and of art design. For example, I may have read too much into the design of Peter's bedroom but on the wall above his bed I spotted album artwork that would seem to very much reflect our conflicted hero's psyche. The XX album 'Coexist' - coincidence or genius? 

There is always a bit of a downside to going to the cinema with Kamal and not because of a lovers tiff before hand. It is that he picks apart every scientific flaw that exists in a plot line and tells me how it should happen, which sometimes rather ruins the enjoyment of ignorance. The fact that Spider-Man left him with nothing to pick out other than telling me they had it spot on, from the simultaneous impact from both sides during Gwen's fall, right down to the musical anomaly that happens at the power station, is testament to the production team's research and script development.
The soundtrack & sound design weren't half bad either. The song of electricity that reverberated around the cinema during the final showdown certainly played on our stereo senses. The make-up for the green goblin was brilliant, if not a little Harry-potter-esque which is definitely not a bad thing. The greatness even came down to the minute details of the comical snapping-shut of the plug socket once electron merges into OSCORPs power grid.

If there's a fault to find, it would probably be the obviousness of the set-up for Max Dillon's fall into the tank. Jamie Foxx gives an act much like that of his past performance as 'Nathaniel Ayers' (The Soloist). However, his performance as Electron was certainly applaudable, just short of brilliant. 

With the sequel's set-up of our Amazing Spider-Man being predominantly human and allowing us to get to grips with the true authenticity of Peter Parker, over his alias 'Spiderman' - I cannot wait for the amazing soul-destroying number three. I just hope it lives up to the bar of the number two because Garfield's performance really was kick-ass - well it would have to be to beat three villains in a single film! 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Untouchables - Erik Ravelo

Whilst scrolling through the usual rubbish on my Facebook newsfeed, I stumbled across the following series of photoghraphs. The new series, produced by Cuban artist Erik Ravelo titled, 'Los Innocentes' (The Untouchables) are photographs of children crucified upon their supposed oppressors; each for a different reason and giving a clear message, seeking to reaffirm the rights of children to be protectwd and report abuse suffered by them.

Here are the pictures:
The first images refers to paedophilia in the Vatican.
The second: Child sexual abuse in tourism in Thailand
Third: The war in Syria
Fourth: refers to the trafficking of organs on the black market, where most of the victims are children from poor countries.
Fifth: Refers to free weapons in the US
Finally, the sixth image refers to obesity, blaming the big fast food companies.
The 7th was not on the list, but reflects war a nuclear disaster
What followed was a varying degree of comments from messages of congratulations to statements about foreign governments and immorality. Right or wrong, there was one comment as I scrolled that really hit me. As I'd got involved with reading the debate about the treatment of children in other countries, ripping foreign religions and traditions apart, I too had become a victim of precisely the thing Erik tried to capture in these photographs.

The comment said:
"The point of this project (done by a Cuban, so i don't get why people are attacking Saudis) was to draw focus and attention to the world's children. Instead, people here are making political statements, sticking up their right to own guns, pointing fingers at other cultures, and crapping on other religions. This is lunacy and only goes to prove the point of the project; how quickly we forget about our children."
An inspiring project, that not only gets us to think about the issues addressed within the photographs, but also about the blind eye we are so quick to turn to the suffering of our children.

Visit Erik's website for more about his work:

Friday, 9 May 2014

A Thousand Times Good Night

After a long day filming I wasn't entirely sure if I had the willpower to journey to central London to see a film. However, I forced myself up and out and headed to see 'A Thousand Times Good Night' at an intimate ODEON screen in Panton Street, with just two other strangers to share this rare gem of a movie with.

The story follows conflict photographer Rebecca from serious injury in Kabul, a result of a suicide bombing she knew was going to happen, all the way across the water to the challenges of upholding her role as a mother to two young daughters in Ireland.

Lauryn Canny offered a lot to the screen. She captured the distress of Steph's experience in Kenya, as well as the knowledge and maturity that follows, almost as though she herself had seen it first hand. She had a natural air about her that was infectious, a hunger for knowledge, a sense of adventure and of morality that pieced together a wonderful coming of age story for both mother and daughter.

It was not stylistic like our old photography favourite City of Men. It didn't need to be. The rawness and natural filter meant that it felt almost as if we too were photographers looking for the next snap. It helps the audience feel that they are present within the conflict, which heightens only further as the conflict moves within the family home.

Director Erik Poppe was brilliant in making the film a human story, one where we really saw the importance of pictures. Of single moments, captured forever as the only proof that moment ever existed. Even if that picture is the image if a screaming daughter in the back of a truck fearing for her mothers life, or a series of photos of a distraught mother as she tells her daughter she has to go back to photography.

It was particularly affecting to me as I could very easily identify with both mother and daughter, which made it all the more tragic that they could not understand one another. I saw the anger at the world that allows innocent people to struggle, to die whilst sipping their morning coffee. I felt her need to tell their story, as I feel it too whenever I think of my next documentary ideas. I also however, felt her daughters absolute longing for her mother to a mum. She tries so hard to understand her work, clearly worships her and yet all she wants is a mother.

The screenplay oozed devotion; to work, to family, to recording conflict and to morality. It left me tortured by the fact that I could one day have such a decision in my hands. Do I tell their story, or fix my own?

Alongside, beautiful performances by both Juliette Binoche and Lauryn Canny, it was also nice to see another side to Games of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister), one that saw him as a father figure, once again oozing devotion for his children. The scene where he finds out that Rebecca left their daughter in Kenya, leaves him completely dumbfounded. He explodes in a rage of fatherly protection and decimates all that stands in the way of Steph's safety, which just so happens to be Rebecca.

The final scene reflects exactly what our director has done to his audience, broken them. Rebecca echoes the actions at the beginning if the film as she clicks away taking photos of potential suicide bombers. Then stops. Her eyes lock upon a young girl, no older than ten who has been chosen to make the sacrifice. As she is wired up, Rebecca knows she must capture this in pictures and yet every fibre of her being is wrought with injustice. She wanders in torment muttering that they must stop it. They prepare the girl, she says her goodbyes to what looks to be her mother as we frantically urge Rebecca to capture it and make those New Yorkers choke on their coffee. But she can't, she raises her camera again and again, and cannot bear to press the shutter. The girl is driven away with nothing but dust in the air to say she ever left. Rebecca and her guide kneel on the ground, broken. Utterly heart-breaking.

It's a story of twisted emotions, of dedication, of responsibility and of conflict of every kind. It's certainly not an easy watch or at least it wasn't for me. But it's a film well-worth the struggle of battling through your own emotions at the end of a long day. A truly great film.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014


I've been waiting to see 'Home' for months and every time it's been sold out. So, when the National Theatre released two extra dates, I jumped at the chance (Thank you Kamal for your persistence on the phone)!

Living and working in East London meant that 'Home' was extremely relevant to me. It certainly packs a political punch too. In a world where getting on the housing ladder is something we've all given up on committing to any time before we're 30 and owning a house is now a nothing but a make-believe ending to popular myths and fairytales, 'Home' gave us all something to think about.

The play follows the tenants of high-rise hostel 'Target East'. We never really know the names of them all which for me, actually added to play's theme of homelessness and identity. We have a character who refuses to open his council tax letters but doesn't want to call the hostel his home. There is the boy that sings, and all he wants is his name in lights, but a roof over his head is the first mountain he has to climb. There is the gardener who wants nothing but safety for his little brother. There is the young mum who wants a safe environment to bring up her child in. What are they dreaming of - those keys to their own place.

With original music, lyrics, spoken word, movement and a fantastic vocal beat-box performance 'Home' threw us into the extremely relevant issue of young teens who have nowhere to go but to hostels where funding cuts are destroying hopes and lives.

The show begins in the entrance to the performance space, that has by the way, been completely transformed to mirror the entrance of our hostel. It sets us in a place where we become immediately involved with the piece, as we can no longer separate ourselves by location. We are there, they speak to us. A marvellous piece of set design by Ruth Sutcliffe that particularly played with our audience psyche.

Antonia Thomas:

There were some brilliant performances all round. Antonia Thomas was surprising for me as she portrayed a vulnerable Asian mum and the Eritrean girl with a shadowed past. It was extremely moving to hear her tell the story of Eritrean girl's journey into the country and how she was forced into compromising situations that were both physically and emotionally traumatising. Her singing voice was not only full of raw emotion that brought shivers to my spine, the tears rolling down her vulnerable face as she lay on the ground recalling her experiences, were a brilliant reflection of an extremely talented young actress.

Another great performance came from Grace Savage, with her beat-boxing talents that provided the cast with some sophisticated accompaniment to their lyrical flair. She even convincingly put her mouth to mic to imitate the crying of a baby - made me listen twice. Adding to her character is the fact that we never hear her speak normally, perhaps a representation of how people in similar positions are often silenced or ignored, not listened to because of the situation they find themselves in. Do we ever really ask those in trouble to tell about their problems, and when they do, how often do we actually listen?

I loved the conversational dialogue but it could have almost killed me, wanting to know who they were all talking to. Was it us? Are the audience playing a part as the media? the whole play was not only extremely relevant and 'down with the kids' it was swimming with political prose, mastered skilfully by the actors.

Toby Wharton gave an almost Andrew Garfield-esque performance. He edged a naturalness, a sincerity and a stance much like our new onscreen Peter Parker in his early days as 'Boy A'. Even the harsh cockney accent offered a soft and playful vibe that eked an innocence and naivety. He spent most of his time in the garden, as it relaxes him, frees him from the strain of responsibility and interaction with those that frighten him. You want to scoop him up and hug him.

And then it comes. The thing they've all relied on. The thing they've bragged out, complained about, laughed at, live at, 'Target East' loses it's funding and in turn, most of it's young tenants. Wharton's character whom we love so much, makes a prompt exit from the play as we are told by Sharon (the under-appreciated Ashley McGuire) he committed suicide.

It is an end none of us wanted to see, although one we all saw coming. I sat there clutching Kamal's arm knowing that we are looking for a house to move into together in the coming months. The uncertainty of that, and the choral harmonies of the cast, moved me to tears. That I did not expect, nor intend to happen.

The script is one we forget to question. The performances of all members of the cast were endearing and we became almost a part of their story.  Michaela Coel truly represented that youthful and positive spirit that young people have when faced with a fight. She was the perfect portrayal of those people who find themselves in hopeless situations and yet cling on to hope, allowing others to bask in their positivity.

The Shed is emerging as a political punchbag, hosting some mighty productions with the brightest of young talents. It reeps political, historical and social relevance and 'Home' stands out as one of the best I've seen so far.

Friday, 2 May 2014

London Burlesque Festival

The 8th London Burlesque Festival begins on May 15th, showcasing some of the most eclectic and diverse acts of the modern international circuit. Lasting 11 days and featuring over 100 performers, it really is quite special that acts will travel the globe to perform here in the capital, so why not loosen that stiff upper lip, let your hair down, be a bit wild and enjoy it!

For those who aren’t usually burlesque fans, don’t be put off! A year ago, I felt a little the same. I was unsure of exactly what burlesque was and even more unsure of the people who would partake, either as a performer or as an audience member. For this reason, I wanted to know more, so I set out with a group of classmates to make a short documentary about the scene.

I expected nudity, pervy old men, strippers with a murky past to hide and dingy pubs in back alleys. What I got, was not that at all. It was a scene brimming with confident women of all shapes and sizes and of supportive audiences cheering them on to boost their confidence rather than staring intensely at their lady gardens. It was a community, not a cult and burlesque was presented as an art, not just a cheeky fling with a feather bower. It’s even got its own fascinating history, leading to the development of acts of all forms from circus acts to classical acts, Neo burlesque to novelty. Having said that, it’s not necessarily something to bring your dad along to but who knows, you might.

It’s actually a little hard to describe, even harder to get your head around, it’s much easier to show you. So, with that in mind, take a look at what we filmed last year. I challenge you to find acts even more amazing this year at the festival - although, these girls are pretty hard to ‘top off’ the list – haha see what I did there.

Find out more about the London Burlesque Festival Specifically at: