Thursday, August 16, 2007

How Incredibly....Average!

Now that's a musical I'd see...Well, can't say we haven't tried. But the entertainment lately has, well, not sucked, but just been so darn underwhelming.

We saw 1776 at the Guthrie recently, and it was, well. See it all started when S (that guy we went to North Dakota with) sent around an e-mail trying to see if enough people were interested to try and get group-rate tickets. See, 1776 is not a particularly good musical. I know; I've been in it (Guess when?! Hint: Carter was president...) though we performed a much-abbreviated version. It was still too long. It starts off well, and then, around scene three, it turns into the 18th Century version of C-SPAN. While highlights occur throughout the rest of the show, chances are good you may have already fallen asleep, and will therefore miss them. But, hey, it's the Guthrie, and the people going looked fun, so, of course, I completely ignored the e-mail. But...Boo did not.

Well, the dinner was good. My cocktail was a complete travesty, but that's probably my fault. When it's hot, and it was in the high 90's, I like a good gin Collins. But made with lime, not lemon. This is also known as a gin Rickey with less sugar, but Collins sounds nicer than Rickey. I mean, who would you rather date? And a gin-Collins-with-lime-not-lemon was good enough for Faye Dunaway in Chinatown, and she's a good role model, right? What I got may have had gin in it, though there is no evidence, and I didn't see it made. It couldn't be tasted through the thick sour-lime mojito mix that had been doused over the top. Not a drop of soda was detectable, either. But, like I say, my fault, ordering a classic cocktail when they wanted to serve me a pom-tini or something equally vile.

Dinner was nice, the pinot noir I had with dinner was also lovely, and the company was hard to beat. I was seated across from K, and K's always fun to talk to. K is sometimes masculine and sometimes feminine in appearance, but always pretty level, as befits someone who used to work in construction and now works for a bus company. K ordered a martini, but K is not too fussy, and they didn't screw it up badly. K was in feminine mode, with a lovely delicate cross over her scoop-necked bosom, and a rather fetching teal suit. The thing I like about K's fashion sense is that, while some people find it dowdy, I just find it realistic. It's very much what a Midwestern woman of her age wears. K seldom stands out as a T, not because she tries so hard to blend, but because she's just so casually female. Not glam, not affected, just casually dressed, lightly made up, and with her silvery-gold hair nicely framing her face. We discussed wine, travel, Ireland, Spain, Japan, music, and misspent youth. Quite nice. Boo held court a couple of seats away, and I missed most of that conversation.

I have to give the actors credit; they very nearly saved the production. However, what I'm beginning to find about the Guthrie is that they don't really trust their actors. So, enter technology. The stage is a thrust, and the main set piece was an Independence Hall interior that scooted forward and back, sometimes behind a scrim, sometimes well out to the front of the thrust. When a lovely young man with a lovely voice is singing the lovely and moving
Momma, Look Sharp, it would behoove the director not to choose to move the set. Since it is not quiet. And it only makes it so! much! worse! when you then augment the singer with the most obvious reverb since Madonna's second album (y'know, before she could sing). Also afflicted with reverb was the dynamic and showstopping performance of Molasses to Rum (yeah, these are actual song titles - History was never this much fun!!!) by the amazingly talented (and gay) Bradley Greenwald. Bringing reverb to Bradley is like painting two-inch silver racing stripes on a Bentley - it's tacky, it's ugly, and it's never justifiable.

Poor directorial decisions and a play that was never all that to begin with made for a mostly lackluster visit to the theater.

So, then we ventured out last night for an evening of cinema with Cy and John. We saw Sunshine, though I would much rather have seen Once. However, the other member of our party had already seen it, and Boo and the boys were pretty set on science fiction. Y'know, I'm still yawning. It's a pretty movie. All about flying the Icarus II to the sun to set off a giant fission explosion in hopes of reviving the sun before all life on earth dies. Again, good work by the actors; Cillian Murphy is pretty great as usual, Chris Evans is fine in many, many ways, Michelle Yeoh does a hell of a lot with not much to work with. But, ultimately...meh. The script just doesn't really give you humans with pasts or connections to root for - these people seem to have sprung up five minutes before the movie starts. And, it becomes extremely clear about 1/3 of the way in that ain't nobody coming back alive. So, then it's pretty much just waiting to see if they can actually save the sun before they all croak. And honestly, if you saw Mission to Mars, you'll swear you've seen it all before. Mars's ending is more preposterous, but Sunshine has at least one plot twist that makes you go "Oh, really?!" after they've encountered the Icarus I and found out why its mission failed.

So, not a great month for entertainment.

Just be glad I'm not blogging about work right now.

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