Sunday, March 11, 2012

The West End (and all that jazz)

It's got to the time of year when it starts to get silly to wear your coat. Today was beautiful and sunny, and while I don't think it was quite warm enough to justify wearing shorts and T-shirt (as I saw some people wearing) it was not cold enough to wear my coat. It's a bit sad, really. I like my coat, and I've worn it most days for months.

But anyway, rewind to Wednesday, when it was still reasonably cold and I went to Chicago. Not the city, the musical in the West End. The West End is kind of like Broadway in that they have shows on permanently for years and years - very different from the blink-and-you'll-miss-it seasons they have in New Zealand (all right, maybe they're on for a bit longer than a blink, but still).

The theatre was a bit smaller than I'd expected and had a kind of faded glamour feel to it which worked really well for the show. There were little pairs of opera glasses attached to the back seats that you could liberate from their holders for a pound, but I only had two 50p pieces and they wouldn't fit in the slot. We had reasonable seats, though, so I don't think we needed them.

I (shock horror) haven't actually seen the film version of Chicago in its entirety (you know the way it goes - two things on at the same time on different channels, fight over the remote, skipping backwards and forwards between the two so you get glimpses but never enough to figure out the whole thing) so I can't compare it properly. I am told, however, that the film is relatively realistic, whereas the stage version is determined to break the fourth wall at every opportunity. Song and dance numbers are introduced by an MC, Velma addresses the audience directly and characters call for their 'exit music'. The dancing was excellent, as was the singing, and there was a great energy to the performance. I loved the ending (which I won't reveal) and now I should really go and find the movie and see how they compare.

There are so many musicals to choose from: Shrek, Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde, War Horse, Wicked, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia, Ghost, Woman in Black... and more I can't remember.

Must go to more.

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