Monday, August 20, 2007
I mentioned a few weeks ago that one of my Top Ten Peeves includes folks who say "Well, of course I've never heard/read/watched [whatever], but..." and then proceed to criticize it. Of course, my own sense of Peevosity at other's actions has never prevented me from doing the same thing, when the [whatever] in question is of such blatant stupidity that I feel no need to see/hear/watch it first.
And speaking of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical 'Cats'...
So ok, the musical made its' debut, um, 25 years ago, and this past weekend I finally watched the full-blown original-cast version on dvd. Or, to be completely honest, I was at somebody else's house and they got me drunk enough so that I could not stand up properly and then proceeded to pop it on the dvd player.
My first comment will be that since Sir Andy got a knighthood out of it, and millions of people had coughed up a gawdawful amount of money to see it, and it ran for twenty years on Broadway, obviously the judgement of Society is that it has redeeming qualities.
Then again, Society also judges that turnips, "My Name is Raymond", and Celene Dion have redeeming qualities.
To begin with, I will admit that I enjoyed watching it. That is because half the cast were lithe female dancers who were dressed in skin-tight leotards. What's not to like? I'm afraid that female viewers may not get the same effect viewing the male dancers whose, um, "assets" were (unlike, say, ballet dancers) pretty well invisible.
The libretto was also quite fine, but Sir Andrew stole that from T.S. Elliot, so while I give him credit for good taste, it was not "Evita" (and for such small blessings I thank a Benevolent God).
The basic problem with the show was that it was 45 minutes of material stretched to two hours, and Sir Andrew only provided 12 minutes of original music, repeated over and over and over and over. The most famous song, "Memory", is quite haunting, and especially lovely when sung by Elaine Page. But she sings it 16 times. And the song itself has only 1 verse, which is repeated eight times each of the 16 times she sings it.
"Eighth verse, same as the first!"
By the end I was hoping a rabid coyote would gallop onto the stage and devour her on the spot, or that the big boot that comes whanging down in the opening scene would appear again and flatten her.
The rest of the music, with the exception of a nifty little number written for Macavity, all sounds exactly the same, and it's, well, not that interesting.
I understand that a lot of people love the show, and I'm probably full of horse manure, so I feel obliged to say something really nice about it in closing.
Let's see. Ah! I know.
It's much better than Sir Andrew's 'Phantom of the Opera'.
And for such small miracles I thank a Benevolent God.