Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Return to Madison County

I know I just saw The Bridges of Madison County last week, but I was extremely fortunate to luck into some comps for the performance last night.  Even with my qualms about the staging, I was totally into hearing that music and seeing those lead performances again.  And, boy, they did not disappoint.  Again.  I am so grateful to have been able to see the show again.  I even noticed a scene that I'm pretty certain wasn't there last week...

Kelli O'Hara is just a wonder, finding so many layers and dimensions to this woman.  And she sings so gloriously, it's just not right.  Jason Robert Brown has written some stunning music here, none more stunning to my ear than "Almost Real," which Kelli sings in the second act.  I could've listened to a dozen more verses of that song.  It was just spectacular.  Steven Pasquale was again in fine voice and totally charmed the entire audience.  Well, almost everyone.  I'll get to that later.

When I saw the show last week, I was in the last row of the mezzanine.  Last night, I was in the twelfth row of the orchestra, on the far side.  From that vantage point, the constantly moving set pieces didn't bother me as much, though I'm still not getting the storefront flats moving in and out during our BIG emotional moment at the end.  I still didn't enjoy the ensemble wandering around, though.  Again, it makes sense, but for me, it was too much.  It was also a little too much for my extremely handsome theater companion, who compared the poor actors to extras from an M. Night Shyamalan film.  Not the performers' fault at all.  I throw it down to the director.  I'm just not on board with his concept, but that's me.  I'm not a director, so what do I know?  I could be looking for a show that just isn't there...

Anyway, I had a great time again, listening to that gorgeous music and hearing those fantastic voices.  Thumbs way up for the show itself.  The audience, on the other hand, was possessed by the devil.  I sat next to Satan himself, who in turn sat next to Mr and Mrs Peanut.  Mr and Mrs Peanut sat next to Ma and Pa Peanut.  They were a group of five who nearly killed me.  Or I nearly killed them.  One or the other.

Mr and Mrs Peanut brought with them many little bags of roasted nuts that you can buy at carts on the street corner.  And what do those little bags of roasted nuts come in?  Crinkly plastic bags.  SO, during most of the first act, Mr and Mrs Peanut ate those roasted nuts.  Crinkle crinkle crinkle.  It was driving me insane. They kept eating.  They kept crinkling.  Finally, Mrs Peanut finished her bag.  Then she CRUMPLED UP THE EMPTY BAG AND THREW IT DOWN.  I kid you not.

Satan, on the other hand, was bored out of his mind.  You know the type - he kept sighing LOUDLY.  Repeatedly.  As if to say, omg, hurry up and finish!  He was awful.  And anytime anything romantic happened, he would snicker.  I was thisclose to saying, what are you, ten years old?!?!  I was hoping he was so bored he would leave at intermission, but no.  He came back.  And the crinkling started again at the top of act two.  I was beginning to think that Kelli O'Hara's voice was somehow possessing these people to crinkle the d*mn nut bag (much like Mary Hart's voice used to cause distress in a certain television viewer I once read about).

Now Ma and Pa Peanut decided they needed to eat their bags of roasted nuts as well.  So there were THREE crinkly bags being crinkled during most of the second act.  Only, now, Satan was getting annoyed by them, too.  So, instead of sighing loudly in boredom, he would give an annoyed gasp every time a bag crinkled.  Then he started saying "f*ck."  Every time a bag crinkled.  I can't understand why he didn't tell the Peanut Family to stop it - he was with them!  It was insane.  They were all just awful.  And don't get me started on the guy in front of us who, every time he stood up, his sweater would ride up and his pants would ride down.  I exclaimed a couple of time "Oh, I can never unsee that!!!"  My extremely handsome theater companion tried to shield me from the awfulness, but it was too late.  Blech.  Butt crack at the theater is not my favorite. 

I blame this guy
The fact that I got any enjoyment at all out of the show is a testament to how good it is.  But, someday, I think I just may crack.  Not butt crack, mind you, but I may perhaps explode at these horrible people who don't comprehend they're not in their living room and there are other people around them.  Ugh.  Some friends think I should write a 'worst of seat neighbors' blog post.  Maybe someday...

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