Saw Emma Thompson (who really should be Dame Emma Thompson if this wasn't such a world gone mad) and her mother Phyllida Law (and I presume her daughter) at 'The Judas Kiss' when it was at the Hampstead Theatre. I was the only one in the row who stood up so she could get past and it was only as she passed me by, smiled at me and said 'thank you' that I realised who it was! A really beautiful lady too.
popcultureboy, on 28 November 2013 - 06:11 PM, said:
The reviews? Our expectations? The director's reputation? When a newspaper runs an article about how restaurants around the Old Vic are benefitting from the additional trade of people fleeing at the interval in droves, I think it's safe to say the show can be filed under "miss" rather than "hit".
When I saw it, the theatre seemed pretty full though. I doubt the producers care that much if punters leave at the interval, as long as they aren't entitled to a refund. It may be artistically a miss but then, frankly, so are lots of long-running shows.
This is sheer joy- a comic master at the top of his game.
The first half pales in comparison to the second, but it's still executed with the greatest of skill. We see Sir Les Patterson - Australia's answer to Nigella Lawson - cook up some rissoles, Les' gay paedophile priest brother, Gerrard, and Sandy Stone delivering a touching monologue about his late daughter.
But Act 2 is what we've all been waiting for: Dame Edna Everage. And boy does she deliver. I was weeping with laughter by the end of it, a mixture of her pompous arrogance and motherly love. She marries two members on the audience in an Indian ashram wedding ceremony - "a moment of tantric intimacy" - before proceeding to call each of their parents, the 'phone linked to the Palladium's sound system for all to hear. It's an hour of comedy heaven, and the most fun I've had in a theatre all year - if not ever. Don't miss this, possums!
I love Arcadia. Love Design for Living too. Shakespeare: always been Much Ado. More modern: History Boys and I cried when I saw War Horse. Wish I could.say something dreadfully intellectual like Chekov or Ibsen, or something sophisticated or edgy and modern but I have always been quite vanilla and populist in my tastes. .
I suppose the original idea for this show was to be the anti-Wicked. Instead of Elpheba's Defying Gravity, there's Althea who is about Acquiring Gravity. Her conflict is not that she wants to change and grow - she wants to stay exactly where she is, in the air. "No one's gonna bring me down," she sings several times but only because she wants to be left alone. Not quite as resonant as Elpheba's dramatic cry of self-realization.
Neither Tori Amos not Samuel Adamson has written a Musical before and it shows. The structure is awkward - no show should open with ten minutes of narration just to fill in the back story. The characters are flat. Yes, it's a fairy tale but that shouldn't preclude funny, interesting, quirky people. Beauty and the Beast, anyone?
Ms Amos's score does not serve to differentiate or define the characters. There is a soupy sameness to it all, not helped by an orchestra composed of strings and light woodwinds which allows for little in the way of musical colouring. There is no big number. As for Mr. Adamson's lyrics, the less said the better. The constant use of "H2O" for "water", just because it provides better rhyming material, is lazy and inexcusable.
But if the "what" of the show is dubious, the "how" is sensational. Marianne Elliott proves once again that she is a genius of stagecraft in scene after scene. Althea's floating is miraculously achieved and provides the show's real magic. It was instructive to me that, at the final bows, the four acrobats who kept her afloat got more applause than anyone else save Rosalie Craig. They deserved it.
As for Ms Craig, she is, under the most challenging of circumstances, astonishing. If she doesn't win all the awards there are for a leading lady in a musical it will be a gross injustice. Alas, her love interest, Nick Hendrix, is weak, unable to fill in the blanks that have been left for him. And while he has a decent voice, his penchant for shifting to falsetto every time the melody threatens to climb makes for anticlimax after anticlimax.
The director's show then. And Rosalie Craig's. It should have been more.