Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Have a Thing for the French...

French musicals, that is. You thought I was talking about something else, didn’t you? Geez.

Anyway, yeah, French musicals. I say this because of my obsession with Phantom, obviously. But this week, we went to see Les Miserables, which is a musical about the French Revolution and some miserable people. As if you couldn’t tell by the title.

So, yes, this was the weekend that Andrea’s parents visited and they’re the ones that took us to Les Mis.  Super nice of them, right? Mom, you should be happy to know I bought and wrote out a nice Thank You card for them.  You’re so proud. I know.

Anyway, the show was wonderful, even though I had to rush to get there because I was working till 6, had to catch the tube home, get some stuff, eat really quick (I ended up eating a wrap on the way home from Burger King. It is so much classier here) and then leave at like 6:30 to get to the Piccadilly Station to meet Andrea’s parents. So it was a bit of a rush, but we made it. Since I work around the area I had scoped out the theatre and led the way. After a short walk that happened to take us near Chinatown, we found it!

It's not too hard to spot

The show was great. Well, as great as a show called ‘The Miserable Ones’ can be. Let’s be real, even if you’ve never seen or heard any of it, you can guess loads of people die.  But the cast was really great. We saw a couple of understudies for a couple main parts but if they hadn’t told us, I wouldn’t have known because they were great!

The good:
The music in Les Mis is really catchy and it has lots of brilliant songs
Our seats were really good- we were in the Upper Circle (3rd tier) so it was a bit high, but we were like centre stage and had a good view of most of the show, except when they were really far downstage
As I said, the understudies were great. There wasn’t anyone I really didn’t like. There weren’t really any characters I didn’t like either (though I wish Cosette would have a bigger part so it was more believable that Marius loves her and not Eponine).

My favourite song, A Little Fall of Rain, was excellent. The Marius was really emotional and caring and Eponine had an amazing voice. Definitely got misty eyed for that one. There was a nice book reference too, he kissed her on the forehead at the end, so sad and sweet.

In general, the whole show was excellent, there were a few gunshot moments were I jumped. Mostly cause you expect gunshots at the barricade, but that would be super loud so they just mimed. So I was like, ok, no shots, then BAM BAM BAM. Scary.

cool moment in the show- after the barricade

The bad
The lady in front of me kept moving her head. A lot. So I would have to shift to be able to see. So ridiculous.
One of the guys in her group (they were a big group of Italian tourists) was like 65 and was texting nonstop for Act I. Seriously? Who are you texting? You’re 65! Casey kicked his chair a couple times, and he was less bothersome in Act II.

As Andrea said on the way back to our flat, she wanted to sing the songs but couldn’t remember the words. Now, if you knew Andrea, this is a common problem (she’ll know a line from a song and that’s about it. We love you for it though, Andrea!), but she was right. If you hadn’t listened to the music before hand and remembered the songs, it would be very difficult to remember the words of certain songs. Why? Because Les Mis is what is called sung-through, meaning, like an opera, there is no dialogue (Phantom is a sung through with scattered lines, technically).  In any scene they would talk, they sing the lines instead. Which is actually really cool, except  that they reuse the melodies all the time to make a rhythm for them to sing to. At least 3 song melodies are used for 3 different songs, making it hard to keep them straight.

3 hours is a long time for a show. Sure, they do a great job of cramming like 20 years into that 3 hours, but if you aren’t expecting it, that would suck. We got back really late, which was fine but if we’d gone on a weekday that would have been bad. I think it was bad for me because I had been at work sitting at a desk for hours on end before sitting and sometimes craning my neck to see around stupid moving head lady. Other than that, it didn’t feel like 3 hours till you get back to your flat and it’s already 11:15.

Anyway, so yes, it was fantastic, and yes, it is French. Obviously musicals about France are the way to go.

In other news, Liz took me to her friend Lee’s house for her birthday party. Liz knows Lee from the camp she worked at over the summer, but she didn’t want to be alone, so she asked me to come. I am glad I did because it was a great time! There was Chinese food and tons of desserts, and Liz’s camp stories are hilarious. Plus, Lee lives outside of London so her house was spacious (huge actually) and beautiful. We also got to take a train there, which I enjoy. I really like trains in Europe. Kind of sad they aren’t that cool or popular in the states.

Anyway, I think we’re adventuring with Andrea’s parent’s tonight, since it is their last day here and they spent yesterday in Bath and the West Country (they probably saw all the things we did in January when we went). Dunno what we will be doing, but I’m sure it will be a good time!

They brought us this peanut butter

size comparison to a Tesco slightly-sparkling water bottle

Side note, this week I also saw a play called In a Forest Dark and Deep. It was pretty good, and I totally met Matthew Fox from Lost cause he was starring in it. Pretty cool.

This is the only picture I got of him though. He was kind of cranky so I didn't ask.

That’s all for now! Busy week ahead so I probably won’t update till next Sunday at least. Ciao!

And since this post was short on pictures, here's some videos of my favourite Les Mis scene, A Little Fall of Rain 

This is my favourite version on Youtube

This is the blocking that was more similar to the show we saw. No videos of the show we saw. There is a video of Samantha Barks as Eponine, but I will not pollute my blog with Nick Jonas as Marius. Fun fact- we saw this girl as Cosette Friday night. I am very observant about musical theatre apparently.

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