Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Trip To The Theatres

And so, the cultural exchange between Ryan and myself continues. He took me to see 'The Revenger's Tragedy', a Jacobean play about decaying moral values and a lust for the Elizabethan era. And I look him to see the play of 'Mamma Mia!'

Now, if I were a better reviewer, I'd evaluate all the subtle nuances and similarities between the two. But I'm not, so all I can point out that they both had revolving stages. Oh and one actor who really annoyed me. Wobble forth Adjoa Andoh, who played the Duchess in 'The Revenger's Tragedy'. Now, Adjoa I know from TV's 'Doctor Who' where she played Martha's mum, and was lovely in that. For one, she did things with her eyebrows that would have cost the effects house thousands on a lesser actress. But here... well, as I say, I'm a bit new to this whole theatre lark, but surely she should have stopped moving at some point? As far as I could tell, her bottom half was being played by Tina Turner and her top half by Diana Ross, circa 'Chain Reaction'. It was all very handsy, like a Pan's People's traffic cop. In fact, the only time she did stop moving was during her sex scene. Make your own mind up there.

As I'm a fair novice at theatre, I didn't know that the sofa, with its column raised skywards with a statue of the Virgin Mary on it, was meant to be a phallic piece. Especially when the Duke's son lay across it and talked about having it away with the hero's virgin sister. I just thought it was a nice sofa, until it was pointed out by Ryan as being "as subtle as a breeze block". Oh, I thought, and promised to pay attention to the plot for the second half, and not trying to decide whether the Duke's bastard son was actually fit, or just plain irritating for playing the whole thing as The Hooded Claw. In fact, I still can't definitely decide whether it was the worst thing or the best thing that he had most of his scenes with Adjoa's Duchess - it was like trying to watch an episode of 'Penelope Pitstop' on boat on choppy water.

But it did live up to one ideal I had about theatre: all plays are full of either deaths or marriages. And this one had deaths in droves; so I could look forward to all the marriages in our next theatrical outing. 'Mamma Mia!' has that all important exclamation mark to show it is fun unfortunately didn't live up to everything that solitary piece of punctuation promised. I know, I know. I'm a bad gay - but perhaps I am the wrong market. This may come as a shock, but I'm not that keen on ABBA, and musicals often leave me a bit cold. Certainly musicals that don't advance the plot through song are doing a bad job, yes? Flutter forward 'Wicked' for that one - and your songs were rubbish. I didn't like 'Wicked' at all - all the interesting stuff was going on off-stage as far as I could see.

Anyway, 'Mamma Mia!' is certainly guilty of the non-song-plot-advancement. What I thought was the squeak of the revolving set could very well been the protests from the crowbar used to get the songs into every scene. You know, they based one entire production number around mishearing one lyric in 'Voulez Vous'? Changing "masters of the scene" to "masters of the sea" to justify ten men in speedos and flippers hoofing their way across stage? And you think this would have made me start dripping like a fucked fridge, wouldn't you. In fact, the whole thing seems to have been designed to make me think it was the best thing since Lindsey Lohan introduced a range of leggings with knee-pads in, the whore. Pretty dancers, some slack-moralled woman having three men one after another, leading to a misunderstanding (and a minky that must have looked like someone was making porridge in a blender) and some songs from a camp old band belted out on some Shirley Valentine tavern with a light-up dance floor. Actually, what it was like was being at New Years party where everyone's forced to have fun, and I certainly Took Against them having an entirely new stage for the encore. That implied it was happening anyway, whether we were enjoying it or no. Like those gentlemen callers who push you face down into the pillow even after you had that searing curry last night. Uh, one would imagine.

When I'm not sure about a film I've seen, I always look to see whether it has made me want to go out and buy the merchandise. Going to 'The Revenger's Tragedy' made me want to wear spectacles with clear glass in the lens, like whenever Cheryl Cole has to go to court and look clever. It made me want to buy the phallic sofa. 'Mamma Mia!' only made me want to download 'Voulez Vous' in mild annoyance to point and yell "masters of the scene, you idiots!" I most certainly did not want to buy the t-shirts as even if you use it at the gym, you'd look like a one-man hen party. And that's never a good look.


Qenny said...

I'm so glad I'm not alone in not having the Gay Musical Appreciation Gene. I won't tell if you don't.

The thing that really put me off Mama Mia was that the daughter was a bit screechy, and the mother a bit flat. Not a great combo.

But that was a few years ago. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the daughter is now playing the mother.

Stepfordtart said...

Im guessing that now's probably not a good time to tell you I know I guy who was musical director on Mama Mia. Your holiday sounds fab BTW, similar to my own "alcohol and third degree burns" encounter wirth Corfu in June,. s x