The Bye Bye Man: Review by Holly Bareham

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This film was advertised absolutely ages ago, I remember watching the trailer at the cinema towards the start of last year. I can remember because me and my friend made jokes about how non-threatening something named ‘The Bye Bye Man’ was and how ridiculous the concept seemed. Then another one of my friends popped up saying the trailer looked alright and we should all watch it. In the end none of us could agree on a date so I went and watched it by myself. Oh boy.

For those who haven’t seen this advertised the film is basically about three friends that move into a house who soon learn about something called ‘The Bye Bye Man’. However the moment they think about it or say it they put themselves in more danger. The Bye Bye Man can make them hallucinate and manipulates their sense of reality to kill them off.

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I hadn’t heard anything about this film but I had suspicions that it was going to be shit. I’m sorry but anything with a title like ‘The Bye Bye Man’ is bound to be awful. However I like to keep an open mind when going into films so I put that aside and tried to get into it. And oh boy did I try.

I think I nearly fell asleep. I’d not had much sleep the night before and this film was lulling me to sleep. I don’t like films that only rely on jump scares and it felt like this film was trying to rely on them, the only problem was that they weren’t scary enough. There was no atmosphere and even the jump scares weren’t working. So all we were left with was the plot and that was pretty shocking.

It was bad. I don’t really know what else to say about it. It was just a bunch of nonsense. Where did ‘The Bye Bye Man’ even come from and why is he so angry? What if someone randomly thought ‘a good character name would be The Bye Bye Man’ would they then die as well? Also, pretty big spoiler alert, but Elliot’s brother and niece were relatively calm and chill considering he’d just killed himself.

I don’t know if I was just being an idiot or what but nothing seemed to make sense. It was one of the most pointless films I’ve ever seen in my life and we didn’t get enough time to get to know the characters so it was hard to particularly care about any of them.

Overall I don’t particularly recommend this film to anyone because it was just plain awful. Don’t waste your money.

Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2017

I’ve had this blog for quite a while now and I’ve mostly been writing the same old things. Book reviews, horror film reviews, maybe the occasional event review. Well as it’s a new year I’ve decided to switch things up a little bit and expand what I write about. I’ll still be posting my reviews but I want to aim to post more regularly and about different things. So after my post about West End Show recommendations I thought I’d write a list of everything I’m looking forward to in 2017.

The New Year hasn’t exactly got off to the best start for me. I feel like I’ve had at least a little bit of bad luck each day, which quickly escalated last week when I got in my first car crash. However I’m determined to make this year go right which is why I’m making this list, so I can remind myself of all the things I have to look forward to!

1. Seeing Block B Live

Last week tickets went on sale for Block B, a Korean boy group who are finally coming to London to do their own show! Me and my friend were the definition of stressed when we were booking the tickets but it turned out to not be too difficult and we managed to get two standing tickets. We’d better hope it’s the most lit concert we ever attend in our entire lives because it cost us £100 each. We’ve both already seen them at K-Con Paris last year but they were absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to see them again.

2. K-Con Paris 2017

It hasn’t been announced yet and if it isn’t I might actually weep. Last year’s was the best concert I’ve ever been to and plus I would love an excuse to go abroad with my friends again. Let’s be real, we’re not going to get a K-Con in London anytime soon and Paris is as close as it’s gonna get. Also, I really hope the line-ups good. If Mamamoo don’t go then what’s the point?

3. I’m gonna be in a book

Last year there were a series of bids where if you won you got a signed book and your name in an authors book and you could bid on any author you wanted. Cat Clarke was doing one and I decided I might as well make a bid. The bid before me was £30 so I upped it to £35 and kept going back every day to see if I’d been outbid. No one bid anymore and so I ended up winning! I don’t know if the book is being released this year but I am going to have the same name as one of Cat Clarke’s future book characters and I’m very excited to read it!

4. My 21st Birthday

That’s right, I officially turn twenty-one on the 30th September this year. I haven’t got anything planned at the moment for the actual day but I’m planning a short trip by myself to London to celebrate maybe before or afterwards. Either way I’m going to make sure I have the best time ever because, quite frankly, I deserve it.

5. Shows

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to do something fun at least once a month. By that, I meant see a show at least once a month. This year a lot of good shows are coming to Birmingham and Wolverhampton which are a lot closer to me than London and I already have at least five that I want to book – the moment I get more days at work! I’ve already got a few booked already; Circus of Horrors, The Addams Family, Diversity, All Time Low, Lindsey Sterling, Block B, and The Comedy about a Bank Robbery. And I have many more that I want to book so the list will definitely increase, especially if more concerts are announced!

6. Looking for a new job

I love my job. I love the work itself; I love the people I work with… But I’m not earning enough money. Especially during these winter months where I’m literally only getting one day a week. I’m kind of working three jobs at the moment and it’s still not enough. So I’ve been looking and hopefully this year will be the year that I start something different that I really enjoy!

I’m sure lots of other great things will happen this year that I don’t know about yet and I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store! Maybe I’ll finally finish a first draft of my novel and get it published… Wouldn’t that be nice?

Review: The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

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After reading ‘The List’ by Siobhan Vivian I decided to give ‘The Last Boy and Girl in the World’ a try. I’d seen it in Waterstones plenty of times but due to the title I hadn’t picked it up because as everyone knows, I’m not the biggest fan of romance. However, I decided to trust Siobhan Vivian and gave it a read while I was in London.

The basic story is about a girl named Keeley who lives in Aberdeen, a town that is slowly sinking underwater. While the adults prepare for the future Keeley and her friends decide to go out with a bang, hoping to spend every minute they still have together. And for Keeley it means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.

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I did enjoy it and I finished it quite quickly but I couldn’t help feeling slightly disappointed. I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if I’d read it before ‘The List’. ‘The List’ is probably currently my favourite book and I enjoyed it much more than ‘The Last Boy and Girl in the World’. That’s not to say the book wasn’t good though because it was.

I really liked Keeley, I thought she was funny and the kind of girl I’d like to be friends with, and I liked reading from her point of view. I even liked her crush Jesse because it was written realistically. They didn’t suddenly fall in love and want to spend every second of their time together. They were two normal teenagers who wanted to have a bit of fun before they had to leave Aberdeen. I loved Morgan and Elise, Morgan less so towards the end.

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There’s one bit that kind of annoys me. Throughout the book Keeley keeps talking about how Morgan’s ex-boyfriend got mad at Keeley and started disliking her causing Morgan and him to break up. I went the whole book wondering what could’ve been so bad and when I found out… It was a bit of a letdown. He hated her for that? Really? Was it that big of a deal?

I loved Keeley’s parent’s storyline and I found the plot twist really interesting. That was probably my favourite part of the book and I really didn’t see it coming. You’ll have to read it to find out what I mean though!

Ultimately, I’m glad I trusted Siobhan Vivian and I think I’ll continue to do so. I did enjoy the book and I want to read more of her work. I asked for ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ for Christmas but the guy at Waterstones said the book wasn’t out until this year? Pretty sure that’s not true and I’m definitely going to be giving it a read! Overall, I do recommend this book to you and then when you’re finished with that make sure you read ‘The List’.

Best West End Shows

If you follow me on Twitter then you probably know that I go and see quite a few West End Shows. At this point, there aren’t many that I haven’t seen because I go so often. I thought I’d let you know my top ten west end recommendations. I also want to apologise in advance for my excessive use of the word ‘brilliant’.

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

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My Mom read this book and then gave me her copy to see what I thought of it and I found myself really enjoying it. They announced they were turning it into a show and even better, my college was going on a trip to see it! I signed up straightaway but unfortunately, the theatre it was showing in suffered an incident and a few of the upcoming performances were cancelled and I ended up going to see Once while all my friends saw The Woman in Black, something I’m still salty about.

Anyway, during the summer of 2014 I was earning quite a bit of money at my part-time job and I decided to take a daytrip to London (there was supposed to be a thunder storm in Telford but not in London so I decided to go). Now, I don’t go to London to sightsee. I go to London to see shows and because I’d missed out on seeing this one I decided to book it and see it by myself.

For those who didn’t read the book, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ is told from the point of view of a young lad called Christopher who is on the autism spectrum. His next door neighbour’s dog Wellington dies and Christopher takes it upon himself to find out who the murderer was. That description doesn’t do it justice because it’s about so much more than that but I’d hate to spoil it for anyone!

This was my first trip to London by myself and it was my first West End show by myself and I loved it. It’s done so cleverly and doesn’t love out anything important from the books. It’s been a while since I saw it but I loved every second of it and thought it was absolutely brilliant. If you prefer plays to musicals then I’d definitely recommend this one, it’s amazing. And the acting was brilliant, especially from the guy who played Christopher.

  1. Wicked

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Wicked is probably one of the most popular west end shows and I doubt many people haven’t heard of it. I nagged my Mom to take me to the West End to see it for absolutely ages until finally she surprised me with tickets for my sixteenth birthday. It was the first show I ever saw on the West End and I loved every second of it.

Wicked is kind of like a prequel to the Wizard of Oz but it shows the story from Elphaba and Glinda’s point of view and is about their unlikely but close friendship and how things aren’t always as they seem.

Like I said, my Mom took me when I was sixteen four years ago and since then I’ve been every year to see it again, except last year when I broke the streak. I love everything about it. The storyline, the songs, the characters, the set, the costumes, absolutely everything! My favourite, as is probably most people’s favourite, is Defying Gravity but I also love Thank Goodness, The Wizard and I, and What Is This Feeling. I imagine most musical fans have seen this show but if you haven’t then you’re really missing out. It’s on my bucket list to see it on Broadway one day so if I ever go to New York, it’s the first thing I’ll book.

8. Aladdin

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If I’d written this review a couple of years ago I’d have probably put Wicked after Aladdin but I’ve seen Wicked tons of times and Aladdin only once so it’s more new to me. I saw this show last November because I was in London for a Melanie Martinez concert and I decided to stay an extra night to watch it.
I’d describe what it’s about but I’m sure the majority of you know what Aladdin’s about. If not then wow.

It’s definitely not one of the best shows I’ve ever seen but it was good. It includes the traditional Disney songs but also a few original songs which are just as brilliant. It’s funny, it’s entertaining and I would probably recommend it to any Disney fans. The guy who played the Genie absolutely stole the show but everyone else was brilliant too. I was on the very back row of the balcony but still had a good view. I think it’s a good show for both adults and children. But don’t bring young children. I mean it. There is nothing more annoying than sitting by a child who keeps asking “Is it over yet?” after every song.

7. The Woman in Black

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Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of horror. One girl I follow on Tumblr went to see the show and said it was one of the best shows she’d ever seen so I was intrigued. And then, like I mentioned earlier, all my friends in my English Language class got to see it except for me and they all said it was brilliant. So I decided to take another daytrip to London to see for myself.

The stage show is similar to the film but is cleverly done. It only features three actors. It’s about Arthur Kipps who wishes to tell the story of what happened at Eel Marsh House so that hopefully it can be put to rest. He is helped by a young director who is trying to get him to ‘perform’ the piece, rather than mumble his way through a monologue. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

When I first went I was sat on the very top balcony and at the end of the first half I was convinced that it wasn’t actually that scary. I’d jumped a few times but I figured if that was as scary as it got then it wasn’t too bad. Then the second half happened and I was wrong, it got a lot scarier a lot quicker. I love this show because it’s just so clever how they’ve done it. I took my friend to see it for her birthday and she didn’t get that scared because she never does, but the woman next to her jumped very often and kept accidentally whacking her because she was so scared.

I really recommend this play so much because it’s just so clever and really builds a scary atmosphere. I’ve seen it three times now and it’s still scary. It doesn’t just rely on jump scares either. Please trust me and go see this play if you get the chance!

6. The Play That Goes Wrong

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I’ve seen this play advertised a lot but I never really thought much about it. Then last year I worked seven days a week for all of August so my Mom suggested I go away for a couple of nights so I did. I went to London and saw three shows. I was seeing two I’d already seen so I decided to book ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ so I could see one I hadn’t seen yet. I’m so glad I did.

The Play That Goes Wrong is quite self-explanatory – it’s a murder-mystery play that goes wrong. Basically.

As I said, I first went to see this play last September so that was only four months ago… I saw it two more times since then. I dragged my friend to see it with me her birthday and then I booked to see it again last Saturday. I’m not a big fan of comedy films, they don’t really tend to make me laugh and the jokes are normally tacky and overdone. I laughed so hard at this play. If you think of something that could go wrong during a performance it probably happens in this show and so much more. It’s brilliantly done, so clever and one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. I recommend this to everyone ‘cos who doesn’t like a good laugh?

5. School of Rock

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I had wanted to see this for quite a while and planned on booking for a couple of my trips last year – but the ticket prices were absolutely through the roof and I simply couldn’t afford it. Until I went to London last weekend and I managed to get a Sunday matinee restricted view ticket for about £30. I’ve just had a look at their current ticket prices and I’m not actually sure how I managed it!

The show has the same storyline as the film. Struggling musician Dewey Finn ends up impersonating his friend Ned Schneebly as a substitute teacher to earn enough money to pay his rent. When he finds out how talented the children are he trains them and enters them into Battle of the Bands. Can he get them there without their parents or the headmistress finding out?

To be honest, I think it was completely worth the money. I loved the film and the stage show was even better. We’re told at the beginning that the children do play their instruments live and every last one of them was amazingly talented. If you can get tickets for it I really recommend it, it’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It’s so funny and the songs are brilliant. There’s the original two songs from the film but then they’ve also included more to make it a musical and they’re all great. Also there’s more emphasis on the kids feeling they’re not being listened to and their problems and emotions and it’s just honestly amazing.

4. Peter Pan Goes Wrong

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At the end of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ one of the actors tells us the same company, Mischief Theatre, have two more plays on in London one of them being ‘The Comedy About a Bank Robbery’ and this one, ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’. Just like The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is pretty self-explanatory; it’s Peter Pan, but it goes wrong.

After finding out that there more plays I dragged my friend to London in December to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong (we even vlogged the trip [x]) and although our view wasn’t brilliant I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I thought they’d use a lot of the jokes from ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ but they didn’t and I think it was even funnier. There’s an hour long version of it on BBC iPlayer at the moment which I’d recommend if you can’t get down to the West End to see it in person.

It’s definitely a show I want to see again but as far as I can tell it’s a seasonal show. If it’s on again this December I’ll definitely be going back to see it but hopefully in a better seat this time! I’d spend more money to get a better seat; this isn’t a show where you want to miss anything.

3. The Lion King

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This is another popular show in the West End and rightfully so. It is truly amazing. This is another show I took my friend to see for her birthday, it was the last one we saw before we went home. At the end of the opening song she turned to me and said “I know we’re only two minutes in but this is already the best show I’ve ever seen.”

If you are in the West End this is definitely one of those shows you just have to see. The way it’s done is absolutely amazing and looks so stunning. I know the show did a tour a while ago so if it does again make sure you get a ticket for it, words cannot describe how brilliant this show is. The tickets aren’t too expensive either so definitely go and see it if you have the chance, you won’t regret it. Everyone I’ve spoken to who saw the show thought it was just as brilliant as I do.

2. The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

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This was the other show I heard about at the end of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and I didn’t really consider going to see it. Not sure why, I just didn’t think about it. Until I went to London last weekend and decided to book it simply because not many shows run on Sunday and this one did. I’m so glad it did otherwise I might’ve missed out on it.

It’s not a ‘gone wrong’ play like the other two currently running are, it’s (believe it or not) a comedy about a bank robbery so although it’s different to the gone wrong plays it’s just as funny. In fact, this is probably my favourite one; I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I didn’t really know what to expect and I wasn’t sure I liked it during the first scene but as it went on I really got into it.

Definitely a play I want to go and see again. I’d like to go and see it again before the cast changeover but due to lack of money I doubt that’ll happen. If you’re in London and looking for a decent play I’d recommend this one, the tickets aren’t too expensive either, this was the cheapest play I saw while I was there.

1. Matilda

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I wanted to see Matilda when it first came to the West End but when me and my Mum went to the theatre to inquire about tickets we were told it was sold out for the next few months (we ended up going to see Wicked for a second time). A couple of years went by and I still really wanted to see it so my Mom booked the tickets for my nineteenth birthday and I finally got to see it. It was well worth the wait.

It’s a lot like the film but there’s more emphasis on how smart Matilda is as opposed to her mind powers. The show is more about family, both Matilda’s and Miss Honey’s and I think it’s brilliantly done. It’s also a musical and I think all the songs are amazing; my favourites are ‘Naughty’, ‘My House’ and ‘The Smell of Rebellion’.

I’ve seen this show three times and I’ll probably see it plenty more times because I think it’s amazing. I did love the film Matilda when I was younger but the show is so different it’s like they’re two completely different stories and I love it. This shows on Broadway as well so if I ever get the opportunity to go I’d really like to see this too.

This list was only supposed to be five shows long but I love so many that I had to make it ten! Let me know what your favourite shows are and if there’s any you think I’d like then give me some recommendations. My friends at work say London is like my second home, I’m nearly always there watching shows so recommendations are highly welcomed.