Top Hat Theater Review

posted in: Events, Miscellaneous | 0
Top Hat, Top Hat Theatre, Max Lacome-Shaw
Max Lacome-Shaw

Top Hat is an award winning musical based on one of the most celebrated films that Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger’s featured in together. It’s safe to say I was pretty excited whilst heading to see the production at the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre with its silver ceiling both unexpected and ornate.

Having not seen the film before attending the show; all I knew beforehand was that I would love the costumes, there would be lots of dancing and that I’d fall in love with the music quicker than I could get the lid off of my obligatory theatre show ice cream pot.

Top Hat met my expectations and more. Writing a review for such a flawless (minus a reluctant opening curtain) is just as easy as watching it!

Top Hat, Dale and Jerry, Top hat Theatre, Max Lacome-Shaw
Max Lacome-Shaw

The costumes, something I always lust over in any period performance, were gorgeous. Not only did they look pretty authentic but they suited the original films release date of 1935. ‘The dress’ was naturally all I had hoped and to see those feathers glide across the stage was a delight. When Dale first stepped onto the stage in ‘the dress’ the whole audience was buzzing, amid many ‘oohs’. It was a much anticipated moment made even better for me; as having interviewed Jessica Plew (the Top Hat Deputy Wig) for Vintage Life, I was aware of the quick wig change and had an increased awareness of just how much preparation goes into that one moment.

The men looked dapper in their tails and it was great to see such strong dance performances from the whole of the cast. The art deco set was equally enticing, and I particularly enjoyed the way that flights were portrayed. However it was the use of a shadow dancer, one mimicking another’s performance at the same time, that was really impressive. Keeping in time to music for me is a big hurdle, let alone the idea of keeping in time with someone else!

Top Hat, The Latin, Dale Tremont, Max Lacome-Shaw
Max Lacome-Shaw

But what really had me and my Boyfriend singing Top Hat’s praises, as well as the songs for weeks and weeks, was how hilarious it was. (Note that this performance isn’t just for girls.) I hadn’t accounted for the comical nature of the performance at all!

Particular highlights came in the form of an unexpectedly old romantic who goes by the name of Bates, as well as Alberto Beddini better known as ‘The Latin’ who sings the wittiest solo of the whole performance. Not only this; but the relationship between the feisty Dale Tremont and persistent Jerry Travers are played excellently through a fun and light hearted script. Sassy Dale has Jerry swept off his tapping feet in no time!

Top hat, Top Hat Cast, Max Lacome-Shaw
Max Lacome-Shaw

It is always a delight to write a review that comes so easy, particularly when it is such a positive one! I cherished my glimpse of 30s glamour whilst watching Top Hat and enjoyed the bursts of comedy that had the whole audience laughing out loud. If you are hoping for an entertaining performance accompanied by impressive dancing and wonderful music, performed by a live orchestra, then Top Hat is the theatre show you have been looking for.

Has my review made you dizzy for tickets? The Tour has performances running until the end of July and you can find tickets via TopHatonStage.com.

An interview with Veronika Kotkova from Verve Rockabilly Photography

posted in: Fashion and Beauty, Interview | 0

Meet Verve Rockabilly Photography’s Veronika Kotkova

veronola kotkova, verve, verve rockabilly photography, verve rockabilly photoshoot
Veronika Kotkova on shoot

Veronika Kotkova is the esteemed pin up and rockabilly photographer behind Verve Rockabilly Photography. Having worked at a modelling agency she quickly went from a booker to stylist before realising she could use her unique style to create something far more edgy.

She is damn gutsy and in the time she shot me, she quickly became my hero. The idea of choosing to do something and going out and making that happen without any training or kit is scary but something she fearlessly got on with. Veronika’s determination is wonderful to experience and in this interview she’ll be looking back at some of her first photography experiences as well as her recent shoot in the Czech Republic.

What made you choose rockabilly photography?

I started in fashion but I really don’t know why I got stuck into 50s and 60s, I just did. I wanted to continue with fashion but in a different way, so my goal was to be a well-known rockabilly photographer.

I do fashion sometimes but it’s not something that is really in my heart; especially because fashion is all about young, amazingly pretty, tiny girls. There are so many rules and I don’t like that, I like real women. I’m from the Czech Republic and Czech girls are real women.

Verve Rockabilly Photography, Veronika Rockabilly, Pin Up Photog
Verve Rockabilly Photography

Working with real women seems very important to you…

I really like that when I shoot pin up, I can have a lady who is size 24, and I can have a lady who’s size 6. They are both happy when they get the makeover done and they both look amazing. I say do it because it makes you feel good. That’s why I do this kind of style.

But skipping back to the start of your journey into photography, can you remember your first shoot?

My first proper shoot was with my friend who is actually a model. She’s covered in tattoos and I was shooting her with another guy who was also covered in tattoos; so it was kind of rockabilly, tattooish and edgy basically. That was my first shoot and I have to say I think it was quite good.

Although I can see mistakes, yes fine fair enough we all grow. Most of all I think it pushed me because I felt I did something different in there and it felt great.

Has there been a defining moment where you thought yeah I am really doing this?

I don’t think I knew, I just told myself I will. There was no option in my head that I was going to fail. I knew that it was going to be a bumpy ride but I just said to myself you are doing it and that’s it. But actually my first job was in porn.

Verve Rockabilly Photography, Pin Up Photography, Rockabilly
Verve Rockabilly Photography

Do you think that helped your skills as a photographer?

Photography is a difficult industry. I knew it was going to be a bumpy ride because well known photographers are always keeping their jobs and no one wants to work with different photographers if they are with someone already.

For my first paid job I was a photographer for the porn industry. It pushed me as anyone can take a cheap picture of two people having sex. It really takes guts to take it to levels where it doesn’t look cheap, it’s more creative. So I was trying to really focus with playing with lights and shadows and making it look glamorous. I think because it was really challenging it did push me.

Kind of an evil question but have you got a favourite shoot that you’ve done?

That is an extremely evil question! It is really difficult as I’ve done so many shoots that I just love. I don’t know, I’m probably lucky I always work with great people and it’s just always fun so I don’t really have a favourite. Although…

Very Rockabilly Studios, Okay Shoot, Veroinika Kotkova
Okay Shoot, Verve Rockabilly Studios

Please tell us all about it!

I shot for Slovakian Okay Magazine in my favourite bar ever, the James Dean Bar in Prague. I shot two very pretty girlies; one is former Miss Czech Republic and the other one is a very good twerk dancer and choreographer. Both girls are amazing and I was really looking forward to that and of course it’s quite challenging because it is a huge production. It was tough and I was really nervous but I rocked it anyway.

So you turned them into the pin up style?

Yes! The whole shoot was inspired by Dita Von Tease. I did research and put those ideas to my stylist so she got similar styles of clothing. We weren’t just copying what Dita shot but using some ideas to dedicate it to her.

Verve Rockabilly Photography. Blaire Rowland, Blaire Amy Rowland, Old is Now, Vintage Blog
My own shoot, Verve Rockabilly Photography

 

If anyone can convince Okay Magazine that they need a former Miss Czech Republic in a pin up inspired shoot then Veronika can – and has with absolutely stunning results! I really enjoyed my shoot and interview time with her. She really is an exciting person to get to know and I went away not only with beautiful hair and make-up, but with the gumption to get on and do the things I want. Queue lots of emails to important people (sorry not sorry).

Thanks Veronika, and I am looking forward to another shoot soon. If you fancy booking up one of Verve Rockabilly Photography’s pin up photoshoots have a look at the website here.