Tuesday, 31 March 2009

"The Blocking is Shocking!" And Other Things I Never Think About

In the Singin' In The Rain interval at the New Wimbledon Theatre, I got chatting to another critic from the Croydon Advertiser, or some such. She was really nice, despite going for the usual cliched:
"I was wondering what you thought, because, well, you're so young! And I wondered what young people were thinking of the show. Tell me, tell me: what do young people think?"
So I told her I wasn't loving it; the "make 'em laugh" number didn't, and I was struggling to like that most likeable of characters Don Lockwood, because I didn't think he was, well, very good.

[Londonist, you'll be pleased to hear, got a more reasoned Singin' In the Rain review a few hours later.]

Then I think I surprised her (given that I've just been let out of school for the evening, right) by saying I much preferred the last production I saw: with Adam Cooper as Don, at Sadler's Wells. Different from the film, marginally better dancing than we were currently enjoying in Wimbledon (I jest), and a whole lot snappier. (Turns out the Indy didn't love it, but this was a different time for me, and I was just thrilled to be on my first trip to Sadler's Wells, out of that damp flat, enjoying big ol' London, and so on.)

She'd seen the same show, and agreed Adam Cooper was ace.

Then, she started talking about the blocking. And that's when I started to feel odd about the exchange. I never know what to say when audience members, critics, whoever, talks about a play's blocking being good or bad. I just don't get it.

Blocking: it's where people stand when they talk, right? And where they move to when they're done. That's it...

Script, music, costumes, acting, casting, scenery, voices, singing voices, the band, the audience's reaction, the auditorium, the seats, etc etc all strike me as more relevant, more interesting, more inviting of reaction than the b.l.o.c.k.i.n.g.

Surely it just is or isn't there, done, constructed. Not intricate degrees of good or bad. Perhaps I've missed something crucial, but there it is.

To me, talking about it is like enjoying a meal at a lovely restaurant, good service, great food, nice place, comfy seats and, instead of enjoying all of that, moaning about the typography on the menu being something you don't quite like.

Meh, I'm just never interested.

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