Sunday, December 10, 2006
Enter Private Eye, Stage Right, In The Key of E ...
On a hot evening in mid-December that just happened to be last night, I went to an art gallery that was also a theatre to see a show. Forty-five Downstairs is a small theatre that you get to by going into the building on Forty-Five Little Flinders Street and not going upstairs.
The show was City of Angels, a very cool and clever Detective Mystery slash Musical slash Stage Noir slash Slash slash Comedy slash a couple of other genres as well. (Hell, I even spotted a Swedish maid, the kitchen sink, a jellyfish, the Big Six, and a monkey in there ... just kidding! I think ...)
The writing, by Larry Gelbart, is exceedingly clever, and the plot is brilliantly structured.
The idea goes something like this; the play opens on a cold-boiled sleuth pacing the stage and delivering one liners to his frazzled secretary. Enter, stage left, the customary femme fatale who charms the detective with her feminine guile (that, and the offer of huge amounts of money). After the detective agrees to take a case from her, another corner of the stage lights up and we see a writer, at his typewriter, banging away. I thought at first he was a court stenographer, but no, it turns out that he's actually a film writer; and the detective drama that preceded this scene was all in his head. It's the fiction he's working out for the next film.
It's a pretty naff idea, and could lead to any manner of postmodern nonsense, but somehow, it all hangs together. The Big-Band/Cool jazz score by Cy Coleman and the one-liners Gelbart gives to his characters keep the show moving at a good pace. The music is, on the whole, bloody brilliant; the band and all the singers are fantastic. I thought the voice-over was irritating at first, one of those annoying hangovers you get from theatre directors who see too many films and think you can just lift techniques from film willy-nilly, but it was actually worked in quite cleverly and seamlessly with the live music and dialogue. So if you love jazz, then you'll want to see this play. (And the set design is rather fabbo, too.)
Of course, it's a bit weird to see a film writer with writer's block bursting into song. And even stranger is the Latino police sergeant's Salsa - it doesn't seem entirely in keeping with the laid-back jazz feel of much of the rest of the show. Then again, there's a few moments in the plot that seem to verge on the screwball, so you never know. (Anyway, I'm the sort of person who hums 'Springtime for Hitler' in the Melbourne Trades Hall, so I can't talk.)
So all in all I had a good time. I reckon you will, too. Even if the idea of a little jazz and some showtunes doesn't sound like a smashing time to you, you can just buy some wine at the bar, and get smashed at interval time. Either way is good!
So see it, already!
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- ► 2007 (392)
- 2006 In Books: A Year That Wasn't
- Move Over, Cabbage
- Modern Communication: An Instructive Tale
- A Little About Covers
- Merry Christmas Folks
- A Few Random Notes
- A Word on Carols
- Spin for a Penny, Spin for a Pound
- Road Testing the Presents
- A Saucy Offer
- The Customer Disservice Industry, Now More Deficie...
- Way Too Much Tim On Your Hands
- Sign I May Be Reading Blogs a Little Bit Too Much ...
- A Night in Notes
- A Carol For The Times
- Lest Leaping Dogs, Sly ...
- The Chronological Eccentricities of James Bond Fil...
- A Moral Poem To Bad Little Boys and Girls
- Enter Private Eye, Stage Right, In The Key of E .....
- Misstake Marples
- Splenetically Engineered Food
- A Sort of Response ...
- Not Quite Obsession
- The Labours Of ...
- Brutal is Beautiful
- The Alan Kohler 2006 Political Cliche Market Repor...
- A Moral Dilemma of the Gravest Proportions
- Objective Opinions Masquerading as Subjective Fact...
- Shout Out
- And The Grease Stayed On My Fingers Until Lunchtim...
- Why I Don't Listen To Modern Music
- ▼ December (32)
- ► 2005 (287)