Monday, 25 January 2010

The Little Dog Laughed: Friend, and a Friend of a Friend

Last week's second trip al teatro was to see the new (to London) American play, The Little Dog Laughed.

As well as all the excitement of a movie star's West End debut, seeing a Bond Girl live on stage alongside Charles Dickens' great-great-great-grandson AND the quite wonderful Tamsin Grieg (she should play a funny, ballsy lesbian more often: it makes her very, very sexy), really, the most exciting thing was knowing that, at any moment, should any evening-cancelling accident befall either of the guys up on stage, Taylor would have to step in.

Yes, my one famous actor friend-of-a-friend Taylor James (JC was at school with him) is trying his hand at the mysterious art of understudying.

Of couse, I find this totally fascinating. What does he do all evening? How does he keep psyched up to go on stage at any moment, knowing he probably won't? What does he do with all that adrenaline and energy when eventually the evening's over, and he hasn't been able to get that audience-reaction buzz that surely fuels all performers? Is he bored? Does *he* get a night off? What if he's ill? And, in a show where there's one understudy to the two male characters, what happens if they're both run over by buses?

(I know the answer to this last one: they've got insurance. Mundane, but true: if both boys are ill, people would get refunds on their tickets.)

And here's a link to my review on londonist.

The Little Dog Laughed is very slick and very funny; but I thought it was a little too glib to be truly brilliant. That's glib as in lacking in sincerity, being a bit too blase or facile: lacking in depth.

And I felt a bit awkward about some of the laughs. Here we have a liberal, South-East England, middle class audience, who've all happily bought tickets knowing they're seeing a play about homosexuality, with the odd gay kiss and at least one bare male bum (clenched). No-one's offended, enlightened, or otherwise: everyone's just laughing along jollily. Are we laughing at gays as a group? No, sir. Are we laughing at gays being afraid of coming out? Not really. I suppose we're laughing at Hollywood's homophobia. We're laughing at the ridiculousness of a huge, showy, glittery industry being openly anti-gay.

And I'm not sure if that's laugh-out-loud funny.

Hence my slight confusion over some of the laughs.

But then JC pointed out that satire doesn't have to be about something funny. In fact, quite often its about things which really aren't funny at all. Which of course, is true. (Today's story about Chris Morris' Four Lion being a perfect example.) JC's clever.

No comments:

Post a Comment