2004-09-09 : By order of the Buffalo Club…
I can't believe I missed TimO's birthday – it was his 21st, and all! Not that I could have made it to the party; it being in Adelaide and all… but it still would have been good to have the presence of mind to have called on the night, or something. Not that I've got any cash at the minute anyhoo. Grr. Damn paycheck. It's BOUND to arrive ONE OF THESE DAYS ! In the meantime, in case TimO comes to visit my website, I offer possibly the cheapest and most pointless gesture of a birthday present I could find – a really cool animated GIF that I ripped off from B3TA.
Now, tales of adventure… let's see…
Last night I went to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in the West End. Admittedly the circumstances weren't ideal, and I *really* hope Annie gets over her food poisoning soon !
It's pretty easy to knock a play or a musical. Mind you, the fact that it's easy isn't going to stop me. It was pretty good, but it just didn't really *grip* me – initially I thought it was because I've seen/read the story a number of times now (Oh Year 11, you have so much to answer for !)… but after a while it struck me that this version was quite heavily adapted, and whilst you expect a movie to differ from the book, it seemed to me that Milos Forman was more faithful to the Ken Kesey novel than this production was. I seem to recall the character of Taber being quite relevant to the plotline, whereas there was no Taber in this ! Other concessions/adaptions were made, and to me they seemed to detract from the experience – the main one I can think of is the water cooler lifting. In the book the water cooler is a substantial plot device; McMurphy attempts to lift it whilst planning an escape, and then the Chief does similar – in this version it's a big circuit box rather than a water cooler, and the escape route is provided by an open door, so the lifting of the object becomes more of a token gesture rather than a necessary one (with token meaning attached).
Probably the hardest thing I found to deal with was the Celebrity factor however. I guess that I have very high expectations of a dramatic piece with a Hollywood actor in it – theoretically an actor must be extremely talented to make it in Hollywood, and Christian Slater had been much touted as a drawcard for this performance, so I was really expecting his performance to be top shelf. I realise that all actors have good and bad days, however I found him quite unconvincing, and he seemed very much to be reciting lines rather than living a character. Many of the other actors were far more substantial in this regard.
Another point of irritation was the way that 3 mobile phones went off during the show – 2 in the first half and one in the second. One I can understand, reluctantly. But SURELY that would prompt everybody else to check their phones to make sure they were off ? The worst bit was that the second one went off during a poignant, tension-building silence on stage. GRRRR !
I haven't had time to do much research to find out why Slater was invited to play the role – he was approached to perform this part at the Edinburgh Festival, which up until that point he'd never heard of – but initially I thought it might be simply because he's got a similar manner to Jack Nicholson. I can't put my finger on what it is exactly, but in the leadup to seeing this show I thought there was something similar about the look in their eyes and some of their mannerisms… however (and this is going to sound harsh) the only real similarity between the two I could see after comparing performances was that they both have receding hairlines.
In all though (cos I've gotta get going in a sec!), I did quite enjoy it, and I was intending to go at some stage anyway. It just left me feeling a little unconvinced (clearly the rest of the audience felt the same way, because those actors really had to milk a second round of bowing).