Have you heard about “Tali Shapiro?”

Hi guys,

I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and I came across an account for a woman named Tali Shapiro. The account was mainly made up of short videos created by a Jozi looking (and sounding) princess. I thought to myself  ‘This girl looks an awfully lot like Suzelle DIY.’  Could this be the same person?

The pieces of the puzzle were put together when I was going through Showmax looking for something to watch.  I came across a mockumentary called Tali’s Wedding Diary and decided to watch the trailer. It was then that I learned that the mastermind behind Suzelle DIY, Julia Anastasopoulos, is also the creator and actress behind Tali Shapiro.

The show follows Tali, a Joburg Princess who has moved to Cape Town, on her wedding planning journey. I always say how true life creates the best entertainment and this show is a testament to that fact. In many interviews about the character, Julia mentions that the inspiration behind Tali’s wedding diary arose from her own wedding planning experiences.  Although the show is styled as a comedic mockumentary, there are serious undertones which the characters address throughout the show. The pressure of Social Media plays a big role. This theme is already present in the trailer for the show.

Have a look at the official trailer here: Tali’s wedding diary trailer

From what I have seen so far, I am really excited to see where Julia takes this character. I admire her talent and how she is able to take a stereotype and transform herself into someone that we have all seen sitting at the Sorbet on the corner, or waiting at the local Seattle coffee shop.I feel that many people are going to relate to the character and in doing so, will be able to laugh at themselves and learn not to take themselves too seriously. I know this is something I have experienced while watching her Instagram videos.

What I am finding so interesting is reading about the actress behind the character. Julia seems like someone you would love to be friends with. In an interview with Essentials Magazine, she talks about how her characters differ and how, in real life, she is allergic to Garlic. [Welcome to the club Julia!] Interview with Essentials Magazine

It really is great to see homegrown talent popping up all over the place. The show, Tali’s Wedding Diary, premieres on Showmax in December and consists of 8 episodes. A South African show premiering on a South African streaming platform. It does not get any more local than that!

Look out for Tali’s Wedding Diary on Showmax this December!

If you have not heard about Tali Shapiro yet have a look at her Instagram account and Youtube videos: Tali on Showmax

xxx

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Grey’s Anatomy turns 300

Last night in America, Grey’s Anatomy aired their 300th episode… 300, can you even begin to contextualise how many episodes that is? How many nights’s the cast stayed up to shoot? How many times each actor’s scrub costume was washed? How many times Shonda sat in the editing suit trying to figure out the best way to piece her artwork together? It is remarkable how this show has gone on to create 300 episodes. 300 episodes does not only mean that the cast, crew and creative teams were able to create this work but it means the fans, You and I, wanted 300 episodes. We demanded 300 episodes and we deserve 300 more episodes. Because Grey’s Anatomy is not part of our lives and how can it not be? After 300 episodes, 14 seasons, 12 years and countless tears later this show, world, story, is part of our lives. We have earned 300 episodes.

Personal feelings aside, one has to admire the brains behind such a revolution. Shonda Rhimes. Creator, queen, producer, queen. Without her 300 episodes would never have been possible. She revolutionized TV. She created a world where doctors had lives and patients mattered and everyone had feelings which were and are expressed through her story. Her world, Grey Sloan memorial Clinic, is home to some of our worst fears, our greatest memories and our future goals.  She did this. Her imagination created a place that helps audiences work through some of their most difficult times. I know just how much Grey’s Anatomy has helped me and I am positive I am not the only one.

Shonda wrote a beautiful essay on her website about how she feels about this massive Grey’s Anatomy milestone and I thought it would be appropriate to share some of it with you all. She speaks about the first scene she ever filmed with the cast and the impression that it made on her. She speaks about how she feels that this dream of hers became a reality and she speaks about how the essence of the show lies within not only the strong characters she has created but within the strong women that carry this world to new heights constantly.

“I’ll tell you a secret. That’s me in that show. Not literally but… yeah, kinda literally. Season after season, pieces of my life are on that screen. I wrote myself into every character. I wrote my own histories. My heartbreaks. My loves. My family and my friends. My victories and my disasters. My life is in every episode. Who I am is in every episode. For me, the show is sort of a diary — I can watch it and know exactly what was going on in my real life when an episode was written.Writing “Grey’s” gave me a way to make sense of my life, to put order to it. To work out problems. To imagine. To grieve and to dream and to rejoice. I kept waiting for it to end. For people to be over it. To be done. But… fans are an extraordinary group of people.” [Shonda, 2017]

The truth is, we, the fans are extraordinary because we not only appreciate how much effort goes into creating the show but because we also see ourselves within the show. I see myself in the show. I see some of the best parts of me in the show and I also see some of my worst attributes in the show. It is why I connect so strongly with the show.  I could go on for hours about how much Grey’s Anatomy means to me however I will end off by saying this. Congratulations to the entire team who work day in and day out to bring us entertainment. Your work is brilliant and I am grateful for it…. to 300 more… ❤

For the full essay written by Shonda Rhimes go to: Shondaland

xxx

Shondaland. (2017). Three Hundred Episodes Later… . [online] Available at: http://www.shondaland.com/inspire/by-shonda/a13455587/greys-anatomy-three-hundred-episodes-shonda-rhimes/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2017].

Whats the Big deal about the Little Lies- part 2.

Hi everyone,

As promised, here is part two of my Big Little Lies review… We have discussed the TV version, now let’s talk about the book.

LIGHT BULB MOMENT

The book is fantastic! Big little lies was originally a book written by Liane Moriarty. The book follows the same story line as the series however some details and concepts are different. Which makes sense obviously because if you are planning to bring something to TV, you need to ensure that there is enough to keep the audience interested visually. I do not want to give away all the differences however there is one main difference that really makes the world of difference.

In the TV series, the story is lead by the adults. The parents in the story really lead the way which makes it feel like you are seeing this story play out with adult eyes. It works, don’t get me wrong, but it feels kind of usual. Big concepts, serious issues, adult eyes. In the book, however, it feels as if the story is being led by the children. And no, that does not mean it is written in a childish way. You just really understand how the adult’s actions affect the children which make it an interesting read.

My biggest issue with the series was all the driving that takes place. I forever felt like the adults were just driving around. For a girl that gets motion sickness, it was just too much driving for me! But that is not a factor in the book so I felt like I could really focus on the story. Something that really seemed to work for me was the casting, as I read the book the casting of the TV series totally made sense. I could understand why the actresses who were chosen were chosen.  I must say, I enjoyed this aspect. Having an idea of what the characters looked like, how they spoke and how they interacted with each other based on the Series.

If you are the type of person who likes to read a book before watching the movie/series than I think you might be disappointed with the series. But if you watched the series and enjoy books then definitely read the book. You will enjoy reading the story and the series will actually make more sense. I really loved the book, there were moments where I really did not want to put it down! The book may seem long at 500 or so pages, but it actually is a quick read. There are even some unexpected twists that are not part of the TV version….

Happy reading 🙂

Natalia

xxx

Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Gru and the minions are back in the third instalment of this much-loved franchise. However, this time round the focus is on Gru finding out he has a twin brother. While the twist can be accompanied by an interesting story line, I found this film to be very predictable compared to the first two films in the series. Do not get me wrong I love the despicable me movies. The first two were fantastic and I still re-watch them on a regular basis, but there seemed to be something missing with this third film.

Let’s break it down…

There were some sweet parts that received a few chuckles from the audience but the humour was nothing compared to the first films. I was really looking forward to the film because of how much I love the characters. Gru is hilarious and no one can pull off an accent like that but Steve Carell. He always brings the best out of the character. A villain who has a good heart adopts 3 girls and forms a family… It is a fantastic personality to slot into an animation! It is part of what makes the franchise so successful.

Another part of the films everyone loves is the minions! These funny, cute, yellow little things who talk a language that no one understands. My entire family adore them. My father especially, it is part of the reason why the family outing was to see the movie. However, the minions had such a small part to play in the film. The little part that they received felt so disjointed in comparison to the rest of the film. It did not really fit. I feel there was so much more that could have evolved around the minion’s storylines and I feel that they deserved to be a part of the film more. I mean, who doesn’t love the minions?!

The new antagonist “Balthazar Bratt” is such an entertaining designed character. His 80s persona is such a fun add on to the film. I loved watching the dance battles between him and Gru and for some odd reason I really enjoyed the destructive chewing gum which was his weapon of choice. He also came across as a personal challenge for Gru which added some depth to the film. It felt like if Gru were to finally catch him it would make all his own mishaps melt away and I would have loved to this play out. But I didn’t… does this mean there is an opening for a fourth instalment perhaps?

The animation is absolutely beautiful and it is always comforting to see loved characters return to the screen. This will be what carries the film. The film will do well because of the history that the characters already have with the audience, however, the story, unfortunately, is a weak spot for me. I would have loved the story about the minions needing Gru to have been developed further rather than this long lost brother plot. It almost felt misplaced. It was sweet, just rather forgettable. I doubt the third film will leave as much of as impression as the first two films did.

*lights out*

Natalia

xx

Priscilla Queen of the Desert- South Africa

Hi everyone, Priscilla Queen of the

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, queen of glitter, queen of fabulous, queen of the STAGE!

OH MY GOSH, this production (currently showing at Montecasino until the 18th of June) is absolutely fantastic, to say the least! For years I have heard about this musical. SO many people have asked me in shocked tones “why have I not seen Priscilla?” I have been told from left, right and centre that Priscilla is something I just have to witness… Well, in true musical fascination fashion, when I heard this show was being done in South Africa I jumped at the opportunity to quickly book my ticket and secure my place to see this extravaganza. I was not prepared for exactly how fabulous this show actually is!

Well, in true musical fascination fashion, when I heard this show was being done in South Africa I jumped at the opportunity to quickly book my ticket and secure my place to see this extravaganza. I was not prepared for exactly how fabulous this show actually is!

Right, let’s go… the story is about 3 drag queens and their trip across Australia. Along the way, they encounter friendship, fear, love, discrimination and eventually come to an understanding of each other and this crazy world that they choose to be apart of. Secrets and personal situations lead these friends on an adventure of discovery and a trip of a lifetime. The music is a compilation of some of the greatest diva inspired music. Expect to hear songs like “It’s raining men,” “I say a little prayer” and “Girls just want to have fun” amongst many other songs that you can’t help but jive along to. This show is ALL about the art department. From the

This show is ALL about the art department. From the costumes to the makeup, to the set design and to the wigs. This production is an absolute visual treat. A candy floss explosion of colour, texture, glitter and creativity. There were many huge prop pieces that blew my mind. In one of the most memorable scenes of the show, a huge silver stiletto can be seen on top of the bus. I have no idea how much glitter was used to cover this gigantic piece but it was just fantastic! There can never be too much glitter and this show is a testament to this fact. The bus ‘Priscilla’ is such a wonderful piece in this production. Lights are used to bring this piece to life and the bus is as much of a character as any other person in this show.

IMG_2764

The cast is phenomenal. It seems like each person who was cast was chosen with such care that there is truly only talent on the stage. The three main characters Bernadette, Tick (Mitzi) and (Adam) Felicia are played by David Dennis, Daniel Buys and Phillip Schnetler. These three men are so damn talented! David Dennis becomes the character of Bernadette in such a way that I heard audience members asking if ‘she’ is a woman in real life. His comedic moments are delivered with such grace that even the crudest of references becomes funny and I-told-you-so like. Daniel Buys brings a sense of humility to his character that you cannot help but root for him to succeed. He (Mitzi) truly is such a darling on stage- I wanted to be her best friend. Phillip Schnetler… Oh wow… this guy is unbelievable! His extravagant charm was really just a joy to watch. Felicia is one of those characters that tries to prove that nothing can phase her however when she gets knocked down, she hits the ground hard and when this happened in the show all I wanted to do was run up and hug her!

The rest of the cast work so well together on stage too. The three divas Candida Mosoma, Thembeka Mnguni and Londiwe Dhlomo-Dlamini brought such glamour to the show. They have the most wonderful voices and I appreciated the effort it must have been for them to sing while being suspended from the ceiling. There was not a single cast member who brought the show down. Each individual was energetic, excited and talented. It was just a wonderful cast to watch on stage.

The true star of the show had to be the costume designer. WOW, where these costumes amazing! I have no idea how someone comes up with some of these outfits but they were truly fantastic. I loved it all, from a dress made out of slip slops to hats with rubber ducks intertwined. This wardrobe department was completely on point and each outfit was more fabulous than the last. This show was truly spectacular. It was for sure one of the grandest productions I have seen and it is going to be an extremely tough act to follow- so good luck to the team of the next big production!

I loved every second of it and was truly upset when it ended. I was not the only one wanting this show to go on for longer, many people in the audience left the theatre planning their next visit to this fantastic show. If you can, you need to make the trip and see this production. The show is full of comedy, humility, gilts, glam and everything in-between! You will not regret it- I promise.

Do yourself a favour and book your tickets through computicket now! You do not want to miss this one…

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

Boss Baby (2017)

In a world where animation films can be of the highest quality, is there really space for a mediocre film driven by a baby in a suit? I am not convinced…

I recently watched the newest Dreamworks animation film “Boss Baby” and I, unfortunately, need to report that I was not impressed. I got it but I didn’t love it. The film is about a baby who runs a baby company. The company is responsible for sorting through all the babies up in heaven (I think) and sending them to the right families. However, certain babies are not suited for family life and are sent to management. It already sounds implausible right?

Some of you might turn around and tell me that other animated films include talking fish, Ogres and escaping zoo animals so how can I call a talking baby implausible? Well here is my issue; Animations these days are no longer solely designed for children. Within many of our favourite animated films, there are antidotes that appeal to adults. There are characters that children do not fully understand- there is simply something for everyone. This is achieved through clever storytelling, beautiful animation and relatable character profiling.

This film, although having potential, lacked these elements. The part of the film that drew me in the most, was Tim. The 7-year-old boy who receives this ‘Boss’ of a baby brother. His imagination and emotion were the only attributes that drove me to keep watching. However, even this character does not really go anywhere. No one really grows in this film and it results in the film feeling very predictable.

My 11-year-old brother found the film to be hilarious, which is good because ultimately, for a film like this, it is going to be children who drive the sales. But in terms of this film becoming legendary like films such as Finding Nemo, or creating a franchise like Madagascar, I highly doubt it. And to be frank I truly expect more from a cooperation Like Dreamworks Animation… The medium of animation is a powerful tool and it deserves to be treated with respect in order to create high-qualityy entertainment that the entire family can enjoy.

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

What’s on in Joburg?

Hi all.

The other day I was screening the broadway.com site for plays currently playing on Broadway in New York. Feeling rather left out of the theater fun, I decided to have a look locally at what is showing around JHB. I got the most pleasant surprise at just how much is showing in the next month or so that I thought I just have to share. So without further ado here is my summary of shows currently on in Johannesburg;

Let’s start with Montecasino. There is a fortune going on at Monte between now and June and it is rather exciting. “The play that goes wrong” is currently showing in the small theater. This hysterical comedy of errors comes from the UK and is taking residency here until the end of the month. This play was featured at the Queen’s variety show a few years ago and promise to be an evening filled with laughter.  (I am hoping to see this soon so keep a look out for the review :))

The big musical coming to JHB this April is “Priscilla Queen of the desert) This colourful musical is on from the 29th of April and has just been extended until the 18th of June! Very exciting news. This musical promises to be a feast for the eyes with over 500 beautiful, award winning costumes. The show is about 3 drag queens who embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The cast looks absolutely fabulous and I CANNOT wait to see this show!

On the 15th of May, the wonderful cast of the musical RENT will call Monte their home for one special performance. The original South African cast will come together to perform as a fundraiser for hospiceWits which makes it especially touching since loss and illness are two big themes in the musical.  As always, the music of rent will touch your heart and the story itself will pull on all your heartstrings. This one is not to be missed.

The last biggie at Montecasino for the next few months will be Jonathon Roxmouths ‘the musicals in concert.’ For three nights in June, Jonathon and his legendary voice will be performing all the greatest hits from all our favourite musicals. With a full orchestra and a few tricks along the way, what more can you ask for on a night at the theatre?

On the other side of Town at the Joburg Theater, there is also a wide selection of theatre shows going on. Kids will love watching their favourite characters from Winnie the Pooh come alive at the people’s theatre until the end of the month.

If you miss the special performance of RENT on at Monte, do not stress! There are performances going on at The Joburg Theater until the 5th of June. While it may not be the original cast, it will still be up to our high South African standard of talent.

These are only a few shows picked from a much greater choice. So there is lots of entertainment to choose from 😀 Enjoy, Enjoy, ENJOY!

*lights out*

Natalia