Thursday, 17 February 2011

Legally Blonde

It's about time I levelled with you guys about a couple of things; 1. last night I went to see 'Hit West End Sensation' Legally Blonde. 2. I fucking hate musicals. How could those two facts co-exist within the confines of one human being? As the lights went up I wondered the same thing.

First, let me explain my reasons for hating musicals. It does not stem from cultural snobbery. I have spent literally weeks of my life watching Neighbours and genuinely enjoy Paddy McGuinness vehicle Take Me Out without irony. Before last night I'd actually only ever seen one West End musical and, weirdly, I'd seen that twice. It was Blood Brothers. Before you get all excited, this was before the least attractive Blue member, Anthony Costa joined the cast. Although Blood Brothers (as I'm sure most musicals do) had it's merits I couldn't get past the fact that people always sang for no reason. You have to admit that it is kind of strange. I think even as a little child I found it odd when kids TV characters broke into song without explanation.

Not only do the characters sing about fucking anything as the Question Time musical proved - 'I've always felt that EU fishing quotas exacerbate the problem rather than deeeeeeeeeeal with iiiiit!' - they also all seem to be singing the same song the whole time. There are of course many exceptions. I'm sure you could pick out plenty of unique musical numbers but the bulk of them just seem to be someone singing a sentence with a vague melody that isn't really going anywhere.

My other main complaint has always been the sentimentality and in your face energy of them. I don't begrudge people's enjoyment of that (aren't I nice?) but I can't handle it. I've never thought I'd do well on an 18-30 holiday because of the enforced jollity and musicals strike me as kind of similar.

But Fergus! You judgemental BASTARD! You've only seen ONE musical! That may be true, but that has never stopped me from being absolutely cock sure in my opinions on them. I've seen plenty of performances from the cast of 'Banana Boat!!' and 'Memory Train!!' or whatever on Children In Need or the National Lottery show.

Recently I realised my argument, as this blog is proving, may not be rock solid and that I should perhaps give the theatrical abominations another chance. The press and friends have been banging on about how great Legally Blonde is for a while now and I mentioned to my girlfriend (who hates musicals even more than I do) that we should perhaps go. Unbeknownst to me she booked it. So last night, there we sat - two people who hate musicals about to watch one and we had no one to blame but ourselves.

As regular SERIOUS theatre goers (Christ, we're educated) you couldn't help but notice the different audience. There was an older couple in front of us who smiled at each other after every song and most jokes. This is how I imagine they will tell their nephew who works in London about it in a few weeks time... assign an accent of your choice;

'We went to London didn't we?'


'We didn't like it'


'Dirty! It were dirty and different do you know what I mean?'

'Not many English!'

'No. We went to see Legally Blonde and that were brilliant'


'Oh yeah, it were REALLY funny and most of them were beautiful singers but I wouldn't want to live in London'

'No way'

'Too expensive!'

SERIOUS theatre is full of people who probably think the same things but would say them a different way.

So, did I like the show? I'm confident that I opened my mind nice and wide but at first I found it quite hard going. The show is very much 'tits and teeth' and although that's done with irony it still is 'tits and teeth' and for a battered old cynical arsehole like me that's hard to adjust to. Gradually though I started to enjoy it. I would be going too far if I said that I got swept up in the fun of it all but I certainly wasn't looking at my watch. It's safe to say though that I won't be rushing to go to other musicals. I'm just too much of a prick.

I did of course feel my jaw do it's obligatory tightening at the emotional ending. Maybe that's where my declared hatred of sentimentality comes from. I'm actually embarrassingly susceptible to it. I never cry at real things but often have to fight back tears at Neighbours weddings and Super Nanny. Sometimes I don't think you lot give me credit for just how complex I am.

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