Friday, February 22, 2008

Musically Speaking

I love the theatre. Avante Garde, commercial, Ensemble it doesn't really matter. I admire that actors can jump up on a stage the size of a chessboard and strut their stuff. Years ago we had a season ticket to the Ensemble Theatre, a tiny production company in Neutral Bay, down on the water. They employed well known Australian talent. Henry Szeps fantastic one man shows, Rachel Ward getting her kit off just 3 feet from the front row or fabulous Shakespeare at the Bell Theatre Company or the diminutive Stables. Then of course we've had the plethora of commercial hits. I first saw Phantom of the Opera in Melbourne in 1992 - stunning in the Princess Theatre then a girls weekend at The Windsor, all Victorian period and perfect for the piece. I saw Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar in Manchester and Chorus Line in Drury lane and a plethora of Doyle Carte stuff when I was a kid because my Nana received free tickets if she displayed a poster in her pub. I was born to go to the theatre in all its forms.

I also like art house theatre at the Seymour Centre including the Fall of the House of Usher with Warren Mitchell of all people, and a weird thing about Pirates whose name I've long forgotten. Then there was that fantastic nude but sensitive one about women who met in a soon to be closed bathhouse (someone tell me it's name!) I haven't been to serious professional theatre for about 10 years. I took the kids to see the Lion King and loved it and I've been to Sleek Geeks and the Enmore for the odd comedy show but I miss it much. Of course, when Cirque de Soliel visits, I'm in the front row but I'm not sure that qualifies as 'theatre' although it's entirely beautiful. Even went to Drummer's Dream with DrummerBoy, more demo than theatre but totally entertaining. And I'm not averse to the Crusty Demons who get more theatrical with each tour!

I'm also partial to the odd musical. In my youth it was Rocky Horror Show and Betty Blockbuster Follies. Oklahoma before anyone knew Hugh Jackman, Pirates of Penzance, even Mike Batt's Hunting of the Snark (now if anyone knows that - GOLD STAR). Then we had Miss Saigon (disappointing) and Les Miserables, Chess and a plethora of Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbusters. We seemed to have a decade of big productions and fantastic music.

There was The Sound Of Music remake No. 1003 (OK true to form and you know you know all the words so stop pretending you've never seen it) and the Queen one, I can't remember what it was called but Babybro bought tickets for everyone for Christmas so it was a family affair and very entertaining.

But today the musicals are becoming rather dour. We have Sweeney Todd - fantastic play - suck arse musical? I was dragged kicking and screaming to Menopause The Musical in no small part due to a fabulous Italian dinner before the show . but now . . Titanic The Musical? Funny? To whom? And now in production there's an Australian musical about The Baby Farmers called "The Hat Pin" where the mothers of illegitimate children placed their baby's into paid care until they got on their feet. The children were systematically murdered in a Macdonaldtown back yard (one assumes with a hat pin) by a real life, particularly horrible pissant who just did it for the money . . a musical . . .Oh c'mon. Some scenarios just shouldn't be put to music! What next The Day of the Triffids, Goodfellas, Silence of the lambs?

Um wrong in so many ways . . .

8 comments:

ian said...

That's an impressive amount of culture for the native land of Sir Les Patterson ;-)

Baino said...

Culcha Vulcha I am . .and I have been spat on by the Minister for Culcha in my theatre going life! And whilst I've been to the Opera House many times, I've never seen an Opera!

Jefferson Davis said...

I am extremely impressed, Baino! :) I love...love theatre! I'm supposed to go see "To Kill A Mockingbird" tomorrow night, if all goes well. Unfortunately, our theatre season only runs from September to the first of May. However, we do have outdoor Shakespeare plays during the summer moths. :)

Baino said...

Ah that's just the half of it JD. We have theatre all year round, it's just very expensive so I haven't been to a professional production for a couple of years. Back into it next year maybe after the holiday saving's done. We have outdoor theatre in the Botanical Gardens during the summer such as Midsummer Night's dream and you have to follow the players around the gardens which is really nice and I once saw Lady Chatterly's lover at Vaucluse House a sort of Stately Home over here . . very confronting if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

That's an impressive amount of culture for an Aussie! HAHA!! Tis a shame the prices are so high for professional productions but like you said, there's plenty to see outdoors for free in Sydney. As a bub I was dragged to pantomines etc. and told not to eat the lollies that were thrown out into the audience because poisoned! (war fear) Then 'performed' from the age of two until getting a leg stuck between a stage during the Can-can in Jesus Christ Superstar and having Jesus DROP me after being flung through the air - had a break. HAHHAHAA. After quieter roles in black comedy I'm ashamed to say the only viewed productions of late are school ones which just bring back all those painful memories! Hhehheee.

Paolo said...

I adore the theatre. I recently went to see a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night that left me sighing in blissful rapture.
The girl playinG rosalind was simply enchanting, and I must admit I have seen the play over ten times.

So Baino, my love, what's your favourite piece of theatrical gold?

Baino said...

Anony: yeh, get your kicks for free. There's symphony at the Overflow in Homebush next Friday . . .I'll be the one singing loudly to Barber's Adagio with a bottle of Yellow in my hand! I was Mary once in a nativity play and had to wear a muff (has a different meaning these days!)

Welcome Paolo I'm not sure I can pick a favourite although I'm keen on Macbeth and I also was very moved by Equus. But I like the shallow too . . Phantom of the Opera is a favourite. And that Queen one: We Will Rock You . .I actually enjoyed it but wouldn't have gone had my ticket not been paid for. Perhaps you should broaden your perspective and take a look at some more avante garde theatre.

Paolo said...

Ooh I must say I was quite the fan of Equus ...