The world through my eyes.
Welcome to my website! I'm Lesley, a freelance travel & leisure journalist based in stunning South Africa. Which means no matter where in the world I visit, it's always a thrill to come back home. Here you'll find some of my travel articles, hotel and lodge reviews and my quirky, warped and opinionated ideas on life, love, cheesecake and everything else crucial for survival. Check out my theatre reviews too - you may think I'm harsh sometimes, but I reckon I just tell it like it is!
If you want to follow me on Twitter, I'm on @lesley_stones
Have fun, and travel safely.
West Side StoryThe songs of West Side Story have a way of getting into your head and staying there for decades.
This gritty show about love, life and death in the gangs of New York bubbles over with some of the most memorable songs ever penned for a musical. The music by Leonard Bernstein is sublime and the lyrics by Stephen Sondheim range from rousing to wittily clever to the utterly heartbreaking ‘Somewhere’. Did I have high expectations for the Fugard Theatre’s version that’s now running at the Joburg Theatre? Of course I did, the very highest.
Writing awards!I'm chuffed and honoured to have won the 2016 Arts Journalism Award! I got the gold, and also a silver, in the reviews category of the National Arts Festival/Business & Arts South Africa awards. I'm delighted that the thoughtful and honest reviews I write have a role to play in applauding and helping to improve our theatre scene.
The MeetingWhen a play about inequality set in another country more than 50 years ago sounds like it could be happening here today, we clearly have a problem.
Perhaps one of the problems is that we no longer have leaders and visionaries like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the two central characters in The Meeting.
The play by American author Jeff Stetson has the two men arguing about their opposing ways of fighting rampant racism, in a lively and intelligent clash of ideals. Read review
Lesotho's lonely mountainsIf you want to learn about a country, try getting naked with the locals in the sauna for a while.
That wasn’t the plan when I sat on the hot wooden bench behind a large lady wearing nothing but a shower cap. But we got chatting, as naked people do, when she asked why I was in a hotel sauna in Lesotho. Read more:
Love FactuallyAlan Committie's hilarious show Love Factually is coming back to crack up the crowds at Montecasino. The human desire for relationships and the different ways that men and women view them has been the stuff of angst and rich comedy since the dawn of man. And woman.
It’s one of Committie’s favourite subjects, and he’s absolutely on fire. Read review:
Montreal meanderingIt’s Saturday night in Montreal, and I’m determined not to slink back home until at least 10pm.
I don’t want my two young Airbnb hosts to think I’m such a social failure that I can’t find anything to do in Canada’s self-proclaimed party city.
Montreal prides itself on being the fun and festive heart of Canada, a country that’s generally seen as rather dull. This city-on-an-island is having none of that, and celebrates about 110 festivals every year. So it’s a mathematical mystery how I’ve managed to arrive when there isn’t single a festival in sight. Read article:
SteveHere's me and my very lovely man, Steve Ormond, who fought so hard to beat off meningitis and then survive the series of strokes the illness caused.
He didn't make it.
He died on April 21, 2015 after such an incredibly brave battle and such determination not to leave me. He did it with grit and courage and humour and so much love that the last nine months were incredibly special for us, yet unbelievably cruel.
I love you Steve. I'm going to come and find you one sweet day.
Here's a piece I wrote about him:
Cinema ShortsAllied: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard play undercover agents in the Second World War, with an undercurrent of who's fooling who. Lavish, but it could have been so much more. ***
Moonlight: Some arty, annoying camera work, but once you get into it the closeness sort of draws you in. A sad story of an unloved young boy trying to make his way in a world where people are so unkind to each other. A moving meditation as much as a movie.***
Manchester By The Sea: There are no happy endings in this moving, a beautifully told but ultimately grinding tale of a lost soul who will never find his way back to happiness. Great acting by Casey Affleck. ****
Hacksaw Ridge: The brutal and gory true war story directed by Mel Gibson makes you wonder why we still have wars. Great story about a medical officer who refuses to fight, but way too much gore. ****
Denial: An engrossing true-story courtroom drama about a Holocaust denialist. Excellent cast, great plot and Timothy Spall looking creepily evil. *****
Fences: Denzel Washington and Viola Davies are brilliant in this story of love and abandoned hope with some meaty twists. It started as a play, and still has a stagey feel. ****
La La Land: Hmmm, a pretty, colourful, fizzy story of wannabes in Hollywood, with a bittersweet ending. Very good, but not worth 98 Oscars. ****
A United Kingdom: Lovely, lavish and semi-local movie of the true story of the king of Botswana's love for a British woman and their fight against international condemnation. Stirring stuff. *****