Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Aborted attempt

I was en route to the Menier Theatre last night when reality hit: I was going to a musical about aeronautics. When had things got so desperate? Well before the interval is the answer, but I didn't know that then. No, I consoled myself with the prospect of drinks and shrieks as I was meeting up with the fantastically fun West End Whingers. And, sure enough, we soon found out that consolation was in order.

If it weren't for the 'misery loves company' aspect to enduring bad theatre with friends, the night would have felt like training in mutually assured destruction . The attackers played by the show's production team intent on undermining necessary conditions of good musical theatre with the audience as the defenders brazenly resisting the relentless assault. Any actor who is forced to bellow: "How can we be wrong? We're the Wright brothers!" must know that the script is flying (sorry) against the wind.

There is little in the staging or set to ever suggest the sensation of soaring (or the sensation of anything, really). I spent more time looking for the emergency exits than adopting the brace position. When I wasn't fighting to stay alive (I mean awake) I was distracted by whether the actor playing Lindbergh looked more like Wayne Rooney or Phillip Seymour Hoffman. But that's enough hot air for today, if only because the Menier is such a brilliant young theatre that you can't help but want to scale new heights. And, for me, one valuable realisation did come out of the expedition: Amelia Earheart's costumes made me vow to never wear my Snoopy-style leather aviator cap ever again. And that sort of insight always comes at a cost.

Mainstream reviews here:
Independent (honest) , Guardian (complimentary) , FT ( delusional).

And, of course, one is on its way from my most trusted source.


Anonymous Justin said...

But I like your Biggle hat, Slickie

6:40 pm  
Blogger Mark said...

Fighting to stay awake? Are you trying to imply that you didn't sleep during the production? I think the Whingers will back up my assertion that you had a nice little nap in the second act (which I had, admittedly, forced you all back into against your better judgement)!

Was great to meet you anyway, what a fun night.

See you soon,


8:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is it just me or are the west end whingers sitting on the fence too often ?
lets face it the hothouse was utter rubbish. set was impressive but we should hardly pat the National on the back for that
anyone suggesting that it was hilarious(remotely funny even) should be asked to sit through it for all future audiences and hold up the laugh now banners.
I was there on the night that the Standard critic gathered his evidence for the following days glowing report. Surely he must have noticed that nobody else was laughing ?!The National needs to sort its shit out

10:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love the post CS but where are whingers

12:49 am  
Anonymous Cliff said...

I agree with the comment about The National.Its abysmal and shocking state is something everyone feels they need to cover up and amend for BECAUSE it is England's national theatre. Whoa! If they had the same NATIONAL house for film I am sure the outcrys would be louder if such tripe was put on for public viewing.

8:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn it we are going Saturday night and tix weren't cheap either.

8:43 am  
Anonymous georgie said...

But who could it go so wrong? Is the sky not the limit for a musical at the magical Menier?

11:35 am  
Anonymous frontrow said...

I disagree with you Slick.
I loved it and from the sounds of things may just have been there on the same night!!

Take Flight is not going to be a major popular musical. It is too subtle for that. As with the other two Menier hits, it should have enough appeal to do well both in Southwark, and if the right space becomes vacant, possibly the West End.

11:36 am  
Blogger Interval Drinks said...

OK, this was far from perfect and musically repetitive, I'll give you that. But there was much to like in the performances - and I was warmed by the simple idea of human beings chasing impossible goals and succeeding.

12:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

er, interval drinks do you really mean this "and I was warmed by the simple idea of human beings chasing impossible goals and succeeding."

i knew i didnt read tripe from guardian columnists cum bloggers for a reason.

12:59 pm  
Blogger Helen Smith said...

Anonymous, you old grouch - if you don't read Guardian columnists cum bloggers then how do you even know that the person who does the reviews for interval drinks is one? The reviews on her website are thoughtful and entertaining. Everyone's got to make a living - you don't have to read what she writes but if you do read it, at least admit it.

And if you're going to be snippy in the comments section about one of her comments, why not put your name to it? You silly.

7:39 pm  
Anonymous Andrew (a West End Whinger) said...

Smith - you drunk again?

7:53 pm  
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