March 19th, 2008

Fishy Circumstances

In memoriam - Arthur C. Clarke

If they had cures, long ago,
for burn, for plague, for polio,
for heart break and for dreams destroyed,
for starlust, and for inner void -

they could not all ensure that any
could live to four score years and ten. He
compassed space and earth and air,
a life full-lived with toil and flair.

They are not stars that do not burn,
though each collapses in their turn.
He still as star lights forth the way
with magic's prism, techne's sway.
Fishy Circumstances

Spamalot

After the first act, I wished that this musical - mostly based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail - could give up the heavy-handed stringing of the plot along, and just give in to what it was good at: being a thematically-unified variety show. And behold! That's exactly what the second act provided, and it was a much better experience for it.

It's a hit-and-miss confection overall, frothy and fun, oblingingly offering up most of the most famous bits of the movie (although the appearance of Tim the Enchanter seemed unnecessary, given that he asked no questions). There is shrubbery and limbs chopped off and people who are mostly dead (but have to sing one of the show's weakest songs). There are also new elements, most notably the addition of the Lady of the Lake, since otherwise there was no major female part. She was wonderfully over-acted, and given fabulously self-parodying numbers to sing - but the part itself was minimal, and the role has less personality than the others. I was particularly won by the actors playing Robin and Patsy. Lancelot should have been an overdone role, but was merely done.

There was no Brian, but there was "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", which was better integrated than I'd feared. There was an excellent weather forecast, and a cheery Finnish fish-slapping song, and disco. There were cheerleaders and lots of knights getting limbs chopped off. Overall, the musical parodied - or at least referenced - at least a dozen other musicals. Yet the whole thing could have been even better if the writers had realized from the start what their strengths were - the token plot was better staying token.

Thanks to haggisthesecond and naxos for organizing.
Labyrinth - Thirteen o'clock

Signs

Coming home from some tasty curry via bus, I looked out the window and saw a store, closed for the night. Its facade read:
Imports --- Exports
Feelings