Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Spamalot: A Musical for People who Hate Musicals! Ni!
WARNING: Controversial post coming up...
Anyone who knows me well knows I am not a fan of stage musicals.
Film musicals - particularly ones from the 1950s and 60s - yes. My Fair Lady? Love it. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Great Fun. Sound of Music? Classic.
Stage musicals. Ooooooh God no.
Why do I hate stage musicals so much? Let me count the ways...
1) I cannot stand it when the characters sing lines that they should act.
Here's a made up example:
Male character (sung): I ammmmmmmmmm leaving the rooooooooooom now
Female character (sung): No! (screech) Don't gooooooo. Don't leavvvvvve meeeeeeeee.
Male character (sung): If I don't leave the roooooooom I willlllll die! Die! Die!
Female character (sung): No please, please, please (grabs legs) Pleeeeease don't die...or goooooo
Which brings me onto my next point:
2) CRAP dialogue and/or lyrics. Really, really cringely bad.
Miss Saigon, take the stage:
Let me see his western nose
This bastard is...
The most beautiful sight I've ever seen!
A passport in my hand
My new life can begin
Your brat's American
So they must let us in!
The playground of mankind!
The movie in my mind!
3) Overacting and over-singing. Heartbreaking, potentially moving moment? Ham it up. Really ham it up until cheese (and ham) doth flow from your mouth. I love a good drama, a good film, a good book, I love losing myself in emotion but I can't do it with musicals because the emotions being portrayed on stage don't come across as real. They come across, to me anyway, as a parody of an emotion. It all feels horribly fake.
4) Stage school everything. Every performer in a musical seems to move, act, speak and act in the same way. All of them. There's something about the uniformity of it all that makes me really uncomfortable. When you go and see a play you get real characters portrayed by actors with different styles. With musicals everyone has a weird polished sheen to them, even in the so-called 'gritty' scenes.
Um, better stop the rant there (because I could go on!).
Anyway, my view isn't very well received because, for some bizarre reason, I seem to surround myself with people who love musicals.
And I've tried to change, I have. I've been to see Miss Saigon and Fame. Okay, so just those two in the last 10 years but that was enough.
Until last night.
Last night I went to see Spamalot. And I really thought I'd hate it. But...
It was brilliant!
It was laugh out loud funny. AND it parodied other musicals. How much did I love "The Song That Goes Like This"?
And the knights that say Ni! And the knight that wants to go on fighting even though he's had both his arms and legs chopped off. And Lancelot in a gay club. And the "Hay" joke.
It was just FANTASTIC and I came out grinning from ear to ear.
So this is a musical recommendation for people who hate musicals (and people who love them). If you get chance to see Spamalot - DO IT!