Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Story So Far

It's £1 per hour, so this will be brief (can't access blogger from the British Library, nor earthlink mail, sigh!). While today it is pouring, it has been sunny and warm most of the time, much to the students' delight. They survived the grueling first day where I kept them rolling until night -- some even recovered enough to go out that night. Fingers crossed, they have been mostly great and entirely responsible. Kudos to them for making the trip (so far!) a relatively low stress event.

Apart from leading them around to various places (see I have seen Equus and Lord of the Rings. Can't write full reviews in such a short timte, but here's some sketchy comments:

EQUUS -- the crowd was full of young American gals waiting to see the full Potter. At the end of the first act I heard many grumbling because they thought he was going to get nekkid in the first act and they felt he had chickened out. HA HA -- I know the play, so I knew better. Stunned silence and giggles later. It's such a wonderful play, and the giggly gals missed the most amazing part -- Richard Griffiths as Dysart. He brings to the role both humor and pathos; I've only read the play and seen the film version with Burton, but I thought he was quite amazing (and I love Burton in the role). But Griffiths brings out the pain and the passion of the part much more. And yes, we did get to see naked Harry Potter/Danieal Radcliffe and there was no doubt as he leapt about the stage near the end of the play -- I do mean leapt. In fact, I think he was limping when he came back out for the curtain so I think he may have pulled something (cue Sam Pickering voice).

LOTR -- well. hmmm. Okay, a misguided idea -- not that it wasn't without some great things. The music was terrific -- the songs were atrocious, by which I mean the score music by Varttina and Rahman was beautiful and evocative; the songs were atrocious, suffering from terrible Broadwayitis. They do all sound like Spamalot's "There's always a song like this." Arwen sings three songs and that's her part; Galadriel more or less the same as she was with one song (cool costume though). No Eowyn, no Sauron. Few orcs -- although they do come out in the second interval (yes, second -- three hour running time) and menace the audience and got some good screams from surprised folks. Shelob and the Balrog looked quite good and the stage was AMAZING. Glad I saw it, but it will not be for the ages -- well, who knows. I think the Mousetrap is still running (except in Pakistan -- obscure joke) and people do love Cats and such. Really apart from the hobbits being too twee by half (Merry and Pippin seemed to have stepped out of a panto), there's the problem of constant expositio which does not make for good drama. I wonder how it seemed to anyone who did not already know the story -- is there anyone now who doesn't?

Tuesday, Othello at the Globe with Tim McInnerny (let's hope the rain has evaporated by then) and perhaps Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre Wednesday -- just like my first trip to London :-D Now that would be cool. I have spent a little time at the British Library so it hasn't all been play time -- and I do have other responsibilities, so I just cover the fun stuff here. More when I can write. Hope everyone is well!

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