Friday, July 28, 2006

Melting at the Chocolate Factory

Laura and I went to see The Last Five Years at the Menier Chocolate Factory on Wednesday. This is a venue I really like, they stage interesting work and have a good track record with small scale musicals (the current production of Sunday in the Park With George started life in the Menier) but they really need to do something about the air con - or rather the lack of - in the theatre. They were handing out battery-powered fans in the cafe beforehand (and I'd brought a fan along with me anyway because I remembered how stuffy it was when I saw Jonathan Larson's Tick, Tick...Boom! there last summer). But this was something else. I know it's a fringe venue with limited resources but there are limits to what people will put up with.

Shame, as in many respects it's a great space and the show, while often problematic, is worth seeing. It's an account of a five year relationship - told forwards by the man and backwards by the woman, dueting only once in the middle for their wedding scene. Apparently it was based rather closely on composer Jason Robert Brown's own marriage (his ex-wife even brought a law suit against him as a result). It definitely favoured the male character's perspective and because, due to the show's quirky structure, the couple rarely interact, it's difficult to empathise overly with either of them.

Still it had a very New York sensibility to it, which I liked - I'm a sucker for jokes about Random House and the agony of searching for an agent (though I can understand why some people might find that kind of thing insufferably smug and elitist) - and I enjoyed Brown's lyrics particular in the Shiksa Goddess song about his parents' desire for him to date a nice Jewish girl. I'm glad I went along to see it but won't be going back to the Menier in the summer again if I can help it!

As for the flat, we had a second viewing and made an offer on it. We're swimming in paperwork at the moment but hopefully this is the one.

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