The show must go on

I’ve not walked to Scotland or owt. I’m just rubbish at blogging at the moment.

I have been good at eating, walking and going to the theatre though.

Last week I went to see Return to the Forbidden Planet. This week I went to see Oh, What a Lovely War!

These are both musicals.

Regular readers will know that the musical theatre genre is my least favourite of all. I generally avoid musicals like the proverbial plague, yet such is the perennial popularity of the musical form that there is probably one about that very plague doing the rounds as we speak.


I am quite literally terrified of the prospect of jazz hands in a non ironic situation.

I do think, however, that it is very important to challenge your beliefs/likes/dislikes every now and again, so I have had another bash at the world that is show and its tunes.

Return to the Forbidden Planet won prizes because there is a lot of Shakespeare to dilute the tunes. Also the space guns were made out of hairdryers painted silver and I like that air of professionalism.  Oh What a Lovely War was ironic enough to be good, although I keep thinking that both shows would be better without music in them, which shows that at heart I am still a nay sayer.

The thing that upset me most deeply about both these shows was the audience. I know, I know, I am an intolerant old cow, but when did it become acceptable to treat the theatre like your front room? (yes, I realise that the groundlings in Tudor times were a noisy rabble, but then they weren’t dressed to the nines and paying upwards of thirty quid a ticket for their entertainment).

Yesterday, the ladies behind me seemed to be entirely oblivious to the fact that there was anyone else in the theatre, or indeed that if there was anyone else in the theatre, they might actually want to hear the show, and not the commentary of inane babble that was spewing forth from their mouths.

Such pearls as:

‘Ohh, it’s shocking isn’t it?’

‘This bit is very sad.’

‘This bit is about the 1914 Christmas truce isn’t it?’

‘Oh, that’s funny isn’t it?’

etc, etc, on and on and bloody on. It was hardly Stephen Hawking on string theory.

And then there was the singing. What a treat.  They knew the first line of every tune, and part of the chorus, and joined in with gusto:

‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, tum te tum, smile, hmmmmm’

Argh! Argh! bloody argh.

And then the woman in the next seat but one to mine decided to give them a run for their money.

Why, for the love of the tiny baby Cheezus, why, did she think that bringing forty seven small sweets wrapped in industrial strength cellophane, kept in a crinkly carrier bag, in the bottom of another bag, under a pile of papers, was the appropriate snack for the theatre?

And why, when she got very excited about a song, did she decide to slap her husband’s knee repeatedly, right in my peripheral vision?

Last week I was stuck next to a woman who spent the entire show doing the hand jive and jigging so violently in her seat that I got motion sickness. She was also a singer.

God help me.

All I needed to round it off was a woman sitting in front of me wearing a wide brimmed Carmen Miranda hat and eating crisps whilst filming the show on her phone.

That will probably happen tomorrow when we’re off to see a miserable play by Timberlake Wertenbaker.

Hopefully there will be no show tunes.

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