Carys Eleri’s Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff): A Review

*Ad with thanks to the Millennium Centre Cardiff who gifted me tickets to see the show*

Carys Eleri’s rollicking one woman show, a rat run race through the science of loneliness and attachment, is spreading a genuine message of love. She’s basically Jesus. With boobs. In fact boobs are honoured during the show, with an entire song dedicated to them. (Finally). The song ‘Tit Montage’ was a personal highlight as Carys relayed a story about the morning she woke up confused but delighted at apparently having been the lady filling in a lady sandwich. I’m still laughing at the teapot reference (I won’t spoil it for you).

Lovecraft photo credit Kirsten McTernan

Love craft is science, comedy, and songs mashed together to create this fun and tasty hybrid which is part science lesson part stand up comedy show and part mission message.

Carys Eleri takes us on a tour of her early adult relationships from ‘complete fanny gallops’ at A&E to finally finding a way to cut her bad-boy out of her life once and for all (cue the song Space and Time). No drugs needed.

The songs are funny and jog the narrative along but what I loved most was the theming of them. One heavy metal (Rejection is so shit), one in the style of Eminem, one with a New York rat pack flavour (yes there is a good reason for all the rats) and Carys Eleri carries each of them off with gusto.

The show has been performed all over the world and twice at Ed fringe but it is undeniably Welsh, with performances in Welsh and English. As a Welshie myself the typical Welsh mam gags in it just hit the spot. Lovecraft is genuine to the bone and easily relatable to anyone who has ever been in love.

Love Godess by name, love Goddess by nature, at the end of the show Carys talks about kicking the lonliness epidemic in the butt and creating a love epidemic instead. She puts her money where her mouth is and hugs every individual member of the audience as they enter and leave.

You will go in feeling as if you’ve just stepped into your best mate’s living room and leave wishing you had a friend like Carys.

Perfect for a girls night out and with only 4 dates left of the tour, the final two being at Wales Millennium Centre, you’ll have to be quick to book your tickets. Make sure to check which language showing you are booking. You can book at the Wales Millennium Centre here: https://www.wmc.org.uk/en/whats-on/2019/lovecraft-not-the-sex-shop-in-cardiff/

Dates below

Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff)

Produced by Carys Eleri and Wales Millennium Centre

Created and performed by Carys Eleri

Directed by Mared Swain

Music produced by Branwen Munn

Running time: 1 hour 5mins

Age guidance: 16+

Borough Theatre, Abergavenny

Thursday 17 October 2019, 7.30pm

Blackwood Miners’ Institute

Friday 18 October 2019, 7.30pm

The Torch Theatre, Milford Haven

Wednesday 30 October 2019, 7.30pm

Theatr Clwyd, nr Mold

Saturday 2 November 2019, 7.30pm

Volcano Theatre, Swansea

Friday 8 November 2019, 7.30pm

The Riverfront, Newport

Thursday 14 November 2019, 7.45pm

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin, Carmarthen

Saturday 16 November 2019, 7.30pm

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Sunday 24th November 2019, 3pm

ffresh, Wales Millennium Centre

Thursday 28 and Friday 29 November 2019, 8pm

Psst it’s not like I haven’t written about sex shops before 😉

Madagascar the Musical: Review

Ad/Press Invite

We were kindly invited along to see Madagascar the musical at Cardiff’s Millennium Centre.

King Julien

The show is really colourful, fun and upbeat. It’s particularly great for little ones as it doesn’t feel long. The stand out things for me about this production were the eye-catching costumes, Matt Terry’s (Alex) astounding vocals, the puppets, and the humour. I laughed out loud along with most of the audience more than once throughout the show.

Madagascar the musical

The music is very peppy and toe-tapping and the song lyrics are easy to understand, nothing abstract or mysterious, they support the narrative really well.

I especially enjoyed the raspberry clouds song which represents Alex the lion’s decent into unconsciousness when he gets darted at the subway station by animal control. I laughed so much at the policeman in this scene (played by Kieran Mortell).

William Beckerleg deserves a special mention as he has the lead penguin’s voice (Skipper) down to a tee.

madagascar the musical

Thank you to Wales Millennium Centre for a brilliant mum and daughter night out, we had such a lovely evening out together. Here’s what my daughter thought of the show:

‘I found it was an amazing production and while they were performing you could really see the effort and time they had put in to make it that good. I especially like when king Julien said that it was embarrassing that he had just done that whole session of “hahohaho” just because Alex’s stomach grumbled. That really made me laugh. I think that the dancing was absolutely brilliant as well as the singing just all the moves and timing and their singing was beautiful. The mini party at the end really got the people in the vibe even more. This is a really good musical and if I was to rate it I would say a 100/10. People should really go and watch the musical – very entertaining.’

So there you go, 100/10 is pretty good isn’t it? A great family night out well worth booking tickets for with your littlies but be quick it’s running until 11th August at Wales Millennium Centre and tickets are from £16.

You might also like to read my other theatre review of Kinky Boots which I also saw at Wales Millennium Centre.

Review: Kinky Boots at The Millennium Centre Cardiff

Ad: Press Review

Glamour, glitz and heels that hit the ceiling, Kinky Boots delivers exactly what the audience is hoping for. Set in Price and Son shoe factory in Northampton, the humdrum meets the extraordinary when Mr Price’s son, Charlie, goes into business with the fabulous Lola – an out and proud drag queen. Together they bring the factory back from the brink of extinction through Kinky Boots. The factory, and the worker’s jobs are saved when Price and Son’s begin to manufacture ‘two and a half feet of irresistible tubular sex’ high heeled kinky boots for the niche male market.

Kinky Boots is primarily a story about ‘local-boy-done-good’ with complex themes of acceptance and love woven throughout. We follow Charlie’s transformation as he finds out who he really is and what he really wants in life. Charlie’s journey is beautifully played out by Joel Harper-Jackson who most notably carries the big number ‘Soul Of A Man’ incredibly, just him and a bare backdrop. His performance at once personal and powerful.

At the start of Kinky Boots our main lad Charlie is engaged to the beautiful and ambitious – if not also slightly uptight and cold – Nicola played by Helen Ternent but as the story unfolds another love interest comes into play in the form of Lauren who works at Price and Son factory. Paula Lane gives us a wonderfully dorky and down to earth ‘girl-from-my-home-town’. Her solo ‘The History of Wrong Guys’ is as funny as you want it to be and has a definite ‘Suddenly Seymour’ vibe to it. Lane had the audience in uproarious laughter but also managed to weave in the more serious Lauren in a slower scene where she is the prop that ties up Charlie’s lose end with his father just before the big finale.

The star of the show is obviously Lola, played by Kayi Ushe who satisfyingly bursts onto the stage with a flash of bright lights, done up from head to toe in a red sequin dress and dances in impossibly high heels. Lola’s club where she works as a drag artist alongside an ensemble of her angels is wonderfully juxtaposed to the drab factory feel of Price and Son.

Lola and her girls

This juxtaposition is carried throughout the show as Charlie and Lola step into each other’s worlds and discover they have a lot more that unites them than doesn’t. We see this in the beautiful lyrics of ‘Not My Father’s Son’ which really showed off Ushe’s vocal flexibility and through both performers, invited us into the more intimate back story of Lola’s character. And I won’t spoil the ending but we see this joining of worlds played out amazingly in the last song and finale also.

Our first introduction to Lola’s girls is a feast of a vision. The dancing is Britney Spears video quality amazing and every one of the ensemble stands out as much as the next. The audience is spoiled for choice on where to focus attention during every one of their numbers. Some acrobatic skills are even included and the choreography bounds from one spectacular to another. Their dancing gives the whole show a feeling of high energy and constant forward motion.

The costumes are so varied and detailed. I loved the not too in your face 90’s theming of the factory workers outfits which by comparison between the scenes made the drag artist’s costumes stand out all the more. As we get further into the story the racks of boots in the factory become bright and beautiful and we get a good look at some of the detailing and design that has gone into them. The prop of the first bright red thigh high Kinky Boots to come through on the factory line shine and sparkle as the cast move them around the stage.

Kinky Boots press night – Wales Millennium Centre, 23rd July 2019 Photo by Polly Thomas

The stage set up is visually appealing right from the opening scene. Mostly based at the factory, the whole space is used well and we easily imagine the meetings happening privately in the upstairs office and can see the workers sewing stations in the main floor. There’s lots to look at with regard to set design and props in every scene which some may view as superfluous to the great performances of the actors but is a piece of live theatre that I personally so enjoy and appreciate.

And the music! Well I’ve had ‘The Sex is in the Heel’ stuck in my head for two days now, so yes, I would say there are some definite ear worms in there. Kinky Boots is a double Tony award winning show and a Laurence Oliver award winner so the quality of the music comes as no surprise. Songs are themed throughout the whole Kinky Boots show, one is a tango, one Rock and Roll, and Lola’s intro song is firmly 70’s disco. I think I might buy the soundtrack to listen to in the car ready for my next Kinky Boots factory visit!

Overall a brilliantly feel good theatre experience that will have you laughing and rooting for the characters throughout. It has stand-out visual appeal, narrative, and dance performances. Kinky Boots really spoils the audience by bringing together what feels like the top talents of the industry to put on a show full of exceptional choreography, costumes, and music, brought to life by a dynamic cast.

Kinky Boots runs from 22nd July – 3rd August 2019 at the Millennium Centre Cardiff as part of a U.K. wide tour.