April 5th, 2002

Photo - leaves

"sunset boulevard" - a grantle.

a grantle, i have decided, is a combination of a grumble, a rant and a ramble... so this is a grantle.

"sunset boulevard"... wow... just simply, utterly, wow... shall attempt to summarise and be coherent and numerical... and, for those seeking a summary which makes sense, go here.

1) the show begins on-screen. it shows a black and white close-up of norma desmond. she does her whole silent filmstar thing... the camera zooms in, then the audience is left facing the barrel of a gun... nice bit of foreshadowing, that ;)

2) this is the only show i remember where a) i didn't cry (which is either a good OR a bad thing. in this case it's a good thing, there was nothing really cry-worthy in it. which, again, can be a good or a bad thing...) and b) i didn't get the horrible feeling of wanting to kill myself halfway through. possibly because there's no young female lead in this. well, there is, but she's not the coolest character, and i'm too young to be norma desmond ;)

3) it's been a frelling long time since something i saw had a standing ovation at the end. faith brown truly did shine...

4) right, show chronology would be good... the set is, as usual with a lloyd webber production, amazing. a staircase on wheels, many yards of fabric to make gold rouched curtains, sliding set pieces, old bits of film set, a drop-down projection screen, and an actual working camera at the end (more on that later.) and everything slides together really wonderfully between scenes. there was only one major glitch - the set piece for schwab's bar obviously took longer than they anticipated to get set up, since the orchestra played the introduction to the song about 5 times over... other than that, the set was great ;)

5) lead guy was purrrdy :) his programme photo did NOT do him justice. he had a lovely smile...
[ADDENDUM 09/05/02 - hehe... the beginning of a beautiful infatuation...]

6) faith brown may not be glenn close (who is the definitive norma desmond in my opinion, because she looks manic most of the time anyway), and she may be a tad too busty for the part, but she was incredibly good. if it hadn't been so cold i might have attempted a backstage door stalking, but it really WAS cold...
[ADDENDUM 09/05/02 - i renounce that statement. faith brown is divine and brings a certain elegance to norma that glenn close lacked... this is not to say that i don't like glenn close - she really is totally manic in the most wonderful way... and gloria swanson is, of course, the original norma, and that can't be beaten. there is no definitive norma for me... my norma is a bizarre amalgamation of faith, glenn and gloria...]

7) the shipper in me has been hooked on this since i saw the movie. i'm incurable, what do you expect? add to that the fact it's practically the reverse of the POTO scenario, and i'm a goner. norma and joe deserve each other by the end, they're both as deluded as each other. thus, the act one tango scene is one of my new favourite theatre moments. but, see, in the soundtrack, it says that after they dance (and sing "perfect year". yes. the same one sung by dina carroll), norma kisses him. i was anticipating this and it didn't happen. nor did joe kiss her later when he comes back from artie's party. i was NOT impressed (even if the final kiss at the end of act one DID make me tingly all over... :D) however, they made up for it in kind in act two :) and threw some in where i wasn't expecting it. *sigh* i was well aware i was grinning like a moron, but by that stage, i really didn't care... and i need shipperfic. i will be the universe's first SBshipperficcer... (i just know i'm still going to be rambling about this later...)

moving on...

8) joe's big solo at the start of act two, appropriately entitled "sunset boulevard" also made me tingle. there was something about the guy's voice, the underlying chord, and the way it just sounds in a theatre...

9) norma's big scene at paramount studios when she sings "as if we never said goodbye" completely alone in the spotlight, then provoked my mother to say later that it's something everyone HAS to experience. she's done it herself. *sigh* so now i have to live up to her expectations as well as my own. great... anyway, faith brown ;) she was fantastic in the scene, her delivery just hit all the right metaphorical and literal notes. it's amazing how much more sense the words to something make when it's delivered properly...

10) dammit! i forgot to mention the headlights!! hee! there's a car chase scene, so they darkened the entire stage and had a couple of sets of headlights on wheels to roll around. it sounds corny but it was SO effective! and they ended it with overlaying the footage from the original film over the end of it... making me very glad i watched it before i went, or it would have made less sense.

11) screw the chronology... they missed out the naughty words!! well, word, singular, really. they left in the line "get me that shithead nolan", but turned, uh, 'frell' (artistic license :P) into "heck", as in "joe, what the heck brings you here?" it doesn't really have the same effect. possibly there were too many kids in the audience tonight. still, i find it highly amusing that they can disguise it as culture and then swear at us :)

12) i started humming the intro to act two without realising it... :-|

13) the worst thing about seeing a live show is that the whole thing seems to pass so quickly, and there's no rewind button. and i find if you sit too close, it never seems real somehow... it's like you're watching it on a huge screen. if you sit further back it makes the stage more... well... like a stage. probably just a me thing. anyway, yes no rewind button. which means if you miss something, you miss it... and if there's someone's head in the way, you definitely miss it... luckily, there wasn't, this time ;) however, i want to see it again. now.

14) i'm allowed to be obsessed now i've seen it, right?

15) the ending was clever. the famous closing line of the film is "and now, mister de mille, i'm ready for my close up", and there's a close up. obviously, you can't do that on stage. aha, but you can! the aforementioned camera came in handy here. they rotated the entire staircase so that norma was facing stage right, brought the semi-opaque screen down and had a camera on her face to do the close up... and the final image, with the last words of "with one look" ringing out, is on her eyes... her manic, insane eyes... it's a breathtaking moment.

and... the thing about musicals, no matter how sad the ending... is everyone comes out smiling. it doesn't happen often with plays...

now for the grumble/rant part.

i remember Theatre. it was an excuse to dress up. the ice-cream was in those little tubs with the wooden spoonsticks, or was cornettos. the lights would dim and a hush would descend on the auditorium. and out of the silence, the opening strains of the orchestra would begin.

now, people wear jeans. (someone had the audacity - or sheer blindness - to turn up in a "les miserables" tee shirt. to a lloyd webber show...) the ice cream is expensive, it's ben and jerry's. the lights dim, and people carry on talking. the orchestra starts, people still whisper, and rustle their sweets, and rumple their programmes. watches go off every hour, text messages hit mobile phones, and... it's just not the same.

the only thing that makes it seem familiar is walking to the seat while the orchestra tunes up. a tuning orchestra is one of the most amazing, beautiful sounds in the world... and even the metropolitan hell that is the new hippodrome seemed like a theatre from days of old...

i really think i'm too young to be so nostalgic over things like this ;)

oh, and here's what i bought:

1 souvenir brochure - £3.00
1 programme - £4.00
1 vocal selection - £10.00 (bloody cheap for sheet music! god only knows how much that'd be in a shop...)
1 keyring - £3.00
1 lapel pin - £2.50

coming to a grand total of £22.50, resulting in my mum having to go to the bank since i forgot my card. but as i bought the tickets (£55.00 in total...), i think i deserved a present ;)

anyway. i was going to also type up the beginnings of the fanfic. or rather, me trying to talk myself out of it, failing, and throwing ideas around. but it's long. so next time, i will :)

and now, good night.

PS: "frasier" - aw!! he proposed! and... and... just... niles. all crying and nervous and aw! *sigh*