Phantom of the Broom Cupboard

Phantom of the Broom Cupboard

20110512 Smiling Speaker 150x150 Phantom of the Broom Cupboard

Musicals, plays or just plain music?

People seem to fall into one of two categories: those who like cats, those who like dogs, those who like neither or both and those who can’t count.  I call it a dyscalchotomy.

A similar trichotomy exists for plays and musicals, with the third option being people who like neither.  And then there are, of course, people who like both…  See?  I can’t count and I’m a Structural Engineer…

Plays vs. Musicals

I have seen a few plays in the last year or so – one amateur production and the rest professional.  These were Waiting for Godot (with Matthew Kelly and Ian McKellen), Far Away, A Christmas Carol and George Orwell’s 1984.

This is not a play review, so I’ll keep my opinion short and snappy: Waiting for Godot was an hour and a half of nothing but dialogue and 1984 was too “artsy minimalist” and unnecessarily shouty from the get-go.  I found A Christmas Carol and Far Away quite enjoyable, the latter even more so because Jon Snow of Channel 4 News fame hosted a discussion session afterwards.

A friend of mine doesn’t like musicals and once argued that he couldn’t suspend his disbelief like he can with film and plays.  As a result he would get bored and he thought all the prancing around was a little too camp.  I personally prefer musicals, not for the thrilling storyline, but more for the show and the live music and entertainment factor.  To me, it’s not about the story; I struggle to suspend my disbelief even with films and plays.

In a slightly oddball way, I’m glad I prefer musicals over plays.  If someone asked me the question, there’d be no risk of accidentally – and incorrectly – proclaiming, “Oh, definitely plays – I’m a ‘play-boy’, me!”  which just sounds wrong…

I’m definitely a musicals man – oh and for the record, I prefer cats (the animals, that is).

Fancy Dress 

In Britain we seem to have an obsession with fancy dress.  I don’t know what it is, but it was never that common in the Netherlands – at least when I lived there.  In Dutch there is a saying, which translates loosely as “Act normal – you’re crazy enough as you are!”  And they say the British have a stiff upper lip!  I believe a playful culture breeds great comedy and we definitely know one or two things about that over here.

I have been invited to a birthday party, the theme of which is characters from musicals.  The birthday girl suggested I dress up as Erik from The Phantom of the Opera, so I thought I’d try it out.  Have a look at two of my costumes below, one as Erik and one as a character from Hairspray.  What do you think?

 20110512 vic hairspray musical Phantom of the Broom Cupboard20110512 vic phantom of the opera Phantom of the Broom Cupboard

From musicals to plain music

As I said above, I love live music, which probably explains why I like musicals.  I didn’t really dig Miss Bollywood, which I saw several years ago.  I was slightly disappointed because the music was all pre-recorded and even the singing wasn’t live.  It was basically an hour and a half of dancing and miming to a mix tape.

Bristol, England is a great place for live music and one of my favourite haunts is The Old Duke.  For my non-Bristol based readers, The Old Duke is a pub in the historic city centre of Bristol and is situated on an old cobbled street.  They have live jazz/blues every night of the week and it is totally free of charge.  You do have to pay for drinks and they do come round with a collection bowl, but donations are entirely voluntary.  Last weekend I was at The Old Duke’s sister pub on Gloucester Road called The Golden Lion, which I never knew existed.  That is where I saw a smiling face lurking in one of the speakers. It was upside down, though.  Thinking about it, it’s a bit of an unfortunate metaphor.  It seems to suggest that music turns your smile upside down – or worse still: your entire face!!  What could it possibly mean?  Discuss…

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