Monday, December 8, 2008

where's marty mcfly when you need him?

how do you review a decent play that had you yawning in the aisles? this was my problem over the weekend. i went to plaid tidings at neptune and listened to a musical comedy about a perry little christmas. a theatreful of people hummed or sang along while i wondered when my nails got so bashed up. i mean, all i do is type. how can they be so rough?

anyway, plaid tidings does perfectly well what what it sets out to do: it's an excuse to flip through the old-time song books in public. they seem to have lost the plot, but let me surmise thus: 4 dead dudes sing 1950s tunes. you remember that scene in back to the future where michael j fox time-travels to his parents' big 1955 dance? and the old-time band croons away on stage before our marty grabs a guitar and gives them a taste of the future, where rock 'n' roll quivers with passion and shakes with rage? well, plaid tidings is like that, only marty gets bounced at the door, and the crooners croon uninterrupted

i found plaid tidings dull, tepid, sometimes incoherent, with a few moments of goofy fun. one of the plaids unpacks the bitter loneliness and exclusion at the heart of rudolf the rednose reindeer, and gets so choked up he can't sing. i laughed. i mildly grooved to a few big songs. but mostly i just sat there waiting for the end, stifling yawns.

so give it a scathing review, right? but everyone else liked it. i stayed in my seat at intermission and listened to people: 'it's a feel-good holiday musical,' one person actually said. a very old woman a couple of seats down enthused like a school girl as the songs danced her down memory lane. people happily joined the plaids on stage for the 3D section. chances are if you've plunked down cash to see plaid tidings, you know what you're in for and you want to be in for it.

clearly, this is not a play aimed at me - but it does hit its target.


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