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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Somewhere Under the Rainbow

Went to the theatre the other night to watch Over the Rainbow, which is the life story of Eva Cassidy. I've always been a big fan of Eva Cassidy and the musical, although not brilliantly written, was a great opportunity to hear her music sung live. I was amazed to find out halfway through that the lead was being played by Faye Tozer from Steps, who was simply brilliant - her voice was remarkably similar to Eva's, which seems to suggest she was wasted in Steps.

We were late arriving in the first half, so we were forced to sit at the back. During the interval, we moved to our booked seats, which were only about three rows from the front. Most of the singers were pretty good, but the German-sounding lady playing Eva's mother was one of those annoying stage singers that seem to think that a singer is judged by their loudness. Each sung sentence would start off fairly quietly, but would end on a massive crescendo. Bearing in mind they were all using microphones, it must have been impossible for the sound man - she ranged from barely audible to ear-shatteringly loud.

And she caused me to have a nightmare at a very inopportune moment; Near the end of the show, Eva has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and they really milked it for tear value. There are plenty of scenes with her slumped in a wheelchair and her family and friends regularly breaking down in floods of tears. With Eva near to death, her mother breaks into a heart-wrenching solo, with much wailing and nashing of teeth. And halfway through, she belted out a line so loud that it made me involuntarily jump up in the air and exclaim "Urrgh!"

My girlfriend started giggling at my inappropriate reaction and it just set me off. I could not stop laughing. It was absolutely horrendous - I was getting very harsh looks from the extremely large skinhead I was sitting next to. There's nothing worse than having an uncontrollable laughing fit when you're not supposed to. I started sweating and getting really hot. Poor Faye was singing her farewell song from her deathbed / wheelchair and all I could do was laugh my head off, tears streaming down my face. I couldn't even leave, because I was in the middle of the row right at the front. It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I've ever had.

I finally managed to pull it together and as soon as the lights came up, we made a hasty exit before anyone chose to voice their complaint. I'm never taking Helen to the theatre again, because it's clearly her fault.

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