Friday 26 April 2019

"Top End Wedding" Review

Hello, pretty people!

I am completely aware it's been well over a year since my last post and to be honest, Inspiring Camels hasn't had much inspiration. 

Well now I do. 

And it all comes in the shape and form of a little Aussie rom-com.

Funny, heartwarming and very, very Aussie would be the ultimate way to describe the Miranda Tapsell and Joshua Tyler (a Barossa boy)-penned film, Top End Wedding

Starring Tapsell herself and Bohemian Rhapsody's Gwilym Lee, and directed by Wayne Blair who also directed Tapsell as well as Shari Sebbens (who played one of the bridesmaids, Ronelle) in The SapphiresTop End Wedding tells the story of Lauren and her English fiancĂ©, Ned, Adelaide lawyers who travel to Darwin to be married when she's given ten days' unpaid leave just after a promotion only to find out from her distraught father, Trevor (played hilariously by Huw Higginson) that her mother, Daphne, (Ursula Yovich) has gone AWOL.

Lauren and Ned travel all over the Northern Territory in search of her, meeting many an interesting character and constantly coming to inconclusive dead-ends along the way while Lauren learns many things about her Aboriginal heritage while Ned learns many things for the first time about her culture.

The film, whose first twenty minutes or so was filmed in Adelaide, I can imagine, once it is widely seen, will hopefully be wonderful for SA and NT tourism. It was also well-received at Sundance Film Festival and premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival's pop-up event, which was even attended by Lee himself on the 6th of April, 2019.

Photo courtesy of my friend, Jessica
Tapsell and Lee have great on-screen chemisty and Lee has an opportunity to showcase his English humour, goofy and loveable, complete with standard English charm amongst some possibly difficult to understand Australian references and humour, but it still mixes well.

The film is beautifully shot throughout, in some picturesque locations including the lovely, yet rarely-seen Tiwi Islands where Tapsell, herself is from.

All in all, Top End Wedding is a beautiful film. I highly rate it and does wonders teaching the world about Aboriginal cultures and showing them a few more pieces of Australia they may not be familiar with.

I am pleased to announce I got to attend the Adelaide premiere of Top End Wedding.
And yes, confirmed, he does look like Brian May up close 😂

Tuesday 28 November 2017



All photos and GIFs are credit to Bleeker Street

Dan Stevens is back in some of his finest acting yet, this time, portraying Charles Dickens during the stressful six weeks in which he wrote one of his most successful pieces, A Christmas Carol, or full title, A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being A Ghost Story Of Christmas.

It is mid-October, 1843. Charles has had a series of flops after his last successful piece, Oliver Twist. He is in mounting debt after having some of the finest fixtures installed in his home, his wife, Catherine, or Kate, as she's better known (Morfydd Clark) has just announced her fifth pregnancy and he's been brought down by the snide remarks from people in the streets about not only his recent unsuccessful work, but the fact that he's taken interest in the poor on the streets, which he had featured in his books, of which one man (whose wife is a fan of Charles', also suggesting the poor should go to the union workhouses, and if they didn't want to go, they should die quickly, thus reducing the surplus population, a quote Charles uses in the book) says do not belong in books and the rivalry with another local writer, William Thackery (Miles Jupp). He feels as though he's having a mid-life crisis at 31 and is desperate to write another hit, though he has no inspiration.

Then later that evening, Charles overhears his childrens' nanny, young Irish orphan, Tara (Anna Murphy), who later becomes his test audience, telling the children an Irish folk tale about spirits who appear on Christmas Eve.

Later, he stumbles upon a burial in a graveyard. There's an old man (Christopher Plummer) mourning the loss of his business partner. The man walks walks up to Charles, backing him against a tombstone and frightening him, looks at him and says, "Humbug!". Charles knew then and there he had inspiration for his miserly, miserable central character, for which he's yet to find a name for. He finds himself in his study making funny faces in the mirror and coming up with silly voices (something Stevens is wonderful at - just look at the scene where he's using a hilarious Irish accent to entertain his children. Also Charles' own daughter had written that she used to find her father in his study pulling odd faces in the mirror.) until he comes up with the name "Scrooge" and the old man from the cemetery appears behind him.
His publishers pass on the idea, with one saying Christmas is just an excuse to empty our pockets every 25th of December (a line he gives to Scrooge). Charles decides to self-publish the book, risking putting himself into more debt.

We realise there's a number of other people he's met in his travels that have inspired his characters including Tara (The Ghost Of Christmas Past), his good friend, John Forster (Justin Edwards) as the Ghost Of Christmas Present, his nine-year old crippled nephew, Henry (Tiny Tim, who both Tara and Forster had to talk Charles into not killing off, saying Scrooge could surely change overnight and become more generous towards his clerk) and his brother-in-law and sister as Bob Cratchitt and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig are a couple at the markets and an elderly waiter who is way past his prime in a gentleman's club by the name of Marley as well as his solictor, Mr. Haddock (Donald Sumpter) who was his inspiration for Jacob Marley, Scrooge's deceased business partner.

There is a darker, more emotional scene where Charles visits Warren's Blacking Warehouse, whose signs he keeps seeing everywhere, where he was forced to work at the age of eleven after his father, John (Jonathan Pryce) is sent to a debtor's prison. Here, he worked long hours while being treated terribly by his foreman and the other and the other young boys (most of which were uneducated).

The film was based on Les Standiford's book of the same name about Dickens' creative process during those six weeks that almost drove him mad and essentially started the commercialisation of Christmas as we know it today. In the Dickens' house, we see one of the first Christmas trees, or a tannenbaum, the German name, as he called it, saying now that the royal family had one in their home, it was going to become all the rage.

A Christmas Carol was published on the 19th of December, 1843 and the first edition had sold out by Christmas Eve.

The Man Who Invented Christmas was beautifully and thoughtfully directed by Bharat Nalluri and with the screenplay by Susan Coyne and incredible acting by Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer (who turned 87 on set!), Jonathan Pryce and Anna Murphy.

Personally, I think this is some of Dan's best work, showcasing many sides of a character and that's saying something for me as I'm a huge fan and have seen most of his work.
I'm giving it a 9.5 out of 10 because a full ten would be a little biased.


No one is useless who lightens the burden of others.

Monday 24 July 2017

Getting Through Tough Times

Hello, pretty people!
For anyone who's read my blog, I will apologise for the lack of posts this year. I've just been trying to think of something to talk about without it sounding like oversharing. But I think it needs to be addressed.

Back in October, I moved from my hometown of around 1,500 for a job to Adelaide, a city of around 1.1 million. It's not huge by city standards - only quarter the size of Sydney or Melbourne, but double the size of Canberra, Australia's capital. It wasn't just any job, but a super exciting job with a well-known Australian cosmetics company, Napoleon Perdis. I was so excited for this flashy new job and to have something new and exciting in my life while working my way up in my career as a makeup artist.

But a month later, it came crashing down when I lost my job. I'd seen it coming because my hours were dwindling and there was an uncomfortable presence with the (*cough, cough* FORMER!) state manager, a Russian (which is not to say all Russians are like this, but I found her personality to fit the stereotype). Let's call her Lada for example.

As it turns out, three people in managerial roles with this company left around the same time I did. One of them, was because she couldn't handle working with this manager any longer. I was talking to this one girl recently and she'd told me that when she said I'd done really well on the day I worked in her store, Lada* told her to stop making excuses for me. She also gave me a cold look when I walked past the store a few weeks later. Apparently, her job didn't last much longer either. And I've never been please before to hear of someone losing their job.

As you can imagine, this was the most difficult Christmas I'd ever experienced. It was my first one out of home and I had no money. The place I was living wasn't one you could decorate easily, whereas my mum, who loves organising functions, had turned our living room into a Christmas wonderland. To be fair, I really just had no motivation.

Fast forward eight months, one other short-lived job I got screwed over by (not even worth my time) and almost 200 more applications later, I'm unfortunately still unemployed, broke and have occasional bouts of mild depression and anxiety. I have had some really difficult days where I really just want to break down and cry and anxiety-wise driving in the city and even taking public transport after a certain time make me REALLY uncomfortable. I've even had a mild panic attack in the middle of a shopping centre. I did get through it unscathed thankfully.
But most of the time, I'm just bored out of my skull!

Thankfully, there have been some wonderful short-term fixes and one of them comes in the form of a Mr. Daniel Jonathan Stevens.

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley in "Downton Abbey"
Yeah. That guy. Or most famously recently, this guy:

Dan as the Beast in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"

in the motion capture suit his daughter dubbed "the crash-test hippo" suit.

The post-curse scene

Or even if you're into science fiction, superheroes or even the works of Noah Hawley,

Dan as David Haller in "Legion"
Because you know, not only is this man like, really attractive (I need to cool it. He's married with three children!) but he's insanely talented and has around 35 titles under his name in 13 years. And I'm working my way through them.

Couldn't help myself. Dan as David Collins in "The Guest"

Anyway, that's enough of this amazing actor!

June, however, had an amazing week (my 23rd birthday) and I was able spend time with some beautiful friends and see live and meet some people I'm truly inspired by.

Sierra Boggess is known for playing Fantine in "Les Mis" (West End), Miss Rosalie Mullins in "School of Rock" on Broadway but is most famous for playing Christine in the 25th Anniversary production of "Phantom of the Opera" and originating the role of Ariel in the Broadway production of  "The Little Mermaid" on Broadway. She had a divine voice and has been involved with many of my favourite stage shows. And she's REALLY pretty up close!

I'm gonna be surprised and a little pissed if people don't know who Hanson are. You know, that brother band from the 90s with that one annoying song? Well, guess what? There still going steady, still touring and I've seen them live three times. And on the third time, my beautiful friend, Beth (who has been wonderful to me during these hard times) and I got to meet them!
Isaac Hanson
Taylor Hanson
Zac Hanson

In this time, I've also kept busy with creative projects. Namely, writing a book. It keeps me busy, it keeps my mind active and I'm determined to get it published!

I think it's super important to keep up with what you're inspired by in tough times because they may only be a short term fix, but boy do they keep you happy.

I'm finishing here and remember, in tough times, please make sure you've got someone to talk to.

Have a wonderful day and stay classy, kids!
Tiarna Ellen

*Photos of Dan Stevens are not mine. I found them all on Tumblr. All are screenshots, gifs or promo photos from "Downton Abbey", "Beauty and the Beast", "Legion", "The Guest" and "Have I Got News For You"*

Monday 5 December 2016

2016: A Year In The Life.

2016. A strange year, huh?
So many ups and downs for everyone. This year, the world lost a multitude of stars (I'm beginning to sound like Javert, aren't I?)
  • Alan Rickman
  • David Bowie
  • every Gen Y and Z male is going to hate me if I don't mention Harambe.
  • Prince
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Gene Wilder
  • Charmian Carr (With "Sound Of Music" being one of my favourite musicals since childhood, this one was one of the hardest to hear. RIP Liesl, our favourite blue-eyed sixteen year-old)
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Florence Henderson (RIP Carol Brady!)
It's been a year of ups and downs for even myself.
  • Did my first RAW showcase
  • Took a trip to Brisbane to see "Les MisĂ©rables" for a second time before it ended
  • Took two trips to Melbourne, in which on one I saw the "Matilda" stage show
  • Saw two more stage shows in Adelaide, "Machu Picchu" and "Sound Of Music". Reviews for "Les MisĂ©rables" and "Sound Of Music" are on my blog.
  • Turned twenty-two
  • Didn't perform for the first year since I was six (2000)
  • Went on my first overseas trip, to Bali, which I somewhat enjoyed but I'm not in a hurry to go back.
  • My dad had a heart attack (everything's okay now, but it was terrifying at the time!)
  • I think I've been on seven first internet dates
  • Was booked for a second and third showcase
  • Left the job I'd been working for almost seven years
  • Moved to Adelaide for a job that ultimately didn't work out.
  • Saw Delta Goodrem live (I'd seen her before, on her first national tour in 2005 so it was great to see how her career has grown in all these years and it was lovely to see her revisit some of her popular songs from early on in her career.
  • Netflixed. A lot. I'm a late-to-the-party "Gilmore Girls" fan and checked out the revival the MOMENT it was released. I still have lots of questions and I'm keen for discussions.
    Also, the title of this blog is totally named after the revival.
Best films of 2016:
  1. Me Before You
  2. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
  3. Better Off Single
  4. Dr. Strange
  5. Inferno
  6. Sisters
  7. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
All negativity aside, let's all hope 2017 is an emotionally better year and one of opportunity for everyone!

Have a wonderful day and stay classy, kids!
Little Ti out!

Monday 5 September 2016

Honest "Sound Of Music" Review

Hellooooooooooooooooooooooooo pretty people!

Has it seriously been like, seven months since I last posted?

Apparently so.

Not going to give you a sob story as to why I've been absent for ages but reasons do include extensive job searching, ill health of family members, other creative projects that have taken priority and of course, the lack of material to write about.

But I'm baaaaaack! (If you've seen the 1995 Australian film, "Napoleon", you'll understand which voice I had in mind. Yep, it's the flock of lorikeets' voices.)
The black cat still scares the shit out of me, by the way.

Aaaanywhoooo, I'm here to talk about a(nother) musical favourite of mine, "The Sound Of Music".
It was the first musical film I remember seeing when I was about six or seven and it's stuck with me all these years. Julie Andrews is still queen, tbh. My brother told me just because she played a queen is a film and its sequel, doesn't mean she's still queen. Pfft. Men don't understand.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Australian production on its Adelaide leg of the tour a few weeks ago.

First of all, I'm pleased to say, Amy Lehpamer as Maria is gorgeous. One thing I did notice, though, WHY DO THEY TEND TO MAKE WIG AND COSTUME CHANGES TO THE CHARACTER AFTER THE PROMO SHOTS ARE TAKEN? In the shots, her hair is a bob, but in the show, it's more of a pixie crop. (Speaking of which, I noticed they did the same thing with Lisa McCune in "Machu Picchu", where in the promo shots, she was wearing a red wig, but in the show, she had her natural hair.)

Anyway. hair aside, her voice was beautiful. The show started in the abbey and I with the nuns singing traditional hymns as a part of an overture. Then shows Maria up on a hill to begin her famous "Sound of Music", complete with an opening verse I'd never heard before.

Pretty much all of the show was beautiful, though there were many things different between the show and the film that I'm used to:

  • There were two major lines cut out of the beginning of "I Have Confidence" (which is one of my favourite songs to sing!) 
  • Both Franz and Frau Schmidt are given bigger roles and Franz is possibly a Nazi.
  • Rolf and Liesl sing "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" on the front porch rather than in the gazebo. In saying that, they only moved to the gazebo when it started raining in the film.
  • "My Favourite Things" is sung with Mother Abbess before Maria leaves the abbey as she has briefly been given permission to sing within the abbey and the song sung in the bedroom during the thunderstorm is "The Lonely Goatherd", and the Captain (Georg) does not interrupt them.
  • Max and Baroness Schraeder (who is named Elsa in the stage show) have larger parts also and even given a few of their own songs. 
  • "Edelweiss" isn't sung until the festival. 
  • Some of the parts in "So Long, Farewell" are changed around. And Kurt does hit the high note on the word, 'goodbye' unlike in the film where his part was clearly dubbed by a female voice in both versions (the party and the folk festival)
  • It is Brigitta (who is portrayed as even more of a  loud-mouth than in the film) who tells Maria that her father loves her, forcing her to leave, rather than the Baroness being manipulative. 
  • In the film, when the children are singing "My Favourite Things" to cheer themselves up as Maria returns from the Abbey, I find Maria's voice overpowering the children's voices and then them running to her insanely satisfying. In the show, she sings with them, though a little more hidden and waits for them to notice her standing there. 
  • You actually see the Captain and Elsa break off their engagement after she realises he still loves Maria, with her returning the ring. 
  • When Liesl confronts Rolf while they're hiding out in the abbey, in the film, he dobs them in, while in the stage show, he lets them go. Also, in the film, they're hiding in a cemetery, while in the show, they're in a courtyard. 


  • The choreography, especially in "Do-Re-Mi". I don't know how small children (by that, I mean the girls who play Marta and Gretl) learn choregraphy so well. Hell, I don't even know how they keep an attention span that long. The end of year concerts I used to be involved with, the kids couldn't keep an attention span for like, two minutes, even on stage. Kudos for that level of discipline. 
  • The staircase and the chandelier in the foyer. I just really like chandeliers, man. 
  • Amy as Maria and the Cameron as the Captain actually playing the guitar, unlike in the film. It's obvious, guys.
  • Marina Prior as Elsa having more of a singing role. 
  • Max Dettweiller is actually a hilarious role. 
  • The gorgeous ballgowns during the party scene (which are used in the curtain call by the ensemble)
  • Jacqueline Dark's (who unfortunately left the tour after the Adelaide leg finished two days ago) "Climb Ev'ry Mountain". Holy. Actual. Shitballs. And she knows I loved it:
  • The wedding scene was gorgeous and I love how the Captain was tradional and had his full Austrian Navy uniform. 
  • More creepy than a highlight, but the audience being surrounded by Nazi flags and armed guards during the Salzburg Folk Festival scene was great for atmosphere. My mum said she was glared at by a soldier and was a little creeped out but it really made you feel like you were there.
  • The ending of the show was extremely satisfying with the family climbing up onto the mountain with the nuns doing a reprise of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain". Absolutely beautiful.
  • Not so much show related, but I think it's pretty cool they had a replica on the seat used in the foyer in the theatre's own foyer for audience memebers to pose on:
You may have noticed by the by the beginning of the caption that this is the photo Jacqueline Dark commented on :)

Anyway, I'm off. Enough rambling.
Have a wonderful day and stay classy, kids!
Little Ti out

Monday 18 January 2016

Honest "Les Misérables" Review

NOTE: I feel now the show is finished, I feel better about posting what could have been once spoilers, though I'm not sure if other productions are similar set and direction-wise, so, if so, whoops.

So, people that know me (including knowing me on the internet) would probably know that I have a musical theatre obsession, even moreso, a huge love for "Les MisĂ©rables" - some people may even say obsession for that too. I don't know, man,  I'm trying to keep my options open.

Anyway, it's been two days since the Australian tour closed and I was lucky enough to see it one more time last Sunday (a week before said closing date) and seeing as I've seen it twice and was able to compare the two a pick up on little things that I may have missed out on last time.

Unfortunately, the amazing Hayden Tee (Javert) was out with an injury - I personally saw him and he was walking with a limp. I was a little disappointed because having come from SA to see the show, I was really looking foward to seeing him performing again, so I was a little disappointed. As great as his understudy, Tamlyn Henderson was, the major thing I noticed, due to Javert aging throughout the show, is the strength and gruffness in his voice. He is 26 (according to the book) in the opening scene and dies at the age of 52. Tee's voice is incredibly strong at the beginning, yes, but throughout the show it deepens and gets gruffer as the character ages. I didn't notice this with Henderson. It was strong and gruff from the beginning and as great as his voice is. I didn't notice it evolving.

Simon Gleeson (Jean Valjean) has a brilliant voice. His "Bring Him Home" was incredible. Yet, I found that while his power-chesting vocals were brilliant, he struggles a little in the lower and softer notes and ad libs a little, especially at the beginning, I mean, the way he yelled, it showed the anger in his character, but I am quite used to hearing it done more traditionally. Maybe that's just the Gleeson spin.

Patrice Tipoki (Fantine), on the other hand, was absolutely flawless. Her "I Dreamed A Dream" is one of my favourites. Vocally, her "I dreamed a dream in time gone by" and "I dreamed that love would never die" had so much control in the held notes, well, let's just say, I was quite impressed!

Lara Mulcahy and Rodney Dobson - what a duo! I'd previously seen Trevor Ashley as Thénardier the first time round and I'm gonna be honest, I think Dobson is just that little bit funnier. While the Thénardiers are the antagonists of the story, they are truly the comic relief the show requires. Dobson is very cheeky in this role and a creepy when needed (the robbery and sewer scenes). Mulcahy was just hilarious the whole time, with everyone's favourites being "What the f***?!" as Valjean brings Little Cosette into the inn during the bargain scene and eating the cake at the wedding. Both gave the crowd a good laugh.


  • Daniel Belle's IN-FUCKING-CREDIBLE (I hope my mum never reads this) voice in the opening solo in "Look Down".
  • Zoy Frangos' blind man and Naomi Livingston's pregnant lady in the "Master Of The House" scene
  • How quick and easy the sets move and how effective they are. This also goes for the backdrops (images that were painted by Victor Hugo himself). When they moved during "One Day More" and "Javert's Suicide", this just made it all the better. The most memorable set transitions being the buildings in the Paris street scenes (which included Valjean's home), the factory lights and the bridge coming from the ceiling during Javert's major songs, the courtroom in "Who Am I?", the large doors in "Look Down (Paris), "ABC CafĂ©/Red and Black" and "On My Own" and of course, the massive barricade.
  • One thing I did notice, in the scene where Valjean is released and looking for work on farms, a little boy drops a coin and Valjean steps on it, refusing to give it back, is a tiny detail I noticed that was directly from the book. The tiny little part I could be bothered reading. Another little part I picked out was when Éponine dies, Gavroche walks over to see her. Major fans of the story will know Gavroche and Éponine are actually brother and sister.
  • The vulgarity in "Lovely Ladies" was actually very entertaining.
  • "One Day More". Obviously.
  • Kerrie Anne Greenland's "On My Own." That's all I'm saying. Score one for SA!
  • Enjolras' body reveal. Then having Gavroche's lifeless little body join him on the wagon.
  • The transition from "Turning" to "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" with the candles.
  • Marius' last drinks with his fallen friends. Especially Enjolras. 
  • The ThĂ©nardiers at the wedding. The whole audience claps along during "Beggars at the Feast".
  • Patrice Tipoki and Kerrie Anne Greenland's gorgeous harmony in the Epilogue. I also love how Éponine's ghost costume is just her act two costume but her coat has a train.
Aaaannyyywayy. that's enough of me fangirling about this production and cast that I love dearly. 
Have a wonderful day and stay classy, kids.
Little Ti out!

Tuesday 12 January 2016