Wednesday, April 18, 2007
This has happened before.
Last night at the theatre I was surrounded by people in fits of laughter while I just sat there straight-faced and bemused. Yes, I chuckled occasionally, but on the whole I was definitely, you know, not getting it.
The show was Peepolykus’ three-man staging of The Hound Of The Baskervilles, it had got decent reviews when it opened in Leeds last year and its transfer to London was something I had rather been looking forward to. However, for some reason, the humour just didn’t work for me. I found many of the jokes laboured and have seen this sort of small-cast/big-story parody done better elsewhere – the current production of The 39 Steps at the Criterion springing most immediately to mind. I waited for something to click, for the joke or the scene that would draw me in, but it just never happened. And yet, all around me, people were laughing so hard they seemed in real danger of having their minor organs evacuate their bodies through their nostrils.
I began to worry that this was somehow my fault, that I was somehow deficient for not finding this rather clumsy and patchy comedy life-threateningly funny. Fortunately I had gone along with Not French Clair, who seemed equally perplexed and unamused. On the interval, and at the end of the show, we found it necessary to reassure each other that we weren’t alone in our bemusement, that we weren’t both in some way broken.
As I said, this isn’t the first time this has happened (hello Spamalot) but it’s always disconcerting when it does. And it’s a shame as the cast were not untaleneted and had a nice rapport with one another; I just found the whole thing a bit meh. No actually, on reflection, a little less than ‘meh’, maybe simply ‘eh.’