Thursday, June 28, 2007

LOTR - Goblins On Stilts

Lord Of The Rings, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, June 26th

Critical opinion seems divided on whether this is a hugely expensive piece of poo or just good fun. I'm not a big Tolkien fan so I went along without too many reservations apart from worrying about having enough legroom and whether I'd be able to get enough drink during the interval to cope with another ninety minutes of goblins on stilts.

As it turns out I'd put it in the "good fun" category. The sets are incredible, although as I'm of a nervous disposition the rising / falling / rotating stage made me a bit uneasy. Mark my words, that thing'll have sombody's leg off before the end of the run. Or hop.

There are lots of interesting lighting effects and clever trompe l'oeil stuff going on all the way through, and the Orcs are pretty scary, especially when they run up and down the aisles growling at everybody.

The cast is solid enough, with only the actor playing the Elvish king delivering a performance made of old ham sliced thick, and if there aren't any really memorable songs, by the same token there aren't any moments that had me thinking of faking a seizure so that I could be stretchered out.

Judging by the availability of cut-price tickets (I paid a fiver for a seat in the third row of the stalls) the public aren't exactly rushing to see the show, so you should be able to get a bargain. At that price it's a good night out, although two glasses of wine cost £10.40, a bit of a shock if, like me, you know that if you’re prepared to haggle in Urdu you can get five bottles of wine for that kind of money at the Vidhi Convenience Store on the Brighton Road.

(You also have to be prepared for your teeth to go black, but so far that’s always worn off after a while, as has the blindness.)

Anyway, back to the show. If you're a real Tolkien buff you'll probably hate it. If not, then it's an experience worth having.
But take a hip flask.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ego Failure

So, Paris Hilton is once again at large, and the world can breathe more easily now that the young lady has managed to get through her prison ordeal without succumbing to the tantalisingly unspecific “health problem” which, according to Sheriff Lee Baca, had played a part in her early release.

In extreme circumstances, such as when deprived of access to their handbags, sunglasses, shoes, recreational drugs and, most importantly, their retinue of sycophants, some “celebrities” can begin to suffer what has come to be described as “ego failure”, a disease which is, shockingly, almost entirely confined to those who have acquired fame and wealth despite a complete absence of discernible ability of any kind.

Those most lacking in talent are, tragically, the most vulnerable. Deprived of the constant gush of squealing approval from their coterie of arse-kissers they may well begin to dwell on the emptiness and pointlessness of their lives, and who can blame them? Hilton, as one of the most chronically tedious people currently in the public eye, would be particularly vulnerable to the condition, said a Hollywood doctor who specialises in Diseases of the Rich*.

“It’s widely accepted in the medical community that the severity of the condition depends on the pointlessness of the celebrity.” He said. “And I would judge Ms. Hilton to have significantly raised the bar when it comes to being pointless. In some ways it’s quite an achievement. But that doesn’t stop her being really, really pointless.”

Sheriff Baca hinted that he feared a suicide attempt, perhaps surprisingly talking about it as if it would be a bad thing, whereas to most of us a world with one less “multi-millionaire socialite” in it would be quite all right, thanks very much.

*With thanks to the late Tom Lehrer