Monday, 15 September 2014

Birthmonth Day Fifteen: Bent (and Musical Monday #78)



The Best Friend when I was at school (The Butler) wanted to be an actor too.  We had an inexhaustible list of make believe games we could haul out at playtime, the main one being ‘Hotchkins and Jane’ about two Victorian servants/twins who went on various adventures, often involving time travel.  In Year 4 we impressed the teacher so much with a cardboard puppet theatre show that she let us turn it into a play, and she cast us as the leads in our class’s sketch for the Christmas show, in Year 5 we were allowed a regular spot on a Friday afternoon to do a play and ours was always the best and we even spent our spare time rehearsing a Snow White pantomime we got to perform on the last day of the year, when everyone got to bring in games and weren’t paying any attention to us.  Generally throughout Junior School we came up with skits for assemblies.  In Senior School we ruled Lunchtime Drama Club, while in Afterschool Drama Club we were invariably cast as lovers.  Sherlock Holmes and Moran definitely had a thing for each other.  And we often came up with bits for open evenings, assemblies and ‘talent’ shows.  We even joined a ghastly Amateur Dramatics group together.  By college we got to share our drama lessons.  The plan had always been to go to Drama School together too and be housemates in London.

But things changed.  Things being that I got bad grades and quit acting.  While The Butler got good grades and went to Drama School and became a professional actor.

I have, to date, only seen him in three of his professional shows, coz he keeps being in shows when I am working, as well as being in London and other places, which is very inconvenient of him.

  • Snap (written by Paul O'Connor/Stellar Theatre Company/Brockley Jack Theatre/July 2006)

On the way in, we noticed a sign warning of full frontal nudity.  I had never been to see a show with nudity in it before and spent the entire show in tense uneasy anticipation, barely wanting to look at the stage.  Particularly as the lead was a big fat guy who spent most of the show in his Y-fronts. 

There was no full frontal nudity. 

Turns out the sign referred to a bit when a woman exposed her breasts, but she actually did this to the cast, with her back to the audience.  This seems like a necessary change as the character was supposed to have a huge tattoo of Barry Manilow or someone on her breast, so obviously this wouldn’t be able to be realised.  Yet since the sign was still up, it seems like it must have been a last minute change.  Were the shop out of Barry Manilow temporary tattoos that day?

  • Bent (by Martin Sherman/Tabard Theatre, London/7th August 2010)

The interesting thing about this show is that it didn’t have a sign warning of full frontal nudity. 
The worst part was that the naked guy went off stage-phew-and then CAME BACK AND HE WAS STILL NAKED
(if slightly less, uh, alert).

  • Aliens Love Underpants (based on the book by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort, adapted by Adam Bampton-Smith/Kings Theatre, Portsmouth/4th October 2013)

The main thing I remember about this one is EVERYONE KEPT THEIR CLOTHES ON.

Um, right, Musical Monday…

Let Me Entertain You from Gypsy

Well it’s the only musical number about taking your clothes off that came to mind.

What's the most shocking thing you've seen live?


  1. Fabulous drawings of scrunched-up facial awkwardness, there. You've really encapsulated Snap, aka The Inexorable Countdown To Nudity.

    I've never seen Bent, but you've described it in such lurid detail - include this strategically-placed black box - that I feel like I have, and wish I haven't.

    1. They should have just called it 'the semi' and been done with it, since that is the only thing about the show that held my attention.


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