Archive for the ‘Theatre reviews’ Category

2017 as seen by the Robertsons

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Where did that year go?! It can’t be December again already?! Well I hope 2017 has been good to you, it’s not been bad here!

Posted by Maria Robertson on Mittwoch, 23. August 2017

I’m pretty sure Bryan and I’s highlight was our trip to Rome. I won 3 nights in the amazing 5 star Hotel Eden, with flights, transfers and tickets to the Sistine Chapel included through our fabulous Travel Counsellor, Kate Milton. Obviously we felt bad as it didn’t include Owen but we went the week the school’s went back after the summer holidays so he had maths and Grandda to keep him happy in our absence! Rome was amazing, Bryan still occasionally mentions how massive the Colosseum is. It was super hot but luckily we were there the week after their heat wave, I was definitely walking on the shady side of the streets! The hotel spoilt us rotten, after tweeting about missing Owen we came back that evening to find a framed photo of him on the dressing table! We also spoilt ourselves by going to the Michelin Star restaurant D’Imago one night for a most amazing experience. We thought as the holiday was free we could afford a treat and it was just outstanding. The Vatican was totally breath-taking and I got quite emotional in the Sistine chapel, most overwhelming!

Owen did get a wee holiday with us too, my parents gave us tickets for Belladrum Music Festival last Christmas so we went to that in August and it was Owen’s first time camping. We saw various bands and other entertainment – and found a mobile library with a Gaelic speaking Librarian, think Owen was back in there each day! Luckily we found his school chums setting up their camp and were able to get tips from them as they go every year, we also managed to catch up with my cousin Claire and her family.

Belladrum 2017 - library book in the tent

Work is going well for both of us, busy but good. Unfortunately Bryan’s had more trips to Manchester than previously, so Owen’s had to survive my cooking/reheating! I’ve done 43 external hires at the library including ITV filming a bit of The Investigator series two, which should be on in the New Year! There was also a scene shot for a zombie movie by a local company so I’m looking forward to that DVD in the summer – Dark Within.

Talking of filming, Owen is now used to being followed round by a camera as Midas Media produced a program called “Gaelic in Aberdeen” in May which he was in several times at school, Feis and Sradagan.

My son on TV, with his own subtitles!

They are now making a documentary of a year in the life of kids in Gaelic Medium Education so we look forward to seeing that! We didn’t need to question if we could film their Christmas Concert this year as the camera team were there and some of it should be televised! He’s doing great at school, still loves his maths and literacy – in both languages. This year he also performed a poem recital in the Inverness Mod.

Ben Portsmouth aka Elvis at AECC

As you can see above we met Elvis this year…well Ben Portsmouth anyway! Seeing him in concert is probably the nearest we could ever get to seeing the King, and it was certainly a special night. I’d managed to get us front row seats so when he was giving away a scarf from round his neck at the end of a song I was able to pounce on it – and when he sang Teddy Bear and gave out toy teddies Owen managed to get a wee monkey. He is now called Elvis and goes everywhere with him! We also had a weekend in Glasgow to see Ed Sheeran, went to a gig in my library with the Fair Mothers and Rick Redbeard, and Owen and I went to Glasgow to see The Shires and then took Daddy to Fyvie Live a month later to see them again! Bryan and I went to Country2Country music festival in Glasgow again this March and our Christmas present to each other again is tickets for next year! Such a lovely weekend going for nice lunches and then seeing fantastic musicians all evening! I’ve also been on my own, or with chums, to see Busted (twice!), X Factor, Kathryn Joseph, Lewis Capaldi, The Shires, Natives, Enjoy Music (worked at this festival), Emile Sande, Newton Faulkner, Skippinish and my beloved Kasabian. I also went to the theatre for Funny Girl, Lady Boys, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night and took Owen to see Wonderland, all with free tickets through my work. I got review passes for an author event with Liz Pichon at the Tivoli which Owen thoroughly enjoyed, the band from the books played and Liz taught us to do her style of doodling. I’m supposed to be reviewing for a new events newspaper, the first issue came out in August with 5 pieces by me but not been another one yet, so fingers crossed for the new year! I was at the press night for the panto which was fab, and we’re going as a family, with Ray’s family on Friday night. Bryan and I went to a comedy night with Fred Macaulay, and I managed to get a photo with him!

Breakneck Comedy night at Bettridge Centre, Newtonhill

Owen’s birthday treat/present was a trip to Manchester to watch Manchester United Legends versus Barcelona Legends. We took his Grandda too as the three Robertson chaps are dedicated Man U fans, and it was a fab day out! Instead of a party he had a couple of sleepovers – one with Lucas and Maya, the other with 4 chums from school, they certainly had fun but not so sure about how much sleep occurred!

Man U v Barcelona Legends at Old Trafford

His football obsession continues, he’s been to a few matches this year – including his first Scotland match as they actually played at our local stadium. He loves FIFA and physically playing football, his after school club now has a football club on a Monday which he enjoys.

Posted by Bryan Robertson on Samstag, 22. Juli 2017

This picture was from a charity event that Owen won a competition to name a “cocktail” for the little girl it was in aid of. His prize was to help AC Eventbars mix some mocktails and to get a rickshaw ride around Stonehaven. It was a lovely afternoon, he got spoilt rotten, and as usual his Dad got some fabulous photos.

All year we’ve been “saving up” to replace the wee Suzuki I’ve had for 10 years, obviously we keep spending our money on having far too much fun instead – but life is short and not a rehearsal so I doubt that will change anytime soon! My wee car limped through its MOT, then the alternator went one cold morning as we got to school, so the pressure is on to be sensible for a while and get that replaced!

As for my parents, they accepted an offer on Creagan in August, retired in October…and are still waiting for the sale to complete. Fingers crossed they can move closer to us in the New Year!

Hope 2017 has been kind to you, and wishing us all a fabulous festive period and wonderful 2018.

Review: Aladdin at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

The pantomime is a Christmas essential, and in Aberdeen and the Shire we have a good choice in various venues. This year His Majesty’s Theatre is running Aladdin starring Jimmy Osmond, as the “baddie” Abanazar! This was quite a change from Elaine C Smith who has starred in our local panto for some years, so traditionalists would be relieved to hear she’s not completely gone…

The costumes and staging are well done and impressive, as are the numerous special effects including pyrotechnics (trying to resist spoilers!). The cast are all talented from the very happy children from Aberdeen Academy of Dance, to the fabulous choreography of the dancers, to our local gem of Widow Twankey (Alan McHugh, who was also the writer) and Aladdin himself (Jordan Young). Princess Jasmine (Lisa-Anne Wood) is just the right level of poise and prettiness, with an amazing voice.

Jimmy Osmond gets the chance to sing a couple of his well-known hits (and it was rude not to sing along!) in between the carefully reworked panto appropriate songs. Obviously playing the baddie we booed and hissed every time he appeared, but it did feel rather rude to “welcome” the Long Haired Lover from Liverpool to our city in such a way!

The usual ingredients are all there too – the local references, the corny jokes, the “oh yes you will” / “on no we won’t”, the singalong, the innuendo that makes the parents giggle and leave the kids blissfully unaware, and of course, the lasting feeling that it’s Christmas!!

Further information 
Thank you to Aberdeen Performing Arts for the tickets, and Richard Frew for the photography.

HMT. Aladdin Panto.

Review: GATES BRILLIANT BANDS AND DOODLE LIVE TOUR

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

…with Liz Pichon at Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen. Sunday 15th October 2017.

Quite an unusual way to spend a Sunday afternoon, in a theatre with an author and a band based on the fictional band she made up for her books. Liz Pichon has written, and illustrated/doodled, a series of books based on a character called Tom Gates who is a school boy. Tom Gates is in a band called DogZombies and his favourite band is DUDE3, who are joining us for the afternoon apparently.

Along I went, with my 7 year old avid reader who had managed to get through Top Of The Class in 48 hours after hearing we were going. Really not sure what to expect we were excited to find that Liz herself was walking round the theatre making sure everyone had paper and a pencil ready to learn how to do her style of doodles. She even stopped for a photo with my son.

The show itself was an hour long, during which we were introduced to Liz Pichon, DUDE3, and the other characters in the book. It included a book reading from Family Friends and Furry Creatures – with the pages projected on the screen so we could read along, and see the relevant doodles. There was live music, although the musicians didn’t look quite like their doodled counterparts they were rather talented and so enjoyable to listen to. We were treated to a doodle lesson, with Liz being live streamed onto the projector screen as she doodled on a flipchart at the front of the stage. This method was also used so we could design a monster with various audience members making demands for imaginative things like “pizza feet” and “spaghetti arms”. We were also allowed to ask questions – brave in a room full of children – but they asked some sensible questions like who she read as a child – Roald Dahl, and how she got into writing books.

Afterwards we were invited row by row to show Liz our doodles and get our copies of books, which were on sale at the front of the theatre, signed. My son was happy sitting doodling for some of our 75 minute wait but declared she was well worth it! On the way home he changed the lyrics of the School Dinner Blues song from “we want chips” to “we want books, and they have to be Liz Pichon”. Think that says it all really, tour is ongoing and well recommended.

Further information

Cultured boy!

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Yesterday Owen had his first trip to the theatre.  We went to see Peppa Pig, the live stage show.  I was slightly concerned how an 8 month old wee boy would take to the theatre but he totally loved it!

As usual I had free tickets as I was writing a review so we had really good seats, we also got spoilt rotten in the interval!  We had exclusive use of the stalls bar with Owen getting free ice cream from lovely Joyce – which he also loved, although it was cold, don’t you know?!

Having some ice cream at the interval of Peppa Pig

Now I’m not saying he sat still right through the performance, he spent most of the time either standing on my lap or sitting on my hand on the arm of the chair!  But he watched most of the show, with just a few distractions of other children playing with their fibre optic light stick toys from the merchandise stand.  We had taken his George toy (that’s Peppa’s brother for those of you who are out of the loop) and he cuddled/sucked that for some of the time.

By the end of the show he was grinning like a loon, although so obviously fighting sleep as he’s not used to being out that late (yes folks it was after 5pm when it finished!).  Luckily nursery had been really helpful and given him his afternoon nap early so he was fresh and ready for the 4pm show but he was asleep almost as soon as I put him in the car seat when Daddy picked us up afterwards.

Theatre funs is tiring

All in all his first theatre trip was a great success and the way he smiled at me at the end, clapping his hands, I could tell he was saying “thank you Mummy, that was AWESOME”!  Just hope I can keep him away from all the merchandise now, he could end up bankrupting us and turning our house pink!! 

Joys of a long weekend

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Tomorrow is a local holiday so I’m off work and enjoying that glorious Sunday evening when you DON’T have to go to work the next day!  Guess I will get that quite a bit more soon as my maternity leave has now been sorted out at work.  A lovely lady is currently having the odd bit of training here and there with the plan being that she starts properly on Monday 31st August and then I finish on Thursday 3rd September.  Baby due on 5th October so that gives me 4 weeks to sit around and look at my huge bump and encourage it to come on time!  Apparently I have to spend some time on my hands and knees too so that baby gets into the right position to pop out easily.  Yes, I’ve been reading up! 

Bryan and I went to our first joint ante natal class last Tuesday.  Crickey, never mind sex ed in schools, just send in a mid wife with her tales of “Mum’s first Poo”, stitches and everything else and I doubt anyone there will ever want to risk it!  We did learn some new stuff so it was useful, and strangely in a class of 8 couples we knew 2 of the other couples!  Dave and Jenny were there who I kinda shared a flat with the year I met Bryan.  Really quite weird that both couples are still together 11 years later and due to have their first babies within the same month!  Bryan went to uni with one of the other guys, although he can’t remember having met his lady before so not sure if she’s a more recent addition!!

Since I last blogged I’ve been to Ray’s leaving do (moving from K10 to 4MS), Gill’s 30 birthday spa break at Ardoe House (lovely dinner and scalp massage, not at same time), Edinburgh to visit Angela and Louise (managed to also see Lorna and Jennie), Ray and Nicole’s for a bbq and then again to learn Lucas’ bedtime routine so we can babysit sometime!

The spa break was lovely, there were just 4 of us went.  We made use of the pool, had a lovely dinner, bed and breakfast and had a treatment each.  Well actually, Julie didn’t want one so I was cheeky and had two…  Gill had never had “proper” champagne before so the rest of us arranged for us to be served some when we got to the bar before dinner.  I must admit I had a wee splash, couldn’t resist!

Gill, Sarah, Julie and Maria with champers More photos on Flickr.

The next day 3 of us went to the cinema on the way home to see My Sister’s Keeper.  Oh dear, how sad?!  It’s a really good, well acted movie but not good for hormonal pregnant ladies.

My trip to Edinburgh went well, Angela was a wonderful hostess and spoilt me rotten with lovely cherries and salads and stuff.  We spent Saturday at the Botanics and the weather was just glorious for us.
Girlies in the gardens!More photos on Flickr.

This weekend is mostly about relaxing with my feet up but I did go to the theatre on Friday night with Gill’s 4 year old son Dan.  I had been asked to review The Tweenies and he seemed like a fitting companion for such a job!

Health wise I am keeping better since my little scare the other week.  I did nearly faint again more recently but nurse Bryan knew what he was doing this time and we were soon able to continue on our way to work.  Must admit I’m quite relieved the hot weather did not last any longer than it did.  I am now eating 6 meals a day and drinking tons of water and that seems to keep me right.  Bump is growing steadily, so much so that some people have been rather surprised when I’ve said I’m not due until October.  I had some more tests done last time I was at the midwife; everything is fine and dandy so that’s good!

Bryan took some fab photos today for our “family album”.  Here’s a wee example:
Maria Robertson - PregnantMore photos on his Flickr page.

And I think that’s about me up to date! 

Must slow down!

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

April was a busy month, went to the theatre to do reviews three times for a start.  Saw Measure for Measure which was quite hard viewing as I’m not used to listening to Shakespearean speak.  It was also really long and pregnant ladies like me do need to pee occassionally so I was wiggling lots by the end!  Then there was the bizarre Interiors.  Lastly was After Mary Rose, will add the link once my review goes online!  Added 4th May.

I was out at the theatre 4 days in a row this week, once for Mary Rose and 3 times for the wonderful Carmen and the bizarre but captivating Lying, Cheating, Stealing by the Scottish Ballet.  This time I was able to watch the take a class as well, quite interesting to see the dancers just being themselves – and to see them doing the splits – just to stretch themselves!!  The show was amazing, I loved the costumes and the dancing.  LCS had music by Icebreaker which gave fantastic opportunities for the dancers to show off their choreography to the full but I don’t think I could have sat and listened to the album! 

As I was helping out I got to go back stage and see some of the gorgeous costumes close up.  One night I left at the same time as one of the amazing dancers as well, William Smith, and got all star struck and tongue tied.  Just like a teenager with a crush!  On Saturday between watching them take a class and do the Matinee I sat in the sun in the park and saw quite a lot of them coming and going which thrilled me, yes I’m easily pleased.  Was quite bemused to only see them eating or drinking two things – coffee and cigerettes!  Hmm, what happened to “my body is a temple”?!

As a contrast to my theatre trips this week I also went to the cinema with my friend Gill and her two children.  We went to a preview of Coraline which was really good!  Wee four year old Daniel summed it up at the end by saying “it was very good but I don’t want the DVD as it was Scary!”  I loved it lots and probably will need the DVD although not sure if it’ll be as good at home when you don’t have the amazing 3D aspect!

Other than being cultural, I have been slowly growing.  Yes baby bump has now appeared, as I did previously blog.  I will be 18 weeks tomorrow and it started to appear 2 weeks ago.  I thought I would be able to wear my old size 14 clothes for quite some time but apparently not!  So have done some shopping and now have enough maternity clothes to keep me covered!  this week coming I have my second mid wife appointment and my first ante natal class so it will be quite exciting!  I have already learnt one thing – its antE natal, not antI natal.  I sent out a communication to all the members at work with the wrong spelling.  Oops.  For those who don’t know anti is against something and ante is before something.  Once pregnant you should not be anti natal.  Unfortunately spelling has never been my strength!

I am now trying to calm my social life down ready for the baby coming and stuff.  May’s diary is a lot less hectic than April’s, and I did lots of fun stuff in April so I have lots of happy memories to keep me going!  I had my birthday; Bryan and I’s trip to Edinburgh; the theatre trips; a visit from our friend Gary and the Robertsons when I got to change my first nappy; some meals out with different friends; a visit from my Aunt Kathleen, Uncle John and cousin Claire to see the house; Claire stayed over and we walked round Perwinnes Moss, played Wii, had pizza, went to the ice cream van, and had lunch and shopping trip to town!  I did my last waitressing job until baby’s old enough to leave, I was quite useless as I got tired far too quickly, I just have no energy anymore so won’t be working again.  Will miss the teamwork of it though, the caterers I work for have a lovely team, so I will look forward to going back next year sometime!

I had a weekend with my lovely pal Jennie, down in Edinburgh.  We did a lot of chatting and sofa worshipping.  Also some shopping, we met our friend Lorna in Loopy Lorna’s Tea House (no relation!) which had the scariest toilet but very yummy cakes!  Photos on my flickr page, along with some other photos from the weekend!  There’s also photos of Jennie and I’s attempt to make some easter bunnies, the kit was for age 5+ but I think there must have been an upper age limit as we didn’t seem to do very well…  Was exhausted by the time I got the train home, even though we tried not to do anything that would tire me out!  Silly lack of energy!  When I got home I had to make lots of fuss of the cats as it was actually Benson and George’s 2nd birthday that Sunday – my wee boys are growing up!

Benson inspects their birthday haul

So that’s me up to date!  Hope all is well with you and yours too!

Week off

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Finally, Bryan and I got a week of work, well I did, he could still only get 3 days bless him!  We went down to Edinburgh for the 3 days.  To make up for not getting our wedding anniversary night in a nice hotel I booked us into The Scotsman Hotel, which was lovely.  The staff were so caring and attentive, the room was lovely, and breakfast was.. well as I was told on check in – award winning!  I fell in love with the bathroom, it had a huge bath with shower attachment if you needed it plus a separate shower cubicle with multi jets (although I wasn’t sure mini bump would like those).  There was even a night light under the sink so you could see the doorway in the dark and then it was light enough in the bathroom to have a pee or whatever without turning the main light on and waking yourself up – genius!

Whilst in Edinburgh we managed to meet up with a different lady each night for dinner – I’m so kind to Bryan!  Hee hee!  We saw Jennie the first night at the Albannach which is a pub Bryan and I used to eat in quite regularly.  Then we met Lyndsay the next night at Grape, she’s now back in the country planning her wedding after 2 years in Australia with Kieron so we had a lot of catching up to do! 

We also managed to visit some shops and go to the cinema and see The Boat That Rocked – which I totally loved!  Ooh and I only took one photo our whole trip which was this cute wee guy

On the Wednesday morning I slipped out of the room for an early morning swim in the hotel pool, which apparently isn’t a good idea for a dyhyrated pregnant lady.  I nearly passed out at breakfast and terrified one of the waitresses, but they gave me iced water and fussed over me lots, bless them!  Poor Bryan had to drive all the way home though with me watching for laybys in case I needed him to stop in a hurry!

So my last couple of days were spent on the sofa watching daytime tv and catching up with emails and paperwork with my feet up!  I did go to the theatre on Thursday night to see The Idiot Colony with Eilidh which was really good.  I also entered Benson in a cute cat comp so please go and vote for him now!!

Today we have friends coming for lunch so I’d better get washed, dressed and shopping! 

Happy Easter one and all!

More theatre!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Monday night I met Donna for a lovely dinner and natter and then we went to see Cabaret at the theatre.  Yesterday I met with the electrician to discuss some stuff that needs done with the house and today I get to do a mystery shop assignment in a jewellery shop.  Good to keep life varied and interesting I always think!

Life!

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Ok so I’ve been a bit blogless recently, I’m sorry!  Benson seems to be well on the mend although he still is a bit patchy on the fur front bless him.  He’s a lot happier since the operation and seems to have more energy again so that’s all great.  Now he’s off all the medication he doesn’t take up quite as much of our time either although he still needs lots of love and attention obviously, and its hard not to give it when he’s so darn cute!  Whilst he was away for his various hospital visits George has discovered the glory of cuddles as well, although he’s still quite shy about it and he jumps off when Benson comes in the room but it is nice to get lap warming sessions from each of them!

As my Benson worrying decreased it was replaced with my Mum.  She has been having issues for a while, it was thought to be her knee but was then realised to be her hip, which needed replaced.  She finally got the operation and it went really well, and she’s been making fab progress ever since!  It is a bit weird when your Mum phones you sounding all proud of herself because “I had a shower” or “I walked down one drive, along and up the other drive” but these are all steps along the road to recovery and they are each great achievements!  I went to visit last weekend once she was out of the hospital and she was “kind enough” to show me her staples, luckily I was allowed to leave the room on the Sunday when the district nurse came to remove them!  Although apparently it tickled more than hurt so I think that was quite a relief!

Anyway between the four of us, my parents and hubby and I haven’t enjoyed 2009 that much.  My parent’s gorgeous dog Budd was killed on the road, our house got broken into, Benson got so ill with cystitis we had to have his penis removed and then Mum had her hip operation.  We’re hoping that things can start looking up now and are trying to be optimistic about the future.

I have managed to get to my target weight and (far more importantly!) we have Ray and Nicole’s lovely news of the birth of their son Lucas to be happy about.  So here’s hoping I’ll be happier and more bloggy in the coming months!!  I never think its worth blogging/sharing when you’re all gloomy and dull, so if you haven’t had an email or a phone call for a while – that’s the reason!

So what else have we been up to?  Hmm not a lot really, I’ve been to the theatre doing reviews again.  I really enjoyed the romantic Brief Encounter but wasn’t quite so keen on Medea – so depressing!

Yesterday I spent most of the day with Nicole and the gorgeous Lucas who is eight weeks already!  He was a wee sweetie and slept a lot of the time so we had a jolly good girly gossip which was lovely!  Today Lydia is meeting us for a walk on the beach, it was a lovely sunny day yesterday when she suggested it but we could do with the exercise and it’ll be good to catch up with her so we’re still going!

Well I think that’s pretty up to date with my life.  Will try not to leave it so long before my next post!

Benson home!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Ok, so on Saturday we drove to Edinburgh and brought Benson home from the vet hospital.  He is now a bit Poodle of Frankenstein.  That is he has various shaved bits, like a poodle, and a vicious looking scar, like Fr-yeah you get where I’m going huh?!  Unfortunately he also smells of the vets so his brother isn’t too welcoming, even after a seperation period where Benson got lots of cuddles to rub my scent on him!  Either that or George is scared of the cone helmet thing Benson has to wear to stop him licking his stitches.

Anyway he seems pleased to be home, is eating and peeing as he should do so fingers crossed he will heal up nicely and be much better now.  Please?  Here’s hoping for his sake, oh and our bank balance sake as we’ve used all the “credit” from our pet insurance now.  Yikes!

There is life other than that which revolves around Benson, pills and pees.  I did go to the theatre last week to see The Miser and wrote a review about it.

Also in one of our wedding anniversary cards my Aunt had included some photocopies of some old family photos, one of which is my Great Great Granmother wearing the brooch that was stolen from our house last month.  I love old photos so thought I would share them with you.  My Grandad is the gentleman with the donkey, I love and miss him tons.

Old family photos