14TH MARCH, 2005
"The Celebration.............what?!"

I'm not one to moan *cough*, but I really have to say that this play was horrendous. I usually think, if you've nothing nice to say, then don't say it/shut up. But this play was bad. Baaaaaaad. My sister, friend (David) and I had not originally intended to see it at all. My staple theatre diet, which consists of Les Mis, was beckoning. Sadly, I was the one thrust up to the box office, and we should all have learnt by now that I jinx us all when I ask for tickets in that place. Oddly for this time of year, and on a Monday night, the show was packed out. We all looked at one another in despair, and stood out on Shaftsbury Avenue wringing our hands. I suggested The Mousetrap, but David had been staring down the street and asked about Festen. Fessssssten. £15 student seats, no problem! The guy on front of us was taking so long, that we almost left. I really really really wish we had!

A Dutch play (if my ravaged memory serves correctly), about child abuse, all focusing on the dad's 60th birthday party, and the revelations revealed there. I, for some apparent reason, was under the impression this was a murder mystery! A whodunit! David suggested that 'Festen' (said in a Vincent Price voice) was actually a monster, which was to be released in the mansion it's set in, attacking the guests! I bloody well wish it had been! It began with this recording of a girl singing and giggling; see, I was driven insane within the opening minutes. Unlikable characters, who all seemed to behave like children. Worse was the 'songs' scattered throughout - tuneless, with the most awful lyrics and actions accompanying them (I think back to nursery). David described them as "revolting songs"! They were embarressing to watch. At the interval, we all prayed there'd be no more. Naturally, this was the night of hell, so of course the second act contained even more singing. Meanwhile, I kept thinking, "Metres away, they're all singing about revolutions and a loaf of bread!" and had visions of digging a tunnel and popping up in the stalls of Les Mis. If only.

There was actually one likable character, the depressed one (I could relate with him you see). He was rather amusing, the deadpan comments and his odd body language. But come the main singing and dancing, he joined in, and he was lost to us. The brother of the main character was so horrible - I really wished 'Fessssssten' could have come and chewed him up. There was this dull scene with all the characters sat at the long table, eating dinner. This lasted for at least 5 minutes. No talking, just the sound of cutlery, chewing, and loud thumps as audience members collapsed dead from sheer boredom. A friend asked me if I'd actually entered the theatre, or if I was just watching a restaurnat opposite ;) Sadly, I had indeed PAID to witness this 'unique' moment of theatre. Oh joy. The worst thing was, the audience around us were laughing throughout! Bwa hah ha haaaar! The blurb out the front said it was "Heartbreaking and hilarious!" I kept wondering if I'd seen the same play.

Just so upper class, and jokes centre around, "Oooh look, she's going out with a black man! Isn't that weird!" Ur, no? Not sure how long ago this play was written (don't want to know), so maybe it might have been, dare I say, "amusing" then. But this sort of thing just doesn't translate well to a younger audience. One of the most off-putting shows I've seen in my life! I was absolutely mortified by the end that I'd paid to see this, nevermind them being discount tickets. I really do mean it when I say that I hate to moan about shows, as I'm well aware a lot of time and effort, sweat and blood goes into them. But this is a warning review for Broadway, who will be receiving/burdened with later this year. Maybe this review will have made your more interested than ever, and will urge you to go see it out of curiosity. The producers will love you for it! In years to come, I will have convinced myself I saw a play with the almighty Fesssssten, who arose from the dead to pick off a horrible bunch of characters in an abandoned mansion. Actually, that'd make a great computer game....

 

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