Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Thursday, June 12, 2003

First of all an apology in advance to all you Ragtime fans out there. This isn't going to be pretty. Or well structured. Just a rant.

Last night Roger and I went to go and see Ragtime at the Piccadilly Theatre. Roger had phoned up during the day saying that he could get half-price tickets and that the show was coming off on Saturday so it would be one of our last chances to see it. Warning bells should have been ringing at that point.

I knew nothing about the show other than the fact it had transferred from Broadway (which has to be a good thing, right? Wrong!) and that it had rave reviews. What I hadn't grasped was that it had probably transferred from Broadway because they didn't want it any more and the rave reviews were raving-mad ones!

The 'story' was set in 1902 and the 'action' took place in New York, Atlantic City and God knows where else. The 'family' (read cliched white folks) introduce themselves directly to the audience at the start and we think, o-oh. A little boy says, "I'm the little boy." D'uh! And the father says, "I'm the father I'm very rich. I'm what made America great" And the mother says, "I'm mother and I look after father and little boy" And we're thinking, what is this shit? But wait, there's more. "I'm Grandpa and I'm a bigot", pipes up Grandpa. Jees-us. This has to be a joke, yes?

Then on comes a bunch of 'immigrants' who say, "we're poor, poor immigrants from Latvia. We come to America. To land of opportunity." Then a bunch of black dudes start dancing in Harlem and say, "we've been here a while and there ain't no opportunity here." As a comment or deconstruction of American racism at the turn of the 20th century it was vacuous in the extreme. It had the emotional depth of a particularly stoic flea.

Various plot lines limped around the stage like wounded animals crying out to be shot. Luckily a couple of these plot lines seemed to die of there own accord - no-one seemed to notice or care much. Even when the leading man's love interest dies I had to stifle a laugh such was the lack of emotional connection to the characters.

And did I mention it was a musical? No, well perhaps I was keeping that gem of information to myself. The music was uninspiring and just seemed to be a poor excuse to justify the poor plot devices. Chicago, it wasn't.

There were many more empty seats after the interval as the audience cut it's losses. I'm sorry to say we were not amongst them.

At one juncture we hear that the leading man's car-seat has been shit on by some thugs. To be honest by that point I'd have thought that if there was any shitting to be done it should have been done on the heads of the producers.

Ragtime? Drag-time!

As we left the theatre we read the reviewers quotes that were reprinted on the boards hanging outside. One said, "What a show!" Sentiments I can but echo.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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