Monday, 8 September 2014

Birthmonth Day Eight: Singin’ In The Rain (and Musical Monday #77)


I don’t know if I ever actually wanted to be geologist, because I don’t actually know what a geologist does.

What I do know is that I ‘collected’ shiny stones, both from the beach and from the gift shops of museums.  I liked shiny stones (and still do).  So I figure some part of The Brain must have considered a job surrounded by shiny stones as being ideal.

This does not mean I wanted a job making costume dolls though, or stickers.  Not all collection hobbies lead to career choices.

So sometimes I went to the theatre with The Mother.  Not that often though.  We’d get the theatre brochures and point out shows we wanted to see, but never seemed to get around to actually going.

But we did go sometimes.  She was (and probably still is, I guess) rather partial to Sunset Boulevard so when this came round, we went to see it.

Sunset Boulevard (The Mayflower/24th November 2001).  I viewed this as an opportunity to bond with The Mother so I really wanted to like it (unlike the disaster of when The Father took me to see Les Misérables). 

And it was…


Generally I am not a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber, although this is more because of an assumed theatre snobbery that I can’t remember where I picked up than an actual opinion based on experience.  But Sunset Boulevard is probably one of his better shows (the other one being By Jeeves) because it sticks closely to the source material for once (the film being by Billy Wilder, one of the greatest writer/directors ever).  And the title song, if nothing else, is pretty darn good.  How many songs are genuinely exciting?

But honestly the only bit I remember particularly liking of the show is the scene where Norma buys Joe lots of clothes.

So since it is Musical Monday, here’s Sunset Boulevard.  You can pick which version you want to watch, depending on which actor you like best (just a hint though, I’ve put the performances in what I think is best-to-worst order).

Michael Ball:

Hugh Jackman:

John Barrowman:
Sunset Boulevard from Sunset Boulevard (duh)

But that’s not what I’ve brought you here to talk about.  It was another show I saw with The Mother that really hit me.

Around a similar time, we also went to see Singin’ In The Rain, I think also at The Mayflower.

Up until this point, although I had seen quite a lot of theatre, and I enjoyed the opportunity to do so, I had no idea what it was like to fall for a show the way I had fallen for films and books before.  I could never have said what was The Favourite Show.  Until that day.

I love the movie Singin’ In The Rain.  As a kid one of The Greatest Desires to achieve when I became an actor was to be able to run up a wall like Cosmo.

So going to see a live version of the film was a big deal for me.  And the show wasn’t able to achieve the same awe I felt for the film. (the only differences I recall was the speech therapist in Moses Supposes was a woman, which didn’t work as well, Lana gets a song, which was a good change, and Cosmo’s dance for Make ‘Em Laugh was slightly less energetic, but as The Mother pointed it out, he was having to do it all in one take and live)

But it was still the best theatre show I had ever seen.

IT RAINS.  Right there, live on stage.  It FREAKING RAINS!  How many other stage shows come with a splash zone?

It was that magic of theatre I keep talking about.

So which of those three performances do you like best?


  1. I think you got the order right on those videos. I don't like the song - the strings are very evocative, but that's about it. Michael Ball's quite good. Hugh Jackman's concentrating more on the accent and trying to seem nonchalant, sounds oddly bored. "BOO-lavard." And then John Barrowman. Could he BE any gayer in that?

    1. It's the sound of the song I like - like a tempestuous sea.

      And I don't like John Barrowman's singing style - it's rather soft. I like my men singers to have very strong deep... well hell, I like my men to be Philip Quast.

    2. I think Michael Ball is going for the ominous side of the story and Hugh Jackman (who weirdly reminds me of David Tennant all of a sudden) is leaning into the comedy of the character.


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