Monday, November 27, 2006

When the Highlight of a Play is the Fire Alarm

Not a good business indeed.

Canadian Stage's 'Glorious' was sadly anything but.

It wasn't even Canadian! A really tedious script by an Englishman, with a plot centred on a rich American who could buy her dreams despite all reality. What did anyone think the message was?

And the script was SO bad - I tend to the prudish, so the silly double entendres and jokes about homosexuality had less charm than they may have for some (and in fact the homosexuals seated around our seats seemed to find the script hilarious, not a great reflection on them, in my view).

Nicola Cavendish did a bravura performance in her role, but this was a role inviting the extremities she produced so well - no subtlety at all.

The supporting cast was decent - but there was no role with much of a challenge.

So what was the highlight? A funeral is occurring on stage. A bell rings, intermittently, and incessantly; it seems to be ringing strangely close to our ears in the back of the orchestra. And it turns out it is, as the characters on stage inform the audience that they are hearing a fire alarm. After a short while we learn the fire alarm was false and the play resumes; the funeral still gets a bell and we realize how uncanny the timing was as the fire alarm covered up the stage bells.
Sadly, the scene here is the only place I really enjoyed laughing - there was a nice joke as the funeral resumed and we got to be surprised. But that was really the sole moment of delight.
The program notes said this play had been a great West End success in 2005.
It seems to me the lesson is that success in London's West End is no useful predictor of anything, and maybe we could just have a native theatre season. (But please do not bring back 'Glorious')!
I guess this means artistic directors earn their money.
But really to quote my internal thoughts, "This was not even Canadian". It was very bad, so why did Canadian Stage choose to stage it?


At 4:02 PM, Blogger rondi said...

My friend Roy and I thought the highlight of "Generous" was the intermission. (o:

At 2:00 AM, Blogger Dan said...

HI Al, maybe the message was that america's twisted view of economics encourages everyone in the world to consume more that the earth's carrying capacity despite the obvious pitfalls of such behaviour. Don't know for sure, but maybe that was the message. Never saw the play myself.

Based on your review though, maybe you should have taken the fire alarm as an opportunity to leave altogether! I think I would have.

Anyway, cheers and love, Dan


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