4 July 2008

There was something in the air that night


Watched the documentary on the making of the movie version of Mamma Mia! last night and for the first time, I now want to see it.
Not the movie, obviously. I don't do movies, and haven't visited a cinema since taking Sue Cain to see Kingpin in 1996*.

But maybe the West End musical? I appreciate that there are stereotypes about men who express interest in watching musical theatre. I am comfortable with my sexuality, ta very much. I am also comfortable with being a lifelong Abba fan. I am, however, most comfortable with the idea that this musical is, by all accounts, bloody good and worth seeing.

Now the only musical I've ever seen which was based on the songs of one artist was Our House which we went to see for my 30th birthday in 2003. It was simply marvellous, despite the cack-handed way Night Boat To Cairo was shoehorned into the plot. You haven't lived until you've seen a bloke in a penguin suit and a lass in a cocktail dress doing a ballroom dance to The Return Of The Los Palmas 7.

I refuse to watch the Queen musical, despite being a fan of the band. It's not endorsed by every surviving member, Ben Elton is involved and the reviews have been horrific at times - three ample reasons to stay clear. Years ago, I remember Stephen Fry saying he was trying to write a musical on Elton John, which never materialised. There's a Rod Stewart one too, isn't there? If it contains Young Turks then I'm keeping a healthy distance.

But with Abba, the songs remain fresh, innocent and almost entirely timeless. The refrain between verse and chorus on S.O.S. remains one of the greatest noises any musical instrument has ever made. And, judging by Lord Bragg's docu last night, every single song of note has made it without it ever looking like it was a case of "bugger, we'd better find somewhere for Voulez Vous". So while the cinema and I will never again be re-acquainted, I may try the stage show and risk aspersions being cast on my manhood. Any recommendations?

*I should point out that the reason I haven't been to the flicks since is not anything to do with Sue Cain, nor my own behaviour with Sue Cain (which was impeccable, by the way), nor even the quality or otherwise of Kingpin - indeed, the film was quite good. I just have an irrational, unexplainable dislike of cinemas and simply Will Not Go.

1 comment:

Clair said...

I have seen Mama Mia! three times, and loved it - mind you, I never paid for any trip. Like you, I LOVED Our House and thought the book and lyrics worked perfectly - and I hadn't realised what utterly brill songwriters they had until then. The Boney M musical wasn't so good though - anything where the finale is a giant parrot descending into the audience has to be piss poor, doesn't it? And I was sat next to Aldo Zilli who insisted on bloody singing along...