5 Nov

Music by Harvey Schwartz Book and Lyrics by Tom Jones

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate

The most popular musical in the world is I think The Fantasticks. Ewrybody raves about it. Critics and Audiences alike.

I hate to be a spoil sport but I find it annoyingly twee, incredibly irritating. An hour spent with the Fantasticks is like a month of slumber – if you are lucky enough to fall asleep.

You will se by this that the music and lyrics of these people do not fill me with unalloyed joy.

And now ..I have seen something I have been avoiding all my life, knowing I would hate it. For some reason I decided I would at least give it a try.

Some people love seeing things about themselves, and I think this is probably why this dreary play is such a success. These are two people who get married in the 1890s, and carry on living their lives, till 1940, having children having squabbles, having affairs and singing little Nursery Rhyme style ditties about themselves and I want to murder them.
I have nothing against the actors who are asked to portray these characters. Ben Morris, who plays Michael, probably the most hateful, unlovable man in the world, tries to make up for this with his dear little twinkly face. But he is written as a monster and as such is irredeemable.

Gemma Maclean plays Agnes with a pleasing soprano, is an old fashioned housewife in a heavy yellow wig consisting of thick curls tumbling down her back. She wears this through the whole of the show, with no change of hairstyle – well, there isn’t time. The dates flash past. The song ‘I do I do,’ is followed by ‘I love my wife’ and immediately after she appears with a cushion up her frock singing ‘Something has happened’.
The set by Emily Bestow is enchanting. All black and white, with a row of window style rectangles across the backcloth, decorated with little white roses. There is also a beautiful iron bedstead with little white roses and stage left a dressing table (FOR HER) and stage right a desk (FOR HIM).

I suppose it is the sexist attitudes that I find so unpleasant, but maybe it is just something in me that refuses to accept this situation.
Go ahead and enjoy it just as everybody does. It is always a treat going to see a musical at the Gatehouse.
It is certainly worth having a look at it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: