Monday, April 6, 2009

That's Entertainment?

It is now 11:20pm in London, which means it is 12:20am in Cairo, where I awoke this morning at 3:30. But though it's obviously been a long day and sleep is just beyond this post, unless I am oblivious to a much greater altered state than I realize, I don't know what can explain this: I just saw a musical that has been running in London for over 20 years, has seemingly earned rave reviews and garnered a standing ovation at tonight's performance. But to me, to put it Britishly, it was rubbish. It just seemed like a second rate, subpar musical, but somehow everyone else in the theatre seemed to love it.

I am not speaking of Phantom of the Opera, which though I find overrated and boring, is a comparative masterpiece. Nor am I referencing Les Miserables, an actual masterpiece, which I was actually hoping to see tonight despite having seen it multiple times, but there were no tickets to be had. I am referring to a show called Blood Brothers, which is seemingly a London-only phenomenon that has been running continously since 1988. It is written by some guy named Willy Russell, who I am not familiar with writing anything else. And I haven't been enticed to see it on my 5 prior visits to London. But after having bought a ticket a couple months ago to see a musical version of Zorro, with music by the Gipsy Kings, only to have it close last month, I got to London without anything I was really hyped to see. It's a bunch of stuff that I've seen often--Wicked, Hairspray, Jersey Boys, Lion King, Phantom, Les Miz, Chicago, Mamma Mia, Oliver--as well as Billy Elliott, which I saw here last year and is supposedly coming to Chicago soon after opening last October on Broadway.

Anyway, I took a flyer on Blood Brothers, hoping it might be an enjoyable London surprise, like Bat Boy the Musical was a few years back, but it was just lame. IMHO.

But I still love London and am glad for the stopover. I went to the National Gallery of Art, on the short list of best art museums in the world, and in addition to a whirlwind tour of its amazing permanent collection, saw a strong, if a bit short, Picasso exhibit focusing on how he put his own spin on other artists' works.

On the negative side, I had a somewhat pricey "rib eye steak" that I believe was the British equivalent of Ponderosa. Oh well.

At least after the bad musical, in the Picadilly Circus tube station, there was a street musician--albeit seemingly in a sponsored alcove--playing The Jam's "That's Entertainment". A nice way to end the night.

So tomorrow, I fly home, scheduled to arrive a bit after Noon. Mom, I'll call from the tarmac on arrival and will look for you at Vestibule 5C of the International Terminal.

I have an interesting travel factoid I'll post upon my return; no need to jinx myself now.

See you soon. Happy Opening Day!

Go Cubs!

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