Thursday, June 12, 2008


Last night, we saw Hairspray -- our only theatre outing on the trip thus far.

We actually almost missed the show due to a passenger "taking ill" on the subway with a "spinal injury" of some sort on one of the Central Line trains. Sadly a number of people are killed or injured each year (53 injuries in 2007) by not "minding the gap" or other careless behavior. One year while we were here a passenger was hit by a train in the High Street Ken tube station. They evacuated that poor soul via helicopter, but I suspect they were one of that year's three reported fatalities (btw, I'm an "expert" on subway safety statistics only because London Transport actually posts them on large signs to warn people). In any case, we had to double back and take a different route to get to the show. Despite all of that, we arrived about 10 minutes before the curtain went up.

Overall, the show was very good and enjoyable. Like a good cappucinno, it was mostly light and frothy (i.e., it wasn't especially deep or affecting like a Les Mis). I'm not sure if that was entirely by choice as it contained some serious themes, such as race in America. But, I felt that those were used as more of a vehicle to advance the plot rather than a subject of serious exploration. In any case, it was entertaining, and Libby was glad to see (yet again) Michael Ball in the West End. That said, while his performance was as good as always, the part really didn't use his vocal talents to best (or nearly any) advantage. It's actually somewhat surprising that he won "Best Actor" for this role; although, we both thought it might have been (unofficially of course) awarded in part for recognition of his other work too. He did have one splendid number / scene with his husband (he played the part of the wife in drag -- which is traditional to Hairspray, though I'm not really sure why other than comedic effect).

All in all, it was a fun night out.

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