Blog: “Fancy a cuppa?” (Adagio teas review)

If somebody asked me about five years ago, whether I prefer coffee or tea, the answer would have been wholeheartedly tea. I did develop a certain addiction to coffee, and even invested in some of the coffee making paraphernalia.

 

But my love for tea has stayed strong. It got someone dampened by the fact that I struggle to find a good quality tea in Toronto. Especially, loose leaf. I tried grocery stores, Homesense stories, and speciality tea stores. I am yet to find what I like.

 

One of the online stores that I like is Whittard of Chelsea, but, sadly, they are a UK company, so shipping to Canada can be a bit pricey. Although the quality is great.

 

I have heard of fandom teas before. I spent at least 6 years being very active in several fandoms on tumblr, so I was familiar with the concept. I was, however, always wary of self-made blends as I thought that it was difficult to guess the correct (or tasty) blend of ingredients, although I have several online friends who enjoy creating custom blends.

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Musical review: Falsettos (Broadway Revival) – Live from Lincoln Center

Falsettos

 

I am so used to going to special events and broadcasts at Cineplex on Thursdays, that I almost completely missed a broadcast of “Falsettos” on Wednesday, July 12 (yes, I am a bit behind on reviews – thanks for noticing 😅).

 

“Falsettos” was one of those classic ‘know nothing about but it sounds gay, so I am going to watch it’ moments for me. I got a ticket almost last minute – which for me means a day or two ahead – and spent a lovely evening laughing my heart out.

 

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Play review: My Night with Reg by Kevin Elyot (Mirvish)

My Night with Reg

I watched “My Night with Reg” on February 24, almost by the end of the play’s run, which is unfortunate as I would have loved to see it again. This was one of those plays which I had on my list as something that I would like to see but it was nowhere near at the top. More so, I bought the ticket only because it was on sale on Boxing Day, since I am not too fond of Panasonic Theatre as a venue.

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Book review: Welcome to Night Vale (a novel)

 

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Let me start with saying that I am a fan of the podcast (even though I keep getting behind with episodes all the time). I have been to 2 live shows (The Librarian and The Investigators). I had a WTNV iPhone case designed for me by my talented friend. I even made a fan art once.

So, naturally, I got really excited about the book. I pre-ordered it and set on reading it before going to the book signing in November. Sadly, I got sick and couldn’t go to the book signing, so I set the book away for some time.

When I started reading it, I was a bit confused by the narrative, which read exactly like a script of a podcast episode. The chapters were too short. I couldn’t get into the reading mood, and after a couple of pages I put it back on the shelf, horrified at the fact that I am on my way to disliking the novel.

And then I read on Twitter (or, maybe, it was the podcast website) that there was an audiobook coming out.

This news confused me both by the fact that there is an audiobook of a novel based on a podcast (a weird recursion) AND that I didn’t think there would be one (which in retrospect seems pretty obvious). So, of course I immediately purchased it on Audible.

I started reading the audiobook in bits – on the way to and from work, which is not really much of a commute. It was not until I went on a trip to QC when I really got into the book. Listening to WTNV novel read masterfully by Cecil on a train was the best thing possible. It allowed me to really get into the novel. I also listened to it while walking around QC and in my hotel.

I finished listening to it on my way back (I listened straight through the remaining 5 hours).  And I loved it.

I gave the plot 4 solid stars and 5 stars to Cecil for performance.

According to Audible website, the book is unabridged and narrated by Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, Therese Plummer and Dan Bittner. But it is not exactly true. If you look at the audiobook cover, it states that Cecil is the narrator and others are guest stars. It is actually a big difference, as it is not a full cast audiobook. It is narrated only by Cecil.

And here is the fun part. The novel is written in third point of view, except for the chapters that are titled “The Voice of Night Vale” and are basically transcripts of the radio show (as part of the novel). Those chapters are read by Cecil Baldwin as Cecil and not the narrator (and he does a great job at this distinction) and only ONE of those chapters includes other characters and thus guest stars.

I just wanted to point it out because I expected the audiobook to be the full cast but it was not.

The plot itself involves both old and new characters with the focus on the characters that we knew nothing or very little about. It has all the wonderfully obscene and ridiculous aspects of the show. (I think Joseph Fink said on Twitter that someone “complained” about the book having only or mostly queer characters, and it is both wonderful and absolutely true! I couldn’t find the exact comment, so I am citing by memory.)

Describing the plot is not an easy endeavour. It involves a 19 year old antique shop owner (who has been 19 for many years now), her estranged mother; another woman who is trying to reconnect with her teenaged son (who takes any shape he wants or likes); and a mysterious King City.

I don’t think this book can be appreciated by someone who knows nothing about WTNV. You really don’t need to know anything per se, but if you are not used to the style of the podcast, the book might shock or disappoint you. (My problem getting into the style of a written book was exactly that – I am too used to listening to it being narrated.) Otherwise, give it a go. Once I got the hang of the plot, which develops rather slowly and in too many directions at once, it seems, it all started working out for me.

Highly recommended for fans. I feel like listening to it again soon.

Review: The Importance of being Earnest

As you know, I am a huge fan of theatre. Especially, National Theatre in London and its broadcasts. I probably should blog about it more, but I always forget to write reviews.

Last night I went to see “The Importance of being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. It was staged by West End, I believe, which I mistakingly took for NT as 99% of broadcasts I go to are done by them. I even tweeted about it, confused as why there was no NT live introduction.

I love Oscar Wilde, although I admit that I know more about his life than I ever read his books. I heard of this play, but I don’t think I ever watched it on stage until yesterday. My main fascination with this production was due to the fact that David Suchet, whom I love and adore, plays Lady Bracknell in it.

I love Suchet as Hercule Poirot and I also got a chance to see him on stage live in The Last Confession a year ago (I think I got really teary eyed about it), so of course I had to see him again.

He was terrific! Incredibly funny! It was more about his face and his eyes than even about the words, although he did deliver all punch lines perfectly (“The bag!”). The whole cast was just stellar! Not so many familiar faces to me, I am afraid. But all of them were so, so funny! (David Suchet stayed in role even at the curtain call, which was cool.)

The play had 3 acts and 2 intermissions.

 

Vaudeville Theatre London Dress Rehearsals April 2015 The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Directed by Adrian Noble David Suchet as Lady Bracknell Designer Peter McKintosh Lighting Howard Harrison Emily Barber/Gwendolen Fairfax Imogen Doel/Cecily Cardew Michael Benz/Jack Worthington Michele Doctrice/Miss Prism Philip Cumbus/Algernon Moncrieff David Killick/Lane Richard O'Callaghan/Rev Canon Chasuble Brendan Hooper/Merriman ©NOBBY CLARK +44(0)7941-515770 +44(0)20-7274-2105 nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

Vaudeville Theatre London Dress Rehearsals April 2015 The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Directed by Adrian Noble David Suchet as Lady Bracknell Designer Peter McKintosh Lighting Howard Harrison Emily Barber/Gwendolen Fairfax Imogen Doel/Cecily Cardew Michael Benz/Jack Worthington Michele Doctrice/Miss Prism Philip Cumbus/Algernon Moncrieff David Killick/Lane Richard O'Callaghan/Rev Canon Chasuble Brendan Hooper/Merriman ©NOBBY CLARK +44(0)7941-515770 +44(0)20-7274-2105 nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

Vaudeville Theatre London Dress Rehearsals April 2015 The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Directed by Adrian Noble David Suchet as Lady Bracknell Designer Peter McKintosh Lighting Howard Harrison Emily Barber/Gwendolen Fairfax Imogen Doel/Cecily Cardew Michael Benz/Jack Worthington Michele Doctrice/Miss Prism Philip Cumbus/Algernon Moncrieff David Killick/Lane Richard O'Callaghan/Rev Canon Chasuble Brendan Hooper/Merriman ©NOBBY CLARK +44(0)7941-515770 +44(0)20-7274-2105 nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk
(The photos are not mine. Taken from the official website for reference only. http://importanceofearnest.com/)

The play is screening in several countries across the globe, so I implore you to go and see it. It is quite wonderful! It definitely lifted my spirits. (David Suchet as Lady Bracknell looks a lot like my maternal grandmother, down to a stern look and bushy eyebrows. I kept getting chills during the performance!)

Watch the official trailer here: https://youtu.be/z4UVgvzpUnU

It was a classic theatre staging, nothing moving and no water or fire or other special effects that are so common for National Theatre productions, but I really liked it. It let the audience focus on the acting which was superb.

If I had to rate it, I’d give it 5/5 stars.

p.s. While in the audience, I was surprised that some people didn’t know David Suchet from his Hercule Poirot role. Gosh, I felt like such a fangirl.

Book Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

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I usually do not read graphic novels. It is hard for me to find a book with graphics that I really like, and I in general prefer books with more text. The only graphic/comic series that I have ever read, and loved, and am still reading is ElfQuest.

I saw this book recommended on BookTube and I was sort of intrigued. I picked it up from the library, as I didn’t want to buy something that I was not going to read again. I decided to read it this morning while having a coffee and it was the quickest and the easiest read ever. I read in about an hour. I think it can be either classified as a middle grade or YA.

I enjoyed the graphics (they are sort of grey-blue, which I like) and the story is very curious. It is about a girl Anya, who struggles with her appearance, the fact that she is not popular at school, that she was not born in America (she is Russian and the book is peppered with some cultural differences/references/Russian words), that she has a crush on a popular guy; she smokes because she thinks it is cool, she tries really hard to fit in, etc. One day she falls into a hole in the ground. There, she meets a ghost of a girl named Emily. The ghost follows her home and wants to be her friend. Anya is excited, because Emily is really helpful, but soon it is starting to become overwhelming.

I found Anya to be a very likeable character, and it was very easy to relate to her, especially for me personally. I think it is a great and easy read and I highly recommend it. I hope that the author will release more books like that.

Rating: 5/5 stars.