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Tuesday 14 April 2015

Alice In wonderland - for crazy people

OK it’s been a while so I can now bring myself to write about an event of extreme pain that I went through with my sister.  Families have their ups and downs and this was a real low point which will forever be known as ‘The night we went to a conceptual Opera’.

Having never been to an opera before I was ready for something different to a night at Nandos and figured a little culture never hurt anyone.  I was quite looking forward to Unsuk Chin’s first opera Alice in Wonderland which The Barbican describe this as “A glittering work by Chin and librettist David Henry Hwan” and that it include, “riotous exhilaration and jet-black humour”.  I can only deduce that Chi, Hwan and the Barbican hate mankind.  It was about as riotously funny - and entertaining - as watching a radiator being installed.

Making a break for it?
You know you're in trouble when the evening starts with a cellist crawling around on all fours. I’ve yet to work out if this was part of the whole awful event or just some douche who lost a contact lens. Off to the left was a guy with some lab specs and a bunch of empty glasses – it would be too much to hope they would later be filled with wine or anything fun.  A couple of times in the show he would don said specs and smash a glass.  Errrrm ok then!

There was the obligatory soprano and tenor vocals but this was forced into spoken words with all the direction of a 2-year old who had been kept up way past his bedtime and was a bit cranky.  The real sopranos would have taken them out, but as they aren’t around we are forced to deal with what I can only describe as an exercise in how to make Alice in Wonderland painfully God Damned boring!
The caterpillar was represented by a saxophone player who I think may have rohypnoled herself before coming on stage to ensure she hit as few notes as possible.  On and on and ON it went, butchering any innocent or entertaining aspect of the original writing. I counted three people asleep and saw several others looking longingly at the exit.  I felt their pain but for some reason we all stuck it out and while the people behind us laughed at the ‘funny’ bits I wondered what I had done to my sister that she would punish me so by bringing me to the seventh layer of hell.
Bored much?
At one point even glass boy looked wistfully at a large piece of smashed ‘instrument’ I imagine hoping he could slit his own throat for something more interesting to do.  About 4 days (or so it felt) in we got to the ‘chop off her head’ jury scene and I felt like volunteering so that I didn't have to sit through any more douchbagery!  When in the last scene Alice took about 7 actual minutes to get some scissors off the wall (signalling the end of the torment) I decided they were doing it on purpose. There must be a camera somewhere checking out if the unknowing specimens could watch the whole thing without it inducing a psychotic rage.

Strangely it hasn’t put me off going to a real opera.  And while it’s very possible the show was totes fab and my sister and I are complete philistines, it seems much more likely the glowing reviews are Emperor’s New Clothes offerings.  A bunch of people saying how awesome something is because it was the most nonsensical piece of arse clowning they had come across.

The one good thing was that it ended and now our house has a new threat.  Be nice or I’ll take you to a conceptual Opera!


She's A Gentry said...

Oh god that sounds like hell but tragically hilarious? I hope you laughed about it plenty afterwards. One I will definitely be avoiding :-) xx

TmS said...

Thanks hun, we did but only after we got out!

Vicki said...

Hilarious! I'm sorry you went through that particularly awful torture. I enjoyed my experience at the opera, but it wasn't conceptual - which seems to be the genre to avoid! Vx

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