Friday, 20 March 2015

Buying and selling

I became a prisoner in my own home today when I woke up to discover that Nathan had not just taken his own set of keys with him to work, but my set, AND the spare set from the kitchen draw! How this managed to happen is a mystery. I imagine his pockets were positively jangling with the sound of keys when he left the house. People must have thought he had a tambourine hidden in his jacket pocket!

I made the most of being housebound, finishing the second draft of the eleventh draft of Brass, tidying up scores for A Symphony for Yorkshire and even getting half an hour of 'cello practice in. My fingers tips, as a result, are grey from the metal of the strings and threatening to blister. It's amazing how one's body loses its stamina for such things.

It turns out that leaving the house would have been a big mistake in any case. When I finally went out, it was absolutely freezing. Proper wintry. And I was only wearing a suit jacket and a waistcoat. (Well, obviously a shirt as well, I'm not a stripper...) I don't know when we can expect spring to arrive, but it was certainly here by this time last year, when we were busy filming sequences for Our Gay Wedding, bathed in sunshine and cherry blossom.

This evening I went to The Menier Chocolate Factory to see a new show by an American friend of ours. I left myself an inordinately large amount of time to get down to London Bridge, which turned out to be a good move because the tubes were mega messed up due to an "earlier fire alert at Kennington" which apparently meant they had to "regulate the service."

The show at the Menier was called Buyer and Cellar, and told the (mostly) fictional tale of an actor who is employed to work in an Olde Worlde shopping mall in the basement of Barbra Streisand's Malibu residence. It's fictional because we don't actually know if anyone works down there, but the startling part is that Streisand genuinely has a Olde Worlde shopping mall in the basement of her home! I've seen pictures of it on the internet. She has a doll shop, a sweet shop, a gift shop and a clothes shop filled with dresses she wore in various films and Broadway shows. None of us, I suspect, will ever know what she actually does down there, but this one man show makes a number of brilliant and entertaining guesses.

It's witty and painful in equal measure, and really rather moving in places because it paints Streisand as a bit of a damaged loner, trapped in the castle her fame has forced her to build around herself.

The show is performed - brilliantly - by Michael Urie, whom English people will know as the brilliantly camp and morally dubious assistant in Ugly Betty. It's a dazzling display of comic timing, energy, commitment and focus.

It's definitely worth a watch... particularly if you're gay, or a Streisand fan, or Jewish, or, all three.

We hung out afterwards with the cast and crew, most of whom are American, with their remarkable can-do attitudes. Every time I find myself in the company of leading Broadway figures, I'm reminded why we don't do musicals well over here. We just don't respect the art form well enough.

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