Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

An evening of music at the theatre

Thanks to my dear friend Shutters, I got to see Sandra Bernhard at the Leicester Square Theatre - I have been a bit of a fan for many years, but this was actually the only time I have seen her live.

I'm still a bit of a fan, but seeing her brought to the fore some of my reservations. Essentially, the problem is that the whole 'I am talking about my showbiz friends ironically and affectionately in a way that is totes subversive of standard showbiz patter' was quite an amusing and interesting schtick twenty years ago, when she started doing it. And now it is pretty much what all showbiz people do at some level and irony has moved from being interesting to being as standard a fashion accessory as lip-balm.

The weird thing is - she was doing an updated version of her original Without You I'm Nothing show, which I have on disc, but haven't actually got round to playing for years because a lot of people cannot stand it and it's not especially one I listen to by myself. A lot of the comic riffs - the Gentile Christmas, the Stevie Nicks stuff, the straight boy coming out as gay in 1978 - turn out to be things that I know by heart to the extent that I was singing along with them, as it were, in my head. Obviously, I've always liked her more than I thought of myself as doing.

On the other hand, she has committed some of the worst performances I have ever seen in movies, notably in Hudson Hawk which had the insanely brilliant, or perhaps merely insane, idea of teaming her up with Richard E. Grant, another of the most mannered and affected people on the planet, as quasi-incestuous evil genius siblings. Luckily, there seems to be nothing of this on YouTube...

SB sings in an odd combination of Broadway belter meets Soul Diva sort of way; I'd probably like her even more if her playlist coincided with my taste a bit more.

Afterawads, at the same theatre, Shutters dragged me to the insanely brilliant Showstopper! at which, on the last Thursday of each month, a brilliant cast improvise a musical from suggestions thrown out by the audience. It took me back to when I was sharing a flat with an aspiring composer of shows - a story for which the world is not yet ready - and is one of the best couple of hours I've had in a theatre for a while.

Which isn't to diss Sandra Bernhard - just that there I knew what I was going to get pretty much, and Showstopper! was this sudden revelation of possibility - a Northern Irish melodrama with a Philip Glass ghost ballet and a fast-paced Loesserish number about grave-digging.
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