Monday, February 21, 2005

X... The Musical

Acorn Antiques is a parody of the soap opera Crossroads. It had shaky sets, shakier dialogue and featured lines such as "twin cousins" and a mythical place called Manchesterford. Its heroine was Mrs Overall, marvellously played by Julie Walters. It was written by Victoria Wood who was incredibly funny in the 1980s and early 1990s. In fact, she once wrote a sketch about the fictional making of a musical of "Bessie Bunter" (sister of Billy Bunter, a fat school-boy who was the subject of many children's novels) - the sketch centred on how ridiculous the whole idea was. Unfortunately, it all now seems to have come full circle and she has written the musical of Acorn Antiques. Welcome to 2005.

It seems that London has latched onto a sure-fire winner to get tourists to go and see musical theatre all over again. Musical writers have ran out of ideas - and their producers are refusing to take risks on something that may well turn out to be a flop. So how to resolve these two problems? How about making a musical based on a tv show that everyone likes? It's a variation on the sequel format - "audiences loved Meet the Parents, so they'll love Meet the Fockers." Now we can wring a bit more out of an idea, by setting it to music. So we've had Prisoner Cell Block H: the Musical. And Bad Girls: the Musical. And now... Acorn Antiques: the Musical. Unfortunately, these musicals all appear rather derivative - having seen clips of all three, it's hard to tell them apart. I guess musicals are pretty low-brow at the best of times, but there's something just basically so WRONG about making them about tv programmes that even Trash Addict feels dirty writing about them. Oh well, onto better things.

A Staunch Character

Thanks to Andrew who tipped me off about the documentary film Grey Gardens, which has recently been released by Criterion. Two relatives of Jackie Onassis. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter (also called Edith) - they are referred to as Big Edie and Little Edie. They live mad reclusive lives together in a rambling East Hampton mansion called Grey Gardens, which is over-run with cats and fleas. Before the film starts they were almost evicted from their home for being filthy (in a way that only the really upper-class can be).

Big Edie has huge bat-wing arms, spends most of the time in bed and insists on being naked a lot of the time. Little Edie never reveals her head to the camera, instead wearing a series of turbans (Did she pull out her own hair? Does she suffer from alopecia?) She reads astrology books with a magnifying glass and is obsessed with finding a "Libra Man". She describes herself as a "staunch character - S. T. A. U. N. C. H.". The two women bicker, sing and dance, and look at photos of themselves when they were both younger and beautiful. The film is full of weird philosophy, humour and pathos. Get it. There's a great montage of the best bits over at Danorama.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This Andrew fellow sounds really hot...