Monday, December 30, 2013

I regret the hat

When packing, I couldn't find my hat.  I have plenty of hats, but only one actual rain hat.  It's a good outdoorsy hat, with a nice wide brim that manages to keep the rain off me without me needing to carry an umbrella.  I couldn't find the damn thing.  This meant I was left with the hood on my jacket and a small little easy-to-pack umbrella I'd bought at Sharper Image.

The Sharper Image umbrella is great if you want a tiny little umbrella that fits in your purse, so's you can whip it out in the unlikely event of a little drizzle.  It is totally inadequate for an actual London rain, especially when accompanied by wind.  I walked down the street aiming it into the wind ahead of me, which was just fine except when I wanted to see what I was walking into.  Later in the day, the wind was coming from a less convenient angle, and easily flipped the damn thing inside-out.  I managed to fold it back into shape, but things were actual better when I ignored it and just stuck with the hood.

Oh, I do miss my hat.

Today's activity was pretty much comprised of walking in the rain, seeing two shows, and being very happy to walk in the not-rain.  Somewhere in there, I had a good lunch in the little bar at the first theatre, and a really crappy dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street from the second.  (Seriously, all I was looking for was some decent food and free wi-fi.  There was no damn wi-fi, and the food and I have, er, continued our disagreement for the past several hours.)

The first play in question was the new musical of American Psycho.  (I'll just let you chew on that for a second.  I certainly did.)  Starring Matt (don't call me Eleven) Smith.  A musical of American Psycho seemed like such a bizarre idea, I was mildly curious to begin with.  Having Matt Smith play Patrick Bateman moved the idea from the "bizarre" column to the "so inconceivable I have to check it out" column.  To be honest, I had a hard time not being a theatre critic on this show.  I mean, I REALLY wanted to point out some mistakes in costumes, a particularly annoying choice of prop, a place where some of the lyrics really blew ... that sort of thing.  I also found myself evaluating Matt Smith's performance more than just experiencing it.  (Evaluation:  Not the world's best (or even the play's best) singing voice, but it worked for the part.  Generally believable as Bateman, although the American accent failed from time to time when talking about American businesses (when he mentioned "Dean & DeLuca," all of a sudden he was from Brooklyn).)  Honestly, though, I have to admit having never read the book or seen the movie -- I just had a general passing pop culture knowledge of the piece.  And while there was a lot about the show I would have tinkered with, the final scenes and number just knocked me the hell out, and the person I most wanted to tip my (non-existent) hat to was Bret Easton Ellis.  Because damn.  (And props to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who wrote the book for the musical, and did it so successfully, I am willing to overlook the fact that he was involved in writing Spider-Man:  Turn off the Dark.)

The second play was a piece called Mojo, a play about ... hmm, what was it about exactly?  Sort of about the gangs that controlled and manipulated the early days of the British rock 'n' roll scene.  Basically, a club finds itself with a real star on its hands, and some, er, ethically-challenged businesspeople would rather be in charge of the fellow's career.  (And full marks, really, full marks to the actor who plays the singer.  He has something like three lines in the whole play, but may end up working harder that everyone else.  (Not to give it away, but the program credits both a Hanging Consultant and an Osteopath.)

There's six guys in this thing, and they've all got some level of fame from film or TV -- ranging from a dude on Downton Abbey to the dude what starred in Merlin, to that Rupert Grint fellow.  And they were all really good.  The play is written/directed to give each of the actors a moment to really shine, and they all take solid advantage.  I have to admit, though, that Ben Whishaw stole this thing.  I generally tend to think of him as a very precise, delicate actor, and he so disappeared into the role of a sadistic bully, I didn't recognize him.  (I seriously did not recognize him.  I was sitting in the fourth row, and just before intermission, I thought, "Wait a minute, isn't Ben Whishaw in this thing?"  Then I started examining faces and realized, "Holy crap! He's playing that asshole!" -- who was neither delicate nor precise.  Dude got range, he does.)

People behind me during Mojo were discussing their plans for New Year's Eve.  One of them commented that people party so hearty out here, she'll be going home tomorrow night "on an underground train full of vomit."  I made a point of downloading two different hail-me-a-damn-taxi apps to my phone for the occasion.  I expect taxis to be pretty busy shortly after midnight tomorrow, and I like the idea of being able to request one with my cell phone (even if I may have to wait a while).  Because, I mean, Wait for Taxi vs. Underground Train Full of Vomit is a pretty easy call.

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