Feb. 1st, 2007

jaala: (theatre)
[I don't remember when I wrote this. February-ish?]

I watched "Pleasure At Her Majesty's" and bits of "Mermaid's Frolics" yesterday. I was impressed with several of the performances: Jonathan Miller (still his hilariously hyperactive self in the 70's), Alan Bennett's fantastic middle-aged upper-class twit composing a dirty telgram over the phone, and John Cleese remaning as energetic as ever with the parrot sketch. And it was nifty to see what Roger Wilmut was on about with Eleanor Bron, John Fortune and John Bird. (John Bird was so darn *young* then!)

But I'm afraid the predominant impression I take from it--"Pleasure At Her Majesty's" especially--is that of disappointment at its disorganisation and unprofesionalism, and of anger at the shortchanging of anybody not in Python, especially the Goodies.

Heck, Peter Cook seemed barely with it at times and he got significant parts in other people's sketches.

It makes perfect sense (and also fascinating viewing) to replace original cast members with other people--for instance, Terry Jones made a valiant stab at Dudley Moore's part in "So That's How You Like It"--but it seems massively unfair to actually *cut out* the original cast members from a sketch when they were fully present and accounted for: Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Jonathan Lynn for the custard pie sketch. And Surely Bil Oddie is a better deadpan actor than leering Terry Gilliam?

Bill seemed generally cheesed off at the proceedings (though he made an effort to appear cheerful on stage) and I frankly don't blame him. The Goodies were restricted to one song and they weren't even given a single chance to rehearse "Funky Gibbon" with the band. When they appeared with the rest of the cast in the Lumberjack song, no one provided them with the words so they appeared completely adrift. (No wonder even the cameraman seemed at pains to avoid getting their faces in shot.)

The pianist for the Lumberjack song completely trod on the toes of the end of Jonathan Miller's closing lines in "So That's How You Like It". Though, to be fair, it probably wasn't his/her fault, as evidently no one thought it worth their while to brief the pianist on the Lumberjack Song or even tell Michael Palin to give clear cues of where he was coming in for an encore.

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