22 March 2005
...On the other hand, thereís clearly something to be said for being brain-dead, because Iíve actually done quite a lot today. Including, but not limited to, writing a thousand-word essay on Nosferatu for another of those omnium-gatherum books, where however-many writers pick their favourite horror movie and talk about it. I donít think I really have a favourite (or if I do, I canít remember what it is), so I plumped for Nosferatu because it's old and interesting and (shhh...) Iíd never actually seen it all the way through. Double-shhh, still haven't; Gail played it for me at the weekend, but I have this dreadful middle-aged insomniac habit of falling asleep in mid-movie, so I dozed through all the ship scenes and had to watch them again today. So at least Iíve seen all the bits, if not in the proper order. And my piece makes beautiful sense, I think. Tho' I'm not making too much sense myself at the moment, so maybe it's a ragbag.
Whatever. I did that, I did some other stuff; my salad seedlings are sprouting in the greenhouse; I felt content this evening, and thought Iíd sit up over a late-night hour of Sondheim on the TV. Now Sondheim is my very favourite musical-theatre composer, an absolute passion; and this show was announced as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which is a show that I love. But it wasn't that show, they only used the title because it was happening at a theatre called the Forum, which I call cheating to the point of infuriating. In fact it was just a selection of Sondheim numbers, Side-by-Side-lite; and it was a glitzy, Las Vegas-style version of the thing, with some Irish pretty-boy tenor who admitted to never having seen a Sondheim show in his life, and Jacqui Dankworth doing eyes-and-teeth to satisfy her mother, and Maria Ewing forgetting her words and over-emoting as far as her facelift would let her. There were moments where the music managed to break through it all, itís that strong - but not many such moments, mostly it was entirely subsumed by self-congratulation and schmaltz. Sondheim should be louche, and this was lush.
© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.