Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Birthmonth Day Twenty-Three: Thoroughly Modern Millie

Seen here, as Dash-X
(and not at all what The Hill’s cartoon appearance is based on)

I wanted to be a film director when I grew up.  Despite not knowing what they do.  I think I just wanted The Name to be attached to films, and to have power over them.  It never developed further than a way to fill out lists when playing ‘what will happen to you in the future’ games though, because every time I got near any kind of short film or play, I ended up acting in it (and writing it).

So back when I worked at The Theatre, as I said the first good show I saw was

Titanic The Musical (Portsmouth Players/16th-21st October 2006).  There was a lot of tittering beforehand, imagining this was some awful adaptation of that lame blockbuster movie, which it obviously wasn’t.  But it was enjoyable.  It was well done and very touching.  Is it in poor taste to make a musical out of a tragedy?  You’re asking the wrong person.  I own both
In my defence, I only bought one The Self,
the other was a present from The Mother

I was particularly impressed by the characters Thomas Andrews, the tortured ship’s designer (who I think was played by Stuart Warner – I recall him being about eight feet tall anyway), and J. Bruce Ismay, the arrogant owner (played by Jack Edwards) – although let’s face it, partly I liked this character because his physique, red robe costume and money-grabbing ways reminded me of a serious Max Bialystock.

So I was quite interested to see this group again.  I had never before seen an amateur group that you wouldn’t know were amateur. 

But the only other show they did that really caught The Attention was

Thoroughly Modern Millie (Portsmouth Players/11th-16th June 2007)

which is like if you took the really funny film and added a coherent plot.  The only problem is no lead is ever going to be as good as Julie Andrews, but you can’t have everything.

It was really, really funny.  I was very impressed with streetwise Jimmy Smith (I think he was played by Ben Bond), who was just my kind of character instead of the creep he is in the movie (brilliant idea to completely rewrite that character, whoever adapted the movie into a stage show) and the actor playing square-jawed Trevor Graydon was perfect (I think this was Stuart Warner again).

That really was a great show.  Did I mention how funny it was?

The only Portsmouth Players show I’ve ever seen as a paying member of the public is:

Anything Goes (Portsmouth Players/Kings Theatre/24th October 2009)

which is a show I had really wanted to see for some time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t memorable at all.  But I don’t think that is the Players’ fault (although I don’t recall any of the cast standing out) so much as it isn’t an interesting show. 

Oh well, I will always remember them for the drama of Titanic and the comedy of Millie.  

Have you seen any good am dram?

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