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Thursday, October 7

Drinking the impossible
I just drank a 500ml bottle of Orange and Carrot juice. Reading the ingredients, I found the ingredients to be the juice of oranges and carrots. Now, there's a problem here. I've a reasonable knowledge of carrots... and... they don't have juice coming out of them. Cut into an orange, you'll get wet. Cut into a carrot and... nothing. It's a woody root with little fluid in it. What do you have to do to a carrot to get juice?

I have this image of a really tough steel press being used to throttle the life out of the humble carrot for about 9 drops of slightly wan-looking water. Is that how it's done? It sounds a bit cruel. I know that carrots don't have feelings, but surely they deserve a more respectful treatment?

Having said that, I did once make a jam out of carrots - it was reasonably pleasant in my recollection. I'm not sure whether carrots contain any natural pectin. Luckily the "jam making sugar" contained plenty, so I got some sort of jam-like substance in the end. I recall I had to add water to the carrots in order to make them moist and turn into a jam making pulp because, you see, CARROTS ARE NOT JUICY.

Yabba babba deedle daidle
Well, I managed to open my mind up and head off to the Theatre Royal to see Fiddler on the Roof last night. I wasn't certain that I wanted to see this show for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the company who did it did a reasonably lack-lustre version of Singin' In The Rain last year, and I wasn't certain they were going to do a better job of this one. Secondly, I wasn't sure that the glamourised view of a sentimental memory of a Russian-Jewish culture would really be tolerable to watch for me. However, I really do like musicals and suspected that a lot of the songs in this show (which I've never seen before) would be familiar to me.

The cast did a reasonable job. It was still clearly an amateur production - in fact, the archetypal, but it was a good amateur production. Indeed, the pressure on the chorus to continue delivering was high and they met that requirement with aplomb. Their leading man was very charming, managing to get laughs, towards the end, with a mere roll of his eyes. This is how it should be.

"So," I hear you cry, "What are the hallmarks of the amateur production?". Okay, you asked for it, here they are:
  • A strange demographic in the cast - some are too old to be doing the parts, some are too young, and they're predominantly female
  • Bad accents - they'll find it hard to lose their local brogue
  • Chaotic choreography - there'll be random moments of chaos among the well choreographed scenes, which quickly disappear as they fall back into line
  • An oh my god, I'm doing it leading lady - she'll have a bigger beam on her face than she needs and will be playing up into the spotlight as though she's just seen Jesus (even if she's not playing Mary in Jesus Chris Superstar) - this will seem cute at first, but will ultimately make her character seem like that of an imbecile
  • False starts - the amateur chorus is frightened of coming in too soon, and not necessarily certain of the first word in the song - they'll wait until someone else has started their bit confidently and join in - expect crescendoes at starts of songs as everyone joins the back of the queue to get going
There's more, but those are the ones which are really easy to spot. In some shows, the cast can't sing, act or warrant putting on stage at all - those are actually quite rare. Most amateur groups have an eye to the quality of what they're actually doing. At the end of the day, getting people on stage and entertaining punters is the main thing - not everyone is going to be a legendary star of stage and screen, but they should still have a chance to do something that fits their abilities. That's why I keep doing it. I have some ability to do something. If I thought I was totally incapable, I'd hope I'd have the wisdom to stay at home and be very very quiet.

Musical summaries
It strikes me that all musicals should be summarisable in two word phrases. So, I shall, occasionally, add some descriptions of musicals in this format to this site. Enjoy. Here are today's:
  • Musical Jews - Fiddler on the Roof
  • Bloodthirsty Plant - Little Shop of Horrors
  • Inevitable Crucifixion - Jesus Chris Superstar
  • Miserable frenchmen - Les Miserables
  • Domestic violence - Carousel (don't get me started on this one)

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