In the Heights and In the BURGH!

Hello lovely people and a happy August to you! This month is potentially going to be one of the craziest months of my entire life as I actually FLY the nest and live in the U S of A. To think that I had been dreaming of this since I was a little girl and in a few weeks, I’m going to be sitting in my orientation?! Craziness.

That doesn’t mean that these last few weeks will be relaxing, oh no anything but! I’ve got plenty of exciting things that I’ll be seeing or doing, one of these being In the Heights! I went to see this show on 29th July with two of my best pals from uni, Mary and Beth. These are two of my housemates that I’ve lived with since 2014 and it was so lovely to be in London with them, shopping and having fun and just being in awe of the wonderful talent.

I cannot stress enough just how great In the Heights was. Plus, the show has the offer of £15 tickets for under 25’s, so it didn’t even hurt my bank balance that much. I’d urge anyone to go and see the show though, even if you’re too old for the offer as it’s considerably cheaper than other West End productions. This is due to its location, in that it’s not in the heart of the city, but at the King’s Cross Theatre in London, just by King’s Cross/St Pancra’s. Moreover, with it being such a small venue, the whole setting felt extremely intimate. Perfect for a show such as this, which relies on entrancing the audience and sending them to Washington Heights.

In the Heights is a musical with music and lyrics by the GOD that is Lin-Manuel Miranda. The story is set over the course of three days, involving a cast in the neighbourhood of Washington Heights in New York City. It focuses on the inextricable relationships of love, studying, family, work, career paths and everything in between!

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Photo before Act 1 of In the Heights!

You fall in love with every single character, and whilst Usnavi is the ‘main’ character in the sense that his plot point arcs the entire show and each separate plot, there’s no small character. In particular, I LOVED the sassy women, and it made me want to be a Latino woman. You have Daniela, the dramatic salon owner where the neighborhood girls come to gossip. She is very bold and loud and loves to banter. Phillipa Stefani did a fabulous job of bringing this zany character to life, and I found myself walking out of the theatre at the end of the show humming “Carnival de Barrio!”

I also fell in love. I mean this happens in basically every single show I go to see, and it’s a totally normal thing to happen! This time, I fell in love with Benny, played by Dex Lee. He may be new to the role, but you couldn’t tell at all. His voice is silky smooth like fudge and myself, Mary and Bethany were all entranced by his beauty. His character is also charming, and you wish for Benny and Nina to have the happiest relationship.

I can’t discuss In the Heights without talking about how beautiful Gabriela Garcia (Nina) and Emma Johnston (Vanessa) are. The best way to describe their voices is ‘soundtrack worthy’. There was not a single flaw or crack, even though they were belting high notes. Moreover, with barely any time offstage, there was little time to relax but their stamina was incredible. One show that showed off the vocals was 96,000 which features the entire cast. Full of rapping, something which is now commonly associated with Lin’s newest work “Hamilton” (which I WILL SEE IN THE WEST END NO WAY CAN I MISS THAT!), the song demonstrated just how talented and versatile each individual voice is. Listening to 96,000 live allowed me to cast most of Hamilton the Musical from this show alone.

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King’s Cross Theatre at the start of Act 2!

The dancing in this show was also sublime! There are some shows where being the ensemble can be a bit tedious, as there isn’t much for the bulk of the cast to do. However, this show is a DREAM for an ensemble member. They dance in every number, engage greatly with the main characters and help illuminate the major plotpoints. One of my favourite numbers was the Club segueing into the blackout and singing about fireworks. I don’t want to spoil the show as you should definitely go and see it, but this was a moment in which I felt inspired by the set and laughing, something rare for me yet set/lighting is CRUCIAL to a successful show.

If I was to rate In the Heights, I’d give it all the stars in the night sky…

NOW on to my next little adventure, and I’m once again off to the Edinburgh Fringe! I had such a fantastic time last year; this year looks to be even better! I’m the Social Media gal for the Improv Musical, an improvised theatre troupe at my university who are once again returning to the Edinburgh Fringe for a month of fun! I’m going up for a week and I cannot WAIT to sell the show. The cast absolutely deserve it because they’re super talented. If you want to check us out, then click this link and press LIKE!!

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Cannot wait for even more wonderful evenings like this. To be fair, seeing Joe Lycett and Katherine Ryan in the space of 3 hours was probably one of my best evenings of 2015. 

You may remember that last year I did reviews of every show I went to see? Well, I look to do exactly the same this year! It worked really well, I got a little following and many people read my posts which was lovely. I’m also intending on doing a vlog of my time at the Fringe this year. I’ve been doing some practicing on walks with my little sister to get rid of feeling embarassed (I tried last year and gave up in 15 seconds). I’ve got an excellent hashtag #FringeattheFringe (no copying, please) and I cannot WAIT to show you my Fringe life in the flesh.

So far, I’m going to see the Improv Musical and Holmes for Rent, as these shows are being taken up by my university’s society! As well as this, I’ve booked tickets to see Katherine Ryan (obviously, I’d link her tickets but she’s sold out her whole run, classic…), Russell Howard, Ellie Taylor and Shappi Khorsandi (the last one courtesy of my lovely housemate, Ellen!)

I plan on seeing as much as I can as well as doing as much social media promo for the Improv Musical! If you have any recommendations for shows to see, then leave a comment below! To end this post with a song capturing my mood, I’ll have to set an ‘alarmalarm‘* for my early wakeup call.

*tenuous link for one of my favourite songs at the moment.

Enjoy,

Sophie x

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