Friday, 14 December 2007

Hairspray was Divine...

I've been lazy. I've been busy lurking on other people's blogs. I've been away with the fairies and a touch ill. Whatever you call it, I've not touched this blog in over a week and I thought I would just touch base and leave a quick note that Jay and I traveled up to the West End on Tuesday for a bit of a birthday show. We saw 'Hairspray' a la stage musical incarnation. I think Jon Waters would have been mildly pleased that his movie has been turned into a show that seems to rank with the 1990's version of 'Rent' and the current touring phenomenon, 'Mamma Mia', in terms of crowd pleasers and interactivity. I doubt, however, it would have interested Waters. The candy-coated stage adaptation of the movie (which starred the late-great, faeces-scoffing Divine) only had a few bright moments - the duet between Edna and Wilbur Turnblatt (Michael Ball and Mel Smith) and the closing number of the first act were top notch. All the rest was predictable and silly. Perhaps you will think that musical theatre is supposed to be light and easy on the ear, but I think that the storyline, as it was written for the stage, was actually too complicated. Trying to address the issues of integration, fat-phobia, juvenile delinquency, classism and dead-end extistences by reducing it to a few 'fat misguided girl makes good and leads the march for change on a segregated show' numbers, meant it felt old and tired quite quickly. I don't blame the stage actors - renewed general interest in Waters' work may mean that there is room for quirky and odd in the big money business of theatre and movie remakes.
Overall, I have to give the production two and a half stars. I hope that doesn't deter anyone from seeing it, in principle. It's an honourable attempt at recreating the wackiness that is Jon Waters, it just failed to hit its mark consistently and fluently. It was (as my writing has often been described) awkward. Awkward is okay if you don't charge money to see a production, like I did with my early childhood, neighbourhood shows. It's really not okay if you have to pay £60 for two hours of it...

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Happy Birthday, Tendy!

Today you are two. Your day started off a bit shaky and in the last twenty-four hours you have been asserting your will in a way I have never before seen. It is, in equal measures, thrilling and frustrating for you are no longer content to follow me blindly. You have things you want to do and places you want go to and all the menial tasks like brushing your hair and teeth and putting on clothes are completely useless exercises.

I have been fortunate to know you like no other child. We are together for ten hours a day, five days a week and even though I am not your mother, you are like my child. I wish for you a life full of experience. I want you to know what it is like to hurt, to feel joy, to have the confidence to make mistakes and the humility to recognize your failings. I want you to try to be patient with others and with yourself - life is full of repetition and is often mundane. I will try to show you the beauty in boredom and the glory in watching the world go past.

I want for you to be as honest with others and yourself as you can possibly be - you will be able to build a more authentic self when you know what your reality truly is. I hope you always take the opportunity to make someone else's day brighter with your beautiful smile - it's one of the unsung perks of my job to watch your face light up.

Today you are two. Happy Birthday.