Monday, September 12, 2005

Sing out, Louise!/ Damn everything but the circus.

Darn, but it's hard to take a week off. Breaks my stride.

Anyway, earlier today we had Gypsy with Porchlight at TBC. Very famous, strange, and good show which I had never before seen. Odd hybrid. See, it's about vaudeville performers, and there are three classes of songs. Deliberately awful in a charming way vaudeville numbers- (Let me Entertain You), pert vaudeville tinged old school musical songs (All I Need's the Girl) and semi-psychotic, hugely dramatic arias screaming forth from a broken soul (pretty much everything Mama Rose sings.) These last, interestingly, have little vaudeville tinges (because the person singing them is a performer in real life), but they keep breaking down, and the music is gorgeous, and the words are terrifying, and so, really, I can see why people make a big deal about Mama Rose. She's a fascinating monster. She kept making me cry.

At the same time, you have cute numbers with kids, and funny numbers with strippers. They can't really take any of the oomph off Rose, but it's always great to get a little variety show in. Porchlight had cute kids, and a fantastic Mama Rose. Perhaps a little too much always at the highest intensity, still... Louise had a nice voice, but was a little colorless, and needed work on her striptease. I wonder if Toots L'Amour can sing at all?

And again. Variety acts. Hephaestus at Lookingglass was last night. I'm afraid this was a disappointment. Which is odd. I mean, Hephaestus is one of my favorite Greek gods- not quite as sexy as Hades and Persephone, but still romantic and endearing. And the circus! I love the circus! I love the silks, and beautiful girls on swings, and sudden, arrested falls. They lift my heart up with them. And Lookingglass has some wonderful acts.

Problem is, adding the story to the acts didn't really enchance them. It detracted from them. I'll explain more in my official review, but right now I'm very tired. I'll just say this: circus acts, like vaudeville numbers, don't really tell a story very well. Perhaps the most effective story to tell with a circus act is one about circus performers. Like the creators of Hephaestus. Can you think of anything more romantic than marrying someone you met when you were both child acrobats and then travelling around the world with your tiny acrobat offspring? Because that really happened! It was in the press kit! I mean, the Amazing Wallendas. If that title doesn't scream perfect piece of theatre I don't know what does.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't "Gypsy" just a stonkingly good show? It was shown to us in our first week at Goldsmiths as an example of a perfect book musical and it fast became one of my faves.

Bump it with a trumpet, indeed.

And yes, I am working, honest. Look. Here I go.

10:03 AM  

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