Review : 50 Shades of Fairytales @ The Alexander Upstairs

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While things may be a bit different nowadays when it comes to children’s entertainment with Disney becoming all PC and ensuring that their stories aren’t as whitewashed as they once were and contain some sort of feminist undertone, I’m old enough to be of that generation brought up on the traditional notion of a fairytale. You know those feel-good stories where Prince Charming is an alpha male with BIG MAN muscles who is capable of destroying all the bad people in order to ‘save’ the damsel in distress and give her the happily-ever-after she deserves …. blah blah blah. Sigh. Unfortunately, as we are all by now well aware. Disney LIED. Alpha males, very much like unicorns, only exist in La La land and when it comes to slaying dragons and dealing with bad people, well us chicks are probably better off dealing with all that stuff ourselves because Prince Charming it seems is getting delayed.
’50 Shades of Fairytales’ is a one-women show which deals with exactly that. It tells the story of two women (played by Titilayo Adedokun) who share their personal experiences of relationships and the associated challenges through a string of songs. Covering everything from little girls fantasizing about the arrival of their Prince Charming and the excitement of planning one’s dream wedding to coming to terms with the reality of dating one deadbeat after another, being trapped in an unhappy codependent relationship with someone you want to kill.
Sure, it sounds a bit cynical. But I think most 20,30, 40-somethings can definitely identify with the characters’ struggles. Especially that of trying to remain hopeful despite all the knocks. Although the show is ultimately focuses on women chasing fairytales, the way that modern dating operates these days I think even the guys will find that they can relate. And even though there are parts that come down pretty hard on the male-species, the humour and sing-song of it all helps to tone down the raging-feminist vibe, which makes it more digestible for the men in the audience and those of us who aren’t quite yet complete haters of men.
The show is also provides a nice reality check for anyone who is feeling that the whole world is against them. It’s a nice reminder that nobody’s story is all that ‘original’. All you have to do is talk to five randoms on a bus to find that you aren’t the first woman to be blind-sided by a philandering jerk, to have dated a broke-ass loser, or fallen in madly in love in a sociopath. But in this world of Facebook reality we only ever get insights into the sugarcoated version of other people’s lives which tricks us into believing we are thee ultimate failure in life.
While there are anecdotes throughout the show which will pretty much resonate with anyone who didn’t simply marry their first love, it’s not all doom and gloom. And as much as it isn’t ‘cool’ to be into musicals these days, the whimsical show tunes here keep things light and fluffy, allowing the audience to leave lol’ing and skipping their way into the night rather than feeling depressed and hopeless. The lyrics are well-written and thought provoking and Titilayo Adedokun just has an amazing stage presence with a voice so incredible that it is almost too big for such a intimate venue. Futhermore, the fact that all the stage paraphenalia and costume changes are kept to a minimum also mean that you can focus more on the songs without being overly distracted.
All in all, 50 Shades of Fairytales is a lovely, uncomplicated little bit of entertainment that tackles the somewhat painful issues associated with modern romance in a fun and quirky way. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is currently feeling a bit hateful towards the opposite sex and world at large.  It’s on at the Alex for till the end of September and tickets are reasonably priced at just R120 (online), so catch it while you can. You really won’t be disappointed!

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The 5 Types of Friend That Emerge In The Aftermath of a Break-Up

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Some fool once told me that a break-up was probably the worst thing that had ever happened in my somewhat ‘privileged’ life.  And to be honest with you, the idiot had a point. That said, I don’t think we should really minimize the impact the end of a significant relationship can have on person’s life. Break-ups are traumatic. Sometimes they legitimately warrant a mental-health day, or heart-break leave as they call it Japan.I mean if people take sabbatical for the death of their pet goldfish, I think it’s fair to indulge in a bit of self-care when a part of your heart has been brutally ripped out.

As important as some me-time is, I also believe it’s important to have a solid support network. Spending too much time alone following such an upheaval can a) give you too much time to overthink everything resulting in even more mental torture and b) result in you seeking solace from the loneliness in the arms of someone familiar. And the whole story of letting an ex escalate into a FWB is a story for another post entirely. So, yes back to that support network who are basically required to become babysitters/therapists in a post-break up period. As there is such a lot to address in the aftermath of a epic break-up, you often find that each person reacts differently to the task at hand. Everyone brings their own unique perspective to the mix and serves their own (not necessarily equally important) purpose in your life.  Here is a basic breakdown of the different type of friend you’ll encounter following a break-up.

The I-Told-You-So Friend

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight. It’s nothing special. Having people who tell you after a decade long relationship that they knew you were doomed from the start isn’t really helpful. In some instances, they may even remind of a specific occasion in the early days where they called it and warned you of the risks and what was to come. While these folks aren’t necessarily all bad, they just seem to want to use your tough time  to make themselves feel like a smart and what they have to say isn’t particularly nice or useful. Listen to them if you want (maybe they have some insights into your patterns) but take everything they say with a pinch of salt. Remember that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be able to stand somewhat removed from another person’s romantic relationships and offer a critical eye. Furthermore, remind them that they you’ll only ever truly regret the risks you never took (and they good sex you never had!).

The Realist

Sigh. These are the friends you probably have a love/hate relationship with at times. These are the people that don’t beat around the bush. They call you out on shit. They won’t indulge your stupidity. They are basically your eyes when you’ve be blinded by  love.  They’ll SHOUT at you if they have to – online and even sometimes in public places. If you are weak human (like myself) they are likely to make you cry.  You might find yourself having to be on the defensive with them at times and finding new genius ways to justify your actions to them (not that they’ll fall for it). There are also probably going to be times when you question why you are friends with such a mean-spirited person. But once the dust settles, you’ll come to understand that the tough-love they dished out was just what was needed to make you see the error of your ways and that they actually always had your best interests at heart.

The Virgin Inactive/Hater of Men

An interesting one. And one which strangely happens to find its way into my life in a post-break up period. They may fight your corner but they do it in their own unique way. They’ll hate on your ex or screw that, they’ll hate on the male species entirely. Sometimes this ranting and raving about ALL men being lazy, dysfunctional, broke-ass cheaters may be tonic but it gets a bit tiring. Eventually, you’ll realise that they’ve had such bad experiences with relationships (or such little experience in the case of the 30-something virgins) that they’ve given up on happily-ever-after (and sex!). But that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a sexless existence. I personally find that these people are a reminder to get back on that horse a keep tinderingand  believing that Prince Charming (or at least some good experiences) are still on the cards ,and that a life void of amazing bedroom acrobatics doesn’t even bear thinking about! So with these ones, ignore their advice/hateful comments and enjoy the distraction they provide, and be glad you haven’t been out of the game as long as they have.

The Wing Woman

Now here is a fun one. Mine buggered off to Butt Fuck Nowhere and truly left a void in my life. The wing woman/man has no time for self-pity or over-analysis. They won’t necessarily give you a shoulder to cry on. But they’ll bring the wine, the gin and the PARTY. This is the person who tells you to snap out of it, put on your hottest dress because you guys are hitting the town. This is the buddy who shows you that no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself you’ll never get back to that happy place without YOUR person, there are in fact plenty of fish in sea.

The Cheerleader/Feeder

So, I saved the best till last. These people are your biggest fans. They’ll drop everything to be there for you in the immediate aftermath –  to pick up the pieces, debrief, cry and drink copious amounts of gin with you. They’ll also be there to reassure you that the whole relationship was not a farce but that you also did the right thing. Even if you relapse, and go back and forth with that SO forever and day, they won’t judge (well, they’ll at least try to conceal their judgement). They understand that we are all human and at times this requires us to do illogically insane things. Regardless, they’ll put aside their own agenda and do whatever if required to help you deal (which includes asking if you’ve eaten yet and ensuring that you are kept well fed and hydrated even when you think your entire universe is caving in).

There you have it. My little sentimental moment. Don’t stress – I’ll be back to my old bitching and moaning ways soon. Clearly, folks will approach a break-up differently depending on their own experiences and perspectives. Some will bitch and moan, others will hate on your ex and get angry on your behalf, some will scream at you until you get your thick skull around some basic facts, while others will assist you in finding your next conquest. Whatever the case, each babysitter will do their shift and serve their purpose and together somehow all these different approaches come together and things eventually start to make sense.

P.S. Boxing people is very bad and it is possible for a person to be in more that one of the above categories. 

So Rinsers, tell me is there a type of friend who assists you on the road to recovery after a break-up that I’ve missed? Do you think some perspectives that are most useful than others? Or do they all have a part to play. Holler in the comments below.