Ok time for a quick catch-up...
Last week I went with Owen to see the lavish Cirque du Soleil show VAREKAI at the Royal Albert Hall.
We lost out on a lot of the face-on spectacle as we were in end -of-the-aisle seats looking across the stage but there was still plenty to marvel at. The 'plot' was of Icarus falling into a magical forest or something like that but, as with the last show of theirs we saw, it was a bit tedious and invariably featured clowns whose shtick went on for a bit too long. Oh and underscored with rather annoying new-agey music.
However... when the "turns" get to do their stuff is when the wow factor kicks in.
I am a sucker for aerial daredevelling and we got two great acts - the first was Hungarian Mark Halasi as Icarus circling and tumbling above our heads with only a white mesh net wrapped around his arms and even more thrilling England's Andrew and Kevin Atherton on the aeriel straps... but who were quickly dubbed by myself the two gay flyers!
They delivered a real jaw-to-the floor performance - twanging up and out around the vaulted space above the audience with just rubber ropes attached to their wrists before doing pretty shapes together high above the stage. It was great and I was gagging for the chance to have a go on one of them. The ropes I mean.
There was some fierce juggling from Mexican Octavio Alegria (great name) gobbing ping-pong balls high in the air and catching them while hurtling around the stage - then buzzing hats across the stage and racing to catch 'em. Whirling Georgian dancers, guys lying flat and juggling other guys sitting on their feet... oh and a good routine with a crooner racing around the auditorium trying to stay in the elusive spotlight. Great fun.
The weekend saw a trip to the Streatham Odeon to see NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS. It made me realise how the Hollywood writers' strike might actually have been a good thing - if it stopped them writing shit like this. The - for want of a better word - script is credited to The Wibberleys. It gave me the fucking wibberleys just watching it.
Who knew that the cryptic clues Ted Rogers used to read out on 3-2-1 would turn up in a Hollywood movie? Various clues that have baffled people for several hundred years were solved by Nicolas Cage in a trice. How could anyone NOT guess that "rain from a cloudless sky" actually means sprinkle bottled water over a rock to reveal a hidden clue and that "two twins standing resolute" actually meant two desks made from the timber of the HMS Resolute that now stand in Buckingham Palace and The Oval Office.. cue an absurd sequence in Buckingham Palace which seems to think that a couple would be allowed to have a lengthy argument on the main stairway of the visitors area - closley followed by a lengthy and dull car chase around the city... lucky Ken brought that congestion-charge in I say.
This dog show dares not pause for a second in case you might start to question it's flawed inner logic so it is like watching a 2 hour trailer. Yes I know it's supposed to be check-your-brain-at-the-door stuff but we are being asked to do that a bit too much now. A film which would have you believe that Britain actively supported the Confederate cause, that General Custer was killed by the Indians to stop him finding out about a lost Aztec city of gold in North Dakota - go fuckin' figure - and that the US President is also the guardian of a Book of Secrets which actually details the truth about the Kennedy Assassination and countless other conspiracy theories is to be viewed with some suspicion.
Needless to say the film ends with the threat of a sequel so I expect Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel et al with hucker down and suck the corporate Disney knob just one more time. How much money do these people need??
Luckily a third viewing of SWEENEY TODD the next evening restored my faith in film... even with the couple noisily making out in the back row. Oh to have had one of Sweeney's 'friends' to silence their belt-jangling, lip-smacking noise.