“Shall we stay for the second half?”, I whispered into my friend Graeme’s ear as we stood in the queue for the bar at “High School Musical” tonight at the Capitol Theatre. “No, we’re staying”, he said, adding, “I figure if you’ve bought tickets for the Titanic, you should go down with it”.
His comments sparked a big smile from the woman in front of us who was queuing with her daughter for an ice-cream. There were kids, everywhere by the way. And a huge number of middle-aged gay men. In fact, in our row, we were book-ended by gay men.
Even the show itself was a little bit camp, as one of the obviously gay characters identifies himself as such by bursting into song with Peter Allen’s “I Go To Rio” at one point.
Although I was a little bored with the first half, the second half was much better. I guess it took a while to get into the rhythm of it all. And by the end I thought it was actually alright.
I mean it’s highly derivative. At least two of the songs and dance sequences looked and sounded like they were lifted straight out of the songbook for “Grease”.
There’s also little in the way of a plot. “It makes Mamma Mia look like good”, Graeme commented at one point. And unfortunately none of the songs are all that memorable.
But the show has lots of energy and I guess that’s what makes it worth it.
A particular favourite moment right at the end was watching the little boy in front of us who danced like he’d never danced before to the finale. “He was like a little Billy Elliott”, I said to the bloke next to me, who responded by saying, “He’s the best dancer we’ve seen all night”.
I loved the absolute joy in how he danced. And I loved how his mum and dad were looking at each other as if to say “where did that come from?”. All of those with kids who were there said how much their kids absolutely loved the show, by the way.
After the show, we popped into the nearby Irish pub. While Graeme went to the toilet I chatted briefly to an Irish backpacker. She had only just arrived and I could only understand about three words she said. She had one of those impossibly thick Irish accents that I remember struggling with when I visited Ireland almost ten years ago. She told me I looked “very Irish” (which is probably true).
And then when Graeme returned we headed out the back to watch the karaoke. Of all the singers, the funniest of all was a bloke called Mike who sang a variety of Australian country songs, some of them quite obscure. Still, I knew all the songs very well, but still found it sometimes difficult to pick the tune, because he sang them all with exactly the same tune and intonation. Bloody hillarious.
Aside from this night out, I had some time this morning at the hospital, and in popping over to get some underpants and stuff for Colin, and then I went into work for most of the afternoon. That was my day…
PS. Spotted at High School Musical: Rodney Adler