Rogue Orchestra presents: Drive

When your favourite movie has such an iconic soundtrack as “Drive” does it’s impossible not to get excited about ANY event and even more so seeing it performed live by an Orchestra in London.

The Drive soundtrack has long established itself as something special developing quite the cult following. So much so that Radio 1 took the chance to completely remaster the soundtrack with new performances from bands such as The 1975 and Foals to give it an update in 2014. Having seen all this it’s fair to say I was expecting big things from Rogue orchestra.

The event was in XOYO club in Shoreditch in the basement bar and despite the ticket outlet I used advertising it as an unreserved seated event it was very much a standing event. Moreover the event actually ended up starting late. My high expectations were lessening by the second.

The “Green” room in XOYO

Anyone who has seen the movie would recognise the opener in a heartbeat with its perfect electro-pop beat. Rogue orchestra only highlighted this more by showing the opening credits to the movie alongside the performance; a very thrilling touch.

The orchestra continued on through the soundtrack with lead vocalist performing on maybe one in every three tracks. It was clear they didn’t have the licensing agreement to show most of the movie but rather repeating a lot of the same clips over and over. With a soundtrack that Drive has and the amount of instrumental only songs this felt like an oversight. It quickly killed the atmosphere and took a vocal performance to pick it back up momentarily before it only dropped again at the next track. They ended the first half with probably the most well known song on the album “Real Hero”. As the most well known it did seem a strange decision to end the first half on this.

The opening song accompanied by some movie clips

The second half seemed to only cover off a few more songs on the album before moving into more generic and general synth-pop songs from the likes of Eurythmics. None of which were familiar to me and ultimately I was left generally disappointed with the whole event. If it had been sold as a celebration of synth pop I might have understood but it was an orchestral performance of the Drive soundtrack which didn’t include eurythmics. Overall I feel like they had the opportunity to do A LOT more with this than they did. I would have much preferred a theatre venue with the orchestra on stage and screens at the side relating the scenes of the movie to the music. Even though it’s my favourite film I’ve only seen it a handful of time so it was difficult for me to match the movie to the music which felt like a shame (and has subsequently made me watch it again).

I’d certainly return to another orchestral performance though I may choose to read up in future first exactly what I’m attending!

NG x

FOOD: Dinner at The Terrace on Piccadilly

One of the most amazing things about London is the amount of different restaurants available. So when I was tasked with finding a restaurant for a pre-theatre dinner I was more than happy I stumbled upon The Terrace at Piccadilly.

The restaurant

A tiny little London wilderness disguised in a hotel with an atrium feel. Even on a winter evening the restaurant itself is beautiful, cosy and intimate so I can only imagine just how stunning it is in the summer. The array of plants and seating make it a perfect spot for dinner or drinks. It’s also exceptionally instagrammable if that’s your flavour.

The food

Nibbles: freshly made flat bread with an avocado dip and home made hummus and an amuse-bouche of cherry tomatoes mozzarella and pesto.

Starters: Pan-fried scallop with pancetta and petite pois

Mains: Chloe – tiger prawn linguine, Tom – braised beef cheeks with a side of lobster mac and cheese.

Every single course was delicious. There were some definite stars of the show including the avocado dip for starters. The braised cheek was exactly as expected and I have to say it left me suffering with major food envy with the way it melted and fell apart. There were also some slight misses for us both. That’s not to say there was anything unpleasant about any dish but we both agreed that neither pasta dish blew us away. It didn’t taste that different from what a good home cook might make.

The price

To say it’s in the heart of Piccadilly the pricing was quite reasonable and typical of central London. As tastecard holders this restaurant is also one of their 2-4-1 venues meaning that both our starters and our mains were buy one get one free. This offer is available for 2 people Monday-Thursday but pre-booking is required. All in all it’s definitely a restaurant that’s staying firmly on my radar and no doubt somewhere I will return to again.

NG x

Where to mini golf in London

I’ve never been one for a “typical” date night. My dream date night is something different/exciting/active and mini golf is certainly up there with the best. My boyfriend actually plays golf so mini golf is the closest I can get to actually challenging him. So it’s fair to say we’ve been to a few so far in London. Here are our 3 faves:

Canary Wharf Mini Golf

Definitely one for the summer months this FREE mini golf has become a warm weather staple. Being so close to home, it’s the perfect excuse to get us out of the flat on a sunny day. It does open throughout the winter so if you can brave the cold you can get your mini golf fix and with a cafe right next door you can warm up with a coffee. It’s a great little course with tricky obstacles whilst still being perfect for families. There’s even some hole in one opportunities. Moreover, it is situated right next to the entrance to Canary Wharf tube station making it all the more accessible. Open 7 days a week until 4:30pm it’s certainly one way to get your mini golf fix.

Junkyard Mini Golf

If I had to pick a favourite it would be this one hands down. It is simply the most fun I’ve ever had playing mini golf. Located in the super cool Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch it’s within easy distance from Liverpool Street Station and Shoreditch High Street. The cocktail menu is something to behold where classic cocktails are given a hip and old school twist – AT THE SAME TIME. Be sure to check out the “Hotline Ting” for additional popping candy and party rings (and yes I do mean the old school biscuit). With 4 courses in total it’s impossible to get bored. Check out ‘Gary’ the 90’s rave course for a unique sliding experience… Booking is nearly always required so plan your visit in advance.

Hotline Ting (c) classic cocktails with an old school twist

Plonk Mini Golf

With 5 locations across London, Plonk is quickly establishing itself as the mini golfing hot spot. From putt in the park to puzzle putt, Plonk has variety. We recently paid a visit to Plonk Dalston with friends for a Saturday double date. After some difficulty finding it (it’s inside a bar and not very well sign posted) we got ourselves two rounds of mini golf for £12 each. At peak times these do have to be played consecutively but you can go for bar breaks in between. Efes bar itself was nothing to write home about but actually the golf was very good. The capitalisation on space is extremely impressive and nearly every hole had various ways to play it of varying degrees of difficulty. If all the others are this good then I’m excited to continue to explore all that Plonk has to offer.

A weekend in Leeds

Since moving to London, every visit home feels like it’s own mini stay-cation. Even more so when everything seems to be changing and developing in Yorkshire. This weekend we was back visiting Leeds/Wakefield and this is what we got up to.

Friday

Most of our visits seem to be flying visits with only a day or two to spare so we endured to make the most of having an extra day home. The main reason we travelled this weekend was in the hope of getting tickets to a local football derby. As that was unsuccessful we opted to head into Leeds to Shooters Sports Bar. I also combined this with seeing my girls so managed to grab a few drinks in the slug and lettuce first.

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Enjoying my 2-4-1 Pink Gin Spritz!

As we had reserved our table for Shooters we had a set menu to choose from. Our choice, priced at £20 per head included 2 cans of either cider or beer and a burger and fries. From there we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the match on sofas in front of the huge screen.

After the match we even stayed back a little bit to have a go on the shuffleboard table. Needless to say I made up part of the winning team!

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Shuffleboard champions

Saturday

As it’s Tom’s birthday next week I also decided to treat him to an early birthday present. For years I’ve wanted to visit the Kitty Cafe in Nottingham so the second I saw that they had opened one in Leeds I booked us in for this weekend.

We decided to head into town a little early as I also wanted to take Tom to George’s British Kitchen. I had first come across this bar on Facebook, paid it a visit when I was in Leeds last May and instantly fell in love. They offer so many incredible amazing cocktails, 5 of which are themed after classic sweets. Some of their cocktails come garnished with candy floss and they have 4 pages of gins to their menu!

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Enjoying a refresher cocktail at George’s

After this we headed up to the Kitty Cafe. Upon entry we were given a set of rules to read and adhere to and we payed the £6 welfare fee per person. All the cats/kittens in the cafe are rescue and available for adoption. The £6 helps to ensure that they are thoroughly looked after, micro-chipped, neutered etc. as they charge nothing for adoption.

We were then shown to our table, given the menus and given a few moments to choose the food. For a venue that isn’t technically all about food the menu is impressive. With over 12 cakes to choose from, gluten free and vegan options and food such as pizza, panninis and baked potatoes, the options are a-plenty. Once you’ve placed your order you’re free to roam the cafe as you wish.

The space has been kitted out impeccably. There’s so much for the kittens to get up to. The staff are always on hand to point out who is who as well as tell you loads of information about the place. Just from talking to one of the waitresses we were able to find out that the cats have a special “quiet zone” they can go to if it gets too much where they have specialist trained cat handlers. This is also the space they go to eat/sleep so if you see any of them disappearing to the back this is where they are headed. Pumpkin was our personal favourite, a tiny ginger kitten who had a particular penchant for Tom’s shoe laces!

Kitten chaos in the Kitty Cafe

Do you have any favourite places in Leeds or you home town?

NG x

Shooters Sports Bar

George’s British Kitchen

The Kitty Cafe

REVIEW: Northern Girl on… Sh*t Faced Shakespeare

Me and Tom decided to have a date last Friday after securing ourselves tickets to the Leicester Square Theatre to see Sh*t Faced Shakespeare. We got our tickets on Time Out Offers so they were discounted to £14. Bargain.

We’ve been to  LST a few times already since moving here and I have to say we really like it. It’s incredibly tiny and intimate with stalls only seating for 400 (there’s also a second 70 seater lounge theatre) and the room itself has two bars at either side of the seats. They tend to hold a lot of comedy shows here but due to it’s limited seating you really have to keep an eye on the listings!

When we arrived at the theatre we simply had to swap our Time Out Vouchers for actual physical tickets at the box office which was a breeze and the box office staff are always extremely friendly and helpful. Once collected it was time to head in and enjoy the show.

We took our seats and had a quick view of the programme provided – great touch. Sat back and waited for the show to start. From that moment on, I don’t think I stopped laughing once. From the build up video right through to the final dance sequence was constant laughter.

 

For background info, Sh*t Faced Shakespeare are covering Much Ado About Nothing this summer with various shows throughout the year. There is a rotating cast of 10 classically trained, shakespearean actors playing 7 roles in each performance with one catch, one actor has been drinking for approximately 4 hours before the show. It is never the same actor on consecutive nights and they will never drink on more than 3 occasions in any given month (that is when they’re performing, I have no idea what they do in their spare time or after the show).


The show starts with the actor who is playing the compere/safety warden role warming up the crowd. Musical instruments and a bucket are handed out to members of the front row with the rules explained. If at any point the audience member with a musical instrument thinks the drunk actor is getting too sober; they sound their instrument, the compere comes back on stage and hands the drunk actor another drink. This can only happen on 3 occasions during the show so picking the right moment is key. The audience member with the bucket is told that if anyone shouts bucket at any moment they have to be alert and present said bucket – I think you can figure out why. The compere/safety warden then goes on to show the audience how much the actor has had to drink “ooooooh”. It’s fair to say our actor was truly shit faced. From memory I think he had consumed a can of lager, a bottle of cider and 2/3 of a bottle of Gordon’s gin; top effort. From there, the show starts.

One thing I think they did exceptionally well is they don’t actually tell you which actor is drunk and who they’re playing. Given that the opening scene starts with 3 out of the 6 characters you spend the first scene trying to work out which one of them is actually drunk. That was until the appearance of the other 3 characters where the safety warden/compere quickly appeared back on stage to replace a sword with a swimming noodle – safety first and all that. That moment in itself was just perfect hilarity and you now knew who the drunk was and what to watch out for in the show.

From the moments of confusing the characters in Much Ado to Macbeth, to calling the actors by their real name and discussing the actor’s watch which he forgot to remove – the actors are all in full shakespearean dress after all – the drunk Benedick provided some absolutely hilarious moments but what also blew me away was how incredible the other actors were to adapt to his drunken ramblings.

I don’t want to give too much away but I cannot recommend this show enough. It’s one of THE funnest nights in theatre I have ever had and I can’t wait to take literally every family member/friend who visits throughout the summer because the beauty of it is no two shows will ever be the same!

Just don’t sit on the front row if you don’t fancy making a spontaneous guest appearance… #otter

Have you seen Sh*t Faced Shake before? Let me know.

Ng x

Tickets available here: https://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873562224 The show is on until the 16th September 2017.