Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nudity and Nazis

On Monday I went to Cabaret at the Lyric theatre - and jolly good it was too. Try not to be too shocked when I tell you that up until then, I had no experience of Cabaret at all, apart from through Bowleserised - hadn't seen the film, heard the songs, anything. I was quite excited about this. It meant I could go along without the weight of expectation about what the play should be like, how the characters should be, how the songs should be sung, and especially how it ended. When you know the drama takes place in 1930s Berlin you already have a sneaking suspicion it won't end well.

And so I loved it, even if Rich Colleague (who had taken me, Boyfriend and his little sister) was perturbed by comparisons with Jane Horrocks in the Donmar's version in the 90s. The staging was very cool - starting off with a camera aperture which opened to reveal James Dreyfus's MC (looking in his white make-up, sadly, a little too much like The Penguin). Angled slabs of scenery kept whooshing across the stage - on one occasion nearly knocking over Anna Maxwell Martin, who played Sally. Anna was good, I thought, if unfeasibly thin. I can see how she got away with playing Lyra in His Dark Materials at the age of 26.

But most of the time it was the chorus who held my attention. They'd come dressed as an Agent Provocateur catalogue, apparently, all stockings and waspies and leather harnesses for the chaps. Their speciality seemed to be opening their legs while upside down and in very small underwear, and I was convinced at any moment one of them was going to, er, pop out. This kind of thing is much more attention-holding than actual full-on balls out nakedness, of course, and was thus quite distracting. Anyway, by the end of the first act they'd clearly realised this and just went the whole hog, dancing to Fatherland in the buff.

As I said, I'd expected the second half to be dark - but perhaps not as dark as it turned out to be. I can remember watching Cats once and wishing that the whole cast had been gassed at the end, but it was still a shock to see the MC and dancers huddled together, naked, in the snow as the curtain went down.

Parte The Seconde

... anyway, after the theatre Rich Colleague had wangled us a table at The Ivy. Well, I say wangled, but actually he'd just phoned them and book a table for half ten. Presumably, Lady Victoria Hervey or whoever would have eaten her three breadsticks and tottered off into the night by then.

I know, I really do, that being excited about eating at The Ivy marks me out as the worst kind of media wannabe ponce, but I couldn't help myself. I had high hopes there was excellent celeb spotting to be done, particularly as everyone else I know seems to see famous people on a daily basis (e.g. Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Aniston, Roger Moore, acclaimed film director Mike Leigh) whereas I am seemingly celeb-proof.

So who did I get? Hmm? I'll tell you who. Bob Hoskins. Yes, Bob 'It's Good to Talk' Hoskins. Tcha.

Still, I liked the food (very faux-down-to-earth, apart from the white truffle risotto and the caviar) and the service was impeccable.


Anonymous lb said...

If it was Cats then perhaps having the whole cast tied into a sack and thrown in the canal might have been more appropriate?

11/02/2006 3:46 pm  
Blogger Paul B said...

I cheered quietly from the back of the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool when the irritating kid dies on the barricade in Les Miserables. I received many scowls from the middle-class Scousers around me. And yet I bet those same people would be the first to persuade their children to join in at Christmas pantomimes. The sheer hypocrisy of it annoyed me no end.

11/02/2006 7:31 pm  
Blogger andi said...

Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who said of the Old Curiosity Shop "A man would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing"?

11/02/2006 11:16 pm  
Blogger Paul B said...

Hmm, no, I think that was Heinrich Himmler. Or possibly Mahatma Gandhi. I forget which.

11/03/2006 2:31 pm  
Anonymous Damon said...

Forgive what - in these days of burlesque revival and ubiquitous piercings - is an almost certainly unforgiveable belch bourgeois of prudery, but what's a waspie? Or indeed waspy?

Some vile species of bestudded genital architecture or gusset-mounted internal prosthesis, I'll warrant.

11/06/2006 9:58 pm  
Blogger galatea said...

A waspie is like a corset, yet not a corset. It's just a waist-cincher and stops well below boob level. You can see Kate Moss wearing one in that Agent Provocateur advert with her on the stairs.

11/07/2006 5:44 pm  
Anonymous lb said...

I'm surprised that what with the Cabaret connection you didn't mention our recent experience of German restaurant culture (sinisterly pallid sausages in a bowl of what appeared to be hot water; something else not unlike a plate of sick, with pretzel; horribly addictive mustard; vast piles of spetzle). The beer was superb, though I fear in those vat-sized glasses it bought me alarmingly close to becoming a binge-drinking statistic.

I still think a final course of a cyanide capsule would have been most appropriate.

11/08/2006 10:34 am  
Blogger galatea said...

I'll tell you why I didn't mention it: because that plate of cheese sick still gives me nightmares.

Before I went to that Bavarian Bierhall, I was happy, confident that I liked cheese in all its forms. Now it turns out that I don't.

The vodka sherbet - sorry, Porno Brause - was nice, though. Truly it is Germany's 'new party fun drink'.

11/08/2006 1:42 pm  
Anonymous lb said...

As I believe we urban-professionishly wisecracked at the time, the Germans have much experience of fun with new parties.

I'm still not really sure what that cheese stuff actually was. I mean, the soft white cheese I could identify - just - but the garish orange gloop was beyond me. And the fact it was stone cold was a genuine surprise.

The dark Paulaner was wonderful though. And if you enjoy cleavage, well, they seemed to have plenty of that as well. As for the Porno Brause, I'm thinking we ought to base an entire party around it. The aftermath would be satisfyingly awful.

11/08/2006 4:02 pm  
Anonymous Damon said...

The pallid white sausage in all likelihood was residing in a bowl of water. This is the bockwurst, a boiled sausage native to Bavaria and regarded as something of a delicacy by the leder-hosed natives.

It is traditionally eaten only at breakfast and luncheon, as in the pre-fridge days Mutti would prepare it in the morning and it'd be a bit iffy come teatime, the Bavarian Alps being warmer than you think.

If it's inedible cheese you're after, I suggest you try aligot, an indigestible thick white paste made from spuds, Cantal cheese, double cream and garlic and consumed with great gusto in elephantine portions on days of civic festivity in town squares throughout Dordogne, Tarn, Garonne, Lot and Aveyron.

11/08/2006 6:48 pm  
Blogger LĂ©onie said...

I know nothing about food.
I do know, however, about musicals and, as much as I hate to admit it but will if not at all pressed to in a comments section, I think that Cabaret is incredible. Powerful.

I secertly love musicals.

Judge me.

11/09/2006 2:31 am  
Blogger Bowleserised said...

I've only seen the film but would love to see the stage show, which I understand, has a different plot. I'm also still waiting to see the version starring Eddie Izzard as Sally B.

11/11/2006 9:25 pm  

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