Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I am currently taking advantage of the (hopefully) free wi-fi in my hotel room to update my blog. I'm in Canterbury for work, staying at a nice hotel on Wincheap trying to take advantage of the alone-time to do some writing. Unfortunately, my writing session has turned into an amazing feat of procrastination. For example, I took a detour home via Chilham to see where Jane Austen's brother once lived and where they shot some scenes for the newest BBC adaptation of Emma. When I did get back to the hotel finally, after only writing two lines of notes I then took another detour to writerdom by seeing how much honeycomb I could eat in twenty minutes whilst drinking an entire pot of tea. I then dallied further by reading Carrie Vaughn's story in Fantasy magazine (tis good, go see for yourself).
My attention span is ridiculous. If only I could concentrate for more than 10 minutes at a time I might actually have more things accomplished.
So on that note, I'm going to go back and do some writing.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New York

I had an excellent holiday in New York. Did you miss me?! I did most of the touristy things, like going to the top of the Empire State Building, climbing the 350-odd steps to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty, went to The Village and Times Square, all that stuff. We saw the Ghostbusters' fire station and Carrie's stoop.
I saw three shows whilst away; two Broadway musicals, The Book of Mormon and The Addams Family and an Off-off-Broadway play, Bring Me The Head Of Your Daughter. (warning: Spoilers below).
The Book of Mormon was excellent. So glad I went to see it. Whatever your views on the subject matter, the rest of Broadway could learn a lesson from the tight composition, relevant catchy hilarious songs, seamless directing, musical direction and choreography and talented cast. It never dragged, the pacing was spot on and it actually managed to be sentimental and quite sweet as well as full of the crude humour you'd sort of expect given the authors (here, here and here).
The second show was The Addams Family - The Musical. See, I can hear you groan already, and I should have trusted my instincts. But then I looked it up and found out that Andrew Lippa had written the score. So it couldn't be that bad, could it? Wrong. I don't think anyone involved (aside from the costume and set designers) had actually ever read or watched anything related to the Addams Family before. The songs were forgettable almost instantly (with the exception of "Pulled" which was quite good). The story was pretty feeble - Wednesday is now a teenager and in love with a "normal" person. Except that Wednesday and Lucas had no chemistry, and sang songs at each other so you never actually believed they were in love. It was almost like watching a school play where the children aren't allowed to so much as hold hands. The actor playing Lucas tried to sing to Wednesday but meant that he was in profile for most of the show so I have no idea what he looked like, if he can act, etc. It wasn't just the kids though who seemed to have a "no touching" policy. Gomez and Morticia had no chemistry whatsoever. Roger Rees, although game, was basically doing a "Nathan Lane" impression and so for me didn't feel connected to the role and all of the jokes fell flat. Morticia was cold. I just kept thinking back to the loved-up Angelica Houston and Raul Julia in the movie and thought - how could the musical get it so wrong? They even have Morticia and Gomez get into a fight because she is feeling insecure about her looks. Completely out of character.
The rest of the story was about the two families - the Addams family and the "normal" family - meeting. They play a game of "full disclosure", which is made out to be something hideous, and it turns out to be a game of "Truth". The "normal" mum drinks a potion that's supposed to turn her "from Mary Poppins to Medea" but instead makes her act drunk, say what's on her mind and do a very mildly sexy dance. If that's what passes for Medea in this day and age, heaven help us! Anyway, it was awful and it put me off seeing any other Broadway shows in case they were terrible too.
"Bring Me The Head Of Your Daughter", was about a lesbian couple, one of whom is an alcoholic and abusive, the other raped by her brother when a child, and the lesbian couple's daughter, who is accused of being a cannibal. As you can sort of tell from my summary, too much happens in this play to make it really successful - it was only about an hour and a half long! When the brother turns up, the play segways into another story about his health and his relationship with his sister, and none of the stories are concluded satisfactorily (which was ok, but the ending they went for wasn't particularly strong). Good performances, direction and set, though a minor peeve was that the daughter, who had adopted an English accent, should have let the accent slip a few times when she was angry - it would have really have emphasised the theme of her story about illusion and truth.
So there are my reviews. Had a fantastic time, and glad that it's the Easter holidays soon because I can finish unpacking and tidy the house.
Had a couple of ideas for stories whilst away that I think I may look at. Have to do some planning first though before I start, and also finish off the couple of stories I've already started.