When Holly, my intriguing and intrepid blogger pal, told me she’d be in Toronto for a few days, we decided to get together for lunch or a drink and have a look at each other. I dusted off my raised by wolves defense in case my lack of social skills betrayed me but everything seemed to go just fine.
Holly was a lot of fun to spend time with and we had good conversation and laughs over dinner and then headed off to see the Queen musical We Will Rock You. On the walk over, we joined a gang, quit when we realized it wasn’t for us and then before you knew it, we were standing in front of the Canon theatre looking up at a 25 or so foot statue of the great Freddie Mercury on the marquee.
I’d seen this tribute to him and the show in passing but hadn’t had the chance to really see it up close. It looked more like Omar Sharif after a particularly bad night than Freddie. The legs were impossibly long and out of proportion and there were strange drapery folds on Freddie’s business area suggesting a sculpted wardrobe malfunction. And so tolled the first warning bell.
The kids in the show worked their tails off and sang their hearts out doing as much justice as they could to the snippets of songs they were given. Some had lyrics changed to fit the ‘script’ which was appalling. Peppered among the sexist and dated schtick were banal pop culture references to Britney, Avril and ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’. There was more groaning in the audience than in any of my porn films, not that I own or have ever appeared in several of them.
The staging, sets and special effects had Corky St. Clair stamped all over them although I was surprised to not find his name anywhere in the credits. This is the only time I have ever been thankful that poor Freddie wasn’t with us anymore. With the numerous re-releases and special editions of A Night At The Opera, you’d think the remaining band members would be sufficiently financially fixed to not have to abandon their souls so readily.
At intermission, I suggested to Holly that we could leave if she wanted to but she raised a good point by asking ‘but what if Act 2 is even worse and we miss it?’ We stayed and things didn’t improve much at all. Another great Holly moment arrived at the souvenir stand in the lobby where programs and t-shirts emblazoned with Queen lyrics such as 'I want to break free...' were being sold. Holly asked the person selling them if they had any boxer shorts for sale with 'Fat Bottomed Girls' on the back. The answer was no but the lady behind the counter thought it was a great idea.
Throughout the performance, I had the urge to call out to the performers to let them know just how bad the tripe was that they’d committed to. I couldn’t think of anything suitable although ‘She’s in the attic!’ did spring to mind. It refers to a fabled production of a play about Anne Frank where the performers were so bad that when the Nazis arrived at the door, someone in the audience yelled out ‘She’s in the attic’ in an attempt to end the misery.
All told, it was still a fun night and I was more than thankful to have someone along who could appreciate it in the same way I did. Thanks Holly and come again!