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As I was saying…

December 12, 2020

Sailed through last night’s performance. Well, almost. Sailed until the home stretch. Then foundered on this bit.

Froze on my second line. Got “I think so” out then blanked. I knew there was more to the line, but it was gone. Instead I said, “I think so. I think you sold it.”

Donna (Elmer), bless her, blinked and then said, “I thought I’d throw in the bit about the manger. The Boss liked it.” Nice save. In fairness to me, I didn’t then just repeat “I think you sold it”, responding instead with “That was excellent.” We then managed without further fuck ups (by me) to sail once again through the last six lines of the play.

Of course it’s never the line you stumbled on the night before. That line is permanently soldered into your brain. It’s always a different line. A line that has never, ever before given you any trouble whatsoever.

Oh, the joys of live theatre. Even without an actual theatre or a visible audience. Apparently the basic principles are exactly the same.

You let it go, because, as Scarlett O’Hara famously observed, tomorrow is another day.

That said, a distraction isn’t a bad thing and, thanks to Stephen Colbert having James Corden on as a guest the other night, I had the perfect distraction – a film Corden had made with Meryl Streep which was released on Netflix yesterday.

Back in 2008, before the film version of Mamma Mia actually opened, there were posters for it splattered across the walls of every tube station. I hadn’t seen the play and I had no interest in seeing the film.

Then the week it opened, much to my surprise, it was one of the subjects of Newsnight Review, which used to be the second half hour on Friday nights of BBC2’s Newsnight. During this segment the host and two or three luminaries would discuss cultural events of the week – a new exhibition or play or opera or (capital L) literary novel.

I can’t remember who the other panellists were, but one of them was a po-faced Irish poet, a regular guest who never liked anything. They showed a couple of clips, including this one of Meryl Streep belting out ‘The Winner Takes It All’ on a hillside.


Seriously? I thought. All this and she can sing, too? For fuck’s sake.

The other panellists made favourable comments, then the camera turned to Po Face. I expected him, in typical fashion to excoriate the entire venture. Instead of which he said, “It is impossible to spend two hours watching Meryl Streep having that much fun and not enjoy yourself.” Huh. If this film could so charm that man, I was in.

The following Friday my friend Irmani and I went to see it, both agreeing in the pub afterwards, that, if we hadn’t gone to the late screening, we would have paid to sit through it again. It was that much fun.

So, this newly released Netflix film in which Meryl Streep and James Corden play a pair of narcissistic Broadway stars whose latest venture, a musical about Eleanor Roosevelt, closes on opening night. They decide they need to latch onto a cause to polish up their reputations. The cause they select is a teenage lesbian in a small town in Indiana who has been refused permission to attend the school prom with her girlfriend.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Prom.


Two hours of blissful escapism. Trust me: Meryl Streep is having fun.

The film is based on a Broadway musical which opened a couple of years ago. Before it opened the most famous politician from Indiana was Mike Pence, whose homophobia I believe knows no bounds. Easy to paint all of Indiana with the same brush. Since then, of course, a young gay mayor from South Bend has become the state’s most famous son. Yes, it is a university town and those tend to be more liberal, but it is a Catholic university, so knock a couple of brownie points off for that. Given the rise of Pete Buttigieg, I found it harder to write off Indiana completely than I would, say, Kentucky.

But that’s a small quibble.

If you feel like you could be doing with spending a couple of hours with a smile on your face, go to The Prom.

From → Blog

One Comment
  1. Donna permalink

    You’re very kind 🙂 The real reason it worked last night was because we make a great team!
    We saw James Corden being interviewed on 60 Minutes last week and he talked about The Prom. Looking forward to it.

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