On the 19th June, I turned 20. I know it’s not particularly deemed a big deal of an age, but to me it is. It means I’ve been existing for two decades, I’ve dropped the “teen” in my age and I’m expected to be an adult now. I say expected because while on a technicality I am now an adult, I can’t say I really feel like an adult. I don’t know why that is – perhaps it’s just that the situations in my life kind of still make me feel like I’m 18 or younger? Or maybe it’s just self-denial?

However, I’m learning that it’s okay to feel that way as ultimately age is just a number. Sure there are legal requirements in certain situations, but I can’t help but feel that over time there’s been an increase in pressure to grow up well before our time – I don’t know if i’m alone in that thought but even when I was 11, I would find myself stressed and daunted by the years ahead. Thankfully everything has turned out rather well so far, but sometimes I wish we could just be left to live our lives a little more. We work to live, not live to work.

But enough of the self-reflection and moving swiftly on to how I decided to celebrate… Anyone that knows me well, knows I’m a little bit of a diva when it comes to my birthday as I have a tendency to drag it out for as long as possible. I don’t know why I’m like that as I’m not usually one who tends to crave attention, I think I just like using it as an excuse to treat myself, go on adventures, take some time off work, see friends and family more, and have fun. There’s no harm in that right? I guess it’s also a bonus that there’s always plenty to do in June with it being summer!

A present from my parents included a trip to Southend to see the UK tour of The Addams Family, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was quirky, funny and joyous, with some great music and Carrie Hope Fletcher slightly steals the show. I was also lucky enough to meet a number of the cast afterwards, who were super lovely. I would definitely catch the show if you can! It’s touring the UK until November, see www.theaddamsfamily.co.uk for more information.

The weekend before my birthday, I spent 3 days in London with one of my best friends, and I managed to start the weekend ticking off something from the bucket list by seeing Idina Menzel at the Royal Albert Hall. It was my first time attending a concert by myself (though I did have a few friends in the audience) and I forked out a hefty price on a single ticket, but to be on the 12th row finally seeing one of my favourite artists was truly magical. Despite still overcoming an illness and starting the show with a sound issue, she was effortlessly flawless. If you love theatre or you’re a fan – you really must see Idina if you get the chance to.

The next day, I ventured round a sunny London including a visit to the Tate Modern – which was fun. However, the most exciting point of the day was seeing the revival of Annie starring Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan. Despite being a fan of Miranda, I did have minor doubts on how she’d fare onstage in a full-scale Musical; however I was not disappointed as she really impressed me. I was also fortunate enough to meet Miranda before and see her briefly afterwards, which was really special – I got slightly starstruck so regrettably didn’t say much but I had written her a card which she seemed genuinely grateful for, and I think having her shout “Gallop!” at me from her car was one of my personal highlights! As for the show itself, overall it’s really great family friendly fun, with a talented cast and some iconic tunes; I’d happily see it again for the perfect bit of escapism. For more information on the show see www.anniewestend.com.

Just before going home, despite knowing next-to-nothing about it, I decided to trust the critics and audiences with their rave reviews on Half a Sixpence, and take a chance on it before it’s closure. How glad I am that I took that chance because I think this show landed itself as one of my favourites of this year so far (and there it will most likely remain) as well as being one of the best revivals I can think of. It’s truly a spectacle, with non-stop tunes and dance numbers. I felt it had a slightly predictable story, yet it was still super gripping. All of the characters are easy to love, and I’m so glad I saw it, but sad to know there’s not long left. I highly recommend nabbing a ticket if you can! Check out: www.halfasixpence.co.uk.

On my actual birthday, I was back at work but I was lucky enough to receive a few tweets from some of my favourite celebrities and theatre stars, along with lovely gifts such as a day ticket to Latitude Festival, a Lush haul, CDs, DVDs and more, and I got to see some of my closest friends and family for a slice of cake after work!

Heading back to London a few days later, I started my weekend by meeting Katy Perry. Yeah, no biggie? I actually met her in 2011 when I was 13, but that feels like a lifetime ago now so what an exciting and surreal experience it was to get to meet her again. It was brief but special, and I truly admire her for how genuine she is and how much time she has for her fans.

Following that, I dashed across London to see School of Rock a second time, this is easily one of my favourite shows and there’s been some minor cast changes since my first visit as well as the fact some alternates/understudies were on, which is always fun. I got to chat to a couple of the cast afterwards too, which is always nice when they are able to give up their time for you to share mutual gratitude! Whether you read my previous review or not, just do yourself a favour and go and rock out at schoolofrockthemusical.com.

On a mere five hours or less sleep, it was an early alarm for a weekend at West End Live, aka one of my highlights of the year. A free festival for musical theatre in central London? That’s what my dreams are made of! It was my second year of attendance, and it’s SO much fun. Across the weekend I saw a multitude of shows and performers, a few highlights included seeing some of my favourite and the most iconic shows like Les Mis, Phantom, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, Kinky Boots etc. As for new shows, it made me want to see Everyone’s Talking About Jamie and Bat Out Of Hell the most. Three iconic Elphaba’s Rachel Tucker, Kerry Ellis and Willemijn Verkaik were also incredible. Clear your diary for June 2018 as you won’t want to miss it! For more information see www.westendlive.co.uk.

In between the two days at WEL, I ended up picking up last-minute ticket to An American In Paris. I thought everything about it visually was beautiful, with some classic and iconic songs which were a joy to hear and it was lovely to see some ballet as it’s not-so common in modern theatre. However, overall the story and show to me was considerably weaker than a lot of the other shows I’ve seen – perhaps that’s just mine and my friends thoughts, as I’d heard plenty of positives from audiences and critics, but it just didn’t really wow us. While we were slightly disappointed, we were glad to have seen it and we could still appreciate and applaud many elements of it. If you like your theatre traditional, easy-going and ballet-centric then it might just be the show for you: www.anamericaninparisthemusical.co.uk.

Finally, a week after my birthday I got the offer to review Funny Girl at the Norwich Theatre Royal – and having unfortunately missed the chance to catch critically acclaimed West End revival, I was thrilled to be seeing its UK tour. It’s a slick production with class and comedy, that contains everything you would wish to see in a classic musical. Check out the full review here on GrapevineLIVE.

Overall, June has been pretty good to me. But I guess I should snap back into reality now… until then, here’s some snapshots of the happy times of June here. And while I shall try to make little changes and progressions, I’m just going to live life how I want to, regardless of the age expectations! Here’s to my 20’s…

PS: I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve done a proper blog, but hopefully this will give you an explanation as to where I’ve been! I’m going to try get back into the swing of things… so hopefully see you again soon!