Spectacles! – A book and show review

Spectacles! live and Spectacles! the book – a double review!!

Last week I FINALLY got to see Sue Perkins’ Spectacles show and it was everything I could’ve imagined and more!

Before I get into the review i’d like to do a quick shout out to Sue because  I was meant to see her show Last year in Brighton but couldn’t make it due to a family illness. But Sue sent me a signed copy of her book instead and it really made my year! so THANK YOU SUE YOU’RE AN ANGEL!!


NOW, lets talk about the show!! I went to see it in the gorgeous Lighthouse in Poole, Dorset. The amazing venue created such a personal and chilled out air to the show, as I was expecting from Sue!

The show itself isn’t a reading of the book, nor is it a standup comedy show. To put it plainly it’s Sue talking to the audience. BUT IT WORKS. She is hilarious, and the accompaniment of a slideshow of images from her life (also some pics of Mel that i’m not quite sure she allowed Sue to use!!)

Of course there’s the talk about bake off and the amazing truth about Mary Berry (7 shots of tequila? what a legend!)

To anyone who is going to see the show/wants to see it, You won’t be disappointed! the lightly scripted feel brings out the best in Sue as she ponders over her childhood, and how she grew up with a sentimental mum who collected every little part of her childhood, to a dad who stripped everything back to data.

The two things that made the show for me was:

1. When she brought her dog out onto the stage!! the cute doggo was wearing a nappy which added to the hilarity and just made me want to hop off the balcony and give the pup a hug (the nappy wasn’t a costume…it was a necessity)

2. The second half of the show was mainly filled up with questions from the audience. Now, Sue is very brave for doing this! out of being offered M&Ms and being told that she did a show with Tim Minchin (statements and gifts are apparently what Dorset had to offer for Sue that night). But someone asked her whether she had any phobias. Sue replied with a tale about a kind of handmade plane she was on once (it sounded terrifying) but in classic Sue style, she brushed it off as something she overcame with the marvellous invention of ‘Diazepam’ stating that all she felt was: ‘Jelly, mess and fun times’.

The show ended with a good old sing song of ‘Bad moon rising’ by the Creedence Clear Water Revival, which was a song released the week she was born, and a continuation to the ’70’s nostalgic feel to the show.

SO Spectacles! was a fantastic show and hopefully Sue will do another tour of the hilarious and good-time spectacle!! (pun intended)

even if you have missed out on the Spectacles! live show you can still get the authentic feel of its premise in Sue’s memoir!

The book is very much like the show in respects to how it feels. It’s like having a chat with a friend, hearing funny anecdotes about moments in their life and having a bit of heartache when they reveal something sad and life altering.

Sue’s memoir is more than just the low down on what happened behind the scenes of the GBBO. It’s the tale of a British icon, and the tale of the birth a comedy duo that will go down in history as being a class act of unforgiving women.

Yes, Mel and Sue’s origin story is just as you would imagine it. So I recommend this to book to anyone! (i’ve talked my mum into buying a copy this weekend!)

Where to buy this book:






Book Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405918551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405918558

‘STRUNGBALLS?!’ – A strange and mind-altering review

To put it simply, this novella is probably the weirdest thing I have ever read! (And I read some weird stuff)
But the weirdness and unfamiliar-ness of this novella is what makes it so great.


The story is revolved around Sydney, a boy living within another dimension…or a dystopian planet…but all he knows is the corridors within his city, and the regimented robotic lifestyles he and his parents live.


This civilisation has its own way of protection, and this is where Sydney’s adventure begins. In a plain white room, getting a small cube of flesh removed, he doesn’t know why, it is just what is done in this city.
After his disturbing operation, His proud parents then present him with his first strungball! Which is placed within the empty space where his flesh used to be.


Through the first half of this novella Sydney seems to be happy, and proud that he has become a part of this tradition…but then through a bizarre turn of events, he thinks for the fist time:




And this tiny little question brings on chaos! It brings down the regimented and controlled lifestyle lived through this city.


And Sydney takes the idea of ‘finding yourself’ to a whole other level.


Within 66 pages, Mike Russel managed to take my brain and turn it into scrambled egg!!


I really enjoyed it though, it was a complete detachment to real life, I imagine it’s the kind of story David Lynch would turn into an amazing and mind bending film!


You should definitely read this novella if you’re into the weird and stomach flipping strangeness of a different world.
The absence of sense and understanding, just reading and enjoying a truly weird story!


If it’s not your kind of reading preference I would still recommend this novella, as for me, it is something I wouldn’t have thought to read. But I honestly really enjoyed it!


Check out more weirdness from strangebooks!! the awesome home of Mike Russel, the brains behind these amazing stories!


Where to buy this book: 


Book Details:

  • Paperback: 66 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (31 Oct. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1534957138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1534957138

‘Wish List’ – A Play Review

Wish List by Katherine Soper, at ‘The Royal Court Theatre, Jerwood Upstairs’ London.

“I dreamt about this last night. I dreamt that I was packing boxes in boxes in boxes.”


Last week I ventured on up to London to see ‘Wish List’ at the Royal Court theatre and I was a big ball of emotions before I had even arrived at Waterloo station!!

This play is revolved around siblings Tamsin (Erin Doherty) and Dean (Joseph Quinn), Tamsin taking care of Dean after losing their mother. After Dean has been declared fit for work despite his daily battle with OCD, this is a massive strain on Tamsin and the pressure is stacked against her as she packs boxes under a zero hour contract.

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Dean (Joseph Quinn) and Tamsin (Erin Doherty) Wish List production images. (photo by Jonathan Keenan)

Erin Doherty’s performance was BREATHTAKING! I was tearing up at the raw frustration in her eyes and the tension and the energy and just, I mean…she really owned the role of Tamsin.

The hard work and patronising system of the company she works for isn’t the only battle in her life. Tamsin desperately tries to appeal the decision that has been made for her brother, as Dean struggles to leave the bathroom, yet the system seems to have fit him into a box, as things on paper appear different to real life.

To me this play was all about boxes! metaphorical and physical.

The boxes that surrounded Tamsin as she worked, she packed stuff off for delivery. She tried hard to fit into the box of the daily requirement so she could be granted another days work.

Towards the end of the play, home life and work seemed to merge into one another. As the light hearted and funny Luke (Shaquille Ali-Yebuah), fellow box packer invited Tamsin out, the table they sat at was a box, as well as the chairs they sat on. This was a very clever set/prop design. Even at home, Tamsin’s clothes were packed into boxes.

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Luke (Shaquille Ali-Yebuah)Wish List Production images. (photo by Jonathan Keenan)

Towards the end of the play, the tension and frustration hit boiling point as life gets too much for Dean, who tries to better his obsession with his hair. Joseph Quinn’s portrayal of Dean was really strong. Portraying a mental illness is no mean feat, and Quinn brought so much understanding and respect to Dean and the representation of OCD.

Katherine Soper has created an incredibly real portrayal of living with, caring and fighting for someone with disabilities. Her play was filled with moments that broke my heart and moments that made me laugh. But mainly, this play has shown the humanity that is being lost within systems in a beautifully compassionate way.