Saturday, December 24, 2011

The weight of expectation was bundled round my shoulders for this one. Father had travelled to London for the day. Aunt (who is a much less frequent theatre-goer, i.e. a Normal Person) travelled to London specifically For The Show. So - o god - please let them like it. I sat tense in our (restricted view so cheaper) seats, craning to hear whether or not they were laughing throughout.

In fact, the restricted access was hardly restricted at all. Aunt probably fared worst as she had the (thin) bar more or less in her sightline. I was on the far edge of the restriction so had the tailend of the thin bar that scarce impeded anything. A positive luxury in comparison to The Man With The Fattest Head In The World behind whom I was (much more expensively) seated for Jerusalem. These scarcely impeded seats cost £20 each. Jerusalem stalls behind Fat Head: £52.50. Each.

Anyway, the show was fun. It's a play about a rep company doing a play. First act is the tech. Then you see a performance but the set's been spun round and you're now backstage. Final act is a performance from the front, weeks into the tour as it's all collapsing around their ears.

I should read into it but I'm presuming it was written at about the time that he wrote Audience, as part of his tussling with theatrical conventions phase. It's a very smart script. Very funny when it's done well. And this production was done execedingly well. But ultimately, it is only a story about a bunch of people doing a play. It's impressive as a feat of choreography and impeccable timing but it doesn't leave you doing much soul searching.

But - I'd seen it before. EPT did it years ago. Lorna was an excellent flightly young actress who ran around in her pants mostly. And I suspect this sort of play doesn't stand up to repeat viewings terribly well. And I had seen Jerusalem only one day before.

Continuing the downward slide, I saw - and I'm almost ashamed to admit it - Legally Blonde on Friday night. After dire warnings from Father - "mind you, the dogs are good" - I expected to hate it. And sat frozen with disdain in my seat surrounded by chattering sequinned girls for most fo the first half. The charm of the lead girl - the Renée character - almost won me round. Until the final absurdly sexist, quasi-homophobic throes of the plot were vomitted up onto the stage. OMG indeed. Father was right. The dogs were good.

(Though the bulldog was so fat with the treats hand-fed by every cast member that laid hands on him (cue surreptitious wiping of hands on dress by 'Renée' after it had slavered vilely on her) that he could scarcely be lifted and looked rather as if he might burst. Perhaps an actor's life does not agree with this one.)


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