Monday, 31 March 2008

Singalonga Sound of Music?

The brown paper packages tied up with string and the girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes had several things in common.

They were all standing sipping lager and wore lace-up shoes with colourful socks below naked, hairy calves.

The packages rustled noisily as a stiff breeze made their untied edges billow.

The girls in white dresses only had to make sure their long golden ringlets didn't get into their pints.

When you're over six foot tall with two-day stubble and built like rugby lock forward, you tend not to be too concerned if your dress blows about a bit.

There was a late flurry of nuns rushing up the road, crosses bouncing on ample bosoms. One paused to hitch a red garter higher on a meaty thigh while her friend took the opportunity to call someone on her mobile phone.

Meanwhile a bloke in a calf-length tunic decorated with paintings of jam and bread strolled passed various lederhosen-clad groups of people with undisguised arrogance.

You could almost see his thought bubble of contempt. Takes no imagination, after all, to hire lederhosen whereas he'd used true artistic flair to do the bread and jam thing with a nod towards the freedom of expression of Jackson Pollack.

There were whiskers on some kittens and one cream-coloured pony but no wild geese flying with the moon on their wings or (disappointingly as I was quite peckish having missed dinner) schnitzel with noodles.

They were all assembling at a local theatre for Singalonga Sound of Music - an event which proved a gloriously rip-roaring, mind-numbing, toe-curling combination of art, drama, audience participation and the worse excesses of the colosseum.

Apart from the lederhosen and the nuns (the nun with the red garter turned out to be a Les Dawson lookalike aged 70 suitably named Sister Farty of the Immaculate Orgasm) some of the costumes were inspired.

One of the biggest cheers of the evening was for the large bloke in a white shift holding a small carrier bag at arm's length.

“So what's in there?” asked Mavis the compere - a heady mix of dominatrix and Mrs Merton - trying to peer in.

“A goat turd.”


After a puzzled pause, he elaborated.

“A lonely goat-turd.”

He'd obviously found it high on a hill. Don't worry. It only makes sense if you're a dyed-in-the-goat-fleece Sound of Music fan.

The film began and the audience were unleashed to sing the soaring heart-warming numbers, to boo and yell insults at the nazis, to jeer openly and loudly at the sickly sentiment and let off party-poppers en masse to mark the moment when Julie Andrews snogs Christopher Plummer.

It was as though every single person there had taken the Chemical Brothers' “Don't hold back” adage to heart.

They were going to climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow in the pursuit of a wild night out.

Trouble is, having experienced audience participation in its purest sense, it's going to be quite hard not to heckle at the cinema in future. The lost possibilities will haunt me.

“Behind you!” in Jaws.

“Don't worry. It's only a toy with big eyes” in ET.

“He's a ghost, you eejit!” in Sixth Sense.

I might think of more but in the meantime, so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Sinewy, muscular arms;

practical, clever,

elegant, expressive hands

Long strong fingers

grasp, cling

guide and hold fast

Sensitive, fast fingers work

intricate melodies

commit ideas to paper, thoughts to text

they innovate, instruct, create

they touch, claim,